Fresno State University Bulldogs
Bakersfield Christian High School
Clements High School
While teams are certain to debate in their "war rooms" and sports writers contemplate who might be the first quarterback selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, most are in agreement on which signal-caller is the most athletic and possesses the strongest arm in this class – Derek Dallas Carr, a draft legacy, as he is certain to follow his older brother, David, as a first round draft pick.
David, also a Fresno State standout quarterback during his collegiate days, was the first overall selection in the 2002 draft by the Houston Texans. He gained national attention during the 2001 season, after connecting on 344-of-533 passes for 4,839 yards, 46 touchdowns and only nine interceptions, earning Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award and Sammy Baugh honors.
David started for the Houston Texans from 2002 through the 2006 seasons. He joined the Carolina Panthers in 2007, leaving for the New York Giants the next two years before joining the San Francisco 49ers in 2010. He returned to the Giants to back up Eli Manning during the 2011-12 campaigns, finishing his professional career with 1,353 completions of 2,267 passes for 14,452 yards, 65 touchdowns and 71 interceptions.
During David's playing days at Fresno State, Derek was a frequent visitor to the campus. He was also in attendance during a 2007 ceremony at the stadium when the Bulldogs retired David's jersey #8. It was a "no brainer" when the younger Carr eagerly signed his national letter of intent to join the program on May 25th, 2008. Derek lists his older brother as his favorite athlete because: "He is the kind of person I want to be." Another brother, Darren, was a walk-on defensive lineman at the University of Houston.
When Derek joined the Fresno State program in 2009, he requested and received the jersey number that was worn by his "second favorite" quarterback, former Green Bay Packers legend, Brett Favre (#4). The younger Carr would make his brother and Favre proud, as he would close out his career ranked second among active NCAA players with 113 touchdown passes, also ranking fourth in total offense (13,032 yards), third in passing yardage (12,842), second in pass completions (1,086), third in pass attempts (1,630) and fourth in touchdowns responsible for (118).
While Carr is more of a classic pocket quarterback, he does display decent mobility, scoring five times on the ground through 39 games in the starting lineup. In addition to his cannon for an arm, he is a patient passer with great field vision, tossing only 24 passes that were intercepted among his 1,630 attempts (.147 interception percentage). During his junior and senior campaigns, he also served as the team's "pooch" punter. None of his 10 kicks were returned by the opposition and nine of them were downed inside the 20-yard line.
Carr was born in Fresno, California, the youngest of three children, to Sheryl and Rodger Carr. He and his family relocated to Sugar Land, Texas in 2002 when his oldest brother, David, joined the Houston Texans organization. He began his prep career at Clements High School, but when his family moved back to Bakersfield, California for his senior year, he transferred to Bakersfield Christian High School.
Carr first began to attract national attention from college recruiters as a junior. He played on the Clements High freshman team and then became a back-up quarterback on the varsity team as a sophomore. He didn't prepare himself to become the starting quarter-back, but a preseason injury to another signal-caller thrust him into the role. He made gradual progress as a starter, passing for 1,246 yards and 12 touchdowns on 84-of-162 attempts (51.9%) in 11 assignments during the 2006 regular season schedule.
As a junior, Carr completed 117-of-205 tosses (57.1%) for 1,622 yards and 16 touchdowns, leading his team to an undefeated 13-0 season (playoffs included) before losing in the quarterfinals of the 2007 Class 5A Division II State playoffs in Region III to the (also undefeated) Katy High School Tigers, the eventual champions.
It was during that junior year that Carr was heavily recruited. His college choices included Fresno State, Southern Methodist, Boise State, the University of Southern California, UCLA, and Utah. Of these schools, only Fresno State, SMU, and Utah made a scholarship offer towards Carr. Ultimately, he verbally committed to Fresno State on May 25, 2008, at the end of his junior year. Carr was the program's first recruit of the 2009 class.
Meanwhile, in February 2008, Bakersfield Christian High School athletic director and former NFL player Doug Barnett confirmed that Carr was transferring to BCHS, amid rumors that he would've gone to nearby Stockdale High School or Bakersfield High School, two schools with historically good football programs. Ironically, Carr passed on Stockdale High, the same school where his older brother not only went to for four years, but was even voted "Most Likely to Become Famous".
As a senior, Carr lead the Bakersfield High Eagles football team to a 12–1 record and the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Division V championship, but his only blemish came at home against Oaks Christian High School, a national football power-house, during the team's season opener. In 13 contests, he connected on 280-of-413 passes (67.0%) for 4,067 yards, an astounding 46 touchdowns against nine interceptions.
Carr also rushed for 281 yards, averaging 8.0 yards per carry, and five touchdowns in 2008, including a sensational 62-yard scoring run against Coast Union. He threw at least five touchdown passes in four of his 13 games, including two games of six scoring strikes, vs. Parlier and Fowler. He directed an offense that averaged 44 points per game, highlighted when he threw for a Central Section record 541 yards and four touchdowns against Arvin and against Shafter, he completed 13-of-17 passes for 269 yards with five touchdowns.
