Spotlight: Michael Campanaro

A redshirt sophomore from Clarksville, Md., Michael Canpanaro has emerged as one of the Demon Deacons’ biggest threats when he steps on the field. The 5-foot-10 wide receiver has made a name for himself by displaying explosive speed along with an incredible versatility. Campanaro has already shown his unique skills in the 2011 season, collecting two receiving touchdowns and throwing a touchdown in just two games of play. Campanaro also returns kickoffs and punts for the Deacs.  Last season he led the team in all kickoff return statistics and was fourth in the ACC in kick return averaging 24.2 yards per return.

Photo by John Turner/Old Gold & Black

When did you start playing football?

I started playing football when I was five-years-old. I started out playing flag football.

The next year I was too young to play tackle football, but I didn’t want to play flag anymore. I wanted to play with the big boys, so I did end up playing up with them and got my butt whooped.


Did you play any other sports besides football in high school?

I played basketball my sophomore and junior years. I took my junior year off due to football reasons. We actually won the state title in basketball my sophomore year so that was pretty cool.


Why did you decide to come to Wake Forest?

I visited a bunch of schools, but fell in love with the coaching staff at Wake Forest and how they did things here.

I just saw things that they did here that other schools didn’t have going on. ACC football was obviously a part in it too. The academics are obviously great here as well, so it was a combination of a lot of things.


Where did you get the nickname “Camp?”

It was actually when I came to Wake Forest. I was already committed to the school and I came to the one-day camp. Coach Lambert, who recruited me, called me “Camp,” and then all the coaches started calling me that. It just sort of stuck.


You primarily played running back in high school. Was it difficult to adjust to the wide receiver position?

It wasn’t too hard. I still feel like I’m learning every day. For wide receivers, our new coach Lonnie Galloway has helped out a tremendous amount with polishing up routes and just learning new things.

It was definitely a transition but I still feel like every day I’m learning more and more about the position.


What was your first game like as a Demon Deacon?

When I was a redshirt freshman we played Baylor and I was just anxious to get out there and start playing.

Since I was five-years-old I had been playing football every year so it was kind of hard my freshman season to just sit there on the sideline and watch those guys play. I was just real anxious and ready for it to be my turn to be out there playing.


What has been your favorite moment in your time at Wake Forest?

Probably hanging out with the team. I think this year our team has a great bond and I’m real close with numerous guys on the team, so I think that’s probably the best thing that’s gone on with me so far in my time at Wake.


Which opponent are you most looking forward to playing this season?

Definitely Maryland. Every year it’s definitely Maryland for me because that’s where I’m from and growing up that’s kind of where I wanted to go.

I never received a scholarship offer so I had to go somewhere else. Every year it’s a little personal with them.


Which player would you say is your favorite or one that you admire?

I love watching Cam Newton play. He’s the man.


Word is that you’re a pretty big Washington Redskins fan. How did you become a fan?

I grew up a Redskins fan. My whole family are diehard Redskins fans.


Who would you say has been the biggest influence on your life?

I would say my father. He’s been the most influential person in my life up to this point, just in terms of growing as a man as well as athletics.


What are your goals for this season?

My personal goal every year is just to get as many wins as we can for the team. I’ve always been that way. It doesn’t really matter about personal stats or anything. It’s more about teams wins.

I’ve always been a winner, so I plan to keep it that way.


What are your plans for after Wake Forest?

I am always dreaming to play professional ball, and I am always working towards that dream.

If not, I’m going to take my degree from Wake and see where that takes me.

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