GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The six-word message to his followers on social media flashed across timelines five nights before the Gators hosted Missouri on Halloween night.
For today’s generation of iPhone and Instagram players, the ability to connect directly with fans can be a blessing and a curse. There’s never any doubt where you stand and thick skin is recommended.
In Campbell’s case, the veteran Gators defensive lineman had a dispatch he knew would spawn digital high-fives and backslaps.
“It feels good to be back,” he posted on Twitter the evening of Oct. 26.
His approval ratings soared instantly.
Campbell missed Florida’s first three games for unspecified reasons and on the night the Gators returned to practice following a two-week layoff from a COVID-19 outbreak, Campbell’s note served as reminder the Gators were back in action and headed toward their first game in three weeks. Gators head coach Dan Mullen, defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Campbell’s teammates were asked the obligatory questions about the potential impact of Campbell, a 6-foot-4, 295-pound interior lineman from Woodbridge, Va.
Florida’s fifth-leading tackler (39 stops, four tackles for loss, one sack) as a junior, Campbell’s absence had become more of a storyline than perhaps otherwise because in the three games without his