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August 17, 2011

Quincy's Coming Out

With the beginning of the football season looming, a prevailing question has not necessarily been if Isaiah Crowell will make an impact, but exactly when will his impression be made.  For the Bulldog Nation, the hope is impact comes rather quickly from the freshman, like against Boise State in just over two weeks.

I infer that nearly every great Bulldog true freshman in history had a coming-out game of sorts - a signature performance during their initial season, often grabbing the attention of all of college football, while informing Georgia it had no run-of-the-mill newcomer on its hands.

Herschel Walker's impact was felt immediately, just ask Bill Bates.  A few others I recall: Eric Zeier against Clemson (1991), Matthew Stafford at Auburn (2006), and Lindsay Scott at LSU (1978).  Evidently, these coming-out games are generally against an opponent the freshman and his team were not expected to defeat.  Looks like Crowell and company are in a good position come September 3rd against the favored Broncos... 

Perhaps my favorite Bulldog coming out came 20 years after Scott's against the same opponent in the very same stadium.  The performance proclaimed that the Bulldogs were equipped with what was called a "one-of-a-kind, sure-thing" newcomer, who was seemingly going to torment opposing defenses, whether at Georgia or in the NFL, for a long time to come.    

To actually describe how talented of an athlete Quincy Carter was would be a formidable task.  Regarded as maybe the best quarterback prospect coming out of high school in 1996, Carter originally signed with Georgia Tech.  A second-round MLB Draft selection by the Chicago Cubs, he had a change of heart and decided to play minor league baseball for the next two years.  In January of 1998, Carter announced he was returning to football but would be enrolling at Tech's chief rival.  

In August of that year, Carter at almost 21-years-old, having not even participated in a football practice in nearly three entire years, would beat out Mike Usry, Jon England, and Nate Hybl for Georgia's starting quarterback position.  Including Daniel Cobb, the Bulldogs had FIVE quarterbacks at the time, who were all regarded nationally as top-25 or so quarterback prospects out of high school.  Because of the presence of Carter, all but one (England, a fourth-year junior) of the four reserves would soon transfer.

Leading up to LSU, Carter had displayed flashes of brilliance in his first few games as a Bulldog; however,  against the likes of Kent, South Carolina, and Wyoming, he wasn't quite called upon to carry the offense on his back.  After averaging just 27 total offensive plays through three games, Carter totaled about twice that amount in Death Valley.     

Against the near-double-digit favored Tigers, the freshman sensation completed 27 of 34 passes, including his first 15 attempts, for 318 yards, two touchdowns and was not intercepted.  He also led Georgia with 41 yards rushing and as evident in the video, caught a pass for 36 yards.
Unfortunately for both Bulldog and Tiger fans, we'd soon find out our teams were not quite as good as anticipated.  LSU proved to be near dreadful, dropping from being ranked 6th nationally to an eventual 4-7 record by season's end.  For Georgia, in its highly anticipated matchup with Tennessee the following week at home, the Bulldogs were easily handled by the Vols, 22-3.

Carter would soon have a fall from grace of his own.  After being recognized as the SEC Freshman of the Year in 1998 and having one of the best seasons ever by a Bulldog true freshman, he would actually begin a slow decline in performance his sophomore year through his third and final season at Georgia. 

Carter ended his Bulldog career missing five of the team's final six games of 2000 because of a supposed injury, although rumors abound that it was instead due to drug use.  Nevertheless, the junior quarterback was a second-round selection in the 2001 NFL Draft as an early entrant.

I'm sure you're aware of the remaining sad, alcohol and drug-filled saga of Quincy Carter, consisting of failed attempts with several professional football teams and arrests and landings in jail.

I find it somewhat depressing that a very pleased, cheering mother of Quincy's is shown towards the end of the LSU victory...  Not too long ago, a lawyer friend of mine told me that he had just witnessed the mother again observing her son.  This time, however, the once proud Ms. Carter was looking on from a courtroom as Quincy, without a car and having a suspended license, needed a ride from his mom to court for a sentencing hearing.

It goes without saying that I certainly hope Quincy is attempting to turn his life around, but something his experiences can instill is that it can be difficult getting off a "bad path" in life once one begins heading down it, and whether in football or life itself, there is certainly no such thing as a sure thing.


Anonymous said...

Jeebus...for a second there I thought your headline meant Quincy was about to spill the beans on another Ponzi scheme architect who's a little bit too close to home.

Anonymous said...

No one will ever convince me Quincy didn't throw the game in Columbia with 5 interceptions (2 in the end zone). He was a known pot head and I will always believe he intentionally threw that game for a trunk full of drugs.

Anonymous said...

Is that David Green next to Quincy Carter?!