EAST CHICAGO | Martayveus Carter wanted to follow in Kawaan Short's shoes. One East Chicago football standout wore black and gold. The other one wanted to.
Short starred for Purdue before signing on to play for the Carolina Panthers.
Carter wanted to go to Purdue but never got an offer. Some suggested his 5-foot-11, 200-pound frame was too small for Big Ten play.
But when Northern Illinois pounded the Boilers, 55-24, on Sept. 28, Carter was happy. He is a recruit of the Huskies, now ranked 14th in the BCS standings.
NIU isn't too small to compete in the Big Ten.
"I wanted to go to Purdue, that was my dream school," Carter said. "That's where KK (Short) went. But after (Northern) whipped them, I was happy. That's what they get for not offering me."
While Short is now in the NFL, Carter far surpassed him at the high school level. He led E.C. to the school's first sectional and regional championship this fall. The "running back" is second in career yardage at 3,467.
He rushed for 1,164 yards this year, too. He also set E.C.'s career scoring mark with 53 TDs.
In many seasons Carter would've earned The Times Offensive Player of the Year honor. His resume supports that. But in 2013, he is our Defensive Player of the Year.
The other side of the resume certainly supports it.
He set E.C.'s career tackle record with 505, with 158 coming this season. And in the Cardinals two biggest postseason wins — Morton and West Side — Carter had a fourth-quarter interception that helped turn around the game.
"Marty is a football player," E.C. coach Stacy Adams said. "It doesn't matter what side of the ball you put him he's going to make things happen. Most people consider him an offensive player.
"I consider him a football player."
Carter said when he walked down the halls at his school this fall everyone talked to him about the TDs. No one talked to him about the big hits.
"It's all about scoring here," Carter said. "That's what everyone wants to talk about."
Carter and the other 28 seniors started the slow turn at E.C. four years ago. They hit the weight room. They didn't miss practice. They attended study tables.
And they thought about more than just scoring.
"Defense is a big part of the game," Carter said. "If you get an interception it motivates the team. It makes you get to a higher level. Scoring is fun, but I like to hit people, too.
"We did a lot more than any people expected this year. We made history."