Every time Carson Wells lines up for the 100-meter dash, the eyes of those around him point in his direction.
At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, Wells certainly sticks out among the crowd of sprinters.
“Every track meet so many people are like, ‘Dude, you’re running the 100?'” he said. “I’m always the biggest dude running in the 100. I’m the only one above like 175 pounds.”
It’s that combination of size and speed that caught the attention of the Colorado football team, which signed Wells to a national letter of intent in February. A product of South Sumter (Fla.) High School, Wells will arrive in Boulder in June, eager to get started on his college football career.
“I can’t wait to get up there,” he said this week. “I get chills just thinking about it right now. I’m ready to get out there and hopefully I’ll be able to contribute some in my freshman year.”
Wells, who was named the Central Florida defensive player of the year by the Orlando Sentinel, registered 96 tackles, seven sacks and two interceptions as a senior. He had 111 tackles and six sacks as a junior.
CU coaches have indicated that Wells will play outside linebacker, but he’s also open to playing inside, where the Buffs don’t have a lot of depth.
“It really doesn’t matter to me what I play; I just want to play,” he said.
Regardless of where he lines up, Wells knows there’s plenty of work to be done to get himself ready to help the Buffs. There’s no denying he has the size, strength and speed to be successful, but he needs to take his game to another level.
“In high school, you can just rely on (talent) a lot more and be a lot more physical,” he said, “but in college there’s people bigger and faster than me and it’s going to be a challenge to work on technique and my skills.”
It will also be a challenge to learn CU’s defense and the terminology that goes with it. Originally recruited to CU by former defensive coordinator Jim Leavitt (now at Oregon), Wells is still getting know his new coaches, coordinator D.J. Eliot and linebackers coach Ross Els.
“I’ve got a lot to learn from them,” he said.
For now, Wells is focused on finishing strong in track and field. In addition to the 100 meters, Wells throws the shot put and discus.
This spring, Wells has topped 143 feet in the discus and 43 feet in the shot put, thanks in part to the 20 pounds of muscle he’s added this offseason.
Much to the chagrin of Wells’ competitors in the 100 meters, the added weight hasn’t slowed him down.
“I’ve actually gotten faster,” said Wells, who posted a personal best time of 11.43 seconds in a meet last weekend. “It felt pretty good.”