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‘Proving it to myself’: DeQuece Carter ready to make big splash with Indiana football this season



DeQuece Carter was one of the most explosive playmakers at the non-power five level in 2021 and 2022. But, the question was — and is — can he do it at the Big Ten level. Joining the Indiana football program gives him that opportunity. To prove it to himself and others that he can do just that.

“Super motivated, that was one of the big reasons I came here. Obviously you get more exposure that in the FCS level, but taking that step up … Proving it to myself … we are competing against one of the top if not the best conference in the country. It’s something that I enjoy, seeing myself fitting in to,” Carter told reporters on Monday. “Coach Allen, we had a one on one meeting and he talked about all the things I could do and what we could do for Indiana football. I trust him. I trust everybody here.”

Carter arrives in Bloomington as one of the most decorated receivers in Fordham history. With 38 starts to his name, he ended his career ranked third all-time in Fordham history in receiving yardage (3,035), fourth in touchdown receptions (31) and eighth in receptions (176).

That experience with four years of college football under his belt is important to a receiver room that lacks that experience.

Because of that, his arrival was critical and something that allowed him to move into a much-needed leadership role at the position.

“Maturity,” said IU wide receivers coach Anthony Tucker of what Carter brings. “He’s a graduate transfer, he’s got a great, mature presence about him. Really positive guy. He’s really fit in with our team fast. He’s really smart … he has really picked up what we’re doing and how we do things. He’s perfect for what our culture is here. He’s fit in our locker room really well.”

Indiana looks to improve on a passing attack last year that ranked last in the Big Ten with a yard per attempt average of 5.4. It also ranked 13th with a 54 percent completion percentage.

The 5-foot-11 Carter had 1,166 yards with 56 receptions and 13 touchdowns last year. He had five 100+ yard receiving games and averaged 20.8 yards per catch.

As a junior, Carter finished with 48 catches for 872 yards and 11 touchdowns. As a freshman, he was named a Freshman All-American after totaling 53 catches for 723 yards and five touchdowns.

“Super, super productive … that’s one of the things you go through. Let’s go find a guy who has been highly, highly productive maybe at a smaller level but he has a chip on his shoulder because he wants to prove he belongs with the big boys. And that’s what he brings,” IU head coach Tom Allen said after Carter’s signing. “… He knows how to get open and has tremendous ball skills to be able to make plays. He’s got that swagger, that confidence that when he steps on that field he’s going to make plays.”

He’s been productive every season with defense’s targeting him every single play.

So, what will help him continue that productivity this year?

“Reading the defenses. At this level there are a lot of different defenses,” Carter said. ” … making sure I get into film, meeting with coach Tuck and meeting with the quarterbacks and making sure we’re on the same page.”

Another aspect that Carter will have to adjust to is the speed at the power five level. That’s something that Carter has had some experience with, albeit in a limited setting.

He was quickly reminded during the start of fall practice.

“Speed. They talk a lot about the skill positions it doesn’t change much, but being in the first few practices you can tell, it’s a bit of a speed adjustment,” Carter said. “I don’t think it should be too much of a challenge, but probably that.

“We played against Nebraska my junior year. That was fun. It was the year right after covid and they packed the house. It was something different than what I was used to being at Fordham. Not too different in terms of on the field, blocking it out, all the yelling and all that stuff. That was a good eye-opening experience but shouldn’t be too difficult now.”

It was a seamless transition for Carter since day one in Bloomington. His relationships with the coaches and his Indiana football teammates have exceeded his expectations.

But, when it’s time to get to work on the field, Carter puts all that ‘playful’ energy aside and is all business.

“We joke around all the time and when it is time to get serious, we really get focused. [As a wide receivers unit] we have been serious about our extra work. That nitty gritty culture,” Carter added. “Coach Allen always says ‘dirty hard work in the dark’. That is something that we live by and I really take that serious.”

SEE ALSO: Indiana Football Position Preview: Wide Receiver

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.