MT Hall of Fame: Marty Carter caps incredible football career

Sep 26, 2018 at 07:00 am by Voice Wire

MTSU vs. Tennessee Tech in 1990

Some of Middle Tennessee's best football teams all-time came at the tail end of the 1980s.

At the tail end of those teams was a safety by the name of Marty Carter.

From 1987-1990, Carter anchored one of the better defensive units that's ever taken the field at Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium. As a three-year starter, Carter's teams gave up an average of 10 points per game, highlighted by a dynamite season in 1990 when they gave up just 9.2 per contest, still the lowest in program history since 1964. They also gave up only a single passing touchdown during the entirety of the 13-game season.

During that campaign in 1990, Carter was named Ohio Valley Conference Defensive Player of the Year and First Team All-OVC after registering 91 total tackles, three fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and an interception.

Following his playing days at MTSU, Carter was selected in the eighth round of the 1991 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent 11 seasons in the NFL, finishing his career with 1,007 tackles, 13 interceptions and six sacks.

His incredible career both as a Blue Raider and in the NFL has landed Carter in the Blue Raider Sports Hall of Fame. He'll be inducted with six other athletes on Saturday prior to watching his Raiders take on Florida Atlantic in a critical Conference USA matchup.

"It's just a great honor for doing your job," Carter said. "I'm humbled and truly honored to be included ... it means a lot to me."

Now retired, Carter serves as a mentor for young student-athletes.

He relies upon his long, trying road to becoming an NFL veteran as the basis of his discussions. From growing up in a small Georgia town to going to Murfreesboro then the League, Carter has had to go through a lot, and he thanks his university for giving him a chance as a kid.

"MTSU means a lot to me, just from the long road that it took to get to that point," he said. "Coming from a small town in Georgia where football is big and going to Middle where football is big, it made the leap to the NFL a lot easier ... plus, the great coaching staff we had.

"I was a Proposition 48 student-athlete because of my GPA, and Middle still gave me a full ride. I have always appreciated them for that."

Once he got onto the field for the Blue Raiders, Carter proved legendary coach Boots Donnelly was wise in bringing him to Murfreesboro.

The head coach entrusted Carter with a lot of responsibility on and off the field, something that's helped Carter through his NFL life and now as a mentor.

"I had a lot of responsibility," Carter said. "Our coaches put a lot of responsibilities on my shoulders, and that helped me in the NFL because they want you to do an awful lot pre-snap. I was already used to it.

"Boots used to be on me a lot at practice. He would be like, 'You're not even going full speed,' and I'd be like, 'How do you even know?'"

With Carter anchoring the defense at safety, MTSU improved its record all three years in which he started, from 7-4 to 9-4 and 11-2 his senior year. Its OVC record of 15-3 in that span also included an outright conference title in 1989 and co-championship in 1990, and the Raiders advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs in 1989 and 1990.

The wins were cherries on top of what were some of the best years of Carter's life. It was the teammates he got to play alongside that made it so enjoyable.

"I often tell people that the last team I played on was at Middle," he said. "Everyone had one goal and had everyone else's back. I can't even remember some of the guys I played with in the League, but you can't forget your Anthony Coleman's, your Andre Dyer's, your Greg Pollard's ... Jimmy McCamey, Derwin Brewer, Chuckie Swafford, Dejuan Buford, Kenny Tippins. I can name all of them from Middle."

A handful of those teammates will be included in almost 30 family members and friends Carter is hoping to see at the Blue Raider Hall of Fame induction.

It'll be a reunion of sorts for some of the best to ever don a Blue Raider uniform as they watch one of their brothers enshrined.

"I can't wait," Carter said. "I just hope it's not too hot."

This is a part of a series of stories about the Blue Raider Hall of Fame inductees leading up to Saturday's Hall of Fame game. Induction ceremonies will take place on the lawn of the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame at 3:30 p.m., prior to this year's Hall of Fame Game vs. Florida Atlantic at 6 p.m.

Josh Vardaman is the staff writer for Follow him on Twitter @J_Vardaman and also follow @MTAthletics for more on the Blue Raiders.

Photo: MTSU vs. Tennessee Tech in 1990

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