NFL Draft Prospect Interview – Michael Campanaro, WR Wake Forest

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Oct 19, 2013; Winston-Salem, NC, USA; Wake Forest Demon Deacons wide receiver Michael Campanaro (3) runs through Maryland Terrapins defenders during the third quarter at BB&T Field. Wake defeated Maryland 34-10. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

PS: What was the most satisfying win of your career?

MC: I really enjoyed this past year’s game at Maryland when I was a senior, just because being from Maryland and beating those guys and breaking the record for catches all time at the school.  It was an all-around great day.  It was our second ACC win in a row and we kind of got our season turned around.  It was just fun beating those guys because I never got a scholarship from Maryland and I didn’t get to play against them junior year, so I just couldn’t wait to play those guys.  I was happy we won.

PS: Growing up where you did, who did you grow up rooting for?

MC: I was a Maryland fan growing up, college wise, but as time went on, I was kind of getting played a little bit by them and never got a scholarship offer and these other schools started offering, I kind of faded away from being a Maryland fan.

PS: Is there a loss that eats at you the most?

MC: Definitely.  My sophomore year, the Clemson game.  We lost at the final seconds by a field goal.  We kinda had those guys beat and they were 7th in the country at the time and if we would have beat them, we would have played in the ACC Championship game.  We let that one slip away and that one always eats at me, just because I had 10 catches, a bunch of yards and took a punt to the house.  It was a big game for myself and if we would have just won, it would have made it that much better, but they ended up getting us at the end.

PS: Are teams giving you a look as a punt returner?

MC: Yea, I think a lot of teams are interested.   Being at the Senior Bowl, I caught punts.  I didn’t drop one, so a lot of teams saw that and watch me on tape, so I told them how much I love returning punts.  I think I’m a guy who can come in and play receiver for teams and also help out in the return game.

PS: Have you gotten any feedback with concern over injuries or are they just dismissing them as fluky sitautions?

MC: A lot of teams ask about my durability and they ask about the injuries, but I haven’t heard any teams too serious about it.  It’s more, like you said.  I mean, they’re broken bones.  I feel like and they feel like they’re just a part of the game when you get broken bones like that.  When you break your collarbone at this age, they say it comes back stronger, so I tell most teams, the injury actually helped me for my collarbone (laughs).

PS: Do they believe you when you say that?

MC: They just start laughing.  I think they just want to know how I feel about the injuries and if they think I can stay healthy and I just tell them, it’s a part of the game.  I broke a record for catching the most passes at my school when I feel like you have to be a durable guy to do something like that.  At the same time, when you touch the ball so many times, you’re more vulnerable for something, a bone to break; just a fluke thing.  Part of the game.

PS: Your parents are both chefs.  Better chef?  Your dad or your mom?

MC: My mom is, hands down.

PS: Is that a sore spot for your dad?

MC: No, no.  It’s just fact.  You can ask me other brothers too.  They’ll tell you.

PS: Was it difficult for you going down to Wake Forest and missing out on that home cooking?

MC: It was a little bit, but my parents made it down to every game; every home game, every away game, so when they would come down on some home games, they would put together some food for me and a few guys on the team every once in a while.

PS: Since you’ve been training with your dad for basically your entire life, did that include this offseason?  Did you just go home and train or did you go somewhere else?

MC: For the combine, I went down to Florida at Pete Bommarito’s, but I always come home and workout with my brother and those guys.

PS: How difficult is it to make it through a Campanaro workout?

MC: It’s tough, especially because the better in shape you get, the harder they get.  You have to have some real good cardio shape to get through the workouts, but if you’re not, he’ll get you in shape pretty fast.

PS: Your dad coached you as well?  What role has he played in your football career beyond just being your dad?

MC: He coached me until JV football, but he wasn’t the head coach.  He’s someone who I’ve always, you know, after every practice, I’d call and talk to.  He made it to a lot of practices.  He’s always been the type of dad and coach that would instill confidence in me and keep my confidence high, always pushing for me to get better every day.  He’s been everything in my football career and also just growing up as a man.

PS: Who is the tougher critic when it comes to your game; you or him?

MC: I’d probably say myself.

PS: Were you satisfied with your performance at the combine?

