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The Best of A Bad Situation

When Carson Glazier–San Marino High School’s record-setting quarterback–was cut from the Amherst College football team, he refused to feel sorry for himself and instead resurrected his baseball career. In his first season of action this past spring, Glazier led all Mammoth pitchers in strikeouts while compiling the most innings for the relief staff.

The football flew out of Carson Glazier’s hand as if it was a bird he was returning to its natural habitat after years of being nursed back to health as so often happens in one of those old movies or episodes of the Andy Griffith Show.

“He is a quarterbacking savant,” I would say to anyone who would listen, and many were, when the lean left-hander debuted in the fall of 2012 as the quarterback for San Marino High School’s freshman football team.

Glazier’s prowess at throwing a football was so far-reaching that in the first half of one game during his senior year, he threw a pass that landed about twenty-five yards downfield but nowhere near an intended receiver. What was astonishing about this otherwise routine high school football occurrence-a routine incomplete pass-was the response of the crowd. Not a sound was uttered, nothing, as the fans packed onto the home grandstand of Titan Stadium looked around as if a meteor had fallen out of the sky and settled on the 35 yard line, just west of the fifty.

All can be forgiven, because in the three-plus previous years—and for the remainder of the season that followed—Glazier had been and was laser accurate. In fact, four games into that magical 2015 season, Glazier had thrown more touchdown passes than incomplete passes. Now take a sip of coffee and read that again: four games into the 2015 season, Glazier had thrown more touchdown passes than incomplete passes, and both numbers were well into the double digits.

Little reminder is needed that the Titans finished that campaign with a 15-1 overall record while collecting Rio Hondo League, CIF Southern Section and State Southern Region championships. San Marino suffered its only defeat in the State Small Schools title game, but many believe the result might have been different had Glazier not suffered an injury the week before that kept him on the sidelines up in Sacramento.

His statistics had been so dizzying during his two-plus years as the starter that head Coach Mike Hobbie retired the jerseys of Glazier (#7) and the #81 worn by classmate J.P. Shohfi, who snagged the majority of Glazier’s offerings. During that span, Glazier completed 436 of 639 passes (a .682 completion percentage) for 8,507 yards and 110 touchdown passes with an astronomical quarterback rating of 154-the best in the nation according to one evaluating service. While those numbers alone will turn plenty of heads, perhaps the most impressive stat is that he threw only nine interceptions in that time period.

Shohfi caught 54 of those touchdown tosses while accumulating 4,285 receiving yards in just his junior and senior seasons.

But although Glazier and Shohfi filled San Marino High School’s trophy cases, record books and highlight reels, major college football coaches weren’t quite as impressed. Both received little interest from Division I schools. One intrepid SMHS student went so far as to create a meme that featured photos of Shohfi jumping over and running past numerous defensive backs who had received full football scholarships to D-1 colleges.

In the end, Glazier enrolled at Stetson while Shohfi headed for Yale.

With a Division 1 football program that attracts some of the finest talent in the nation, Stetson is located in football-heavy Florida and frequently serves as a stopping off point for athletes looking to catch on in the SEC. Glazier redshirted his freshman year and found himself in a pitched battle for playing time with several other recruits. By the holiday break of 2016, Glazier was looking elsewhere.

“I knew I was probably going to leave about four or five months into the season and once December rolled around I let the coaching staff know that I wasn’t going to play there,” Glazier said recently from Washington DC, where he is interning for an investment research firm. “I really liked the program and all the guys on the football team, but I just came to terms with the fact I was never going to play there. That was tough to realize because it was always a dream of mine to play Division 1 football.”

While at San Marino High School, Glazier had been recruited by Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts, so the sophomore-to-be sent an email.

“I wanted a better academic institution that would give me a better chance at life,” Glazier recounted. “I feel I had overlooked Amherst. I had attended several football camps on the East Coast where I had me their coaches. And I have been to Maine every summer of my life so I enjoy and appreciate that part of the county.”

In retrospect, Glazier admits he was at the time “big-headed.”

“I just saw that Amherst was Division 3 and I said ‘no thanks.’ Looking back, that is one of the many lessons this situation has taught me: if someone shown interest in you, don’t turn your nose up and walk away.”

Although he was in a new environment when he showed up at Amherst in August, 2017, Glazier found himself in a familiar traffic jam at the quarterback spot, jockeying for reps with a senior, junior and fellow sophomore. He remained fourth on the depth chart and took just two snaps the entire season.

