Super-sized safety

At 6-4 and 215 pounds, he looked out of place as he warmed up among the safeties. He didn't look out of place once the drill work began in today's Tennessee summer camp, however.

That's pretty amazing, given how little football Cisco Carter has actually played. He was a little-used reserve wide receiver at Knoxville's Webb School in 2007, then sat out 2008 after transferring across town.

"Safety is something I always wanted to play," said Carter, who developed his exceptional agility playing soccer and running track. "I used to go to Webb, and one of my goals was to play safety. I transferred to Bearden before my junior year but had to sit out last season."

So, heading into his senior season of high school, his greatest impact as a football player has come as a kickoff specialist.

"I was third-string on offense at Webb but I put 82 percent of my kickoffs into the end zone," he recalled. "I had the longest kick at the KFC Classic Jamboree in 2007 and I got Player Of The Game one time that season for eight of nine (kickoffs resulting in) touchbacks."

Carter plans to return to UT and display his leg strength today, when Tennessee holds its final camp session – this one devoted to the kicking game.

"My best thing is kickoffs but I do field goals, as well," he said. "I'm learning to punt, so hopefully the camp will help me do better at that."

Given his limited football background, Carter is a longshot to play safety at the collegiate level. His size and athleticism make him an ideal candidate for linebacker, however. That's probably why he got a lot of attention from Tennessee's staff during Tuesday's camp session. Recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron dropped by to chat. So did defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and linebackers coach Lance Thompson.

"Coach Thompson asked if I played any other positions," Carter recalled. "He said that, with my height and weight, I could drop to linebacker."

Even playing safety in Tuesday's drill work, Carter exhibited a surprising amount of agility. Basically, he turned a few heads.

"I did," he agreed. "I could've did better in some things – I wasn't always my best – but I think I made an impact."

Carter said he really enjoyed the 7-on-7 drills, adding: "I was put with the first group, and I liked everyone I was with. We had good communication, and I enjoyed that a lot."

Whereas meeting the UT coaches was a big deal for many campers, it was not for Carter. He already knew two of them who frequent the Knoxville restaurant where he works as a host and busboy.

"I saw Coach Monte Kiffin at the restaurant the other day, and he wanted to make sure I was coming to the camp," Carter recalled. "Coach Thompson also eats at that restaurant."

Vol aides may start eating there on a daily basis if the restaurant staff includes any more 6-4, 215-pounders with quick feet.

Naturally, Carter would like to play for the Big Orange if his combination of kicking/linebacker potential piques the interest of Tennessee's coaches.

"I just want to go somewhere I can fit in," he said. "I like the school and I definitely like the football program. I think they have the best coaches they can get, and the program definitely is on the way up."

Much like Cisco Carter's recruiting stock.


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