DOWNERS GROVE – Oswego East senior wide receiver Ty Carlson made a pair of eye-catching grabs on Saturday.
Carlson caught the attention of several onlookers during a 7-on-7 held at Downers Grove South High School that included numerous area teams, including Montini, Wheaton Warrenville South, Downers Grove North, Downers Grove South and Hinsdale South.
The 6-foot-4, 170-pound Carlson leaped high along the sidelines to snare a pass, balancing his body in time to land one foot in to secure a 25-yard catch against Lincoln-Way East. Later in the scrimmage, Carlson added another memorable reception to validate his desire to become a big-play producer for the Wolves this fall.
“Last year was my first year starting, but I learned you have to control your emotions because it’s not the same as the sophomore level,” Carlson said. “Once you get to the big stage, people are looking at you. You have to be the guy who your team can count on to make a play and be a leader.”
Carlson said he gained five pounds since the end of the season. He credits his mother for helping him learn how to lift weights and eat properly. Carlson said his mom is an avid weightlifter.
“I’ve been working out two times a day, eating a lot of protein,” he said. “My mom is teaching me how to gain more weight. I want to go crazy this year, do what I can do to get the recognition that I deserve. I’m just working really hard, to help the team do well and win games.”
There was another player making impressive play at the highly attended 7-on-7, but Oswego East senior Jared Badie wasn’t doing his work solely on the defensive side. The Illinois recruit split his time between offense and defense, making a big impression catching balls out of the backfield. Badie is one of the top linebackers in the state for Class of 2022, but Oswego East coach Tyson LeBlanc plans to utilize Badie on offense this fall as well.
“We plan on using Jared at H-Back and little bit at slot receiver,” LeBlanc said. “Jared is the centerpiece on defense, but he’s a solid all-around athlete and we have to use him all over the field.”
Badie, who committed to Bret Bielema’s program last week, showcased soft hands and running ability in the 7-on-7. His strength and speed brings another element to the Wolves’ offense. At his size, the 6-5, 218-pounder was an imposing presence on offense on Saturday.
“I’m getting back to my roots and having fun with offense,” Badie said. “It’s been since eighth grade since I last played offense. I knew I wanted to play offense for my senior year, and help my team win.
“I’m definitely excited to do whatever it takes. It was fun catching passes. It’s bittersweet to be a senior. I’m ready to be a leader and leave out with a bang.”
The Wolves have four offensive starters and four on defense slated to return, LeBlanc said. Josh Polubinski is slated to be the starter at quarterback for the Wolves, LeBlanc said. The Wolves might lack numbers among their returnees, but they have a high amount of impactful returnees. Kicker Owen Valek, junior do-it-all Oshobi Odior, senior running back Darquel Sanders, safety Jabari Peoples and linebacker Juny Almeida are among the returnees.
“Josh has done a really nice job, just a really solid all-around athlete,” LeBlanc said. “With him playing up on the varsity gives him a leg up coming into the season. We’re going to be young up front on the offensive line. Defensively, we’ve got Jabari Peoples at one of our safety positions. He has a high football IQ. Juny is back at inside linebacker, and we got a transfer from Plainfield South in linebacker Robert Coleman. He’s a kid who looks the part, is big and strong and a thumper.
“Jared Badie is the high rated guy, but Odior is probably our best all-around player. He’s a heck of a football player and can do so many things. Owen is a guy who I think can be a Power Five (Conference) guy. If we can get to the 30-yard line, I’ll be comfortable with him.”