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  • Get to know the Future of Football – Colby Campbell, LB, Duke

    Interview with Colby Campbell

    Linebacker, #45, Duke Blue Devils

    Twitter: @Colby_c4

    Instagram: @Colby_c4


    • Played for South Aiken High School in Aiken South Carolina
    • Senior season, 221 tackles, 133 solo tackles, 12.3 per game, three sacks, seven forced fumbles, six fumble recoveries, and one interception
    • Named the AAAA Defensive Player of the Year by the High School Sports Report, named All-State and All-Region, and CSRA Player of the Year

    South Aiken High School Highlights

    • Played for Presbyterian College in Clinton, South Carolina
    • Played 40 games, 29 consecutive starts, 355 tackles, 180 solos, 32 TFLs, 13 sacks, seven QB hits, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, one interception, eight PBUs
    • 2019 set a program single-season DI record along with a Big South record for tackles in a season with 150 and ranked third in all of FCS with his 12.5 tackles per game.
    • 2019 Set a school single-game DI record with 20 stops against Kennesaw State
    • 2021S received five All-American honors from Associated Press, FCS Athletic Directors Association, Stats Perform, AFCA FCS Coaches, and Athlon Sports.
    • 2021S runner-up for the Buck Buchanan Award
    • 2021S a unanimous selection to the PFL First-Team All-Conference
    • 2021S set a school single-game D1 record 25 stops in a home win over Davidson
    • Career ranks 1st in TFLs (32), 2nd in tackles (355), 3rd in solos (180), 2nd in assisted tackles (175), tied for 1st in sacks (13)

    Who introduced you to the game of football?

    Well, it's actually a funny story. I played soccer, basketball, and baseball at the time. I was a pretty athletic kid who would dive for a loose ball, slide in soccer. Really a lot of stuff kids my age weren’t doing. So my church league basketball coach asked my parents if they ever thought about letting me play football and they asked me if I wanted to and I gave it a shot and loved it. It's actually funny because, in my first year of football I played center, right guard, and cornerback. A weird combo I know.

    Why did you choose Presbyterian to further your football career?

    It was the best opportunity to further my dream. I could have gone to a bunch of D2’s or even a PWO to South Carolina. However, I wanted to go into college without debt and compete for a starting spot right away. Presbyterian was division one, I knew I could play with those guys. I just wasn't the biggest guy at the time. But what I have I think trumps that size card. With that being said, Presbyterian College gave me the best opportunity to do so. Also, I loved my visit, the school and coaches included, so it made the decision a little bit easier.  

    With the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA, did that convince you to return?

    I was planning on ways to play another year as soon as covid started. I was going to play 4 at Presbyterian College and take my redshirt if we didn't have a full season. However, when we were granted that free year I thought it was the best thing that could have happened to me. 


    Why did you choose to transfer to Duke University?

    Again Duke gave me the same thing Presbyterian College gave me. An opportunity to play at the next level. I believe I have an opportunity here to compete for a starting spot. I wouldn’t have made the jump up if I didn’t think so.  Also, it’s power 5 football. I grew up telling myself I’d play on EPSN every Saturday and I was able to make that dream come true. But besides that, it felt like home as soon as I stepped foot on campus for my visit. I felt like I had been here before. Not to mention a degree from Duke will get you a job virtually anywhere. 


    In what way has Covid-19 impacted your everyday life the most?

    I’ve been really blessed to the point where it hasn't really done much. I really go about my everyday life. I mean obviously the mask situation. I wear it when I'm asked and have to but if not I take it off. Other than the initial outbreak last summer when I didn't have a gym to go to and had to work out at various garages around Aiken I was blessed.


    What has been the biggest difference between playing games in the spring instead of the fall due to Covid-19?

    I think partially the weather but also just the way things were done. All the protocols and hoops we had to jump through were taxing mentally. Especially at a school like Presbyterian College where football doesn't get a ton of support or have a lot of money, it's tough. But I tell you what that man Tommy Spangler did the best job he could with it. Dang near the best in the country. Different dressing groups, different meeting times, and we as players didn't like it, but looking back at it, he just really wanted what was best for the program and us.

