NAU offers Carte grid scholarship

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2000

Juneau-Douglas High School football player Rick Carte has reportedly been offered a full-ride scholarship to play for the Northern Arizona University Lumberjacks.

Carte, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound senior who made the all-state team as both a linebacker and tight end, did not receive a phone call confirming the offer as of Wednesday evening. But Carte's mother Chris said she received a call Tuesday from an assistant coach offering a full-ride scholarship to play defensive end with the Lumberjacks.

She cautioned that it's just an offer, but if confirmed Rick would take the scholarship. By signing, Carte would become the first Juneau football player to play for an NCAA Division I team on a full-ride scholarship.

``Until you get that letter of intent, it's all talk,'' she said.

The family has been scrambling to try and arrange travel plans for a campus visit sometime in the next few weeks. Carte, also a starter with the Crimson Bears basketball team, has been out with a sprained ankle and would like to make the visit now while he's not playing with the team. Carte isn't expected to return from his injuries until Juneau plays North Pole in Juneau Jan. 4-5.

Carte said Western Washington was trying to recruit him as a tight end, but Northern Arizona was his first choice. The academic program is strong, both he and his mother said, and

former Crimson Bears Jeremy Woodrow and Matt Carey were both walk-on freshmen on the team last season but spent the season on the redshirt list.

``They both told me really good things about it,'' Carte said. ``It's really structured. They tell you when to lift and they tell you when to study. They liked the coaching, but they said it's really tough.''

Juneau head coach Reilly Richey said he believed Carte would have no trouble converting from linebacker to defensive end.

``They were impressed with his size and his ability to run,'' said Richey, who had contact with Northern Arizona coaches. ``They saw him on film and they saw his 6-5 frame and they were impressed with his athleticism.''

``I don't care where they want me to play,'' said Carte. ``That's where they said they needed somebody. A lot of people end up switching positions in college.''

Carte was Juneau's leading receiver in its first-ever postseason berth last season. He caught 29 passes for 535 yards and seven touchdowns, and averaged 18.4 yards per catch.

The Lumberjacks, a Division IAA school located in Flagstaff, were 8-3 overall last year, took second place in the Big Sky Conference and lost to Georgia Southern - last year's Div. I-AA runner-up - in the playoffs.

Feb. 2 is the National Letter of Intent signing day, but Carte said he doesn't have to make a decision by then. Per NCAA rules, Northern Arizona officials said they weren't able to comment on recruiting until a letter has been signed. But should everything work out, Carte said he'll most likely take the scholarship.

``I was hopeful for a scholarship, but I wasn't expecting it,'' Carte said. ``It felt really good. I was happy.''

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