East Lake WR/DE George Campbell's star rising quickly



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Thu. January 10, 2013 | John C. Cotey | Email

East Lake WR/DE George Campbell's star rising quickly

If the recent Under Armour All-America combine held at Tropicana Field was the kickoff to the next recruiting season, then you'd have to declare George Campbell Tampa Bay's hottest recruit at the moment.

The East Lake sophomore receiver/defensive end was chosen the overall top performer by HomeTeam, and 247Sports said if it had to choose, he'd be its MVP as well.

For Campbell, it was just merely a matter of proving, as one of just 14 kids invited from the 2015 class, that he belonged.

"That was fun,'' he said. "I just wanted to come out and show that I can compete with anybody. And basically, I was just evaluating players, taking some stuff that they use that I don't and bringing it to my game."

Not too many people questioned whether Campbell could hang with the 2013 kids at the event. He is coming off a breakout season in which he caught 30 passes for 766 yards and five touchdowns. Campbell also developed on defense, where he started as a safety but seemed to be most effective at defensive end, where coaches credited him for spurring an improvement in the Eagles defense over the last half of the season.

Campbell, who picked up his sixth offer from Mississippi State Thursday to go with offers from UCF, Michigan, North Carolina State, USF and Vanderbilt, said at Tropicana Field that in fact, his days as a safety may be over. Listed on East Lake's roster at 6-foot-5, 198 pounds -- though he checked in at the combine at 6-3 according to results emailed to reporters -- the Eagle said he sees himself going both ways as an end and a pass catcher. 

"Next season, I hope to start it around 230 pounds,'' he said. "I want to gain enough weight where I can play both sides of the ball.''

Campbell showed off his great hands and speed in the 1-on-1 drills at the combine after running a 4.44 in the 40, a 4.2 in the pro-agility shuttle and 6.9 in the L-cone. Campbell was able to get separation from a strong group of defensive backs and go up and get  any throw before pulling away from his defender.

Though he came to East Lake more regarded for his basketball skills, Campbell said he's always been a football player. And he's quickly proven that this offseason, he might just be the best one Tampa Bay has.



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