It’s very rare for the Miami Hurricanes to get a player from Colorado to commit in a recruiting class. That rare event happened back in 2004 when the Canes were able to get Denver native Calais Campbell, an athletic 6’8" dual-sport standout, to commit to and sign with The U.
Over the course of his legendary HS career at Denver South HS, Campbell set a State Record with 57 sacks in his varsity career. On top of that record-setting football performance, Campbell was a dominant basketball player. Blessed with great height and length at 6’8" to go along with elite athleticism, Campbell averaged 23 points, 16 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks over his last 2 seasons. He was also a top track and field athlete, competing in high jump, triple jump, discuss, and shot put.
Following the aforementioned standout prep career, Campbell committed to Miami in the spring of 2004. Even with his on-field excellence, Campbell needed to transition his body from multi-sport lean to football ready, and took a redshirt as a freshman. When he hit the field in 2005, however, he immediately made an impact. Campbell amassed 83 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, and 19.5 sacks in his 3 years for Miami. His 2006 season was the highlight with 10.5 sacks and Campbell being named 1st team All-ACC and Miami Hurricanes MVP on defense.
After his Redshirt Junior year of 2007, Campbell entered the NFL draft, where he was selected in the 2nd round, 50th overall, by the Arizona Cardinals.
Campbell was a rotation player on the DL for a season, playing in all 16 games and starting none in 2007. But, since then, he has become a fixture in the starting lineup on the Cardinals’ defense, starting 104 of 105 games he’s played in since the start of 2008.
Not only that, but as he has become one of the foundational pieces of the vaunted Cardinals defense, Campbell’s play has steadily improved. He was named 2nd team All-Pro in 2014, and was named to the Pro Bowl following both the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
With such outstanding performances under his belt, NFL Network recently named Campbell the 71st best player in the NFL.
See why #AZCardinals DE @Campbell93 landed at No. 71 on the #NFLTop100 of 2016 list.— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) May 19, 2016
Our SBN brothers at Revenge of the Birds have a post up for this honor.
Campbell has a combination of size, strength, skill, and athleticism that is rare even in a league full of elite athletes. He is in the last year of his contract, but it’s safe to say that a player of his ability will be highly coveted next offseason if he’s an unrestricted free agent.
After ranking 99th on this list following the 2014 season, Campbell shot up nearly 30 spots with a strong 2015. He joins fellow Miami alums WR Allen Hurns (89th) and TE Greg Olsen (38th) on the top 100 list so far.
You can see some of Campbell’s greatest plays in the 2015 highlight video below.