Trip Report: Donovan Carter

SEATTLE - Donovan Carter is still committed to UCLA, but that isn't stopping the 6-foot-1, 227-pound linebacker from Birmingham High in Van Nuys, Calif. from looking around. The firing of Bruins Head Coach Karl Dorrell prompted Carter to re-open the recruiting process, and he took an official visit to Washington this weekend as a result.

"I am a soft verbal (to UCLA)," Carter told Sunday. "I'm still looking around. I took this trip and I've got another trip (to Arizona State) next weekend. Then I'll sit down with my parents. I opened things up after they fired Coach Dorrell. I talked to Coach (Rick) Neuheisel. We had a meeting of all the players that were already committed. He hired back most of the defensive staff and I have a good relationship to them."

Mason Foster was Carter's player-host. "He told me that if you come in and work hard and be prepared, you can play early," Carter said of Foster's words of wisdom. "Anything can happen."

Carter is the type of linebacker that could end up getting some playing time wherever he goes, like Foster did as a true freshman at UW. "They like me because I'm really athletic," Carter said of the Huskies. "They see me coming in here and making a big impact."

This is the first visit Carter has taken outside of his official visit to UCLA. How did he compare the two situations? "Here, everybody is real close and the coaches are real close to the players," Carter said of Washington. "At UCLA, it's a new staff. But the defensive staff is really good. I just don't know who else they are bringing in. But Coach Neuheisel, he's a nice guy. I like him a lot."

While Carter still considers himself committed to the Bruins, he let open the door slightly to things changing down the road. "I kind of want to get out of California too," he said. I kind of want to do my own thing. I like it out here (in Seattle). The weather is nice. It didn't rain too much at all."

Carter, on a scale from 1-10, gave his visit an "8 or 9". The fact that there was no Defensive Coordinator in place at the time of his trip was probably the only drawback, according to him. "Coach (Tyrone) Willingham told me that they are looking right now and they could have a coach by the end of the month," he said. "That's what they are hoping for."

Carter said that one of the highlights of his official visit was getting a chance to interact with Willingham. "I have a lot of respect for him," he said. "He's a really good guy and a great coach."

UCLA, Arizona State and Washington will be the final three schools Carter looks at before announcing his final decision. "Those are the three schools that have recruited me throughout the whole process," he said. He'll have in-home visits with coaches from all three schools next week. Carter added that Neuheisel is anxious to visit him.

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