Few players have seen their stock rise in the past few months like Maryland left tackle Bruce Campbell. Although Campbell made only 17 starts in college for the Terps, a number of projections have him going in the first round. Campbell, who declared for the NFL draft after his junior season, has been described as "the offensive line version of Vernon Davis." Physically, he barely looks like he has an ounce of excess fat on him, despite the fact that he weighs 314 pounds and is 6 feet 6.
Campbell admittedly doesn't always have stellar technique, but he has the potential to be great player in the league for a long time. Although this is a deep draft for left tackles, Campbell's stock continued to go up after he bench pressed 225 pounds 34 times Friday. (His father, also named Bruce Campbell, was a professional basketball player, so athleticism is in his genes.) Although he's almost certainly not in the Ravens plans, I sat in on his media session this afternoon and thought he handled himself really well. He's a kid who grew up in a really rough section of New Haven, Conn., but managed to stay out of trouble and give himself an opportunity to make a lot of money come April. Some draft projections even have him going in the top 10, and while that seems like a big reach for a player who still has a lot of areas to improve, he's clearly one of the rising stars of this combine.
Below is a (lengthy) transcript of his media interview. Why leave school now?
Really I just feel like it's the right time for me. I feel like I've accomplished a lot at the University of Maryland. I know I didn't get any honors, as in all-conference, all-American or anything, but I feel my self-accomplishments were better than winning a medal or anything else. And pretty much left, [with people] saying, I'm all about the money, but I feel like it's the right time for me to come out. I can also help my family.
Did you give up any sacks last year?
Last year, no, I didn't.
How did you benefit by going to Hargrave Military Academy?
That year at Hargrave, I grew up a lot. I realized how much of a leader I could be, and I realized that it was a lot more to life than just what I was brought up around in New Haven, Conn.
Why did you choose a different sport than your father?
Because I want to be my own individual person. I am Bruce Keith Campbell II; I am not Bruce Keith Campbell. So I just want to be my own person. I am my own man, so I chose a complete opposite route of my father.
To tell you the truth, I really don't know.
How much work does it take to look like you?
To tell you the truth, I really don't know. It's genetics, you know. I didn't really work hard at it until I really started to see how to use my body. 'If I lift, this is how much bigger I could get.' That's what it was.
Advantage against far offensive linemen?
Really, I don't know. There's some big guys out there who are pretty athletic themselves. Tell you the truth, I really don't know what separates me from them. I probably store more body weight and look a little better. You know how you get to the NFL, if they want to put weight on you, they're afraid of how somehow people will end up looking, how lazy people can get. But I weight 314 and you really can't tell the difference if I was 320.
Have you talked to the Cowboys?
I really don't mind. Wherever I go, I'm going to go there and compete for a position, I'm gonna go there and do what I have to do. I'm going to play football no matter where I have to go. I really don't mind wherever I go, Cowboys, Rams, Redskins. It really doesn't matter to
me. I'm here to play football.
What teams have you talked to?
Let's see, I talked to the Rams, the Raiders, Seahawks, Texans, just a
few more. Colts. I really can't remember, honestly.
Have you talked to Jared Gaither?
Yes, he's actually training at the same facility I am down in Miami,so we do communicate a lot. I talked to him – I wanted to see how it was and everything else. I was like, 'What should I expect?' He was just telling me, 'Man, go be yourself. You're going to have a good time. You're going to enjoy yourself. Just go there and do what you've got to do.'
Your game similar to Gaither's?
Yes, kind of. Especially being from Maryland. I watch his film a lot.
Reach out to Edwin Williams, Stephon Heyer?
Oh yes. I talk to Edwin a lot. Stephon and I talk every once in a while. Basically they all told me pretty much the same thing: There's going to be a lot of pulling and tugging on you for the medicals. It's like everybody is going to want to get to know you, everyone's going to see how you react to certain things. Just go there, be yourself. Just be who you are and everything's going to fall in place for you.
Yesterday's delay due to medical tests?
