4-Foot-9 Rice Running Back Becomes Shortest FBS Player Ever; WATCH His One and Only Carry of the GameBy Russell Westerholm
Carter, at four feet and nine inches tall, is the shortest player to ever participate in a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) game. He had one carry, buried in the box score, for one yard late in the fourth quarter in a blowout 45-7 win over UTEP, but that was not lost on the Rice Owls' head coach.
"That young man is here every day busting his tail on the scout team. He deserves it," coach David Bailiff said. "I'm thrilled we got Jayson into a Division I football game."
On second down and eight yards to go, Carter took the handoff out of the shotgun and ran right, but was met by a wall of defenders. After his only play of the game, he was helped up and received congratulatory pats from the opposing team and his own teammates. He then jogged back to the sideline to meet a sea of navy-clad football players twice his size giving him high fives like he had just broken a record.
"When you practice every day, it's like clockwork," said Carter, sophomore. "I wasn't really thinking about it. It's just one carry."
A home game for the Owls, the crowd recognized the scout team standout with a roaring ovation. What his teammates said to him after the carry, Carter said, "They asked me why I didn't score."
Carter graduated from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) school in Houston and has been on Rice's scout team until Saturday's game. Jason Jones, Carter's coach at KIPP, said despite the height, he is a very capable football player.
"He's very capable of doing everything other Division I players can do," Jones previously told the Chronicle, "except maybe ride a ride at an amusement park."
Upon arriving at Rice, Carter walked into Bailiff's office and asked to walk on to the football team. Before joining the team, he had to undergo a medical exam, like any college athlete, and it was determined that a genetic disorder had stunted Carter's growth. Bailiff also gave Jones a call, who said the young running back could lift as much weight as a six-foot-five player could and was just as fast.
"If they ever come up with a device that measures heart and put it on top of my head," Carter said, "they'll see I'm 6-9."