It’s very rare that you see a freshman cornerback starting in the SEC, especially at Georgia. Although, that’s what happened in 2018 for Tyson Campbell, but that experience came with a mishaps along the way. Now, he’s touted as one of Georgia’s best weapons on defense.
Coming out of high school, Campbell was the No. 2 ranked cornerback in the 247Sports Composite and earned a starting position immediately. He shared the position with All-American cornerback and Jim Thorpe Award winner Deandre Baker. Campbell started the first ten games of his career, which featured some highlights, but unfortunately, he also struggled as well which caused him to lose his starting position to Eric Stokes later in the season.
In 2019, Campbell once again had a spot in the starting lineup with Baker out of the picture. Both him and Stokes were Georgia’s lockdown corners, but three weeks into the season Campbell suffered a foot injury, which was later diagnosed at turf toe. That injury caused him to miss five games and backup DJ Daniel filled in for him. Daniel started the rest of the season, even after Campbell returned.
“Last year was tough for me,” Campbell said in an interview with reporters via Zoom on Monday. “Mr. Ron [Courson] and the training staff, they made sure that if I was going to be on the field, that I would be a hundred percent ready … I feel like everything happens for a reason. I’ve learned from it, and I feel like it has helped me become a better person and a better player. Right now, I’m focused on this year.
“You’ve got to realize that the game is going to keep going,” he added. “So you’ve got to keep going. You’ve got to put on the pads and take it one play at a time. Hopefully you’ll make a big play and forget about the mistakes you’ve made.”
Campbell is not a guaranteed starter for this upcoming season, but he more than likely going to be a key contributor on defense. Both Stokes and Daniel return with more than ten starts. So, that means there will likely be a rotation between the three of them at cornerback.
Campbell said the depth, not only at cornerback but across the entire defense, is something that excites him. It is more likely that if someone gets hurt, then someone else can fill in that spot immediately. Campbell, along with several others, are getting reps at different positions in the secondary ahead of Georgia’s first game on Sept. 26 against Arkansas.
Regardless, Campbell explained that he can still get better as a defensive back and improve his skill set as he attempts to get even better in year three.
“I’ve matured so much as a player, coming here, being young and not really knowing the defense,” Campbell said. “As the coaches have developed us on defense and my experience in the games, I’ve been able to (improve) mentally, getting my IQ with football better, and also I’ve become stronger, faster — the whole nine yards of being an athlete.”