When 2014 tailback Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/Saint Vincent-St. Mary's) arrived at Beaver Stadium for a summer football camp, he didn't expect to leave with such a longing to return.
But after touring the campus and chatting with the coaches, the longtime Ohio State fan said he could see himself donning the blue and white one day.
"I didn't expect to get as much out of it as I did," said the speedy Campbell, who currently holds no offers. "Just the way the coaches were going through drills and stuff, they seem like good motivators and good coaches -- that's what I got out of it.
"Actually, one of the Penn State players came on the field and the type of relationship there with the coaches seemed really close, really tight, and that opened my eyes. I want that with a coach."
At this point next year, he might have his pick of a coaching staff. He's currently generating interest from nearby schools such as Penn State, Cincinnati, Northwestern, Akron and Indiana -- but this is his first year as the main ball carrier.
The Nittany Lions likely invited him to that summer camp then because of two reasons: Speed and potential.
As a 14-year-old sophomore, Campbell caused spectators to perform some double-takes during the outdoor track season. In the 100-meter dash, he clocked a time of 10.92 seconds. By comparison, one of Penn State's fastest players, wideout Alex Kenney, turned in a time of 10.6 as an 18-year-old senior in State College.
"Oh yeah, it's definitely my speed -- I think that's what separates me," Campbell said. "I use my speed a lot on the field."
The 6-foot, 181-pound athlete rushed 86 times for 703 yards and 16 touchdowns so far, and schools are beginning to take a closer look.
The Hoosiers appear to be targeting him most, and running backs coach Deland McCullough speaks with him just about every week. The junior attended the Oct. 13 Indiana-Ohio State game and stayed near McCullough's side for much of the pregame.
"About four weeks ago, he came down to our school," said Campbell, who's enrolled at LeBron James' former high school. "He said he really liked my highlights and invited me to a game."
Campbell has no plans for other unofficial visits this season, but he hopes to remain in contact with Penn State. He plans to email recruiting coordinator Bill Kavanaugh within the next week.
"I could definitely see myself going to Pennsylvania," Campbell added. "Right now, I couldn't tell you who my top team is. But if Penn State would step on up to me, I could see myself over there."