The 90 Illini #48: Dalevon Campbell
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48. Dalevon Campbell
Uniform number: 19
Year in school: True Sophomore (4 years to play 3)
Height: 6'-4" -- Weight: 205 lbs.
Hometown: Missouri City, Texas
High School: Fort Bend Marshall HS
Five best offers: Illinois was the only offer I believe
Tom Cruise rating: 1.5 Cruises
2019 statistics: Played in the first 5 games, mostly on special teams, before an injury ended his season.
Dalevon (pronounced DALE-vonn) was the definition of a sleeper recruit. He was a track athlete at a track high school (maybe the top track and field high school in the US) and his senior year he played football. Lovie's staff discovered him after that senior year (as in June), and he was a super-late addition to the 2019 class. Signed in June, showed up on campus six weeks later for training camp.
And then, much to everyone's surprise, he was out there on special teams (I believe for the first kickoff in the Akron game). On the season, only four scholarship freshmen played (and the rest all redshirted), and Campbell was one of them. The others: Casey Washington, Tarique Barnes, and Devon Witherspoon.
Unfortunately, his season ended with an injury. And it ended game five - one game earlier and he could have taken a redshirt.
I really struggled with how to rank him. On one hand, he's a guy playing his first season of college football after only one season of high school football. Now he enters year two on a team with 13 scholarship wide receivers. The majority of the receivers return from last season PLUS Brian Hightower transferred from Miami (and got a waiver) and Khmari Thompson transferred from Missouri (and got a waiver). James Frenchie arrives, Desmond Dan transferred in, there are three tight ends who will get reps split out wide - really tall hill to climb for a track kid learning football.
On the other hand, a kid playing immediately on special teams is a great indicator of future success. They felt that this was an athlete who could help them immediately. There's always a player or two who comes out of nowhere (hi, Devon Witherspoon) and finds college success. So why not Dalevon Campbell. Special teams now, lots of receptions later.
I had him higher for a bit, I had him lower for a bit, and I finally settled here at #48. Might be buried behind all the receivers, but could surprise.