The seven remaining members of Clemson’s 2021 signing class are scheduled to arrive on campus in just one day.
Move-in day for the summer enrollees is Thursday, and among the newcomers ready to get their college careers started is Barrett Carter, a five-star defender from North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, Ga.
Carter committed to Clemson in May 2020 and has been counting down the days to the beginning of his journey as a Tiger ever since.
“I’m beyond excited,” Carter said to The Clemson Insider. “I just relate back to the day that I committed. I’ve been waiting for this moment, and the fact that it’s finally here, it’s breathtaking and I’m just ready to get to work. So, I’m so excited.”
Carter is officially listed as a safety on Clemson’s roster, but he is a versatile athlete that can do a lot of different things on defense, and the Tigers intend to get the most out of his talent and all-around skill set by using him in a variety of ways – a la former Clemson star Isaiah Simmons.
The Tigers believe Carter has the size and physicality to play in the box, as well as the speed, range and coverage ability to play on the back end.
Based on what he has heard from defensive coordinator Brent Venables, Carter expects to start out playing the nickel/SAM position and then eventually be a guy that can line up all over the field defensively.
“As I start to really master that position and get that position down, Coach Venables said he’s going to start teaching me other positions like playing a little bit of inside (linebacker), maybe some safety, maybe some dime if we’re running that defense,” Carter said. “So once I learn SAM and nickel – that’s going to be my first position – just to start moving me around in a versatile way.”
Carter will be roommates with fellow summer enrollee Troy Stellato, a four-star wide receiver from Cardinal Gibbons High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The two formed a bond when they were both on campus for the football program’s junior day recruiting function in the spring of last year and have had a close friendship since.
“Me and Troy, we’re really good friends,” Carter said. “He’s like my brother, too. Around the time when I committed, he committed right after that. And the day that I visited, the junior day, which was in March of 2020, he was there that day. So, we talked about committing to Clemson. Our bond has been strong ever since then. Me and Troy, we’re really good friends.”
Carter comes to Clemson ranked as a top-30 national prospect regardless of position by both 247Sports (No. 17 overall) and Rivals (No. 21). He played on both sides of the ball at North Gwinnett, seeing action at running back and even quarterback in addition to his duties on defense.
Carter finished his high school career with 162 tackles, including 27 for loss and 18 sacks. In seven games as a senior last year, he tallied 38 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and five sacks to go with 429 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns, along with seven receptions for 68 yards. He had a 79-yard interception return for a score and also threw a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Looking ahead to his freshman year as a collegiate student-athlete, Carter is setting the bar high for himself, both on the field and in the classroom.
“I want to be a freshman All-American. I want to be on the All-Academic team,” he said. “My goal is four national championships throughout my years at Clemson, but I really just want to do everything I can to be the best person that I can be, too, as well as the best player. So, just leading my team on and off the field, being the best brother that I can be to all my teammates.”
Carter’s parents will travel with him to campus Thursday to send him off, and naturally, they are sad to see him leave the nest. But at the same time, they can rest assured their son will be in good hands at Clemson.
“I’m sure it’s probably a lot of mixed emotions with them,” he said. “I’m their youngest child and their only boy, so it’s going to be tough for them, just not having me in the house and getting to see me every day. But I’m sure it’s relieving to them that I’m going to a really good place, so they don’t have to worry that much, and a place that’s very close to home.”
Carter has a good understanding of what to expect when he begins his career as a Tiger, thanks to the conversations he’s had with some of the other players in the 2021 class that enrolled in January.
“They said that they loved it,” Carter said of the midyear enrollees. “It’s nothing that they didn’t expect. They knew it was going to be a lot of hard work. They have fun, though. The work, they say it doesn’t even feel like work. The seniors, they’re so supportive of everyone. They help everyone out. But they just said it’s going to be very different from high school, but it’s fun and it’s going to be a great experience.”
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