Granite Bay graduate is gaining a leg up in college

Chris Campbell adjusts to his role as a punter only at Humboldt State
By: Bill Poindexter, Roseville Press Tribune Sports Editor
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It was nice and sunny in Arcata on Monday, a clear improvement from two days before.

“I couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me. It was foggy,” Chris Campbell said.

The 2011 Granite Bay High School graduate might not have realized it at that moment, but that two-day weather recap described his transition from being a booming kicker and all-purpose player with the Grizzlies to being a punter only with the Lumberjacks.

Campbell played a big role for a Granite Bay team that went 9-4 and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I semifinals in the fall of 2010, his senior season. As a slot receiver, Campbell caught two touchdown passes and ran for two scores. He kicked 48 extra points and seven field goals for 93 total points.

“Going from scoring 90 points a season to not scoring any and strictly just punting, it was a huge adjustment,” Campbell said. “I felt like I adjusted well. Besides that, I think I’m going to stick with it.”

That may be a wise choice. Campbell has won two Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player-of-the-Week awards this season. He’s averaging 39.1 yards on 46 punts, including five of more than 50 yards with a long of 58 for the Lumberjacks (6-2). He has put 11 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Foggy when Humboldt State said it wanted him to punt, Campbell’s forecast is sunny and clear. He said his typical hang time is 4.5 seconds with a best of 4.8 in a game, and he’s broken five seconds in practice.

Working with special teams coordinator James Gravelle, Campbell is learning the science of punting. He works on leg angles and his mental approach. He aims for the corners and yard-line numbers. Depending on the ability of the punt returner, Campbell said he’ll put it on the ground and let it roll or get underneath the ball and “just rocket the thing in the air.”

“I play golf all the time, so I relate it to that,” he said, comparing shot distance and club selection to leg strength and angles.

Campbell also is the onside kicker and holder for extra points and field goals.

“I appreciate every skill set of the game,” he said. “I’ve been in every role in the kicking game except snapping.”

Contact Bill Poindexter at Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.