Over the last couple of years, the state of Florida has become the “go to” state for the Pitt coaching staff. A year after getting 4 players from the Sunshine State (Rashad Weaver, Keyshon Camp, Henry Miller and Zack Williams) to commit, Panther coaches have made recruiting Florida a top priority.
Want proof of that? How about the fact that Pitt assistants have already offered over 50 players from Florida, far and away the most of any state. We’ve previously reported on names like Malik Davis, Antoine Thompson, Dontavius Butler, Jerry Drake, Connor Robbins, Jacob Lichtenstein and Bruce Judson to name a few but you can add another name to that list: elite safety Amari Carter from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
Carter is one of the most recruited safeties in the country and a couple of days ago, he came out with a Top 8 and Pitt was included in that list of programs. Carter has a final 8 of Pitt, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Auburn, Clemson, Michigan, Louisville and LSU.
— AC5️⃣ (@Carter_Fame) July 20, 2016
So why did Pitt make the cut?
“The city of Pittsburgh, it’s a good place full of good people,” said Carter. Pitt plays hard-nosed football and they have some Florida players on the roster.”
Another thing that got Carter interested was his possible future role on the team, and it could look a lot like how star safety Jordan Whitehead was used last year.
“We were talking about putting me on both sides of the ball, like they did with Jordan Whitehead last year. That really stood out to me and shows me that they’re not afraid to put their best players in those type of situations and showcase what they can do,” said Carter.
“They’re telling me that I’m at the top of their list for safeties and can come in and play. Not necessarily start because they already have good players on the roster but come in learn the program, the system and make an immediate impact. I can come in and write my own story,” said Carter.
While Carter is being wooed to play on both sides of the ball, make no mistake, his strength is on defense. Carter is a strong, physical, intelligent player and tries to pattern himself after one of his favorite players, Ed Reed.
“One of my strengths is being smart on the field and reading the offense and the opposing quarterback. Also, I can come down and make a big hit from the secondary. But lately, something I’m really working on and getting better at is covering the whole field. I’m working on getting better at getting from one side of the field to the other,” said Carter.
I’m sure Pat Narduzzi and Josh Conklin are thinking of a future safety combination that includes Carter, Whitehead and Paris Ford.
Carter is a very impressive kid to talk with, very well spoken and is a player that’s really proud of where he’s from. The fact that Pitt is heavily recruiting his hometown state, isn’t something that surprises him.
“I’m not going to act like I’m amazed because it’s what I expect. Growing up in Florida, we’re playing football against the highest level of competition that you can get,” said Carter. “I think Florida is the best state to grow up and play sports in. It’s what I expect (teams recruiting a lot of Florida athletes) to hear from a school, every college should be doing it.”
Now that he’s down to 8 schools, what’s next for Carter?
Well he plans on taking all 5 of his official visits before deciding and told me that Notre Dame is the only school that he’s sure will get a visit. Speaking of Notre Dame, despite the rumors that they’ll eventually be his pick, Carter wouldn’t go with that line of thinking. He told me that, “No, I wouldn’t say they’re on top, actually I don’t have anyone on top but I do have high respect for them as I do for Pitt and the other schools on my list.”
Carter plans on making his decision sometime between September and October.
// Header image: Photo courtesy of Amari Carter