Darrell Campbell is realizing his vast potential and has really developed into a playmaker for the Irish. Campbell says he hopes to improve on his 2002 season and hopefully good things will follow. "The sky is the limit," said Campbell about his season this year. "I want to be the best possible player I can and improve all my weaknesses. I've worked hard this summer and hopefully I can do that."
Campbell is absolutely huge right now and makes every Irish player look small in comparison. "Yesterday I weighed in at 312. I worked hard to get my body in shape this year and hopefully I can stay healthy all year."
Being in shape is important to Campbell because he says you never know when you will be called upon to play the entire game. "The Florida State game, that was the game Ced (Cedric Hilliard) went down in and when he went down I stayed in the entire game--108 plays. That was crazy--I've never played that kind of game in my life. It's a testament to Notre Dame strength coaches, to get us into the shape to go those kind of reps without having to come off the field."
Irish fans should expect and even better team in 2003 according to Campbell. He feels his team has made the sacrifice this summer and will be a much better team in 2003. "We expect a lot more, you always have the raise the bar otherwise you'd never get better. Nobody wants to go into the season being as good as they were last year, we have definitely raised the bar and our goal is to specifically be the best team in the country."
Campbell had dominated at times and dominated games but he feels he can improve. He says he's working hard this fall camp to make those improvements. "I need to improve mainly on my run. It's only day four of practice so I'm just getting used to the weight, heat and conditions to go out and perform and execute. I want to be better at run defense. The pass, I'm pretty good at that already, it's one of my strengths."
A future NFL contract is on the horizon for Campbell. Some speculate he might be the first Irish player drafted because of his size and quickness. Campbell says he's not going to give the NFL a second thought until after the season. "That's always something that is down the line. Coach Willingham says the best way to get to the NFL is not to think about it, just play your game. That's exactly what I'm going to do."
Irish Eyes asked Campbell if he is happy with his decision to attend Notre Dame. "Coming here is THE best decision I ever made," said Campbell.
When the Irish were recruiting Campbell, the coaches had to recruit his Mom just as much as him. We asked Darrell if his Mom was happy he chose Notre Dame. "When your mom wants you to go somewhere coming out of high school and you are the only child, her bouncing baby boy, you have to think about what she is saying.""She wanted me to go to Northwestern because all of her supervisors and people she worked with were graduates of Northwestern. She saw people younger than herself earning more money and she wanted her only son to go to an institution like that. What she didn't know, however, is that this university is awesome in its own right--academically it's second to none. Lots of tradition, Catholicism--a total package worth more than its weight in gold. I know she is happy for me."
Campbell firmly believes this Irish team has a chance to win it all. He is very confident they can go undefeated if they just do the right things. "If we do what we are supposed to do - we accept coaching, we run the ball, fly the ball, defensively, offensively -- the chances are very high we could go undefeated. The coaches tell us every team has its chance, you have to be the first to take it."