Campbell, who was a linebacker his freshman season at Rubidoux, was moved to running back by Norco Coach Todd Gerhart, whose son Toby was the featured back –and rightfully so. Campbell rushed for 723 yards on 130 carries his sophomore season for the Cougars. In contrast, Gerhart had 281 carries for 2,210 yards and didn't miss a beat in 2005. Gerhart finished his career as California's all-time leading rusher.
Feeling he was out of position at running back, Campbell added 30 pounds during the off-season and returned to his preferred position of linebacker his junior season.
"His adding weight was by design," Colleen Campbell said. "We own a pizza place, so we had him eat a lot and work hard in the weight room."
The end result was a stellar junior year in which Campbell had 135 tackles earning second-team All-State honors, and that was playing on the weak side--and with some teams avoiding him.
"After the championship (CIF Division 5) game last season, there was an article in the paper saying they were running away from Jordan Campbell most of the game," Campbell said. "Coach put me at defensive end because they (Temescal Canyon) have an unbalanced set with tight ends and tackles – tight end, tight end. Coach said if I can control the deek out, we would win the game. Every time I would do a flip, they would run an audible to the opposite side, so it was pretty obvious to the fans they weren't running my way."
Campbell said he didn't feel he played his best until the ninth game of the season because of the year off at linebacker, and had problems with his pass coverage early on in the season.
"Pass coverage is the most important thing," Campbell said. "Anyone can stop the run all day, but how are your pass drops? That's what we worked a lot on last year in seven-on-sevens because I was on offense my sophomore year. I was having trouble with my pass drops in the beginning, but I picked it up real quick."
Working on his pass drops is only a portion of an extremely disciplined and difficult workout schedule. One might say Campbell is the poster boy for dedication and preparation.
"I'm working out every day," Campbell said. "I have legs on Monday, upper body on Tuesday and on Wednesday work out with Wade Lockett, who does West Coast football camps all over Orange County. Chris Galippo works out on the weekends with us at Saddleback College and we just work on our starts, our 100's and basically just getting in shape. Then I have Acceleration Camp on Tuesday and Thursday where I work on my speed with treadmill work. It's about a two hour workout. It's basically designed to improve our overall leg strength – your hamstrings, glutes and everything. My forty time has dropped a tenth of a second, my shuttle time is getting quicker and my side-to-side movement is improving, so is my flexibility."
Campbell will move from the weak-side to middle linebacker in 2006 and his expectation are sky-high.
"Last year I had 135 tackles and made second-team All-State and this year I plan on making first, and have at least 160 tackles— and I want 100 solo," Campbell said. "I wasn't in the middle of our defense last year and we had a senior who had 170 tackles, and I had 135, but I was on the weak side. I should be a little better being in the middle next year."
There's no question Campbell can play middle linebacker at the D-1 level, but he believes strong-safety could be the best fit for him.
"I think I want to play strong-safety in college because I was talking to coach (Gerhart), and the UCLA coaches said linebackers are usually 6-3 or 6-4," Campbell said. "I'm about 6-0 and 225 pounds and they're (UCLA) looking for bigger guys to play in the middle. I'm good at running around the field and I have good hands, so strong-safety wouldn't be that big of a difference."
It was mentioned that Lofa Tatupu didn't have any problems handling the middle at 6-0, 240 pounds.
"That's what attracted me to USC, besides my family," Campbell said. "A lot of their linebackers were 6-0 and 240, 245 pounds, so I thought I would fit right in not only at linebacker, but also fit in like Troy Polamalu, who played short when he was at SC –and a lot of people say I'm pretty much built like him."
Campbell comes from a Trojan family and has an uncle who also is a Trojan alum, but he understands he must keep an open mind during the recruiting process, because getting an offer from the Trojans isn't a given.
"I like USC and UCLA a lot," Campbell said. "Since my freshman year I've followed SC local players like Sammy Knight and Chris Clairborne. I watched them play in high school and they went to USC-- it's a school I'd like to go as well.
"UCLA is a great school, but it's a rival. I would go there because it's good school and program. I've been on their campus and I liked it, but USC is always at the top of my list.
"I also like Miami and Florida State, but I mostly like the Pac-10 schools like Cal, UCLA, Oregon and Arizona -- that's basically it."
With combine and camp season quickly approaching, Campbell is gearing up to gain as much exposure as possible, so coaches from the schools he's interested in get a intimate look at what he has to offer.
"March 10 there's a local camp at Santiago High School, then a SPARQ Camp March 11, and Nike Camp at Stanford," Campbell said. "Our coach has all three of us (Campbell, Adam Tello, Garth Gerhart) going to that camp and my uncle is talking about a camp Scout.com is having – and I'm interested in going to that camp too. I'm also looking at an April 22 camp in San Diego."
Basketball used to be a major part of Campbell's life, but he stopped playing after his sophomore season to focus on what's most important to him.
"I was on varsity basketball last year, but I'm only 6-0 and point guards are generally 6-3, 6-4 or taller," Campbell said. "I'm not going to join basketball again so I can focus on football and school. I really don't have the time between school, working out and working at my parents' restaurant."
Campbell certainly has his priorities in order and he's also lucky to have the guidance of not only his parents, who are his biggest supporters, but Coach Gerhart and his son Toby.
"They (Toby and Todd Gerhart) basically just told me that school and grades are the most important things," Campbell said. "Make sure you have your grades in order, do well on the SAT and work hard preparing for the combines, because the best athletes will be there. You also have be on top of your game when you go the combines because a lot of scouts and coaches will be there. But if you don't have the grades, none of that matters."