2014 WEEK IN REVIEW: 4TH EDITION
Player Spotlight: East Lake (Tarpon Springs, FL) linebacker Carson Lydon
Bob Putnam of the Tampa Bay Times has a must-read article on Virginia Tech-bound linebacker Carson Lydon, who has experienced his share of hardships at a young age. Lydon and his mother moved from Raleigh (N.C.) to Tarpon Springs (FL) in 2013, a move that has turned out to be a big plus for the 6’2″, 230-pound linebacker prospect.
Lydon shined as a junior in 2013, racking up 149 tackles including eight sacks and two interceptions in his first season at East Lake. The Eagles reached the state semifinals last season for the first time and are off to a 4-0 start to the 2014 season. Lydon has made plays on offense (TD runs), defense (recovering a fumble in the end zone) and special teams (two blocked punts in one game) this season, showing why he earned major Division FBS scholarship offers including one from Virginia Tech.
Lydon committed to Virginia Tech on May 28 of this year. He returned to Blacksburg for an official visit last weekend and plans to enroll at Tech in January of 2015, after graduating early from East Lake.
TSL: We’ll start with you official visit. How was the experience?
Carson Lydon: “Obviously, it was a good visit. I was kind of disappointed in the loss, but things happen. I had a lot of fun hanging with the guys. I loved talking to Coach Foster. I always enjoy talking with him, hanging with him. It was good to hang out with the players, finding out who else is enrolling early and who else is looking at Virginia Tech. It was a good experience.”
TSL: What are your reasons for wanting to enroll early at Virginia Tech?
Carson Lydon: “I want to get in because Chase Williams is graduating. I want a chance to fight for his spot and possibly be able to start. I can get faster and stronger, and have a chance to earn playing time. Also, I will get a head start on academics.”
TSL: What does Coach Foster like the most about your game in terms of how you fit in his scheme?
Carson Lydon: “He likes the mindset I have. See ball, get ball, and just being aggressive. I have a willingness to play aggressive.”
TSL: Is there anything that Coach Foster has said that has resonated strongly with you?
Carson Lydon: “It all stands out. His faith in me, saying I’m a going to be a good football player, is important. He believes in me. That’s motivation for me.”
TSL: Who was your host? Did you meet many other players?
Carson Lydon: “My host was freshman linebacker Trent Young. He’s a good guy. I spent time with pretty much everybody else on the team as well. Kendall Fuller, Travon McMillian… I met pretty much everybody on the team. It was great because they are such a close-knit family.”
TSL: Who are some of your favorite NFL players?
Carson Lydon: “I like Patrick Willis and Ray Lewis, but when it comes down to it I have always been into Lawrence Taylor, Jack Lambert, Mike Singletary… old greats like that who were good linebackers. I love how they played and their toughness. How hard-nosed they were.”
TSL: How did you learn about those older players?
Carson Lydon: “Through my uncle and my dad, looking at their cards and everything.”
TSL: Were/are you a big card collector? Any prized cards you have held onto?
Carson Lydon: “I used to be a big collector in elementary school. I think I had over 4,000 cards or something like that. I don’t collect anymore. I have a box of prized cards, from Peyton Manning’s rookie card to Adrian Peterson’s rookie card. I have a Shaun Alexander rookie card. I have some autographed cards. I used to look at EBay all the time when I was collecting.
TSL: Besides football, what else are you passionate about?
Carson Lydon: “I’m very passionate about wakeboarding. I just like how peaceful it is. When I’m out there I just relax. I have a lot of joy in that. I also love hanging out with my dogs, taking them to the beach or whatever. My dogs are my favorite animals in life. They don’t tick me off.”
TSL: I noticed you had two blocked punts in your team’s win over Largo earlier this year. Playing a little Beamer Ball?
Carson Lydon: “Over the course of the last two seasons I have blocked six kicks. I had two against Largo. The first one, I blocked it, picked up the ball and ran, proceeded to fumble myself before picking up again and running it in. (Lydon’s TD was nullified by a penalty.) The second one, I went through a B-Gap. The punter tried to side-step me but I was able to take him down for the sack or whatever you want to call it.”
TSL: Who are the most important influences in your life?
Carson Lydon: “A big influence would obviously be my mom, who raised me to be who I am. I like think of myself as a good human being. There is my mom’s boyfriend, who has become a good role model for me. There is [former New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts player] Chad Bradski, a family friend. He is my mentor. I strive to be like him because he is such a good person.”
