Carter Focused on Fall
Carter, a 6-foot-4 255-pounder who sat out all of last season after a tearing his right anterior-cruciate ligament, will graduate in three weeks with a degree in sports management. That means he'll have plenty of time this summer to continue his rehabilitation, and a whole lot more in the fall to devote to football.
"I'm in the training room for at least an hour most days," Carter said. "Whether its therapy or getting the in the pool or icing myself down. Once I graduate, I might as well set up a room somewhere in there."
It was particularly heartbreaking when Carter's 2004 season was ended during the first scrimmage of fall camp. A former defensive tackle, Carter trained painstakingly last summer at Titus Sports Academy – a local gym owned by former FSU receiver Kez McCorvey – in hopes to better equip himself for the position change. In addition to a rigorous weights program, McCorvey worked with Carter five nights a week in an effort to improve his agility and footwork.
But designs of Carter contributing an FSU attack that planned to feature an increased role for the tight end evaporated when he became tangled with linebacker Ernie Sims on a crossing route.
"Yeah it was frustrating to me," Carter said. "But that just ends up driving you to work harder, you know. But when I do get on the field, I will be letting go of some pent-up animosity out there."
In his absence, backups Matt Henshaw and Matt Root caught just six passes for 46 yards. Carter's physicality and experience in the trenches were also missed.
"Once we get him back, we are looking at having a pretty dominating tight end from a blocking standpoint," offensive coordinator Jeff Bowden said. "Matt Henshaw and Matt Root have helped with the passing game but those guys aren't as big an physical as Donnie is."
Though Carter has not been participating in spring football drills, he has been given the green light to partake in certain agility stations as he did on Wednesday when FSU held a light workout in helmets and shorts.
Bowden said he liked what he saw from Carter, who is on track to be cleared in time for fall practice.
"I certainly with we could let him loose to do some more stuff this spring but it's not worth the risk, especially with a knee injury," Bowden said.
Though he has been forced to watch from the sidelines for the past eight months, motivation has been easy to come by for Carter, whose good nature and work ethic have made him a favorite among teammates.
"I think we're going to have a better team this year than most people are giving us credit for," he said. "That's motivation enough."
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