West Delaware junior Carson Petlon is easy to notice on the football field. But fans and opposing teams aren’t the only ones paying attention to the 6-foot-6, 295-pound lineman.
Petlon is drawing the interest of numerous collegiate football programs, and was recently named the No. 25 prospect in Iowa’s Class of 2021 by the Des Moines Register. 24/7 Sports lists Petlon as a player to watch after a productive summer of camps and showcases in 2019 followed by a solid junior season.
“Due to his sheer size, Petlon is a prospect to watch in Iowa,” said Matthew Bain of The Register. “Also a heavyweight wrestler, he shows promise with his effort and agility, as well.”
Petlon carried over 300 pounds as a junior, but hopes to play a bit lighter next fall.
“This year I’m going to try and stay in the 290-range,” Petlon said. “I just feel like I move a lot better when I’m down there.”
Petlon is hearing from a wide range of FBS (formerly known as Division I) and FCS (formerly Division I-AA) programs in the middle of the country, with a handful of Big 10, Big 12, Mid-American and Missouri Valley Conference schools showing varying levels of interest.
“So far I’ve been in pretty much great contact with the South Dakota State coach,” Petlon said. “I’ve talked to Northern Illinois, I’ll be going over there at some point, Iowa, Iowa State, North Dakota State, North Dakota and Illinois State.”
“I just had a good visit at UNI a few weeks ago. That was pretty fun,” he added. “Nebraska — I’ll be going there a few times, and Kansas State. I want to get to pretty much all of those places for a camp.”
The offensive line is the projected position for Petlon.
“Right now it looks like offensive guard is the place. I guess that’s where they put guys, but I don’t really care where I play,” he said. “They tell me they like my frame, and a lot of them like that I’m a wrestler because they know what kind of practices we have to go through here.”
Petlon got the itch to play at the next level early in his high school career, and that led to frequent summer camp appearances.
“I didn’t know about all these football camps. I just wanted to get better and learn more about the sport,” he said. “My mom got in contact with the Volks (Iowa signee Josh Volk) from Cedar Rapids Xavier, because we didn’t really know anything about football camps. Once I got to the camps some people started noticing me.”
Petlon participated in the prestigious All-American Bowl Combine in San Antonio this winter, and was able to measure his skills against many of the top players in the nation.
“It was a great opportunity to go there, and that combine is a big step toward getting a spot in the All-American game for seniors.”
Petlon is appreciative of the opportunity that has been afforded him at West Delaware.
“We have a great support system here — everyone from coaches and parents to fans,” he said. “We do a good job of keeping athletes involved in multiple sports, and we hold each other accountable.”
“Another thing that makes West Delaware different is that our coaches — not just the football coaches, but the wrestling coaches as well — support you through every sport. They’re always there to make sure you’re doing everything you can do to get better.”
Along with every other athlete, Petlon is facing a change in routine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but along with brother Ben, is doing the best he can to stay sharp during the layoff.
“Ben and I actually have our own lifting setup, so we’ve been working out here,” he said. “We were getting together to play basketball with our buddies, but haven’t done that for a while.”