Jayru Campbell poised for even better 2019 season, Ferris State’s Shaw says

David Goricki
The Detroit News

Farmington Hills – No one has witnessed the development and maturity of Ferris State quarterback Jayru Campbell more than Jevon Shaw during the past couple of years.

Shaw is helping out his former Farmington Hills Harrison coaches as an intern as they have moved on to take over the North Farmington program after Harrison closed for good earlier this month.

Jayru Campbell

Shaw played a big role in Ferris State’s run to the Division II national championship game last season, actually throwing an 80-yard TD pass to Keyondre Craig on a trick play on the Bulldogs’ first snap in a 49-47 loss to Valdosta State.

Shaw, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound slot receiver, looks physically ready for his senior season, which gets underway in a couple of months, and is looking forward to working once again with Campbell, who earned the Harlon Hill Award, the Heisman Trophy of Division II football.

Shaw is seeing the type of talent that major college coaches saw in Campbell when he led Detroit Cass Tech to consecutive Class A state championships in 2011 and 2012, leading to offers from Alabama and Michigan State before his troubles began. Campbell spent time in jail, once for an altercation with a security guard in Cass Tech his junior year, then another involving an incident with his girlfriend his senior year.

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But Campbell has avoided trouble while putting all his energy and focus on his academics and football the last several years, first helping Garden City Community College in Kansas go from a 3-8 program to a national championship team in 2016. Campbell sat out the 2017 season at Ferris State, then led the Bulldogs to a 15-0 record before the exciting national title game loss to Valdosta State.

“I couldn’t ask for a better quarterback,” Shaw said. “Not only is he a good quarterback, but he’s a better person. There’s the stuff that’s happened to him in his past, but I think that as a person he’s grown from it.

“The interesting thing is that I’ve always wanted to play against him in high school and never had the opportunity, so to play with him in college is kind of unbelievable because you’re watching pro talent right in front of your eyes.

“We wouldn’t have been where we were without him, his resilience, his guts. One time he ran the ball 28 times, which is unheard of from a quarterback, and he’s running between the tackles. His effort, his toughness is something that we respect at Ferris.”

Shaw would love to return to the national championship game this fall.

“It was unbelievable, and then on the first offensive play of the game we go with a trick play, which is kind of unheard of, but it’s kind of all or nothing in the last game,” said Shaw of his TD pass. “Just being down there was so surreal even though we took a loss. We gave it our all and we’re just looking to be there again.”

Campbell completed 60.3 percent of his passes last season, throwing for 2,931 yards and 27 TDs (six interceptions), rushing for 1,460 yards (5.2 yards per carry) and 21 TDs to help the Bulldogs average 491.4 yards and 39.3 points.

“I think the best part about him is that he’s a dual threat,” Shaw said. “I think coming out of high school they thought he was only a passer, but the dude can run the football.”

Shaw says Campbell has been working on putting more touch on some of his passes.

“I went up there in early June and we were throwing the football around and you could see a difference between his throwing motion and how much touch he puts on the ball now,” Shaw said. “Instead of making everything a bullet pass, he knows how to put touch on the ball now. His footwork is even better. I see a difference in his game now from what I saw back in December. He’s making strides so I don’t see why he can’t play in the pros.”

Shaw also hopes for a shot at the NFL.

“I’m still going to give football a run after this year, give the NFL a try,” said Shaw, who had 30 receptions last season and is finishing his major in sports communications. “After I’m done playing I’m going to coach if I can. I can’t really leave this sport, it’s just something I love to do.”