|Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake wide receiver George Campbell, Jr. (image via MGoBlog)
Tarpon Springs (FL) East Lake wide receiver George Campbell, Jr. committed to Michigan last Saturday. He chose the Wolverines over offers from Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Ohio State, among many others. I had literally just arrived at my vacation destination when the event occurred, and I wasn’t about to type out a commitment post on my iPhone.
Campbell is a 6’3″, 184 lb. prospect who claims a 4.36 forty. Some sites insist on listing him at 6’5″, but he measured in at a combine this spring at 6’3″. The 4.36 is a laser time, too, so those measurements seem to be pretty legitimate. As a sophomore in 2012, he had 30 catches for 766 yards (25.5 yards/catch) and 5 touchdowns. He also had 57 tackles on defense.
ESPN: 4-star, 88 grade, #1 ATH, #3 overall
247 Sports: 5-star, 98 grade, #1 WR, #17 overall
Campbell, the teammate of class of 2014 Michigan offensive guard commit Mason Cole, was offered back in December 2012 and watched the team practice for the Outback Bowl. He’s very close with fellow East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott, who was heavily interested in Michigan at one time. When Scott committed to Clemson, that was thought to be a huge negative for Michigan’s chances with Campbell. However, Campbell always had good things to say about Michigan, and when he visited for the BBQ at the Big House last weekend, he decided to end his recruiting process.
As evidenced by that forty time, Campbell has excellent speed. He accelerates quickly, which is troublesome for defensive backs, who have to decide whether to flip their hips, backpedal, or support the run. He also shows some shake and bake for a kid who’s fairly tall, but he gets upfield swiftly without taking too much time to dance. His size is a plus, as he should be able to carry 210-215 lbs. on his frame eventually. I haven’t seen any video of his blocking abilities, but with his length and eventual heft, that shouldn’t be a problem, provided he makes the effort. Regarding effort, I like his enthusiasm for making plays, especially on the defensive clips.
The biggest knock on Campbell is his hands, and there’s definitely some evidence that he needs to work on his pass catching. He is not a smooth receiver, and he has difficulty judging how to position his hands. He likes to catch the ball in his body, and usually when the ball is outside his frame, he tries to clap onto the ball rather than letting it settle softly. His route running isn’t very evident on video, but that and his size are things that every high school sophomore needs to work on. As a defensive player, he shows some natural instincts for chasing the ball, rushing the passer, and playing the ball in the air. I almost like his instincts better as a defender, but his tackling technique involves grabbing guys and trying to swing them around until they fall down.
Overall, Campbell is probably pretty accurately ranked near the top of his class, but there is potential for a significant drop if he doesn’t show improvement in catching the ball. I have seen smoother receivers, and I think 2014 Michigan commit Drake Harris is one of them. However, there are some natural talents in Campbell that can’t be taught, so I like that ESPN ranks him as an athlete. He could realistically play wide receiver or safety at the next level, or perhaps even outside linebacker if he continues to grow. Whether he ends up on offense or defense, he should be an asset down the road.
Campbell is Michigan’s first wide receiver commit in the 2015 class and was the third overall (Damien Harris is the fourth). While several current seniors will graduate after the 2013 season, zero are scheduled to depart after 2014. That means it should be a fairly small wide receiver class, and Campbell might even be the lone recruit at that spot, depending on any attrition. Michigan is also working hard on Saginaw (MI) Heritage athlete Brian Cole, who is being recruited as a wideout but could also play defensive back.
TTB Rating: I won’t give ratings for 2015 kids until the 2014 class finishes.