Two years into his Ohio State career, Parris Campbell has yet to catch a pass.
He’s had his chances, even dropping the first ball ever thrown to him – which would’ve been a sure touchdown against Virginia Tech in the Buckeyes’ opening game of 2015. He’ll admit that. He thinks about that play every day.
But regardless of his lack of statistical contribution, the then-redshirt-freshman wide receiver found his way onto the field often last year, at least when not battling injury issues. Campbell was on the field because he does the little things, and those can be just as important as catching touchdowns.
As Campbell noted during Ohio State’s media day Sunday, head coach Urban Meyer often referred to Evan Spencer as the MVP of the 2014 Buckeyes – the same team that won the first-ever College Football Playoff. And when asked who might fill that role this year, Meyer immediately said Campbell’s name.
“You have to have a guy like that or you're not going to be very good,” Meyer. “You should have multiple guys like that.”
The coach noted that receiver Terry McLaurin – Campbell’s classmate – has a similar skill set as well.
And as Meyer said, it really is an important skill set to have, but blocking and playing special teams aren’t necessarily a wide receiver’s dream. Campbell, for his part, admitted that he’d like to make plays, just like anyone else, but his main focus is getting on the field and contributing anything he can.
“I’m not too concerned about touchdowns or catches,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s all about the team and Zone 6, this receiving unit, is a whole unit and we’re all brothers. And I want my brothers to make plays, I want to make plays, but at the end of the day it’s not about me, it’s about the team.”
As he spoke about the team and his contributions, Campbell seemed to be brimming with confidence. Almost a year removed from his drop against Virginia Tech – which he admitted is probably what Ohio State fans best know him for – Campbell said things are going “great.”
He and his coach both feel he can fill a key role, and whether or not he’s an Evan Spencer type or he’s out there catching passes, Campbell said he’s as motivated as every to “put on a show” Sept. 3 when the Buckeyes take on Bowling Green to kick off the 2016 season.
But he still kept his cards close to his chest, to some extent. Campbell will be on the field for Ohio State this fall – whether that’s blocking, playing special teams or, perhaps, finally catching that touchdown, he’ll be doing what he can to put checks in the win column for the Buckeyes.
“At the end of the day I just want to do whatever I can to help the team,” Campbell said.
If you enjoyed this story, you will love Buckeye Sports Bulletin, the newspaper “For The Buckeye Fan Who Needs To Know More” since 1981. For four free trial issues of Buckeye Sports Bulletin with no obligation, click here.