The On Campus Report provides Stark County football fans a chance to catch up with the stars they watched a few years back on Friday nights. WHBC’s Noah Hiles sits down and speaks with some of the former greats from local teams to find out how their playing experience is going at the next level. Week by week check in to see how some of the area’s best athletes are doing on the college gridiron.
EAST LANSING (News Talk 1480 WHBC) – Coming from a program and county that preaches hard work, former Perry Panther star Matt Carrick knew the challenges he’d face at the next level would not be easy. That being said, because of his background, Carrick also knew he was prepared.
The red shirt sophomore guard for the Michigan State Spartans has worked his way into the starting lineup, after finding a way to adjust, learn and overcome all of the obstacles in his way.
“I think most of what it is, is just growing up,” Carrick said. “Going from being a kid, to becoming a man.”
Moving from Stark County to a new state, with a new coach and over 50,000 new classmates will force one to grow up quickly. After years of being a key contributor for the Panthers, Carrick realized that finding success at a program like the one he was a part of would be a process.
“As everything progressed through, I started doing everything right,” says Carrick. “Through hard work and some other stuff, that is how I’ve gotten to where I am at now.”
The other stuff includes redshirting as a freshman and injury troubles. Where Carrick is at now is the front of the Spartans offense, helping them compete for a Big 10 title.
Carrcik is no stranger to success. He appeared in two state championship games during his time at Perry. While the standards remain high at his current program, things, specifically the offense, are operated a bit differently.
The blocking schemes in Michigan State’s multiple offensive sets were night and day compared to what Carrick was doing in the Wing-T at Perry. The former all state lineman recalled himself having a bit of trouble simply learning how to pass block, due to his high school team being so dedicated to the run. Nevertheless, Carrick not only adjusted, he improved his overall game.
One thing that has not changed for Carrick throughout his football career is the fact that he is playing for a well respected head coach. After fine-tuning his game in high school under Perry legend Keith Wakefield, two time Big Ten coach of the year Mark Dantonio is now the guy Carrick reports to. Carrick says the main thing the two have in common is that they always demand your best.
“The biggest thing they both emphasize on his hard work,” said Carrick. “Everyday you are doing something that you have to make yourself better; on the field and off the field.”
Hard work is what it will take for Carrick and the Spartans to recover from last weeks tough loss to Arizona State if they hope to compete for another Big 10 title and a spot in the college football playoff. Michigan State fell out of the top 25 rankings this week but will have a prime opportunity to climb back into the national conversation when the face off against Ohio State, Wisconsin and Penn State in October.