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La Salle's Carbone, Cardwell set to play college football

Offensive lineman Nick Carbone signed with the NAIA Dordt College Defenders of Iowa, and wide receiver Parker Cardwell accepted a preferred walk-on offer to play for the Pac-12's University of California-Berkeley Golden Bears.

REVIEW/NEWS PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - La Salle Prep's Nick Carbone (left) and Parker Cardwell confirmed their commitments to play college football next season.La Salle Prep wide receiver Parker Cardwell and offensive lineman Nick Carbone are both going to have an opportunity to play football on Saturdays next season.

On Wednesday, Cardwell accepted a preferred walk-on offer from the University of California-Berkeley, and Carbone signed a National Letter of Intent with NAIA Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa.

Cardwell, a first-team, all-Northwest Oregon Conference pick who also earned Class 5A All-State honorable mention as a senior, turned down a full-ride scholarship from College of Idaho to try and crack Cal's lineup as a walk-on.

"It's a dream come true, to be honest," Cardwell said. "I always told myself, and told my mom, if I'm going to play in college, I want to go to the best academic school possible. With Cal, I'm blessed to go to one of the best schools in the nation."

La Salle coach Aaron Hazel had previously crossed path with Cal assistants Beau Baldwin and Steve Greatwood and reached out to them following the recent coaching change in Berkeley to see if the Golden Bears might have any interest in Cardwell.

"I called Parker and said, 'It's a long shot, but if I send them your film and make a phone call, is it something you'd be interested in pursuing?'" Hazel said. "So I called both coaches, left messages, and the next morning I got a call back from them saying they were out of scholarships, but if Parker was interested in walking on, they wanted him.

"They're pretty excited about him, and the consensus there is they don't think he's going to be a walk-on for very long."

Cardwell said he also had preferred walk-on offers from Oregon, Washington State, and Boise State, but chose Cal for its academics. He plans to study business and entrepreneurship, and has visions of working for a non-profit organization that specializes in cancer research as a tribute to his father Steve, who died of cancer four years ago.

"Ultimately, I felt Cal was a great opportunity to prove myself again," Cardwell said. "I'm from a small school and I've always had some doubters, so I feel this is an opportunity to play with a bit of a chip on my shoulder and work toward something bigger.

"The Cal coaches say they're going to play the best man there, so I believe I'll have an opportunity to play. I'm so excited. I'm definitely ready to take the next step."

Carbone, the 5-10, 154-pound lineman and three-year starter for the Falcons, said Dordt asssistant Aaron Mingo was the first to make contact with him last summer, not the other way around.

"They had me come out to do an official visit and it's an awesome place," Carbone said of Dordt, a private, Christian, liberal arts college and home to the Defenders, who compete in the NAIA Great Plains Athletic Conference. "I looked at Beloit College and Whitworth, and the possibility of playing as a walk-on at Montana State, but I really felt at home at Dordt.

"It's a blessing, honestly. I've been working my whole life to be able to play in college, and it's awesome to be able to add another four years onto my career. I'm definitely ready and excited to have this opportunity."

By Jim Beseda
Sports editor
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