EL CENTRO - Thadeo Campbell and Joseph Tarango are two local student athletes who are preparing to finish off their last days as seniors at Central Union High School and are fortunate enough to be looking forward to a future as college football players.
Earlier this year, Campbell and Tarango were invited to Colorado State University, Pueblo for a campus tour and a potential scouting opportunity. Tarango already verbally committed to the Pueblo Thunderwolves, while Campbell still has options to weigh before he decides.
In an interview with The Desert Review, Campbell and Tarango talked about their experience in Colorado.
“That was actually my first time seeing so much snow,” opened Tarango.
The University covered the basic expenses for the trip during the scouting process.
The scouts as well as the athletes and their families toured the campus together.
“At first they showed us how things will run on an everyday basis on campus and at practice,” said Campbell.
The boys were shown the college’s facilities such as the weight room, locker room, and film room.
“We were able to see what type of formations they run and things of that sort,” said Campbell. “We all broke into to our individual positions and were explained about how practice is expected to run.”
On the first night upon arrival, Campbell and Tarango witnessed a senior banquet for the upperclassmen that were leaving.
“We were able to see how their coach interacted with their players,” said Campbell. “We each had a player host and they would talk to us and show us around the campus.”
The boys said they were impressed with the coach’s relationship with his players.
“He knew his players, their tendencies, and about their academics,” said Tarango. “He knew their background and the struggles they’ve been through. It felt like a family.”
Both young men said they are very aware of the importance of remaining disciplined in their studies once they go to college.
“Looking forward, we know that we still have to mature more and since we’re gonna be on our own, we’re going to have to concentrate on our grades as well as the athletics,” said Campbell. “We’re transitioning into young adults and we’re going to have to juggle school and football without having our parents behind us telling us what to do.”
Campbell shared that his main inspiration has been his mother.
“My mother, especially since she’s still working on her Master’s degree, which is amazing because while she’s working and going to school, she still finds ways to take care of me and my sister,” said Campbell.
Tarango alluded to how NFL player Royce Freeman inspired him.
“As a kid, I went to Ben Hulse and all I would hear about was Royce Freeman, then I went to a couple games to see him play, and that made me fall in love with football. I told myself then that I wanted to play college ball,” said Tarango.
Both young men said they wanted the younger kids to know the payoff for hard work and commitment.
“School is a big deal and is where a lot of athletes fall off,” said Campbell. “If we don’t take care of our academics, we won’t be able to further our education or continue playing ball. There are no short-cuts for something that you want to be amazing at. Lots of long nights and early mornings working out and studying film,” said Campbell.
“People may doubt you, but if you believe in yourself, you can do anything you put your mind to,” closed Tarango. "Don’t let anyone tell you that you may be too small or not fast enough.”