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Recruiting the Duke of Lake Ridge

Jun 02, 2015 09:06PM ● Published by Todd Kaufmann

Update: I spoke with Lake Ridge head coach Kirk Thor who informed me Carter actually has four offers including Louisiana Monroe and McNeese State among a few others.


Watching film and recruiting a high school football player isn't an exact science. Ask any of the guys who work for Rivals or Scout or even 247 Sports, and they'll tell you the same thing as will any college recruiter in the country.

As for me, I don't look for the most well known names because everyone else knows about them already so I wouldn't be saying anything they didn't already know. I'd rather talk about the little known players who aren't getting a whole lot of looks but who are better than [lack of attention] they're getting.

One of those players is right here in our backyard and he just happens to be a Duke. Ok, not a real Duke but at least the first name is Duke. I'm referring to Mansfield Lake Ridge running back Duke Carter who, even after a season that saw him rush for over 2,000 yards (2,029) with 24 touchdowns and averaged almost seven yards per carry (6.92), still doesn't have a single offer from any college program let alone any strong interest according to Rivals.

If you watch his film there is plenty that will stand out to you. Without watching it, his 40 time jumps off the page at you (4.48) and it shows with his breakaway speed once he gets out into the open.

But what surprised me the most, especially everything I see in Carter, is the lack of interest and offers he's getting from college programs. I can't imagine there isn't a school in Division-I football that wouldn't love a guy like this in their backfield.

So what's the problem? 

There are those, like the short quarterbacks listed at 6'0" and under, who will point to Carter's size and call him "undersized." To that I'll point out one former NFL running back out of UCLA, Maurice Jones-Drew, who was listed at 5'7" and 190 pounds coming out of De La Salle High School back in 2003. Carter is lighter than Drew by just seven pounds.

Want another Jones-Drew and Carter comparison? In Jones-Drew's senior season at De La Salle he rushed for just 1,457 yards and 26 touchdowns. Carter has him beat in total yards and just two back of him in the touchdown category and that was only his junior season.

Is there a comparison to be made between the two players on the field and how they performed? Maybe not, especially with Jones-Drew's NFL career and the kind of running back he was in college. But if Carter is given the chance, who's to say he can't put together the same kind of college career than that of his comparison?

Carter has one more year to prove what kind of running back he really is and, if he puts up bigger numbers than he did his junior year, he should have no shortage of schools knocking on his door.

Scouting Report: Unbelievably quick feet and is will hit the smallest of holes created by the offensive line. Extremely allusive, tough back to bring down, keeps his legs churning even after the initial contact, and doesn't quit on the play. Once he gets through the line, he has a big time burst to get to the outside or around a defender in the secondary or past a linebacker coming up. He has tremendous field vision, great footwork, and isn't looking to simply outrun defenders down the sideline, he'll make the necessary cuts across the field when the opportunity presents itself. Can be called upon to catch the ball out of the backfield making 22 catches for 231 total yards this past season. 

Mansfield Lake Ridge has a talented running back and a guy who will make a huge impact on this team for the 2015 season. He'll be fun to watch especially as the season hits the midway point. If he doesn't have any offers by then, it won't be his fault. All you can do is ask him to put up the kind of numbers they're used to seeing from him, with the same effort, and let the rest take care of itself.


Todd Kaufmann is the play-by-play voice of Prosper High School football and covers Texas sports for Texas Sports Insiders (@TexasInsiders). You can follow him on Twitter (@T_Kaufmann) or Facebook (Facebook.com/ToddKaufmannSports) or reach him by email at tkaufmann@texassportsinsiders.com

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