2011 Recruiting: Tamani Carter

Submitted by Brian on April 28th, 2011 at 12:52 PM

Previously: CB Greg Brown.

Pickerington, OH - 6'0" 175

  tamani-carter
srs business

Scout 3*, #103 CB
Rivals 3*, NR, #60 OH
ESPN 2*, 74, #154 ATH
Others NR
Other Suitors Minnesota, Iowa, Stanford, Arizona
YMRMFSPA Markus Curry
Previously On MGoBlog Commitment post.
Notes Yes, that Pickerington: Went to school with an accursed Boren. Central's entire secondary went D-I.

Film

There are also junior highlights.

When Tamani Carter committed out of nowhere in late January Michigan fans scrambled to find out who the hell he was. The answer, oddly: a guy who had committed to Minnesota less than two weeks before. It's not hard to envision Hoke and company arriving at Michigan, surveying their secondary, and going "oh shiiiiiiiiii." Carter looked like a vaguely plausible guy so plunk went the offer gun.

But despite an extremely plausible story—and the fact that he signed up to play for Minnesota's perpetually beleaguered secondary—that implies Carter is just a random guy destined for special teams duty, he did have a decent offer list. Arizona was after him so hard they're still breathless about their not-very-narrow miss months later (they "made a huge run at him"). He made multiple visits to Stanford and seemingly had an Iowa offer. Those three schools seemed to constitute a top three through his senior season. Snagging a kid away from those three and Minnesota is considerably more encouraging than "best case: Gopher starter."

Of course, you're very cynical so you're asking yourself why on earth anyone with those offers would end up at Minnesota. While he did have an offer from the Hawkeyes at some point, he went from planning an official to Iowa City($) in October to not taking an officials other than one to Arizona, so it seems likely Iowa withdrew that sometime during the middle of the season. The same presumably goes for Stanford. So he wasn't an enormous priority for either. When you're adrift in a post-Process January, though, anyone who could play at Iowa or Harbaugh-era Stanford starts looking pretty good.

This goes double when he is actually a terminator sent from the future with an audacious mission:

"Make all interceptions. Recover all fumbles," explained Carter.

Scouting type stuff. Carter's consistently listed at 6'0" or—at worst 5'11"—so it's odd that his size is consistently criticized. If he's fibbing surely he's not fibbing any more extensively than the vast populace of "5'9"" corners littering rosters across college football. Despite that a scouting article at… um… Scout published after Carter's Michigan commit features three separate guys worrying about it($). Allen Trieu:

My one knock would be size, and he's not very tall or thick at all. He will need time in the weight room before he's able to cover bigger, physical wide receivers.

Dave Berk:

First off, he's not very tall, but he's a nice, little athlete. It seems a little surprising for Michigan to go after him, because I would think they would be going after bigger defensive backs. He is a good player, and has skills, and the only real question would be his height. He's under 6-foot tall, and that will always be a challenge, covering the taller wideouts.

Bill Greene:

Assuming he overcomes his height limitations, and there are players that can do that, his speed and athleticism will get him on the field at Michigan, along with his intelligence.

ESPN($), meanwhile isn't too worried about height, but the other bit:

Has more than adequate height but his leaner frame and lack of great strength are concerns when projecting for the college level.

I was going to point out how weird Berk's assertion that Michigan wouldn't recruit Carter because of his size was by pointing to Michigan's roster, but it turns out that roster has dispensed with any pretense of reality by listing both Courtney Avery and Terrance Talbott at 5'11", which I'll eat my hat. Greg Brown is a mere 5'10", so he's probably just suffered a horrendous accident that leaves him without knees.

The point of all this is you will never get a truthful answer about any corner's height and if Carter can plausibly (or even laughably) claim to be six foot that makes him bigger than most of the guys already on the roster and probably as big as anyone else in the recruiting class.

So if Carter was crazy athletic that might not be a problem. That's up for debate. All the Scout guys were impressed ("light on his feet and has great quickness," "possibly sub 4.5," "moves really well"), but ESPN not so much:

Turns into a receiver in one-on-one coverage demonstrating great ball skills and body control. Has good extension, timing and leaping skills making him a very effective defender on the jump-ball. While fluid with good footwork, we do feel like he will be challenged in man-to-man coverage at the major college level. Appears quicker than fast and lacks great explosiveness and top-end speed needed to recover vertically.  … Does not show great vertical speed or an extra though to project as a true difference-maker at the major college level.

Touch The Banner gives him an all-around "eh… okay": decent size, decent speed, nothing stands out.

FWIW, his coach echoes some other compliments about Carter's knack for big plays:

"Tamani had a very special season," said Central coach Jay Sharrett to ThisWeek last fall. "When we needed a pivotal play, he was always there for us. Whether we needed a big reception, interception or fumble recovery. Tamani was the guy who made plays that won games for us."

He also praises Carter's willingness to get in the opponent's face:

"He's a corner that doesn't, he kind of enjoys the physical part of the game," Sharrett said. "He's a good, solid tackler and when it comes time to drive his shoulder pads, he'll do that.

