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Ellsworth's Campbell signs to attend Minnesota State

There were plenty of places Ellsworth's Alex Campbell could have walked on to play football: the University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of Minnesota, Duluth, North Dakota State University and Valparaiso University.

But Campbell will not only walk onto the Minnesota State University-Mankato campus next fall, he will also have a scholarship in tow.

Campbell signed a national letter of intent to attend MSU-Mankato Friday afternoon in the old gymnasium at Ellsworth High School.

Campbell played on both offense and defense at Ellsworth, but he said the coaching staff at Mankato plans to use him at safety. He also said they plan to redshirt him during his first year with the Mavericks.

"It's up to them, I'll play wherever they need me at," Campbell said. "I think it helps to redshirt because it will allow me to get to know my teammates and have time to fit into the program. They said they plan to redshirt most of the freshmen."

In choosing MSU, Campbell said he talked to others he knew went there and they sold him on attending school as much as visiting the campus did.

"I liked the campus a lot when I visited but in talking to people I knew who went there, it really convinced me," Campbell said. "They said there's everything I could ever want was there and it made me feel confident in my decision."

Campbell chose Minnesota State despite the fact the Mavericks will be led by interim head coach Aaron Keen. He was chosen to lead the program after previous coach Todd Hoffner was removed from his post last August due to a scandal revolving around the use of a university issued cellphone. In Hoffman's absence, Keen led the Mavericks to one of the school's best seasons ever, 13-1 overall, winning the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title and advanced to the semifinal round of the NCAA Division II Tournament. He received several coaching awards in the offseason.

"I didn't think much about it but they told recruits about what was going on," Campbell said. "They were very straight forward about it. And I was very impressed with the coaching staff."

Ellsworth head coach Clair Austin said Campbell impressed him right away in the first practices he held in his first season with the Panthers' football program.

"He's very athletic to begin with, but he had the best skills I had ever seen in coaching defensive backs," Austin said. "Not only will Minnesota State get a very good player but a quality kid. He's going to do what they need him to do. The coaches there will be impressed with his abilities and as a person."

Football wasn't even on Campbell's mind when he was a freshman at Ellsworth. He said he planned on running cross-country until his father talked him into playing football.

"I'm glad he did because from that point on I've loved football more and more," Campbell said.

Campbell plans on studying to be a physical trainer.