By Joe Scalzo
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, inside a Buffalo-area hotel room, Boardman senior running back Devin Campbell turned off the TV, laid down on his bed and thought about his college future.
“I decided that this was the place I was meant to go,” said Campbell. “[Sunday] morning, I had a meeting with Coach [Jeff] Quinn and told him, ‘I’m the next Bull in.’”
Now. Outside of skiiers, snowboarders and snow plow drivers — of which Campbell is none — most people don’t go to Buffalo in January and decide it’s where they want to spend the next four or five years of their lives.
But Campbell was sold on the opportunity — the Bulls were the lone FBS program to offer him a scholarship — and Quinn’s vision.
“This is his second recruiting class and he said he’s getting better and better at it,” said Campbell, who plans to major in physical therapy. “I believe he’s going to turn the program around and I want to be on the team when he does.”
Campbell (6-foot, 195 pounds), a second-team All-Ohioan, rushed for 1,230 yards and 18 TDs and added 567 yards receiving with six TDs last fall for the Spartans, who earned a share of the Federal League title and advanced to the Division I playoffs.
He chose Buffalo over FCS programs Duquesne, Lehigh and Youngstown State, and said he liked that it was far enough away to allow him to be on his own, but not too far that he couldn’t get back in case of emergency.
“It was between Buffalo and Duquesne and I loved the guys at Duquesne but Buffalo was a bigger program and they were just as good of people,” said Campbell.
Campbell, who is also a standout sprinter on the track team, said he received interest from several Big Ten schools as a sophomore but the interest waned over the past two years.
He entered his senior season determined to prove his doubters wrong.
“I just wanted to prove that I can play with the best,” he said. “I’m not saying I’m the best but I know I can play with them.
“I wanted to show I’m a better football player than what people believed.”