Carrier in NFL

Small school star makes it to NFL
Derek Carrier, shown here making a play as a wide receiver for the Beloit College Buccaneers, played in his NFL regular season debut against the New Orleans Saints Sunday.


Small college 

standout makes jump to NFL

By Ted Pennekamp


All of his hard work has paid off and Derek Carrier is now on an NFL active roster. The San Francisco 49ers promoted tight end Carrier from the practice squad to the 53-man roster Saturday afternoon in anticipation of the 49ers versus New Orleans Saints football game. Carrier wears number 46. 

Carrier, 23, the son of Paula Carrier and Bill Pennekamp of Edgerton, Wis., has numerous relatives in Grant and Crawford counties, including one in Prairie du Chien and several in the Wauzeka area. 

Carrier is the first player in the history of tiny Beloit College to play in an NFL game since Bernard “Boob” Darling, who was a lineman for the Green Bay Packers from 1927-1931. Darling finished his college football career with the University of Wisconsin.

Carrier was a 6-4, 238-pound wide receiver at Division III Beloit, where he caught 189 passes for 3,111 yards and 29 touchdowns in his college career. He hauled in 75 passes for 1,275 yards and 12 touchdowns in 10 games in his senior season. 

Carrier caused a stir among all NFL scouts present at the University of Wisconsin Pro Day in March of 2012. Despite a groin injury, he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, had a 40-inch vertical leap, and an astounding three-cone drill time of 6.69 seconds, eliciting a “Wow!” from Green Bay Packers General Manager Ted Thompson. Only one player at the 2012 NFL Combine had a faster three-cone time, and he was a 170-pound wide receiver. To put the three-cone time into further perspective, Minnesota Vikings runningback Adrian Peterson had a three-cone time of 7.09 at the 2007 NFL Combine.

Almost immediately following the 2012 NFL Draft, Carrier received calls from several teams and signed with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent wide receiver. 

Carrier spent training camp with the Raiders before being released. He was picked up by the Philadelphia Eagles and placed on the practice squad as a tight end. Carrier was with the Eagles for the entire 2012 season, and while there, he increased his weight to 250 pounds in order to help improve his blocking. Carrier put on the extra muscle very slowly so as not to lose any range of motion, jumping ability or speed. 

Following the 2013 training camp, the Eagles released Carrier and he was picked up by the 49ers and placed on the practice squad, where he continued to become more versatile and develop as a tight end.

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