Miami Hurricanes OL depth gets big boost with John Campbell return

MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 23:. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The return of offensive lineman John Campbell for the Miami Hurricanes will be extremely important in 2022. Zion Nelson who is entering his fourth season with Miami as a starter is expected to be out at the beginning of the 2022 season. Campbell projects to take the place of Nelson on the OL.

Campbell will be a fifth-year junior in 2022 due to missing the 2021 season with a torn ACL and receiving the extra year of eligibility following 2020 because of covid. In 2019 and 2020, Campbell played in 18 games, starting six. Campbell also played in four games as a true freshman during the 2018 season.

Campbell has started at both tackle positions and left guard during his Miami Hurricanes career. The torn ACL Campbell suffered last year came after he fell during drills just before training camp according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Nelson is out early in the season with what Mario Cristobal described as a tune-up.

Miami opens the 2022 season against Bethune-Cookman and Southern Mississippi at home before playing at Texas A&M in week three. In addition to Nelson, Miami also returns starting center Jakai Clark and versatile OL D.J. Scaife who projects at tackle. Scaife could start at LT for Nelson while he is out.

"“Is already in the groove. We expect John to be one of the best players in the conference, actually in the country. We think that highlly of him. He has a lot of the same traits that Zion has. The position that those guys play, it comes with a lot. They both battled through some stuff.’’"

Nelson told Jackson that he had surgery to remove “floating cartilage” in his left knee about three weeks ago with a six to eight-week diagnosis to return. The timetable for Nelson to return would be between August 31 and September 14. The conservative diagnosis would have Nelson ready to play versus Texas A&M.

New Miami OL coach Alex Mirabal told Jackson he is cross-training every OL this year and is “fired up for Campbell.” Mirabal also said that Scaife will “go play over there” likely meaning LT. Justice Oluwaseun and Jalen Rivers who are the projected starting guards for Miami will also cross-train at guard and tackle.

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Mirabel said “That cross-training and versatility is something we’re always pushing for.’’ Olwauseun played guard and tackle last season and Rivers signed with Miami as a guard in 2020. Miami is building depth and creating verstaility on the OL. That is critical with attrition that can happen during the season.