Last year, following Ohio State’s win in the Cotton Bowl over USC, Parris Campbell had a decision to make.
The then-redshirt junior could have forgoed his senior season in an effort to make an NFL team. But, Campbell said he decided to come back to improve his versatility as a wide receiver.
“I was 100 percent on coming back, that’s where my mind was that’s where my head was,” Campbell said. “The main thing was for me that I didn’t want to have any regrets and, honestly I can say to you when I made the decision I didn’t have any.”
Head coach Urban Meyer agreed with Campbell’s decision to return to Ohio State, and said he has the potential to make a major splash in the NFL.
“He made a decision —he should have come back,” Meyer said. “I think he’s a top first-round draft pick at some point, but he had to improve his ball skills, especially down field.”
Through the first three games, Campbell stayed consistent, scoring a touchdown in all three games to start the season and tallying 11 catches for 152 yards in the three Ohio State victories.
But, on Saturday against Tulane, Campbell erupted for eight receptions and 147 yards, including a pair of touchdowns in the 49-6 win over the Green Wave.
All of Campbell’s receptions came in the first half, including a 37-yard touchdown catch off a throw by redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins that illustrated Campbell’s new attention to his deep-threat ability.
Campbell has always used his speed to make plays happen, as he showed on a 63-yard score against TCU. But, the redshirt senior receiver said he had to work on his hands before making that jump to the NFL, as well as his ability to catch the deep ball.
“I’ve been working on that all offseason, and today was testing me,” Campbell said. “I knew my weaknesses, I knew what I needed to work on.”
That extra work in the offseason led to a career-high in receiving yards for Campbell against Tulane, while leading the team in both yards and receiving touchdowns for the season.
Haskins said that Campbell has always impressed him.
“Parris has always been a dynamic receiver. He put a lot of effort into working on his hands and catching every pass that gets thrown to him,” Haskins said. “He makes a lot of plays with his feet, so being able to get the ball into the hands of the receiver, he’s dangerous.”
After the dominating win over the Green Wave, Campbell said he’s ready for the challenge that next week brings — a primetime date with No. 10 Penn State in Happy Valley — and that he looks to build on the game he had on Saturday
But, he said he’s a tough grader on himself, and that he is never satisfied with how he played, especially with the ultimate goal of the NFL in the back of his mind.
“I knew my weaknesses coming out of last year, and then you look at NFL guys, you look at the best receivers in the NFL, you see their strengths, there’s not many weaknesses,” Campbell said. “You compare yourself to the best at all times, and that’s how I am, whether that’s comparing myself to my other teammates or the best receivers in the league, I want to be the best at what I do, so I knew I had a lot of work to do.”