EAST CHICAGO | All Martayveus Carter has ever wanted was a place where he could fit in.
Attending East Chicago Central was like beach front property in Hawaii to the personable athlete.
And now, after just two visits to DeKalb, the Cardinals' explosive senior has chosen Northern Illinois to play his college football in 2014.
The versatile 6-foot-2, 182-pounder verbally committed to NIU on Wednesday.
"The coaching staff treats their players like their own sons," Carter said. "The town's pretty quiet. It's like there's no distractions, so I can focus on school and football.
"It's close to home, too, two or three hours away. They went to a bowl game and they're getting a new indoor football facility for practice in any temperature."
Carter said he also was being recruited by Indiana, Michigan State, Illinois, Cincinnati and Purdue but grew fond of NIU after attending its football camp and making his college visit there in June.
The nationally-ranked Huskies were 12-2 last season, losing to No. 12 Florida State in the Orange Bowl, 31-10.
They return Mount Carmel grad Jordan Lynch, a Heisman finalist, at quarterback.
Carter said NIU head coach Rod Carey and his staff want to use him at running back.
"They like the energy I get from the fans, my teammates and from the intensity of the game," said Carter, who helped lead EC Central to a 9-2 mark last season, its best record in 20 years.
"I wanted to wait until this season was over (to decide) but the (NIU) coaches told me they had only one position at running back (to offer), so I didn't want to miss out."
Carter rushed for 1,296 yards and 19 touchdowns last season, caught eight passes for 168 yards and two TDs, and was the Cardinals' second-leading tackler with 123 — including nine sacks and 31 tackles for loss.
"Martayveus has matured a lot during his time here. He's always had a lot of athletic ability and has always played hard," EC Central coach Stacy Adams said. "He's chosen a Division I school that fits him."
Carter was a first-team Times All-Area selection on defense as a junior but gave opponents fits on both sides of the football.
"In the regular season against Griffith, he blocked a field goal, picked it up, and scored. You don't see that happen too often," Adams said.
"Against Morton in the sectional, he scored on a defensive fumble recovery, a kick return and a rushing TD — quite a feat for anyone to do."