Campbell Ready for Taste of Penn State

Nittany Lions' Class of 2014 safety signee set to experience University Park for the first time on an official visit this weekend.

When Phenix City, Ala., Central safety Christian Campbell verbally committed to Penn State Feb. 3 and signed with the Nittany Lions Feb. 5, he did so sight unseen.

Prayer and a trust in head coach James Franklin convinced the 6-foot-2 180-pound three-star that University Park should be his college home — even if he had never seen its sprawling campus, experienced its vicious winters or met a majority of the players he'll call teammates.

He allows that he was once iffy about the decision, but only for a moment.

"My mom kept sending me information, and I prayed every day," Campbell said. "It just came to me one day, and I didn't have any worries."

Just over two months later, he is more certain than ever that he made the right decision. It will be further reinforced this weekend, when he takes his official visit for Penn State's Blue-White Game.

"I want to meet all the players and upcoming freshmen, and I really want to see the whole facility and see what they have to offer," Campbell said.

While still the coach at Vanderbilt, Franklin began recruiting Campbell. Though the Commodores did not offer before Franklin left for PSU, Campbell and his family warmed up to the then Vandy head man. He was always present, regardless of whether it was just to check in from a state away or help the safety get his academics in line.

An offer was probably on its way had Franklin stayed, but since he didn't, the junior announced he was going to pick between Indiana and Minnesota Feb. 3. The same day, Franklin showed up again, this time a few more states away, but with an offer.

With that, Campbell's recruitment was over.

"He never gave up on me," Campbell said of Franklin. "He was friendly about everything. I've known him for a long time, even before some schools liked him. I always liked his personality.

He also liked a specific part of Franklin's pitch.

"He has no problem playing freshman if I come in, work hard, and do what they say," Campbell said.

"That really got my attention," he continued. "I'd love to play for a coach like that, one that has confidence in his upcoming freshman."

A late June arrival ahead of the start of the second summer session at Penn State is expected, and Campbell said he can't wait. It will be the second time he steps foot on campus, and while he won't completely know his way around, he'll know the basics.

The learning process will begin when he arrives on campus Thursday. Where it ends is anyone's guess.

"I just want to see how hard they play," Campbell said. "It's going to be pretty exciting to see the spring game. That's all I want to see; how hard they play defense, offense and special teams."

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