When Bo Milton became the head football coach at Carroll Academy, he wanted to instill a toughness in his players.
Senior Drew Haddon is the latest epitome of the kind of toughness that Milton covets in his players.
Haddon returns for the Rebels this season off last year’s state championship runners-up squad, starting on both the offensive and defensive lines.
“We’ve got some kids we are counting on this year and he’s going to be the leader of that group,” Milton said. “He’s going to be that big-time guard that we have had that can pull and lead block, that can pull and trap. And then that physical defensive lineman and be that big physical guy that we have had.”
While Haddon, who is 6-foot-1 and 255 pounds, will have to play both ways, Haddon says he like the offensive side of the ball.
“I like offense better, being able to run the ball down somebody’s throat,” Haddon said. “Hopefully I can be the best leader that I can be this year and show everybody else. We are coming off a good season last year and we still have a good team coming back. We think we can make it all the way back this year.”
Milton said there are a couple of things that make Haddon a good offensive lineman.
“Two things, he does have size and does have some agility,” Milton said. “He moves well and he has some toughness. He likes offense and he likes to knock people off the football. He wants to knock people off the football. And that’s what we talk about. I think it’s funny when we start to talk about culture. We want to knock people off the ball and be physical and that’s what makes him a good lineman on offense. He just likes football, like a lot of the kids that we have here.”
In the Carroll offense, guard are pulling on the majority of plays, making a need for athletic linemen. And this year, Haddon will be the anchor of the offensive line.
“He is very athletic and has really good feet,” Milton said. “He’s 6-1 and 255 pounds. When I was in high school that would have been a tackle and now he’s our pulling guard. We probably won’t flip flop our line like we have done in the past so he will play on the right side. We will probably tend to me more right handed like most teams are. When he gets on you, he has good lower body strength. You start squatting 400-plus pounds, you have some good lower-body strength. He runs really well for an offensive line and that’s why he plays guard for us. And he has a toughness about him. Our team has that mentality and he leads that way. We don’t care of you know where it’s going and he’s bought in to that.”
On defense, Haddon will have to be a primary run stopper for the Rebels.
“He has some big shoes to fill on defense because we have been really good up front the last couple of years,” Milton said. “We have had some good defensive lineman the last couple of years. We will probably move him to the left defensive end which will be the offensive’s right side so people are going to run right at him. And he has to be able to hunker down and take on double teams and be that big physical run stopper right there.”
Milton, who played offensive line in college, said Haddon has the potential to play at the next level in the right situation.
“He has some junior college ability because he’s a kid that will probably grow another inch or two and can probably put on another 15-20 pounds,” Milton said "In the right kind of offense, like a Holmes that is run heavy, he could fit into an offense like because he is a good run blocker. He’s got that upside too and has some next-level ability.”
Haddon will have no trouble qualifying for college. He carries a 3.5 GPA and has made a 21 on the ACT. Haddon said he doesn’t know quite what he wants to study in college but would like to stay around sports.
“He is a good kid and he has grown up a lot,” Milton said. “He’s a yes sir, no sir kind of kid. He played some as a sophomore and had to start both ways last year. He really grew up last year and we are counting on him. We have had some really good offensive linemen the last couple of years and he’s the latest of that group.”