When Michael Campanaro entered the National Football League draft in 2014 after a stellar football career at Wake Forest University, he expected to be chosen much higher than he was. 

But when Baltimore Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome called Campanaro’s mother and asked to speak to him, he knew he’d landed a spot on the Baltimore Ravens roster, which was “a dream come true.” A huge party ensued.
An athlete from a young age, the Howard County native attended River Hill High School, a county powerhouse on the football field, after his family moved from Ellicott City to Clarksville when he was in the sixth grade.
Though his father, Attilio Campanaro, is “a much bigger guy,” Michael Campanaro says, at 5 feet 9 and 185 pounds, he’s one of the smallest wide receivers in the NFL.
“We don’t correlate,” the 24-year-old says with a laugh about his dad, a recently retired chef who owned and operated a catering business and cafe with his mother, Lisa, also a chef. His parents now live in Baltimore’s Harbor East.
Campanaro lives with middle brother Vinny, 25, and oldest brother Nick, 27, at Nick’s home off Route 40 in Ellicott City. Nick owns Campanaro Strength and Conditioning, which he operates from a gym off his house and where Michael has long trained. The close-knit brothers are all athletic, Campanaro says.
He says he’s thrilled to be part of the hometown team he grew up watching, even though his family’s allegiance was split — some family members were Washington Redskins fans — and he’s honored to have teammates like Torrey Smith and Steve Smith Sr. as mentors. While he describes his rookie year as hectic, he plans this year to follow their example by establishing his own foundation to help youths.
Though the Ravens were scrutinized, Campanaro says the team handled with grace the national scrutiny over Ray Rice’s release after video surfaced showing him knocking out his then-fiancee.
Those events “definitely showed me the type of leadership we have on the Ravens,” he says. “Coach [John] Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL. He keeps his poise.”
Harbaugh described Campanaro’s future potential on the Ravens offense this way: “He runs the option routes; he can run double moves … and he pretty much gets open all the time. And he catches the ball and he gets upfield. You want to see those things in a game. When the bullets are flying and when you have to convert a third down and everything is on the line … that’s what you hope for. I’m very confident he’ll do that.”
Looking ahead, Campanaro sees himself as a Raven five years from now. With a bachelor’s degree in communication, he also hopes to one day do radio shows.
“I like contact sports, and though my position isn’t that aggressive, I have a ton of fun running the ball, lowering my shoulder and taking hits from guys,” he says.
When he’s not practicing or working out, he spends time with girlfriend Megan Gibbons, a medical assistant who lives in Baltimore. He finds stress relief in bowling, with an average of 200 and all-time high score of 264 out of 300. 
To aspiring high school and college athletes he offers this advice: “Keep your mind on the right track, and you can achieve any goal.”