Not many players in the NFL’s history have found success following time in the Canadian Football League. Warren Moon is a name that pops up usually in that discussion, but a more recent name that Chargers will know is former Bolts wide receiver Dontrelle Inman.
But in terms of pure-bred Canadians who play their college ball in the Great White North, there are even fewer, if any at all.
Cornerback Tevaughn Campbell surely has the deck stacked against him, but that’s not going to stop the former two-sport athlete from chasing his dream with the same vigor and intensity he showed on the track.
Campbell was born in Scarborough, Ontario. He was talented enough as a prep to have the opportunity to participate on both the football and track & field teams at the University of Regina. Campbell actually spent a combined six years at Regina, where he played football from 2011-2014 on top of his track career that last a couple years longer (2011-2017). I’m not entirely sure how that worked, but he did it.
The Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS), later named U Sports, is the governing body over Canadian sports similar to the NCAA. As far as football goes, there are 27 university teams that are divided into four conference. Regina was in the Canadian West and they played eight games in a season.
As a true freshman, Campbell played in five of eight games in 2011, notching just two tackles and a pass breakup. He redshirted during the 2012 season before having his breakout year in 2013 where he totaled 30 tackles, six pass breakups, two tackles-for-loss, a sack, and two fumble recoveries. That same year, he also set the school record for punt return yards with 369. He earned Second-Team All-Canadian honors while being named a Canadian West All-Star as a defensive back and a kick returner.
His final year at Regina included seven games played but Campbell unfortunately missed the final game and the postseason due to injury. He finished the year with 17 tackles and four pass breakups. He left Regina as the schools all-time leader in kick and punt return average with 21.2 an 10.5, respectively.
Campbell spent the 2015 and 2016 seasons playing in the CFL while also continuing his track career at Regina. In 2016, Campbell won a Gold medal in the 60 meters at the CIS Championships. He also won the conference gold medal in his final three years while earning a silver medal as part of the school’s 4x200 relay at the CIS Championships in 2017.
After being selected by the Calgary Stampeders in the third round of the 2015 CFL Draft, he played just five games with the franchise before being traded to the Saskatchewan Roughriders the following year. After two years, he was then traded to the Montreal Allouettes in a trade that included former NFL draft hopeful Vernon Adams Jr.
He finished his career in the CFL with 53 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, three defensive touchdowns, and two forced fumbles.
Campbell caught on with the New York Jets as a camp body prior to the 2019 season. On September 11 last year, he was signed to the practice squad by the Chargers. Throughout the rest of the season, he spent two stints on the active roster but ended the year on the PS before signing a reserve/futures contract with L.A.
Years with team: 1
“Tevaughn Campbell signed a 1 year, $610,000 contract with the Los Angeles Chargers, including an average annual salary of $610,000. In 2020, Campbell will earn a base salary of $610,000, while carrying a cap hit of $610,000.” - Spotrac.com
Campbell boasts good size and a well-built frame for the position. His background in track and field helped him immensely when covering go routes and deep ball shots. He likes to re-route receivers at the line using that physicality. There’s not a ton of film on Campbell from his time in college or the CFL, unfortunately, but he’s obviously done something right to stick with the Bolts even this long.
He had success as a kick and punt returner while in college, which means he does offer a little more versatility than your average practice squad player.
The fact he played his college ball in Canada and wasn’t even a top CFL draft prospect doesn’t bode well for initial impressions of him. The lack of film is also a bit of a deterrent. I threw on one of his highlight films to see what his “best” looked liked and there wasn’t much of anything. A good number of the “highlights” were not plays made by Campbell as much as they were bad plays by the quarterback. There simply just wasn’t enough tape on him to get a good idea of what he brings to the table.
Odds of making the roster/What to expect in 2020?
I don’t think Campbell has much of a shot at the final roster. There are plenty of talented cornerbacks ahead of him and he’s already 27 years old. He may have one more year left to stick on the practice squad as I believe 2019 was technically his first in the NFL so maybe he gets another go-around with the Bolts as he acclimates to the NFL.
Fun Fact: Campbell broke the all-time CFL record in the electronic forty with a 4.35.