Michael Carter is no stranger to the hilly Tennessee campus.
The Navarre (Fla.) High School running back made his third visit to Knoxville for an invite-only junior day on March 5, getting to sit down more with Vols running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
“I spent more time with coach Gillespie, the running back coach,” Carter told InsideTennessee. “We talked more about scheme and fitting into the program.
“I think he’s a great guy. He’s like an uncle.”
The Scout three-star prospect and No. 7-ranked back in the Sunshine State’s 2017 class hears the message fourth-year coach Butch Jones and staff loud and clear.
“You come here and they always preach on family environment and it’s really that,” Carter said. “And it’s SEC, state of the art facilities. There always talking about maximizing your potential and that’s what I want.”
In 2015, Tennessee ranked No. 20 in the nation averaging 223.7 yards per game and tied for No. 21 nationally with 32 rushing touchdowns. Those numbers came in the first year of offensive coordinator Mike DeBord calling plays on The Hill.
“I like how much they use their running backs in their offense,” Carter said, “and how they get them the ball in open space different ways. (Gillespie) says they want playmakers. They like to make plays, and I like to make plays.”
The work done by Orange & White coaches appears to be paying off as the 5-foot-9, 185-pounder said Tennessee is “definitely one of my top schools right now.” Also mentioned were Mississippi State, USF, Virginia and West Virginia.
“I’m not ruling anything out right now,” Carter said.
The 11-offer-holding back also tripped to West Virginia this month and visits Virginia in April.
Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury in early September after running for 459 yards in only a handful of games. Carter said he is now “good to go.”