DSU notebook: Transfer Carswell shines on Hornet defensive line

DOVER — When Brandon Carswell watched the film back from Delaware State’s football season opener against Delaware, he started laughing.

Carswell was looking for his reaction after blocking a Delaware point after attempt. He’s never specialized in blocking kicks but he blocked a pair in his debut with Delaware State in August.

“Looking at the UD film, I could see myself and I was so surprised,” Carswell said. “I was shocking myself. I want to keep shocking myself. That’s what I like about this game, you keep improving yourself every day.”

Brandon Carswell

And Carswell has done more than just block kicks for the Hornets.

After transferring to Delaware State from Savannah State, Carswell has earned a starting spot on the Hornet defensive line. He leads DSU in tackles-for-loss with six and is fifth on the team in tackles with 16 headed into DSU’s 7 p.m. Saturday home game against South Carolina State.

Carswell graduated from Savannah State in the spring so he did not have to sit out a year at Delaware State to use his final season of eligibility.

“I know he’s only been here a few months but he’s a Hornet through and through,” said DSU coach Rod Milstead. “He’s showing our younger guys what it takes. I enjoy watching him practice and watching him prepare because it shows up on Saturdays. He’s an example of what we’re looking for down the road so our young guys have a chance to watch him and emulate him.”

Carswell chose Delaware State for a few reasons, but at the top of the list was the family atmosphere he felt on campus. He knew when he took an official visit, DSU was the place for him.

“I felt good vibes,” Carswell said. “The team is very together and close. I wanted to be a part of that.”

It didn’t hurt that Carswell wouldn’t have to switch conferences, given Savannah State played in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference before moving down to Division II for this season.

Carswell was an All-MEAC performer as a junior in 2017 with nine tackles-for-loss in 10 games and three forced fumbles.

He was set to continue that success but a knee injury robbed Carswell of his senior season with Savannah State. After surgery, he found himself ready to pick up where he left off in 2017.

“I knew I could come back and dominate,” Carswell said. “That was my goal last year. So I have to come back and do that this year.”
Milstead joked the only bad thing about Carswell is he can only be a Hornet for one season.

“I wish I would have had him a year ago,” Milstead said. “He’s a special player. He loves this game and that’s the reason why he’s here.”

Milstead recalled his first conversation when Carswell arrived on campus. The 22-year-old defensive lineman told Milstead that he was all-in with the Hornets.

It put a smile on Milstead’s face to know Carswell chose DSU because of the family atmosphere he felt with the team.

“My whole thing is I want to give these guys the best Division I football experience that we can in Dover, Delaware,” Milstead said. “It starts with faith, your family and then football, the whole gambit. When new guys come in, I treat them as my sons.”

Family is important to Carswell, who has a three-year-old son, Brandon Jr.

Because Carswell blocked those kicks in the first week of the season, he was No. 1 in the country all by himself for a week, which he thought was an amazing experience, with his son in mind.

“To be number one in anything is pretty cool,” Carswell said. “Just the exposure, because I want to get my name out there. I got a kid so I want to be able to provide for him.”

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