Jamin Davis made history in the 2021 NFL Draft when he was taken 19th overall by the Washington Commanders. Now, the Blue Tide football team has even more history to be proud of as former star defensive back Tariq Carpenter was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft on April 30.
Carpenter, a now fifthyear graduate of Georgia Tech, was selected with the 228th pick on Saturday. He becomes the second Blue Tide football player to be drafted, joining Class of 2017 teammate and best friend Davis, and just the fourth Tide athlete to be selected professionally, joining baseball players Dustin McGowan (2000) and Clay Long (2005).
It was an emotional night for Carpenter after receiving several phone calls throughout the day before finally getting the call from Packers’ General Manager Brian Gutekunst telling him that he would be going to Green Bay.
“I was crying before the call, actually,” Carpenter said. “But to actually talk to that GM. … He asked me if I wanted to be a Packer. That was just music to my ears. It’s a surreal feeling.”
Carpenter and Davis tore up the high school gridiron in their playing days with the Blue Tide. They both had a goal in mind the second they stepped on campus their freshman year in 2013, and they did not care who didn’t believe in them.
“I remember first day of school, me and Jamin telling everybody we are going to the NFL,” he said. “People kind of downplayed our dreams. We just did everything possible. … We both felt like we had to do the impossible to make what people think is impossible become true.”
Carpenter’s mother, Demetria Fiffie, was more than excited to share in her son’s big moment. She said it was “hard to describe” exactly how it felt when he finally got the call that he was going to be drafted.
“It was like we opened a bar of chocolate and found the golden ticket in it,” she said. “He worked so hard to get where he is right now. It was absolutely heartwarming to see that everything he worked hard for came into play.”
While playing for the Yellow Jackets, Carpenter made a habit of finding a military service member before every game to shake his or her hand. That might have something to do with Fiffie’s nearly 14 years of service.
She said that there was always a certain standard she held him to, and it paid off for him in the end.
“When I was raising Tariq, I didn’t care what the hair trend was; I kept his hair at a certain standard. No matter what he wanted to wear to school, I always wanted to make sure he knew how to set an example,” Fiffie said. “I always tried to instill discipline and let him know, you can be a kid, but you have to be good.”
Carpenter was a standout safety for the Yellow Jackets, recording 223 tackles and 17 pass deflections. However, he is ready to face a new challenge, as he now likely will play a hybrid linebacker role.
He said he feels he is “what the game needs.” He knows that he can be a “Swiss Army knife” and is ready to accept any role, even if it means playing a big role on special teams.
“Coming into the game, it ain’t about what I want anymore,” said Carpenter, a childhood fan of the Packers. “I’m just trying to do anything that I can to get us back to winning Super Bowls.”