Now, here is how the rest of Virginia Tech’s commitments performed on the gridiron last week…
– Adonis Alexander, S, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.)
Alexander and the rest of the Patriots defense surrendered points for the first time this season, but Independence came away with a 27-17 win over Hough to move to 5-0 on the season. Independence recorded four straight shutouts before last Friday’s contest.
Next: Away versus East Mecklenburg on Friday, September 26
– Jahque Alleyne, DB/WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, VA)
Ocean Lakes (3-0) cruised to a 45-10 over Green Run last week.
Next: Away versus Bayside on Friday, September 26.
– Mike Arnold, OL, Winter Haven (FL)
Arnold helped the Blue Devils (3-1) take down Evans, 34-0, before heading to Blacksburg for an official visit last weekend. He of course would verbally commit to the Hokies while on his official visit.
Next: Home versus Kathleen on Friday, September 26
– Chris Cunningham, TE/DE, Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville, FL)
A 42-yard touchdown as time expired gave Oakleaf a 16-14 win over Atlantic Coast, which lost its first game of the 2014 season. The Stingrays are 3-1. Cunningham has two touchdown receptions on the season.
Next: Away versus First Coast on Friday, September 26
– Damien Dozier, DE/OLB, Knightdale (Raleigh, N.C.)
The Knights (2-2) had a bye last week.
Next: Home versus West Johnston on Friday, September 26
– Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Dan River (Ringgold, VA)
Edmunds totaled 91 yards of offense (78 rushing, 13 receiving) and was part of a stingy Dan River defense that held Martinsville to just 101 yards of offense in last week’s 38-13 win. The Wildcats improved to 2-2.
Next: Away versus Nelson County on Friday, September 26
– Darius Fullwood, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, MD)
After winning three straight to open the season, Good Counsel was shutout by Gilman, 20-0. The Falcons (3-1) look to rebound against Nick Johns-led Gonzaga. Johns, a senior quarterback, has committed to UVa.
Next: Versus Gonzaga on Saturday, September 27
– Trevon Hill, DE, Salem (Virginia Beach, VA)
Salem is now 4-0 after last week’s 49-7 blowout win over Kempsville. Hill made an official visit to Virginia Tech last weekend and enjoyed the trip. Check out Hill’s comments on his official visit experience in tomorrow’s “Recruiting Report.”
Next: Home versus Cox on Friday, September 26
– DuWayne Johnson, CB, H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Woodson (3-1) blanked Glen Mills last week, 33-0. The Warriors have won three straight heading into a home game versus Woodrow Wilson, which is led by UVa-bound linebacker Kareem McDonald.
Next: Home versus Wilson on Friday, September 26
– Harry Lewis, DT, Phoebus (Hampton, VA)
Phoebus may be back on track after a 50-0 drubbing of Denbigh this past week. Arch-rival Hampton is up next for the Phantoms (3-1).
Next: Home versus Hampton on Thursday, September 26
– Deshawn McClease, RB, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, VA)
McClease rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns as Oscar Smith crushed Western Branch, 56-14. He has at least five touchdowns on the season. The Tigers have now won two straight after dropping the season opener to Booker T. Washington of Miami.
The biggest news, of course, was that Tigers 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat went down with a serious knee injury in last week’s win.
Next: Away versus Lakeland on Friday, September 26
– Mook Reynolds, CB, Northern Guilford (Greensboro, N.C.)
Northern Guilford improved to 4-0 with a 33-17 win over Reidsville. Reynolds hauled in a 55-yard touchdown reception in the win (hat-tip to gbio101 for the heads up on Mook’s TD).
Next: Home versus Western Alamance on Friday, September 26
– Eric Whitehead, DT, Arsenal Tech (Indianapolis, IN)
Arsenal Tech (2-1) had a bye last week.
Next: Home versus Shortridge Magnet on Friday, September 26
VT CLASS OF 2016
– Logan Byrd, QB, Veterans (Kathleen, GA)
Veterans continues to struggle in 2014. The Warhawks lost last week to Valdosta by a score of 34-0, falling to 0-4 on the year. Veterans has a bye this week.
Next: Home versus Baldwin on Friday, October 3
– Conner ODonnell, WR, Concord First Assembly (N.C.)
Concord First Assembly (1-3) was on the wrong end of a 59-14 decision against High Point Christian Academy. O’Donnell had 10 catches for 278 yards and a touchdown in a losing effort. Click here to view a terrific catch by the Tech-bound receiver.
Next: Home versus Hickory Grove on Friday, September 26