Carta-Samuels transferred to Vanderbilt in 2011 after spending two seasons at Wyoming. In between he passed 22 credit hours into six months of work at a junior college. Last season he played in six games for Vandy, the school his grandfather attended. Now the former Freshman of the Year in the Mountain West Conference is ready to lead the Commodore football team in his senior season.
Despite his past accomplishments, Carta-Samuels says nothing was given to him in Nashville. The fact that he earned his way into the school and is now on the verge of earning the starter’s job is what makes him proudest:
“I think something that is great about Vanderbilt that I would love more people to understand is you don’t get gifts here as a football player. Me playing football and me having started 24 games and being a captain in another conference, it didn’t matter to this school. They didn’t care. That was exciting for me because I did this all on my own. I got here with no football help and got accepted academically…
Really, I hope nobody (at Wyoming) can fault me for where I am now — at one of the top schools in America with one of the best football opportunities in the country. I had a lot of fun there with a bunch of great people in Wyoming and a good coaching staff. I just decided there was going to be somewhere else better suited for me academically and football-wise.”
Carta-Samuels chose Vandy over Colorado and Arizona. His promotion of VU and its football program sound like a recruiting pitch from head coach James Franklin himself. Now, Franklin isn’t the first Commodore coach to tell recruits that they can get a first-class education and be a part of building a football tradition on Nashville’s West End. But he clearly sells that message with greater success than his predecessors.
And the more players like Carta-Samuels echo their head coach’s pitch, the easier recruiting will become at Vanderbilt.