We’ve hit November, and most of the college side of our Campus2Canton leagues are hitting the playoffs. Hopefully, you’re in a league that allows a finite amount of free-agent pickups throughout the year. Heading into the playoffs is a great time to sit and manage your lineup. If you’re heading towards the playoffs, you’ll want to keep certain seniors performing to help you win that championship possibly. However, you likely still have some players who need to be on your roster for the rest of this season or move forward to next season.
If you’re a rebuilding team, it’s time to cleanse your roster of any seniors you don’t need and pick up some young players with upside. There are some intriguing players worth stashing, but the one we will take a look at today is freshman running back Carson Steele from Ball State.
Trojans Fought With Steele
Growing up, Steele was not someone who played a lot of football. He was so big as a kid that when he first started playing football, he was made to play offensive line. He was eventually able to play the running back position, and that’s when he fell in love with playing football.
Steele would become the running back for his high school Center Grove and would go on to set multiple records for the Trojans. Steele started his freshman year in high school with a bang. He finished his first season with 272 carries-for-1,703 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns. This would kick off his football career and continue to increase his love for football.
Steele continued to impress scouts and Trojan fans alike as he saw his carries and yards increase as a sophomore. Steele would finish his sophomore year with 367 carries-for-2,270 yards and 29 rushing touchdowns. Little did he know that some things were going to change and challenge him in the coming seasons.
Steele would enter his junior season thinking he was going to continue to dominate. However, he suffered a hamstring injury that would limit him to just three games and only 64 carries-for-275 yards and one rushing touchdown. A bright spot would come for him during his junior season, though, as he was given an offer from Ball State. His adversity didn’t seem to lessen as entering his senior season, Covid would hit and put everything he had worked for in doubt.
Even with Covid causing issues all over the country, he was eventually able to play football in his senior year. He would finish the season with 1,659 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns. He would help lead the Center Grove Trojans to a 14-0 record and the Class 6A State Championship. As his time ended at Center Grove, he had broken 16 single-season and career records for the school. He would go on to choose to play for Ball State.
Gridiron Sharpens Steele
Steele joins Ball State already with NFL size at 6’1-215 pounds. Through nine games, Steele leads Ball State in carries with 111 attempts. What is currently holding him back is that he is splitting time with senior RB Will Jones, and senior QB Drew Plitt also rushes the ball often. While his upside may be limited this season, as early as next year, Steele could be the workhorse for Ball State.
As you can see from the graph above, head coach Mike Neu usually has an effective rushing attack. With Steele likely being the guy next season that should return to a more successful rushing attack.
“Thor” as his teammates affectionately call him, has the skill set you’re looking for. For starters, he is not afraid and is an excellent pass blocker when called upon. He uses his size well and typically does a good job leveraging his size to stop oncoming defenders.
Steele has above average speed for his size and can get moving when he hits the open field. He’s athletic; in fact, you can catch him hurdling players when needed to get a couple of extra yards. He has quick feet and continually keeps his feet moving when looking for a hole. He seems to have good vision as well.
Steele is also a physical runner who can drop his shoulder down or use a pretty nasty stiff-arm to keep defenders at bay to get extra yards.
Steele is being overlooked, with his rostership being only 3%. As you can see from the graph above, Steele is right on par with some of his contemporaries in the 2024 draft class.
This graph helps show just how effective Steele has been in his class, even with the limited amount of carries he’s received splitting time at Ball State.
One of the biggest knocks currently on Steele is that he doesn’t do much in the receiving game. Through nine games, Steele has amassed just five catches. It did not seem to be a main part of his game in high school either. This could limit his upside some as well but with how productive he’s been in a split backfield and a rushing quarterback is promising.
Steele is already having a magnificent freshman season through nine games for Ball State. As you can see from the stats above, he’s ranked reasonably well in most top metrics for running backs while not being the main workhorse. At the time of this article, he is currently RB33 in all of scoring, even with a limited upside in receiving.
Steele has attributes that should lean toward long-term success. He can run physically at the line of scrimmage while also using his athleticism to create on his own. Steele has quick feet and an excellent burst to hit the hole when it’s open. He typically hits the right hole as well, speaking to his superb vision. He also has above-average speed and NFL size already as a freshman.
Carson Steele should be picked up now if you have that ability in any of your Campus2Canton leagues. If not, file this name away and make sure to pick him up in your free agent/freshman draft in the off-season. He has a legitimate chance to be the Rasheen Ali of 2022, an overlooked player and not drafted anywhere. Here’s your chance to grab him now or in the draft to look like the most intelligent guy in your league.