For brothers Jared and Calais Campbell it has never been hard to find a pickup game-in any sport. All they had to do was look inside their own household.
With eight children, five who went on to play college football, competition was at a higher level than most families could imagine.
“It was a big advantage for me to have all my brothers play football,” said Jared, the youngest brother and University of Miami freshman cornerback. “I learned a lot through playing with them. It made me a better player.”
While growing up in Aurora, Colo., Jared and Calais lived and breathed football. They always pushed each other in preparation for the season.
“Growing up with five brothers, you do everything together and always go out,” said Calais, a towering 6-foot-8-inch, 280-pound standout junior defensive end. “Every time football season started, we had hitting drills to get ready and it was the best time of the year.”
The Campbell brothers also bonded together off the football field, spending multiple summers by the scenic mountaintops of Colorado.
They engaged in several activities in outdoor groups, including rock climbing and camping.
The two brothers have something in common beside their blood: remarkable athleticism.
Calais was a multi-star athlete in high school. He set a state record with 57 sacks in his career at South Denver. He was a natural basketball star, leading the state in rebounding and blocked shots per game as a junior. If that was not enough, Calais was a track-and-field star and had a personal best 48 feet in the shot put and 135 feet in the discus.
In the end, Calais ultimately chose football.
“My mindset has always been defensive end,” Calais said. “I always am the guy [who]wants to go out and tackle someone and wants to run somebody over.”
Jared was a talented two-way player in high school. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards and scored 13 touchdowns as a running back, while he was also regarded as a top cornerback.
The two brothers attribute the success they have enjoyed and their path to UM to their father, who died in 2003.
“My father was a real big influence on us,” said Calais, who also has two sisters. “My dad was at every sporting event. He never missed a football game in high school. You wanted to play harder and show off for him.”
For Calais, playing defensive end has been a flawless transition at UM.
He was a preseason All-American entering the season and is considered by many to be one of the top defensive ends in the country.
“It’s hard to find a guy that is [as]talented as he is and still loves to play football as much as he does,” said Clint Hurt, UM defensive line coach. “Sometimes with the great ones, you have to get the whip out and get them going. Calais is not like that. He is a very mature man.”
Jared, who grew up watching UM football, followed in his brother’s footsteps by choosing the Hurricanes over Washington.
Jared has enjoyed having the chance to spend more time with his brother. The siblings participate in several activities, including playing chess, pool, video games and bowling.
“Our relationship is a lot closer,” Jared said. “I never really got to see him when he went to college. I now get to hang out a lot and eat with him sometimes.”
Jared and Calais were both meant to play football. They are now proudly carrying on their family legacy together at UM.
Alex Kushel may be contacted at email@example.com.