It’s been a busy nine months for Navarre’s Michael Carter — who has been recovering from a torn PCL — but that could all pay off well starting in July.
The speedy playmaker is one month from being cleared for full-contact football and plans to commit on July 4 to one of the 19 schools who have offered him a scholarship to play NCAA football.
This week has only added to Carter’s desire to return to the gridiron, as a current NFL running back worked out with Carter this week at Navarre High.
To make the scenario all the more ideal, the NFL star has also overcome a season-ending knee injury — twice.
“He (NFL player) just wanted to work,” said Carter, who out of respect for the players’ privacy chose to not reveal the players’ name. “Once he heard that we were doing one-on-ones he told us he wanted in. He was a super nice guy. You can tell he just wants to be the best.”
Carter described a 20-minute time window where he was able to “pick the brain” of the four-time NFL Pro Bowler while working out side-by-side.
“He knows so much … he’s got the league (NFL) figured out,” Carter said. “I was just asking him stuff off the top of my head. It was just cool picking up pointers. The small stuff really does make a difference. He helped me realize how much of a difference one step can make, or even what you do with your eyes.
“Your eyes can give away a lot to a defender. I was able to pick up a whole new side of the game from somebody at a higher level.”
It’s rare, but Carter is part of a small group of area players who began attracting significant collegiate attention during their sophomore seasons.
Now a rising senior, Carter led the Navarre Raiders in rushing during his sophomore year and hauled in six offers before the start of his junior campaign.
While Carter was optimistic for another big season in his junior year (had 479 rushing yards and seven TDs through two games), a PCL tear cut his year short in Navarre’s third game of the season.
But those days will be a distant memory when Carter issues his verbal commitment on Independence Day, with three ACC schools (UNC, Virginia, Louisville), four SEC schools (Mississippi St., Tennessee, Florida, Vanderbilt), two PAC-12 schools (Colorado, Oregon St.) and nine other programs awaiting his answer.
“My decision is 110%, my mind is made up,” Carter said. “The school that I chose checks every box on the list that I am looking for.”
Carter will embrace the moment when Monday rolls around, but don’t expect him to lose focus on getting better.
Not even for a minute.
“I’m just so motivated and this team (Navarre) is so motivated,” Carter said. “We are all coming into this season as one. This year is not a comeback season.
“We all got one goal and that’s a state title … and that’s not just blowing smoke. That’s how we feel as a group at Navarre.”