Carlton Todd is very honest about the impact Iowa Central head football coach Jesse Montalto had on him making the transition to playing Div. I college football.
"Coach Montalto played a big role. He never gave up on me and always pushed me and wanted me to be the best I can be," Todd said. "So I have that mentality locked in my heard until this day. Nothing will ever be given to me; I have to take it."
Todd is a junior wide receiver for the Buffalo Bulls, a member of the Mid-American Conference at the Football Bowl Subdivision. Todd and the Bulls recently played Big Ten Conference contender Penn State on the road this past weekend, as he finished with three catches for 27 yards.
An all-state selection as a senior at Waterloo West, Todd shined in his one season under Montalto at Iowa Central, catching 16 passes for 298 yards and three touchdowns. His 18.6 yards per catch average was tops on the team, and he saved his best for last, putting together a three-catch, 80-yard, one-touchdown performance in the Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls last December to help the Tritons to a 34-20 victory.
Todd had at least one reception in each of his last six games for Iowa Central, including five for 76 in a win at Independence.
"Coach Montalto never gave up on my recruitment even when it wasn't looking too good for me," Todd said. "He, along with the entire Iowa Central coaching staff, are the reason I am where I'm at right now. He's a great coach and an even better person."
Todd made his arrival in New York and earned a spot on the depth chart as a backup heading into a Week 1 game vs. Robert Morris. He was elevated to a starting position for the matchup with Penn State, which took place in a venue Todd had always envisioned playing in growing up in Iowa.
"It was amazing," he said of the stadium known as Happy Valley. "As a kid, you grow up wanting to play a game this big in an atmosphere like that and I achieved a life-long goal. We played our hearts out, but came up short. I'm proud of the way we competed."
The move to the East Coast has also helped Todd grow into the type of physical player needed to compete at the highest level.
"Things have been going great," he said. "I've bonded with the team easily and gained over 12 pounds since being here, so I feel the best I've felt in years. I'm happy the coaches gave me the opportunity to play here."
Todd and the Bulls return to action Saturday, September 14 when they travel to Liberty. The game will be available on ESPN+.