Yesterday, we got a tip email regarding a development we’d heard something about previously: undersized former baseball player/eternal media darling David Eckstein narrating a “David & Goliath” iPad app. It’s a development sure to delight both Eckstein’s fans and fans of critiquing the way Eckstein’s accomplishments as a player were always overblown because of how hard he looked like he was trying. So maybe it was fitting that the day after receiving that email, we came across the story of another unusually small athlete – this one, though, way, way more undersized than Eckstein – or pretty much anyone else we’ve ever heard of playing a major sport at a high level.
That athlete: Jayson Carter, a freshman walk-on football player at Rice. He’s listed as a running back. His size: 4-foot-9, 130 pounds. We’re not lying. A recruiting profile from his high school days lists him at 4-10, 130. He’s listed on Rice’s roster as 4-9, 135. And if you’re still having doubts as to whether he’s really that small (and we wouldn’t blame you), here’s video of Carter in action at practice, via My Fox Houston:
Yes, it’s definitely tempting to watch Carter catch the pass, then want to pinch his cheek and tell him he’s the cutest little thing you ever saw. But not so fast – if these high school stats are anywhere near accurate, Carter wasn’t around to be some glorified mascot – he was a legit player. And while of course high school football to Division I is a huge, huge jump up, it’s not unheard of for an extremely undersized player to make an impact – just look at former LSU running back/return man Trindon Holliday (though at 5-5, he’d still come in at eight inches taller than Carter).
Can you imagine the reaction, though, if Carter ever gets on the field and does anything? We could see him at least getting out there on special teams, perhaps returning a kick (which he did in high school) or on coverage (it seems he was a pretty good defensive player in high school, though the size disadvantage might prove too much for him to play any defensive snaps in college). And if he ever scores a touchdown, look out, Rudy: your monopoly on inspiring movies about undersized football players might just come to an end.