SNELLVILLE, Ga. -- Shiloh (Ga.) High School took its 3-0 record to South Gwinnett (Ga.) High School on Friday night to face Reginald Carter and the rest of his Comets' teammates. When the night was over, Carter was all smiles as he looked at the scoreboard. His team had dominated from start to finish, posting a 31-0 shutout.
“I tried to be everywhere I could be,” Carter said after the game.
He lined up at no less than six different positions and made tackles all over the field. His name came over the public address system constantly, like a skipping record. He finished the game with double-digit tackles, just as he had the previous three contests.
“Coming into this game I had 41 tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble,” Carter said. “I am trying to get to that the 120 mark. I want 120 tackles and 12-plus sacks.”
What a difference a year makes. Last year, Carter’s name was never called as he only played one quarter of the first game before he tore the ACL in his right knee. Despite what promised to be a memorable junior campaign, Carter could only sit and watch his team play without him. Several colleges stopped calling even though he had been, up until that point, one of the hottest recruits in the Peach State. Nebraska, Georgia and UCLA kept after Carter and, eight months after the injury, he committed to the Bulldogs.
The faith in his recovery has paid off for Georgia, as Carter says he is back to his previous self.
“My knee is feeling good,” Carter said. “I wear my brace. Last week was the first week that I woke up and didn’t have any pain in my knees. I felt real good. When I am out there, I feel like I am the best player because of my teammates like Marquis Parker. When we are out there Marquis is going 110, our cornerbacks are going 120 and that motivates me to go 150.”
The red and black knee brace Carter still wears is the only real sign of his previous injury. He wears it as a precaution, just like his heroes do – one of whom he might get to tackle next year.
“Marcus Lattimore is influencing me,” Carter said. “I see him and Adrian Peterson, Jamaal Charles, Eric Berry -- all the guys that had the same injury as me -- going out there playing on Saturday or Sundays and it just motivates me to go out there. It makes me want to come out here and play. There have been times where I felt like, ‘Dang man, I have a little stinger.’ But those cats are playing 60 minutes; I've got to at least play 48 minutes.”
On Friday night, Carter played every defensive snap until his coach John Small put in the second-team players in the waning minutes of the blowout. Before the game was out of hand, though, Shiloh went at Carter on many of their plays, albeit with two blockers leading the way.
“They started running straight at me,” Carter said. “But I am going to run through them. They can’t block me.”
Carter split several double-teams, and if that didn't work he just knocked the offending lineman or lead blocker to the ground. When asked why the Shiloh offensive linemen couldn’t stop him, Carter stopped smiling.
“They are weak,” Carter said.
His smile returned when asked if he was still being recruited by other schools now that he has proven himself on the field.
“When they do, I tell them I am 100 percent committed to Georgia.”