LUBBOCK, TX - In West Texas, striking gold in the oil fields can sometimes be as unpredictable as the weather. It's a venture that is not for the faint of heart. This February two former Texas Tech football players won big.
No, neither of them played in Super Bowl 51 like Danny Amendola, but Cody Campbell and John Sellers did hit pay dirt when they landed the Permian Basin's second largest sale this year. The pair sold 71,000 acres of mineral right for $2.8 billion to Austin-based drilling company, Parsley Energy. The sale made the duo two of the richest Texans under 40.
"He feels like he can do anything I really think, and he's shown that," Cody's father Cliff Campbell said.
"I said in my best man speech that everything he touches is gold," Cody's brother Brady Campbell said. "And there really is some truth to that."
Campbell and Sellers go way back. The two met in junior high, played high school football together at Canyon High School, just south of Amarillo, TX, and then continued their football careers together at Texas Tech.
"We were buddies, we played right next to each other along the offensive and defensive lines," Cody Campbell said. "But I don't think we ever had visions of going into business together until we were in college."
Upon graduation, Campbell spent a season and a half in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, but after tearing a pectoral muscle he was cut by the team. So he tried his hand at real estate. However, that was until 2008 when the housing market crashed.
"We couldn't get anything done, you know the banks are going crazy, you know prices were in a free fall," Campbell said.
So seven years ago he rolled the dice once more. Campbell teamed up with Sellers to start their company Double Eagle Energy Permian LLC. For several years their business survived lease to lease, just to stay above water, until finally in 2013 they scored a few insurance runs. Their first splash sale went for $251 million to Aubrey McClendon for Anadarko Basin assets, just before the 2014 oil industry drop-off.
"We certainly didn't have ambitions of doing what we've done," Campbell said. "We thought it would always be much more humble, and we would kind of hustle around and try to make a good living. But it's turned into something much bigger than that and we're really proud of it."
No matter when the chips were down, or now when he appears to be one of the chip leaders, his family always knew that everything would be alright.
"You know it's always the little brother that says, 'of course my big brother can do this,'" Brady said.
"Truthfully you know we weren't surprised, because we just knew that they had worked their hearts out," Cody's mother, Reagan Campbell said.
"I kind of just knew that if oil and gas didn't work, he was going to make the next stride to something else," Cody's wife, Tara Campbell said. "And Cody was just always a go-getter!"
"Yes you believe they could do it, but then you look back and say 'wow they did it,'" Cliff Campbell said.
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