Preps Talk

Glenbard West's Carlson gets 4-star film review

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Glenbard West's Carlson gets 4-star film review

Hayden Carlson, Glenbard West's junior safety, has built a reputation that Pro Football Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Dick "Night Train" Lane would be proud of. He is a 6-foot, 180-pound defensive back who hits with all the ferocity of Dick Butkus, like Moby Dick in a goldfish bowl.

And while his body of work includes such prestigious awards as Defensive Player of the Year in the West Surburban Silver conference and Player of the Game in the 2012 Class 7A championship, it all comes down to one defining moment -- "the hit" or "the tackle" -- that has re-shaped his future.

The film doesn't lie.

"I have watched the replay about 10 or 12 times," Carlson said. "I have a tape. Every once in a while, I turn it on. I have watched the entire game twice. Other times I just run the tape to the last three minutes. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't exciting to watch. Every time I watch it."

In case you have been living on another planet and missed the Class 7A championship game between Glenbard West and Lincoln-Way East on Thanksgiving weekend, Carlson is referring to the closing minutes, when Lincoln-Way East was driving in a desperate attempt to overcome a 10-6 deficit.

"They are driving. They got to our 14. They had fourth-and-10. That play was the defining moment in the game," Carlson said. "Lincoln-Way East quarterback Tom Fuessel) went left. I went that way. As he broke containment, I went with him. When I saw him cross the line of scrimmage, I knew I could come up and make the tackle.

"There are other guys staying back to look at the receivers. I had no one to lock on to. I was watching the quarterback (Fuessel) and looking at his eyes. I saw he was going to run. I remember he put his head down and was determined to get to the pylon. I tried to get in the way of it.

"I threw my body at him. I gave all I had. It was the state championship game. I wasn't saving my body for anything else. I got up. My right shoulder was in a lot of pain. He was short (of the goal line) and laying there. I figured I had stopped him short. I felt a sense of relief. That was the scariest drive I have ever been experienced in my life. I was so satisfied to get off the field."

It preserved Glenbard West's victory and forever changed Carlson's life. When he was named the DuPage Valley's Defensive Player of the Year, he said he "didn't expect it in the least." In fact, he didn't realize the award even existed. But making the single most important play in the state championship game? Well, you don't forget moments like that.

"He probably is the best defensive player in the state," Glenbard West coach Chad Hetlet said.

"My stature has elevated considerably," Carlson said. "It is weird that people talk about my name. My parents tell me when they talk to someone and they bring up my name. Hopefully, I can get a pretty girl to go to prom with me. I'm not dating anyone now.

"Most important, now I know I can play at a high level. My future has been affected. I can play this game. I'm better than I thought I was. I never thought I would hear from major schools. Now I am. I guess there is a reason for that. It is exciting to know the opportunities I have been able to acquire."

Related: Hayden Carlson's Rivals.com page

Carlson has many options, more than ever before. And he can expect even more. He has a 5.28 grade-point average on a 5.0 scale. He is taking advance placement and honors courses. This semester, he is studying English, Spanish, physics, government and pre-calculus. He loves math. He once aspired to the Ivy League. That is still a possibility. But so are major Division I programs.

"I want to play football in college, at the highest level I can," he said. "The success I have had this season and the success we have had as a team have shown how I can affect a game. College coaches come in to see me and they have changed my attitude about the recruiting process.

"Earlier, I thought I was too small. Now I think I can play at the next level, Big Ten or major Division I. I have an offer from Toledo and I have heard from Indiana, Minnesota, Ball State and Cincinnati. I think I will hear from more schools."

He already is preparing for his senior year. With running backs Scott Andrews and Devante Toney and tackle Eric Shute also returning, Glenbard West could win another state title. Carlson plans to hire a personal trainer.

"This is the first year I haven't played basketball," he said. "I want to give my body a rest. Then I will get in the weight room. I want to get bigger, faster and stronger. I never have been timed for the 40-yard dash. I want to put on 10 to 15 pounds. I also want to be a smarter football player.

"I watch tape to see how I can improve. Now I am a free safety in the middle of the field. In college, I could be a free or strong safety. I love to tackle and come up and hit. That is my most natural position, where I am most comfortable."

Carlson's dream school is Illinois. His parents are Illinois graduates. His brother Jack currently is a freshman.

"I show the film to coaches when they show up," he said. "I have a highlight tape in the making right now. Hopefully, that will be seen. The hit will be the first clip. The hit or the tackle. I don't refer to it as anything special."

But it always will be.

