HELENA — Carroll College’s football program will have a new face this spring. After four seasons with Idaho State’s squad, defensive lineman Mason Harwood entered the NCAA transfer portal. After looks and offers from multiple Division I, D-II and NAIA schools, he ultimately decided Carroll was the place for him.
“Carroll, I love the campus. Coaches, they're just really enthusiastic about me, they literally told me these plans. They said, ‘You know what? We can see this for you.’ They weren't promising me anything, but they just seemed like they really wanted me and they wanted to utilize me for their aspects of the game that they play,” Harwood said.
Much of Harwood’s decision to enter the transfer portal stemmed from undergoing two of ISU’s coaching changes, the want for opportunity, and, simply, his need to get back to his roots of playing football.
“They weren't really necessarily bought into me. I wasn't their guy that they recruited, that wasn't the guy that they knew, like, it's hard for me to show that when I'm getting like, six, seven reps there, I'm not having time to develop,” he said. “Like it's competitive. I'm not saying that I was the main dude or anything like that. And I understand that there's guys and there were guys I played with that are just phenoms, they're amazing. But I wanted to show that I can play this game. So I was like, I'm gonna have to go down a level, see where I’m at. I decided no, I'm gonna go down. I'm gonna play the game again.”
And leaving a program coming off of a one-win season and moving on to a team that has a history of winning was important for Harwood.
“I'm really excited to compete and I'm really excited to just try to win another conference championship and then hopefully they can better farther run in the playoffs. I think that's gonna be a lot of fun,” he said.
And with a new team comes new challenges, like the fact that every practice and every game gets to be played in the elements.
“I'm excited. Don't get me wrong. But you know, that dome was nice when there was a snowstorm outside and we didn't have to practice in it. I don't know, does it snow in Helena? That's a joke. I know. I know it snows in Helena,” he joked.
Harwood has three years of eligibility left, thanks to a redshirt season and COVID-19. But isn’t quite ready to make a decision on how many years he’ll be with the Saints.
However, he will certainly make the best out of his time in Helena as he says he enjoys the outdoors and meeting new people. “ I'm definitely an extrovert, not an introvert,” he said. The Saints will definitely have a new ‘locker room guy’ in Harwood.