Cheyenne grad Carter spreads goodness


Oklahoma safety Quinton Carter doesn't like to wait.

A discussion with his uncle, Dannie Carter, last year about putting on a free football camp for Las Vegas-area youngsters could have been forgotten. But they moved quickly and in about a week put on a camp that drew about 150 middle-schoolers.

Though it wasn't as organized as Carter would have preferred, not surprising given the time frame, he was inspired.

Now Carter, a former Cheyenne High School standout, is doing it again. This time, he's had a year to put thought into the venture, and more than 250 kids are expected for the camp, which begins Saturday at Ed Fountain Park and ends Monday with a Memorial Day barbecue.

The event is only part of Carter's efforts to improve lives in the Las Vegas and Oklahoma City regions, only part of his long-range goals in what he hopes will become his life's work of helping others.

Carter, who will be a senior next season, hopes being a starter on one of the nation's college football powerhouses and in a community obsessed with the sport will help his efforts.

Making it to the NFL would give Carter a much larger reach and greater resources. But he has already accomplished more in service to others than many people do in a lifetime.

"Growing up in the inner-city part of Las Vegas, I've seen a lot of guys with a lot of talent and they throw it away by making dumb decisions," Carter said. "The younger generation, it's like a cycle; everything keeps repeating itself. Since I was in high school, I've wanted to do something like this."

He created SOUL (Serving Others through Unity and Leadership), which in addition to organizing this weekend's camp is working to create an exchange program next summer for kids in Las Vegas and Oklahoma to experience life in each area.

Carter's volunteer efforts include helping out with the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon the past five years, adopting a classroom at a day care in Norman and mentoring three kids through United Way.

"That's pretty much my hobby outside of football," Carter said. "I don't play video games, so I just think about what could be done for the foundation and new ways to better that."

At this weekend's camp, Carter is expected to bring in former Oklahoma player Roy Williams of the Cincinnati Bengals, two Sooners drafted by NFL teams in April, Trent Williams and Keenan Clayton, and some current OU players, including Las Vegans DeMarco Murray and Ryan Reynolds.

The camp will teach more than football, stressing the importance of education and leading quality lives. Carter is operating the camp on a shoestring budget and hopes more sponsors will get on board in the future.

Carter can devote his full energy to the project this time of year, but in the fall it's more difficult to balance school and football.

He was a second-team All-Big 12 selection by league coaches last season after making 88 tackles and four interceptions.

Carter, who will graduate in December with majors in sociology and criminology and a minor in nonprofit organizational studies, maintains about a 3.0 grade-point average. He also graduated a semester early from Cheyenne.

"You might not find another guy that hates school more than me, but it's essential in today's society," Carter said. "You can't function without school. On top of that, you keep your brain fresh and you're always learning new things.

''When you look at it like that, it becomes fun, especially if you like sports. You can't have sports without an education."

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2914.

 

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