Moving Up: LB, Colby Campbell 

With an extra year of eligibility which players are moving up to the FBS level, and what will their impact be?

Every year we see players from the lower divisions moving up to Div-I. The biggest reason is to gain more exposure and help the dreams of becoming a pro. There are a number of reasons a player has to start at a lower level, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay there. If you take care of what you need to and play at a high level, there are always opportunities waiting for you at the FBS level.

Let’s look at linebacker Colby Campbell, who has decided that the time for moving up was now and how that will impact him and his new team of choice.

The Beginning

Campbell began his career at South Aiken High School in Montmorenci, South Carolina, where he earned all-region and all-state honors. He also earned AAAA Defensive Player of the Year by the High School Sports Report and CSRA Player of the Year.

As a senior, Campbell played in 15 games and produced 209 total tackles — 125 solo — 13 TFLs, 3 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 5 fumble recoveries, 1 returned for a touchdown, and 1 safety. It’s easy to see why he was named DPOY as a senior. MaxPreps graded him as the 92nd player in the state of South Carolina

South Aiken High School Highlights

The Journey

Before moving up, Campbell began his career at the FCS level. He wasn’t heavily recruited, but he received an offer from the Presbyterian Blue Hose and committed to playing there. During his four years with the Blue Hose, he became one of the best defensive players at the FCS level.

His freshman season was nothing special. He played mostly on special teams, recording 19 tackles in 11 games. Campbell became a starter and made 29 consecutive starts over the next three seasons.

As a sophomore, he started all ten games and registered a team-leading 90 tackles, with 7 TFLs, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 fumble recoveries. Campbell produced four games with ten or more sacks, including a season-high 14 versus Austin Peay and Campbell University. His 90 tackles tied for the lead in the Big South Conference and his per-game average (9.0) led the conference.

For his junior campaign, Campbell put together one hell of a record-breaking season. He started all 12 games while producing 150 tackles, 16.5 TFLs, 9 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, and 4 PBUs. He recorded 10 plus tackles in 10 of the 12 games, including a team single-game record of 20 versus Kennesaw State.

Campbell’s 150 tackles set the team single-season and Big South Conference records. His tackle per-game average (12.5) led the conference, his 16.5 TFLs led the team (fourth in the conference) and his 9 sacks set the team’s single-season record.

Presbyterian did not play in 2020 but participated in the 2021 Spring season. To conclude his Blue Hose career, the runner-up finisher for the Buck Buchanan Award started all seven games, recording 96 tackles, 7 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 PBUs on the season.

Campbell had five games with 10 plus tackles and his tackle per game average (13.7) ranked second in the FCS. He also broke his own team record for tackles in a single game, with a 25 tackle performance versus Davidson.

Campbell became one of the program’s most highly decorated players, as he received multiple All-American honors from the Associated Press, FCS Athletic Directors Association, Stats Perform, AFCA FCS Coaches, and Athlon Sports. He was a unanimous selection to the PFL First-Team All-Conference.

Campbell assaulted the team’s record books over the duration of his career. He set the school’s career record for sacks (13) and TFLs (32) while finishing second all-time in tackles (355) and assisted tackles (175), and third all-time in solo tackles (180).

Moving Up

With the NCAA granting an extra year of eligibility to seniors, Campbell took advantage of the opportunity and hit the transfer portal in early May. He didn’t have to wait long to find a new home. Now that he has graduated from Presbyterian with a degree in biology, Campbell will enroll at Duke in August of 2021.

The Blue Devils have linebackers Rocky Shelton II and Shaka Heyward as starters, but both of them may be needed on the outside as pass rushers, after Chris Rumph II and Victor Dimukeje were drafted into the NFL. This gives Campbell the perfect opportunity to be that third linebacker for the Blue Devils.

A New Scheme

Duke ran a lot of 4-2-5 scheme for most of the season. One, because they didn’t have the depth and quality at linebacker, and two, because they were stronger upfront and in their secondary. With Campbell now on the roster, Duke can go back to a traditional 4-3 scheme and not keep so many defensive backs on the field for long stretches.

Having Campbell in the middle of their defense gives the Blue Devils that downhill thumping vacuum that they have been missing. He has great play recognition and awareness and is an extremely good tackler. There’s not very much he doesn’t see and hit. With Campbell in the middle, it will open up a lot for Shelton and Heyward on the outside as well as alleviate some pressure off them.

Campbell is a major upgrade for their run defense that was gouged for big runs last year. He will plug those holes and shut off those running lanes that weren’t getting closed a year ago. Campbell is above average in coverage, but Duke has the secondary to cover those deficiencies. With his instincts and top-end play, the Blue Devils will be much improved from a year ago.

IDP Devy Fantasy Value

With the addition of Campbell, Duke will be much better defensively, but their defense will still be on the field a lot. The Blue Devils will have to figure some things out offensively, which means their defense will be busy. For you IDP devy managers, this is exactly what you are looking for. Campbell is playing at a position (LB) that traditionally scores a lot of points and will receive plenty of opportunities to make plays.

Duke plays in the ACC which has some talented offenses and can score points in a hurry. Duke will be relying heavily on Campbell to help stop that from happening. He’s a tackling machine and that will be where a ton of his points will come from. That’s okay, as he will get enough of them to make the impact plays. I can see Campbell easily being among the nation’s leaders in tackles. He’s a must-own in IDP college leagues and a prospect to watch for your NFL rookie drafts.

Thanks for reading my article and if you enjoyed it, you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America). You can also follow me on social media, on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan, on Facebook on my IDPNation page, on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub I’m user KingTitan1 and you can tune in each week and listen to the podcasts, IDP Nation & Devy IDP Grind, 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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