Sept. 13, 2000
Position: Running Back
Hometown: Vaughn, Ontario, Canada
High School: Father Henry Carr
Sophomore running back Kerry Carter has begun to make his mark on the Stanford football program. After two games this season, Carter leads the club in rushing with 143 yards. He ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in rushing yards per game (71.5 ypg). He rushed for a career-high 90 yards in last Saturday night's game versus San Jose State and had an 84-yard touchdown reception on a screen pass in the Cardinal's season-opening win at Washington State. The reception was tied for the fifth longest in Stanford football history. All of this has come on the heels of a promising 1999 freshman season in which Carter led the team with six rushing touchdowns, while compiling a total of 330 regular season yards on the ground.
Carter's power, speed, size, agility and grace at the running back position make him a difficult task for any Cardinal opponent to tackle. He continues to become a bigger part of the Cardinal offensive picture each week.
The fact that Carter even made his way to a football field of any type, let alone Stanford Stadium, is a minor miracle. The 6-2, 235 pounder spent his early childhood living in the Port of Spain, Trinidad. The atmosphere on the tropical island just off the coast of Brazil is far removed from the world of competitive intercollegiate football, a world in which Carter is now deeply involved.
Carter spent much of his time in the tropics participating in sports such as soccer, cricket, and track, which soon became his early favorite.
"I saw the Olympics, and I really wanted to run track for Trinidad," remembered Carter.
He honed his early athletic skills by playing on a "field" that was nothing more than a paved straight roadway. The "field", which Carter remembers fondly, was a part of his grandmother's residence in which he shared with anywhere from 12-15 relatives at any given time.
"We played everything there," recalled Carter about activities with his cousins and other local children. "We played soccer, cricket, ran races."
Carter's grandmother didn't make it to a lot of the games the kids in the neighborhood would play, but they could always rely upon her skills to nourish their bodies in between games or after a long day of playing.
"She would always cook for everyone," said a grinning Carter. "She wouldn't want anyone in the kitchen, but she would always be cooking."
Carter credits his early upbringing in Trinidad with some of the success he is enjoying now on The Farm.
"It kind of humbled me a bit when I look back on it, seeing where I came from," said Carter. "I really liked growing up in that kind of atmosphere, just being around so many people who cared about you and loved you. I know that they would all back me in whatever I did. To know that I've come this far - gone through high school, received a scholarship to an institution such as Stanford. I know how proud it makes my whole family."
Although Carter's success in life has always seemed certain, his success in the game of football probably never would have happened had he not moved with his family to the suburbs of Toronto, Canada, at the age of nine.
"I hadn't even heard of football," remembered the 19-year-old Carter about his early childhood in Trinidad. "I think the first football game I saw was the first year (I moved to Canada). It just looked like a jumbled mess to me. I was like 'I just can't understand why they keep running into everyone'. I really didn't understand it at all."
Carter would begin to understand football much better in a hurry. His introduction to football came soon after his move to Canada and by the sixth grade he was playing organized youth football. He remembers that his younger brother had wanted to play the sport and only after he convinced his mother did she allow either son to play organized football.
By the time Carter had entered his sophomore season in high school, football became more of a priority for him than his early love of track because 'I wasn't winning every race' he said while laughing.
"Football just seemed easier for me," he continued more seriously. "I played basketball in high school. I ran track. But the easiest thing, and the thing I had the most success in was football."
Indeed, football must have seemed easy for Carter in the summer of 1998 as he made it tough on all of his opponents by gaining over 2,300 yards and scoring 22 touchdowns on a 19-and-under summer league team to catch the attention of collegiate scouts.
Carter made official trips to Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin before choosing Stanford over all of those traditional football powers.
"The whole atmosphere here and the players here seem to be a lot more like me than anywhere else I went," emphasized Carter. "They were a lot easier to talk to. The coaching staff was really good, really easy going and fun to be around. The players didn't have anything bad to say about them (the coaching staff)."
"This just seemed to be the perfect situation," continued Carter. "Academically, if something were to happen today, the degree here would definitely be worth a lot."
|Leads Stanford with 143 yards rushing through the first two games of the 2000 season ... Ran for a career-best 90 yards in his most recent game versus San Jose State (9/9/00) ... Caught an 84-yard touchdown pass, tied for the fifth longest in Stanford football history, at Washington State (9/2/00) ... Currently ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in rushing yards per game (71.5 ypg) ... Led the Cardinal in rushing touchdowns in 1999 with six, while gaining 330 yards on 87 carries in the regular season ... Scored Stanford's only touchdown in the 2000 Rose Bowl on a one-yard second quarter run that gave the Cardinal a 9-3 lead.|
Carter thinks back and remembers more about how his upbringing helped prepare him for his current situation.
"The whole competitive nature of the team atmosphere (at Stanford) is kind of the same as it was in the house I grew up in," said Carter. "Growing up, you are always competing against your siblings. Although you have the utmost respect for them and you love them, you still want to be better. Even in this team atmosphere (at Stanford), you would die for these guys, but still you're trying to be the best player you can be. There's going to be guys on the team you have to compete against. Regardless of the fact that you are on a team, you still have to set those individual goals."
Carter hopes that accomplishing those individual goals and improving during his time at Stanford will lead him to a career in professional football.
"I wouldn't mind having that opportunity (to play in the NFL)," said Carter. "It will just take a lot of hard work. I have two more years left here at Stanford after this season. That gives me a lot of time to get my body ready and try to accomplish a lot of goals that I have for myself. If I can accomplish those goals that I have set out for myself, that will give me a great opportunity to someday be an NFL draft pick."
by Kyle McRae