Playmakers 2015: No. 10 Parris Campbell

Our attempt to identify the top playmakers on Ohio State's 2015 roster starts with Parris Campbell, a redshirt freshman from Akron who was one of the top 100 players in his recruiting class of 2014.

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer lives to find playmakers, and his hope is that the Buckeyes will run at least 10 deep this season when it comes to skill position players the OSU coaching staff trusts to make big things happen with the ball. With that in mind, the BuckeyeSports.com crew voted on the top 10 playmakers on the roster after spring ball and is profiling those players one-by-one.

No. 10: Parris Campbell
Position: WR/H
Jersey No.: 21 Height: 6-1
Weight: 205
Class: Redshirt freshman
High School: Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary
Rating:Four-star prospect in class of 2014
Career stats: None in college; Ran for a combined 2,937 yards and 50 touchdowns in his final two years of high school ball for the back-to-back state champions Playmaking skills: Speed to burn, cutting ability

What They’re Saying: Late in the third quarter of the spring game, the Scarlet team trailed 14-10 and faced a fourth-and-goal. Urban Meyer knew what play he wanted to call – a jet sweep right with the ball in the hands of the speedy Parris Campbell, who was tasked with getting to the edge and getting in the end zone.

At that moment, Meyer wanted to test Campbell’s mettle as well. Ohio State playmakers have to be tough and they have to be competitors, Meyer says, and the situation called for those traits.

“Here's a kid that just turned 17 years old, about to hyperventilate – he's really not,” Meyer said. “He's fine. And I grab him: ‘I need you to win the game right here.’ I need you to score. It was like on the 4-yard line.

“And he looked at me … he took the ball, put his left foot in the ground and dove in, made a great cut and scored, and I saw his celebration in the end zone. That's one I remember from the spring game. That's going to help him get into the rotation.”

Campbell got the ball to the red turf, scoring his first touchdown as a Buckeye in Ohio Stadium. Of course, he’ll have to wait until at least the fall to score one in a real game after taking a redshirt last season, but Campbell seems to have the skills to be ready to contribute.

A track star growing up in Akron in addition to a football standout, Campbell arrived at OSU last year at just 16 years old. The plan always was to redshirt him and was cemented when he ended up banged up, but Campbell now boasts an intriguing mix of solid size, blazing speed, ability to carry the ball and playmaking verve.

“Young guys like Paris Campbell and Terry McLaurin, they’re still working,” wideouts coach Zach Smith said of the two redshirt freshmen who scored for Scarlet in the spring game. “Every day they’re going out and they leave practice blown out because they are grinding to get better. They’re not there yet but every now and then they show a flash or a promise and we say, alright by the fall I think we can get this guy ready to play.”

Campbell has caught the eye of fellow wideout Corey Smith as well.

“We just have to get Parris and Terry to make plays,” Smith said. “We have to get them consistent like me. That’s all it is.”

When Campbell was being recruited to Ohio State, he was told by Meyer that he had the skills to fill the slot/hybrid role so famously held in the head coach’s Florida tenure by Percy Harvin.

“Urban Meyer told me he wants to use me like Percy Harvin at Florida, so I’m thinking slot position,” Campbell said at the time. “I have no problem with that at all. As long as I’m on the field, I’ll play any position. We were sitting in his office and when he said it, it definitely put a smile on my face.”

Now, he’s in that spot to have that smile on his own face as one of the potential top playmakers on the Buckeye squad in 2015.


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