What would you do if you had just one chance how good you were at something? That was the task at hand for Detroit Renaissance’s Carson Butler. Carson, who transferred to Detroit Renaissance from Lansing Waverly last year, wasn’t able to play football upon arriving at his new school. That was the sport that he always felt he had the best chance at receiving a scholarship for. So what did he do? The young man worked hard all summer with personal trainer, Luther “Big Lu” Campbell (out of Powerhouse Gym in Detroit) so he could be bigger, stronger, and faster for the season in which he would have to prove himself. Showing he had the work ethic to get it done, he has accomplished what he has set out to do. He's up to 6-6, 235 lbs. and claims to run a 4.5 in the forty. Detroit Renaissance is undefeated at 7-0 and they have made it to the public school league playoffs. To top it all off, he has just received and accepted an offer to play at a BIG TIME program…The University of Michigan. We sat down with Carson Thursday afternoon at Renaissance to discuss both where he started and where he is and where he is going.
So Carson, looks like you guys are doing pretty well this season.
“Really well. Our team is 7-0 and we are doing very well as a team right now. We play tomorrow, (Friday), at Detroit Cooley High School. Then after that, the playoffs start down at Ford Field and we will meet Detroit Southeastern. Things are looking good for us”.
Can you give us the names of two players on your team that really standout to you?
“Junior tailback, Carl Briggs. I believe he is the leading rusher in the city. He is almost at 1,000 yards. He runs tough and he strives to be the best and always wants to make a play and to be a playmaker. Also, there is Andre Criswell. He is a senior linebacker and tight end. Andre is a solid football player and he has great upside. He is very physically gifted and will be a very good player at the right school.”
When did you find out about Michigan offering you a scholarship?
“Face to face at the Minnesota game. Coach Campbell told me they had a scholarship for me. I told him I need to talk it over with my family first and he agreed.
So you went home and talked to your mom and dad and how did that process go?
“My mom and dad said that it was a great school and my mom loves the academics there. My dad also said that it was a good place for me and he just hopes it works out for the best”
Tell us about how you made the commitment.
“I committed on Tuesday when I talked with Coach Campbell. He is really a cool guy. I felt really comfortable making my decision. Coach Campbell seemed very interested in me coming to Michigan. He said 'Keep your grades together!' He was very excited”.
When did you talk to Coach Carr?
“I spoke with Coach Carr Wednesday night. When we talked he was interested
in my football season and how I was doing. Then he said, 'Coach Campbell said
you have something to tell me.' That’s when I told him I was making a
verbal commitment to the University of Michigan. Coach Carr was really happy
and then he said 'you are committing to Michigan and we are committed to you.'
That's when he told me my scholarship would be there. I was very excited that
he called. When he called I knew it was official."
Can you tell us more about what sold you on Michigan?
“Michigan is a winning school and a power house football program in this country. It was a good fit and it’s close to home. Besides, if I don’t make it in football, I will have an excellent education to fall back on, when I graduate”.
Were there other schools that recruited you?
You play a wide receiver for Renaissance. Would you prefer to stay at that position?
"I believe that if I put in some hard work, I can become a great receiver. I think that if Coach Carr and Coach Campbell work with me and I put in the work, I can excel at wide receiver OR tight end. But I would have to stay focused and continue to work very hard. My family would like for me to stay at the position as well. I guess we will see. From what Coach Campbell told me, I am a pretty good athlete. I will play where it’s best for the team. The team comes first and wherever they want me to play, I will play”.
Many are wondering if you will give up basketball and just play football?
"I’ve always loved basketball, but as I got older, I knew I would have a better shot at a football scholarship. I have not forgotten about basketball but my focus is just on football right now and helping my team win. If I can adjust to the academics and handle things like that, I would like to give hoops a shot in college”
Speaking of basketball, how does Renaissance look this upcoming season on the hardwood?
“We have a good but young squad and those are a great group of guys I‘ll be playing with. We are still learning together and I am looking forward to being a leader this season. Coach White talked to me about being the man this season and I am looking forward to it. I really learned a lot from Joe Crawford and Malik Hairston last year. They were big time players and now it’s time to show what I learned from them”
You’re from the Lansing area and you attended Lansing Waverly high school. Can you tell us about your background?
“Well my mom is in the military and we moved around a lot. We lived in Grand Ledge, Battle Creek and Lansing. I went to school in Lansing for grades 6-10. I played tailback at Waverly my sophomore year. We always wanted to move to Detroit, my twin sister Brandi and I, because all of our family is here. So when it happened, we decided to go to Detroit Renaissance, which is known for its academics.”
Tell us about Coach Hill and how he has helped you?
“Coach is a good person and a good coach. He works with me to help me
to be a better football player. When he gets on my case I know then that it’s
time to go to work. Coach Hill always says 'If you're going to be a great football
player, you have to work hard ALL OF THE TIME in practice and in everything
you do. He has really helped me a lot this year”