Yes. Actually, the medical testing went well, but I had surgery back in high school that a lot of the doctors, I guess, hadn't really seen or hadn't had enough information on. So they wanted me to get a lot of MRIs tests and different things like that?
What was the surgery?
It was called Arnold-Chiari. And to tell you the truth, I really don't know. After listening to all the doctors talk yesterday, I really don't know. I really don't know how to explain it any more.
How do you feel?
I feel good. I feel great. I'm here, I'm enjoying the time that I'm here for. I'm not letting the process overwhelm me.
What part of body was that surgery?
It's on my spine. My spine and my skull.
Related to football injury?
No. It was just something that was going to happen.
When people say you're raw, what do you think about that?
Really, I don't see it as anything. Everybody in here, we're all starting basically from freshman. We're all rookies again. So I mean, one person might not be able to tell how raw another person is, but when they get up here, this person is just like that person on the NFL level. I don't see it as anything. They can say what they want to say. They can be raw, but at the same time, we're all starting from the same position. Everyone has a chance to improve themselves.
Do you feel you have room for improvement when it comes to technique?
I do. I really do. I feel everyone has room for improvement. But I feel like I have a little more. My first year, I'm really going to work on it because I really want to get in and play. I'm not the type
of person who comes to the NFL and is satisfied with just being here. I actually want to do something in the NFL.
Why do you feel like to have more room to improve? Is it because you only had 17 starts in college?
Not really. It's because I depend on my athletic ability a little more. And at the same time, you see some defenses in college that maybe weren't the best defenses I've seen, so I feel like I didn't have to use technique. I could get around it by being athletic. I try to depend on that a little bit.
How did you do against Derrick Morgan of Gerogia Tech and Ricky Sapp of Clemson?
I didn't go against Derrick Morgan, but I did go against Ricky Sapp and I felt like I did really good against him.
He didn't have any sacks or tackles for loss?
What is the nicest thing a scout has said to you about the condition you're in?
To tell you the truth, I don't really pay attention to the things they're saying about me that's good. I want to know about what I need to work on to be on that person's team as opposed to hearing what's positive about me.
What are your official measurements?
I was 6-6 and 1/2. I had 10 1/2-inch hands and weight 314 pounds. I had 36 1/2 inch arms.
What is your waist?
40 or 42.
Why Maryland when you grew up in New Haven? What led you there?
Maryland was the first school that started looking at me. They got real good coaches. Coach Friedgen is a coach who would tell me what I needed to hear, not what I wanted to hear. 'You need to do this, or you're not going to be a Terp.' Most of the other coaches were just telling me what I wanted to hear to get to there school. So that contributed to the decision and they just became my final choice.
You contributed as a freshman, starting one game. What happened that
forced you into action?
That starting left tackle got hurt. They were just like 'You're the next person up. You're the only person that has taken reps at left tackle' So I played, and after that, I continued to play some the whole season.
Your father played pro basketball. But it sounded like you came from tough neighborhood. You didn't exactly live the lifestyle of a former NBA player's kid, did you?
I didn't. I don't know what he did with himself, but I didn't live that lifestyle of the rich and famous. I wasn't living in a big house or any of that stuff. I grew up right there in the heart of New Haven, in pretty much the ghetto and it was rough. It was real rough.
How did you stay on the straight and narrow?
My mother. She was real tough on me when I was a youngster. I didn't see it at first, but when I started to grow up and experience stuff on my own like around 14 or 15, I already knew right from wrong. It was just a given. Two of my nephews were born, and I was like being their role model. They started tagging along and I had little ones with me and I was like 'Man, I just got to do the right thing and give them the chance to do the right thing.' I've got a chance to have a bright future. So I'm just going to continue to keep going on the path I've been going.
How bad is New Haven now?
Bad enough that I don't take visits for very long. If I go, it's probably no longer than a week and a half. There is just too much going on. Too much shooting, killing, stabbing, robberies. I don't
want to be in that type of neighborhood and I don't want to be in that type of environment.