COLUMBUS, Ohio -- When Anthony Carrie looked into the mirror back in seventh grade, he saw an aspiring young boy on a path to mediocrity.
Seeking a greater calling, Carrie, who also ran track at the time, sought advice to help rewrite his future in hopes of one day becoming a football star. His uncle, Shawn Burney, became his trainer and took him under his wing in what began a new chapter in Carrie’s life.
Long before thinking about what school he might commit to, Carrie committed to a complete lifestyle change.
As a receiver, routes and reps defined his morning, noon and night. There was a complete overhaul in his dietary intake. Temptation gave way to dedication as he cut out candy, ice cream and sugary foods. He replaced the sweets with rice, broccoli, chicken and a strict smoothie and meal prep regimen.
“It’s been a blessing from the man above,” Carrie told cleveland.com “I’m extremely blessed to be in this position. But a lot of sacrifices came with this, I have been grinding for this moment since I can remember when I fell in love with the game. It’s definitely not easy to do this, and right now I’m just enjoying the fruits of my labor while still continuing to get better every single day.”
Nowadays, when Carrie looks in the mirror, he sees a determined young man with a bright future.
The 6-foot, 185-pound running back from Carrollwood Day School in Tampa, Florida, holds 40 offers heading into his junior season. He provided plenty of proof with a sophomore season that featured 20 touchdowns and 1,032 yards.
He comes in as a four-star prospect, the No. 4 RB and the No. 61 overall prospect in the 2024 class, according to the 247sports.com composite.
One look at the film and you’ll see a slash-and-cut ability that stands out. Carrie can be spread all over the field and has no problem weaving in and around traffic or turning on the afterburners. Whether its running through, over or around the opposition, he’s sharpened his craft in all aspects.
Ohio State offered him a scholarship in February, and instantly became one of Carrie’s top schools.
“They are definitely a top school for me just because of the history and the past things that they have done at the running back position,” Carrie said. “Ohio State is just a big school overall.”
Carrie rocked Ezekiel Elliott’s famous crop-top shirt back in pee wee football, and he touts OSU’s legacy of star-studded backs as one of the many reasons he can see himself in Scarlet and Gray.
Carrie and OSU running backs coach Tony Alford speak at least once a week. Carrie says their connection is one of his strongest on the recruiting trail, along with Oregon running backs coach Carlos Locklyn and Texas running backs coach Tashard Choice.
“The vibe is great,” Carrie said of Alford. “I’m still trying to get to know him, but I love the guy I’m being presented to now. We get on the phone and we talk about things that really matter, not just about football 24/7. He’s a great guy, I love talking to him.”
That focus on life’s bigger things is what has drawn Carrie closer to Alford.
“His ability to step away from ball,” Carrie said on what makes Alford stand out. “Some coaches are all ball. He has that natural ability to step away for a second and be dad, and be big brother, you know?”
Alford and Carrie are tying to find a date for a summer visit, but even if the two sides aren’t able meet this summer, Carrie said he will find a way to Columbus at some point.
“I’ll definitely get out there before I try and make a decision,” Carrie said.
He has yet to speak with Ohio State head coach Ryan Day but looks forward to that opportunity.
“Just pick his brain and I want to know how they are going to use me and how they are going to allow me to be versatile on the field,” Carrie said. “I would just pick his brain about how much he cares about his players, his ability to be a mentor.”
Ohio State has also offered the class’ top-ranked back, Jerrick Gibson, and No. 2 back Stacy Gage - both from Florida prep powerhouse IMG Academy.
Carrie says Ohio State is one of the schools that is recruiting him the hardest, a group that includes Texas, Stanford, Georgia, USC, Notre Dame, Oregon and Tennessee.
He has taken trips to Georgia Tech, Stanford, Georgia and Central Florida this year and has visits scheduled with USC and Michigan State this summer. He also has offers from Alabama, Penn State and Miami.
His talents stretch far beyond a football field. He runs his own YouTube channel, Young Athletes TV, and currently holds a 4.27 GPA. His intelligence and awareness are two of his strengths, and he is very aware of the vastly changing landscape of college football with Name, Image and Likeness allowing athletes to land endorsments.
In fact, Carrie is determined to earn his fifth star as a recruit, not because of the attention, but for the sole purpose of collecting on all his hard work over the years through endorsements.
He will have a great opportunity to do that as he has accepted an invitation to compete in the Rivals Underclassmen Challenge In Atlanta on June 17. The event gathers together the nation’s top 100 high school players to compete for awards and national recognition. He’ll head there on a mission.
“I want my fifth star, and I’m going to get it,” Carrie said.
He believes a fifth star will open us his life to greater NIL opportunities, an opportunity that is long overdue for athletes, in his eyes.
“Those guys that ball played at college and didn’t ball out, if they get hurt, now they don’t go to the league and they are walking away from college with nothing but a degree,” Carrie said. “Don’t get me wrong, a degree is an amazing thing. But you make the school millions of dollars and then walk away with nothing, that’s not fair to the player whatsoever.”
He plans on trimming his list on Sept. 1.
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