When it comes the college football recruiting process, you have to be an incredible talent to gain national recognition at a small high school. Tariq Carpenter from Long County High School in Ludowici, Georgia is up for the challenge.
The rising senior safety and Central Florida 2017 commit is looking to make a difference for both his high school program and at the next level for the Knights. He said the decision to commit to the now-Scott Frost led Knights back in early April was pretty easy.
“The opportunity to playing in the coming years,” Carpenter told Campus Sports about his commitment to UCF. “They are losing a lot of players over the coming years and they need people to play early. I told them that I want to be there to do it for them.”
Senior defensive backs like Shaquill Griffin and Drico Johnson should play a big role for the Knights this year, but Carpenter hopes to step up and take over for them going into his freshman season.
The 6-foot-2 safety also talked about about the new coaching staff at UCF being a big difference maker.
“They have their new coaching staff with Coach (Scott) Frost and Coach (defensive coordinator Erik) Chinander,” he explained. “It looks like they are doing some big things there.”
Carpenter noted he does not model his playing style after any one player, but says he takes inspiration from former Washington Redskins safety LaRon Landry.
“I like the physical safeties (in the NFL). That’s what I think I play like,” Carpenter said. “I don’t think I play like anybody else except myself. However, I would say that I play most like LaRon Landry, but I like to think that I have my own style on the field.”
As for other bits of inspiration, Carpenter says that he always looked up to his mom.
“I would have to say my mom,” he said. “She has always inspired me to do better than her. She always wants me to do my best and to never give up. She has been with me my whole life.”
The Knights have been in the conversation for possible expansion into the Big 12 and Carpenter is excited for the better competition and getting exposure on the national level.
“I hope that if we move up in the next year, we can compete and hopefully become a national power. They are supposed to move up to the Big 12, so I would love to play against that competition.”
Carpenter currently holds a three-star rating according to 247Sports, but he hopes to improve that over the next few months. If he has another year like he did in 2015, that shouldn’t be a problem.
Last year with the Blue Tide, Carpenter recorded 50 solo tackles, five for loss, two interceptions and seven forced fumbles. He also showed his worth as a receiver, catching 10 passes for 205 yards.