AFI’s All-Pandemic Team: RB – Lamar Carswell, Kuopio Steelers

In perhaps the toughest selection yet, the panel for the AFI All-Pandemic Team picked Lamar Carswell, running back for the Finnish Maple League champion Kuopio Steelers as the All-Pandemic Team running back in a tight race with five other candidates, all of whom could have been worthy of the title.

The difference was that not only did the Trine University graduate perform at a high and consistent level throughout the regular season, he could not be stopped in post season play, when defenses knew they had to key on him.

He was a difference maker.

The Toledo, Ohio native, at 5’9″ and 180 pounds, tore up the Maple League averaging 9.3 yards a carry on 58 carries while rushing for 539 yards and 10 touchdowns in the regular season. Carswell then outdid himself in the Finnish playoffs ripping off 178 yards and three touchdowns in the semifinals adding another 85 yards and one touchdown in the Maple Bowl victory over the Helsinki Wolverines. His pass catching ability also helped. He caught nine passes for 109 yards and two scores during the regular season and then added another 106 yards and two touchdowns in the post season. In the semifinal alone, he accounted for 228 yards of offense and four of his team’s five touchdowns.

Without question, he was deadly in the open field, but he could pound out the yardage between the tackles too.

In the selection committee’s eyes, he was a huge factor in the Kuopio Steelers’ first ever Finnish title. His head coach Pekka Utriainen would not disagree:

“Lamar is one of the most dangerous guys around with the ball in his hands, capable of taking it to the house every time. But he is not ’only’ a big play guy, Lamar has the ability and maybe most importantly, understanding of when to lower his shoulder and get the tough yard or two.

“Lamar is one of those really easy going guys that are always in a good mood, and the guys gave him a nickname ’humble beast’ that pretty much sums it up. Great player, great teammate.”

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