'Who is that little guy, wearing No. 9 for Arkansas State?' That’s a question you may have overheard at the Penberthy Sports Complex in College Station, Texas last weekend. His name is Dylan Carrion.
He's in his third season at Arkansas State, but the College 7s National Championships were his first chance to really contribute to a playoff scenario for the Red Wolves. He’d been crippled by ankle injuries almost his entire time at Jonesboro, until now. He came off the bench for the Red Wolves in the DI-A season last spring, but was still noticeably favoring a recovering ankle.
This summer, as the ankle got better, he played with the San Diego Old Aztecs 7s squad. And this fall, he started at scrumhalf for Arkansas State 7s. In College Station, he turned heads with some impressive athleticism, showcasing what had him playing for the Dallas Harlequins as a high schooler.
“College 7s is getting to have a lot of experience, and it was a real competitive field. But definitely playing men’s with the Harlequins and Old Aztecs helps a lot, because you deal with bigger guys,” said Carrion. “Some of them are faster. The speed in college is pretty good, but the physicality is a big difference from college to men’s.”
In the final against Life, his experience tackling bigger guys showed when he impressively cut down Mohamed Guizani, Life's big, athletic, muscle man off the bench, at full pace. In the match to decide Pool B against Cal, Carrion scored the game winning try, effectively knocking the Bears out of Cup contention. He dotted down five times on the weekend, and the threat of him breaking a long-range score became something defenses had to fear.
For the first time in years, Carrion was able to run without a limp in College Station, and he helped Arkansas State to the program’s first-ever National Championship.
“It feels great,” said Carrion, “because it’s been two really frustrating years of hard work and working through the injuries.”