Ohio Stadium in Columbus holds more than 100,000 fans, but during a game, but former Buckeye receiver Parris Campbell insists he could always hear his mother, Shelly Woodruff, when he scored or made a big play.
Campbell credits his mother for a lot his success, both on and off the football field.
“She was super-mom honestly. She has done everything for me. She has never missed anything.” Campbell said. “She did it on her own so its really just a testament to her strength.”
But Woodruff’s strength was tested in 2012 during Campbell’s time at St. Vincent St. Mary High School in Akron. Doctors diagnosed her with Lupus, a debilitating and painful disease.
“It was a tough time because I didn’t like seeing her hooked up to all those wires,” Campbell said.
But not even Lupus stopped Shelly from cheering on her son in the stands.
“He said, ‘Mom this is the hardest thing I ever had to do.’ Well I said ‘Don’t you worry because on Saturday I will be standing there waiting for you. I will be there no matter what,’” Woodruff said.
Woodruff kept her promise, and in return Campbell used the voice and presence of his mom to guide him to the end zone.
“My success is for her because of all the things that she has went through and all the things she has done for me. I just decided to pay her back in some type of way,” Campbell said.
His success carried over into his collegiate career at Ohio State. As a Buckeye, Campbell logged 1,768 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.
During his time in Columbus, he not only evolved into a top NFL prospect but he also became a father to a little boy named, Kai.
And just as his mom inspires him on the field, she is also a role model for him as a parent.
“Just the way my mom raised me and things that she instilled in me — I plan to instill them in my son,” Campbell said. “I want him to describe me as his best friend, not too friendly, definitely a role model for him — a dad that he wants to be like, a dad that was at every game, every event, and just helped him grow into the man that he’ll become.”
As the entire family prepares to enter a different stadium in a new city, Campbell and his mother believe success will follow because he will always feel and hear the echo of his loving family.