For Darrious Carter, the best thing about the recruiting process is that it’s over.
Now that he has signed a National Letter of Intent to play college football at Virginia, Carter hopes the questions will stop and he can focus on what’s foremost on his mind right now: playing basketball.
Carter, a highly sought-after defensive end from Indiana High School, officially signed with Virginia on Wednesday, the first day high school football players could sign with the college of their choice. On Thursday, he said he was relieved the whole process was finally over.
“I’m excited,” he said, “because there’s no more bothering about it. I enjoyed it, but it got annoying after a while.”
In addition to his skill on the football field, Carter is also a standout basketball player for the Indians, who are in the thick of a race for a WPIAL section title. The basketball team needs Carter’s full attention, and he feels like he can give that now that his recruiting is over.
“Now I can just play basketball,” he said. “We’re working for a section title, and we’re getting better as a team. I’m worried about only basketball right now.”
Carter initially gave a verbal (non-binding) commitment to Temple last summer, but he changed his mind recently when Virginia head coach Mike London started recruiting him. Carter visited the campus in Charlottesville and immediately took a liking to the college town.
When Carter saw the Virginia campus, he was sold.
“I took the offer from Temple just to be safe,” he said. “It is a good school, and I did like it. But more schools started making offers during the season and I decided to keep looking. In the end, I made a better choice. Everything at Virginia is nice, and I just feel comfortable there.”
Carter was initially recruited to Temple by an assistant coach there, Terry Smith, the former head coach at Gateway High School. Smith left Temple last month to take a job on James Franklin’s staff at Penn State, and Carter said Smith contacted him again about signing with the Nittany Lions, but Carter said he didn’t want to consider anyone else. He said he also didn’t entertain offers from some other late-comers, like Massachusetts, James Madison or Maryland.
“I just didn’t want to change my mind again,” he said. “I had made up my mind and that was it.”
Before he gets to Virginia in August, Carter said he needs to put on some weight, and he hopes to be around 250 pounds when preseason camp begins. More than likely, he will take a redshirt season this fall, as most freshmen do, but Carter isn’t thinking too far ahead about his freshman season.
He’s got more important things to do first, and the first thing is to help his high school basketball team stay on a hot streak.
“I’m just glad it’s over,” he said.