Versatile Campanaro Getting Interest From ND

When Michael Campanaro left Notre Dame's one-day football camp back in June, assistant coach Ron Powlus told the Clarksville, Md. athlete that they'd like to see how his body fills out, and to be patient about a scholarship offer.

The Irish coaches have to at least be intrigued by what they've seen since Campanaro left, and most of it comes by way of YouTube.

Michael Campanaro and Powlus regularly keep in touch through email, and the four-star prospect sends his highlights to him via YouTube links.

What Powlus, who also dropped by River Hill High last week sees, is a culmination of this.

Campanaro has led his 13-0 team into this Saturday's 2A state championship game against Eastern Tech (13-0). The 5-foot-10 ½, 175-pound, top-100 player, has carried the ball 173 times for a ridiculous 1,789 yards (10.34 avg.) and 22 of his 30 total touchdowns. With his 4.3 speed in the 40-yard dash (clocked at Illinois and Northwestern camps), Campanaro's long is 82 yards.

Northwestern and Akron, two other June stops for camp, have already offered Campanaro a scholarship.

"I'm more of an elusive guy," Campanaro said. He has also caught 13 passes for 421 yards (32.39 avg.) and six touchdowns. "Definitely speed and quickness. At the same time I'm a physical runner. I can run between the tackles. During the playoffs, our fullback went down and I kind of went back there and took most of those carries."

Notre Dame likely envisions Campanaro as a cornerback, but also gave him a look at receiver. When he camped in South Bend, they worked him out with defensive backs coach Bill Lewis for awhile, but then sent him over to receivers coach Rob Ianello. On the season, Campanaro has over 60 tackles and five interceptions, four of those coming in the playoffs where he has been challenged a lot more. The defense has forced 11 shutouts this fall.

"That's what coach Powlus was saying," Campanaro said. "He was saying that late in the spring they'd offer me at the defensive back position, and that they only have one more spot for a running back, so they'd give that to a bigger guy. But maybe they'd switch me over to the offensive side of the ball."

Notre Dame isn't the only school waiting to pass judgment on Campanaro.

"A lot of colleges are recruiting me as an athlete and seeing how my body fills out," Campanaro said. "I'd like to play on the offensive side of the ball, but I like playing defensive back too."

Campanaro said that Wake Forest and North Carolina told him that when they wrap up its 2008 recruiting, he is at the top of both schools' lists for 2009. Other schools showing interest are Illinois, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Boston College and North Carolina State. He has been on all of those campuses as well.

To get his body where it needs to be, Campanaro has hung up his basketball sneakers to "focus on getting bigger and stronger." He helped River Hill to a state championship on the hardwood last year.

The weight room numbers are solid as it is. Campanaro reported a 280-pound bench press and a 415-pound squat. He has also been working with a trainer, Joe Haden, who's sons were big-time college football recruits as well. Joe Haden Jr. signed with Florida last year, and Josh Haden is verbally committed to Boston College.

"Coach Haden, he does a lot of combine training with me," said Campanaro, who runs the shuttle in the high 4.1 range, and has a vertical leap of 40 inches. "He has really intense workouts. I'm getting stronger as well, but a lot of it is explosiveness and speed work."

Campanaro brought some of his family with him when he attended Notre Dame's camp. His father Attilio, who coached his son through most of his youth, said they were awed by the school.

"He's real interested in Notre Dame," Attilio said. "We took a tour when we were there for the day, and kind of fell in love with the campus. We heard a lot about it, but until you see it in person."

"I thought it was very nice," the younger Campanaro said. He has a 3.0 GPA. "Definitely for the first time being there the campus was really nice, just all around, a very cool atmosphere."

Campanaro thought about committing somewhere before his final prep season, but now predicts that decision will more likely be made around week five or six of his senior year.

"I'll probably have taken a few official visits by then and narrowed my schools down."

As far as YouTube clips from this weekend's state finals, Powlus won't need them. Campanaro said that the Irish coach is going to try and be at M&T Bank Stadium, home of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens. Top Stories