Katy RB Brandon Campbell to forego senior season, enroll early at USC
HOUSTON - A day after the Pac-12 Conference pushed its 2020 football season to the spring, now so has one of the country's top recruits.
The next time fans see Brandon Campbell step onto a football field it will not be for the Katy Tigers - the program he transferred to this summer - instead it will be for the University of Southern California.
Campbell, a four-star running back prospect in the Class of 2021, announced via his Twitter account Wednesday night that he has decided to forego his senior season and instead prepare to early enroll at USC.
"It was always a thought," Campbell said in a phone interview with VYPE. "The Pac-12 season moving played a role in my decision but it has been something that has been in my head. When [the UIL] pushed back our season that's what made me really think about it. Risking a chance on injury before I got there in January would somewhat defeat the purpose of me getting up there early."
Campbell becomes the first high-profile recruit in the Houston-area to opt-out of their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Campbell currently lives with his mother, Angela Green. It is just the two of them at home and Campbell admitted the thought of bringing the virus into the house was also on his mind.
"To me, that would be devastating," Campbell said. "She's a big piece in my life."
When Campbell came to this decision after talking to his parents, the newly minted Katy Tiger wanted to go about this the right way.
The USC-commit reached out USC running backs coach Mike Jinks, who recruited him, and then reached out to Katy head coach Gary Joseph to let them know "where my head was".
"He respected my decision," Campbell said about his conversation with Joseph. "I had missed a few practices because my mom and just had a surgery, so I was talking to him about that. He's been completely understanding through the whole thing.
"When I told him, he was upset to hear but he told me he respects my decision and respected me for me being upfront about it and letting him know. It shows a lot of character."
Knowing the history of the Katy running backs, including his cousin Deondrick Glass being one of the most recent stars to tote the rock, not getting to play for Katy this season is disappointing for Campbell.
"It hurts a little bit," Campbell said. "But I'm also excited that this is not the last time I'm going to be able to play ... But I am disappointed to see my high school career to come to a close."
Some of Campbell's new teammates, and fellow high-profile recruits, tweeted their support of the decision, including Bobby Taylor: "Wish we could've played together. All love family, do what's best for you and your future."
Florida State-commit Hunter Washington, who is also entering his senior year at Katy, also tweeted: "All love family."
Seeing that support from some of his best friends on and off the field, Campbell admitted meant a lot.
"Hunter and Bobby are two of the guys I'm closest with on the team," Campbell said. "I've known Hunter since the fourth or fifth grade. Bobby and I are close as well, we hang out all the time, probably every day. I'm glad they're in my corner. It means a lot, they understand where I'm coming from."
Campbell played his junior season for Pearland. In 11 games for the Oilers, Campbell registered 116 carries for 879 yards and 18 touchdowns. He averaged 7.6 yards per carry and 79.9 yards per game for Pearland. Prior to his junior year, Campbell spent his freshman season at Mayde Creek and sophomore year at Katy Taylor.
According to 24/7 Sports, Campbell is the 14th-ranked running back in the Class of 2021 in the country and the third-best from Texas in that list.
So, if the Pac-12 does indeed play a season in the spring, Campbell could potentially see the gridiron.
In recent conversations with Jinks, which came after the Pac-12 decision, Campbell he said he was told they are going to treat it like a regular spring for the early enrollees.
"We are going to be able to come in there and still workout, still take classes," Campbell said. "The only difference is, they are going to be playing football around that time. They said you'd probably be able to travel with the team and get a feel for everything. [Jinks] did say if they did let us play in the spring, if I was ready and they feel like I'm ready to go, they'd definitely stick me in there."