Tougher than Steele: How a Center Grove legend has become a big part of Ball State’s offense

By Jacob Musselman

Cardinals freshman running back Carson Steele attempts to hurdle a Western Illinois defensive back Akil Fransisco, in the first quarter Sept. 2, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Ind. Steele scored his first touchdown against the Leathernecks. (Photo Provided by Kyle Atkisson, The Ball State Daily News)

Freshman running back Carson Steele, a familiar name to the Center Grove Community, has made a significant impact on the Cardinals. Steele committed to Ball State after receiving collegiate offers from other top schools like Purdue and Indiana University.

The Center Grove alumni is only a couple games into his college career and although he’s the second running back on the depth chart, Steele has still been able to get his reps.

Steele said coming to Ball State has been a blessing because he gets to learn and play with older teammates.

“It’s been really cool to be able to run with those older dudes because they’re well-experienced and they know how to play the game,” Steele said.

Steele plays behind redshirt senior running back Will Jones and was able to step up after redshirt junior running back Tye Evans was injured.

“Even though I’m young, sometimes I’ll tell them stuff and they’ll tell me stuff and we can all feed off of each other and that’s what helps us be successful in the running back room.

Coming from Center Grove, a winning program, Steele said working with head coach Eric Moore helped him learn how to be tough and become a better player.

Trojans head coach Eric Moore talks with referees prior to their first scrimmage against Avon.

“He [Moore] was hard on me through the years but I thank him every day for it because it helps me become a better player,” Steele said.

He added, “Him [Moore] being so hard on me, I always knew that he cared for me and that he always really wanted out of me was success and he kind of paved the way for me.” 

Family is a big motivation for Steele. Whether its his dad pushing him to be better or his family coming to his games, he’s always had the support of his family to help drive him to be better.

In game one against the Western Illinois Leathernecks, the Cardinals were up by one touchdown and Steele scored on a 37 yard run, sealing the deal for Ball State to win the first game of their season, and home opener. Steele ran for 79 yards on only 7 carries.

During the post game press conference after Steele’s first touchdown, head coach Mike Neu talked about how Steele came from a winning program and was able to fit into their system seamlessly. 

“When he showed up, he knew how to win,” Neu said, “And he was physically ready to go and he put up some very impressive numbers in the weight room when he got to campus. Quickly, he showed and earned the respect of his teammates with how hard he was running.”

Freshman running back Carson Steele runs for a 37-yard touchdown against the Western Illinois Leathernecks Sept. 2, 2021, at Scheumann Stadium in Muncie, Ind. (Photo Provided by Jacob Musselman, The Ball State Daily News)

In addition to winning, Neu talked about how Steele knew how to practice and gave credit to coach Moore and the program at Center Grove.

Week two of the Cardinals season took them to Pennsylvania to play the Nittany Lions of Penn State. Although the Cardinals were never able to get ahead, Steele was able to get into the end zone again, scoring Ball State’s only touchdown of the game.

Redshirt senior quarterback. Drew Plitt also spoke about Carson after their first game together. Plitt described Steele as a great runner and athlete and said that he provided great depth to their team.