Princeton McCarty was known by Idaho fans for one thing: Speed.
That speed racked him up over 2,000 yards of rushing offense during his four year career as a Vandal, including his career long 82 yard streak down the sideline touchdown run against BYU just last November.
Luckily for McCarty, speed, sub 4.4 forty-yard dash speed at that, is a good thing to have when a player has dreams of playing in the NFL. McCarty was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Carolina Panthers the day the draft ended.
It will be an uphill battle for McCarty to crack the 53-man roster as he signed with a team that already features two of the best young backs in the league in DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, although McCarty said that was part of the allure of signing with the Panthers.
McCarty’s competition will come from fellow un drafted signee RB Tauren Poole of Tennessee. Poole was a hot prospect coming in to the 2011 season but went un drafted after tailing off in 2011 rushing for only 693 yards on a 3.7 per carry clip. Toole was still invited to participate in draft festivities such as the East-West Shrine game and the scouting combine.
McCarty’s chances at breaking on to a 53-man roster in the NFL could depend on what type of niche he could carve out for himself as a scat back type player.
We were able to catch up with McCarty this week to see how his NFL career has gone thus far. Here is the transcript:
Vandal Nation: Describe for us how the draft process went for you
Princeton McCarty: I was just hoping for the best. It was a long draft process, I think I did good. Just waiting and hoping for the best. That’s pretty much how it went, in the later rounds that’s when I started getting a couple calls. There were talks about drafting me. It went to the point to where it was either gonna be I was going to be a late draft pick but if they didn’t take me they still wanted me as a free agent.
VN: What was it about Carolina that made you want to sign there?
PM: That it’s a pretty good offense. Type of offense that they run, lots of college type plays in it. Good backs to learn from. They didn’t have any at the time young backs already on the roster. Rookies or anything, or first year guys like that. Thought it would be a good opportunity.
VN: What has it been like getting to practice with guys like DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart?
PM: It was kind of crazy. I used to watch highlights of DeAgenlo Williams a lot. I thought he had a good running style. (Getting out there with him) It was a good feeling. I asked him a few things about the NFL.
VN: What’s the most noticeable difference between the NFL and playing football at Idaho?
PM: The NFL is a business. It’s attention to detail. Everything is high paced, and it’s just moving. Everything is high tempo.
VN: What are you going to miss most about playing at Idaho?
PM: Probably the Dome. I’ve been playing in the Dome for so long, now that I’m playing outside. That’s one thing I have memories of is playing in the Kibbie Dome.
VN: What do you have to keep doing to stick in the NFL?
PM: Right now it’s playbook. I have to really get the playbook down in order to be successful here. In order to stick. That’s the main thing. You play it’s just about ballin and doing good and that comes natural, but you gotta know what you’re doing out there or you won’t get that chance.