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EAST LAKE — When wide receiver Artavis Scott went down with an ankle injury in the first game of the season, East Lake coach Bob Hudson didn’t have to look very hard for a replacement.
At 6-foot-5, 180 pounds and with plenty of speed to burn, sophomore George Campbell was an obvious choice.
Then, when the Eagles (11-1) struggled to get pressure on the quarterback early in the season, Hudson didn’t hesitate in moving Campbell from safety to defensive end.
That’s been his role this season. If there’s a deficiency on either side of the ball, just stick Campbell there and problem solved.
“He’s just a playmaker,’’ Hudson said. “He’s one of those guys who always seems to be around the ball. He’s got a great motor and he’s done whatever we’ve asked him to do this season.’’
As a receiver, Campbell has 26 receptions for 674 yards and four touchdowns. That’s second on the team behind Scott’s 869 yards and nine TDs. With Scott healthy, the Eagles now have several receivers for veteran quarterback Pete DiNovo to choose from.
Considering he hasn’t played receiver at this level, Campbell has fit in well.
“I’ve played (receiver) in my little league years and playing around in flag football,’’ Campbell said. “But that’s it. Coaches said they needed some playmakers there so I stuck up my hand.’’
That’s not the only move he’s had to make this season.
Campbell was a safety as a freshman with 81 tackles and two interceptions. He started this season at the position but was approached about playing defensive end after a few games.
“We needed to get him closer to the ball,’’ Hudson said. “We had him at safety but we felt he would do better at defensive end.’’
Campbell didn’t hesitate.
After a slight learning curve, he started making things happen. He constantly pressures quarterbacks and has a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
That was evident against Vero Beach in the Class 8A region semifinals. Campbell recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. Then he picked up another fumble and raced 95 yards for a second touchdown in a 29-7 win.
Campbell has 56 tackles and a team-high 12 hurries. He said he has grown to enjoy his new position.
“It’s a fun position,’’ Campbell said. “You get a lot of energy on every play. It’s like you’re right in the middle of the action. I’m getting kind of comfortable doing it now.’’
Campbell will certainly have to be a factor again Friday night in the region final at Orlando Dr. Phillips (12-0). He already has valuable experience after playing in the playoffs last season. But this season his impact is much greater.
“As a freshman I was able to play and do a lot of things,’’ Campbell said. “I knew this season I had to take it up another notch.’’
Rodney Page can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RodneyHomeTeam.