Like several Buckeyes every year, receiver Parris Campbell had an NFL decision to make following the 2017 season.
There was little doubt that Campbell could have come out a year early and put up the kind of combine numbers that make scouts and GM’s smile. Had he done that, however, there was also little doubt that he would have been selling himself short.
“I felt like I had some personal goals that I didn’t attain, and I think ultimately I felt like if I would have left last year I would have cheated myself out of a lot of things,” Campbell said last month at the Big Ten Media Days.
“Number one, I want to leave a legacy at Ohio State and if I would have left Ohio State I would have cheated myself on that. And second, I feel like I have so many more things to polish up on and show these NFL scouts that I am a polished receiver.”
The process of becoming a receiver after being a running back in high school was never easy for Campbell.
His work ethic and ability to do what his coaches asked got him on the field early in 2015. In fact, he was in the starting lineup for the Buckeyes in the season opener that year.
Of course, it was that game where he also had a drop early in the game that would stick with him almost to this day.
Results like that kept Campbell working hard to become the receiver that he believes he needs to be in order to do it for a living.
He also came back because of the guys he would be working with.
“I knew coming back I wasn’t coming into something that was artificial,” he said. “It’s real with our unit. A lot of teams may talk it and a lot of teams may say it, but it’s not a cliché with us. We actually mean it and we live it. I knew coming back with those guys would be an enjoyable time for sure.”
Last year, Campbell was named a captain and took ownership of the H-back position that seemed to suit his skill set better than an outside receiver. This year, he is expected to be a captain once again, and the fact that he was one of three Buckeyes sent to the Big Ten Media Days to represent his team was not lost on him.
“I couldn’t imagine myself sitting in a room talking to you guys,” he said last month. “It was something that I always wanted though. It was something that I thought about when I was working. If you’re at Ohio State, you want to be known as one of the best. You want to be known as one of the guys. So, it was something that I always thought about. Getting the awards, getting the accolades, and getting the attention.”
This is the final go-round for Parris Campbell and it has been a long road from where he began to where he is now. He has heard the doubters since the first game he ever played in.
As he approaches his final game, however, he is ready to show everyone where he is now, and how wrong everyone else is if they continue to doubt him.
“Just from coming where I came from playing running back, I didn’t know how to run a route when I first came here,” he said. “So, I think I’m just becoming a more polished receiver, being able to run routes. Been working on obviously deep ball catching. I think a lot of that will be showcased this season. I can’t wait because I’m tired of all of the negativity around that, but it’s all good.”