DETROIT - The presentation associated with U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection is quickly becoming a familiar scene at Detroit Cass Tech High School.
Two years ago, current LSU sophomore offensive lineman Joseph Barksdale participated in the game, while last year saw Michigan freshman Boubacar Cissoko put his skills on display. This year's contest will feature yet another Technician, with five-star defensive tackle William Campbell officially accepting the invitation to play in the game.
"It's a great honor," said Campbell of his selection. "I'm glad I was chosen. I'm just glad that all the hard work paid off."
Impressing at the Army Junior Combine last January, Campbell was informed at the time he stood a strong chance at making a return trip to San Antonio during his senior year. While he was thrilled by the news, the 6-5, 317-pounder refused to grow complacent with his accomplishments.
"I was very excited," he recalled. "I saw that I was an All-American, but I just treated it like I had to keep working, because I didn't want it to be taken away from me."
Originally pledging to Michigan before the start of his junior year, Campbell opened up his recruitment in September. Having witnessed the Army All-American Bowl the past two years, he intends to follow the growing tradition of making his college announcement on national television during the game.
"I saw [Joseph] do that a couple years ago," he stated. "Then last year when Boubacar went, I saw all the other players announcing, so I wanted to do that too."
Cass Tech head coach Thomas Wilcher has tutored a number of college players over the years and also knows first hand the challenges of playing the sport, having played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan in the early 1980s. He provided his insight on what sets Campbell apart.
"I think he's had perseverance," noted Wilcher. "He went through his career here and kept up great academics. He kept up all his schoolwork. He worked out hard every year and he did whatever it took to become the best athlete. No matter what you asked, no matter what you told him, he always achieved that level."
On the recruiting front, Campbell will spend the weekend in Tuscaloosa with his parents and head coach, while making an official visit to Alabama. Although the Crimson Tide have only recently received mention from Campbell, he explained that they have been in the running for some time.
"I was always looking at them," he stated. "I was just thinking about Alabama and a couple other schools, about which one I was going to visit."
In addition to Alabama, Campbell has narrowed his list of options down to Michigan, Miami, LSU and USC, with plans to visit each school in the next month and a half. Intending to enroll in the college of his choice in January, he has created a set of criteria that he will use to examine each.
"To make my decision, first of all, I'm going to go out there and see how the education is," he said. "After education, I'm going to look at the depth chart and who is in front of me. Then after that, I'm going to see who is most likely to get me a championship ring."