Chase Carter wasn't alone at that signing ceremony Wednesday. SMB Wolfpack running back Sanjay Redd, shown in action against Minneapolis North, signed with St. Thomas. AARON LAVINSKY, Star Tribune
Two years ago, the notion of playing college football was not on Chase Carter’s radar.
Now it’s his future.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Carter signed a national letter of intent Wednesday at Minnehaha Academy to play defensive end for Michigan State. Long and explosive, with speed enough to beat offensive linemen regularly, Carter is considered the top defensive recruit in Minnesota for the Class of 2022.
He chose Michigan State over Iowa, his other finalist.
The son of former University of Minnesota basketball player Randy Carter, he grew up hoping to one day follow his father’s path to college basketball. He was still entertaining those hoop dreams when football came calling.
Something was happening. His body was not only approaching Randy’s height of 6-7, but it was filling out, too. Others began to see a football player take shape even if he didn’t.
“Craig McDonald, who’s playing football at Iowa State now, used to say when I first got here, ‘You’re going to be playing football in college, I promise,’” Carter said. “I used to get so mad at him and say, ‘You don’t know what you’re taking about.’”
Carter said that from his current perspective he can see it. Back then, “I would just get mad at him.”
His father saw it, too.
“We used to sit down and we’d talk about it and I told him he had a better future in football than basketball,” Randy Carter said. “There are a lot of guys his size in basketball. It’s a lot more rare in football.”
The football idea became prominent in Chase’s junior year. “I always loved football, but I don’t think I had the dream to be a football player until my junior year. It was just a place I could get my frustrations out,” Carter said. “Then it started to sink in that I could be pretty good at this.”
He showed it on the field over the past two seasons, racking up 40 sacks and 80 tackles for loss for the SMB Wolfpack.
Michigan State, and the Spartans’ desire to have him wearing Sparty green, stood out immediately. He planted his flag the day of his official visit to Lansing, Mich., when the recruits were introduced in the middle of the stadium, with the assistant coaches applauding.
“They seemed very invested,” he said. “It blew me away.”
Carter said Minnesota made contact with him but never pushed. “I didn’t feel like I was high on their list,” he said.
Teammate Sanjay Redd, a swift, shifty running back who scored 36 touchdowns in his high school career, signed with St. Thomas at the same time. Redd chose the Tommies over Iowa State and MSU Mankato.