The battle for one of the nation’s elite cornerbacks has featured many ebbs and flows, but it appears that Tony Carter is down to two schools.
“It’s basically between Tennessee and Florida State as of now,” said Carter, a four-star cover man from Jacksonville (Fla.) Mandarin. “I spent some time talking with both schools tonight, and it’s really 50/50 between them right now.
“Both schools have great programs and great schools. Both schools are childhood favorites. I enjoyed Tennessee a lot when I was up there for my official visit (1/16). It was probably the best visit I had. I enjoyed the coaches and people a lot. I feel that way about both schools.
“But Tennessee felt really good. The facilities were top notch, especially the stadium. That impressed me the most, trying to picture 108,000 people in there. It’s a great college-town atmosphere there. Everything revolves around Tennessee. And it seems like if you stand out there, you can really make a name for yourself.”
A member of the Rivals100 Team, Carter (5-9, 175, 4.35) is rated the No. 2 corner in the nation. As a senior, he recorded approximately 40 tackles and five interceptions. He had 14 pick-offs in his last two years at Mandarin.
That’s drawn the likes of every major college program in the nation, but he’s been focused on Florida State, Tennessee, North Carolina, Florida and Miami for some time now.
The Hurricanes were a strong contender until late in the process. He said he felt like he had a "better situation" with the Seminoles or Volunteers.
He has an official visit tentatively scheduled for Florida this weekend, but is unsure whether he will make it.
“I kind of doubt it right now,” he said. “I don’t really want to waste anybody’s time, and I’m pretty sure it’s between Florida State and Tennessee. Southern Cal called this week again, and I told them the same thing.”
Many have labeled FSU the odds-on favorite for his signature, and that may still be the case.
“They have a little bit of an advantage in being so close to home, although that won’t be the final factor,” Carter said. “I also love coach Bowden. He’s the greatest coach of all time. It would be an honor to play for him.
“I just need to spend some time thinking and praying about it, and I know God will lead me in the right direction. I just have no idea what direction that is right now.”
He said he likes the personal treatment he’s received from both the Volunteers and Seminoles throughout the process.
“When I was talking to them tonight, I liked the way they were just talking to me about stuff other than football,” he said. “Some coaches, that’s all they ever mention. I get tired of talking about football. These guys want to know about what else is going on in my life. It’s been pretty impressive. They just remind me that I’ve got a great opportunity with them, they really would like to have me at their school, then we talk about other stuff.”
Carter said he gets asked the “magic question” every time he turns around lately.
“Every day?” he said with a laugh. “It’s more like every two minutes. It’s been nerve-racking. I’m kinda nervous about the whole thing because it’s a big decision, and I’m not sure what to do. My heart’s been racing when I think about it.
“But I just try to tell myself I can’t go wrong either way. I’m blessed to be able to have an opportunity to go to either one of these schools.”