Michael Carter, RB, North Carolina Tar Heels
Size: 5-foot-8 and 202 pounds
Age: 21-years-old (5/7/1999)
One of three boys, Micheal Carter was born in Japan where his father, Tony, played professional football in the X-League. When he was a toddler the family moved back to the states and settled in the northwest region of Florida’s panhandle.
Carter began suiting up in youth leagues at five years old and, unsurprisingly, became a star player at Navarre High. After returning from a right knee injury that prematurely ended his junior year, the then-Raider closed out his senior campaign on a high note. USA Today named him Florida’s Offensive Player of the Year and he entered the next phase of his career a three-star recruit. Citing academics as well as athletics, Carter left his home state in favor of Chapel Hill.
As a true freshman in 2017, Carter found the end zone nine times. The following year, he welcomed Javonte Williams to the Tar Heels backfield. Over the next two seasons, the duo would dominate as a smash-and-dash pairing.
For his part, Carter was a finalist for the 2020 Paul Hornung Award. Despite sharing touches, he recorded the eighth-most rushing yards in a single season for a UNC running back, posting 1,245 over his final college campaign.
Pros: Elite change of direction and lateral quickness, natural receiver, takes care of the football (recorded zero fumbles over his 2020 effort).
Cons: Undersized at barely 200 pounds, lacks oomph in tackle-breaking situations, struggles in pass protection.
The Big Picture
If Williams has that “Whoa” then Carter is all about the “Wow.”
Quick feet and gentle agility make the UNC product a multi-dimensional runner who can slip and slide past defenders and through slim holes. With wiggle for days, the 21-year-old is a versatile talent who averaged 8.0 YPC and over 10.7 YPR in 2020. A capable receiver and solid route-runner, Carter figures to additionally provide check-down value at the next level.
While his size might limit his ability in short-yardage and goal-line situations, Carter remains one of the most well-rounded prospects in this year’s class. His multi-dimensionality, however, extends beyond the field. Beloved by his teammates, Carter’s energy is cited as infectious and is often credited for extending beyond the locker room and onto the field.
That same juju was felt by Brian Flores at the Senior Bowl, where Carter’s flashy performance helped to boost his draft stock. Expect him to be a Day 2 selection come late April.
NFL Comp: A faster Devonta Freeman
With Phillip Lindsay in Houston and Melvin Gordon entering the last year of his deal, Denver might be in the market for an elusive pass-catching back. Giving off Dion Lewis vibes in his first year, Carter could grow into a Devonta Freeman-esque role for the Broncos come 2022.
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