Back Michael Campbell Jr.: Sleeper Speedster

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Michael Campbell Jr.: Sleeper Speedster

By Barry Every
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One of the top returning stars for Darien (GA) McIntosh County Academy is speedster Michael Campbell.

One of the top returning stars for Darien (GA) McIntosh County Academy is speedster Michael Campbell. During the 2016 season he racked up 37 tackles, three TFL’s, three PBU’s, one INT and fumble return for score. He also added one touchdown catch offensively.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound safety/cornerback was part of a defensive unit that rendered a touchdown or less in seven contests; two of which were shutouts. His effort helped guide the Buccaneers to an appearance in the GHSA-A Public State Championship Game in Atlanta this past December.

Unfortunately not long after their magical run a coaching change was made at McIntosh County Academy. Taking over the reins of Buc-Nation is defensive coordinator Terel Toomer. Toomer was able to lead his squad through spring ball giving him time to evaluate his personnel and all signs point to another successful season.

“Campbell looks four times different then when he arrived as a freshman,” Toomer said. “He has really physically matured and is not that scrawny little kid anymore. He got his first start as a sophomore in game seven of the season versus Benedictine. He held his own in that game, and has not left the field since.”

Campbell began to make news on the recruiting trail back in March after running a blazing 4.33 40-yard dash at the ESPFC Camp held in Pooler, Georgia. Since then he ran a 4.4 40 at the MVP Camp in Valdosta and leaped a staggering 41-inches in the vertical testing at the Three Stripe Camp in Orlando.

His athleticism has attracted offers from Army and Mercer. Campbell is also receiving heavy interest from Liberty, Marshall, Samford, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest. Both Army and Mercer are recruiting Campbell as a cornerback.

“Army Assistant Coach Mitch Ware has been doing a nice job keeping in contact with me,” Campbell said. “He stays in constant contact and is always letting me know how much they want up at West Point. But he is not alone as Coach Will Patterson of Mercer has been just as active in recruiting me. He stays in touch and is always checking in with me to see how I am doing.”

Campbell has already attended multiple Mercer Camps along with one-day stops at Florida and Georgia this spring. He has future planned visits to Army, Georgia State, and believe it or not Mercer again.

But it’s not just Campbell’s size and speed combination that has college coaches salivating. He currently boasts a 3.7 core GPA with a 1,100 on the SAT. This should really open some doors for colleges that require higher standards than the NCAA minimum academics qualifications.

“There is nothing I could say negative about Michael,” Toomer said. “He is a studious person whose parents have stressed academics first; he has never been in any trouble on or off the field. Whatever schools signs him will be getting a straight up steal.”

When not getting ready for football Campbell participates on the MCA basketball team and then transitions into track. His top 100-meter time this past spring was a 10.7.

Recruiting may be in the forefront this spring but the 2017 season is just around the corner. The Buccaneers had four players sign scholarships off of last year’s squad, so replacing them while not skipping a beat on the gridiron will be crucial to their chances of making another long playoff run.

“I definitely have to be a leader for my team,” Campbell said. “I have to make sure my teammates are doing what we need to do on and off the field. We need to take each week one at a time once the season starts, and not look ahead.”

Look for Campbell to play both safety and corner this fall depending on the matchup. He will also get a chance to show off his elite speed as a kick returner, while playing spot duty at receiver when needed.

MCA kicks off their season August, 18 versus Nahunta (Ga.) Brantley County. But the non-region game worth marking on your calendar happens the following week at Homerville (Ga.) Clinch County, this will be the third meeting between these two GHSA-A Public heavyweights in the last year. College coaches may want to mark down September, 29 as the Buc’s host region foe Savannah (Ga.) Savannah Christian Prep, who also boast multiple FBS level prospects.