JUCO DT Campbell has a story to tell

JUCO DT Campbell has a story to tell

Peter Ariz
Peter Ariz
Last year, I interviewed East L.A. Community College DT Demetrius Campbell, a highly-regarded lineman from Florida who made the trip to Cali after not qualifying for West Virginia, where he had originally signed out of high school. Little did I know the lengths Campbell was going to in order to play his season and attend class. The 6’4”, 290-lb lineman has a story to tell.

“I’m currently homeless. Ever since I’ve come to East L.A., it’s been tough. It’s hard out here in the city of L.A. because nothing is stable. For a one-bedroom apartment it was $1,200 and my family doesn’t have the most so I was used to not having everything. I’ve bounced around from place-to-place, staying at homeless shelters during the season, having to do some sneaky things like sneaking into the locker room and leaving the door cracked open so I could study after-hours and stuff like that. I’m doing whatever I can, like sleeping on benches, to finish up out here and get my degree because I don’t want to go home empty-handed. It’s been crazy out here to say the least,” said Campbell.

Campbell expanded on his journey from the Sunshine State to where he is now.

“I graduated from Kathleen High School in 2011 and then I signed with West Virginia. After I failed to qualify academically, I headed out to College of the Canyons for the 2011 year. I played in about four or five games and had 2 sacks and 10 tackles and after that I decided I wanted to get recruited by bigger universities so I decided to transfer to East L.A. Community College to play my last season. I had 45 tackles, 15 for loss, and 4.5 sacks.”

Although there have been difficult times, the versatile lineman feels like Junior College has been a learning experience that helps him perform on the field.

“The most important I’ve learned is that God puts us all in unique situations for certain reasons and I’m a big believer in that. Through playing at Junior College, I’ve learned mental toughness by being homeless, bouncing around from place-to-place, sleeping on floors, I feel like there’s no situation on the field that I couldn’t overcome. No matter how good the opponent is, how hot it is, or anything like that, I will never give up.”

Campbell was originally scheduled to graduate this month, but his unique situation created a roadblock.

“I had all the classes I needed to graduate in the Spring, but after being homeless I had to drop two classes, which caused me to be one unit short, so now I have to take three classes in order to get my A.A. degree. Those will be a child development class, a psychology class, and a history class and once I’m done with those classes, I’ll have my A.A. in July and be ready to go wherever.”

As far as recruiting goes, Campbell is still unsure of where he will play in the fall. But today, he got some unexpected news.

“My coach told me that Jethro Franklin called him today asking about me and that he said they would review my film and transcripts. They know my situation with the three classes and all that and they said they could still possibly bring me in for the fall.”

Miami isn’t the only option on the table for him, but the ‘Canes are the top choice.

“I’m getting the most interest from Washington and West Virginia. Tulsa offered me earlier this morning. I’m leaning towards Washington, but that’s only if Miami doesn't offer.”

I asked Campbell if he preferred playing end or tackle, and this was his response.

“Honestly, if I go to Miami I’ll play freakin’ on the bench. I’ll go out there and hand out water bottles and towels if they want me to. It’s just having the opportunity to play football that I want.”

What else is appealing about Miami to the athletic lineman?

“I went to the same high school as Ray Lewis, so to say I went to the same college as him would be an accomplishment in itself. When you think about the University of Miami, you think National Championships, Orange Bowl Championships, and the NFL. A degree from there speaks for itself as well. My family hasn’t seen me play since my senior year either so there’s a lot of things in Miami’s favor.”

When asked if he would commit on the spot if Miami offered, Campbell was quick to respond.

“Oh, without a doubt.”

Campbell feels like he could his use past as a teaching tool for younger players.

“I could bring a certain attitude and toughness to Miami. I could help out a lot of the younger guys who are going through adversity and bring everyone as close to Jesus as possible and let them know that no matter how hard it is, there’s always a way out. I just want to be able to bring in a positive attitude.”

Campbell's highlights: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/1769668/demetrius-campbell

Comments (159)

Praise The Lord for this kid. Anyone reppin' Jesus deserves favor and I hope he attends UM if it's the Lord's will. We need DTs in the worst way. Is he going to get an offer?
****** thank god! I was tired of looking at last year's juco rankings at DT and seeing this stud just sit there. Glad to hear he might have a shot. Actually love his film, and his drive is undeniable.
Get this kid an offer. He is hungry as ****.
C'mon Jethro offer this guy, nobody deserves to be homeless.
Tough kid. Hope he gets through his summer classes. If he can play sign him up. If not, at least he's earned a shot somewhere.
You hear stories like this. And makes you think how grateful you should be for everything you have. Wishing nothing but the best for this kid.
Holy **** this kid is unreal. He is so mentally strong, strong willed, humble and grateful. I want him to be a Cane for sure he deserves every blessing he ever gets. He would work his *** off from jump and could be an even more amazing success story than Jimmy Graham.
Thaaaaaaaaaaaat might be the greatest recruiting story of all time. Reezy, you young Bobby Burton, you have outdone yourself.

Sign this ******* kid up and let Ray Lewis talk to him.

**** of a young man. We would be lucky to have a kid like that.