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‘Boo Carter is Special’: Tennessee Freshman Showing Up in the Vols’ Spring Camp

Boo Carter
KNOXVILLE, TN – March 18, 2024 – Defensive Back Boo Carter #23 of the Tennessee Volunteers during spring practice on the Robert E. White indoor field in the Anderson Training Center in Knoxville, TN. Photo By Kate Luffman/Tennessee Athletics

As an in-state player from Bradley Central in Cleveland, TN, Boo Carter was one of Tennessee’s highest priorities in the 2024 class. The former four-star prospect was a dominant player on both sides of the ball in high school and turned into one of the more sought-after players in the class.

Carter was an early enrollee for Tennessee’s bowl practices in December which jump-started his time with the Volunteers. But while Carter saw success on both sides of the ball in high school, the Tennessee native will be starting his career in the secondary. Carter said last month that despite his “athlete” status on various recruiting profiles, Carter was recruited to Tennessee as a defensive back, so that’s where he is.

Carter is the type of player who can impress on both sides of the ball, but he’s been turning heads in the secondary through the first eight practices and two scrimmages of Tennessee’s spring camp.

“He’s been good so far,” Tennessee DC Tim Banks said of Carter early into spring camp. “It’s a lot as a freshman as you know, but I think, again, getting him early, getting a chance to get acclimated has really helped him. Obviously, as we continue to put more on his plate, we’ll see how he progresses. Right now, I’m super excited about him. We love his skill set, his athleticism, his toughness, but we feel the same way about a lot of the young guys.”

With seven new defensive backs in the secondary room, there’s been plenty of early movement between positions (cornerback, safety, STAR) as the coaching staff looks to set up each player in the position that will best fit their strengths and weaknesses. Banks told the media that Carter was one of the guys they have moved around early on, seeing where he fits best.

“The challenge is to learn everything for Boo,” Tennessee defensive backs coach Willie Martinez said of Carter last week. “Boo is explosive; you put him in any kind of drill, and he’s going to show up. He is so athletic, he’s quick, he’s got great instincts. It’s just the part of putting it all together in a package, learning it and being consistent. Again, he has really done a nice job; the last couple practices, it has really slowed down for him. You can see it.”

The explosivity that Martinez talks about isn’t just showing up in front of the coaching staff. Carter’s teammates have quickly taken notice, too.

“Boo Carter,” Vols WR Squirrel White replied when asked about standout DBs he’s gone against in practice. “Boo Carter is special. He’s a playmaker out there, flying to the ball, rerouting us and stuff like that. Making good tackles. He’s been great.”

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With a good handful of Tennessee’s 2023 secondary and starting talent departing after the season for either the transfer portal or professional football, opportunity is available for those willing to seize the moment. Carter has an uphill battle as a freshman at the safety position but could earn playing time with quality play on the practice field and good progression during the summer.

“When he plays the STAR position, he’s getting us lined up better than he did in the first couple of practices, and he understands now how the tempo is,” Martinez said about Carter.” He hasn’t really panicked, but he’s a very competitive player, wants to win on every play. That’s what you love about him. It’s just trying to slow the process down for him where it’s not happening too fast. It was early, but I think he’s doing a really nice job the last couple practices.”

Carter’s talent won’t be limited to just the secondary, though. Carter possesses great athleticism from being an offensive star in high school and could project to be a big special teams piece for Tennessee this season.

“Right now they’ve got me practicing on kick return and punt return,” Carter said about taking advantage of special teams to the media in March. “But yeah, most definitely.”

Head coach Josh Heupel complimented Carter after Tennessee’s first scrimmage, saying that the 5-foot-11 safety “did a great job of making plays in space.”

Opportunity is abundant for Tennessee’s defensive backs this spring, and although just a freshman, Boo Carter looks to be earning the attention of his teammates and coaches.

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for more on Tennessee football spring camp en route to the 2024 Orange & White game on April 13.

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