VYPE U: Interviewing Jesuit’s most prolific two-sport athlete
Dylan Campbell, the offensive MVP and first team offensive selection for District 23-6A in football, the recent UT-Austin baseball recruit, the school's record-holder for most touchdowns in a game, and the school's most prolific two-sport athlete since Zach Zubia '16, is beloved by Strake Jesuit. Yes, Jesuit still indulges in trace remnants of Matthew Boling's national glory, yet of all the students who play sports at this school—roughly 65 percent of the population—everyone of those athletes has a silent respect for Campbell's dual-sport achievements.
When assessing a multi-sport athlete, one might reference other prior examples. The first comparison is Bo Jackson, then maybe Deion Sanders. At 5'9'' and around 185 pounds, Dylan Campbell is not an athletic freak. He, like any other high school athlete in his situation, could not decide between the two sports he loved. But what makes Campbell unique, however, is his domination in both.
The story begins with Dylan Campbell's father, another multi-sport athlete in high school who eventually played professional Double A baseball in the Atlanta Braves farm system.
"He taught me at a young age what to do and what not to do, since he had experienced everything before. He experienced how baseball really works and what it takes to get to the next level. So he's guided me in the right direction".
Campbell played youth baseball, football, basketball and soccer at a young age. After tasting a few bites of the sports buffet early on, "In middle school, football and baseball were the ones that stuck with me," said Campbell.
Campbell played both sports throughout his four years at Strake Jesuit, earning both Varsity letters his Junior year. He had over 1400 scrimmage yards and 19 total touchdowns behind the, then three-star Arizona recruit, Michael Wiley. In his senior season, his usage doubled and saw him gain more than 2100 scrimmage yards and 33 total touchdowns. Such monster production eclipsed Wiley's numbers with room to spare.
As mentioned before, seven of those touchdowns somehow came in a playoff game against Beaumont West Brook. When asked how he felt about the game many months later, the same feeling rang true.
"It felt really good to get back at them after they beat us really bad earlier in the season. Coach put up a good game plan and we stuck to our true offense,"
Despite Campbell's Friday night heroics, his ambitions for Saturday college football games, sadly, have not come to fruition.
"In football, I never had the recognition I had hoped for," said Campbell. "I had offers from Texas Southern University and Columbia [N.Y]."
Now, Michael Purvey '16, was recruited to Yale University and took full advantage of the school's strong academics. In fact, the average Strake Jesuit student would take the Ivy League offer faster than you could say 'business degree'. Dylan Campbell did not want to give his athletic talents, an area in his life in which he had poured blood, sweat, tears and years, to a hardly-competitive football school with no chance of personal or professional achievement.
However, here lies the beauty of the multi-sport athlete. It is very simple, yet mind-blowing to so many people—so much that it is the basis of this article. Most high school kids pin their hopes on one sport for college; if there are no sustainable offers, the dream of collegiate competition often dies. Yet, as crazy as this may sound, Dylan Campbell just…went over to baseball.
"At a young age, [this] has been the sport that has really stuck with me," said Campbell, when asked why he loved baseball. "The flow of the game really appeals to me. There are many different skills [to master] in baseball, and being good at [everything] is hard to do. But I was gifted enough to be kinda talented at it, so that [really] helped me out."
Dylan Campbell had a lot more recruiting success in collegiate baseball.
"Baseball took off for me earlier [on]. Out of all the schools, my final choices were Baylor, Rice and UT," said Campbell.
"After visiting them all, UT felt like home as soon as I stepped on campus. Their coaching staff is amazing, their facilities are nice, it's just a great place to be."
Precisely. It was the best of both worlds for fostering academic and athletic achievement. Campbell will "enter undeclared just for freshman year, and then major in business [his] sophomore year."
That is where the story sits now. But how does this kid manage the two sports throughout the year? What is it like on his body or even his academics?
"It starts out in the fall with football season. We lift three days a week and have practice everyday, so it's kind of hard to balance the school workload with the athletic workload. After football season, there's a break in between seasons to let my body rest, recover and have more time to do work. Then baseball season comes around, and it's easier than football season. We lift twice a week at the most, and the practices are much less rough on your body.
"It's more of just small drills that work on specific baseball skills," Campbell said. "Baseball may have less physical work but it still takes time from one's academics. Sometimes we have weekend practices. Right now, for example, we have tournaments—so we're missing some school time and it's tough to make up homework."
As of Wednesday, March 4th, the Strake Jesuit Fighting Crusaders are 2-0 on the season. Both wins were blowouts against Terry and Huntsville High Schools in the Brazos Valley Invitational. As for the outlook on the team's postseason success, "There are five teams in the district that are legitimately battling for the four [postseason] spots. Last year, it was also competitive; I don't think there was just one team that was the best. I think the top three [in our district] were even," Campbell explained.
"This year though, I think we have a chance."
A chance for team postseason success, and a chance to take the much anticipated victory lap of his fantastic dual-sport high school career.