Duron Carter had a college football career few would have hoped for. Despite his immense talent, Cris Carter’s son couldn’t get it together in the classroom and found himself without an NFL roster spot following the draft.
Carter followed his father’s path to college by enrolling to play at Ohio State, but the 6’5” wideout was declared academically ineligible during his freshman season, choosing to transfer to Coffeyville Community College as a result.
It was a wise decision to transfer to a smaller school with fewer expectations for Carter, and his one-year stint at Coffeyville was enough to warrant a transfer to Alabama under head coach Nick Saban. But as was the case at Ohio State just two years earlier, academic issues would get in the way of finding success on the football field.
He then transferred to Florida Atlantic, where he didn’t play a single down in 2012. In a career that saw stops at two major college football programs, Carter recorded just 13 receptions at the Division I level.
Despite his son’s issues in the classroom (and questionable work ethic on the field), Cris Carter believes in the wideout and doesn’t consider his academic performance a result of lack of intelligence, as quoted by Mike Garafolo of USA Today:
He didn't commit a crime, he has no tattoos, he has no kids, and he's a pleasant kid. His thing is he hates school, though. And I'm his dad. He's really bright; he's got an IQ over 130. He just hates school. We gave him the pretest on the Wonderlic. He got a 28.
While “hating school” doesn’t inherently suggest anything about NFL success, teams should certainly be worried about his willingness to learn. So much of football (especially at its highest level) is learning, studying and understanding new concepts. If Carter isn’t willing to do that, his time on an NFL roster will be as limited as his snaps in college.
Undrafted-free-agent contracts aren’t typically all that lucrative, but Carter should be happy he’s getting a shot to prove himself for an NFL team. The physical talent is certainly there, but so many questions remain unanswered.
Given his familial connection to the best receiver in Vikings history, it makes sense Minnesota would at least bring him in on a short-term deal to fight for a roster spot. There’s very little risk involved in doing so, and the upside is tremendous.
Carter was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school and played extremely well in his time at Coffeyville. In his only full season of college football, the 6’5” receiver hauled in 44 catches for 690 yards and 10 touchdowns, proving he has the physical tools to at least warrant a closer look.
The Vikings will get that look, but it remains to be seen how well Carter will take advantage.
With a limited football resume, it’s nearly impossible to project Carter’s NFL potential. But considering his NFL bloodlines and impressive physical attributes, there’s no reason to believe he doesn’t have the football talent to earn his keep in the NFL.
If he works hard and studies even harder, Carter could realize his full potential and surprise a lot of people at the professional level.