CLAYTON, N.C. --- Devin Carter's breakout junior season has yielded scholarship offers from a pair of Big Ten schools. North Carolina, a school he's visited a bunch, is taking a more cautious approach with the 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver from Clayton High.
"I know everybody doesn't believe this, but I believe Devin has NFL potential," Clayton head coach Hunter Jenks. "I got this job late last April and so everything Devin is now was really off of three months of work... I think he's really just scratching his potential.
"Based off of his stride length, he's more of a depth threat. He has longer legs, so the underneath routes is something we've been working on -- coming in and out of breaks better. But he also has a huge catch radius and he catches the ball outside of his frame well. He's a deep threat, but he could go across the middle, too."
Prior to high school, Carter had never played receiver. He played fullback or quarterback in middle school.
After spending a season learning the wideout position on Clayton's junior varsity squad, Carter was promoted to varsity his sophomore season. Immediately he became a starter. He finished that season with 27 receptions for 460 yards and seven touchdowns.
Carter more than doubled all of his sophomore numbers this past season. He pulled in 85 passes for 1,273 yards and 16 touchdowns.
"One of the emphasis this offseason is the run game so that people would have to respect the numbers in the box, so that we can isolate [Carter] up one-on-one outside," Jenks said. "And then we'll also move him around to see if we can dictate match-ups. One-on-one, I take him against any high school corner."
In the past year alone, Carter has made a handful of visits to UNC. He attended Fedora's Freak Show, a pair of games during the season, and then a junior day in late March.
"There's nothing really to [all the visits]," Carter said. "It's a nice place. The coaches send me invitations and I enjoy going to the school."
That interest, however, has yet to result in a UNC scholarship offer.
"Coach [Gunter] Brewer has positive feedback about [Carter], but there's just other guys on the board right now," Jenks said. "[Brewer] wants to see him back at camp to give him a chance to move himself up that board. So, I got the one-day camp [dates] from [Director of High School Relations Jason] Tudryn."
Up until this month, the only school to offer Carter was FCS Elon.
"I think once teams start coming by in the spring and then the camps this summer, they'll see how far he's come and the progression he's made," Jenks said. "I know for a fact he could play ACC/SEC football."
Jenks was close with his prophesy. Last week, Carter received scholarship offers from two Big Ten schools -- Michigan State and Minnesota.
Additionally, Carter is hearing from Duke, Florida, Louisville, NC State, and Wake Forest.
The UNC coach who Carter communicates the most with is Brewer, the wide receivers coach. Though he hasn't provided a status update on a potential offer, Brewer has expressed a strong interest in Carter.
"He said they could use me in their offense and that he'd like to see me there," Carter said.
Besides UNC, Carter has visited Clemson, NC State, and South Carolina.
"I'm really open to any schools right now," Carter said.
Carter also plays basketball for Clayton, where he averages about 10 points a game... Carter grew up rooting for NC State... Carter plans on majoring in either business or psychology in college.