2014 CIS Football Player to Watch: Jarrett Carson, York Lions

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Source: Rob Ayre, York

Name: Jarrett Carson
University: York
Hometown: Brossard, Que.
High school / Cegep: Chambly Academy / John AbbottCollege
Position: Receiver
Academic program: Psychology
Year of eligibility: 2
Height: 5-9
Weight: 182

For Jarrett Carson, football is a family affair. The son ofDavid Carson, the quarterbacks coach at CEGEP Vieux Montreal,football has been written into his DNA from a young age.

“I started playing football when I was five yearsold,” he says of his earliest memories of the sport. “Iwas on what they call a taxi squad, where you practice with guysthat are older, but I was too young to play right away. I reallyenjoyed hitting, and that separated the sport from othernon-contact sports I had tried.”

Having a father so involved in football helped him develop apassion for the game, and also helped him advance in the sport ashe got older.

“My dad is in his 20th year as a coach and he has beenbehind me from the beginning. He didn’t pressure me intoplaying football, but he pushed me in that direction and I’vealways liked watching since I was young. I’ve learned a lotfrom him, and he spent a lot of time telling me how to do the rightthing on the field. He’s a good motivator in that sensebecause he’s been through it all.”

According to Carson, it wasn’t until he was 14 that hedecided for certain the game of football would be his sport.

“At 14 I almost didn’t play and then the first gamecame along and I really missed it, so I came back for the secondgame and I realized that it’s what I wanted to play from thenon.”

It seems fitting that with his father coaching the game, Carsoncan remember reading playbooks over breakfast as a kid, anadvantage that helped him get ahead compared to some of histeammates. He started as a quarterback under the tutelage of hisfather and only recently switched to receiver, a position he hasbeen at for just three years. He’s used what he learned fromhis dad and taken on the new position with determination anddrive.

“At first it was a challenge,” he said. “Ididn’t respect receivers enough as a quarterback until Iplayed the position and wow, it was tough. But as I got through it,it’s actually benefited me playing quarterback because I getto see both sides, the defending reads are a lot easier forme.”

After receiving MVP honors at John Abbott College in Montreal,Carson was ready to take on the challenge of CIS football. He had alot of different schools look at him for their programs, but hisrecruiting trip to York sealed his decision to head east to Torontofor his varsity career.

“The coaching staff here really went above and beyond toshow they wanted me to play here,” said Carson. “Theyhad high expectations of me and told me they knew I could play.I’ve really enjoy the coaches and playing forYork.”

Standing 5-foot-9 and weighing in at 182 pounds, Carson is asmall player in relation to other guys on the field. But thathasn’t deterred him from taking on a prominent role withinthe Lions offence. After developing in his rookie season last year,he has positioned himself as a key player going into 2014.

He had a strong end to his first year with the Lions, finishingwith five receptions for 107 yards in the season’s final twogames. He appeared in six games overall, and felt by the end of theseason that he had started to adapt to the high level of playrequired in the CIS.

“At first it was tough. It’s a big step because theplaybook is a lot bigger and plays were a lot different than inhigh school. Half way through the year I started catching on and mylast three games I really stepped up. It carried me into thisyear.”

Carson is back and ready to have an even more successful season.After a tremendous showing at the team’s spring trainingcamp, he’s ready to take a stronger place on the offence andbecome a leader on the team. The coaches expect him to step into aleadership role, a position he is ready and willing to take on.

“I’ve been doing it so far, I enjoy it. Itmotivates me and I like to motivate others and get themgoing,” he said. “Pregame speeches and that kind ofthing, that’s football to me.”

The coaches agree and are looking to utilize the unique speedthat Carson brings to the table. They have put him in differentpositions on the field to try and take advantage of the speed hebrings to the position.

Football will no doubt be a lifelong passion for Carson,stretching beyond his time with the York Lions.

“I would love to play pro, that’s obviously a goalas a CIS player,” he said. “As for this season, I wantto stack up as many yards as possible to help the team on offence.And down the road, when I’m done playing, I would love to bea coach as well. I just want to carry on that footballtradition.”

The Lions will be looking to Carson for his leadership andskills both on and off the field. After a strong finish to lastyear and pushing himself to his limits in the off-season,he’s ready to step up and make a difference for the team andhis coaches.

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