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Miami Hurricanes 2021 Player Profile: Striker Amari Carter

Tha Carter V - A look into year five for #5

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh
Nov 24, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Miami Hurricanes defensive back Amari Carter (5) in pass coverage against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the first quarter at Heinz Field. PITT won 24-14.
Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Every football fan loves a tough, physical, hard-nosed football player that instills fear into the opposition. Someone that can set the tone with ferocious, bone jarring hits from the safety position and make opposing receivers wary of coming across the middle is always a welcomed sight, especially in the orange and green.

Miami Hurricanes striker Amari Carter fits the bill for that type of player, and coming into his final season with the program, the talented defender looks to have his best season yet. But like the rest of his teammates, Amari Carter is not just an athlete, he’s somewhat of a renaissance man - do not put him in a box.

Entering his fifth year on the field, the senior hailing from Riviera Beach, Florida is a lover of all things Taz, Ella, and Cooper - three of his favorite four legged friends, two of which are highlighted on his Instagram page.

He is an accomplished cook whom the Food Network should run a special feature on, an avid fisherman, and founder of SurVive Foundation - a nonprofit organization whose focus is to battle the world’s suffering of hunger in homeless and underserved communities.

More impressive is how Carter was capable of maintaining focus while finding time for his hobbies and dealing with the rigors of being a student athlete at a high profile program. He earned his baccalaureate degree in the spring of 2020 and is currently working on obtaining his master’s degree in public administration.

Off the field

Defined By Nobody’’ is the phrase that heads his Instagram profile. Amari Carter lives by it and marches to the beat of his own drum. That would be putting it lightly considering how he was having lunch on a recent summer afternoon with his girlfriend in Orlando and it dawned on him... how blessed he was to be doing what some take for granted, eating.

The couple finished their meal and headed to a nearby grocery store to purchase items so they could go home and make sandwiches. Sandwiches for who? “We passed out meals to the less fortunate in Downtown Orlando.” said Carter. If that isn’t marching to the beat of your own drum, then what is?

Carter made sure to include each meal with messages containing words of encouragement.

His random act of kindness led to the birth of SurVive Foundation. And in just a matter of weeks, Carter’s foundation is now in discussions to partner with “grown” - Shannon Allen’s restaurant which evolved from her television show, The Pre-Game Meal. Her show was inspired by 18 years of preparing nutritious game day meals for her husband, Ray Allen.

SurVive also collaborates with Farm Share, Florida’s largest grassroots food bank to help feed the homeless, and is in the process of connecting with Chipotle to help him with his cause.

In an Instagram post dated July 23, 2020, Amari Carter and teammate Zach McCloud distribute meals to those in need in the Overtown and Downtown Miami area. Carter’s @survivefoundation was able to collaborate with @farmsharefl on this project.

Another one of Carter’s favorite pastimes is fishing, it was a huge part of his upbringing. His grandfather would wake him before sunrise on Saturdays and the two would embark on a boat headed to Jupiter and sometimes Juno Beach where they would fish for hours on end. He admits to having a love of being near the water whether it be on a beach or a boat.

To this day he, his girlfriend, and her father who is a boat captain, head out to cast a line whenever the opportunity presents itself. By the looks of it, Bass Pro Shops may want to reach out to Carter now that NIL is in full swing.

Mahi anyone? Fisherman Carter with the catch of the day in an Instagram post dated July 9, 2021.

The Safety

As a standout at Palm Beach Gardens Senior High school, Carter earned a four-star rating by ESPN, and was labeled a three-star safety by 247Sports, Rivals and Scout. The hard hitting prospect signed with the Hurricanes #SqUad17 class choosing Miami over the likes of Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Michigan and Notre Dame, among others.

Listed at 6’2’’ 188 lbs., Carter arrived at the University of Miami with a head hunter reputation, a reputation he has since lived up to. With the amount of hype surrounding his physical style of play, Hurricanes great Jon Beason went as far as mentioning Carter’s name in the same sentence as the late, great, Sean Taylor.

Beason acknowledged how active Carter was as a defender, how impressed he was with his high football acumen, and how he would have a chance to play as a freshman knowing Miami lost plenty of experience at the position the year prior.

Carter’s on-field exploits are impressive and although he puts forth equal effort into his off-field interests, he attacks the game he loves with a different approach. By trade, he is a physical specimen known to inflict pain on opponents. Now in his final season as a Cane, “AC” aims be a leader on a defense that has the potential to be one of the best in the nation.

During the last four seasons, Carter manned the safety position and produced 126 total tackles (92 solo), with a career high 36 of them coming in the 2020 campaign. He recorded his lone career interception in the first game of the 2019 season versus the Florida Gators and boasts 6.5 tackles for loss to date.

