High School Football: For First Baptist's Timmy Campbell, No Regrets After Transfer
By David Shelton, Special to The Post and Courier
First Baptist senior linebacker Timmy Campbell tackles a player from Military Magnet during the 47th Sertoma Football Classic Aug. 10 at Johnson Hagood Stadium. (Grace Beahm Alford/Staff)
After initially fighting hard against transferring from West Ashley High School to First Baptist, senior linebacker Timmy Campbell now admits leaving his comfort zone in pursuit of a new start was the right thing to do.
Campbell transferred to First Baptist after his sophomore year at West Ashley, but not willingly, at first. The 6-0, 215-pound middle linebacker was expected to be a varsity starter at West Ashley as a junior and was excited about competing against some of the top school in the Lowcountry at a Class AAAAA program.
His half-brother, receiver Ahmad Green, readily transferred to First Baptist. It was a few days into preseason practice last August before Campbell showed up.
"I didn't want to go, not at all," Campbell said. "I was happy at West Ashley. I was going to be a starter. I didn't want to leave my friends and teammates and I didn't want to start over. At the time, First Baptist wasn't very successful and I really didn't want to do the private school thing."
In the end, Campbell's father won out and his son enrolled at First Baptist. Hurricanes head coach Johnny Waters said it took only a few days for Campbell to fall in line. "I think it was the third day of practice and he showed up," Waters recalled. "It was slow at first. He was hesitant. But after a few days, he was all in. He loves everything about First Baptist now."
Winning a championship last year certainly made Campbell feel better about his move. Campbell finished 2016 as one of the leading tacklers in the Lowcountry with 146 total stops. He helped First Baptist win the SCISA Class AA state championship, the first in school history.
But, in addition to the football success, Campbell says changing schools helped him in every aspect of maturity and high school life.
"Looking back, it was the best decision for me. I definitely needed this change for things outside of football," he said. "The academic support I have received has helped me get my grades better. The teachers are very demanding but also very helpful. I want to go to college and coming here has helped me a lot."
Waters said Campbell is receiving college interest from several schools, most notable North Greenville, South Carolina State, Newberry and Liberty. The coach said Campbell's attention to detail, his physicality, and his work ethic make him a college prospect.
"He not only puts in the work everyday on the field but I've never had a kid watch as much film as he does." Waters said. "He really studies the game and is always looking to improve. We put films online and you can see where he's already been watching three hours of film on our first opponent."
" I think he's one of the best linebackers in the Lowcountry. He's been a difference-maker for our program. How he works and how he carries himself is rubbing off on the rest of our players. He's been a blessing here."
Being a senior leader on a defending state championship team has become more important to Campbell than making tackles.
"I take my role as a team leader seriously and I want my teammates to see how hard I work, and feed off me," he said. "I want to win another ring and I want to leave my mark on the program."