Media Information Director
DPS Office of Athletics
Ask Cass Tech High’s Jayru Campbell about the biggest adjustment he’s had to make playing high school football, and the freshman quarterback is quick with a response.
“It’s the hits,’’ Campbell said. “I’ve taken a lot of hard hits this year, more than I ever have. But that’s football. You’ve just got to get back up and keep playing.”
Campbell, the Detroit Public School League’s Proud Strong Learner of the Week, took some major hits last Friday and, time and time again, showed you can’t keep a good freshman down.
At the end of the game, the 14-year-old stood taller than ever after leading Cass Tech to a 20-18 victory against King that put the Technicians in sole control of the PSL Division 1 lead.
“He showed a lot of poise and leadership,’’ Cass Tech coach Thomas Wilcher said. “He shows me something every week. He did a real good job against King. He showed a lot of toughness. That was important in a big game like that.”
Campbell, who completed 15 of 25 passes for 152 yards, including a 32-yard TD, said he’s never played in a more toughly contested game.
Since replacing senior Kevin Biscoe, who was lost to a knee injury in Cass Tech’s season-opening 43-7 nonleague loss against Farmington Hills Harrison, the 6-3, 170-pound freshman has taken the reins of the offense like a veteran and admits he’s even surprised himself.
“I’m surprised with my accuracy and just being able to move the team and be a leader,’’ he said. “Even though I’m a freshman, I’ve still got to get the job done. When I first came in, I was catching on a little slow. My mechanics weren’t there at the beginning. I still have work to do, but my mechanics have gotten lot better.”
Campbell’s background includes seven years playing QB for the Westside Steelers in the Police Athletic League. So far, the colleges haven’t started their recruiting efforts, but Campbell sees football as his ticket to college and a possible career. “I hope to play football for a long, long time,’’ he said.
In the meantime, Campbell said keeping his academics on par with his athletic exploits is his main concern. “I’m a student-athlete and school comes first,’’ he said. “At Cass, there are a lot of good teachers. You can tell they really care. I haven’t got my grades yet, but I don’t expect anything less than a 3.5.”
Campbell is only the second freshman and the first freshman boy to be named Proud Strong Learner of the Week since the award began in 2010-11.
“I couldn’t have done this without my coaches and my teammates,’’ he said. “I took a lot of hard hits against King, but the offensive line stepped up, the running backs stepped up and a lot of other people stepped up. We came together as a unit in that game.”