Chance Carter, Loyola Academy's highly promising 6-4, 245-pound defensive end, got tangled up in the recruiting process to the point where he almost got left out in the cold. But he finally took his coach's advice and pulled the trigger, accepting Northwestern's scholarship offer before anyone had a chance to think twice about it.
I saw Carter as a sophomore and was so impressed that I put him down as the best sophomore prospect in the state. Before his junior year, I selected him to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio. He had so much size and potential.
Then I saw him three times as a junior. I was disappointed. I saw no aggressiveness. He didn't excel in pursuit and didn't demonstrate great change in direction and movementthat you see in great defensive linemen.
I saw him earlier this season, too. He is a good high school player but not explosive. When you see an All-American, he explodes off the ball like Bryant Young or Simeon Rice. Carter is a workable high school defensive lineman who needs to work on his explosiveness.
He was No. 1 as a sophomore when I saw him play but he hasn't come on. He peaked too soon. Maybe he spent too much time playing basketball and is still learning to play football. But the colleges that were so impressed by him at one time lost interest because they felt he hadn't progressed enough.
Carter went to Notre Dame for a workout in June prior to his junior year and was offered a scholarship. But Illinois didn't offer. He also got offers from Wisconsin, Stanford, Indiana and Purdue. At one time, he said Notre Dame, Stanford and Wisconsin were the three finalists on his list.
But Carter didn't pull the trigger. He delayed his decision. And delayed and delayed. Loyola coach John Holecek, who went through the recruiting process when he was an All-Stater at Marian Catholic, urged him to make a decision, pointing out that every recruit has a window of opportunity. But Carter waited and waited and the colleges gave his scholarship to other recruits.
A few weeks ago, Carter admitted he had no offers, just interest from Northwestern and Nebraska. He also revealed that he had played last season with a broken wrist, an injury he had opted to play with rather than heal. In fact, he didn't think it was serious until he finally had it examined long after the season. Obviously, it had an effect on his play but nobody knew he was injured.
He should have revealed the injury right away. It would have helped in his recruiting. A kid playing with a broken wrist for a whole year? He was courageous for playing with an injury like that but he couldn't have an impact on the field. People were questioning his work ethic early. He would have had more offers if colleges knew he had played with a broken wrist.
Fortunately, Northwestern made an offer a few days ago and Carter didn't wait. He accepted. He hasn't developed and hasn't progressed as many people thought he would after showing greatness as a sophomore. But he still is a Division I player. It was only a matter of time before somebody, like Northwestern, made an offer.
Hopefully, he will realize the great potential he has and will work hard toward being the player everyone thought he could be. He dropped basketball to focus on football. Now he must work to get bigger and stronger. Northwestern has given him an opportunity to do that. It is up to him to take advantage of that opportunity.