Chad Carson: Emerging from the Termite's Shadow
|2000-09-09 01:38:13.0- -|
CLEMSON, SC - Prior to last Saturday’s season-opening win over The Citadel,
Clemson middle linebacker Chad Carson was probably more well-known for his academic prowess rather than his on-field exploits.
After all, he plays in the rather large shadow cast by All-America
linebacker Keith Adams. And with another high-profile defender – Missouri defensive end Justin Smith - coming into Death Valley today (3:30 p.m., ABC regional telecast) that shadow could loom larger.
But that may be about to change.
Carson, a second-team Academic All-American biology major with a 3.9 GPA, recorded a career-high 18 tackles in the Tigers’ 38-0 win over the Bulldogs last week, which leaves him in a tie with Clemson legend Jeff Davis for the record for tackles in a season-opener. He finished his evening with eight solo tackles and 10 assists, and opened a lot of eyes in the process.
“Chad is a very intense player,” said Adams of his linebacking-corps mate. “It took him a little time to settle into his game. But he’s really worked hard and made himself the player that he is today.”
If Carson keeps going at his current pace, it’s possible that he will be the one casting shadows by season’s end.
In his last two games, the junior from Newnan, Ga. has a team-high 34
tackles to his credit, including 16 in Clemson’s Peach Bowl loss to
Mississippi State last December. His 144 tackles in 1999 was the 10th
highest such total in CU history.
“It’s rewarding when you play well and do your job,” said Carson. “It makes the whole team look good.”
What’s looking good for Clemson at the moment is its linebackers, without a doubt the backbone of its defense. Carson and Adams combined for an astounding 330 tackles last season, and are off to an impressive start again this year. A large part of that success can be traced to Carson’s work ethic. Striving for excellence in the classroom is beginning to pay major dividends on the football field.
“Chad definitely has improved. And he deserves all the recognition he’s
getting right now,” said Adams. “He really worked hard in the offseason. I’m very happy he’s stepped his game up to that level. He’s going to be a great part of this defense this year.”
Brad Davis is the asst sports editor of Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Daily Messenger.
His columns can be read at www.dailyjournalmessenger.com.