As Penn State's only addition to 'Linebacker U' in its Class of 2009, naturally Glenn Carson had high expectations. One of seven four-star prospect in the class of 26, Carson had plans of seeing the field early on special teams and working his way into the linebacker rotation early.
But those high hopes fell through before they even got off the ground, as back surgery forced Carson to sit out the season as a greyshirt back in his native New Jersey.
Carson finished the 2008 season with 98 tackles, 61 of which were solo, and set a school record with 171 solo tackles in his career. He also ran for 825 yards on 158 carries and scored 10 touchdowns, as he led Southern to its first ever state title game appearance. The Rams lost to Mainland Regional in the South Jersey Group IV championship.
He was named first team all-state, Ocean County Player of the Year, first team all-South Jersey and first team all-league following the season.
He also won state gold as a 215-pounder during wrestling season last year.
After a year-long layoff from football, Carson is ready to get back at it, and will enroll at Penn State in January. The following is the transcript of his interview with BlueWhiteIllustrated.com.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: First things first, what have you been up to over the last few months back in New Jersey?
Glenn Carson: I've just been taking some classes at county college that will transfer over to Penn State. Along with that I've been working out pretty much every day. I weight train on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, and I either do agility or conditioning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. My high school coach does that with me, he's good with that stuff. I've been putting on some pretty good weight, not a lot of weight, but good weight in the sense of good muscle and lean mass. I feel pretty good, I've been working out and I'm looking forward to getting back.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: You mentioned that you put on some weight, where are you with that right now?
Glenn Carson: I'm about 230 right now.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Are you ready to get back up to Penn State?
Glenn Carson: Definitely. I'm sick of being home.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Can you explain the whole greyshirt situation?
Glenn Carson: What happened was, I got hurt last football season. My back was bothering me, and I getting radiating pain down my legs. Then I got epidural shots after football season and I felt great. I thought I was better.
Then I wrestled with it, and after wrestling season I guess the shots wore off and the doctor that I was going to see, I got more than one opinion, but basically it came down to those two epidoral shots didn't work, and they said it was going to be a reoccurring injury unless I got the back discectomy, I think it's called. They just shaved the disk off and get it off that cyanic nerve, the herniated disk that was pinching the cyanic nerve, and I got that surgery in the spring.
I wasn't sure at the time, I thought it wasn't that huge of a surgery and maybe I could be back by camp, but Penn State made the call and kind of said let's not rush this thing, there's a thing called a greyshirt. I wasn't even aware of that, that you can take it and not use any eligibility, that way I still have my redshirt - not necessarily that they're going to redshirt me next year.
Sean Lee is a great example, it's always great to have your redshirt in your pocket if you don't take it. So that was kind of the call, and I thought it was a good idea. This way I didn't lose any eligibility. Thinking of it, it was kind of heartbreaking at the time. Being recruited kind of early and just dying to play at one of these schools, and then it was finally so close, and I had to wait back on it. It was definitely hard. But with the help of family and previous coaches, they kind of explained that it was good, because, since I was six or eight years old, I never took a year off, I was jumping from sport to sport, and I never really gave my body a rest. So it was a good time to give my body a rest and go into this thing."
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: How is the back progressing and are you ready to go?
Glenn Carson: When I come back, I'm ready to do everything. I've been doing pretty heavy back squats, and even though we don't do that much back squatting at Penn State, I've been testing out the back basically. It feels great. I haven't had that radiating pain in a long time, knock on wood. Thank God.
Going in, I'm going to be able to do everything playing-wise, and they're going to need a longsnapper, they're saying. When I went to one of the camps I was playing around longsnapping, and that could be one of my major roles next year, I'm not sure. We'll see where the longsnapping thing goes and linebacker-wise, I'm not really sure. I just need to go into camp and do what I can and we'll see what happens.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Has Ron Vanderlinden been out to see you at all?
Glenn Carson: He hasn't come out. Actually I think that I probably wouldn't even like it. I was so sick of the recruiting process, and I kind of told him and the coaches that I'm not a recruit anymore, they don't have to really treat me like a recruit. I'm a Nittany Lion, I'm not going anywhere, so use your time on someone else that we need.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Did any schools try to make a move for you when they saw you weren't at Penn State for the fall?
Glenn Carson: Not really. I think a couple of coaches contacted my coach and said, 'I don't see Glenn on the roster,' and he would just have to explain the situation. No one has contacted me personally. The day I committed, my mind was made up and I don't want to be anywhere else. I want to be at Penn State.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: You made a couple of visits for games at Penn State, how tough was it to sit and watch the games?
Glenn Carson: It was definitely tough to sit in the recruits section when I should have been on the field. Then again, in the short time I was there in the summer, I made some pretty good friends, so it was good to see them as well. I kind of see it as home, so that's why I'm excited to get back there.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Are you ready to get back into it?
Glenn Carson: I'm dying to suit up, because I haven't put a helmet on in over a year now. It's going to make me even hungrier in that way. That's good, I'm going to be really hungry to play. When I get back into it, it's going to take me a really long time to get sick of it. I really love the game, and I'm really excited to get back.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: What kind of goals do you have for this upcoming season?
Glenn Carson: I would really like to see some playing time. That's probably my biggest goal. It would be nice to break the lineup. We'll see, you never know, but really you could say my major goal is to play a good amount of linebacker next year.
BlueWhiteIllustrated.com: Have they given you a number yet?
Glenn Carson: I think I'll be wearing 40, because Vandy said that I could get that last year because the kid that had it now is graduating. That was my high school number.