In today's overcontrolling society, parents can often wield great pressure and suffocating interest in the athletic careers of their children. That wasn't the case, however, in Michael Carter's involvement with the recruiting of his son, also named Michael, who chose West Virginia as his college destination on Saturday.
"We talked about some subjects with different schools, but I didn't want to push him at all in his decision," the elder Carter said after returning home from the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. "If he had a question, I'd answer it, and I had some questions of my own for coaches during the recruiting process, but I pretty much allowed him to do it himself and to make his own decision."
Carter, who is a longtime defensive assistant at Blanche Ely High School where his son played, is familiar with the recruiting process through sending other players on to Division I schools, including current WVU linebacker J.T. Thomas.
"I have been through that before, and my process was to watch a school play, to get familiar with them and see how Michael might fit in with them," he said. "I looked at what defense they ran, how Michael might fit in, things like that."
At West Virginia, Carter will have the chance to play early, as the Mountaineers are losing starter Ellis Lankster and have a thin depth chart at cornerback. While the challenge to avoid a redshirt is a difficult one, the elder Carter knows it's a challenge that his son will have to be prepared to meet.
"He'll be playing in the Big East against some great wide receivers, and if he wants to go to the next level those are the kinds of players he will have to shut down."
Carter had familiarity with West Virginia through the recruitment of Thomas, and thus had no qualms about his son considering and choosing the Mountaineers.
"I coached J.T. and his dad, and I know the kind of people they are at West Virginia," he said. They are honest, and I've gotten nothing but good feedback on them. Michael and J.T. know each other and talk a lot, but I don't think J.T. being at West Virginia was a big factor in Michael's decision. He made the choice on his own."