Mission Viejo's Carter Hartmann was selected the South Coast League's defensive MVP, is also a starter on the offensive line and will begin attending Harvard next fall. ‘He's off-the-chart bright.' Diablos coach Bob Johnson said of the senior.

Mission Viejo's Hartmann has the bright stuff


MISSION VIEJO - Carter Hartmann has been the lone two-way starter on Mission Viejo’s football team this season, but that is not his most impressive juggling act.

Last school year, the senior lineman earned a rare 5.0 grade-point average while helping the Diablos capture a CIF-SS football title, playing basketball and attending 5:30 a.m. religious classes for his Mormon faith.

Hartmann gave up watching television to help handle the daunting challenge, and the 17-year-old recounts the year with a sly grin and wonderment.

“All my classes were AP honors or IB (International Baccalaureate),” he said. “I had a goal to get straight A’s and then also have a great football year. I ended up doing both.”

Hartmann’s balancing act hasn’t stopped. He joins quarterback Brock Johnson as one of the forces behind Mission Viejo’s run to a second consecutive CIF-SS West Valley Division final.

The top-seeded Diablos (13-0) play at No. 2 Vista Murrieta (12-1) on Friday at 7:30 p.m.

“He’s been a warrior for us,” Mission Viejo assistant coach Bret Johnson, also Brock’s father, said of Hartmann.

The Diablos, who beat the Broncos, 21-10, in the West Valley final last season, have relied more on Hartmann this fall because of injuries to other linemen.

Known more as a defensive tackle, Hartmann (6-3, 265) added offensive guard to his responsibilities after Nathaniel Addonizio was lost to a season-ending injury against Tesoro in mid-October.

Hartmann and Mission Viejo’s offensive line gave Brock Johnson enough protection last week to toss a school-record seven touchdowns against Chino Hills in the semifinals.

“I don’t think he was sacked,” Hartmann said of Brock, who passed for 372 yards in a 56-21 victory.

Hartmann also has remained one of the Diablos’ top defensive players. Recently selected the South Coast League defensive MVP, he has racked up 42 total tackles, five sacks, 17 tackles for loss and recovered two fumbles.

That’s a lot of production for someone who sometimes sees more than 100 plays in the trenches per game.

“It’s really exhausting during the games,” Hartmann said. “I’m very sore (Saturday morning). Lots of bruises, but I’ve never had any bad injuries.”

The mental task of playing offense and defense is much easier for Hartmann. Remembering blocking assignments is not much of an obstacle.

“He’s the one guy who could (play two ways),” Mission Viejo coach Bob Johnson said of Hartmann, who played right tackle on the freshman team. “He’s off-the-chart bright.”

Hartmann has nearly earned straight A’s in high school and holds a 4.7 overall grade-point average.

“He’s very self-motivated,” his mother, Renee, said.

Hartmann values academics so much, he committed to Harvard despite an offer from BYU and strong recruiting interest from Division 1-A schools San Jose State, Boise State and Duke. San Jose State also offered a scholarship.

His parents, Renee and Larry, attended BYU and his older brothers, Chase and Dallas, attend BYU.

“BYU is a great school. I really like it, but the things you can do at Harvard, I feel like BYU can’t offer,” said Hartmann, who was hosted on his recruiting trip to Harvard by former JSerra standout DJ Bailey.

“I’ve always known that football is going to end and that education is the most important thing.”

Hartmann said his father instilled the importance of education but his family is full of academic achievers.

His brother, Wes, plays linebacker at Tuffs, a research university in Massachusetts. His mother’s cousin, Clayton Christensen, is a professor at Harvard Business School. His cousin, Ariel Delgado, also attended Harvard.

Hartmann, whose sister, Sabrina, plays soccer at Mission Viejo, is undecided about a college major. But some of his future is set. After his freshman year at Harvard, he will embark on his two-year Mormon mission.

He doesn’t know his destination yet but is hoping for Asia. Dallas is serving his mission in Denmark.

For now, Hartmann’s focus is on the game against Vista Murrieta. He was part of a defense that slowed the Broncos last December at Angel Stadium.

“We’re confident, but we know they’re really good,” he said. “It’s going to be harder (this time).”

Hartmann, however, knows all about mastering tests.

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