Dwayne Carter runs the 40-yard dash on a practice field covered in worn-out grass, paying attention to every detail of his form as he sprints ahead.
So much is riding on these winter workouts over Christmas break for Carter, the former star running back at Navarre who is one step closer to his dream of playing in the NFL after receiving an invite to the NFL Regional Combine in New Orleans this March.
His dad, Tony, an assistant coach at Navarre, is quick to point out any mistakes that are made, but it’s all for a good cause. Carter is quick to accept the constructive criticism, which ultimately, will help make him better prepared for one of the biggest opportunities of his life.
“He pushes me and motivates me,” Carter said. “Whenever I feel like I’m giving my all – he knows what my all is – and he sees I’m not giving it, he makes me start over. We both know what is at stake and he’s pushing me to be the best player I can be.”
Carter has taken the long road to this point, even battling injuries over the course of his career, but sometimes the more difficult road is worthwhile.
Once a star high school running back for the Raiders, many believing he had the chance to follow in the footsteps of Trent Richardson and Emmitt Smith, Carter never played Division I football because of his grades.
He spent two years at a junior college in Kansas and then landed at Division II Harding in Arkansas, where he just wrapped up his senior season and is now a semester away from getting his degree.
There were times he could have given up, moments where he could have walked away. But he considers his journey a blessing and is eager to embrace the challenge of proving himself to NFL scouts.
“Every time I think about how far I’ve come, it’s crazy,” Carter said. “There were multiple stops along the way where it would have been easy to give up and no one would have blamed me for it. But having my brothers (Michael and Josh), and having my mom and dad behind me, they pushed me the times I wanted to give up. I’m thankful I kept going.”
Read more in the Jan. 12 edition of the Navarre Press or subscribe online here.