Name: Tra Carson
Hometown: Texarkana, Texas
Position: Running back
High School: Liberty-Eylau
2010 statistics: 196 carries for 2,202 yards and 24 touchdowns
Here’s the first thing you need to know about Tra Carson: he went to Liberty-Eylau High School, and replaced LaMichael James as the starting tailback.
He broke LMJ’s school record, 54 touchdowns as the Leopard’s mainstay, falling just 35 yards short of the career rushing record, finishing with 4,185 yards.
Carson is a much different style of back than James, however. James is a roadrunner with startling acceleration; his young understudy is a baby rhinoceros. With a powerful lower body and a relentless north-south style, Carson is a great fit for the stretch play, one cut and go through the hole. He shows great vision and the ability to run over people when necessary, the kind of back a coach can depend on for four tough yards in the fourth quarter. He’s a power back with a best time of 4.56 in the 40, but in the open field opponents rarely deny him the end zone. Chip Kelly told the Statesman-Journal, “He’s a perfect fit for what we do offensively.” Carson also boasts a 3.8 high school GPA, making him another of the sharp, well-rounded kids that Kelly prizes.
Pat Brady coached both players, and he told oregonlive.com’s Lindsay Schnell, “He’s phenomenal,” said Liberty-Eylau coach Pat Brady, “but he’s a different type of running back. He’s best when he’s running straight at the line of scrimmage.” Like James before him Carson is best against the best competition; he powered for 238 yards and three touchdowns in their last game, a 43-33 loss to Gilmer in the state playoffs, including an 81-yard run.
Carson is also an outstanding basketball player, and considered seeking a scholarship in basketball instead. He was District MVP, averaging 25 points a game in the playoffs last season.
2010 Statistics (from maxpreps.com)
Team record: 8-3, district champions