Like so many youth around the country, Drew Carter’s final year of high school didn’t play out as he had hoped.
Colorado’s class of 2021 quarterback recruit is determined to get college off on the right foot, however.
This week, the 6-foot-3, 195-pound dual threat and multi-sport athlete, who graduated from Tigard (Ore.) High School early, moved to Boulder, several days ahead of when he’s expected to report.
“I came a little earlier with my family, just to get a lay of the land, just explore and spend time with my family,” Carter said.
Unable to play his senior football and basketball seasons at Tigard because of the coronavirus pandemic, Carter can’t wait to get rolling with the Buffaloes.
“I think that is a huge thing for me,” he said. “I’ll not only get acclimated with football, I’ll get acclimated with school, as well, and get in the flow of things and hopefully give me a better chance to compete.”
Ranked by 247Sports.com as the No. 5 recruit out of Oregon and the No. 17 dual threat quarterback in the country, Carter was a three-star recruit with seven scholarship offers and tremendous upside.
“We’re lucky to get him,” CU quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf said on national signing day, Dec. 16. “The biggest thing that stands out is his athleticism. It’s a kid that’s a multi-sport athlete. He’s a guy that can get out of some trouble with his legs and has enough arm talent to make all the throws.”
Carter threw for 6,955 yards and 54 touchdowns during his three-year prep career, while adding 506 yards and seven touchdowns as a runner and leading Tigard to a 30-5 record.
He joins a quarterback room that is expected to include returning starter Sam Noyer, a senior; Tennessee transfer JT Shrout, a redshirt sophomore; and Brendon Lewis, who was a true freshman this past season.
“(Carter) knows that we don’t have a lot of quarterbacks in our program and he has a chance to compete, be elevated on the depth (chart), and maybe be the starter at some point in his career, in an earlier fashion just because he believes in our style of offense and understands what we are trying to build,” head coach Karl Dorrell said on signing day. “He sees himself playing here.”
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Carter was unable to participate in camps this past spring and summer and wasn’t able to take an official visit to Boulder. He did visit on his own to see the area, though, and felt comfortable signing with CU.
“I always said I’m going to go where I’m most wanted and CU really made me feel that way,” he said. “I love the direction coach Dorrell is taking the program. Super pleased with it. I really love the relationship I have with coach Langs and (offensive coordinator Darrin Chiaverini). … I can’t wait to learn from them and grow as a player.”
Carter also can’t wait to test himself on the basketball court at CU.
As a junior at Tigard, he averaged 25 points, six rebounds and three assists per game and was named the league’s MVP, while earning first-team All-State honors. He received scholarship offers to play basketball in college and is intending to play for coach Tad Boyle’s squad in Boulder.
“It’s very realistic,” he said of playing both sports at CU. “I just want to contribute to both teams. I had a conversation with Tad Boyle and coach Dorrell. They’ve made it clear to me that they’re gonna support me throughout the whole thing. They said they’re gonna have a plan for me.
“At the end of the day, I love to compete. I love both sports. If I have an opportunity to play both, I’m going to do it.”
That mindset impresses Langsdorf.
“I love that about him because he’s competing all the time,” Langsdorf said. “He’s one of those guys that’s rare that could probably play both in college.”
Carter comes from an athletic family, as his father and mother both played sports in college. His sister, Lexi, played basketball at Clemson and his younger brother, A.J., is an athlete.
“My whole life pretty much revolved around sports,” Carter said. “I just want to be able to make my family proud, really.”
The best athlete in the family?
“Me, of course,” he said with a laugh. “I’m not going to say anyone else. Everyone else does their own thing and has pretty much taught me all I know.”
As Carter comes to CU with eyes on excelling in two sports, his main priority will be playing quarterback, and he’s eager to dive in the Buffs’ offense, which Chiaverini has described as being quarterback friendly.
“I think that’s one of the things that drew me to Colorado was coach Chev and his offense,” Carter said. “He really made it clear to me that the offense was a quarterback offense.”
Despite the challenges of this past year, Carter said he believes he’s handled them well and made sure to stay in shape and polish his game.
“I think I’ve used my time wisely,” he said. “I really have been able to get ready for college.”