Our summer profile series is back and we’re previewing Maryland football one position group at a time.
Though concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic loom, the Terps’ rebuild under head coach Mike Locksley continues as he enters his second season at the helm.
Our position-by-position preview series has reached the linebacker position, with Wes most recently taking a look at how Shaq Smith shapes up heading into this season. But today, we’re talking about Chance Campbell.
Chance Campbell, No. 44
High School: Calvert Hall
Hometown: Towson, Md.
2019 stats: 54 tackles (37/17), 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PD, 1 FF
Career stats: 64 tackles (42/22), 4.5 TFL, 1 INT, 4 PD, 1 FF
As a two-sport athlete at Calvert Hall in Towson, Maryland, Campbell spent his spring semesters on the lacrosse field rather than football recruiting showcases. However, he was still a three-star recruit and the No. 27 player in the state per the 24/7 Sports Composite, receiving offers from Penn State, Michigan State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh.
Campbell ultimately decided to stay close to home, signing with the Terps as an outside linebacker. As a freshman, Campbell appeared in 11 of the team’s 11 games, though he was mostly limited to special teams snaps due as the established tandem of Tre Watson and Isaiah Davis at the two inside linebacker spots.
But with Watson graduating following that season, the opportunity to earn playing time presented itself in 2019.
Campbell thrived as an inside linebacker
Though recruited as an outside linebacker, defensive coordinator Jon Hoke opted to rotate Campbell on the inside with Ayinde “Ace” Eley and Isaiah Davis last season. The sophomore made just two starts in 2019, but was constantly on the field as he became a fixture in the center of the Terp defense.
Campbell had a career year last season, finishing fourth on the team in solo tackles (37) and fifth in total tackles (54). He also showed promise defending against the pass as well, picking up four pass deflections and an interception.
Though Maryland’s defense struggled at times last season, Campbell was one of a few young defenders that showed immense promise under the circumstances.
He figures to be a starter this season
With Davis having graduated, Campbell should almost certainly start more games his junior year than he did in 2019.
It’s essential for 3-4 inside linebackers to be able to read the play and either shed blockers or drop into coverage, and so far, Campbell has fit that bill. With fellow sophomore Eley often occupying the weak side, Campbell proved to be a strong fit as the MIKE linebacker in most base sets.
Given his aptitude for getting off blocks and making tackles as well as being able to read the eyes of the quarterback, Campbell should rarely leave the field next season. And given Davis’s departure, far more responsibility will befall the Towson native to be a defensive leader going forward.
But with a full year of playing time and experience in the scheme under his belt, there’s no reason to believe that Campbell won’t be up for the challenge.