FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Jump balls almost never make sense against the American Heritage School defense. Patrick Surtain Jr., the No. 1 cornerback in the 247Sports composite rankings in the Class of 2018, patrols one side of the field for the Plantation, Fla., powerhouse. Tyson Campbell, the No. 3 cornerback, patrols the other. When teams throw against American Heritage, they usually have to settle for nothing that goes father than a few yards past the line of scrimmage.
Cardinal Gibbons High School didn’t have a choice during much of the fourth quarter during a home game Friday in Fort Lauderdale. Down by 2 touchdowns, Cardinal Gibbons had to pass, so dual-threat quarterback Nik Scalzo decided to heave. The 3-star junior rolled to his left and planted his feet right by the sideline. He picked a spot just beyond the goal line and fired.
Campbell should have made the play. The 5-star senior was in the right spot and had a safety there with him. But when he jumped, the ball fluttered past his fingertips. Wide receiver Carlos Sandy pulled in an unlikely touchdown against one of the nation’s best defensive backs.
Campbell wasn’t in the mood to do much talking even after the Patriots, ranked No. 4 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, hung on for a 23-19 win at Dr. Bud Tight Field. Sandy, a 3-star senior, got the best of him again during the Chiefs’ next drive for another big gain to set up a Scalzo touchdown run. Campbell probably could’ve counted on both hands the amount of yards he’d given up this season. Two throws were enough make Campbell unhappy with a win against one of Florida’s other top private schools.
“Me doing my job, Pat doing his job,” Campbell said earlier this season, “who knows how far this defense can go.”
— David Wilson (@DBWilson2) October 14, 2017
American Heritage was still excellent defensively despite a rare human performance from one of its lockdown seniors. Miami commit Nesta Silvera, a 4-star defensive tackle, was still his dominant self in the middle, racking up a couple sacks and more than a half-dozen tackles. Pass rusher Andrew Chatfield, a 4-star weakside defensive end, notched another couple of sacks in front of Hurricanes defensive line coach Craig Kuligowski.
Chatfield still doesn’t have an offer from Miami, but he and Silvera put on display the chemistry they have to torment defenses together.
Kuligowski was joined on the sideline by Hurricanes cornerbacks coach Mike Rumph, who was the Patriots’ coach two years ago. Rumph knows Campbell as well as any assistant coach in the nation, and their relationship drives Miami’s pitch as much as anything.
“He doesn’t make it weird or anything,” Campbell said of his relationship with Rumph. “He talks to me like he’s just my coach in high school, so giving me tips and life lessons and stuff like that, it’s really not much of a difference.”
Last time Campbell opened up about his recruitment following a win against Chaminade-Madonna College Preparatory School on Sept. 22, the defensive back said Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State were most persistently in touch with him. On Friday, Campbell told DieHards the Hurricanes had joined the list.
His trip to Miami Gardens, Fla., on Nov. 11 for No. 11 Miami’s game against No. 16 Notre Dame isn’t officially locked in, but Campbell still thinks that’ll be his next time at Hard Rock Stadium. There’s no timetable in mind for a commit date, but the Hurricanes’ pitch is simple.
“They keep telling me to come down,” Campbell said. “Stay home.”
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