Asa Carter, Carson High School’s three-sport star, made it official Wednesday morning by signing a national letter-of-intent to play football at Division II Southwest Baptist University.
Other than a walk-on offer at the University of Nevada, Carter had offers from Southwest Baptist in Bolivar, Mo., and Northern State in Aberdeen, S.D. Southwest Baptist plays in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
“It’s a Christian school,” said Carter before Tuesday night’s basketball win over Wooster, which wrapped up the regular-season title for the Senators. “It was also the best offer I received.
“He (coach Robert Clardy) came out and watched me play (basketball) against Reno. He seems to be a nice coach. He wanted me to visit the school, but I told him I didn’t need to do that (to make a decision). I didn’t want to miss any more basketball.”
It turns out Clardy was familiar with the Carter family and the area. His wife, the former Krysten Bartshe, played soccer at Douglas High, and she knows Cassie Carter, a former soccer star at Carson, and wife of Asa’s older brother, Paul.
“I saw (football) film on him, and I talked with coach (Blair) Roman,” Clardy said. “I already knew a lot about Asa because my wife was from the area. I saw him play basketball, and I fell in love with his athletic ability. He’s a pretty good athlete.
“I think we signed 39 kids. That’s pretty big for us. This class is full of high achieving kids, both in the classroom and on the field. The ability in both areas helps out financially. Some of our kids are developmental players that we want to develop and others are high impact guys that we want to get on the field right away. He is definitely going to get a chance to come in and compete.”
Clardy puts Carter in the latter category. He likes Carter’s versatility.
Carter, a three-year starter for the Senators, accounted for 1,261 yards and 15 TDs rushing, all but six of those yards coming in 2014 and 2015. In his junior and senior seasons, he caught 38 passes for 813 yards and 10 scores. On the defensive side of the ball, he had 194 tackles, six blocked kicks and 13 interceptions.
“We are looking at him on both sides of the ball,” Clardy said. “We will see where he fits the best. I think he could have an impact right away, so we’ll see where he could have the biggest impact. Our slot receiver is like an H back. We put him in motion a lot. He has to be able to block, run good routes and catch the ball. I see that in Asa.”
In Carson’s offense, Carter was often asked to block on sweep plays, and he was always equal to the task. He has great hands. Dropped balls were an aberration. If the pass was in the neighborhood, Carter would go and get it.
“I’m not surprised that Asa is being recruited as a wide receiver,” Roman said. “He is so dynamic with the ball in his hands, and I do see him as a wide receiver at the next level although he is good enough to make the switch to defense if they need him there.
“I think Division II is a nice fit for Asa because he’s going to help out and probably play very quickly. No matter who gets him, I have no doubt they are going to have a heck of a player who has kind of flown under the recruiting radar.”
Carter admits he would prefer to play offense, but he’ll do what it takes to get on the field. Watching the game being played is not in his DNA.
“As a sophomore, he played our hybrid spot which is a combo linebacker and safety,” Roman said. “We moved him to safety to take advantage of his ball skills. He has great vision back there. He is really good at diagnosing run and pass from 12 to 19 yards away. He does a good job of coming up and helping in the running game. He has good knowledge; a good IQ for the game.”
“(Clardy) talked to me about defense a little bit; hybrid safety in their defense,” Carter said.
And, Clardy is well aware of Carter’s special-teams ability.
“It’s not just another unit in our program,” Clardy said.
“It’s a key part of our team. I expect guys to be able to play special teams; expect our starters to play on some special teams.”