4-star Carter gives Gophers boost on signing day

On the eve of college footballâÄôs signing day, the general consensus about the University of MinnesotaâÄôs recruiting class was that it was solid but didnâÄôt have the star power of last yearâÄôs class. That changed Wednesday morning, when four-star cornerback Michael Carter, of Pompano Beach, Fla., surprisingly backed out on a verbal agreement with West Virginia and signed a letter of intent with the Gophers. It was the only twist of the morning for Minnesota, which signed all 19 of its unsigned verbal commitments by 10 a.m. Recruiting website Rivals.com gives Carter a 5.9 position rating, making him the highest rated defensive player the Gophers have landed since the site started keeping track in 2002. He should help a secondary that was one of the teamâÄôs biggest weaknesses this season âÄî the Gophers were second to last in the Big Ten in passing defense âÄî and will likely compete with Marcus Sherels , Traye Simmons and Ryan Collado for playing time. âÄúHeâÄôs probably as good of a cornerback as there is in America,âÄù head coach Tim Brewster said. âÄúHe has tremendous one-on-one coverage skills. Obviously he has to get bigger and stronger, but heâÄôs got tremendous speed and competitiveness and will make an impact on this team quickly.âÄù Carter is the cousin of former Gophers All-American safety Tyrone Carter, who holds the NCAA record for career tackles and currently plays for the Super Bowl-champion Pittsburgh Steelers. Brewster said he talked with Tyrone a few times while recruiting his cousin, but ultimately he doubted Tyrone had much to do with it. âÄúIt was special for us to have him join our family because he is family,âÄù Brewster said. âÄúThe Carter name is family to the University of Minnesota.âÄù He added: âÄúFor these kids, sometimes a [school] name sounds really good, and they say that name, but they have another feeling in their heart. ThatâÄôs what I think happened with Michael; he said another name, but his heart was with us. I never felt like he wasnâÄôt going to be a Gopher.âÄù Carter also had scholarship offers from Florida, Miami and Georgia, according to Rivals. He and fellow-signee Eric Jacques come from the same high school where Carter had 48 tackles, 20 pass break-ups and five interceptions as a senior. After signing with the Gophers, Brewster said Carter told him, âÄúIf you liked Tyrone, wait until you see me.âÄù Other signees of note were 230-pound quarterback Moses Alipate, national champion wrestler and offensive lineman Josh Campion and athlete Bryant Allen, who also plans to play basketball for coach Tubby Smith in the winter. The 20-player class is smaller than the class brought in last year, which had 30 players and was ranked top-20 nationally by most recruiting analysts. Carter joined junior-college wide receiver Hayo Carpenter and speedy running back Hasan Lipscomb as the classâÄôs only âÄúfour-starâÄù recruits, according to Rivals, compared to seven last season. âÄúThe only difference, I think, between last year and this year is the size of the class,âÄù Brewster said. âÄúI think this yearâÄôs class is every bit the same quality as last year, and thatâÄôs what you have to do if you expect to win in the Big Ten.âÄù