Regardless of the state, a freshman starting at quarterback for a 5A squad is impressive. Adding to the eyebrow raise, if said freshman helps guide his team to the playoffs – we got something cooking here. The groundwork Class of 2020 quarterback Ryan Campbell has laid for future success is sprawling, and by talking to him, the talents will not go to waste.
Laurens High School posted a 6-6 record in 2016. The .500 record with a two-game run into the playoffs may not share much on the surface, but underneath it was the beginnings of something special. The Raiders started the season out losing two games. By Game 3 against Irmo, an injury forced freshman quarterback Ryan Campbell into action. As the season progressed and got tougher, so did Campbell.
The 2016 campaign laid the blueprint for success in the Raiders’ pocket with Campbell taking charge. Exact stats are not posted by the Raiders’ coaching staff, so there are best guess estimates. The Laurens squad was a young team but found a way back into the playoffs squaring off against Northwestern. Their 6-0, 178 pound, budding star threw for over 2,000 yards and rushed for what seems like a 1,000 off of his reel.
While specifics in stats for Campbell cannot be used, game reel can be used. Dual-threat can be a vague term but in the truest definition of the position, that is Campbell. He can flip the field in an instant with his breakaway speed posting a preseason best 40-yard dash at 4.5 seconds, and it shows. Connecting with receivers on the long bomb, intermediate passes, and on check downs are no problem. There is a certain poise and headiness to Campbell’s game.
If well-coached and/or well-studied, Campbell uses a wide-variety of tactics to help his receivers gain separation to create passing windows. Either by using his feet to buy time or by a shoulder pump freezing the defender while his target flies by, Campbell shows a growing mastery for the essential part of the game, making plays.
In a Recruiting News Guru exclusive interview, I sat down with one of the rising stars in South Carolina’s 2020 class gaining insight on his sophomore season with a look ahead to his offseason goals.
Ryan, when did you crack the Raiders varsity squad?
“My freshman year. By the third game of the season I was on varsity starting.”
What was that season like for you?
“We won our region and made it to the second round of the 5A playoffs. We had a pretty good year last year. We had a lot of seniors, that helped.”
Going into the 2017 season, did you know you would be the starting quarterback for Laurens?
How did the experience gained in 2016 translate onto the field in 2017?
“I had a lot of confidence this year that I did not have last year until later in the season.”
You, a lot more than most, are a true dual-threat. Have you always been in a Spread scheme allowing you to utilize your running abilities?
“Yes, sir. The coaches built the offense around my abilities my freshman year. They were more of a pocket passing team before. The change in the offense has helped me out a lot.”
How does the Spread offense showcase your skillset on the field?
“It allows me to use my mobility when have to if a play breaks down. We did go under center this season. I do have experience under center.”
How did your football IQ improve this season? Which parts of the game did you gain a better understanding of with the experience?
“Learning coverages, pre-snap and post-snap reads improved a lot. Dylan Thompson (QB South Carolina) helped me out a lot and my QB coach helped me understand coverages better.”
How did your mechanics improve this season?
“My feet got a lot better over last year. I got the ball out a lot quicker, but I am still a work in progress.”
What will be the focus of your offseason workouts?
“My focus will be in the weight room getting bigger. I’m working out with Perry Orth (QB South Carolina). My goal is to raise my football IQ and get ready for next season.”
How is everything going in the classroom?
“I have a 4.4 GPA.”
What is your favorite subject in school?
Are you going to play other varsity sports for Laurens in the spring or winter?
“I’ll probably run track.”
Are you eyeing any camps this spring or summer?
Ryan Wrighta.k.a. the Recruiting Guru, has been working in mass media and news markets since the mid 1990’s. Ryan has worked as a sports writer and journalist with articles featured on Scout.com, The Bleacher Report, Sports-at-Work, LA Times online edition, and was the editor for Razorbackers.com in association with Sports Illustrated and FanSided Network. RecruitingNewsGuru.com for more interviews and in-depth analysis on college recruits from across the country.