(Citynet Sportsline interview with Shea Campbell)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Shea Campbell waited a long time to take the field in a college football game. So maybe it should come as no surprise that the Morgantown High School graduate and former WVU linebacker has decided to add another chapter to his college football story.
After wrapping up his tenure with the Mountaineers in November, Campbell did not completely exhaust his college eligibility despite being in the WVU program for five seasons. Though he is no longer eligible at the Division I level, Campbell can still play at the Division II or Division III level because he only was enrolled at WVU for nine semesters. Ten semesters are allowed at the D2 and D3 levels.
Campbell was informed of this option while preparing for WVU’s pro day, which was eventually canceled due to the pandemic.
“I knew I wasn’t a big prospect so I knew pro day is where I was going to have to succeed, excel and catch somebody’s eye. That’s really where I was doing it,” Campbell said.
“When I was training, we had a coach who is now at a Division II school and he texted me and he said, ‘Hey, how many years did you play?’ I only played two. He said, ‘Did you graduate in nine semesters?’ I said, ‘Yeah’. He said, “Hold up. Give me five minutes and I am going to give you a call’.”
Campbell hasn’t yet decided where he will play this fall.
“I want to play against the best still. I want to be able to challenge myself and at the end of the day I want to look back and say, ‘I wanted to play the the top level of Division II and still dominate.”
Campbell came to WVU in the fall of 2015. He redshirted that season and did not play over the next two seasons. Campbell finally broke through in his redshirt junior year of 2018, playing in eleven games while making six starts. He was tied for eighth on the team with 40 tackles.
“Being able to start the last six games for the 2018 team with Will Grier and all them, that was probably the highlight of my career.
“That’s something I will never forget and I will always cherish that.”
Campbell was once again a productive player as a senior, taking the field in eleven games. He saved his best performance for last, making a season-best eight tackles in West Virginia’s season finale victory at TCU.
“It is difficult. It can be very discouraging at times. I had my moments and there were times I thought I was going to quit. To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to make it. For me, I saw the goal at the end and I know I was capable of doing it. So I am just happy it went the way that it did and I am happy the person that I am was able to be successful.”
When his college eligibility officially expires after his next semester, Campbell says coaching may be his next angle on the game.
“I found I have a knack for the game and I can really see the game mentally and I can break it down. I have studied enough film where I feel if I go into coaching I can pass down what I know and help other people and be successful in that aspect.”
Campbell’s uncle is former NFL and NCAA basketball official Gene Steratore. Steratore is now an analyst for CBS and Turner Sports. Campbell believes his rapport with referees stems from his bloodlines.
“Every official I saw, it was always, ‘Hey, how are you doing? It is a beautiful day to play football’. It was never, ‘Hey, what are you looking at?’ I just always wanted to make conversation. Obviously when we were getting ready to play I would lock back in but for the five or ten seconds I would communicate with them, it was always friendly. Because I know what they go through.”
With on campus visits on pause due to the pandemic, Campbell may have to choose his final college destination without an in-person trip.
“I am not ready to hang it up, especially because I still have a lot of gas in the tank right now. For me, it was a why not situation.”