High school football: West’s Addison ready to tackle the challenge of college

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 12, 2024

West’s Christian Addison in his days wearing No. 34. Photo by Wayne Hinshaw, for the Salisbury Post

By Mike London

MOUNT ULLA — It’s mid-August and it looks like a well-designed, 20-yard play is unfolding for A.L. Brown’s football team.

It’s a CJ Gray pass flat to Jesse Morton, who makes the catch cleanly and suddenly has three teammates in front of him.

There are two large linemen steaming quickly in Morton’s direction to clear a path, plus a fellow receiver who looks like he wants to hit someone.

But West Rowan linebacker Christian Addison has diagnosed the play even before it happened. He knifes into the gap untouched, and Morton is hit and stopped as soon as he turns upfield. Those three scary blockers quickly become a moot point and a potential explosive play becomes a minimal gain.

West’s games with the Wonders and with Concord are all over Addison’s highlight tape. He can tackle people in space and he can tackle people in traffic. If you need someone tackled, call Addison.

“Tackling people is kind of what I do best,” Addison said cheerfully. “I had a really good game against Carson my junior year, but the games with A.L. Brown and Concord my senior year probably were the biggest games for me. They gave us different challenges. With Concord, the big threat was a really athletic quarterback getting on the edge and running the ball. With Brown, we focused on slowing down their passing game, tackling the backs and receivers and limiting their yards.”

Addison is 5-foot-11, not ideal linebacker height, but his ability to think on his feet and his willingness to tackle people have gotten him a chance to play at the next level. Along with several West teammates, he has decided to go to Guilford College in Greensboro. He was recruited by several Division III and NAIA schools. It came down to Guilford and its rival Greensboro College.

Addison was a familiar face on the field for the Falcons for three varsity seasons. That’s a lot of collisions. A lot of tackles.

“He played at a high level throughout his senior season,” West head coach Louis Kraft said. “He made the defensive calls for us, understood every one of his teammate’s responsibilities as well as his own and processed information at a high rate. He’s not a guy who wows you right away, but he is so consistent at making the routine plays. He didn’t miss many tackles. He allowed an old ball coach like myself to sleep a little better at night. We were blessed to have him, and we know we’re going to miss him.”

Addison understands the role of every defender on the field mostly because he’s basically been used everywhere at some point. He’s played everywhere from nose guard to safety during his football career.

“I really was a nose guard for a while,” Addison said. “But I’ve slimmed down quite a bit. I’m at 190 or 195 now, and I’ve kept getting stronger every year.”

Addison credits Kevin Parks Sr. (the father of the famed West Rowan running back) as the coach most responsible for his success.

“He was always there, and whether I was playing good or bad, he was that guy who always looked out for me,” Addison said. “If I messed up, he’d let me know about it, but when I did something right, he’d let me know that, too. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Addison plans to major in information technology. He hopes to make a career out of cyber security.