ATLANTA — He wasn’t the “only” Michael Carter drafted by the New York Jets in 2021′s NFL Draft, but he was the only one who calls Atlanta his home.
Michael Carter II, a defensive back who played at South Paulding High School and then at Duke University had his “draft” moment Saturday when he heard his name called live on Channel 2 to announce he was the fifth round pick of the Jets.
“Playing football ever since I was little and training all the way in high school and college and finally making it to this point. it’s really special,” said Michael Carter II.
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In case you are wondering, the Jets had just drafted a different Michael Carter, a running back from the University of North Carolina and not from Metro Atlanta, in the fourth round.
Michael Carter, II was a third team, All-ACC defensive back in 2020 and is the son of Lt. Michael Carter, Sr., leader of the Atlanta Police Department’s SWAT team.
✈️ 𝙅-𝙀-𝙏-𝙎 ✈️— Duke Football (@DukeFOOTBALL) May 1, 2021
Next stop for @mcarter2nd ➡️ @nyjets 😈#DukeInTheNFL | #NFLDraft pic.twitter.com/DQvepNKCnz
Channel 2 Action News reporter Michael Seiden spent Saturday afternoon at the Carter home, watching the draft with one proud papa and his excited son.
“I don’t know if it’s really hit me yet. It feels surreal to be at this point. It’s definitely a blessing,” Michael Carter II said.
Seiden asked Lt. Carter if he could process what just happened for his son.
“I can man. I’m just happy for him,” said Michael Carter Sr.
The elder Carter says he can still remember when his son, as a 10-year old playing Pee-Wee Football took his first hit on the football field.
“He started when he was 10. And he was so happy and got out there and got that first hit that shook him up,” Michael Carter Sr. said, adding. “He probably would’ve quit. I said that’s not something we do.”
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It was that same courage and strength that helped Carter II stay focused on his goals and his dreams while playing through the pandemic.
“Now the real work begins. I’m just excited to get up there and get to work,” said Michael Carter II.
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Before his professional work begins, Michael Carter II will be heading back to Duke and graduating from college just one day after learning he’d become a professional football player.
He’ll get his chance to make the Jets roster in late July when the team holds it’s preseason training camp some time in late July.