There are people you meet in this world that you know will stay with you for a lifetime, will impact you for a lifetime, will mold you for a lifetime. I am beyond fortunate that meeting came when I was just nine at my first football camp. I had never played before, but that didn’t stop Coach E – who, despite the limitation of coaching from a wheelchair from an injury sustained a week before he was to report for Raiders training camp, from taking me under his wing. He knew I’d more than double in size (okay, maybe triple) and he knew my head and my heart was meant for this game.
Fast forward seven years and despite us losing Coach E last year, I’m right where he said I’d be – and everyday I remind myself of his words when I look at my screensaver and our photo is right there. Today I’m fortunate to play at the most prestigious and biggest powerhouse of Catholic Schools in San Diego, earning a Southern California CIF championship as a sophomore and a CIF semi-finalist as a junior, I’m 6’2”, 280ounds, can squat 495 and bench 330, and determined to protect my quarterback and running back at all costs. I’ve done that all through high school – and I’m hoping I will have that same opportunity in college.
I want the chance to prove myself to you and your university. If I’m fortunate enough to be considered to play for you, it’s important to note I come as a son of an Italian (my name is Gino Pietro Campagna, after all). Italians and coaches have a lot in common – they have the highest standards, they expect orders to be followed and they’re fiercely loyal to their family (or team). I take direction well and with respect, thriving on the “push” that yelling brings. I can motivate my teammates, even when we’re in the middle of a game-changing play. And I carry myself well with adults, meaning I will represent your football program well among faculty and alums.
My hope in having the opportunity to be a student athlete for your university would be a benefit both of us, and would make us both better. My stand-out strengths are that I come healthy with no injuries, my GPA is a 3.32 and I’m considered a well-rounded kid where in school and out, I participate in leadership and community giving, helping those around me including charities, my family and friends. My coach’s words: I’m very coachable, self-motivated and I stay balanced.
I think it’s important that you also know my weaknesses in considering me. Time management is something I have yet to master, even though I work on it every day, every week… I have learned being busy helps me perform better vs. idle time (another reason why being a student athlete is meant for me), but I know I still need to get past the perils of procrastination. I also am still learning that while I have the physical abilities and strength to be “the guy” that leads our O Line, my mind still needs to buy into that as I always considered my younger age vs. my true ability. I’m taking these challenges seriously and as soon as this season ended, I’m already working to become stronger and a better leader. And more than anyone, I’m excited for what may become.
My promise to you: I will listen, I will commit myself 150 percent to your school and program, and never take for granted what you’re allowing me both with academics and with sports. And just like the stretch play in the Southern California CIF championships where I sealed my guy off and allowed our running back to score, I’ll have you covered. And you would be giving me a life-changing opportunity.