Catching Up with Mr. Carter

[Hillsborough's Zachary Carter (#111) at Ignite in January.]
[Hillsborough’s Zachary Carter (#111) at Ignite in January.]
Hillsborough’s Zachary Carter is yet another diamond in the 2017 class coming from Hillsborough County, but we won’t bog you down with something you already know. Instead, we were more interested in finding out how the young man and his now insane recruiting process has come along since the defensive end has arrived on campus in Seminole Heights.

Carter is 6-feet/4-inches and 253-pounds of human that is hurling at opposing QB’s and ball carriers on Friday Nights and will be bigger than that once he starts propelling himself towards opponents on Saturday’s in the not-so-distant future. We caught up with the number-two overall prospect in BCP’s Fire 79 yesterday and Carter gave us a little bit of insight beyond just the naming of top ten’s or whatever. The Terrier talks about his life-changing experiences in this process, plus a little bit about his dreams beyond the playing field. He also gives us some advice much like Devan Barrett did yesterday about making that ultimate decision.

“My recruiting process started off kinda slow, and out of nowhere it became a whirlwind this past year. My life has completely changed, but I’m still the same person and I still remain humbled.” said Carter referring to the laundry list of power five schools that are begging for his attention.

But if there’s one thing that we need to make completely clear regarding the young man, if you think that attention has changed him in anyway, you clearly don’t know him–or his approach towards life. “Getting those offers made me work harder and want to be a leader for other people around me.”

Without wasting anytime, we jumped right in to some of the recent visits that Carter had made, and asks him about specific schools that he had lauded via interviews with other outlets and his own social media account. Carter already knows what he wants to major in college, and let’s just say he’s coming for A LOT of people’s jobs. Although the three schools he mentioned, he’d be better off studying how to become an ENT with all of the hearing loss that occurs during the season.

“When I went to Tennessee, I was really blown away. The facilities from the weight room to the stadium were unbelievable. I visited Clemson and their facilities were really nice as well. Two of the loudest places in college football–and also Florida–their campus is huge and their stadium is loud. For the Florida visit, it was an academic visit as well–they have what I want to major in–journalism and communications–and I was blown away. They were recording some SEC Network shows out of their journalism and communications building when I was there and that was pretty cool. I want to be an analyst on camera someday.”

We mentioned the conversation we had the day before with Tampa Catholic’s Devan Barrett about those life-changing moments–the life-changing moments that happen literally on a daily basis–we asked him how he’s handled this process. To no surprise, Carter was quick to give credit to his parents.

“The way my parents raised me–they raised me to always stay humble–because everyone starts from the bottom. They told me that a lot of people wish they were in the position that I’m in–I really take that advice and think about a lot of people I know–like my teammates–I know they would kill to be in the position that I’m in, so I just try to handle it the best that I can.”

We just had to ask him what it was like playing for one of the most-historic programs in the city–as well as one of the most-historic coaches in the area. His answer may surprise you at first, but when you understand the kind of love and respect he has for Coach Earl Garcia, you begin to understand why we are all different and that everyone responds to criticism and motivation differently. Quite frankly, it was refreshing to hear Carter’s viewpoint.

“Since I came in my freshman year, I really felt the tradition that we have at here at Hillsborough and all of the historical stuff that we have here. Playing for Coach G–you have to get used to him, because he has that old-school style. A lot of coaches these days don’t coach like him. He’s going to get in your butt and you can’t do anything about it. So since my freshmen season I’ve adjusted to that style and I think it’s made me a better player.”

That begs the question. Has he run across any coaches in the recruitment process that have a similar style to Coach G, and is that something that he will prefer from his coaches on the next level? “Well, I was at Florida’s practice last week–and my (potential) position coach–Coach Rumph–he had a similar coaching style. If you mess up, he’s going to get in your butt. I’m used to it, so I have no problem with it–I think that’s a good thing that I’m already used to it from my high school coach. College will be no issue on that front.”

What about that hot topic of Relationship vs. Program in terms of commitment? Let’s face it, ANY information or insight from a player like this is always going to help keep hope alive that he may commit, but with Carter–just because he’s thoroughly impressed by a coach or a campus–it ain’t gonna be that easy if you want to land him. You better have more than just a football program and a set of great coaches.

“I get a lot of advice not to pick a college based on a coach, because they can end up leaving and a lot of coaches move around these days. So, my perspective is that I try to say to myself–‘would I like this school if I wasn’t playing football?’–and I think that’s what is going to help me make the best decision.”