Glazier entered his junior year in the fall of 2018 refreshed and renewed.

“I had every intention of competing for the job,” he said. “The guy who was also a junior was the starter and I was third string as we headed into camp and I thought I would move up. Then I got the call to the coaches office.”

And a moment of silence during our call.

There was no silence, however, during the moments Glazier soon explained as he reflected on the meeting that ended in August 2018 with the record-setting quarterback being told his services were no longer needed for Amherst College’s football team.

“I argued for 45 minutes,” Glazier recalled. “I wanted to do everything I could to stay on the team. The game of football means a lot to me.”

Glazier said he was “devastated” by the transaction.

“They cut a few guys every year but a quarterback, that is different,” Glazier said. “I was surprised that any quarterback was cut. A quarterback swallows the playbook and to see one go is very rare.”

He soon found himself at “rock bottom.”

“During my freshman and sophomore years at college I had gone through a lot in my personal life but that was the lowest I ever felt,” Glazier said, his voice slightly projecting a memory of the pain. “Coming from such a great team in high school with such a great coach, I was on Cloud Nine all the time, and you just want to keep climbing. That wasn’t the way it worked out. I lost my touch, and that is a double entendre. It was a sad tale.”

Another long conversation quickly followed, but this one was with his father, not his coach.

“I called my dad right after I met with the coach,” Glazier said. “I was devastated, distraught. I was screaming on the phone.

Carson’s father, Guy Glazier, is the father of three San Marino athletes and as an attorney, knows a thing or two about negotiation. He had the right words for his youngest son.

“My dad said “what are you going to do?’” Carson remembered. “We spoke for an hour and a half and he gave me the best advice possible. He told me I should play baseball. He said ‘you are a good athlete, why don’t you give it a try.’ It was one of the most touching conversations we ever had.”

Both of Carson’s brothers had a history in college baseball. Garret played at the University of Colorado and Miles at UC Irvine. Initially, Carson wanted nothing to do with returning to the pitcher’s mound.

“I didn’t want to hear it,” he said. “After transferring and then going down two divisions, it was the last thing I wanted to do. Garret and Miles reached out to me and told me I needed to put something in the void. It took me a week before I realized it was the right decision.”

Carson’s football prowess had previously overshadowed his considerable baseball skills. At San Marino High School, he was three-year varsity letter winner who pitched and played first base, so it wasn’t much of a stretch to predict his baseball ability wasn’t up to college standards.

So this past February, Glazier dusted off his ball glove and returned to the diamond.

“I knew I couldn’t hit at the college level but a left-handed junk ball pitcher can go anywhere,” he said, explaining his return to the mound.

Glazier had literally lost a little from his fastball, but his extreme enthusiasm was quick to make a return.

“I was absolutely thrilled about making the tam,” he said. “I started in the bullpen and stayed there all season.”

Glazier impressed his coaching staff enough that he was just the second pitcher to make an appearance during the 2019 season.

“We fell behind in the first inning of our first game of the season by a score of 10-0 and I got the call,” he said. “I struggled a little bit, gave up a home run and and a triple, but overall it was a success. In another game I was brought in during the third inning and pitched until the ninth. I happened to have my stuff that day. They were impressed and began to rely on me. If it wasn’t the ninth inning, it was either myself or another lefty who was brought in until we got to our closer.”

Glazier survived a mid-season slump to make 15 appearances in the Mammoths’ 35 games. He finished the season with a 1-0 record, 3.2 ERA, led all relievers in innings pitched and led all pitchers in strikeouts as Amherst finished with a 16-14 record. The most important statistic, however, is that Glazier is once again among the team leaders in mojo. And during the process he has learned or had confirmed an interconnected series of valuable lessons.

“It is truly how you respond to adversity that defines you,” Glazier said. “Enjoy the good moments and you will definitely have setbacks, but never let anyone take away what you want to do. I wasn’t going to let football take away the joy of competing. There is nothing like competing and I think we should compete as long as we can. We don’t have an expiration date and there is a time when we won’t be able to do anything, so just keep going.”

The son of Wendy and Guy Glazier is majoring in Economics and true to his mantra, wants “to go compete somewhere” after graduation.

“I am a results-driven guy and this experience was very valuable,” Carson concluded. “It was really difficult to come to terms that I was going to come back to my hometown after not having success in football. But in the end it just made me refuse to give up on my dreams.”


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