It didn’t take long for the North Carolina product to become the feature-back of this Gang Green stable that began with four or five possible rushers. “I never felt like a rookie,” Carter told reporters on November 18 per Connor Hughes, “they drafted me to play.”
The all-purpose back has proven himself to be an asset in both the run and pass game, with 169 yards after contact on the ground and 326 yards after catch through the air. Even his blocking ability is well beyond his years, with a pass protection grade of 78.0 or higher in five out of his eight eligible games according to Pro Football Focus.
With eight games left on the schedule, Carter is chasing Jets history.
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Carter on Pace for Historic Rookie Campaign
Michael Nania of Jets X-Factor tweeted that “Michael Carter’s 673 scrimmage yards this season is already the 13th-most by a rookie in Jets history.”
He added: “At his current pace of 74.8 [yards per game], he only needs [five] more games to become the [third] rookie to hit [1,000 scrimmage yards]. Still [eight] games left to shoot for Matt Snell (1964)’s record of 1,341 [scrimmage yards].”
Nania also shared the list of Jets rookies that currently lead Carter. Snell, Clark Gaines and John Riggins make up the top three but players like Leon Washington, Keyshawn Johnson, Blair Thomas, Freeman McNeil, Wesley Walker and Wayne Chrebet can be found in the top 10.
In a rotational backfield, a 1,000-yard rushing season never seemed likely for the rookie — or any running back on this roster — but as a dual-threat, Carter is making a statement. He runs with a mix of elusiveness and power that is always a threat to break any tackle despite his size.
The one thing that’s been missing from the rookie has been that home run play where he takes an early-down carry to the house. Part of that is blocking though, and the Jets offensive line ranks towards the bottom in this department.
To make franchise history, Carter must average just over 83.5 scrimmage yards per game for the rest of 2021. With 111.0 scrimmage YPG over the past four weeks, this record is definitely attainable.
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Carter Always Wanted to Be a Jet
During last night’s episode of One Jets Drive, the North Carolina product revealed just how pumped he was to join this franchise.
“I wanted to be here anyway, I wanted to be in New York anyway, and I really wanted to play for the Jets,” the rookie told the camera crew elaborating, “everybody and their mom knew they were going to draft Zach [Wilson]… so [I knew] they were going to get a good quarterback, and then we can go from there, but then when they got [Alijah Vera-Tucker] I was like bro I gotta go to New York. And then [on] day two when everybody in the world thought Elijah [Moore] was going to be gone, they found a way to get E-Moore. It’s just like unbelievable, the draft, I love where we can take this.”
Another interesting segment of the featured coverage of the running back focused on his childhood growing up in Florida. “I’m always so motivated just because I love football, I love the game and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I’ve never had no real job,” he joked. “I just always played ball… my parents were always like as long as your grades are good, you play ball and do what you’re supposed to do, everything else will take care of itself.”
Football is Carter’s entire life and as he put it, “I’ve never met a person that loves the game more than me.” Now he can show that on a global stage as he fights to help turn this franchise around.
“I think that the ups and downs are really a testimony when it’s all said and done,” Carter voiced, “I feel comfortable when I have my back against the wall.”