Shortest football player proving height doesn't matter

September 25, 2012 7:36:01 PM PDT
When you think of a college football player, big and tall may come to mind. But there's a special player at Rice University changing that image.

At 4-foot-9 and 130 pounds, Rice University's Jayson Carter is literally half the size of most of his teammates.

Carter is from the Houston area and graduated valedictorian from KIPP Academy in 2011.

"You had a pretty good career over at KIPP Academy, didn't you?" we asked Carter.

"Yes," he said.

"A lot of yards a lot of tackles?"

"Ya, I did a whole lot of work at KIPP."

But as soon as he got to Rice, he knew something was missing.

"What was it like when you walked into coach David Bailiff's office that first day and told him that you wanted to walk on?" we asked Carter.

"I had no idea what to say because coming from high school it's if you showed up you are on the team. So it was like having an interview," he said.

"He walked into my office and asked to walk on the team and I think he's probably 4-foot-7 and you just think there's no way. You start researching and you find out he's valedictorian at his high school, you call his high school coach and find out how productive he was in high school and every obstacle I put up he knocked down and so we let him join the football team," Bailiff said.

Carter, who was born with a rare genetic disorder that hindered his growth, is now entering his second season with the Owls. He says opponents shouldn't dismiss him because of his size.

"Believe it or not I can actually handle my own. I mean I know I'm not 5-foot9, 200 pounds but I can make up for it with strength and speed," Carter said.

"He is as hard a working young man there is in the program," Bailiff said.

Right now, Carter is on the scout team but says ultimately he wants to get on the field during a game. And coach Bailiff is working to get him there.

"Obviously if we do it, we want it to be in a roll where he can help this football team and that's how he wants it too," Bailiff said.

Carter isn't the only short football player in Houston.

Houston Texans return specialist Trindon Holiday stands only 5-foot-5, making him the shortest player in the NFL. But his height hasn't stopped him from making an impact on special teams.

Carter knows that getting to the NFLwon't be easy. But even in football size isn't everything and "heart" can't be measured by how tall you stand.

"I have a long way go before I get there. I need to be three steps faster, 20 pounds heavier and 2 inches taller," Carter said.

Carter will be out there this weekend as they owls get ready to take on the 0 and 3 cougars in the annual bayou bucket.


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