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Tennessee DB Boo Carter already proving he belongs among best Vols

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Tennessee’s Boo Carter isn’t shying from competition. The freshman cornerback actually enjoys it and has already had his eyes on receiver Squirrel White.

“Really Squirrel,” Carter said Tuesday during a press conference when asked about facing the Vols in spring practice, which opened this week, “because he’s pretty fast…me practicing against him and going against other teams; their slot receiver probably wouldn’t be different.”

That’s probably true as White is thought of as one of the quickest, fastest receivers in the SEC, especially in the slot.

“I feel like he’s a little better than the other receivers (Tennessee will face) because he’s quicker,” Carter said. 

Carter may lack experience, but he certainly doesn’t lack confidence.

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“I expect it to be a challenge,” the freshman from Chattanooga said, “but at the same time my game can play and I know how to work it like that.”

Carter has that same confidence elsewhere on the field. Versatility has long been considered one of his strengths. Where all might he have an impact for the Vols?

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“They recruited me as a DB, but I’m an athlete,” Carter said. “ Oh, I really don’t, to be honest (where all he might play). Like, because (defensive back Willie) Martinez recruited me as a defensive guy, but I’m labeled as an athlete. So like the position they recruited me as, that’s the position I’m at. So that’s how it goes.”

Carter may have more than one role this fall. He could also be an electrifying punt returner, as he was in high school. Most expected he’d pick up that task in college. He may do more than that.

“Right now they got me practicing on kick return/punt return,” Carter said. 

So far, Carter has played the Vols’ star position, which is similar to a weakside linebacker and safety, which he is eventually expected to focus on at some point during his career. No matter where he lines up. Carter has a different mindset than many defensive backs. He expects the ball. Defensive coordinator Tim Banks is fine with that.

“We like to score touchdowns, too, so hopefully we can get the ball in his hands as well,” Banks said. “Obviously, Coach Heupel was super excited to get him. We knew he was very versatile. There’s a lot of different things that he can do. 

“Right now, he’s concentrating on defense and trying to win some playing time or win a job. He’s been good so far. It’s a lot as a freshman as you know, but I think again getting him early, getting a chance to get acclimated has really helped him. 

“As we continue to put more on his plate, we’ll see how he progresses. Right now, I’m super excited about him. We love his skill set, his athleticism, his toughness, but we feel the same way about a lot of the young guys.”

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