VandyMania Interview: Aaron Carter

Junior defensive tackle Aaron ("A.C.") Carter has 14 tackles, 5 quarterback hurries and one sack on the year. The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder from Wallingford, Pa. talked with VandyMania recently about his recruitment, his academic studies, and the team's mood after a long string of losses.

VandyMania: You have gotten several starts this year, and have been in on a lot of big plays at defensive tackle. Talk about how Coach Turner rotates so many players in and out along the defensive line.

Aaron Carter: He does it so that we can keep our defensive tackles fresh, so that we can always have somebody fresh in there. Among the defensive tackles, we all think we're at about the same level. So if we can keep a fresh line in there at all times, it's a good thing. At the defensive tackles, we've basically got first-team, and a second first-team. Coach Turner goes from week to week on who wants to go in there first. But everybody is going to get plenty of time. He just rotates you in there whenever it's needed.

VM: You were recruited by the Woody Widenhofer staff, and you were one of the last guys in the recruiting class to commit. How did that decision get made?

Aaron: It was a very last-minute kind of thing. My tape got sent to Woody and his staff in very late January, the week before signing day. Up until the last minute, I wasn't sure, because they already had all their scholarships spoken for. They called me the night before and told me of a guy they didn't think was going to sign, so I was in.

VM: You played on the same team as a guy who has gone on to Tennessee and made a name for himself, Mark Jones.

Aaron: Right. We were on the same state championship team at Strath Haven (Pa.) our senior year. I played with him all four years in high school. We're good friends.

VM: The Michigan State quarterback Jeff Smoker who's having such a great year-- you made a big play on him when you were both in high school, didn't you?

Aaron: Yes I did! That's old-school! That was the Eastern championship, my senior year. The tide of the game had changed for his team. I got to him and sacked him... I forced him to throw it away from the end zone for a safety, and that changed the course of the semifinal game. We went on to win the championship that year.

VM: Talk about the team's mood after going through so many losses now in a row.

Aaron: It's always hard. You go into a game really hopeful, really thinking you have a chance. You fight hard, and then you don't end up with the win. It's a somber feeling, and it gets you down. But we always come back the next day and start getting ready for the next one. It's just what you have to do. You just have to know who you're going up against. We'll be ready, though.

VM: The losses this year have been tough, but are you happy with the way things have been working out for you, considering academics and everything else?

Aaron: Always, yeah. I've never regretted my decision to come to Vanderbilt. I'm a Computer Science and Engineering major.

VM: You're one of those studious types?

Aaron: Yeah, (laugh) I should probably be a lot more studious though.

VM: It's got to be tough to balance schoolwork and football during the middle of football season.

Aaron: It's very difficult. You have so much time going into football that you really have to focus and be dedicated to get your academic hours in there as well. It cuts out a lot of extra-curricular time, but you gotta do what you gotta do.


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