The Details: DiAndre Campbell Has ‘A Heart For People’

By Mason Kelley

Excuse DiAndre Campbell if he doesn’t quite remember the year. In his fifth season with Washington, the receiver has been around the program long enough that it isn’t always easy to place exact moments with specific seasons.

But, while the year is a blur, the details of one particular practice still stand out – Dwayne Washington was having a tough day.

The running back’s struggles caught Campbell’s attention. As soon as he had an opportunity, he walked over to share a few words of encouragement.

“It’s going to be all right,” he said. “You just need to figure this out and you’ll be OK. Don’t stop. Just keep going.”

A year passed. Another season, another practice and a different player enduring a frustrating practice. This time, though, it wasn’t Campbell who consoled the teammate.

It was Washington.

“Dwayne decides he’s going to do what I did for him for somebody else,” Campbell said.

As the team left the field and headed for the locker room, Washington went up to Campbell.

“Hey ’Dre, I remember when you did that for me,” Washington told his teammate at the time.

For Campbell, those are the moments he remembers. The catches are nice, but helping others means more. As important as anything he has done on the field, Campbell’s legacy will linger, because he is a good teammate.

If a teammate needs a place to stay, Campbell’s door is open. If a friend needs advice, Campbell listens. If a stranger needs help, Campbell will give whatever he has to ease their burden.

“You never know the impact you can have on somebody’s life just by taking the time to invest in someone and encourage them,” he said. “By living my life one day at a time and continuing to fight and go through what I’m going through, it’s encouraging others to do the same.”

The president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, Campbell has always had “a heart for people.”

He learned the value of putting others first from his parents, Stanley and Alfreda.

“Growing up I saw my family take in people who weren’t in the best living situations, take care of them, give them food, shelter and clothes,” Campbell said. “They didn’t charge them a dime. They did it out of the love in their hearts.”

If a teammate needs a place to stay, Campbell’s door is open. If a friend needs advice, Campbell listens. If a stranger needs help, Campbell will give whatever he has to ease their burden.

“I help people any way I can,” he said.

If there are people he can’t reach in person, he spreads his inspirational message through social media.

His goal is simple. He wants people to know that, “when times get tough, don’t give up, don’t lose hope.”

Every now and then, those public posts lead to people sending messages back.

“Hey, thank you for writing what you posted,” they will reply. “It encouraged me in my time of struggle and adversity.”

When Campbell was younger, his father sat him down. He wanted to make sure his son would become a man capable of fighting through adversity.

“Son, I don’t care what anybody tells you, if you put your mind to something, you can do it,” Stanley said.

That message helped Campbell get through some tough times at Washington, years that weren’t always as productive as he planned. 

“It was never more evident to me than when I got here and decided to be resilient through all the seasons of me barely getting any production,” Campbell said.

His patience has been rewarded. Through 10 games this season, he has caught 21 passes for 208 yards and a touchdown. His only score came against Cal, a chance to find the end zone in front of his family and friends.

The Oakland, Calif. native said the 11-yard reception was a “dream come true.” That one play was enough to show Campbell his decision to spend his final collegiate season with Washington was the right choice.

He has become a leader among the program’s receivers. He is a testament to the power of perseverance. When teammates struggle, he shares his story to prove things will get better. 

“I’ve been where you are now, but you can get through it, because I got through it,” Campbell often tells his teammates.

When the season ends, Campbell isn’t quite ready to give up the game. He plans to train and make a run at a professional career. If that doesn’t work out, he isn’t sure where he will work, but he knows it will involve helping others.

“I do have a heart for ministry, whether it’s preaching from the pulpit, leading Bible study or just going out and preaching different places,” Campbell said. “I definitely enjoy doing that.”

Campbell isn’t worried about the future. He spent the past five years focused on the idea that, no matter what happens, a better day is always on the horizon. He has spent so much time encouraging others to “keep going, keep striving” he believes his only option is to continue moving forward and helping others.

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