Derek Carr came to Fresno State in 2009 with a lot of expectations to be as great as his big brother was. He saw limited action for the Bulldogs and played in five games in which he completed 10-of-14 passes on the season for 112 yards, not exactly eye-popping stats for the heralded freshman. In 2010 Coach Pat Hill decided to redshirt Carr as Senior Ryan Colburn was entrenched as the starter. Carr took that time and honed his game knowing the next season he would be the starter.
The 2011 season began and Carr was named the starter and offensive team captain. In just his second game as the starter he led Fresno State to a 20-14 third quarter lead over tenth ranked Nebraska on the road in Lincoln. Although the Bulldogs went on to lose that game 42-29, Carr kept the team in it until late and showed the kind of skills and intangibles that made his brother a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2001 and number one pick in the NFL Draft in 2002 for the expansion Houston Texans.
Carr went on to have a very good statistical season throwing for 26 touchdowns and nine interceptions and completing 62.6 percent of his passes. His 3,544 passing yards was the third-most in Fresno State history and the most ever by a Bulldog sophomore. He even came close to breaking some of brother David’s records as his 279 pass completions are the second-most in school history as were his 446 pass attempts. In a November game against Louisiana Tech Carr completed 39-of-49 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. The 39 completions were one short of the school record. Even with all these numbers Derek failed to lead the team to enough of the ones that count, wins.
Fresno State finished the 2011 season with a 4-9 record and longtime Head Coach Pat Hill was fired. Enter former Texas A&M defensive coordinator Tim DeRuyter as the new head coach. DeRuyter is known for his defense but he promises that the offense will not get left behind. In his initial press conference DeRuyter said the offense will be a spread no-huddle that attacks defenses in a number of different ways. The plan is to spread the field horizontally and vertically by taking vertical shots and trying to put a defense on its heels with a fast paced tempo. All this will play towards Derek Carr’s skills as he has a big arm, can make all the throws and is very athletic (See his touchdown dive against Nebraska).
Carr enters the 2012 season with a lot of transition surrounding him. New head coach, new offensive system, new conference and he lost his top receiver in Jalen Saunders who decided to transfer recently to Oklahoma. Even with all that Carr will still have a seasoned and talented group of pass catchers to work with and returns his offensive line intact. He will also be able to turn around and hand off to 1,500 yard back Robbie Rouse who returns for his senior year. Carr and the offense will have the summer to jell and a week one game against Weber State before they go on the road September 8TH
to face a top five Oregon Ducks squad in Eugene. If Derek can do what David did in 2001 when he went on the road to Camp Randall Stadium and beat the then 23rd
ranked Wisconsin Badgers, he is certain to grab everyone’s attention and step out of David’s shadow.
For all you college fantasy football enthusiasts like me, Carr is a sleeper heading into 2012 drafts. He loses his top receiver in Jalen Saunders to transfer but is sure to feast on the Mountain West Conference’s weaker defenses. He faces a tough schedule to begin the season with games against Oregon, Colorado and Boise St. But after that he faces a fantasy friendly stretch of Wyoming, New Mexico, Hawaii, Nevada and Air Force. These are all games in which he should put up good if not huge numbers. I would consider Carr a good QB2 and excellent bye week starter.
NFL DRAFT ANALYSIS
After a solid sophomore season Derek Carr is already on the radar of NFL general managers. Standing 6-foot-3, 205 pounds he has ideal size for this position along with a strong arm and great athleticism. Like any young quarterback he needs to continue work on his accuracy, footwork and learn to read defenses better. All the hype this upcoming season will surround Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson and Logan Thomas and deservedly so, all three are great prospects. I believe Carr is just as talented as any of these three. He’ll test great at the combine and workouts. In my opinion if Derek Carr can have a good junior season he will be a prospect who rises up draft boards if he decides to enter the 2013 NFL Draft or could be the top senior quarterback in the 2014 draft.
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