DAVID LARKINS, Wesmen Athletics
It would be fair to assume the Winnipeg Wesmen had an inside lane in the recruitment of Carson Brennan.
But the latest of three Brennan brothers to make the jump to university volleyball made sure he struck his own path in finding his post-secondary destination.
Brennan, the younger brother of former Wesmen libero Logan Brennan, has committed to head coach Larry McKay's UWinnipeg men's volleyball program as part of the 2020 recruiting class.
He will enroll in the Faculty of Business and have five years of eligibility.
He joins previously announced recruits Paxton Koop of Steinbach and Alex Krykewich of Dakota Collegiate in the list of commits.
The Wesmen were not a shoo-in for the Bragg Creek, Alta., native, who said he was diligent in his research on the recruiting trail while eldest brother Logan took a relatively hands-off approach to helping him through the process.
The Brennans' middle brother, Jackson, is currently a setter with the Mount Royal Cougars.
"Honestly, (Logan) just really gave me the information that I asked for," he said. "He didn't really persuade me any direction; it was more he wanted to just give me the information of each university that he was aware of and obviously with Winnipeg he was able to give me a lot of information."
Logan Brennan was a Canada West all-star who played five seasons with the Wesmen, capping his career off as the UWinnipeg male athlete of the year and the U Sports Dale Iwanoczko Award in 2018.
Carson Brennan will come to Winnipeg as a bona fide libero having played it in high school at Dr. E.P. Scarlett High School and in club with the Calgary-based Canuck program.
"I'd say (I'm) a very driven, very competitive player," he said. "I feel like that's the biggest thing I bring to the team is a very, very competitive person that really brings up the intensity level of the gameplay as much as I can."
Brennan said he "connected well" with Wesmen team members in prior visits and went as far as to laud current libero Darian Picklyk as a player he looks up to.
"I think that's a huge reason why I made that decision," Brennan said.
Brennan has also kept in touch with Koop, who he's played against in the club ranks since U14.
"We've always had a lot of respect for each other," Brennan said.
McKay said he has such respect for the Brennan family that he didn't want previous ties to the Wesmen program to cloud Carson's decision-making, an approach Logan also endorsed.
"They're such a great family and I didn't want that to affect his decision," McKay said. "I really wanted to have his family back directly involved in our program instead of being an alumni family."
Brennan will learn under Picklyk, a soon-to-be fourth-year who is one of the top liberos in the conference, but McKay said the opportunities will be there for him to see action early on.
"It's been a rarity where a guy's come in just ear-marked as a libero," McKay said.
"… The skillset he's got is (serve) receive, defence, and has similar athletic ability to Logan. He's very fast and has an acumen and IQ for that position and brings experience in that position."