Carr was selected by ESPN RISE as the National Football Player of the Week after passing for 441 yards and three touchdowns in a game against Tehachapi High School. He was also named by The Bakersfield Californian as the 2008 All-Area Football Player of the Year. He garnered National Player of the Year honors from the National Private Schools Athletic Association and was also selected the Private School National Player of the Year after ranking third in California and 11th in the nation for high school quarterbacks in passing yards.
Carr would go on to shatter 20 school offensive records during his senior season. He was regarded as a four-star prospect by Scout.com, as that recruiting service ranked him as the 16th-best high school quarterback in the country.
Carr's Fresno State career stalled during his first two years on campus. He saw just limited action in five games as a true freshman, completing 10-of-14 passes (71.4%) for 112 yards. The following year, then-Fresno State head coach Pat Hill stated that Carr was "in the mix" for the starting quarterback position as late as mid-July. However, days before the 2010 season began, the staff decided to red-shirt him.
Determined not to let his college decision be a waste, Carr had a fantastic preseason performance and emerged from 2011 fall camp as the Bulldogs' starting quarterback. It was a job he would not relinquish until concluding his college career 39 games later. His first year as Fresno State's starting quarterback saw the team slip to a 4-9 record, but Carr put up impressive numbers, ranking second in the Western Athletic Conference with a 144.51 passing efficiency rating. He placed third in the WAC in total offense (278.15 ypg) and ranked 22nd in the nation with an average of 272.62 aerial yards per contest.
During the summer prior to the 2012 season, Carr married the former Heather Neel. The couple had a son, Dallas, born August 5th, 2013, who was born with a medical condition that tied up his intestines and required three surgeries to correct. An Academic All-District VIII choice, Carr was a unanimous All-Mountain West Conference first-team selection and named the league's Offensive Player of the Year. He threw for 4,104 yards and 37 touchdowns against just seven interceptions, completing 344-of-511 attempts (57.3%) in 2012.
Carr punted four times, with three of those boots downed inside the 20-yard line. He ranked second in the MWC and 15th nationally with a 155.94 passing efficiency rating and finished twelfth in the major college ranks in total offense (315.77 ypg). He was eighth in the FBS with an average of 26.46 pass completions and 315.69 passing yards per game.
Carr continued to ‘climb up the draft ladder" based on his stellar senior season. He set conference records for yards passing (5,083), pass attempts (659) and touchdown passes (50), becoming just the fourth quarterback in major college history to throw for over 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns in a season. He also led the nation in total offense (5,199), passing yards per game (390.9), pass completions per game (34.85), touchdowns responsible for (52) and total points responsible for (302).
What made those figures highly impressive was that Carr did not have the benefit of much practice time, as he was often taking his ill son to doctors for treatments or attending hospitals to deal with the youngster's health issues. His "almost perfect" season saw him set the league record by attempting 305 consecutive passes without an interception. After that string was broken, he began another one that saw him throw 180 more passes without a pass theft.
Carr closed out his career as the 13th quarterback in FBS history to throw for over 4,000 yards in back-to-back seasons. He would also become the 19th major college passer to gain over 10,000 yards passing with over 100 touchdown tosses in a career. He also set 25 school records and 21 more marks in the Mountain West Conference record books.
Carr had one more "mountain to climb" as a collegian, though. He spent considerable hours preparing for the prestigious 2014 Senior Bowl, where the consensus from teams, scouts and coaches was that he was the "finest-looking" quarterback among the six going through the week-long practices. All were in agreement that Carr unquestionably possesses the best arm. The ball explodes out of his hand and caught a few of his new teammates by surprise with how quickly it got to them. He also showed good anticipation, often delivering passes before his receivers turned back to look for the ball.
Carr clearly separated himself as the top passer in Mobile with his top-shelf arm strength, athleticism and overall feel for the game. He wasn't "picture perfect," but the arm talent and competitive drive were enough to convince ever quarterback-needy team that he has all the tools to be a quality starter in the National Football League. What those teams recognized was his elite velocity as a passer and ability to make every throw on the foot-ball field. He also showed that he has the mobility and football instincts that make him an appealing prospect.
The owner of 25 school records and 21 additional Mountain West Conference records, Carr started his final 39 games at Fresno State after appearing in his first five contests as a reserve…Completed an impressive 66.69% of his passes (1,087-of-1,630) for 12,843 yards and 113 touchdowns…Just 1.47% of his pass attempts (24) were intercepted…Scored five times via 164 carries for 190 yards, as he also caught one pass for a 1-yard loss…Served as the team's "pooch" punter the last two years, as nine of his 10 kicks were downed inside the 20-yard line, generating 319 yards…Also recorded a pair of solo tackles.