All-Time Greatest – No. 21: Cris Carter

BuckeyeSports.com counts down the days until Ohio State's 2008 season opener with its list of the 50 greatest Buckeyes of all-time. The series continues today with No. 21: wide receiver Cris Carter.

His college career ended on a sour note and eventually led to the dismissal of his head coach. But during his three seasons at Ohio State, Cris Carter was one of the best receivers in college football.

Born Nov. 25, 1965, Christopher D. Carter was one of the most sought-after high school stars in the nation when he graduated from Middletown (Ohio) High School in the spring of 1984. He was a two-time All-Ohio selection and a Parade magazine All-American as a senior.

Carter caught 80 passes for more than 2,000 yards during his football career for the Middies, and also topped the 1,600-point mark in basketball.

He made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Buckeyes, grabbing 41 catches for 648 yards and a team-high eight touchdowns in '84. He also saved his best for last, catching nine passes for 172 yards and a TD in the Rose Bowl loss to Southern Cal. The 172 yards broke a long-standing Rose Bowl record set by the legendary Don Huston of Alabama in 1935.

It was only the beginning for Carter. As a junior in 1986, he put together one of the finest seasons of any receiver in college football history – especially noteworthy since it came at a school renowned more for running the ball. That year, Carter shattered all of the OSU single-season receiving records with 69 receptions for 1,127 yards and 11 TDs.

In the 1987 Cotton Bowl following that season, Carter added four catches for 61 yards in Ohio State's 28-14 win over Texas A&M, including a remarkable catch in the middle of the field where he appeared to hang suspended in midair for several seconds before coming down with the football.

Poised for a run at the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 1987, Carter was suspended from the team for taking money from a sports agent. Without their star offensive playmaker, the Buckeyes stumbled to a 6-4-1 record and head coach Earle Bruce was fired with a week to go in the season.

Nevertheless, Carter remains one of the finest receivers ever produced by Ohio State. He finished his three-year career with 164 catches for 2,725 yards and 27 touchdowns. The reception and touchdown totals were school records when he finished his career and he was just 67 yards behind Gary Williams (1979-82) for the career lead in yardage.

More than 20 years after his final game for the Scarlet and Gray, Carter still ranks second all-time in career receptions and TD catches and fourth in receiving yardage.

Since he was ineligible for the 1987 college season, Carter was taken in the fourth round of an NFL supplemental draft that year by Philadelphia.

He spent three so-so years with the Eagles before moving to Minnesota prior to the 1990 season. His career blossomed with the Vikings, and he had an eight-year stretch from 1993-2000 where he topped the 1,000-yard mark each season.

Following a brief five-game stint with Miami, Carter officially retired in 2002 with 1,101 career NFL catches for 13,899 yards and 130 TDs. The reception and TD totals are second in league history only to Jerry Rice, and the yardage total is sixth all-time.

Since his retirement from the game, Carter has kept busy with several business ventures including a sports training center in Boca Raton, Fla., that bears his name. He is also involved in such charitable organizations as the Carter-White Charitable Foundation for underprivileged children, the Vikings Super Challenge, which challenges students to stay in school and away from drugs, and the Cris Carter Academic Honor Roll Program that recognizes high school athletes that excel on the field and in the classroom.

Carter also spent several seasons as one of the co-hosts of HBO's "Inside The NFL" and works as a volunteer assistant coach at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

His son, Duron, a 6-3, 185-pound receiver and senior-to-be at St. Thomas Aquinas, has verbally committed to play his college football at Ohio State.

Yesterday: No. 22 Korey Stringer

Tomorrow: No. 20


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