Things all changed for Carlin Fils-Aime in 2001. The eventual Tennessee commitment would step on a plane and leave his homeland in hope of a better life in the United States. That worked out quite well.
Fils-Aime was born in Haiti before joining his father in south Florida when he was just 4-years-old. The tailback from Naples (Fla.) High School hasn’t just developed into a good football player, that’s just part of the transformation.
Also a standout student, Fils-Aime plans to be a lawyer. He was also named homecoming king during his senior season. He’s come a long way from Haiti.
“I’m very thankful,” Fils-Aime told SEC Country. “I try to do the best I can in everything I do. That was a very big change in my life, moving here. I’m trying to make the best of it every chance I get.”
Fils-Aime committed to Tennessee in July over several other schools, including Miami, North Carolina, UGA and Auburn. He’s never wavered in his commitment.
“Nothing would change my mind about going to Tennessee,” the 5-foot-11, 180-pounder said.
Fils-Aime has proved his worth on the football field this season after missing most of his junior season with a high ankle sprain. Fils-Aime ran for 1,505 yards and 23 touchdowns on 159 carries. That’s an average of 9.5 yards per carry and 115 yards per game. He also caught 14 passes for 375 yards and scored five receiving touchdowns. However, Fils-Aime doesn’t think his monster season was all that special. It’s just what he does.
“I think I played OK,” he said. “It felt really good just being able to play football with my friends.”
Fils-Aime certainly enjoyed homecoming week. He was named homecoming king with his girlfriend on his arm during halftime of a game in which he scored four touchdowns. His girlfriend was named homecoming queen.
“It’s actually pretty cool because my girlfriend and I were talking and we both wanted homecoming king and queen,” Fils-Aime said. “I honestly didn’t think it would be either of us. That was special to share with her. To know I was her king and she was my queen, it was pretty awesome.”
Fils-Aime said he doesn’t remember much about Haiti. He still has family there; he and his father are the only ones that made it out. Occasionally, he gets to talk to some of his family on the phone. He’s never been back.
Now comes the hard part for someone as driven as Fils-Aime. All he can do is finish up his last semester in high school, work out and wait until he enrolls at Tennessee next summer. Surely, there will be some daydreaming of what he might accomplish as a Vol.
“It feels great,” Fils-Aime said of being a Tennessee commitment. “Honestly, just waiting anxiously until I can finally sign and go to Tennessee and be around the people and the environment.”
It’s taken 14 years for Fils-Aime to make the trip from Haiti to Knoxville, Tenn. It all started with that plane ride.