IU football commit Carter Smith brings athleticism to the tackle spot

Go on to Carter Smith’s Hudl page and you’ll have to scroll down a long ways to find video of him playing football.

All of the videos since April have a cover photo of him in a football uniform, but if you press play, you’ll see him in a volleyball shirt and shorts. Smith is a middle blocker on Olentangy Liberty High School’s volleyball team in Powell, Ohio, as well as an offensive tackle on its football team. In those videos, you can see him skying way above the to get to serves and throwing down thunderous spikes his opponents don’t have a chance at digging.

“Blocking” obviously means something a lot different in volleyball than it does in football and much of what he’s asked to do on the court is nothing like what he’s asked to do as an offensive tackle. For instance, it’s almost never useful for an offensive tackle to jump, while it’s a constant requirement in volleyball. Still, what that video shows is that Smith is an excellent athlete for a 6-foot-6, 275-pound human, and that’s a big reason why he was such an attractive recruit. Smith committed to Indiana on Wednesday over offers from 25 other schools, with Tennessee, Northwestern and Virginia being the programs that were fighting hardest for his services. Auburn, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Purdue and West Virginia were also on the long list of schools who made scholarship offers.

“He’s an outstanding athlete,” said Steven Hale, the Olentangy Liberty coach who also coached former Indiana offensive lineman Hunter Littlejohn. “He moves really well for a big guy. He probably could have played tight end for us because he moves so well. But with his body and the fact that we had a lot of wide receiver type kids, we didn’t need to do that, so we went ahead and focused him at offensive line. With his length and his size, that’s what has made him a top level recruit. I had a feeling that might be the case after seeing him early.”

Hale said Smith weighed between 250 and 260 pounds in his sophomore year, at which point he could conceivably play tight end or even defensive end on the other side of the ball. However, the squad was loaded with defensive lineman, so it simply made sense for him to bulk up and protect the edge. In 2020, he played right tackle, and Hale and his staff are considering moving him to left tackle.

Smith has proven very well suited for that job. His combination of quick feet and long arms make him difficult to get around.

“You have to be long,” Hale said. “Long arms, long legs, that really helps. He certainly fits the bill there. His pass set is really good just because he moves so well. He’s a very effective blocker. He gets into guys really quickly. He’s got great explosion and strength in the weight room. He’s taken all of that very seriously over his time with us. He’s really good with his leverage and his hands, staying square. It’s really important for those guys to stay square to the line of scrimmage and not get turned by those defensive ends too early. He does a really nice job with that. He does a really good job of keeping his body in the right position, making it so difficult for those defensive ends to get around.”

Olentangy Liberty runs a spread offense with about a 50-50 pass-to-run split, and he’s also been an effective run blocker.

“His feet are so quick for a big guy,” Hale said. “And he has such good leverage, even with his size. In our terms, we talk about covering guys up all the time. He covers guys up so well. Working off the double teams and that kinda stuff, he moves like a skill kid on the offensive line. The defensive linemen are so fast and so strong anymore. He levels that playing field because he kinda has that build a little bit where he could be a defensive lineman. That athleticism allows him to be so explosive.”

For highlights and more background on Smith, GO HERE.

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