ATHENS – The odds seem to be stacked against former Lancaster standout Nathan Carpenter.
As a fifth-year senior safety at Ohio University, Carpenter was elected a team captain. He also was looking forward to his final year of playing for the Bobcats in 2014.
However, a lingering groin injury resurfaced in the third game, which forced him to miss the rest of the season. He recently had successful surgery in Philadelphia.
Even though he has been with the Bobcats for five years, Carpenter didn’t want his career to end on a bad note. So he and the school petitioned the NCAA for a medical redshirt year, which would allow him to play in the fall.
He got his wish when college football’s governing body granted Carpenter a sixth year of eligibility under the hardship/injury waiver guidelines.
“The odds were not in my favor,” Carpenter said. “The Mid-American Conference approved my appeal and coach (Frank) Solich was on board and all for it.
“I just want to finish strong because I’ve never been a quitter. I’m not one to just give up easy. You only get to play college football once and I want to make the most of it.”
Carpenter — who had two surgeries to try to fix the problem before this past season — was redshirted as a freshman because of an injury, but then proceeded to play in 43 consecutive games. He has 159 career tackles and five interceptions.
He has been a mainstay in the Bobcats’ secondary the past three years and started three consecutive bowl games.
Carpenter is hoping his most recent surgery will correct the problem for good. He has begun rehabbing already, but won’t participate in spring practice.
“Everything went great during the surgery, and the fact that I will have six months to heal, should help,” Carpenter said.
Even though he was injured, Carpenter continued to go to practice and attend team meetings every day this past season. He felt as a captain, it was his duty to be supportive of his teammates.
“That’s part of being a leader,” he said. “It was tough not being on the field, especially being a captain, but I tried to stay positive and tried to help motivate my teammates. If I couldn’t play, I wanted to do whatever I could to help.”
Carpenter will graduate with an economics degree in a few months, said he will more than likely try to pursue another degree.
In the meantime, he will continue to rehab five to six days a week, with the hopes of getting one more chance to show his wears on the field.
Jon Carpenter hired as head coach at Lima Shawnee
Nathan’s brother, Jon Carpenter, recently was hired as head football coach at Lima Shawnee High School.
Jon Carpenter was a part of Ohio State’s coaching staff this season as a graduate assistant and worked with defensive coordinator Luke Fickell and the linebackers.
He played football at the University of Cincinnati and graduated in 2008. He also coached at Cincinnati for two years, as well as at Notre Dame and the University of Northern Colorado before joining the Ohio State staff.
Carpenter — whose father, Rob, is the head coach at Lancaster — will take over a Shawnee team that has a 4-16 record during the past two seasons.