MC: I was pretty satisfied I think.  I wish I would have run a little faster.  I thought I could have run a little faster in the 40.  I jumped pretty well.  I wanted to get 20 or more reps and that was good, just because coming off of the collarbone, I knew it was going to be tough to get my bench back, but I think I showed teams my strength.

I think overall when you looked at the combine, I think I showed how athletic I am if you matched me up with guys across the board in the draft class and guys that play my position that have come through the combine, I think my numbers are better than most.

PS: Disappointing that you never got to win a bowl game in your career and you only got to go to one?

MC: Yea, it’s one of the most disappointing things of my career, I feel like.  We didn’t win as much as I thought we could have at Wake and going to the one bowl game was fun, but it sucked not going to them and you’ve been to one and you know how rewarding it is; definitely a huge disappointment.

PS: How difficult was it that you did more losing than winning in your career there?

MC: Yea, that’s one of my biggest things I look back on being at Wake is that we didn’t win and carry on that winning tradition that was laid down before us.  The goal is always to get to an ACC Championship and win one, but we just couldn’t really get things going these past few years.

PS: Do you embrace the comparisons to Wes Welker and players like that or do you feel like it limits what you can do?

MC: It’s definitely something I embrace, because a guy like Wes Welker is one of the best receivers to play.  He’s caught so many footballs in his career and he’s gone to multiple Pro Bowls, so anyone comparing you to someone like that is an honor, but the same time, I also feel like I bring my own dimension to my game that’s something he doesn’t have.  I feel like I’m more athletic.  I feel I can be more of a homerun threat than some of the slot guys I get compared to.

PS: Did you only play football growing up?

MC: No, I played basketball as well.  Basketball was kind of the first sport I got into.  My sophomore year, we won states and then junior year, I took off because I wanted to get a little bigger for football.  I saw I wasn’t growing.  And then senior year, I went back and we lost in the semi’s.  I was a big hooper growing up.

PS: Power Forward?

MC: Naw, I played the 1 (laughs).

PS: In a perfect world, are you going to be a receiver in the NFL or are you a point guard going into the NBA?

MC: In a perfect world? I’d probably say receiver in the NFL.

PS: At some point, did the love of the game for football take over or was it the height thing?

MC: I think the love of the game took over.  I enjoy football a lot more than basketball; just being around a bigger team, putting in the hard work, and camp.  Football is just a different feeling after a game.  Once you win a game in football, it’s just a different feeling than playing a basketball game.

PS: As you leave Wake Forest, are you leaving it as a basketball school or a football school?

MC: Well, the basketball team hasn’t done too well either, but I think it’s still a basketball school.

PS: How important to you was your role as a captain?

MC: It’s an honor being picked as a captain.  It just goes to show that all your teammates, guy on your team look up to you and trust you.  You’re gonna lead the team and anything going on with the team, you can handle.  It is an honor knowing that other guys see the work ethic you put in and how you carry yourself, choose you to be a captain of their team.

PS: When teams ask you, what are they ultimately getting from Michael Campanaro?

MC: I tell teams they’re getting a very reliable guy that they can count on and off the field.  You’re gonna get a leader on and off the field as well.  Someone that is going to come into work every day, always get better each day and improve.  Also, I tell some teams they’re gonna get a steal.  I know all the teams are going to pass on me, but that’s how it was in college.  I wasn’t the most highly recruited, but I made a lot of colleges pay later on when I got on the field and got the opportunity.  I feel like I’m a guy who is going to be playing in the league a lot longer than other receivers that were drafted ahead of me this year.

PS: Is there a piece of advice you would give to similarly sized receivers?

MC: Just work on your quickness and your speed.  You gotta study defenses and just understand defenses, because playing the slot position, because if you have an idea of who’s guarding you and who you need to attack, it’s gonna make your job a lot easier.  That’s definitely something I’d tell young guys playing that position and starting out.  You really gotta also hit the weights hard, because you’re gonna be taking shots.  You’re going over the middle, so you’re gonna be taking shots from backers and safeties.

– It does not take long to see just how much work Michael Campanaro has put into his craft and how much effort it takes to make it look as easy as he has been able to in some cases.  While he might be one of the least surprising prospects in what he brings to a team in this year’s draft, that is not a bad thing and he has an obvious fit and skill set that has proven to be extremely effective at the next level.  Good luck to Mike as he tries to realize his NFL dream.  Here is my breakdown of Michael Campanaro