Up until now, the draft buzz on Pitt linebacker Phil Campbell has been pretty straightforward. He is a talented linebacker who can play in space, help in the passing game, and come downhill to stop the run. He has a quick twitch and can diagnose a play quickly. His football IQ is outstanding. What stands out on film is his knack for being around the ball and making plays. At 6-1, 220 pounds Campbell, has the size of the new age second line defender. I had the honor of sitting down with the New Jersey native and picked his brain on a few things. Before we get into the interview, I did sit down with my scouting source to ask him his thoughts on the rising star.
“Phil Campbell is a legit prospect. He can play against the pass and the run. I like his style and what he brings to that ridiculous Panther defense. They’re stacked with talent from the top of the roster to the bottom. You can find NFL talent everywhere on their roster. Campbell is behind a lot of the hype when from the media standpoint. You don’t hear his name a ton on the outside, but I promise you scouts, front office guys, the coaches at PITT, or in the ACC, they all notice him. He is a playmaker and difference-maker. I watched him live against Miami, and he was everywhere. He was flying around, creating problems for the Hurricane offense the entire game. He stands out on film, and while he may not be a fan favorite yet, this kid will be soon. He will be a guy the NFL team is rushing to grab. He is one of the better players we have spoken about. You have had some good ones, but he stands out to me. I don’t know if he is declaring or staying at school, but it will be fun to watch the next step.”
Over his career, Campbell has stood out as a true leader on the terrifying Pitt defense. He has racked up ten sacks, has an interception, and has registered over 100 tackles. Campbell has shown the ability to be a playmaker. I asked him what he feels makes that defense so tough and asked about his playing style?
“I think with the guys on this team, both offensively and defensively, we want to be great. We all have a hunger to be the best versions of ourselves. We all work our butts off, and we all play with a chip on our shoulder. I feel like from the front line to the middle of the defense, and our defensive backs. We are all guys that want to make plays. We know it is a team game, so when one of us are landing high praise or make a big play, we are happy for them. We all want each other to succeed. We play for each other, and I think it shows when you watch the film. As far as my playing style? I am a hard worker, a guy that wants to put out the best version of himself all the time. I am always trying to be better in everything I do. The coaches preach hard work. So I take it seriously, and I want to be a guy my guys can lean on. I want them to know I am always going to bust my butt for them and this team. That will never change playing here or at the next level. I want to be a guy my team can trust.”
When watching film of Campbell, what stuck out to me is the level of play he faces week to week. In the ACC, there is no shortage of offensive firepower. So the need to be both physically and mentally fit is at an all-time high. With that can come great pressures, for even the strongest of a player. I asked Campbell, how he deals with the pressures and stresses of playing at such a high level of competition?
“Pressure? There can be pressure but at the same time, you have to be ready, to play at a high-level. You have to be prepared to play at this level, to play in the ACC. If you play at this level, you have to be ready to play some of the best athletes in the NCAA? So while yes, you have stress’, as long as you stay within yourself and stay prepared, you will be fine. If you do all the little things right, you don’t have to worry about everything else. You can’t stress yourself over everything. You must focus on what you can handle and control what you can. Everything else will fall in line.
The draft buzz on Pitt, linebacker Phil Campbell, has been pretty consistent. He is a very talented young man with a great outlook on life. He has the right mindset, and when you add in his talent, he’s destined for success. He is capable of being a difference-maker in college and at the next level. Campbell is ready to step out of the shadows and take the reigns as the next great Pitt defender.
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