Former Southern Football Player Glenn Carson Going to NFL
From last Thursday night until Saturday afternoon, hundreds of hopeful football players watched their televisions and phones in hopes they would be selected in the National Football League’s draft. In the end, only 256 were selected. Former Southern Regional football linebacker Glenn Carson was not among those 256, but his phone certainly was not silent.
Shortly after the draft, the Arizona Cardinals picked up Carson, who played for Penn State, as an undrafted free agent.
Carson’s high school coach, Chuck Donohue Sr., said he knew that Carson was going have a shot at the NFL. Yet, he could not imagine the anxiety Carson must have felt over the weekend as 256 names were called.
“In the end, he’s at a place that did not draft a linebacker, and a place where there’s a need for someone to play in the middle,” Donohue said.
Donohue feels that Carson will fit into Cardinals coach Bruce Arians’ style of football very well while also playing in a division that demands run-stopping players. This division includes San Francisco’s Frank Gore and Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch. The 49ers also drafted Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde, Carson and the Nittany Lions’ rival.
“It was exciting for him yesterday, and it should be,” Donohue said earlier this week.
While it certainly may be a bummer that Carson’s name wasn’t called during the draft, Donohue reminds people that being an undrafted free agent has its perks, the foremost being able to select the team the player is to join, as opposed to the other way around.
“You get to pick the place that fits your abilities and situation the best,” Donohue explained. “I think he did that.”
While Arizona is miles from Manahawkin, the team does have ties to the area. Both Arians and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles have coached in Philadelphia, Arians as a coach at Temple University and Bowles as defensive backs coach with the Philadelphia Eagles. Both are originally from New Jersey.
Donohue said Carson also received calls from the New England Patriots, the New York Jets, the Houston Texans and the Buffalo Bills.
“When that last draft pick is called, it’s chaos,” Donohue said. “It’s everyone trying to fill the spots that they weren’t able to fill in the draft. The phone rings nonstop.”
“The Cardinals had called him earlier and told him they were not taking a linebacker and were interested in him,” Donohue said. “They kind of set the seeds a little bit early on Saturday.”
Donohue said the Cardinals’ defensive coordinator spoke with Carson so he could get a better understanding of the system.
“The Cardinals kind of had a one-up on everyone else because they had kind of already been in contact with him,” Donohue said.
The name that sticks out among the group that also inquired about Carson’s services is the Houston Texans because their new head coach, Bill O’Brien, was hired in January after coaching Penn State.
However, Carson had already decided to go to the Cardinals when the Texans contacted him, according to Donohue.
O’Brien’s hiring came as a result of the child abuse scandal involving former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, working under coach Joe Paterno. Sandusky was sent to jail, Paterno was fired and severe sanctions were place on the football program.
Due to the sanctions, football players were allowed to transfer without consequence. However, Carson stayed with the program. Donohue gave Carson a lot of credit for enduring the Sandusky scandal and sticking with the program.
“The stuff that has gone on outside of the field has made him tougher,” Donohue said. “It made him have to make some decisions and refortify the belief that he wanted to be at Penn State. I think he’s a better man for that experience.”
Donohue said Carson was excited to go to Penn State since his high school sophomore year.
“What linebacker wouldn’t be?” Donohue asked.
Penn State has been nicknamed “Linebacker U” for its production of quality linebackers, including Cowboy Sean Lee, Steeler Jack Ham, Jet Greg Buttle, Redskin Lavar Arrington, Dolphin Cameron Wake, Bill Shane Conlan, 49er Navorro Bowman and more.
With names like that, Donohue said Penn State was a easy choice over other great programs.
“He just fit in with those guys, and he felt comfortable there,” Donohue said. “And as a three-year starter, that’s an exceptional thing, especially playing in the middle.”
Donohue said Carson will attempt to make the Cardinals’ roster at all costs, using all of his abilities. This includes long snapping, special teams and run-stopping.
“I’m sure he’s all excited being out there this week, getting all caught up in that because their camp starts up on Tuesday,” Donohue said.
Donohue said Carson was a pleasure to coach because of his leadership skills, timeliness and work ethic.
“He’s not a flashy player and he’s not a flashy kid. He’s an old school, hardnosed inside linebacker,” Donohue said. “He’s the same player now as he was in high school.”
“Glenn and his class had kind of taken the program to places it had never been before,” Donohue said.
At the time, the team made the South Jersey Group IV title game for the first time in its history. Carson was also selected as Ocean County player of the year in his senior year.
Carson is not the only Southern alum presently in the NFL. He joins six-year NFL veteran Clark Harris, who is in Cincinnati. If both stay on their respective rosters, they will face each other on Aug. 24.
Southern’s program is still sending kids into college for football. Rams wide receiver Mike Gesicki is headed to Penn State, and he’s got size – 6 feet 5 inches and 245 pounds. Donohue could also envision him as a tight end. He’s confident with hard work, Gesicki will also be in the NFL.
The Cardinals declined an interview and a call to Carson was not returned.