Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sports

Hillsborough DE Zachary Carter heads up local class of 2017

RECOMMENDED READING


Hillsborough High's Zachary Carter always has been musically inclined. The interest began in church. His grandfather, Frank Carter Sr., was the founding pastor of First Missionary Baptist Church in Highland Pines.

Carter started singing in the choir. Then in sixth grade, he belted out Justin Bieber's Baby during a talent show. In middle school, Carter also started playing the trombone in the band.

Sports, especially football, were somewhat of an afterthought.

Carter played for three years in youth leagues (ages 7-9) before quitting to try baseball and basketball. It was not until the eighth grade that he started playing football again.

"I was pretty sure I was going to play football in high school, so I figured I might as well get a head start," he said.

In three years with the Terriers, Carter has made incredible strides, so much that the 6-foot-5, 240-pound defensive end is rated as a four-star prospect by nearly every recruiting service and is ranked among the top 115 players in the nation.

He headlines a stellar 2017 class of area prospects that includes five players ranked in the top 250 on 247Sports' national composite list of recruits.

"(Zachary) is probably the most improved player to come through here in all my years here," longtime Hillsborough coach Earl Garcia said.

Carter's rapid ascension has gotten the attention of colleges. He has 25 offers from schools such as Clemson, Florida, Ohio State and Southern California.

Carter said he averages five letters a day from colleges. His parents help sort through the abundance of mail.

"We basically throw out any letter that is not handwritten," Carter said. "My mom keeps the rest of them in a box for me."

As a freshman, Carter started the final five games as an offensive tackle. In 2014 he played both ways on the line and shined as a defensive end, registering 73 tackles and three sacks.

Carter's stock really soared in the past year. He finished his junior season with 76 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He also played some as a tight end.

"Zach's production pretty much doubled this past year," Garcia said. "And it could double again this coming season. That's how much potential he has. He's just scratching the surface. I'd put him right up there with Jordan Sherit (Florida) and Andrew Williams (Miami/San Francisco 49ers) as far as the top defensive line guys we've had in the program."

The football prowess runs in the family. Carter's older brother Frank was a star defensive lineman at Hillsborough and now starts at Jacksonville State.

"My brother pretty much got me started in football," Carter said. "I kind of followed him."

The two also were in the choir together. But the musical interests are not as strong for Carter. He stopped playing in the band once he reached high school and has not entered any talent shows of late.

"I pretty much keep the singing to the choir," Carter said.

Now his time is spent in the weight room and in the classroom (he holds a 3.1 grade point average). Soon, he'll have to start whittling down his list of offers, but he is no rush to make a decision. He said he likely would announce where he's going on national signing day next February.

"I don't know about the singing. I'll have to take others' word on that," Garcia said.

"I just know Zach is a darn good football player and will be able to go pretty much wherever he wants."

Contact Bob Putnam at [email protected]tampbay.com. Follow @BobbyHomeTeam.

Comments
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

Lightning journal: Jon Cooper thrilled with stellar start

TAMPA — If you told coach Jon Cooper his team would open the season with wins in 15 of the first 19 games, well, "I’m not sure I can sit here and say I would have predicted that," he said Saturday morning.But the Lightning did just that to lead the N...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Sunday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYAutosMonster Energy Cup: Ford EcoBoost 4003 p.m.NBCCFLSaskatchewan at Toronto1 p.m.ESPNewsEdmonton at Calgary4:30 p.m.ESPNewsCollege basketballMonmouth at Virginia1 p.m.FSFWomen: Maryland at Connecticut1:30 p.m.ESPNPuerto Rico Tip-Off, fifth pla...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

Roger Mooney’s takeaways from Lightning-Islanders

This is what happens when you have the best record in the league: You get the best from the other team. The Islanders came out strong and the Lightning couldn’t match it, falling behind 4-0 early in the third. For the most part, the Lightning has bee...
Updated: 6 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Updated: 6 hours ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

Early Lightning awards: Tough call on MVP

TAMPA — It’s still way early, but if the Lightning’s record start continues, there will be a lot of hardware up for grabs. And we’re not just talking about the Stanley Cup. Nikita Kucherov has league MVP written all over him. Andrei Vasilevskiy coul...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Updated: 6 hours ago