Always a presence, Campbell now in the books

Ibraheim Campbell broke a school record on Saturday. Always humble, it's been an impressive journey for the redshirt junior.

You might remember the moment we truly heard from Ibraheim Campbell.

I'm not even looking at the box score. It was sometime in October 2011 when Campbell intercepted Denard Robinson twice.

Back then, Robinson was a Heisman candidate—not just Devin Gardner's predecessor. The redshirt freshman Campbell helped give Wildcats fans hope of an upset that never came to fruition.

If anything, the disappointing 2011 campaign–partially marred by injuries–provided some indication that the future would be like this.

Kain Colter flashed his athleticism. Defensive playmakers also emerged, with Campbell putting together the bursts of dominance that have become the norm.

On Saturday, Campbell broke the Northwestern record by intercepting a pass for the fifth consecutive game. This quotation, in all of its modesty, perfectly represents Campbell:

"I'll try to keep this streak as long as possible," he said. "Just doing my job, nothing special to it."

At times, sophomore Traveon Henry earned more attention than Campbell. The young hope, Henry posted a superlative spring and looked to form the ideal tandem. Really, the headlines are coming up Campbell.

But Campbell maintained his humility, and showed off the clutch play upperclassman leaders often make. The one that stood out: He sprawls out to grab Jared Goff's pass out of the air against Cal, steadying NU en route to an equally difficult and impressive opening win.

Without Venric Mark and his wild rushing total, NU seems as though it lacks the true "star" in 2013. Rather, Fitzgerald boasts this collection of great players—including Campbell, Colter and Tyler Scott.

So when Fitzgerald said on Monday that Campbell has played at an "All-Big Ten" level, the conversation felt incomplete. He's been the silent anchor behind a disaster-prone group of cornerbacks.

Even when the interception streak falls apart, Campbell will make his plays, whether it's batting passes away or stepping up in the run game.

Just two seasons ago, he led NU in tackles. Now, he's staking his claim as one of the team's most valuable players, any way he can.


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