Queen signs to play football at Hanover College
A Sullivan High School senior will have the opportunity to extend his playing days on the gridiron.
On Wednesday, Nathan Queen signed a letter-of-intent to play football at Hanover College, a member of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
The 5-10, 205-pound linebacker finished with 83 tackles, including six for loss, despite missing three games with an elbow injury. He won the coveted Adam Sajko Award for the Golden Arrows.
He was a starter on back-to-back Western Indiana Conference championship teams in 2016 and 2017, as the Golden Arrows went undefeated in the WIC both years and combined for 19 wins in those two seasons.
Queen, the son of Jason Queen and Nicole Caton, said that he thought about playing at the next level last summer.
“I went to camp at Franklin last year with coach (Dan) Watson,” said Queen. “He put the thought into my head that maybe I could play football in college.”
He said that Hanover College coach Matt Theobald made an unannounced visit one day after his senior season.
“We ended up having a 90-minute conversation,” said Queen. “He asked me what I wanted to get out of going to college.
“We texted back and forth and around Christmas he had been able to watch some film of me and thought I could make an immediate impact.”
Later, Theobald texted Queen and asked him, ‘Are you ready to be a Panther.’
“I really like things at Franklin, but I just felt like coach Theobald and Hanover was a better fit for me,” said Queen, who said he earned a $19,000 Merit Scholarship to help pay for tuition as Hanover does not offer athletic scholarships. “I am still filling out my FAFSA and working with admissions at Hanover.”
Theobald said that Queen will be a good fit at Hanover.
“He has the academics, athleticism and the character we are looking to build the program here at Hanover,” Theobald said of Queen. “I think Nathan will find a home at linebacker for us.
“We like the way he gets off blocks and tackles in space.”
Queen said that SHS coach Blaine Powell was very helpful and talked with him about the chance to go to college and play football.
“Nathan did a great job for us,” said Powell. “He worked really hard in the weight room over the summer to make this happen.
“I know coach Theobald is doing a good job building the program at Hanover.”
Queen, who also played some at fullback for Sullivan, said he is being recruited as an inside linebacker.
“I have been an inside backer growing up and they are recruiting me to play that position,” said Queen. “I know they have some very good linebackers and I will have to work very hard to earn playing time.
“But I hate riding the bench, so I am going to have to work very hard to earn playing time. I look forward to the opportunity to do so and the challenges ahead of me.”
Unfortunately, Queen knows a little bit about having to sit.
After what he calls a freak accident, Queen dislocated his left elbow on homecoming against South Vermillion. He missed three games before returning to the starting lineup in the WIC championship game at Indian Creek.
“After the freak incident, the first thing I thought about was telling them to make sure that Sydney Pike has an escort for homecoming,” he said. “They thought I was being funny, but I was serious. The bad part was they made that poor girl walk out by herself.
“They were running the ball inside and I made a move laterally. I was trying to fill the hole and stuck my arm in there. It got rolled up on and pulled it out of socket. It dislocated the elbow with a slight rotation.”
After one doctor told Nathan his season was over, he got a second opinion, which was more favorable.
“At Methodist, doctors told me I had a chance to come back and play,” said Queen. “I was going to make sure I did everything to get back on the field.
“Tobie (Steele, SHS trainer) helped me with rehab. They put two braces on it and I had to get movement back before I could get back on the field. I ended up playing with a brace because they don’t want it to pop out. I locked the elbow at a 45-degree angle and I can’t extend it past that.”
Queen, who said he wants to major in nursing, with hopes either becoming a anesthesiologist or a traveling nurse, said the elbow is fine although he still works with Steele.
“I will always have to wear a brace,” he said. “But I feel fortunate that I can still play football.”
Powell said that Queen showed a lot of heart and determination to make his dream come true.
“He could have taken the first opinion and let his football career be done,” said Powell. “But he did not want that to happen.
“He did everything the second doctor told him to do and made it happen.”
Powell said the Queen was instramental in the victory over Indian Creek.
“He had been out three games and comes back with 16 tackles in 2 1/2 quarters,” said Powell. “It was amazing to watch how he played in that game, coming back from a serious injury.
“Players like Nathan don’t come along very often. I am thrilled for him but I also know he is going to be missed a lot around here.”
Queen said he remembers starting to play football in the second grade against players from grades 3-4.
“I was just a little guy out there running around playing for coach Dusty Arnett,” he said. “Another thing I remember is going to a tournament at Owensboro, Kentucky when we were in fifth or sixth grade.
“It was colder than snot, but the best part was having a pool in the hotel. We found a room full of balls and played dodgeball in the pool.”
Queen said he continues to work out at the fitness center to help prepare for next season.
“I have sat down and talked with their linebackers coach and defensive coordinator,” he said. “They give their defensive players full responsibility for knowing everything about the defense.
“Whoever wants to play bad enough has to be able to adjust and learn all the intricate plays. I am not used to being the best player out there. I will have to compete for my spot. There will be no days off.”
Queen added that coach Powell has always pushed him to do his best.
“I am thankful for my faith, my parents and grandparents and God for my athletic ability,” he said. “They all helped put me in this situation.
“I am excited to go down there and start grinding. I really want to get some playing time as a freshman.
“This is a great opportunity to play in a structured program. I love the bond and brotherhood that football gives you.”
Photo by B.J. HARGIS: Nathan Queen of Sullivan, front, center, signed a letter-of-intent to play football at Hanover College on Wednesday. He is flanked by his parents Jason Queen and Nicole Caton. Back, from left, include stepfather Mike Caton, SHS football coach Blaine Powell, Sullivan principal Tara Jenkins and Sullivan athletic director Otto Clements.