Darrious Carter found what he was looking for. So he decided not to wait.
Carter, a 6-foot-6, 205-pound defensive end from Indiana High School, made an oral commitment over the weekend to Temple and will receive a scholarship to play for the Owls, a Division I Football Bowl Subdivision team in the new American Athletic Conference. Carter, who will be a senior this fall at Indiana, will officially sign a national letter of intent in February.
Indiana coach Mark Zilinskas couldn’t be more proud.
“He’s just a great kid,” Zilinskas said. “He’s an excellent student-athlete. He gets it done in the classroom. He goes above and beyond in his preparation. He’s deeply involved in three sports, but he still keeps up his strength training.”
The recruiting process is just that: a process. But while many other players sift through letters and make visits to campuses throughout the fall and winter, Carter found a place he was comfortable with and decided waiting until national signing day wasn’t worth it.
“I wanted to wait,” Carter said, “but there really was no reason to wait. No one knows what will happen. So if something did happen, like if I broke a leg, I’d still have a place to go.”
A three-sport star at Indiana, Carter came on strong last fall for the Indians, becoming a dominant pass rusher and big-play receiver. But he was still a bit of an unknown until this summer, when he attended a couple recruiting camps. College coaches watch these camps to get a head start on recruiting, and Temple wide receivers coach Terry Smith, the former head coach at Gateway High School, struck up a bond with Carter at a camp in Penn Hills.
“Darrious kind of flew in under the radar,” Zilinskas said. “At the one camp, all the coaches’ heads turned when he walked in the room. They really began to notice him. I think he has really just started to come into his own.”
Carter soon visited the Temple campus in Philadelphia, and the Owls made an offer that Carter was enthused about.
“(Smith) is a real great guy,” Carter said. “He is the one who made me think Temple is a second home for me. Me and my family trust him. That was a big thing. He’s an all-around great guy. I’m excited. I’m just trying to go there and do my best.”
Carter said he also had significant interest from five other schools: Pitt, Penn State, New Hampshire, Delaware, and Youngstown State. Although Carter said he is committed to Temple, Zilinskas wondered if other schools might still come around with hopes of changing Carter’s mind.
“Everybody is starting to find out about him,” Zilinskas said. “It will be real interesting to see what this season is like. I think Temple is a good place for him, but I also think some teams will continue to pursue him.”
But judging by Carter’s words, the Indiana native has found a new home in Philadelphia.
“I’m very excited,” said Carter, who will study business and/or accounting at Temple. “I just felt like I had a bond there. I really enjoyed the coaches and they made me feel welcome. Once I saw the campus I knew it was where I wanted to go.”
And if anyone has a fear that Carter won’t play hard this fall because his recruiting process is essentially over, he has a quick response.
“I was going to work hard anyway,” he said. “But now I’m going to work even harder to show I’m worthy of playing there.”