Carter, who reports offers from Stanford, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Boston College and Duke, as well as interest from Tennessee, Maryland, Penn State and Notre Dame, among others, has already taken two visits to Palo Alto.
"I took one for a camp in June, and then I went to see a game in September, the one against Wake Forest," Carter said. "I loved Stanford when I was out there. The weather is beautiful. The program that they have there is definitely coming up – they had a 12-1 record last year, and the academics are great, which really caught my eye."
When Carter visited for Stanford's camp over the summer, former coach Jim Harbaugh was still on staff. Now that Harbaugh is gone, Carter is in contact with new coach David Shaw, along with secondary coach/co-defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
Carter had the opportunity to see Mason's teaching style first-hand at the camp.
"We got along pretty well," Carter said. "He taught me a few things I didn't know, and it was pretty good. He's a good coach. I liked working with him."
Of course Stanford, which is recruiting Carter as a safety, is located several thousand miles away from Carter's home in the DC exurbs. While Carter admits he has been concerned about the distance in the past, he seems to have shelved those concerns for now.
"It was a big deal before, but I've been talking to my parents about it, and as of now I don't think it's that big of an (issue)," Carter said.
Carter's parents are certainly qualified to dispense advice on recruiting. His father, Tom Carter, was a star defensive back at Notre Dame who later played nine seasons in the NFL. "He just helps guide me along the way," Alex Carter said. "He's been through this before, so he's there to help me and guide me, but I know what to do."
Coupled with Alex's talent, Tom Carter's Notre Dame connections might help the younger Carter pick up an Irish offer.
"I think my dad talked to one of the recruiters, and he said they were going to offer me pretty soon," Alex Carter said.
However, even if he does pick up a Notre Dame offer, it doesn't seem like the Irish will be a real contender for Carter's services.
"I'm not very interested in going to Notre Dame, I don't think so," Carter said.
In the meantime, Carter plans to visit a few schools where he has more interest. He has a Junior Day visit planned to Virginia Tech later this month, then a tentative third visit to Palo Alto planned for spring.
"I'm going to try and come out in April I think; that's my goal," he said.
But don't anticipate Carter making a decision in the near future.
"At this point, I'm going to wait it out," Carter said. "I'm going to go visit some more schools and see what they have to offer."
When he does make his final college decision, strong academics and a football program with a bright future will be key criteria.
"Academics are definitely a big part," Carter said. "I want to go to a good academic school. Also if their football program is doing well and they have a future possibility of doing well, then that will play into my decision as well."
Carter reports a 4.1 GPA and plans to retake the SAT in the June. He's considering majoring in engineering.
Mark Twain once said that while history didn't repeat itself, it did rhyme, and in that spirit, The Bootleg presents two final notes of interest in Carter's recruitment. First, Stanford and Notre Dame fans alike will remember a recent recruit whose father starred at Notre Dame and had to pick between the Irish and the Cardinal. Receiver Tai-ler Jones (TJ Jones) originally committed Stanford, but then decommitted and signed with Notre Dame. Perhaps Carter can help Stanford partisans settle that score.
Secondly, Stanford and Virginia Tech didn't have much of a history on the gridiron, until they met in last month's Orange Bowl. Similarly, Stanford and Virginia Tech haven't had much of a history of battling for recruits, but now they might because of Alex Carter. Like politics, recruiting can make for strange bedfellows!
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