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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

2022 OL Carson Hinzman Learning Many Lessons On The Family Farm

May 5, 2020
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Jon Hinzman didn’t play football when he was in high school.

Growing up on a farm in Wisconsin required at least one of the Hinzman boys to be fully devoted to helping the family at all times and his older brother had dibs on playing sports in the fall, so Jon took basketball in the winter.

“Chores were what we did and sports was like, ‘Wow, we get away from chores for a while? This is fun,’” Mr. Hinzman recalls.

“Sports was an easier thing at times because it was 100 degrees out and you’re stacking hay or 30 below and you’re out feeding cows water or whatever it may be. The opportunity to play sports was an outlet.”

But it wasn’t a ‘Get Out Of Chores Free’ card either.

“If we had early practice, I’d go to practice and come home and do chores,” says Hinzman. “If we had late practice, I’d come home and do chores and go back to practice. It wasn’t a way out of it, it was just something else to do.”

Both brothers worked the farm during the spring and summer months.

Jon’s son, Carson Hinzman‍, does play football. In fact, he’s one of the top offensive line prospects in the entire country for the Class of 2022, but other than that, his upbringing is very similar to his father’s.

“From the time he was able to reach the pedals on the tractor or drive a four-wheeler, I’ve been like, ‘Carson, you have to be available to help me,’” Jon Hinzman says. “‘There are some things we have to do. I know your buddies may not have to do this, but this is something we do together as a family.’

“He may not always like it, he may not appreciate it right now, but I think someday when he gets older, he’ll look back and say, ‘Hmm, that did help me.’”

It’s certainly helped him develop a work ethic that has served to improve him as a football player.

Hinzman’s grandparents live on a dairy farm less than a mile down the road.

“He’s seen my parents milk, especially my mom,” Mr. Hinzman says. “He’s very close with his grandma. He goes down there and eats pretty much every meal right now because he’s around, but usually for supper, he goes there and eats every day.

“He knows she doesn’t quit. She doesn’t give up. She keeps fighting and going no matter what, so he’s learned that attitude of ‘There’s a job to get done, let’s get it done,’ from her more so than anybody.”

Carson’s grandmother knew how to get to him and started when he was young.

“She went through his stomach,” Jon Hinzman laughs. “She fed him. She loves to cook. She’d always have snacks and he’d go there and snack and eat and just sit and talk. It just grew and blossomed from there.

“He goes there and tells her things that I don’t even know about. She’ll tell me and I’ll say, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that.’ It’s a good connection. He respects her and respects how hard she works. She’s very honest with him too. She’ll shoot you straight on the things you need to do.

“I think it’s had a huge impact on who he is and who he’s becoming.

Carson was always a bigger kid, but his father didn’t push him into football, instead waiting until he was ready.

“I told him, ‘Whatever you want to do, I’ll give you the opportunity, but you have to be willing to work for it,’” Mr. Hinzman explains. “‘You have to be willing to put the effort into it. If there comes a time when you don’t want it anymore, then we’ll be done.’”

By the time Carson was in sixth grade, his family was fudging his age to allow him entrance into camps where he could compete against older kids.

“He just kept growing and blossoming and kept going at it,” his father says. “A couple camps we went to, coaches were keeping an eye on him and watching him. He was just happy coaches were actually saying hi to him.”

Eventually, those coaches were saying more than hello and he landed his first scholarship offer which came from Iowa last June, long before the start of his sophomore season at Saint Croix Central High School.

“At that point, it was like, ‘Wow, this is really happening!’” his father recalls.

That list has grown since and currently includes Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan, Northwestern, Penn State and Oregon among others.

Mr. Hinzman has encouraged his son to “look at the big picture” when it comes to recruiting. He notes that several schools have the weight and nutrition programs necessary to help develop Carson into a great player, but the decision should be about more than that.

“To me, it’s standing back and thinking what kind of person are you going to be coming out of there,” he says. “What is going to make you a better man? A better father? A better husband when it’s all said and done. Looking through that and trying to find that connection is the most important thing to me.”

The current situation with just about everything locked down because of COVID-19 concerns has helped put things into a different perspective for the Hinzmans just like everybody else, but aside from that, it hasn’t changed all that much.

“We’re just grinding away,” Mr. Hinzman says.

Carson is outside every morning at 6, getting his workout in.

“It was 11 degrees outside the other day, but we still had to get our workout in, so we went out and worked in the snow and cold and got it done,” his father says. “We stay busy on the farm and try to get some things done here that were on our list that we didn’t have time to do before…Keep grinding, keep going. Every day is an opportunity, take advantage of it.

“He’s been blessed and fortunate to have what he has. I always tell him to try to use that to the best of his ability.”

 

 
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