Whether he'll have the athleticism to pull that off in college is a question. TTB mentions he'd like Carter more if he was going to be "playing a Cover 2 defense and sitting in the flat most of the day." It might not matter since a quick glance of at the roster shows someone has to move to safety. Greg Brown didn't and it doesn't seem like the other freshmen are suited to it, so Carter is the obvious candidate.

Etc.: Carter's got his own website. Photo gallery from Central's playoff loss to Davidson, DE commit Keith Heitzman's school. Five INTs as a junior. Interview after his Herbstreit Classic game; 95-yard INT return included (unfortunately, INT went right to him). Gallery. Stats: 43 tackles, six PBUs, 3 INTs, and 21 catches on offense. Carter on his decision to decommit.

Why Markus Curry? Not a great comparison because Michigan hasn't recruited a whole lot of guys like Carter in the past, but Curry was a bit shorter than six foot, not heavily recruited, and seriously vulnerable to the deep ball because he didn't quite have the athleticism to keep up with college wideouts.

Guru Reliability: No reason evaluators would have anything wrong here: he was healthy and playing at a heavily scouted school. High.
General Excitement Level: The usual level of disclaimer applies but: low.
Projection: More of a lock to redshirt than anyone other than Russell Bellomy. There are three other corners in the class, all either more hyped or ahead of the curve after enrolling early, and three or four corners already on campus who will probably be ahead of him on the depth chart. Long term, someone's moving to safety and it's probably not Countess or Hollowell—the bet here is he moves to FS soon after arrival and ends up backing up Carvin Johnson for a while, possibly emerging as an upperclassman.

Comments

lunchboxthegoat

April 28th, 2011 at 1:17 PM ^

even if he doesn't pass the "eye-test" or some question his speed...if he can find a way to be a ball hawk at this level, I could care less. Hopefully he's of the Tyler Sash mold: doesn't look like a football player but man can he play.

maizedandconfused

April 28th, 2011 at 1:23 PM ^

This kid plays football. He doesnt run 40s, or shuttles, or show off his bench pressing. He hits people. Hard. Hes exacty what I want from my nickel CB.. steps up in run support and sticks his nose in there.

That being said, I dont buy this whole "He isnt fast enough" nonsense.. Football is about matchups. Not every receiver on a team is going to be a burner, and it seems that this kid has good hips and break/instincts. Could be a solid cover guy on a more possession type receiver. 

Wolverine0056

April 28th, 2011 at 4:05 PM ^

Couldn't say it better myself. The things that you can measure with a tape measure or a stop watch don't always tell the whole story. If the guy brings heart and love for the game, he could outperform guys that may be more fit for the position. It all comes down to how hard the guy wants to work, practice and play. I am excited to see what guys like Carter and Brown will bring to this team in the future. It's always fun to see what they become, even if they don't always pan out.

turtleboy

April 28th, 2011 at 2:01 PM ^

Besides being something of a ball-hawk, he looks like they might use him in kick/punt return situations someday. He has great mobility for a high school DB.

Section 1

April 29th, 2011 at 5:29 PM ^

He's got Jacoby Boren as a former HS teammate.  Tamani's got to have some GREAT Mike Boren/Jacoby Boren stories.  He might have some good Zach Boren stories!  Tamani might well have been an eyewitness to Zach going from Blue to Scarlet in front of the whole class the moment that offer letters went out and Zach didn't get one from Michigan.

We gotta find out more about that...

TimG

April 28th, 2011 at 2:28 PM ^

How can anybody knock him for his height when he's listed at 6 foot.  Even if he is 5'11'' or 5'10'' that means he's about average height for a corner in college and the nfl.  It's not like every reciever out there is 6'5'' and runs a 4.23 forty.

NomadicBlue

April 28th, 2011 at 3:06 PM ^

This kid will show everyone he can play (@ safety) and redeem the good name of Picktown in the eyes of the UM faithful.  Lower the boom, Tamani, and you'll do just fine.  Not a bad school for Hoke & Co. to get into, either.  They don't continually pump out studs like some other schools in OH, but they do send a steady supply of quality kids to D-1 schools each year.  Love it when a fellow Tiger goes Blue. 

WolverBean

April 28th, 2011 at 4:11 PM ^

Not a great comparison because Michigan hasn't recruited a whole lot of guys like Carter in the past

Presumably, Carter doesn't also have a bullet still lodged somewhere near his spine after trying to break up a fight at a party.  Presumably.

King Douche Ornery

April 28th, 2011 at 5:52 PM ^

People come to a recruiting-heavy site, and when the recruits are portrayed as less than stellar, we get all the "Hey, wait a minute! You guys don't know nuttin'!"

He doesn't have speed, is small, his coverage skills are questionable---yet he signed with Michigan, so all those guys must be wrong!

Lancer

April 28th, 2011 at 6:27 PM ^

sweet analysis, thank you. Hoke has already mentioned in a press conference that Carter will be projected to play safety and Carter is well aware of this. He has good ball skills and solid speed, I think he will be a great contributer in the coming years. Marvin robinson needs to step it up at safety, will greatly help our secondary.

Magnus

April 29th, 2011 at 7:30 AM ^

Hopefully Michigan can get back to redshirting its young players, rather than playing every single freshman.  I know numbers were low, but it was pretty ridiculous how many true freshman defensive backs played in 2010.