BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Baylor has one of the best teams in the country this season and has gotten a big lift from a former California junior college inside linebacker.
Bakersfield College standout Grant Campbell hopes to continue that trend next season.
Campbell, a two-year standout at BC, said he will sign a letter-of-intent with Baylor today. He chose Baylor over California.
Baylor is 11-1 and has a Fiesta Bowl date with Central Florida (11-1) on New Year's Day.
"It was mostly the coaches, and their defensive scheme," Campbell said in explaining his decision to pick Baylor.
"Their defense is similar to what we did at Bakersfield College, and the position I'll play there is identical to what I played here," said Campbell, a Garces High graduate.
Also set to sign a letter-of-intent today is BC freshman running back Preston Hodges, with Colorado State.
Campbell, who has two years of eligibility remaining, had his official Baylor visit on Dec. 7. He was accompanied by his father Jack and older brother Jack Jr., who played football at Texas Tech in 2007 and 2008.
"Obviously their words are important," Campbell said. "It was good for them to be there with me, to see how it was and to see what I'll go through every day."
During that visit, the Campbells saw Baylor's 30-10 win over Texas with more than 51,000 fans in the stands.
"It was a great atmosphere. That really caught my eye," Campbell said.
Campbell's scholarship is a "full ride," which includes tuition, books and lodging.
Eddie Lackey, a former Riverside Community College standout, was a senior All-Big 12 pick this season.
Campbell said he was recruited to step into Lackey's spot.
"They want me to be the guy. It's my job to lose," Campbell said. "I have to compete for the starting job. I've got to put my work in and impress them."
Campbell said he received a call from one of Baylor's assistant coaches last April.
"They saw film from the 2012 season, but then I didn't hear from them for five months," Campbell said. "I sent my highlight (disc) to the coach and he called me within two days. They said they loved it and wanted me to come out for a visit."
Campbell earned first-team All National Northern Conference honors both seasons at BC. Last Thursday he was named to the all-state team.
"He's a self-made man who has worked extremely hard," BC coach Jeff Chudy said. "A coach's dream, self-motivated. He never had to be coached on how to finish. He's an awesome character and because of that he's going to a top-10 program."
Hodges committed to Colorado State last weekend during his visit to that campus, he said. Hodges, who said he may be moving to safety, has three years of eligibility remaining.
"They recruited me out of high school but for some reason I didn't get offered," said Hodges, a first-team all-conference and first-team all-region player who rushed for 888 yards and eight touchdowns this season for the Renegades.
Hodges, an Independence High graduate, said Colorado State stayed in touch with him this season.
Hodges said he was impressed with the outlook of his future teammates.
"The attitude of everybody there was great," he said. "The players seemed to love being there."
Hodges said he's OK with moving to safety.
"Whatever it takes to be on the field," he said.
Chudy said Hodges was offered a partial scholarship to Sacramento State out of high school but chose to come to BC so he could improve his status with potential four-year programs.
"He came to Bakersfield College because he believed in himself, that he's better than a partial scholarship," Chudy said. "And now he's going to Colorado State on a full ride.
"He did a great job for us, he worked hard and now he's reaping the reward. He's an awesome kid.
"This says a lot about him and the kind of character he is. He didn't settle for something less."
Other BC players who have committed to four-year programs, according to Chudy, are sophomore cornerback Cody Jones (Highland High graduate) with Central Oklahoma, defensive lineman Jacob Miller (Bakersfield High grad) with Montana Tech and linebacker Brody Scott (Centennial) with UC Davis.