For Navarre running back Michael Carter, the recruiting game started early. His appearance in a national championship game in middle school served as a launching pad to the spotlight.
“It was awesome for my confidence because it’s something a lot of middle-school athletes, even high-school athletes, aren’t exposed to,” Carter said. “It accelerated my maturity. Seeing that competition at a young age gives you a national perspective.”
By his freshman year, he had his first offer. It was from the University of Tennessee.
“It felt great because it’s what I had worked for, but I wanted more. It motivated me to work even harder,” Carter said.
Carter is among thousands of athletes across the nation pursuing the dream of being a college athlete.
The pursuit involves asking the right questions, finding a school that is the right fit, athletically and academically, and dedicating long hours to playing and practicing while also attending camps and making campus visits.
It also involves never forgetting recruiting is a business.
Navarre girls basketball coach Jackie Coyne will tell you as much. She played college basketball in Pennsylvania and has a daughter, Alex, who plays point guard for the University of West Florida. Her daughter began her career at Southern Mississippi.
“It’s a rat race,” Coyne said. “I always told Alex you aren’t the only one the school is after. It’s a game of I got three point guards I’m looking at. Which one will commit first? The biggest thing we learned about the process is that it is a business.”
It’s a business packed with pressure, although it can be kept to a minimum, according to Tony Carter, who is Michael’s dad and assistant football coach at Navarre.
“You don’t want to chase offers, because if you do, there is more pressure and it becomes work,” Tony said. “You want to make it as fun as you can for as long as you can. When you take the more laid-back approach, the offers will come.”
Read more in the Aug. 18 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.