One who has done nothing but dominate from the first snap of last year is junior linebacker Ian Campbell.
The fact that Campbell is now an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme speaks to his athleticism, because last year he was playing from the down position as a DE for the Wildcats.
From that position he led all defensive linemen in the conference in tackles, notching 67 on the year, including a whopping 11.5 sacks for the then sophomore standout. This year doesn't find him amongst the leaders in any category other than fumbles recovered, Campbell leading the conference with four. But if you think that he is less of a force and coaches don't have to pay attention to him, think again.
"I think he's one of the best players in the big 12 and one of the better players we've seen," Offensive Coordinator Shawn Watson said of Campbell . "And they are smart with him. They will move him all over the place. He's listed as an outside backer, but he'll put his hand in the dirt and he'll play three-technique, he'll play five-technique.
"They will put him places where they will try to make a match and break him loose, and in the passing game, especially."
At 6-5, 249 pounds, Campbell is on paper, ideal to be anything from a solid run-stopper at linebacker, but a speed rusher on the defensive line as well. But Watson said that he's got more than that and from what he sees, Campbell 's success draws from two major strengths. "One, he's a very powerful-explosive player and the other, he has a high motor, a really hot motor," Watson said. "The kid plays the game the way it's supposed to be played."
In the nine games Campbell has played in this year, he has 31 tackles on the season, including 7.5 for loss, 2.5 of those being sacks. Campbell also has one interception, three pass deflections, three quarterback hurries and the aforementioned four fumble recoveries.
Kansas State obviously has a host of other players Nebraska will have to take into consideration when figuring out their offensive plan, but the NU coaches see Campbell as someone who they will need to keep at least one eye on at all times. Right now it's both eyes and as coaches are prone to do, even the other guys can be entertaining to see. "I love watching him on film," Watson said. "He's fun to watch."