Carter's Humbled in Accepting National Honor

OU free safety Quinton Carter

In his Las Vegas neighborhood, OU free safety Quinton Carter grew up as an exception to the rule.

"I think it's rare, especially like people I grew up around, it's rare that one had a father in their life," Carter said.

The 6-foot-1 star from Cheyenne High School had just that, a fatherly influence.

"That was kind of different having my dad on his off day pick me up from school or spending a day with him or him bringing me certain things, just surprising me with gifts sometimes, just kind of trying to put it like really like being a proud father [when my friends didn't]," Carter said.

It's that very fatherly influence that Carter attributes a great deal of his recent success to today.

"I can just point to my father really," Carter said. "And for my dad to always be there and work as hard as he can and really spend all his money to spoil myself and my brother and my sister is what I'm looking at taking after him pretty much."

The most recent accomplishment in his storied career came Tuesday afternoon when he was recognized as one of the 11 members of the All State American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.

"We're here today to honor not only a great football player, student athlete, but also a great servant of our community," said Allstate representative Larry Dumas. "I'm honored to stand with you here today and these kids and Quinton to announce that Quinton Carter, senior defensive back for the University of Oklahoma, has been named to the 2010 All State AFCA Good Works Team."

Immediately upon being presented with the award, Carter was flooded by the many kindergarteners in attendance who stood by his side.

"Man, I'm kind of speechless," Carter said. "No one told me I was going to be up here today. But like really, I just want to thank all the supporters, cast I had around me, the Whitten-Newman Foundation, my parents, my uncle really helped me out with the camp in Vegas, Coach Stoops and all my other teammates that always came around.

"And Jonathan Nelson, Jamell Fleming, those guys, coming to KinderCare with me and being involved in these kids' lives and man, like I said, there's so many more people that I need to name, but I'm kind of speechless."

Members of the Good Works Team are commended for being "actively involved and committed to working with a charitable organization, service group or community service while maintaining good academic standing."

Carter has done that through his involvement with KinderCare, where he has devoted free time to teach these young children how to read, write and participate in various other activities such as nature walks and recycling programs.

He said what's influenced him to provide this role in these kids' lives is just the idea that he feels it's his calling.

"My motivation for doing all this is God put me in a great position to help others out and that's what I'm doing," Carter said. "So I'm just trying to follow my footsteps and what God called me to this earth for, so thank you."

It's certainly not solely to get praise such as this award.

"I never do it for recognition," Carter said. "Anything I'm doing is not for any recognition. It's just to help out, so to be rewarded for that, it just makes it that much better."

Helping these children brings joy to the star defensive back.

"Just stepping around and seeing a big smile on their face [is the most heartwarming thing]," Carter said. "And they're excited every time they see me and ready to play and have fun."

That is something which has, in turn, influenced his life.

"For me to have an impact in these kids' lives, it just makes me have a reason to wake up each morning," Carter said. "[It's forced me] just to appreciate everything in life, take nothing for granted, and just if I could wake up every day and touch somebody and change their lives, I think I could die a happy person."

It's an honor and role that he admits he never truly saw coming.

"Man, I never could have dreamed it, never could have dreamed even standing right here," Carter said.

And don't think for a second that it's easy to fit spending all this time with the young children into his schedule.

"Really in season it's hard," Carter said. "In season the first time they'll be coming down is the Iowa State game, so they'll be coming down and watching the game and then after the game, come hang out with me and eat dinner with me."

Sometimes he even volunteers to help these children without being at the school.

"I can't [always] make it up there, so just a phone call makes a big difference just checking on them, making sure they're staying focused in school and Kinder Care, just trying to stop in and say hello whenever I can around my schedule," Carter said.

As for when he decided to do this, it was a few years back.

"Really like high school kind of my senior year kind of thought about what I would like to do and this is kind of my passion to help out people," Carter said. "And, you know, kind of go around kids and talk to kids and whatnot, and I'm not even the type of person to speak and talk, but, you know, I feel like God put me in this position to give back and help others and change others' lives, so that's kind of the motivation around it."

A position he hopes to stay in throughout the present and future.

"Just looking at doing non-profit work, that's kind of my passion," Carter said. "So, I'm looking at finding a career in that...Yeah, pretty much, and [working with] kids, adults as well, so hopefully I'll go into coaching a little league team or something like that."

For right now, though, he's a big man on OU's campus, not just for his achievements on the gridiron, but for those off it as well.

"He is definitely a special young man and is very active on campus as well in different campus activities, so proud and appreciate you recognizing him for this award," said OU head coach Bob Stoops. "And hopefully we'll have many more with some other guys. Quinton sets a great example, you know, in the classroom as well as all his community service."

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