- Mario Carter...6-4, 220 pounds...Independence High School...Charlotte, NC
How important was this spot in relation to other positions: Moderate...The Pack will likely look to take at least one tight end in every class and they met that need.
Did the Pack meet their needs based on sheer numbers: A-
The Pack missed on: Dwayne Allen
How many may the Pack target for the class of 2009: 1
To say the tight end position for NC State has been snake bit over the last few years would be an understatement. Rashad Phillips suffered serious injuries in a car accident and never saw the field for the Pack. Anthony Hill had knee surgery and missed the 2007 season. Just a couple of weeks ago head coach Tom O’Brien announced that RJ Armstrong was no longer with the team. The bad luck seemingly extended beyond the current team when Mario Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury during a preseason scrimmage last August.
The injury to Carter was particularly disappointing as many felt that he was poised to have a breakout season in 2007. However, he flashed the talent and potential as a junior that would garner offers from schools like Alabama, UNC, Virginia, Michigan and Virginia Tech.
Despite all the early attention, Carter was drawn to NC State from the very beginning. As important as his fondness for the Pack was the fact that his family was just as sold on the State coaching staff. Originally from Pittsburgh, the Carter family was familiar with O’Brien and company while at Boston College and admired their organization and approach. Director of high school relation’s Chad Jamison, also a Pittsburgh native, was a positive in the Pack’s favor as well. With little doubt where he wanted to play football, Carter put a quick end to his recruiting when he committed to the Pack last April. His commitment gave the Pack a versatile tight end with the talent to excel in both the run and pass game.
Because Independence is known primarily as a passing team, Carter’s ability and effectiveness as a run blocker was largely overlooked. He was used time and again on key running plays, showing the ability over power defenders and create nice running lanes for the Indy running backs. At 220 pounds, Carter isn’t a massive player by any means but he plays big and doesn’t mind delivering the hits in the run game.
As a pass catcher, Carter has tremendous hands and shows above average athleticism. He moves very well once the catch is made and is a handful to bring down. Carter will need to get bigger and there’s the obvious knee rehab concerns. However, one of the talented tight end’s best attributes is his competitive fire and he’s determined to see the field in 2008.