High School Lites Week 5 Football Roundup

High School Lites Week 5 Football Roundup

High School Lites featured plenty of great action on Friday night as CSN had highlights of many of the area's top matchups. No. 1 Lincoln-Way East hits the road to face Lincoln-Way Central while No. 2 Prairie Ridge hosts Bartlett during homecoming week. Staying in the Fox Valley, we also have highlights of a battle between top-25 teams as No. 17 Cary-Grove travels to No. 20 Huntley. 

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CSNPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.

Also be sure to read a preview of Saturday's big Week 5 matchups as Edgy Tim breaks down Notre Dame battling St. Patrick and West Aurora traveling to South Elgin.


DRIVE: Prairie Ridge: Episode 6

Viewers' Choice Game of the Week: Marmion uses late touchdown to upset No. 24 Montini

Wintrust Athlete of the Week: Homewood-Flossmoor's Justin Hall

St. Xavier Team of the Week: Eisenhower Cardinals

Faith in Football: Old school film stories

Friday's Top 25 Scores

No. 1 Lincoln-Way East 28, Lincoln-Way Central 14

No. 2 Prairie Ridge 63, Bartlett 7

No. 3 Maine South 56, Evanston 14

No. 4 Marist 63, Marian Catholic 6

No. 5 Lake Zurich 41, Warren 35, 2 OT

No. 6 Phillips 68, Vocational 0

No. 7 Homewood-Flossmoor 28, Lincoln-Way West 9

No. 8 Naperville Central 31, Wheaton-Warrenville South 17

No. 9 Lyons 31, Leyden 0

No. 11 Barrington 26, Fremd 14

No. 12 Stevenson 41, Zion-Benton 7

No. 13 Hinsdale Central 31, York 7

No. 14 Hoffman Estates 20, Conant 0

St. Rita 38, No. 15 Mount Carmel 21

No. 16 Nazareth 24, Benet 14

No. 20 Huntley 41, No. 17 Cary-Grove 32

No. 18 Palatine 28, Schaumburg 21

No. 19 Batavia 7, St. Charles East 0

No. 21 Glenbard West 35, Downers North 14

No. 23 Neuqua Valley 41, Thornwood 8

Marmion 28, No. 24 Montini 27

Glenbard North 20, No. 25 Naperville North 7

Other Highlights

Payton outlasts Lindblom

Oswego East holds off Plainfield North

St. Ignatius takes down St. Joseph

Herscher beats Coal City

Saturday's Week 5 Football Games to Watch

Saturday's Week 5 Football Games to Watch

While Friday night had a majority of the Week 5 IHSA high school football action, Saturday features a few games to watch. 

Edgy Tim also breaks down a clash between rivals Notre Dame and St. Pat's as well as unbeaten West Aurora going on the road to face South Elgin.

Catch all of Friday's highlights from Week 5 on High School Lites.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @CSNPreps for all of the latest IHSA football scores and highlights.


Notre Dame at St. Patrick 

EDGY's Take: Notre Dame (3-1, 1-1) is looking to get a win on the road this week. Look for the Dons to get the football into the hands of junior running back Ty Gavin early and often. St. Patrick (2-2, 1-1), coached by first-year head coach Adam Guerra, will look to his offense as a strength. It’s paced by senior quarterback Brett Rosenbusch and senior wide receiver Joey Lombardi. Can the St. Pats’ defense slow down the Notre Dame running game?

EDGY's Pick: Notre Dame 35, St. Patrick 28 

West Aurora at South Elgin

EDGY's Take: West Aurora (4-0) and head coach Nate Eimer will look to get back into the Class 8A state playoff field again this fall. The Blackhawks have another talented team led by junior running back JaQuan Buchanan, sophomore quarterback Will Tammaru and sophomore defensive tackle Denver Warren. South Elgin (4-0) and head coach Pat Pistorio will look towards senior quarterback Nate Gomez, who's a major threat with both the run and the pass. Can the West Aurora defense lock down Gomez? Can the South Elgin defense contain the multiple weapons of the West Aurora offense?

EDGY's Pick: West Aurora 36, South Elgin 27

Other Saturday Games of Note

Fenwick at No. 10 Loyola -- The Ramblers (3-1, 1-0) have won three straight games following a season-opening loss to No. 6 Phillips as they once again look like a major factor. Loyola will face a Fenwick (3-1, 1-0) group that is coming off of a 28-0 win over Leo last week.  

No. 22 Crete-Monee at Rich East -- The Warriors (3-1, 1-0) have won three straight after dropping their season opener to No. 1 Lincoln-Way East as they're coming off of an impressive 71-0 win over Bloom. Rich East (1-3, 0-0) is playing its first Southland game of the season after falling in a high-scoring game to Thornton in Week 4.