Times-Mirror Male Athlete Of the Year: Alex Carter
-High School: Briar Woods
-Weight: 195 lbs
-40-yard time: 4.34 sec
Alex Carter is a rare sort of person.
It’s not that the recent graduate of Briar Woods High School was a major player in the Falcons’ two straight state football championships, or that he was picked as the Gatorade Football Player Of the Year for Virginia last December or played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.
It’s not that he owns a demonstrated ability to reach the end zone by catching passes, taking handoffs, returning kicks or snagging interceptions—or that this ability led to a slew of scholarship offers including Stanford, his dream school.
It’s not that he’s a straight-A student with diverse academic interests who can deliver an acceptance speech so precociously heartfelt that it sets the Twitterverse abuzz.
It’s that amid all his accomplishments, accolades and promise, Carter’s focus is on other people.
“I’ve always thought about teaching, coaching, getting involved somehow,” said Carter, a native Loudouner and alumnus of the Ashburn Youth Football League.
Certainly, Carter has aspirations of playing professional football, just as his dad did for nine seasons in the 1990s, four with the Washington Redskins. But if he can’t do that, he’d like to do something his dad also spent time doing at Dominion High School: Teach.
“I might get into education because I like teaching kids and being a mentor to them,” Carter said. He holds such a role with a local youth Bible study class.
That drive to give back comes directly from parents Tom and Renee.
“My parents have always wanted me to be well-rounded,” said Carter, who’s considering majoring in a scientific or technological field in college. “After football ends, or if I get hurt playing football, I always want to have a backup plan.”
The motifs of family and faith pervade Carter’s words. He put those motifs to acclaimed use in a June 5 speech in front of 800 listeners at the Washington Post All-Met Banquet, where he received the Michael L. Trilling Award for his athletic, academic and civic achievements.
“It was nerve-racking. I’m terrible at public speaking,” said Carter, who has overcome a stuttering issue so much that it is virtually unnoticeable.
He penned the speech the evening prior to the banquet, fought through the nerves and delivered it. In a tweet, Post reporter James Wagner used the adjectives “moving” and “mature” while describing Carter’s performance—adjectives that could also be applied to his football skills.
Putting Briar Woods first
Carter’s introduction to high school came not in Loudoun or even Virginia, but in Hyattsville, Md., at DeMatha Catholic High School.
“I was 13 years old taking the Metro and two buses every morning,” Carter described of his two-hour journey to and from the private school. The hectic, time-consuming schedule combined with recovery from off-season knee surgery was too much for the freshman.
After just one quarter at DeMatha, Carter transferred to his hometown public school and proceeded to take the Falcons to new heights.
The ride was bumpy at first. Pangs of self-doubt entered Carter’s head after a difficult sophomore campaign in which the Falcons went 4-6 and Carter went to his parents for support.
“At times, I considered I was going to be done with football. I figured I wasn’t good and wondered why I was playing,” Carter said. “But my parents kept encouraging me, and junior year we came back strong.”
Carter’s junior season produced the first of two Group AA titles in a row for Briar Woods, a memory that sparks a smile across his face.
“That was amazing. Great players and great coaches,” Carter said, rattling off a couple handfuls’ worth of teammates’ names. “We were all one team and it really felt like it.”
Carter dished praise for head coach Charlie Pierce, whose reputation is that of a hard-nosed old-school gridiron boss.
“He’s a tough coach and he’s been hard on me. But once you get to know him, he’s a great guy and I’ve loved playing for him,” Carter said.
His high school career now entirely in the rear-view mirror, Carter can begin to reflect upon his illustrious time as a Briar Woods Falcon.
“It’s bittersweet. That’s the word for it,” Carter said. “These past few years have been great. I’m kind of sad I have to end it and move on, but it’s going to be exciting getting out to Stanford and starting a whole new adventure. I’m ready for that.”
-We will feature our Female Athlete of the Year in the June 27 edition of the Loudoun Times-Mirror.
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