Most big-time college recruits fortunate enough to be in a similar position to that of Butler offensive lineman Anthony Carter Jr. have nearly every move of theirs magnified and scrutinized.
Carter is no exception.
When the 6-foot-5, 300-pound left tackle dropped news June 5 on Twitter that he’d narrowed down his list of the 30 or so college programs wooing him down to his final 11, it got 100 shares and more than 1,200 likes.
For the record, his final 11 included, in no particular order: Illinois, Central Florida, Louisville, North Carolina, N.C. State, Texas A&M, Syracuse, Boston College, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
The list is extremely impressive, but it’s easy to see why he is so coveted.
Not only is he a huge individual, and at least two inches taller with his current hairdo, but Carter is smart, instinctive and can move really well for such a big guy.
But Carter is far more focused on having a great senior season than he is with ending the intrigue of where the 3-star recruit, ranked as the No. 29 overall prospect in North Carolina’s Class of 2020 and as the No. 39 offensive guard in the country, will end up playing on Saturdays.
“I’m not sure when I’ll decide,” he said. “I think it’s just when I feel like it and when I know it’s the right fit. The process has been crazy. It’s a lot of moving around and everything. I’m trying to process everything, slow it down and keep up with everything. In the end, I want a great environment with great people who want to work hard.”
Carter has worked extremely hard to get where he is.
He came to Butler as a 6-3, 230-pound freshman, but played his way into the starting rotation on a team that went 12-2. That was the last Bulldog team to win 10 or more games, at the time continuing an amazing run of 12 consecutive seasons with Butler winning 10 or more games.
The Bulldogs haven’t won 10 games since – they were 8-3 in 2017 and 9-3 last year – but they have all of the tools to have one of the city’s special rushing attacks and possibly start a new streak.
“I think we are going to be very potent,” Carter said. “Really. I think we can dominate running the ball this year.”
With the help of offensive linemates Trey Richburg (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) and Leo Arredondo (6-foot-5, 300 pounds), he may be right.
Arredondo is a three-year starter and Richburg, who holds offers from Appalachian State, Old Dominion, Illinois, Western Kentucky and Coastal Carolina, is a four-year starter providing bulk and experience to the left of the line.
They will team with some combination of Chris Locklear, Mason Jaeger, Aaron McIver and Carter Meadows to form what has to be considered among the best lines around.
Carter has already received his accolades, including becoming the only junior offensive lineman named to the 2018 N.C. Associated Press All-State team.
“It means a lot to me,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard, and it shows that people are seeing that and appreciating what I am doing.”
That has propelled Carter to the top of the leadership hierarchy for a team with 13 senior starters. It’s a role he’s relishing in this season.
“It’s different,” he said. “I’m learning, teaching some of the younger guys and helping them to get better. It’s been a process, but I just try to show them and tell them to keep working hard and keep pushing in everything.”
Carter will have a big role opening holes for Jamal Worthy, a big power back who ran for over 1,000 yards last season, and Lamont Brooks, a shiftier guy who can keep the chains moving. Carter knows Butler’s season will likely go as far as the offense can take it, and it’s a challenge he looks forward to taking on.
“The goal is to win a state championship,” he said. “It’s going to ultimately be up to us as to how far we can go, and we’re going to be good.”