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Photo by Elisa Schmitt, TexAgs
Texas A&M Football

Keldrick Carper part of emerging wave of leadership for the Aggies

March 25, 2019
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Plain Dealing, Louisiana – a tiny town of about 1,000 people, roughly 50 miles south of Texarkana – has a modest list of notable former and current residents.

There was Mollie-Burdett Banks Curry Gray, the great great grand niece of George Washington. She died in 1958. There was Wilburn Snyder, a survivor of the Bataan Death March of World War II. He passed in 2008. There is Booker T, a Hall of Fame professional wrester.

And there is Keldrick Carper, Texas A&M’s gregarious junior safety. He’s not actually on a list of notable people from Plain Dealing, but maybe someday.

He would never campaign for it, though. Carper is almost as obscure as his hometown. He likes it that way.

“Everybody there (in Plain Dealing), I’m basically kin to,” Carper said after a Texas A&M spring football practice session on Monday night. “It’s definitely a family atmosphere. It was a lot of fun with my friends and my family [and] just playing sports, growing up, every single day until the lights would come on.

“That really morphed me into the person I am today – being the low key guy. I wasn’t really exposed to much … socially … as some of my other Houston teammates.”

Carper isn’t nearly as well known as some of his teammates from the Houston area. Leon O’Neal arrived from Cypress Springs as a celebrated recruit. Derrick Tucker came from Manvel and moved into the starting lineup as a freshman. Incoming freshmen Brian Williams and Demani Richardson … they’re actually from the Dallas area, but you get the idea.

They’re all from big cities and are big reasons that hopeful Aggies are projecting improvement at the safety position this season. Carper might be as overlooked as his hometown. But that’s ok with him. He’s content in the shadows.

Angelina Alcantar, TexAgs
Keldrick Carper is just one of many Aggies stepping into more vocal leadership roles this spring. 

“I’m more of a low key kind of guy,” he said. “I’m ok staying away from all the headlines and stuff like that.”

That’s not to imply that Carper won’t generate headlines or step out of the shadows in 2019. He has more ability than some may realize.

True, he only posted 13 tackles and broke up two passes in a backup role last season. But he wasn’t routinely getting beat for long touchdowns, either.

He’ll put in the work to get better, too. Last season he received the Strength & Conditioning Defensive Aggie Award at the team’s annual banquet.

“I’m a firm believer if you put in the right amount of work, you’ll reap the benefits of it,” Carper said. “I know the hard work we all put in as a team and as a group. We all buy in to what coach (Mike) Elko is laying out for us as a defense and coach (Jimbo) Fisher as a team. All the individual success will come along.”

A&M will take any success in the secondary it can get. The struggles at cornerback last season were well documented. However, safety play was often an issue, too.

The Aggies allowed 54 pass completions of at least 20 yards. That was most of any team in the SEC. Missed tackles and blown coverages from safeties contributed to that.

“As a whole, we were in position a lot of times we just didn’t make the plays,” Carper said. “It wasn’t a matter of not having the ability or mindset or determination. We just fell short on the back end on certain plays. Definitely, we were in position to make a lot of plays. We have plans to make those plays we missed last year.”

“Definitely, we were in position to make a lot of plays. We have plans to make those plays we missed last year.”
- Safety Keldrick Carper

Carper is confident he can be part of the solution in two ways. First, he can encourage and teach others. He’s making a point to do that this spring.

“I’m just playing more of a leadership role and being more vocal – encouraging a lot of young guys and challenging a lot of the older guys,” he said. “(I’m) just playing that leadership role and continuing to be that guy that helps other guys out and being that voice on the field.”

But he also can make plays himself and excel in a kind of utility defensive back role that Elko asked him to take on last season.

“He challenged me to be a guy that knows everything, that needs to know everything, so I can come in in case something happens or if he needs me to play a special part in certain game plans,” Carper said. “Just being a low key, behind-the-scenes guy and just listening and learning from a guy like Donovan (Wilson) really helped me to become more well rounded and available.”

Maybe that will make him a more productive and effective player for the Aggies this season.

And maybe that will give him status as one of Plain Dealing’s most notable residents.

NOTES:

  • Running back Jashaun Corbin sat out with a pulled hamstring. Sources said it's a minor injury and isn't expected to keep him out for an extended period.
  • Defensive back  Antonio Howard has entered the transfer portal.
Discussion from...

Keldrick Carper part of emerging wave of leadership for the Aggies

7,917 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 5 yr ago by Snap E Tom
ConLaw
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That kid could be a future coach--or more. Very impressive young man.
Snap E Tom
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ConLaw said:

That kid could be a future coach--or more. Very impressive young man.
I definitely agree. He's adding more personal opinions and analysis than the canned "toughness, effort, discipline, pride" the coaches tell the players to say in interviews. I look forward to hearing his commentaries in the booth after a successful NFL career.
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