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Tracking the Stars of the Future

Football Recruiting Report
Saturday, January 13, 2007

By Sammy Batten

Offensive Analysis  •  Defensive Analysis  •  Thumbnails

QB's & Receivers  •  O-Linemen & RB's  •  Thumbnails

Talent still flowing from New Bern pipeline

Bears four-sport standout Julian Carter the latest in a string of NBHS stars to enlist with Pirates

By Sammy Batten
All rights reserved.

East Carolina defensive line coach Donnie Thompson was watching cornerback recruit Darryl Reynolds of New Bern participate in a track meet last spring when another member of the Bears squad caught his attention.

“He came to watch Darryl and saw Julian running hurdles,’’ New Bern coach Bobby Curlines said. “Julian was long and athletic and Donnie came away really impressed with him.’’

Julian is Julian Carter, a four-sport athlete who competes in football, basketball, baseball and track at New Bern. ECU’s Thompson was so impressed with Carter’s performance at the track meet that he returned to New Bern during the football season to see what the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder could do on the gridiron.

What Thompson found was a ball-hawking safety who finished with eight interceptions, a solid wide receiver and a pretty fair punter who helped the Bears to a 9-3 record. Thompson’s report back to ECU head coach Skip Holtz resulted in a scholarship offer, which Carter accepted.

He’ll join a trio of former New Bern players in Greenville next fall. They include red-shirt freshman safety Chris Mattocks, sophomore tight end Davon Drew and, of course, Reynolds, who is enrolled at ECU but not playing this year. Reynolds is expected to join the team this spring.

“Greenville is just a great place for me,’’ Carter said. “There are a lot of faces I can see from New Bern every day there, and that made it feel like home to me. Those guys will be able to help me out. We’re all good friends.’’

North Carolina, N.C. State and Virginia were also recruiting Carter, but the Pirates were the first school to offer a scholarship.

Born and raised in New Bern, Carter said he really didn’t get into football until about the eighth grade. Basketball, baseball and track took up most of his time until school friends talked him into trying out for the junior high squad.

Oddly, Carter was immediately placed at quarterback, a position he would play until he reached the New Bern varsity.

“I was fast and I had a pretty good arm, so I guess they thought I’d make a good quarterback,’’ Carter said. “But I just really wanted to be out there with my friends, so it didn’t matter to me where I played. But I turned out to be pretty good at it. I was the starter on the JV's my freshman year before they switched me over.’’

Carter remained a backup quarterback behind Drew, but saw lots of action in the defensive secondary when promoted to the varsity at the end of his sophomore season. The Drew-led Bears advanced all the way to the state championship game for a second straight time that year.

A starting role on defense awaited Carter as a junior, but it was in track, where he competes in the high jump and hurdles, that he seemed to be making more of a mark. He’s a 6-foot-2 high jumper and nearly reached the state finals of the 300-meter hurdles as a junior.

“Julian is just a natural athlete, and most people saw that first on the track,’’ Curlines said. “He’s so smooth and agile going over those hurdles. He really should be one of the best in the state this year.’’

With ECU and other schools watching, Carter started at free safety on defense for the Bears last season and was a backup on offense at both quarterback and wide receiver. He also averaged 37 yards per punt.

“He just does a little bit of everything,’’ Curlines said. “I think his future is on the defensive side at safety, though, because he’s one of those kids who could easily put on about 20 pounds and be 6-2, 215 or 220, but can still run.’’

As for his future position, Carter's inclination mirrors that of his coach.

“I think safety is probably my best position,’’ Carter said. “I’m really good at reading plays and being in the right place at the right time. I good at sticking to receivers.’’

Curlines said Carter’s ability to track the football is why he produced so many interceptions as a senior.

“That may come from playing outfield in baseball for so long,’’ Curlines said. “He has a real nose for the football. He had those eight interceptions, but he also had six or seven pass deflections or breakups, too. And he’s got great hands, so if he gets a chance to pick one off he usually comes down with the ball.’’

The Pirates will be fairly deep at safety next season, so Curlines expects Carter to red-shirt next fall.

“I think they’re leaning towards that, but anything can happen,’’ Curlines said. “He’s just starting to come on in the weight room. Playing so many sports here has kept him from concentrating as much on that as he will at East Carolina. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential right now. Once he’s focused only on football he’s going to be something to watch.’’

Of course, Carter won’t be able to concentrate on just football anytime soon. He’s currently playing forward for the New Bern basketball team, which is off to a 10-4 start. Carter is averaging about 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears.

This spring he’ll head back to the baseball diamond where he’s the starting right fielder for New Bern, and to the track where he hopes to reach the state meet in both the hurdles and high jump.

“I just enjoy all my sports,’’ Carter said. “This is the last time I’ll probably get to compete in these others, so I’m going to take advantage of it. Plus, I’ll still be working out in the weight room and getting ready for next year at ECU.’’

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02/23/2007 02:38:32 PM


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