Carter was accustomed to being used all over the field in a Manny Diaz coached defense in 2017. He contributed on a unit that allowed a shade over 20 points per game, while sacking the quarterback 44 times, tackling ball carriers 111 times behind the line of scrimmage, and yielding only 29 offensive touchdowns - tied for seventh in the nation.

As a true freshman in a secondary that featured the likes of Jaquan Johnson and Sheldrick Redwine at safety, Carter played a significant role registering 26 total tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and a forced fumble in 13 games. The ever famous Trajan Bandy pick-six versus Notre Dame demonstrates how he may be used this season with Manny Diaz calling the defense once again.

In this pre-snap shot of the biggest play in that game, Carter is lined up as a defensive tackle next to RJ McIntosh. Once the ball is snapped, he drops back in coverage and finishes the play celebrating in the endzone with his teammates.

Also on this play, Diaz called on three true freshman (Trajan Bandy, Jonathan Garvin, and Amari Carter) to be on the field on a crucial down. These are some indications of what Canes fans can look forward to from an aggressive Diaz scheme this fall.

Talking with Carter during an interview for this article, he mentioned coaches referring to him as a “jack of all trades”. Below is more evidence of how he may be used this season.

In the first quarter during the matchup versus Virginia Tech in 2017, Miami shows yet another exotic formation with defensive ends Joe Jackson and Trent Harris lined up over the “A” gaps, while Shaq Quarterman and Amari Carter show blitz on the outside.

The play results in Virginia Tech Quarterback Josh Jackson being taken down for a sack after Jackson and Harris bring pressure up the middle and Carter stunts inside to bring down Jackson for a loss of 10 yards.

Throughout the course of his career, the knock on Carter has been his tendency to teeter the line between being aggressive and overly aggressive. At times, his unavailability has put the Hurricanes defense in a precarious position due to being ejected for targeting. NCAA rules state a player that is ejected for targeting must also sit out the first half of the following game.

This season he vows to make a concerted effort to stay on the field, and to his credit he has done a better job of avoiding the restricted area on receivers/ball carriers. A prime example of this was a devastating collision on primetime television during the fourth quarter of last season’s game at Louisville when Carter unloaded on Ean Pfeifer who stands at 6’4’’ 255.

Carter was originally called for targeting, but after review, the penalty was rescinded and he was allowed to remain in the game.

Tha Carter V

The final chapter in Amari Carter’s college football career begins in Atlanta on September 4 as his Hurricanes take on the defending national champion Alabama Crimson Tide. The last time Carter was on national TV versus an SEC team to start the season, he registered 7 total tackles and an interception which he ran back for 22 yards versus the rival Gators in 2019.

Earlier this off-season it was announced that he would see more time at the striker position, a position that allows him to bring his physical style of play closer to the line of scrimmage and a move which allows the Hurricanes defense to see more athletes on the field.

An official depth chart has yet to be released, however if last season is any indication of how the depth at striker may look, Carter will split time with Gilbert Frierson who has played well since the departure of Romeo Finley.

He acknowledged that although he has officially been moved to striker, he still will see snaps at safety. And with the exotic looks head coach and defensive coordinator Manny Diaz likes to feature, do not rule out Carter taking snaps at linebacker. At this point, Carter may not be Miami’s best safety, but he is one of the most experienced and most knowledgeable having played in 48 career games.

Miami Hurricanes safety Amari Carter (5) during the first half at Camping World Stadium. The Hurricanes will need Carter’s experience and physical play to reach their goals for the 2021 season.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Amari Carter was one of several players who had the opportunity to declare for the NFL draft but decided to return for another year. During a media availability session in the spring, he mentioned being happy with his decision and how providing experience in the locker room while having a chance to be a leader to the younger players played a part in his decision to come back. He stated his decision to return was selfless.

When asked about his off season workout regimen, Carter alluded to gaining nearly 10 pounds of muscle while measuring only 10 percent body fat. However, one of the biggest takeaways from talking with Amari was how much faster he’s gotten this offseason.

He was clocked at 21.7 mph during sprints this summer. As Miami aims to get faster in certain spots defensively, that is the kind of speed that will elevate the defense to new heights.

Carter also brought up meeting with defensive analyst Bob Shoop on a regular basis. Shoop is someone Carter refers to as a “mastermind”.

Look for Carter too see the field plenty and expect him to play well as he has a firm grasp of Diaz’s defense and will be auditioning for a spot on an NFL roster. Playing in the league has been a goal of his since he was four years of age.

If the Hurricanes defense wants to field an elite unit, they need Carter to perform well and his leadership must be on full display on and off the field.

Tha Carter V, press play...

Bethune-Cookman v Miami Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images