Updated Tue, Oct 9, 2012 2:27 pm
Updated Tue, Oct 9, 2012 2:27 pm
Many times people choose to follow their relatives’ footsteps and go into the family business. In Ohio nickelback Nathan Carpenter’s case, that family business is football.
Nathan’s father, Rob Carpenter, enjoyed a 10-year NFL career. He has been the head football coach at Lancaster High School in Lancaster, Ohio for the past 15 years, where he has coached all four of his sons.
The eldest son, Bobby, played linebacker at Ohio State and has played in the NFL for the past seven years. Nathan’s brothers Jonathan and George played football collegiately as well, Jonathan played at the University of Cincinnati, and George at Marshall.
Nathan Carpenter, the youngest of the four brothers, is starting his own branch of the family business at Ohio University.
The five-foot-nine redshirt sophomore is Ohio’s nickelback. He plays a vital part of the defense that usually covers, as his father put it, “the Wes Welker-type receivers.”
As the nickelback, Carpenter has become a big contributor to the defense, where he currently is fourth on the team in tackles with 27.
Carpenter’s biggest contribution seems to be as one of the go-to guys on the defense when Ohio needs a stop the most.
“Nate has always been an opportunistic player,” said his brother Bobby. “Even in high school he always seemed to come up with the big play when it was needed in the game.”
In his first two years playing for the Bobcats, Carpenter has three interceptions, four tackles-for-loss, one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries. His biggest turnover of the season came against Marshall, he recovered a fumble that set up the game-winning field goal.
“You have to be aware and know what the other team is going to do,” said Nathan. “I like to bait quarterbacks into throwing at me, and then try and make a play on it. I’ve always been known to have a knack for the ball.”
Nathan’s playing style and success can be credited to a piece of advice his father gave him.
“You have to play every game like it is your last game, and play every play like it is your last play, because you never know when it could end,” said Nathan. “It could be today, tomorrow, or the next game. When you don’t play hard, you get hurt.”
His dad believes that Nathan follows his advice pretty well, but he has his own term for the way Nathan plays.
“He’s just a hustler,” Rob said. “He knows all the ins-and-outs of the game and is not gun-shy. He wants the action to come to him.”
But, football is not the only sport in which Nathan Carpenter has had great success. He also was a three-year letterman in high school as a swimmer.
“My mom was the swim coach growing up,” Carpenter said. “I swam for 14 years of my life for school, in summer and club. My best events were the breaststroke and butterfly. I actually still hold a few records over at the pool here at OU from growing up. ”
Carpenter credits swimming for the reason he developed early muscle as a child, and also says it helped him out for where he is today by making him more flexible and stronger on the football field.
Carpenter’s parents may have coached him separately, but they support him equally. Rob and Susie Carpenter have not missed an Ohio game since Nathan started playing last season, continuing a family tradition that they have done with all of their sons.
As the last of four brothers, Nathan was not graced with the height and body build of his older brothers. But, he has not let that stop him from achieving success at the collegiate level.
“He has never let his size discourage him,” Bobby said. “He plays with a chip on his shoulder for getting passed on by bigger programs, as do many of the Bobcats, and I think that is why they are having such success now.”
Nathan was recruited by many schools while in high school, including most of the MAC schools, and a few of the schools that recruited his brothers. However he knew that Ohio was the right choice for him.
“It’s a great place and close to home for my family. It was a program on the rise when I was coming out of high school, with Coach Solich and the rest of the coaching staff. I’m glad I chose to come here because look at us now, we’re undefeated.”