The wait is over: Josh Campion nearly missed his opportunity, but now he is back in maroon and gold [UPDATED]Published 11:00am Wednesday, August 3, 2011 Updated 9:07am Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Tom Petty once said that the waiting is the hardest part.
No one knows more about waiting than Josh Campion.
After having a stellar senior season for Fergus Falls in 2008 that saw the Otters lay claim to the Central Lakes Conference championship and make a state tournament appearance, Campion was all set to go to the University of Minnesota and play football for Tim Brewster and the Golden Gophers. But sometimes life doesn’t go the way you planned.
Josh graduated from Fergus Falls, but required surgery on a hereditary condition in his back that put his freshmen year at Minnesota in jeopardy. He had planned to use his time to improve his academic standing at the school and continue to rehabilitate and attend college in the spring.
Another bounce did not go Campion’s way as he was unable to reach the academic standards of the University and de-committed that spring. He began to work odd jobs, all the while biding his time and looking to get back on the field.
Fate would come calling though, in the voice of Fork Union Military Academy’s Head Football Coach John Shuman. Shuman asked Campion if he was interested in playing football at FUMA in Virginia, a place where he could work on his academics and play football. With his dreams of playing football at a Division I level in the balance, he made the decision to go out east.
Playing offensive line for the Blue Devils in 2010, Campion was able to draw interest from a few schools that saw his hard work and dedication pay off.
“Football at FUMA was great. The level of football out there was nothing that I had experienced before,” said Campion.
In the spring, Josh decided to rejoin the Gophers, this time under new Head Coach Jerry Kill.
“Waiting two years was tough,” Campion said. “There was a time I thought I would never play football again.”
Josh’s goals for the future are simple: receive good grades, earn a degree, become a starter and get an opportunity to play at the next level. The first two will be taken care of by Josh and the University, while the next two he has prepared for by training with brother, Pete, a former NFL offensive lineman.
“Pete has given me a lot of great advice,” Josh said. “He always says that I have to be tough and smart on the field and play as if it is my last play.”
Campion added that without his family he wouldn’t be who he is today and they are what drives him to be a better person.
With camp starting on Aug. 8, Campion can’t wait to get going. The Gophers will have a tough schedule this season opening up against University of Southern California and playing teams including Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan. One date has been circled by many in the area is a rematch with North Dakota State University. This game has more meaning than revenge to Josh as he will take on friend, fellow Fergus Falls alum and NDSU offenisve lineman Adam Schueller.
“Adam and I have talked about the game a few times. I think it would be cool if one of us could play defense that game and go against each other like the old days,” Josh said.
Josh hopes to crack the starting lineup as soon as possible, playing either right tackle or right guard. The biggest adjustment for Campion will be getting used to the game speed of college football. Campion said the football played at Minnesota is 10 times faster than what he experienced at FUMA.
“I am just looking forward to being somewhere that I have dreamed to be my whole life; on the Minnesota Golden Gopher field wearing Maroon and Gold.”
Sometimes you don’t know what you have got ‘til its gone.