BEREA, Ohio -- When the Baldwin Wallace University football team opens its season on September 13 against non-conference foe Bluffton University, senior CAPITAL ONE Academic All-America candidate Addison Carbone (Hudson) will begin his final season of football with his health intact.
Against Bluffton two years ago, in a 45-13 BW victory at The George Finnie Stadium in Berea, Carbone had three tackles, but was injured and missed the remainder of the season as well as the wrestling season.
When that happened, he traded his helmet for a headset and spend the rest of the season in press boxes offering color commentary during broadcasts by campus radio station WBWC, 88.3 FM. In addition and since that time, Carbone also has dedicated himself to being in the best shape possible.
Even though Carbone enjoyed doing games on the radio, his injury haunted him.
"At first it was really hard to miss out on a full season of football, especially because I had worked so hard for it in the offseason.
"My injury was frustrating," continued Carbone. "And it felt even worse once I realized I would never play again with the graduated seniors of 2012. They were guys that I lifted and sacrificed with for three years. That was tough because you develop a love of your teammates.
"It got a little easier last season because I was able to play a full season and retain my health for the most part," said Carbone, who had 33 total tackles, a quarterback sack and four tackles for loss in 2013. "This season, I am ready to play my final season of football and contribute as much as I can to my team and teammates."
As for doing games on WBWC, Carbone said, "Sure it was fun doing games on WBWC. It was a great opportunity to learn a new skill. But I was ready last fall (2013) to strap on my helmet and get back to playing football."
Throughout his injury Carbone was given advice from many people, but Coach Gibbs [BW fourth-year Head Wrestling Coach Jamie Gibbs] was the most influential.
"It [the advice] was the most clear from him [Gibbs]," said Carbone. "He said, you got hurt and your wrestling career is over. Try to make this a positive experience. Spend the time working hard and be the best football student-athlete and team leader that you can be.
"It was great advice," continued Carbone. I took a look at the situation and thought about graduate school, which is really expensive. I decided that I'm going to come back to BW for a red-shirt fifth year to play football and be a triple major in marketing, management and finance. I also have the option of beginning my MBA (Master's in Business Administration)."
He has also been working on his physical condition during the offseason.
"I've been trying to be as big as I can be for the past seven years and I'm still only five-foot, 11 inches and 245 pounds," said Carbone, who had 26 tackles and lettered as a sophomore and went on to earn another varsity letter as BW's starting 285-pound wrestler. "All I can do is to be in the best physical condition possible and then rely on what I've been taught by our outstanding coaching staff."
Carbone played many sports growing up. He always wanted to show people what he can do when it came to his abilities in each sport.
"I played basketball in eighth and ninth grade because other kids thought I got cut from the seventh grade team and I wanted to prove them wrong," said Carbone.
Carbone is simply a competitor.
"I get to spend everyday trying to make myself better in each of the things I love, one of which is football," said Carbone. "Football is the ultimate team sport. If I do my job and my teammates do their job, it's almost impossible for an offense to move the ball."
Carbone explained that he is not the biggest guy on the field but he likes the challenge to go against the taller, bigger, stronger players.
"The other side of football is maximizing your potential with technique and mental toughness, identifying tendencies and knowing defensive concepts," said Carbone. "I think that's where I excel and maximize my potential. It's where you combine athletic ability with both intelligence and work ethic. It simply correlates to real life. It correlates to maximizing your potential."
Academically, Carbone excels in the classroom. He carries a 3.612 grade point average.
"My parents and my peers have helped meet to compete and excel in the classroom," said Carbone. "I came to BW from Hudson High School with Gabe Adams '14, CAPITAL ONE Academic All-America safety Zack Barley and Jake Brandy '14. Now Tim [current senior offensive tackle Tim Pallay of Hudson] is here after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at the University of Dayton.
"My parents would motivate me to make the Honor Roll in high school by pointing out when Gabe and Zack made it and I didn't," Carbone explained "In college it's the same motivation, and I don't like not being good at something, so if I'm in a class for three hours a week and have homework on top of that I'm gonna figure out a way to be good at it."
On the field, Carbone's development has been continuous, says BW veteran Defensive Coordinator Jim Meyer.
"We were really expecting him [Carbone] to have an outstanding senior season." said Meyer. "He had really worked hard in the offseason and was just a beast to block. It really hurt when he went down because teams were able to double-team our other tackle."
"I am looking forward to having an excellent season and our goal is to win the Ohio Athletic Conference title and earn a spot in this year's NCAA Division III Playoffs," said Carbone. "We have worked hard in the offseason and we have the talent to compete.
"We have to say focused," continued Carbone. "Every game in the OAC is a tough, big game. Every opponent has quality student-athletes. We need to apply the lessons we have learned from our freshman through senior season and lead the way as a senior class."
That is easy for Carbone to say as according to Head Coach John Snell.
"Addison takes his role as a team leader very seriously," said Snell, who enters his 13th season at BW. "He, like the rest of our seniors want to win an OAC title and advance to the playoffs.
"He is one of our best student-athletes," continued to Snell. "He dedicates his time in the classroom to be a quality student. He dedicates his time to being the best he can be on the football field, in the locker room and with our younger student-athletes. And, he dedicates himself to being a leader on our campus.
"Addison is fun to be around," continued Snell. "He is a great part of the Baldwin Wallace football family."