PLANTATION, Fla. — Tyson Campbell spent the entire fall only a dozen or so miles away from one of the top 10 college teams in the country. Miami, which is headed to the ACC Championship Game for the first time Saturday, is the 5-star cornerback’s hometown team. Yet Campbell rarely made the quick trip to Hard Rock Stadium to see the Hurricanes, currently No. 7 in the College Football Playoff rankings.
With one exception.
The defensive back took only one game visit during and it came earlier this month when Miami hosted then-No. 3 Notre Dame. With at least 100 prospective recruits in attendance, the Hurricanes put on a show in Miami Gardens. They couldn’t have asked for a better weekend to host their top remaining target.
“It was a good atmosphere,” Campbell told DieHards. “It was great to see the Miami fans supporting their hometown team. I had a good time.”
Hardrock Stadium I’m on the way ‼️ #canesbaby ☢️❇️
— Tyson Campbell™ (@tysoncampbell_) November 11, 2017
Campbell is one of the most coveted uncommitted 2018 prospects left in the country. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback is ranked No. 3 at his position in the 247Sports composite and has a loaded list of top suitors including Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State. The Hurricanes, however, were the only ones to get him on campus and to their stadium during the season. A planned trip to Athens, Ga., had to be canceled at the last minute because of a knee injury.
Miami had plenty of lulls in on-campus contact with Campbell during the recruiting process. The senior went nearly six months between trips to Coral Gables, Fla., from an April trip to a return for an October practice. The Hurricanes sent coaches out to visit him a handful of times during the stretch, but in a crowded recruitment it understandably rose questions about Campbell’s level of interest in Miami.
He has, however, always had a strong relationship with cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph, who used to coach Campbell at Plantation’s American Heritage School, and never explicitly dropped the Hurricanes out of his top group. All the way back in August, he told DieHards he plans to take an official visit to Miami.
And the Hurricanes’ recent winning ways can only help. When Miami looked like a fringe Top 25 team at the start of the season, the Hurricanes were an obvious outlier on a list which also included the recent national champion Crimson Tide and Buckeyes. This part of Florida, Campbell said, values on-field results above all else.
“South Florida — everybody wants to be a winner,” Campbell said. “If we weren’t winning, nobody would know who American Heritage is. We just want to win.”
His Patriots, meanwhile, are on the brink of returning to the state championship. American Heritage is set to host Immokalee High School on Friday for the Class 5A semifinals. A win at Heritage Field would put the Patriots, ranked No. 3 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, one win away from repeating as the state champion. With 28 tackles, 2 tackles for a loss and 2 interceptions (one of them returned for a touchdown), Campbell is one of the biggest reasons.
A day later, Miami will have a chance to prove its one of the country’s best winners, too. The Hurricanes square off against Clemson in Charlotte, N.C., with a chance to win an ACC title for the first time. Campbell wants to see the Hurricanes win.
“Good luck to them this Saturday,” Campbell said, “but we’ve got business to take care of on Friday.”
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