One of many problems the Edmonton Eskimos had as they struggled to a 5-12-1 record last season was a lack of game-breakers and difference-makers.

At first glance, Kelly Campbell, a five-foot-11, 170-pound receiver and kick returner, doesn’t necessarily look like the answer to either deficiency, but after a week of training camp, coach Danny Maciocia likes what he sees.

Better still, there’s more to Campbell than meets the eye. Not only does he have a head for the game and hands to match, the former Georgia state track star has speed to burn and room to do it in the wide-open spaces of a CFL field. He looks like a fit.

“As far as the field, it’s just another advantage for me,” said Campbell. “It gives you more opportunity to turn up field and make something happen.”

With a healthy Ricky Ray back as starting quarterback and filling the air with pigskin, the question is who he’ll throw to when the regular season begins.

The 27-year-old Campbell, who played his college ball with the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, has looked as good as any newcomer looking to join a receiving corps that includes Jason Tucker, Kamau Peterson, Fred Stamps and Brock Ralph. He’s also in the plans on special teams.

“He’s a special athlete,” Maciocia said. “The last guy who ran like Kelly was probably Ed Hervey. He keeps teasing me he once ran a 4.2 in the 40-yard dash, but we researched it and it was just under 4.3.

“He’s explosive when he’s got the ball. Those are the kind of guys every team is looking for. If you can get him the ball, he can make a 10-yard throw go the distance.”

Campbell spent parts of three seasons with Minnesota and enjoyed his best campaign with the Vikes in 2003 with 25 catches for 522 yards. He was twice signed by Miami but released.

Campbell is Georgia Tech’s career leader with 2,907 receiving yards, 195 receptions and 24 TD catches. He was a three-time all-ACC selection and boasted 10 games with at least 100 yards in kick returns.

“I love special teams,” Campbell said. “I’ll be a kick returner, a punt returner, whatever you want.
“The more you can do the better your chances are. If you want me on the offensive line, I’ll play there, too. Returning is something I love to do.

“I’m not the tallest guy in the planet, but I’ve got some vertical,” smiled Campbell.