An unassuming nature makes it difficult for University of Indianapolis defensive tackle Lee Campbell to go all BMOC on people.
Genetics didn’t leave him much of a choice.
At 6-foot-2, 300 pounds, the former Greenwood Community High School standout casts the type of shadows small buildings envy.
Campbell is a large young man who through two seasons of college football is soaring well above even his own lofty expectations.
As a sophomore he ran roughshod over opposing offensive lines with 7.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks and 29 tackles in all for a Greyhounds defense that ranked second nationally in Division II in both points allowed (13.3) and passing yards (157.7).
This brand of dominance allowed Campbell to be named first-team All-Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Fifteenth-ranked ranked Indianapolis is slated to open its season Saturday night at No. 20 Saginaw Valley. Campbell will take the field for warmups having been named Preseason First Team All-American by USA Football Network.
If that makes No. 97 a bull’s-eye for double-teams, well, what else is new?
“Actually, things are going a lot better than I thought they would.
I came here and thought I was just going to be the average player.
I just wanted to help the team out, but I’m doing better than what was projected and expected,” Campbell said.
“It starts in the weight room. My teammates, my coaches, they do more than what I expected when I first came here. They do a lot for you, and I really appreciate that. I don’t take that for granted. And it starts with my parents, too.”
As powerful as Campbell was while contributing to Greenwood’s defensive efforts back in the day, he now bench-presses as much as 425 pounds and squats 550 in the UIndy weight room.
Campbell was the Hounds’ Defensive Freshman of the Year after playing in all 13 games and recording 20 tackles, including three for loss. His best game statistically last season came in a 33-7 victory against Quincy, in which he produced five solo tackles and seven in all, including three for negative yardage.
Yet no matter how strong or nimble for his size Campbell becomes through dogged perseverance, he nonetheless strives for improvement. Named one of UIndy’s five team captains for the upcoming season, his plate of responsibilities has become that much more crowded.
“I’m trying to lead a lot more when I’m tired. Nobody really likes to talk when they’re tired. They want to catch their breath, so that’s what my main focus is right now,” Campbell said.
“I’m just trying to be the best. I’ve always strived to be better than my brother. He’s been my hero ever since I was in middle school. I’m still trying to be a better player than he was. He was a lot better player than I was in high school.”
Whether Campbell is a notch below or above former Woodmen defensive lineman/running back LaMarr Stevenson, a 2009 Greenwood graduate, is a debate for another day.
What fifth-year Indianapolis coach Bob Bartolomeo appreciates is that he’s got Campbell clogging the middle of his starting defense for another two seasons.
“Lee has grown up and matured as an individual. He has accepted all the responsibilities thrown at him this year,” said Bartolomeo, whose program is 20-5 over the past two seasons after Indy’s 10-2 mark last season.
“He is a team captain, which is a great honor as a junior. Lee works at the game and has great work habits in the offseason and throughout the summer. He’s still a work in progress with some minor things but has a chance to be a real force this year.”