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Morehouse's David Carter thriving for Maroon Tigers

Like most football teams in America, Morehouse chose not to recruit David Carter, a sturdy, strong running back from Sprayberry High School who recruiters determined was a step too slow or a couple of inches too short.

 

It was hard for Carter to understand. How could the best running back ever at a school as big as Sprayberry get totally overlooked?

 

“I didn’t get a lot of exposure, and I guess they thought I wasn’t fast enough, even though I had set school records for rushing and touchdowns,” said Carter, a 5-foot-10, 220-pound sophomore. “I knew I had the talent to be playing at this level, but I wasn’t sure I was going to get the chance. So my dad asked the coaches at Morehouse if I could walk on. And so I did.”

 

Two years later, Carter is Morehouse’s top running back, having gained more than 100 yards in three of the Maroon Tigers’ past four games, including 155 yards and three touchdowns Saturday against Benedict. His coach, Rich Freeman, said count him among the list of coaches who erred badly by not recruiting Carter.

 

“I think I made the same mistake every other coach made, and that’s doing a lousy job recruiting. Myself and all the other college coaches in the area dropped the ball big time. There is no way on earth a kid coming from a big high school that, running like he did, should be overlooked. The Lord sent him into my office, fortunately for us.” Carter is soft spoken and doesn’t harbor much bitterness about his lack of offers. Freeman describes him as a “man of not many words, a very good kid with a good heart, from a good family.”

 

When Freeman first told Carter he could play, the coach thought maybe he could help as a blocking fullback. Then he saw the kid run the ball.

“On the first day of practice, I thought, good Lord, this kid has great feet, vision, speed and is very tough. Plus, we knew he was meek and humble, which is what our program is about. He fit into the locker room and played his way into being our top runner.”

 

As hard as it was on Carter to be overlooked two years ago, it might have been even rougher for his father. Not because he wanted to relive the glory days of when he was a college player at Georgia Tech, but because it hurts to see your kid not be offered the chance to do something he wants to do.

 

“It was disappointing for me as a father to see him with all these high school credentials and not having a single scholarship offer,” said the elder Carter, who also is named David. “We’re talking about a kid who is his high school’s all-time leading rusher with 4,500 yards, and the most touchdowns ever with 55 and the only back to rush for 1,000 yards each year, and play in 42 straight games.

 

And he’s a good kid who had a 3.1 GPA, never in trouble. All the big schools, Rutgers, UT, Vandy, Georgia showed some interest early on, but for some reason, and I can’t put finger on it, none offered. None. It was extremely disappointing.”

 

Sometimes, life has a way of kicking you when you are down. Sometimes though, perspectives change with time. Not getting into the bigger schools was a blessing, albeit one really well disguised as a sucker punch to the gut.

 

“I’m so happy to be here,” the son said. “This is the right school for me, and I’m glad it has worked out this way so far. And I think it has the chance of having a really nice ending.”

Added his dad: “David is blessed to be a Morehouse, and Morehouse is blessed to have David." Freeman couldn’t agree more.

 

“I was wrong about him when I didn’t recruit him and wrong about him when I thought maybe he could be only a blocking back. David is a quiet storm, and having players like him, from metro Atlanta, from Cobb County, is only going to help Morehouse in the long run.”

 

By Bill Sanders

For the Atlanta Journal Constitution

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