- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
Texas is in need of some instant-impact help at the linebacker position, and on Monday it reached out to a new junior college target.
Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College outside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell received an offer yesterday from Texas defensive ends coach Oscar Giles, Campbell's coach confirmed.
The 6-foot-5, 224-pound linebacker has been verbally committed to Tennessee since May. Now that Vols coach Derek Dooley has been fired and his staff is on the way out, Hutchinson coach Rion Rhodes wants Campbell to keep his options open.
“I did let him know Tennessee is still a great school,” Rhodes said. “All the reasons why he committed to Tennessee are still there, with the exception of the coaches he’d gotten to know. I’m confident a place like Tennessee will hire a great staff.
“So Tennessee is still definitely an option; that could definitely be where he ends up. But he’s going to at least listen to some other possibilities, just in case it doesn’t work out at Tennessee.”
Texas is the only other school Campbell is currently considering and only the second school to offer the Fort Myers, Fla., native. He’s a December graduate who will have three years to play three seasons.
Campbell was the Blue Dragons’ second-leading tackler this fall as a redshirt freshman with 62 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception.
And he’s got speed, too. As a senior at Cypress Lake High in 2010, Campbell competed in the 200-meter dash at the Florida state track meet and ran a time of 22.03 seconds to finish seventh. The winner of that event? Clemson star receiver Sammy Watkins.
“De’Vondre is very athletic, and he’s got great height and length,” Rhodes said. “He really enjoys playing the game.”
Texas already has two verbal commits from linebacker prospects for its 2013 class in ESPN 300 prospect Deoundrei Davis (Cypress, Texas/Cypress Woods) and Naashon Hughes (Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights). Davis is set to enroll early, but he suffered a torn ACL in October.
Considering the struggles that Texas’ linebackers faced in 2012, particularly after top outside linebacker Jordan Hicks suffered a season-ending injury against Ole Miss, it’s no surprise the Longhorns are seeking help from someone who can play immediately.
The next step for the Longhorns is getting Campbell to take a visit to Austin. The Longhorns are set to host another junior college prospect, Contra Costa (Calif.) College tackle Desmond Harrison, for the Dec. 7 banquet weekend.
“We’re looking into [a visit],” Rhodes said. “We haven’t done anything on that. It’s possible he’ll take a visit there.”