The Hurry-Up: Trevor Carter Could Follow Reid Carrico and Gabe Powers As Next Top In-State Linebacker, Damon Payne’s Family Confused by Michigan’s Silence

By Zack Carpenter on August 3, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Reid Carrico

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Carter could be next up in Ohio

Recently speaking, first came Reid Carrico in the 2021 class. Then came Gabe Powers in the 2022 class. Both standout in-state linebackers who garnered early interest from Ohio State, built early relationships with the Buckeyes and eventually committed to the Buckeyes as blue-chip linebackers.

The next in-state prospect to possibly follow in their footsteps is 2023 standout Trevor Carter, a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder listed as an athlete but who, right now, looks like he is headed for a career as a linebacker. 

“As of right now I think I have a lot of growing left to do, but I think I will either end up playing safety or outside linebacker at the next level,” Carter told Eleven Warriors previously. “I think college coaches like my size, speed and strength for my age. I also think that they see a lot of potential in what I will become in the next couple of years in high school.”

Carter is Carrico’s teammate at Ironton High School, and Carrico says he has been able to share his extensive experiences with Carter and dish out advice on the recruiting process.

“Mostly, I’ve been helping him with the recruiting thing because small-town kids don’t usually get the attention that we’ve got,” Carrico told Eleven Warriors recently. “So you get all these schools starting to send you mail and stuff like that or coming to contact you with the coaches and all that, and you’re just an underclassman. That’s a lot to handle.

“Pretty much, I’ve been telling him to stay calm and don’t lean to any schools quite yet. Even if you’re a fan of UK or something, don’t be leaning toward UK right now just because you don’t know yet. You haven't been able to go on any visits.”

Carrico’s advice is not limited to only the recruiting process, but also getting him comfortable at the linebacker spot.

“He played a little bit of ‘backer in junior high, but he played safety last year,” Carrico said. “Still getting him warmed up to that. Trevor’s a good athlete. He needs to develop a little bit, same as I did. It’s up to him to go as far as he wants to go.”

As we reported in June, Carter’s weight room numbers have continually increased this summer – “We get after it pretty hard in there,” Carrico said – as he continues to try and work his way into becoming the standout all-around player at Ironton that Carrico is.

“I can tell you that I’ve learned a lot from (Carrico). He’s the hardest working guy on the team, and he plays every play 110 miles per hour,” Carter said. “He never lets up and doesn’t stop until we’re up by 40. He’s a great kid overall and an amazing role model for kids like me or younger. He’s taught me to work hard and give great effort in everything that I do, and I think that has helped me to get to where I am right now.”

Payne’s family confused by Michigan’s silence

If Carter pans out as a top-tier prospect, just like Carrico and Powers – and just like every in-state prospect the Buckeyes have wanted in their previous couple of classes – you can basically bank on Ohio State landing him.

Miles up the road, that’s far from the case. In Michigan, there seems to be a major disconnect between in-state players and the Wolverines coaching staff. 

That’s even more under the spotlight following Rainer Sabin’s story in the Detroit Free Press that detailed the mystery a lack of communication between the Michigan coaches and Damon Payne, the No. 1 player in the state of Michigan who is a five-star prospect ranked No. 1 at defensive tackle and No. 14 overall. 

Payne committed to Alabama in July, but Michigan seems to have pulled itself out of the race, writes Sabin:

Bewilderment is detected in his voice. Disappointment is heard, too. Over the phone, Damon Payne Sr. recalled how the Michigan football program he has always rooted for suddenly stopped recruiting his son, the gifted five-star defensive tackle and newly minted Alabama commitment, Damon Jr.

“I don’t know what happened. I have no idea,” he said. “If you can dig and investigate and find out why, let me know.”

More from Sabin’s report:

“It sounds weird. I totally get it,” he said. “As a parent, me and my wife and my son haven’t heard from them. I can’t go into detail and say why.”

He just simply doesn’t have an explanation. But Payne Sr. wondered if it may have had something to do with the tense relationship that has developed between his son’s coach at Belleville High School, Jermain Crowell, and Michigan. Based on his own experience, Payne said Crowell never tried to steer him away from the Wolverines.

“He never discouraged us or any other kids, ‘Don’t go to Michigan,’” Payne Sr. said. “I haven’t witnessed ill-will toward Michigan from him.”

The Wolverines have the luxury of having one of the best cycles the state has ever produced, with five players ranked in the top 80 overall. 

If they can land Rocco Spindler on Saturday, and if they can land Donovan Edwards, that will go a monumental way to getting them back into being competitive against Ohio State. Until that happens, The Game could be a mismatch for the foreseeable future.

Buckeye commits to play in opener

We’ve already hammered home the huge season-opening matchup between Lakota West High School and Cincinnati La Salle that will feature Lakota West’s Tegra Tshabola and Jyaire Brown squaring off with La Salle’s Jaylen Johnson in a game of future Buckeyes.

That game will take place on Friday, Aug. 28 at Lakota West, assuming the Ohio high school football season starts as scheduled.

Two days later, another showdown featuring in-state Buckeye commits is set to take place, as Jayden Ballard and Washington Massillon will host Jack Sawyer and Pickerington North in a just-announced matchup at noon on Sunday, Aug. 30. The game, which serves as a replacement for canceled games for both schools against out-of-state opponents, will be broadcast on ESPN2.

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