He’s another kid from Akron making a name for himself on the national stage and Parris Campbell’s mother Shelly Woodruff has been there for him every step of the way.
“When it was his turn to run the 40 [yard dash], I stood up, and I literally ran the 40 with him in place as fast as I possibly could,” said Woodruff.
Watching the NFL Combine from her living room in northeast Ohio, Woodruff poured all her energy into her son 500 miles away as he secured himself a spot in the NFL. Wednesday, they were back in Columbus together at the Woody Hayes Athletic Complex for one of the very last times for Ohio State’s pro-day.
“That’s why when he said I’m only doing drills today, I’m not running, I said, ‘thank you, Lord!’ because I didn’t want to be out here and these people see me running [saying], ‘like what is she doing,'” Woodruff said laughing.
Although unconventional, her tactic seemed to work. Campbell ran the 3rd fastest time at the NFL Combine.
“This has been our life for the past five years and even before that,” she said. “We’ve never missed a game: home or away. Family is everything.”
That strong home base is something Campbell has learned to count on and gain energy from.
“We’ve been here since about 9:30 a.m., because we were told to get here early. He needed to see us. He needed to be able to hug us– touch us– before he goes out on that field,” she added.
That includes the newest member of the Campbell family. Parris and girlfriend Taylor’s 9-month-old son, Kai.
“He could easily say, ‘Just stay back at home so you don’t have to deal with that.’ But he says, ‘No, you need to have him there. He needs to be a part of this. He needs to get to see all of this,'” Woodruff said.
“I’m just thankful that everyone believed in him, and we all just poured that into him,” said Parris’s sister Kayla Thompson. “To see where he is today and where he’s going, it’s amazing. It’s overwhelming but amazing to say the least.”