Defensive lineman Kam Carter, who starred on Netflix’s “Last Chance U” when he played at East Mississippi Community College in 2016, is now preparing for the 2020 NFL Draft after two years at Duquesne.
And Baltimore would be a special landing spot.
Carter is a native of Germantown, Md., and his family has had three Ravens season tickets since 2000 — section 132, seats 7-9. Carter played his high school ball at Gaithersburg High School. According to 247Sports composite ratings, he was the No. 32 prospect in Maryland and No. 15 defensive tackle nationally in 2015.
Carter started his college career at Penn State, but was dismissed and moved onto NJCAA powerhouse East Mississippi (Scooba, Miss.). The Lions’ 2015 and 2016 were chronicled by Netflix. His next stop was Pitt, where he got into nine games and posted eight tackles (1.5 for loss) in 2017. He transferred but stayed in town, playing the 2018 and 2019 seasons at FCS Duquesne.
Now, he wouldn’t mind coming full circle with his favorite team growing up.
“I’ve moved around a little bit more than I expected to in college, but personally I wanted to go some places and learn a little bit more about myself before I went back home and I’m around my people — my parents, my brother, my best friends, stuff like that,” Carter said on Glenn Clark Radio March 17. “I wanted to move and know a little bit more about myself, but man, I did that in college.
“If I went to the Ravens at this point, just with the maturity and everything that I’ve gone through and the lessons that I’ve learned along the way, it would be a good thing. You’d have made a child’s dream come true. They’d have made a child’s dream come true.”
Carter said he went to his first Ravens game when he was 8 years old, and he recalled that Baltimore won in blowout fashion. That’s when longtime Ravens tight end Todd Heap created a lasting memory.
“He just came up and gave me his gloves,” Carter said. “I’m telling you, that kind of stuff right there made me like, ‘Dang, I really want to play football. If I can give somebody this feeling that they just gave me, shoot. I want to do it. That’s the ultimate reward out of life.”
Now Carter has a chance to do just that. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound Carter earned first-team All-Northeast Conference honors in 2018 and 2019. He appeared in 13 games (12 starts) in 2018, posting 22 tackles (5.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks) for a Dukes team that advanced to the second round of the FCS playoffs. He appeared in 10 games (all starts) in 2019, recording 29 tackles — a single-season best for Carter at a Division I school — and three tackles for loss.
But Carter was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and the coronavirus pandemic will make it more difficult for Carter — and other prospects like him — heading into the draft, still scheduled for April 23-25. Pro days around the country have been canceled, as have prospects’ visits to team facilities.
Carter is trying to stay level-headed and his eyes on the goal ahead of him.
“It’s pretty tough. The goal always stays the same. It’s more so where to go from here,” Carter said. “I try to stay positive and everything, especially with this process because it takes you on roller coasters — not just right now but when you’re in it, too. … It definitely just makes it harder, but for the most part you’ve just got to keep everything in perspective. You just train, train, train, trust your film, trust your agent, trust your team. They’re the best at what they do, just like I feel about myself, and pray that God takes the wheel.”
Carter also discussed some topics related to “Last Chance U.” He was at East Mississippi in 2016 when Netflix was filming the second season of the series, which aired in 2017. The Lions went 11-1 and finished the season ranked No. 2 in the NJCAA rankings.
On if his reputation preceded him after “Last Chance U” portrayed him as someone who needed to improve his work ethic:
“Just through my two years at Duquesne, I got very, very tight with my defensive coordinator. But even just getting there at first, if you ask anybody that’s ever played with me, they’ll be like, ‘Man, Kam, he’s locked into the game. He’s going to be the person that gets everybody up. If somebody’s about to get a penalty, Kam will pull him off. Like, Come on, there’s a bigger picture than what you’ve got going on right now in your head.’ And anybody will tell you that. But based off of the show and the perception that they had put out about me, I was answering questions like, ‘Are you going to get four and five personal fouls?’ I’m like, ‘Dude, I’ve never had a personal foul in my life.’ It’s just a lot of little things like that. But if you stay true to yourself and just be real at all times, that misconception will go away eventually.”
On what he gets asked most about the show:
“For some reason, everybody wants to know [about the] living situation. Was it that bad? I don’t want to disrespect nobody and where anybody comes from. People come from nowhere and people come to the city. But shoot, the closest gas station aside from the main Scooba is 10 miles away. It’s tough out there, especially if you’re coming from population. … I haven’t been back yet. I know some of my teammates that I played with that are back there and they enjoy that stuff, but I’ve got to get a million first before I kick my feet up.”
On the meal he liked the most in Scooba:
“My girlfriend – she’s my kid’s mother, still my girlfriend and everything – she used to come down and I’m telling you, we used to go to the gas station. You’re going to think I’m crazy for saying this. We used to go to the gas station for chicken strips and potato logs. … It’s something serious. I’m telling you, those chicken strips, they give you a whole chicken breast. You can pull off three of them, I’m telling you. My big self, I’m pulling off three of them.”
For more from Carter, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Duquesne Athletics