All-State Tackle Favors Tennessee

Following in the formidable footsteps of former Memphis Melrose High School gridiron greats Kendall Moorehead and Dewayne Robertson also means standing in their substantial shadows.

That's the situation Michael Carter currently finds himself in as he attempts to live up to this lineage of talented Golden Wildcat D-linemen. He isn't the prospect at this point of his football career that Moorehead and Robertson were going into their senior seasons, but he is the anchor of what is arguably the best defense in school history.

"We went 14 - 1," Carter told's Yancy Porter of Melrose's 2004 football campaign. "We made it to the (Class-4A) State Championship game. I anchored our defense that only gave up 4.2 points a game. Nobody scored more than 14 points on us all year, and only one team scored in double digits. We had a great year but just not quite good enough. We should take it (championship) home this year."

If Carter and company return to the title tilt, he'll gain the exposure he needs to prove he belongs on the big stage in college. As a junior, he recorded 97 tackles with 16 sacks and 52 quarterback hurries to earn first team all-state honors. He has garnered his share of interest and has some attractive scholarship offers.

"I have offers from Arkansas State, Tennessee State and Ole Miss," he said in the interview with Porter. "Vanderbilt is also talking about offering me also."

Carter, who carries a 3.0 GPA and scored a 19 on his ACT, has also received some academic scholarship offers, but he's holding out for other offers, including one from his favorite school.

"My favorite schools are Tennessee, Texas, Miami and Georgia," he said. "Tennessee is my favorite school of all of them though."

When asked what he liked about Tennessee Carter was succinct and to the point.

"Everything, man, everything," he said. "My mom and my dad graduated from there and they have the prestige of being good. It's always been a dream of mine to play for them."

Given the shortage of quality prospects at the defensive tackle position, Carter may well get a chance to realize his dream. At 6-foot-31/2, 275 pounds, he has great size and he runs an impressive 4.9 time in the 40. He bench presses 315 pounds and squats 550. More importantly, he has quick feet and the type of lateral mobility needed to control two gaps. He gets push in the middle and can get off blocks quickly. That explains the 16 sacks and 52 hurries he had last season playing primarily on the inside.

With his nose for the football, talent for making the hard takedown and pressure the quarterback, Michael Carter might earn the nickname "M.C. Hammer" — and he might also make his dream come true.

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