Carolina Blue fireworks were set off at a Fourth of July cookout in Navarre (Fla.) when Michael Carter revealed to his extended family – and then the rest of the world – that he had verbally committed to North Carolina.
"What put [UNC] over the top was where could I see myself for four, five, or ten years," Carter said. "And if you’ve been in Chapel Hill, you know it’s there. I fell in love with the campus [and] the area.”
Carter, a 5-foot-8, 178-pound running back from Navarre High, committed to UNC over scholarship offers from Florida, Louisville, Mississippi State, Oregon State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and West Virginia, among others.
UNC offered Carter in April. The offer compelled him to change his prior intention to suspend recruiting visits until the summer. As such, Carter and his father scheduled a trip for the Tar Heels’ Spring Game.
During their stay, UNC’s actions spoke louder than its words.
“They treated me like a priority,” Carter said afterwards. “I know you hear it a lot, but they just really treated me like they want me there.”
That experience prompted Carter’s return for Fedora’s Freak Show. Shortly after the exclusive camp, Carter pledged to Larry Fedora, but expressed his desire to keep the decision private until his family's Fourth of July cookout.
In late March, UNC received a verbal commitment from Adarius Lemons, a fellow Florida running back who also participated in Fedora’s Freak Show.
With Carter and Lemons, UNC’s commitment list consists of 14 members. Brian Anderson, J.T. Cauthen, Jeremiah Gemmel, Ryan Jones, Jake Lawler, Traivon Leonard, Marcus McKethan, Jonah Melton, Jordon Riley, Malik Robinson, Caleb Rozar, and Tyler Smith round out the list.
After rushing for 1,474 yards during his first two seasons, Carter’s junior campaign began with 526 yards and nine touchdowns in less than three games. Midway through that third game, he hyperextended his knee tearing his PCL completely and leaving partial tears in his LCL and meniscus, which sidelined him for the rest of the season.