    What’s the one thing you need to improve most about your game?

    Realistically there's no “one thing” every aspect of my game could get better. Speed, strength, conditioning, mental ability, change of direction, any and everything you could think of. I think I'm a pretty good player. But a lot of other people think the same of themselves. So until I prove that I am without a doubt I still can improve on any and everything about my game.


    What’s the strongest part of your game?

    I think my instincts/mental capacity. I can see a lot of the stuff faster and better than most people I believe. That is what helps me the most because people say I am “undersized” so I'm able to use that to my advantage. I’m underestimated by many players until they actually see me play in person.


    What’s your favorite song of all time?

    I’m not exactly sure, I listen to a lot of different music. This isn’t my favorite song of all time but I have to listen to Make it Rain by Fat Joe before every game and have been doing it since middle school.


    What would you do career-wise, if you didn’t play football?

    I want to do something with sports. I'm not exactly sure at the moment. I have a Bio degree and will have a business master’s so I think ill have a lot of things open up. But if I had to choose right now. I’d probably go with coaching.


    What one game would you recommend someone watch of your play and why?

    Probably last year against Davidson. I went for 25 tackles. Coach Spang really told me before the game just play football, do what you think will work and I'm behind you. He finally gave me my full freedom with the defense and I made some big-time plays in that game. Also, it shows my versatility, from run to pass, different formations all that good stuff.

    What one game would you like to replay and why?

    Probably my first ever college game against Wake Forest. I didn't play too well and I was 205 at Mike at the time, the starter got hurt and I played a lot more than I expected. I’d like to see how it would have gone with me knowing what I know now.


    Do you play fantasy football?

    I do I normally play with my fraternity brothers back at PC. I’ve been runner-up two years in a row. I have bad luck with injuries. I took CMC last year 1 overall and barely got anything out of him.


    What NFL linebacker do you pattern your game after?

    I honestly don’t know. I used to watch a lot of those guys like Luke Kuechly, Clay Matthews, and Ray Lewis. But I really always tried to emulate the way Troy Polamalu played the game itself. I want to have that love for the game that shows up on tape every week. If that makes much sense.


    What’s your favorite defensive play call & why?

    It was a blitz at PC called Dogs Ricky Saber. I normally came completely free on it and made a lot of plays if I timed it right.


    Do you believe in soulmates?

    I believe everyone in your life comes into your life for a purpose. If that may be their purpose then I suppose so. But no relationship will ever be perfect so it’s somewhat contradictory.



    What opposing player was the toughest for you to cover and why?

    There was a kid named Devron Harper that played for Garnder Webb now at Mercer I believe. He was an undersized guy like myself but he played his butt off. It also helped that he was one of the fastest people I’ve played against, great change of direction, and flat out athletic.


    Who is the one opposing player that you want to lay the wood on most? Why?

    If you're on the other side it's all 11. I try not to hold any grudges but between those lines friendship and respect are out the window, however. I’m coming to win my battle every single play no matter what it takes.


    If you had to tell an inspiring HS player what the hardest part of playing college ball is, what would it be and why? 

    The speed of the game is next level. You're not that guy anymore. Everyone is the best from their respective schools. Also, be coachable, 95% of the time don’t know more than the coach. So put your nose down and grind it out. Building off that, cherish High School ball. I know it's cliche but it's true I remember my first varsity game. I’d give anything to go back one more time.


    If you had to give any pointers, what would they be?

    Respect people's opinions but don’t let them be your truth. You can make anything happen if you truly believe and work for it. I’m a living breathing example of that. Every goal I’ve had since playing football I have accomplished it. I was told my whole career I was never strong enough, tall enough, fast enough, athletic enough, and look where I am now. Be true to yourself, good things come to those who work. Let people’s hate and doubts be your fuel to be great. And last but not least outwork everyone you think you can’t. With that being said I mean yourself. You are your biggest enemy however you can also be your biggest fan. Appreciate you all for reading this. God bless!

    Thanks for reading my article. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America), and you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. Follow me on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1 — and tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation and Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers.  #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy.

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