"I'll tell anybody this: he's a better kid than anything else," Davie County coach Devore Holman said. "To be as young as he is, he's a leader. He's a kid that doesn't mind sharing his faith with God. He's a hard worker. The kids respect that and they look up to him. Not only is he tough physically, but he's tough mentally as well.
"He has great vision. When he has the ball in his hands it's something that you can't coach. He knows when to be physical and he knows when to get in there and make you miss."
As Carney was making his way up the middle school ranks, stories about his talents regularly made its way to the Davie coaching staff. Davie's coaches, though, were understandably skeptical – until preseason practice began.
"We found out in the process of our practices that he was as good as advertised," Holman said.
Davie lined Carney up at running back and quarterback. Though he throws the ball well enough to keep the defense honest, when at quarterback he'll usually tuck the ball and run.
During the 2012 season opener against Greensboro Page, Carney rushed for nearly 300 yards. He ended the season with 1,908 yards and 17 touchdowns on 274 rushes and was named the Central Piedmont Conference's Co-Offensive Player-of-the-Year.
Carney's numbers dropped his sophomore season (1,227 yards and 15 touchdowns on 221 carries) as Davie failed to make the playoffs and Carney missed parts of three games with ankle injuries.
Heading into his sophomore campaign, the plan was to use Carney also on defense but the ankle injuries forced Davie's staff to scrape that idea.
North Carolina, NC State, and Wake Forest have offered Carney, while Clemson and Duke are among the schools expressing significant interest.
Colleges are recruiting Carney as an "athlete," with most leaning towards converting him to defensive back.
"I think they are seeing what type of kid he is and that he'd be an asset to their program," Holman said. "Whether it's offense or whether its defense, he's going to bring leadership quality to your team."
During an evaluation visit to Davie, Keith Gilmore brought along Larry Fedora.
"They just said they really, really want him to be a part of their program," Holman said. "They know that he's young and he has two more years at this school."
Since the end of the football season, the only school Carney has visited is NC State.
During the football season, he attended games at UNC, NC State and Wake Forest. In Chapel Hill, he watched the Tar Heels host East Carolina.
"It was great," Carney said of the UNC-ECU game. "I like Carolina. Their coaches are great. They have a great reputation with running backs and have brought in some great running back recruits. I like what they're doing down there in Carolina."
Last summer, Carney camped at Clemson. He's considering a return to Clemson's camp and camps at East Carolina and his three offering schools this summer.
Carney doesn't claim any favorite schools.
"I like them all," Carney said. "It's pretty open right now."
Both of Carney's parents graduated from East Carolina. His father, Carl, played defensive line for ECU from 1985-89… Due to his family connections, Carney grew up an ECU fan… Carney played basketball his freshman year, but has since given it up to focus on football.