TAMPA, Fla. — If you talked to the soft-spoken Zachary Carter on the phone and didn’t know him, you wouldn’t think there’s a frightening pass rusher on the other line.
Meet him in person, however, and you’d understand why more than 40 schools are pursuing the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder.
Carter’s size and ability have him ranked as a top-100 overall prospect and the No. 1 strongside defensive end in the state of Florida. But that’s not what college coaches most like about the four-star prospect.
“How humble I am,” Carter said. “I don’t really talk much about what I do and my achievements. I just let everything speak for itself.”
Coming from Hillsborough High School in Tampa, Fla., Carter is in a hotbed for football talent that annually produces top prospects and draws attention from colleges all across the country.
But Carter hasn’t let the recruiting process get to his head.
“That’s how I am,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of guys get caught up in this stuff and they lose track of what they really need to do. So I try to keep away from it as much as possible.”
Dozen of coaches will be at Carter’s school this month for the spring evaluation period, but he’s not looking forward to them coming by. If anything, it’s a distraction for him.
“I know it’s going to be hectic, and I really don’t get want to get affected by it,” Carter said. “I just want to stick to what I do and not lose focus because coaches are watching practice. I need to worry about my team and not them. I think that’s important.”
Academics are also important to Carter. He looks up to a former star NFL defensive end, but not because of his successful pro career.
“I want to be a broadcast journalist, preferably covering football,” Carter said. “What really piqued my interest about that was Michael Strahan. Not only is he an analyst, but he hosts his own show and he’s on Good Morning America.
“I want to use football as a vehicle to do other things like him. The things I get out of this game, I use to better myself all around. It’s a good life tool to have.”
Carter plans to make his college decision after his senior season, and right now his relationship with Florida defensive line coach Chris Rumph has the Gators in good shape.
“I want coaches that will make me a better player, but I want them to put pressure on me to be a better person as well,” Carter said. “There’s more to life than football.”
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.