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‘Waiting for the chance’: Tide’s Carpenter excited for NFL Draft
Tariq Carpenter
Courtesy photo provided by Tariq Carpenter

ATLANTA -- For the second year in a row, the Long County Blue Tide football team is entering NFL Draft season with another former player seeing his stock rise. Former Blue Tide and Georgia Tech standout Tariq Carpenter is eagerly awaiting to hear his name called in April

After being snubbed on a Draft Combine invite, Carpenter participated in Georgia Tech’s Pro Day on Monday, March 14, and immediately impressed scouts. He ran a 4.45 40-yard dash, jumped 39 inches on the vertical jump and 11 feet, five inches on the broad jump.

That last number would have been the best among all participants at the Combine and tied with Scott Stark and Justin Fargas for fourth-best all time. Carpenter attributes his rise in draft stock to his agent Dan Saffron at Steinberg Sports.

“The draft process started rocky as I was bouncing around from different facilities and going to the Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl, but my agent has been a big help,” Carpenter said. “Ever since the Senior Bowl, things have gone very smoothly and I’m excited for the future.”

At the Hula Bowl, an NFL Draft showcase game for college seniors, Carpenter was named captain of Team Aina and recorded an interception.

In the Senior Bowl, the top game for college seniors hoping to get drafted, Carpenter made the transition from safety to linebacker and immediately turned heads with a good week of practice and showing in the game in late January.

Carpenter believes that changing to the linebacker position will get him drafted higher than if he were playing defensive back.

“100 percent I will get drafted higher as a linebacker than as a safety,” he said. “I am built more playing linebacker than safety and the NFL is a passing league. I think I provide the tools to help any team in the pass game immediately.”

Carpenter is very familiar with the only other Blue Tide player to be drafted into the NFL: Jamin Davis. Davis and Carpenter graduated from Long County together in 2017, but both have taken very different paths to where they are today.

“Taking the experience into the league is huge. It’s hard to compare my path to Jamin’s with him playing in the SEC and me playing a different position now than I did in college,” Carpenter said. “But I started for three years and was able to slow the game down after my sophomore year, while Jamin started one. I think having the starting experience will help my game out because I have been able to slow the game down a bit.”

Carpenter also talked about the possibility of playing with Davis with the Washington Commanders. He believes that it would make a bigger difference on Davis than it would him.

“Honestly, I think it would have a bigger impact on Jamin than me. If I’m in Washington, that grind is going to intensify,” he said. “The chemistry we have together on top of the fact that we would both be playing linebacker would be huge.”

Looking to the draft, Carpenter said that no matter where he ends up, it will be a dream come true.

“I don’t really have any preferences on where I get drafted. Playing with Jamin would be a dream, but the goal is to just get drafted. I’m waiting for the chance. I just hope some team will give it to me.”

The 2022 NFL Draft takes place in Paradise, Nevada April 28-30.
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