Better Know a Buckeye: Parris Campbell

By Vico on March 6, 2014 at 11:30 am
Parris Campbell on National Signing Day

The sixth edition of the Better Know a Buckeye series continues with the fourth installment, profiling Parris Campbell. Campbell will join linebacker Dante Booker as alumni of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron to sign with Ohio State in this recruiting class.

One of the more promising athlete or wide receiver prospects in Ohio State's recruiting class, Campbell's recruitment was rather uneventful. He appeared on Ohio State's radar not long after St. Vincent-St. Mary High School concluded the 2012 season with a D-III state championship. He was first recruited in the middle of January 2013 and committed to Ohio State three weeks later upon being told he had a scholarship. I recap this process in a little bit more detail in the next section.

The profile continues in the usual linear fashion thereafter. I discuss Campbell's strengths and areas for improvement. I conjecture about a possible redshirt in 2014 for Campbell, thinking he might be a candidate for one in the fall. I provide some highlights for you to watch before concluding with miscellaneous things about Parris Campbell you may find interesting.

Height: 6-1
Weight: 184
High School: St. Vincent–St. Mary High School; Akron

His Recruitment

Campbell was a latecomer in recruiting. Most recruits that sign with a top program like Ohio State get noticed around the end of their sophomore year. Coaches of all programs are constantly evaluating film trying to find the next class of players. The top recruits get noticed early, even by lesser programs in lower-tier conferences. There is usually some offer in hand by the junior year.

Campbell had no such offer by the end of 2012, though he was getting interest from some of the usual suspects. Indiana was interested. He even took a few unofficial visits to Bloomington through 2012. Akron, Cincinnati, and Penn State were also interested.

Campbell's time to shine came in the D-III state championship game, which pitted St. Vincent-St. Mary against Bellevue in Fawcett Stadium. Ohio State coaches, including Urban Meyer, were on hand for the game. Ineligible for postseason competition, Ohio State coaches were in attendance to recruit. However, the object of Ohio State's eye was Dante Booker and not Parris Campbell.

Nonetheless, Campbell stole the show. Campbell rushed for 165 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries in St. Vincent-St. Mary's 42-21 romp of Bellevue. Booker had a game-high nine tackles that were complemented by a sack and recovered fumble, but Campbell was the highlight of the game.

An excited Campbell hoped that all the times he ran by Urban Meyer on the sideline en route to a touchdown would manifest in some attention from the in-state powerhouse.

He made an unofficial visit to Columbus on the weekend of Jan. 12-13. He arrived on campus before 10 a.m. and was given a tour of the football complex and the football facilities. He later made his way to Value City Arena with then-assistant coach and regional recruiter, Mike Vrabel. An instant magnet for attention, Vrabel drew cheers from an Ohio State crowd ready to watch Ohio State defeat the no. 2 Michigan Wolverines. All told, Campbell was impressed with what he saw. 

Four weeks later, Campbell took another unofficial visit to Ohio State that effectively ended his recruitment.

His Commitment

On Feb. 10, 2013, Parris Campbell became the fourth commitment of Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class.

This took a lot of Ohio State fans by surprise. Those that were aware of him being on Ohio State's radar were not aware that he had a scholarship offer. 

He actually did not. Coaches informed him on his visit that he had one and Campbell effectively committed on the spot. He retold this series of events in an interview with Eleven Warriors shortly after he committed. 

How was the visit to Ohio State overall?

It was my second time visiting the campus. I basically had already seen and done everything before. I just love it. 

You had not yet been reported to have an Ohio State offer yet. Did it come on the visit?

Yeah, I received the offer from the coaches this past weekend. They've been telling me they wanted me to be a Buckeye for a while now, but today was when I received that actual official offer.

It was a scenario in which you practically committed on the spot then. What made you decide so soon that Ohio State was the place for you?

Yeah, it took me about 10 seconds to tell them I was committing once they told me I had an official offer. Being a Buckeye is a dream come true. I've wanted this ever since I was a little kid.

The fourth commitment in this year's recruiting class, he was joined by teammate Dante Booker three months later.

Where He Excels

Campbell is one of the more interesting prospects in this year's recruiting class. He is right now an "athlete" without a home yet. There is an outside option he could play cornerback for Ohio State, though it seems wide receiver is much more likely at the moment.

Like the rest of his teammates coming to Ohio State as wide receivers, speed is Campbell's strength. He probably is the fastest football player in the state in his recruiting class. He is a consistent 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, even registering at 4.41 at Nike's "The Opening" Combine in Beaverton, Oregon in 2013.

From Point A to Point B, few people are faster in a straight line than Parris Campbell.

Campbell also has important track credentials too and runs with some power that belies an otherwise lean frame.

Mostly a running back for St. Vincent-St. Mary, Campbell showed great vision down the field when making his cuts and finding cutback lanes.

Must Work On

Campbell might be the rawest prospect in Ohio State's 2014 recruiting class for a variety of reasons.

A future wide receiver for Ohio State, he played tailback almost exclusively. Many sets that included him in a slot position concluded with him taking a ball on a jet sweep or had him as a decoy in jet motion. Long story short, he is not a wide receiver right now. He will have to become one. This includes all the little things from running crisp routes to downfield blocking.

It may be easy for Ohio State fans to assume he will be doing what Dontre Wilson is currently doing, but even that requires a different skill set. Long striders do not work well in the "Percy Position". Campbell is a long strider.

Those that know Campbell well vouch for the fact that Campbell is still growing into his body. This is truer for Campbell than it is for most prospects. Ohio State fans may not know this, but Campbell actually skipped a grade in kindergarten. He was born in July of 1997. He will still be sixteen years old when he enrolls at Ohio State.

This is somewhat unusual for a sport (or industry, if you will) in which parents can conceivably hold back their kids to make them more physically mature for college athletics by time they are seniors in high school. Consider that Campbell will be sixteen when he enrolls at Ohio State. Jimmy Clausen, by contrast, turned 20 four games into his freshman season at Notre Dame in 2007.


I tend to get in trouble for these predictions, but I think Campbell redshirts. The transition to wide receiver will be a complete one for Campbell. He will be in a crowded depth chart in which several prospects are coming off redshirts or entering the program as true freshman. Devin Smith and Evan Spencer return as well for senior seasons. A redshirt may benefit Campbell.


Here are ten minutes of action.



  • The Cleveland Plain Dealer's feature on Parris Campbell is essential reading.
  • 11W Community Interview.
  • Campbell's senior season concluded with another state championship. St. Vincent-St. Mary shut out football powerhouse Trotwood-Madison, 24-0, in the state championship game. Campbell led the Irish with 73 rushing yards on 18 carries.
  • In the regional final game against Hubbard, a 40-7 win, Campbell tallied 205 rushing yards and three touchdowns. In the state semifinal win against Marion-Franklin, Campbell had 193 rushing yards and a touchdown.
  • He had 1,642 yards and 22 touchdowns total as a senior.
  • St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron is the same high school as LeBron James, as readers probably know.
  • Also earned offers from Michigan State and Tennessee before committing to Ohio State.
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