The phone conversation coupled with Saturday’s experience has UNC firmly in the race to land Campbell, 6-foot-4, 270-pound defensive tackle from Woodbridge (Va.).
“North Carolina is definitely in my top three,” Campbell said. “I don’t have a top three – I just know North Carolina has a confirmed spot.”
Campbell plans to make a verbal commitment either five weeks into his senior football season or right after it ends. To get a better grasp on his recruitment before then, he is looking to winnow his list of 31 scholarship offers to 10 in July or August. Besides UNC, Campbell believes South Carolina and Virginia Tech will also make the cut to ten.
“Those [three] schools have been doing a good job recruiting me,” Campbell said.
UNC, specifically, has received two visits from Campbell since the end of the football season. In addition to Saturday, he attended a junior day held in late January.
“I just love being in that area,” Campbell said. “I love everything about that campus. I love the coaching staff and the fact that I know a few of the players on the team personally.”
Fellow northern Virginia products Malik Carney, Jeremiah Clarke, Caleb Henderson, and M.J. Stewart are among the current Tar Heels whose relationship with Campbell predates their time in Chapel Hill.
A byproduct of attending two UNC junior days is that Campbell has the unique first-person perspective of comparing a “regular” junior day to the more exclusive event held in conjunction with the basketball game against Duke.
“The atmosphere was something different,” Campbell said. “I’ve never seen that in my life. That was my first major basketball game that I’ve ever been to. I just enjoyed it. I practically had to watch some of the game on the television, because people wouldn’t sit down.”
“That’s a good thing,” Campbell added. “That’s school spirit and I like it. I love it.”
Saturday’s junior day attendees were treated to several unique activities, including a corn hole tournament. However, Campbell’s late arrival forced him to miss nearly all of the day’s itinerary. Instead, upon his arrival Campbell was immediately scooped up by Gene Chizik and John Papuchis.
“They really wanted to sit down and talk to me, because I was a little iffy at that moment,” Campbell said. “I had built a great relationship with Coach [Keith] Gilmore and to find out that he had left for Notre Dame messed me up in the head a little bit. I understand it’s a business. Coach Chizik and Papuchis really made me feel comfortable. I trust Coach Chizik.”
Besides UNC, Campbell’s schedule since the football season concluded consisted of trips to Maryland and Virginia.
Campbell plans to return to UNC towards the end of the month during his spring break. In the coming months, he said he’ll also make a return trip to South Carolina and visit Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech for the first time.