Caledonia High School had five senior football players this year. The group became known as the “Fab Five.” The group includes from left, Jon Phinizee, Hunter Griffin, Cole Carter, who signed Wednesday to play football at Mississippi State University, Will Breen and Randy Weeks. Photo by: Scott Walters
February 2, 2012 10:15:00 AM
CALEDONIA -- On the biggest day of his athletic career thus far, Caledonia High School's Cole Carter shared a lot of laughs and hugged a lot of people.
Supported by a large crowd in the Caledonia High gym, Carter signed a national letter of intent Wednesday morning to play football at Mississippi State University.
"This is a great opportunity for me," Carter, a 6-foot-6, 285-pound offensive/defensive lineman said. "They have the best program in the state. I like the intensity the team plays with. They have a great atmosphere. I am looking forward to a chance to play Southeastern Conference football."
Carter earned all-area accolades while dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage for the Confederates. With only five seniors on the roster, Carter also was a leader.
"Cole has been big for us," Caledonia coach Ricky Kendrick said. "This is our second year here, and we are trying to instill some growth in our program. Cole has been a great leader for us. You don't get to coach a lot of players like Cole, and you are always looking for more of them. He has the size and the tools to play the game, but he also has great character. The quality of individual is what we will miss most."
While being a focal point for Caledonia the past four years, Carter is looking forward to the challenge at the next level.
"I love to run block, and I love playing in a spread offense," Carter said. "The main thing for me is to bring intensity to the practice field and to the games. My main goal is now to work hard in the weight room, keep my body in shape, and learn the playbook so I will be ready to go."
Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen is pleased to bring in an impact player from the Golden Triangle area.
"Cole is a good kid," Mullen said. "He is coming from a very small high school in Caledonia. He has big shoes to live up to, I guess. The last guy from Caledonia over here had a pretty successful career, Derek Sherrod.
"Cole is a guy that played a lot of tight end and plays basketball a lot in high school. You can see in his physique that soon as he grows and fills out his body we expect him to play offensive line. He's also a tremendous student in school. He is a great young man from a great family."
Sherrod played at MSU from 2007-10 after a standout four-year career with the Confederates. Sherrod is an offensive tackle for the NFL's Green Bay Packers.
Playing for coaches Sylvester Croom and Mullen, Sherrod helped take the Bulldogs program to another level, which is the one that attracted Carter most to the school.
"MSU has won the Egg Bowl the past three years," Carter said. "It is a program on the rise. They made me feel welcome. I have been very impressed by the program. This is a great opportunity for me. I look forward to the chance to help keep that winning tradition alive."
Cole Carter's parents, Steve and Christ Carter, were excited to watch their son sign on to play for their alma mater.
"I'm just so excited that he's going there, but Steve and I wanted to make sure that was his decision," Christi Carter said this morning in a telephone interview.
She teaches advanced-placement world history, government and economics at Caledonia High. Steve Carter, who also played football for State, is a business consultant.
This fall, Cole Carter will be joined at MSU by his twin sister, Stevi.
Scott is sports copy editor and reporter
1. Old Hickory grill man does it for the love COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Ball family member denies connection to Black Friday boycott COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
5. Columbus restaurants open on Thanksgiving COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY