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Meyer confident in Carroll: 'He could be a great one'

David Carroll
David Carroll

He's just 18 years old and a few months out of high school, but he could end up being a key player in Utah's run at another Mountain West Conference championship, an unbeaten season and a BCS bowl game.

Meet David Carroll, who will be the Utes' placekicker for the rest of the season now that regular Brian Borreson is out for the year with a recurring groin injury.

Carroll made his first start Saturday night against UNLV, and what a memorable debut it was. By booting nine PATs, Carroll tied a school record and he would likely have had a 10th and the record all to himself had coach Urban Meyer not been merciful and ordered his team to take a knee on the UNLV 1-yard line at the end of the game.

In joining Gil Alvarez (1981) and Dan Pulsipher (1994) in the record books, Carroll was quick to deflect attention away from himself.

"I can't take much credit for it," he said. "The line, the snapper, the hold . . . they were all great. All I had to do was kick it through the posts."

That may sound easy, but considering that the Utes had already missed three PATs this year, three last year and four the year before, continued consistency from Carroll will be welcome.

Meyer has confidence in the freshman from Bountiful High and says he considered making a switch to Carroll earlier in the season when Borreson's chronic injury led to a few misses. But he didn't want to waste Carroll's redshirt season if he could help it.

However, when Borreson limped off the field late in the first half of the North Carolina win after missing a PAT, Meyer told Carroll to get ready. In the second half, Carroll got his chance and made his two PAT attempts and kicked off once.

"He's talented," Meyer said. "He didn't have any game experience, but has a lot of experience from practice. He could be a great one for us. "

Carroll is one of eight children, but the first of four boys to play football. His mother told him he could only play if he was the kicker. But eventually he became a receiver at Bountiful as well ("They tricked me into it," he said) and last year led the team in receptions while scoring eight touchdowns. He also made 12 field goals, including a 53-yarder and was named first-team all-state for the second straight year.

His only scholarship offer was to Dixie State, although each of the major colleges in Utah was interested in Carroll. The Utes didn't have a scholarship to use on Carroll, but they had followed his career at Bountiful, where he was part of two straight state championship teams.

Carroll was impressed with the Ute program and decided to walk on.

Although he had grown up in a family of BYU fans, Carroll claims he always liked both Utah and BYU. Eventually, he liked Utah better.

"When I got older, I got a little smarter," he said with a smile.

Carroll says he feels "really bad" for his kicking mate Borreson, but he didn't hesitate to give up his redshirt year with the season half over.

"When (Meyer) told me I was going to play, I said I'd do whatever it takes to help the team to win," he said.

To Carroll, it's almost a dream to be in the position he's in now.

"I couldn't have expected anything better than to be playing Division I football for a top 10 team," he said.

While he has a bright future as a kicker, Carroll will be putting his career on hold. He expects to get an LDS mission call in the next two weeks and will leave soon after the new year.

However, he'll "definitely" be around for Utah's bowl game, which he, and his teammates, hope will be on Jan. 1.

And if his coach is right, he may win a game for the Utes with his talented toe.

"David Carroll could win a game for us this year and from a long distance," Meyer said.

EXTRA POINTS: The Utes have only attempted two field goals all season and made them both, from 21 and 22 yards out . . . The Utes have scored 32 of 34 times in the red zone, not counting the two times they took a knee in the final minute inside their opponents' 5-yard line . . . Sports Illustrated hit the stands Wednesday with a five-page, 1,800-word story on Utah football under the heading "Wild Out West." SI writer Kelley King spent most of last week in Salt Lake interviewing Ute players and coaches and attending practices . . . Utah ranks No. 2 in the nation in scoring offense, No. 4 in total offense, No. 5 in pass efficiency and No. 9 in pass efficiency defense.


E-mail: sor@desnews.com