Prospects such as Grayson’s Champaign market themselves

Not every aspiring college football player has multiple stars beside his name and recruiters lined up at the front door. But that doesn’t mean they’re not tremendous players and deserving scholarship recipients.

Grayson defensive end Joseph Champaign is such a football player. While he’s a dominating force on the Rams’ vaunted defense, the 6-foot-1, 250-pound senior doesn’t have a firm Division I offer and, at the moment, has no official visits planned.

“I’ve been in contact with a lot of schools and I’ve gotten some phone calls,” Champaign said. “But I haven’t made a decision anywhere. I’m still open. I’m still looking.”

But that doesn’t mean Champaign and his family are resting on their laurels and waiting for something to come their way. They’re tackling the situation proactively.

Champaign’s father, Craig Champaign, with the help of a neighbor produced a video of Joseph’s junior season highlights (see above) and sent it to more than 100 schools from coast-to-coast. He’s currently in the midst of updating a video with senior highlights — of which there are plenty — and sending back out to a more focused group of prospective schools.

“From those 100 schools we got feedback from about 25 of them,” Craig Champaign said. “So what we’ll probably do this time is really focus more on the schools that showed a lot of interest and schools that didn’t show interest that he’d be interesting in hearing from. So we’ll probably send stuff out to about 35 or 40 this time and keep it this side of the Mississippi this time.”

The Champaigns took trips to BYU and Stanford this summer, Division I schools that showed a lot of initial interest.

“They were great, but sitting on that plane for four hours, man, it’s a long way,” Mr. Champaign said. “So I think we’re going to focus more on the East Coast or a shorter flight anyway.”

Champaign has generated a lot of interest from Navy and Air Force and also from Western Kentucky, Toledo and Middle Tennessee State on the Division I level. But the most intense attention has come from I-AA schools such as Georgia Southern and Furman.

“We’re not really hung up on the SEC or ACC like a lot of kids are,” Craig said. “A lot of kids are hung up on that and we might have been in the past. But we’re not now. We’re just going to talk to a bunch of coaches and do what’s best for him. The main goal is really to get him an education and for him to have a good experience in college. When the right school comes he’s going to know it.”

In the meantime Champaign is concentrating on the one thing he can control and that’s his play on the football field. And that’s going very well. Playing alongside Division I commitments Shawn Green (DT, Georgia Tech) and Kori Gaines (DB, BYU) and linebacker prospect Terry Williams, the Class AAAAA No. 2-ranked and undefeated Rams (4-0) have allowed only 26 points all season.

“It’s a really great group,” Joseph said. “We’ve been playing together since the eighth grade and we’re close.  We all have each others backs during games.  If somebody’s down, we pick them up. We push each other in practice, push each other off the field. We’re brothers for life.”

As far as the recruiting, Champaign said he’s just letting it take care of itself.

“I’m just playing football right now,” he said. “I’m focused on the season and having fun. This is my senior year. I’ll find somewhere for me eventually.”

11 comments Add your comment

San Francisco Dawg

September 23rd, 2009
2:09 pm

This kid looks good, with the right attitude, supportive parents and an open mind…we need more young men like this wanting to go to college and making something of themselves…

Good Luck…you will find a great situation!


September 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

Kid has a great moter and looks to play hard to the whistle. Height may be a problem for some coaches if he wants to play DE. Hope his efforts are rewarded by a school that will be happy to have him. Best of luck to you Joeseph.


September 23rd, 2009
2:31 pm

sorry “motor”


September 23rd, 2009
3:05 pm

Nothing wrong wit walkin on a UGA. Go Dawgs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


September 23rd, 2009
3:36 pm

“We’re not really hung up on the SEC or ACC like a lot of kids are…”

Finally a father with some brains. Sir, your son will be better off, have a better education/learning experience & play more football if he heads to one of the Furman type schools.

But if he has the grades, one of the military academies cannot be beat. Period.


September 23rd, 2009
3:42 pm

Come to Georgia State…PLEASE!!!


September 23rd, 2009
4:30 pm

Good luck, Joseph! Seeing your grades and the outstanding effort you give on the field, I’m confident you will find a great situation for your college career.


September 23rd, 2009
8:18 pm

Wow!!!! This kid has a 3.97 GPA and plays extremely hard and fast, reminds me of a # 47 who use to play at UGA (David Pollack) and he is about the same size as D. Pollack coming out of High School. Some college will be very lucky to get this kid. Sounds like they will not only be getting a good football player but also a role model. I am sure the right college will come along for him. Keep your head up Joseph and keep working hard.

Camden Mark

September 23rd, 2009
8:39 pm

If that young man can meet the standards at AFA,woof,hell of a good school,great football team for a service academy with fine tradition.


September 24th, 2009
8:42 am

This guy is special. He needs to update video and picture. He is bigger now. Grayson has a nice program that develops good defensive linemen. But Champaign is special in all regards. Community, team, grades, and physical ability. Colleges should be fighting over this one. I am surprised GA Tech is not trying to make him and Green a package deal.

Vick=Dog killing thug

September 24th, 2009
1:00 pm

Maybe this young man can convert to linebacker like Pollack did in the pros? No mention of his speed but it sounds like he’s a gamer. Good luck Joseph !!