Video by Paul Bandong and JP Raineri
“It’s definitely worth the time and distance to train here!” exclaimed Mason Walter, a 6’5” 270-pound offensive lineman from Chaparral High School. “Very high intensity; my legs are pretty burned right now,” said an exhausted Kyle Hoppe, a 6’2” 290-pound lineman who plays on both sides of the ball for the Pumas. The two are part of a starting offensive line that loses only one senior; that bodes well for a Chaparral team that was considered young this past year. “We’re expecting a great season,” said Hoppe, “and we’re training to be ready for it.”
They were just two of the sixty high school players from all over the Inland Empire who showed up for the grand opening of Winner’s Circle Athletics, a high-performance sports training center in Corona. Also training there were local athletes preparing for college: Tre Watson of Centennial (UC Berkeley), Norco running back Cory Young (Boise State), Austin Maloata, a 250-pound defensive end from Centennial (Oregon).
Professional athletes were also there: Damien Stafford, cornerback (Tennessee Titans); Toby Gerhart and Brandley Russell, running backs (Minnesota Vikings); Vontaze Burfect, the NFL’s leading tackler and an outside linebacker for (Cincinnati Bengals); Darnell Bing, Thorpe Award winner from USC and NFL linebacker; Ontario Colony graduates Omar Bolden, safety (Denver Broncos) and Bobby Wagner, linebacker (Seattle Serahawks). “We’re blessed to have NFL guys and Major League Baseball guys here to workout and to inspire the younger guys,” said founder Jordan Campbell.
The high-performance sports training center was started by Campbell — who recently signed with the Kansas City Chiefs — and Arby Fields, outfielder with the Detroit Tigers and Seattle Mariners and a Los Osos High School (Rancho Cucamonga) graduate . “I want to give back to the community and help the youth understand what it takes to get to the next level – bridge the gap from high school to college and from college to the NFL,” said Campbell, “I came from nothing. I had nothing but my family and my faith. And I want to share my resources to help others and to give them the next-level training they need.”
Campbell was a four-year standout at Norco High School, where he contributed to four Cougar CIF championships. He was recruited by USC when they were ranked #1 in the nation. Campbell ended up with an unfortunate situation there, leaving when Pete Carroll left and just before sanctions were meted out by the NCAA. He spent a semester at University of Louisville and then was out of football for a year.
Campbell applied for an NCAA waiver and ended up playing Division 2 football at University of New Mexico-Highlands, one of the bottom programs in the nation at the time (1-10 record, ranked 142/142). Other friends and players joined him there and they turned the program around (top 25).
Campbell was a two-time All-American with two 100+ tackle seasons and set an RMAC record with a nation-leading 28.5 tackles for loss (TFL) in 2011. In addition to 52 TFL’s, he also recorded 17.5 sacks.
Campbell was invited to the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl where he was named the ESPN Impact Player of the Game. Despite being considered undersized at 5’10-1/2” and 240 pounds, Campbell’s combine results were impressive: 36.5” vertical, 4.58 second 40-yd dash, 7.1 second 7-cone drill, bench press 225 pounds 35 times. He was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals and subsequently released due to a stacked linebacker corps.
Campbell signed in January with the Kansas City Chiefs as a linebacker and possible fullback.
The Winner’s Circle Athletics gym combines hi-intensity functional training with nutritional education and products, SAT/ACT preparation, and life lessons designed to build character and positive values.
DeChon Burns, head coach for Linfield Christian High School and a former coach with the Washington Redskins and several colleges and universities, has known Campbell since he was a child in the neighborhood and spent time training him before his stint with the Bengals. Burns spoke to the athletes about various aspects of training and recruiting.
Also there to support the grand opening were SKLZ training gear; Nutrishop; Muscle Pharm; Body Armor SuperDrink; Swivel Vision; and Diana Wehbe, author and radio/media personality. “We are excited to partner with Jordan Campbell and what he is bringing to the inland empire,” said SKILZ performance Specialist Michael Cummings, “not only training elite athletes, but also high school team athletes. He’s a great ambassador for health and wellness.”
“It’s a lot different than our weight room at Chaparral,” said Chaparral’s Mason, “More intensity, different training. It’s worth the forty-five minutes to get here. We’ll be making this trip every weekend!”
Winner Circle Athletics is located just northwest of the Hwy 15/Hwy 91 interchange at 500 Harrington Street in Corona.