Michael Campanaro, at just 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, is one of the greatest playmakers in Wake Forest history. The senior receiver already has tied the ACC record with 16 receptions in a game, a feat he’s done twice, and needs just 23 more receptions to break Desmond Clark’s school record of 216 from 1995-98.
With a huge home game against N.C. State on Saturday, Campanaro has other things in mind than records.
Q: You’re on track to break the school record for receptions and already own the ACC record for receptions in a game. What’s it like to be a record holder at the D-I level?
A. It’s pretty special at the moment and I’m sure that years from now I’ll reflect on it more, but for now I just want our team to win. I caught 16 passes against (Louisiana-Monroe) and we didn’t get the win so it wasn’t as great. I’d much rather set a record when we won, that’s all.
Q: Records aside, you’ve become a high profile prospect for next year’s NFL draft. What would it mean to hear your name called?
A. It would be amazing because that’s what I’ve worked so hard for. We’ve had some great receivers come out of here like Chris (Givens) a few years ago, so upholding that in the NFL is huge. But the great thing about my position is that there is a need on most teams for a good slot receiver.
Q: How much has the position changed in recent years with players like Wes Welker and Victor Cruz changed the position?
A. Guys like that have made it easier for guys like me to get noticed, but they’ve also changed the perception for most NFL scouts. It’s never been easy being a smaller receiver, but they’ve set a foundation for what great slot receivers should look like.
Q: How important is the game against N.C. State and, more importantly, maintaining the home winning streak?
A. It’s really important anytime you’ve got an in-state rival coming to your place. The stadium is usually packed and getting that ‘W’ against N.C. State is not only huge for us, but for the fans and the community. It’s a more hostile environment and we know we’ve got to defend our house.
Q: What is the atmosphere like on campus before a big rivalry game? What about at the game?
A. Just like the players, the fans are always really pumped for games like these and they let you know it. When we’re walking around campus, you can tell people are more excited for those games. And when we step on the field, I don’t really know how to describe it. You can just tell it means more to them.
Q: Last year in Raleigh, (N.C. State cornerback) Dontae Johnson was able to limit you to five receptions for 14 yards. I’m guessing you want to rebound from that performance?
A. Yeah, I’d say so. (He laughs.) Dontae is actually a friend of mine and we talked about that when we were at the ACC media days before the season. That was not a good game for us as an offense and some of that had to do with me. I definitely want to get the upper hand this time when we play.