Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 | 2 a.m.
After leading the Las Vegas High football team to the state semifinals in 2007 as the Wildcats' quarterback, Marvin Campbell hung up his shoulder pads and grabbed a mitt.
A three-sport athlete for the Wildcats, Campbell left football and basketball behind to concentrate on his true love — baseball — and accepted an offer to play for the College of Southern Nevada.
Campbell, who graduated high school in 2008, still misses the gridiron, but his love of baseball was too strong to walk away from. He also played four years of basketball for the Wildcats but said it was a way to pass time between the football and baseball seasons.
"I miss football a lot, especially coming from a program like Las Vegas'," Campbell said. "I learned how to stay committed and how to be a leader there. But baseball is my first love. I have a passion for baseball that's hard to describe."
Campbell passed for 1,848 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007, and he rushed for 531 yards and six touchdowns.
But it was his .488 batting average, four home runs and 40 RBIs that caught the eyes of the Florida Marlins, who drafted Campbell in the 31st round (928th overall) of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
Campbell elected to join CSN with hopes of improving his draft status.
"I love it here (at CSN)," Campbell said. "I love the coaches and the program. My coaches and teammates push me and make sure I'm giving 100 percent all the time. I feel like I'm improving already. I know I'm getting better defensively."
Campbell saw the majority of his innings in high school at first and third base, but he has moved to left field for CSN. He said the move has allowed him to call on some of the skills he utilized as a wide receiver before being moved to quarterback his senior year.
Campbell's ability to swap positions at will does not surprise Las Vegas High baseball coach Sam Thomas.
"Marvin's just a tremendous athlete," Thomas said. "He loved basketball. He loved football, but in baseball he is a true athlete who has the ability to go as far as he wants to go. When he came and told me he was moving to the outfield, he was excited for the challenge."
During the preseason, CSN coach Tim Chambers said Campbell showed he deserved serious playing time by leading the Coyotes in extra base hits and walks while batting roughly .500.
Since the regular season began on Jan. 30, Campbell has struggled with a .167 batting average and two RBIs in 24 at-bats for the 3-5 Coyotes.
"Marvin's over-swinging a little right now and doing some things that are uncharacteristic for him," Chambers said. "Once he settles down and stops trying to go outside himself, he'll be fine. He's very coachable though, so he's already starting to pull out of that."
Jared Harmon can be reached at 990-8922 or [email protected].