Teresa Campbell is a lifelong Iowa Hawkeyes fan. She didn’t attend the university, but her mother Norma graduated from Iowa in 1953. Watching the black and gold on Saturdays was a normal occurrence growing up.

But, in her many years of watching Hawkeye football, the last few have been quite different. That’s because her 5-year-old grandson, Jack, has the same name as one of the star players on the team. On November 2nd, she reached out to the Hawkeye Headquarters Facebook page with a unique request.

Facebook message to Hawkeye Headquarters from Teresa Campbell.

“We have a Jack Campbell and the Hawkeyes have a Jack Campbell and I thought I’m just going to throw that out there,” Teresa Campbell told me.

Pictured: Jack [bottom], his 9 year old brother Maddux [left], and their father Matt

Every Tuesday during game week, Hawkeye players are made available to the media. When Iowa’s star linebacker was made available to reporters the following Tuesday, I showed him Teresa’s request.

“What’s up Jack? From another Jack Campbell to another Jack Campbell, I would say, ‘Go Hawks!’ I hope you’re doing good. I appreciate all the support you guys give us. I’m thinking about you, and you have a really, really, really, really cool name,” Jack said in a video.

“I can’t tell you how many times we watched that,” Teresa Campbell said. And it was just like ‘is this for real’? It was really cool.”

Another Campbell thought it was cool — Hawkeye Jack’s father Dave. He reached out to me the day I posted Jack’s video, sharing that it ‘made his day’ and wanted to mail Jack some signed gear.

“It was extra special because his name was Jack Campbell,” Dave told me. “But anytime that Jack does something for a little kid, I think that’s more important than actually playing on Saturday.”

“He remembers when he was a little kid watching different guys at U-N-I. Now he’s in that role so he really understands the importance of giving time for the younger kids, because it’s just an awesome experience.”

Little’ Jack Campbell received a football and a photo signed by ‘big’ Jack Campbell — which was delivered to Jack’s family’s house in Columbia, Tennessee.

Jack, holding a signed photo, and Maddux holding the signed football

“It was hard when he wanted to play with the football,” Jack’s father Matt told me. “We had to explain to him that that’s not the kind of football you play with.”

Jack’s encased football, signed “JC #31” from Iowa’s linebacker Jack Campbell

That problem was solved by purchasing a glass casing for Jack’s new piece of memorabilia. Thankfully, a jealous sibling never was one.

“[Maddux] is handling it well,” Matt chuckled. “He’s a good sport about it. He has asked ‘is there anybody named Maddux Campbell on the team?”

While the Tennessee Campbells aren’t necessarily in “Hawkeye country,” they’ve spent holiday seasons fairly close to Iowa City in Keithsburg, Illinois, over the past few years. They would travel to visit Jack and Maddux’s great grandmother, Norma, who ensured her alma mater was well represented.

“They would have a bunch of Hawkeye gear around the house.” Matt Campbell said.

The Campbells aren’t accustomed to snow living in Tennessee. Jack and his brother bundled up in their grandparent’s Hawkeye gear to play in the snow on their visit to the Midwest. But, this year’s trip was a cut a little bit short — when the Campbells found out their Hawkeyes were playing in the Music City Bowl 45 minutes away from home.

An opportunity to watch their beloved team play — and meet their favorite player. Dave Campbell wanted to arrange a time for Jack to meet Jack and his family. So Teresa, her son Matt and their family bought tickets to watch their first Iowa bowl game, returning from Keithsburg a few days ahead of schedule.

“To meet Jack was worth it and of course great grandma gave us the blessing,” Matt said. “I don’t know if we would’ve come back if the whole Jack Campbell stuff didn’t come.”

Pictured from left to right: Darrell Campbell [Teresa’s husband], Teresa, Maddux, Jack, Matt, and his wife Miranda

Jack got to see Iowa play for the first time, and enjoyed a 21-0 shutout of Kentucky. Teresa and her family navigated the outskirts of Nissan Stadium after the game, and found a group of people wearing attire with “Campbell 31” on the back. That’s when she ran into Dave — who assured her that Jack would indeed get to meet Jack.

Left to right: Jack Campbell & Jack, Matt, Maddux, and Miranda

“When he walked out I just stood there with my mouth open,” Teresa recalled. “He just seems like a nice, nice kid. It was like, ‘Did that really happen?’ It was an honor.”

Since the encounter, Teresa’s friends have asked her if she’s the relative of Hawkeye Jack. She isn’t, but says, “I would claim him in a heartbeat.”

Little Jack didn’t have much to say to big Jack, but according to his mother, Miranda, he has a strong recollection of it.

“His mother asked him, ‘Jack what did you think about meeting Hawkeye Jack? He said, ‘This was the best day of my life.”

Five-year-old Jack told me over Zoom that “it was fun when I got to meet him.” His dad did, too.

“Over the course of it all, just getting to be around the big Jack a little bit, it’s cool to see how humble he is,” Matt Campbell said. “To be such a top-level athlete and about-to-be millionaire, for him to take that time to do what he did was just really cool. Having his last college game, we didn’t want to impose by any means. Just to give us two minutes of a really special time so we could take that picture says a lot about him.”

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