The recruiting list of Division I teams who have offered scholarships to William Chrisman senior defensive lineman Daniel Carson reads like a who’s who of the best of the best – Miami, Texas, Nebraska, Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Missouri, Arkansas – and the list goes on.
Carson, arguably the finest defensive player in the history of the Bears football program, will make his decision in February. Meanwhile, he is playing center for a much-improved Chrisman basketball team and raking in postseason honors.
He is a member of several all-state teams, was named to the prestigious All-Simone team, which includes players from both sides of the state, was a finalist for the Buck Buchanan Award (top lineman or linebacker in the metro area) for the second straight season and is The Examiner’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
He burst on the scene as a junior in 2016 when he led the most successful Bears team in history with 13 sacks and 56 tackles. This season he had six sacks, 73 total tackles and 17 tackles for loss and finishes his brilliant career with 162 tackles and 21 sacks.
Not bad for a player who never really had the opportunity to show what he could do on a game-by-game basis because every team ran away from the 6-foot-6, 280-pound standout.
“Let’s talk about ultimate respect,” Chrisman coach Matt Perry said, grinning and shaking his head. “Every team – every team we played the past two seasons – ran away from Daniel. The young man is a game changer, and our opponents weren’t going to let him dominate a game, so they ran away from him.”
One reason Carson was able to accumulate the number of tackles and sacks was his speed and ability to run from sideline to sideline, zeroing in on a quarterback outside the pocket or a running back who underestimated the 6-foot-5, 280-pound senior’s speed and agility.
“The reason Daniel is getting so many looks from so many really big schools is simple,” Perry added. “He’s so physical, he has the size, the strength, the speed, the length (a 7-foot-4 arm span) and he has a high football IQ.
“And, he’s a great kid. Coaches come visit him and really enjoy meeting him and talking with him – and that makes them want him as part of their team even more. He’s just the total package.”
A humble “total package.”
“I’m so honored and surprised to get this award from The Examiner,” Carson said as he stretched before playing a recent Bears basketball game. “All I think about during the season is how I can help my team win, but now that it’s over it’s special to get this honor.
“But I couldn’t even think of an award like this without my coaches and my teammates, they’re the reason I was able to have such a good season.”
When asked about opponents’ game plan, in which they ran away from Carson, he just shrugged.
“That’s frustrating, but there’s nothing you can do about it,” he said. “You just have to make the most of any opportunity you get.”
Like a memorable 80-yard fumble return for a touchdown in a 28-16 victory over Grandview.
“That was nice,” he said, grinning, “scoring a touchdown and getting a sack and a half. That was cool, I really enjoyed that game. It was a good win for the team.”
When asked the inevitable question, Carson has a ready answer: When are you going to let us know where you’re playing college ball?
“In February,” he said. “I have some more visits to make. This is a big decision and I want to make the right one. I’m sure I’ll get some more calls and emails … and that’s fine with me. It’s an honor that so many schools are interested in me.”
Carson and his good friend, James Bailey (who graduated last year and was a redshirt freshman at Western Illinois) are two of the players responsible for the recent turnaround of the Chrisman football program, which won its first conference title in 35 seasons in Carson’s junior year and went 15-6 the last two seasons.
“That’s the best thing about playing at Chrisman when I did,” Carson said. “People are going to be talking about the success our teams had and hopefully that success will continue for a long, long time.
“Who knows, maybe someday I can come back with my family and show them a championship banner and say, ‘I was a part of the start of that success.’”