AKRON, Ohio – Now that Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary running back Parris Campbell has given his verbal pledge to Ohio State, he goes from recruit to recruiter.
Last Sunday afternoon, Campbell visited Ohio State for the second time in four weeks. By the time he got to head coach Urban Meyer’s office and a formal offer was extended, Campbell was ready to accept.
Meyer is so good at this part of the game that Campbell was the third 2014 recruit to give a commitment that day, just four days after National Signing Day for the class of 2013 was completed. Ohio State brought home Scout.com’s top-ranked class nationally in 2013, and the additions of Campbell, offensive lineman Kyle Trout of Lancaster, Ohio and defensive end Lawrence Marshall of Southfield, Mich., are the kind that can help the next class attain similar acclaim.
It was, literally and figuratively, another day at the office for Meyer.
“He’s a standout coach,” Campbell said. “When he comes in the room, you get chills.”
Besides his family, the first call Campbell made after committing was to fellow St. V-M alum Doran Grant, a Buckeyes cornerback. The next went to his current teammates and classmates, Dante Booker and Newman Williams. Campbell’s commitment caught them a little by surprise, but what he told them next did not.
He wants them to be Buckeyes, too.
Mike Vrabel, Ohio State’s defensive line coach and a native of the Akron area, often stops by St. V-M basketball practice to say hello to all three; sometimes, he shoots a few free throws after practice. Luke Fickell, co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach, has been with Vrabel, too. Campbell wore a new pair of Ohio State socks to basketball practice on Monday, and probably not by accident.
St. Vincent-St. Mary’s colors are green and gold. Campbell’s black socks had the red block ‘O’ on both sides.
“I’m just very excited,” Campbell said. “Everybody here knows that. My idol is Archie Griffin. I wanted to be a Buckeye since before I even put on football pads.”
Campbell said he’ll ultimately be a running back at Ohio State, but that he could get a shot in the slot/pivot position in the spread offense that Ohio State didn’t really have last year and recruited several players to this year. Campbell not only has freakish athletic ability but has time on his side; he doesn’t turn 16 until this summer.
On his list of his things to do between now and his final high school football season are get his driver’s license, raise his overall grade-point average and get stronger in the weight room. He’ll also try to top the 28 touchdowns he scored last season as St. V-M won the Div. III state championship and Campbell went from off-the-radar prospect to a Buckeye commit.
“The recruiting process wasn’t that long for me, but I saw that it could get overwhelming,” Campbell said. “I knew that if an Ohio State offer came I probably wouldn’t wait. I also know I have a long way to go. Life’s great right now.”
While Booker has been on the radar of major college programs since he was a freshman, Williams said he had almost no interest until early December’s state championship game. He might have been the best player on the field that day, keeping his cell phone buzzing and his mailbox full ever since.
Only Toledo has offered Williams, but Ohio State, Michigan State, Indiana, Purdue and Bowling Green are among those to send recruiters to St. V-M or contact Williams otherwise. Nebraska told him to expect an offer soon.
Booker visited Ohio State with Campbell in January and said he plans to visit Notre Dame soon. He’s willing to take his recruitment “slow, if that’s what’s best,” and will focus on improving his footwork and getting his weight over 220 for his final high school season.
Booker knows that it’s hard to say no to Urban Meyer, especially being an Ohioan, but insists having Ohio State calling and stopping by is a “good thing, not pressure.” Having a teammate and close friend in his ear, though, might be a different story.
“We have definitely talked about all three of us going to the same school, and it’s something we’d love to do,” Booker said. “I’m not saying we will all go the same place, but that would be even more of a dream come true.”
Williams said he hasn’t taken any visits yet, and joked that he’ll “shove Parris around” but if he gets tired of hearing about Ohio State. Like it was with Campbell last fall, this recruiting thing is brand new. As the film college coaches have requested on Williams gets viewed, the calls will only continue.
Sometime, he’ll have a big decision to make.
“Next year,” Williams said, “I’m going to be a lot better.”