Jackson Carver is committed to Notre Dame, a three-star defender in ND’s 2022 lacrosse recruiting class. There’s no doubt about that, but his football recruitment? That’s still very much open.
Carver, a 6-foot-6, 220-pound tight end/defensive end for Culver Academy in Culver, Indiana, hasn’t played much football in his high school career, but he’s caught the eye of college coaches with his lacrosse tape.
“I think it’s definitely helped me,” Carver told WV Sports Now. “So with my little experience with football, it’s been my lacrosse film that’s definitely helped me. Almost every coach has definitely mentioned that they’ve watched my lacrosse highlight film, and they can see my athleticism and physicality through that.”
After a visit to Morgantown over the weekend, attending the WVU-Oklahoma State game at Milan Puskar Stadium, he picked up his first college football offer from WVU.
Grateful to receive a Division 1 football offer from @WVUfootball. Thank you Coaches @NealBrown_WVU @SGasperWVU @CoachTTrickett @TyMurphy.#TrustTheClimb ⛰ @CMAnderson247 @wvsportsdotcom pic.twitter.com/8M1xwgKx5P
— Jackson Carver (@JacksonCarver11) November 7, 2021
WVU recruiting director Scott Gaspar first reached out to Carver, building a relationship with him over the last week and a half. The WVU-OKST game visit was planned about a week ago, and Carver and his dad flew out for the game.
“When I got to the stadium, coach Neal Brown said that he’s been watching me for the past six weeks and was just really impressed with my upside,” Carver said.
Despite a loss to Oklahoma State, Carver said he really enjoyed the visit to Morgantown — and there’s no shame in losing to a great team in the Cowboys. Carver got to experience a “great” game-day environment, seeing Mountaineer faithful in full force.
“It was definitely very exciting, definitely a very exciting moment for my family and I — my dad was there with me,” Carver said. “It was a cool moment to share with him, getting my first offer. Looking back on the visit now, I had a good time and I’m looking forward to getting back soon for an official visit to get a better look at the school part of it to get a better understanding of if it’s a move I want to make.”
The WVU visit was Carver’s third college football visit, making a trip to South Bend, Indiana for a ND football game and a trip to Bloomington, Indiana for an Indiana football game. He hasn’t received a scholarship offer from either school, but ND has offered him a preferred walk-on.
If Carver sticks with his ND lacrosse commitment, he plans to play both football and lacrosse — if it’s manageable for him. However, he’s still feeling out his football recruitment at this point.
“My lacrosse commitment is obviously closed, but my football recruitment is open,” Carver said. “I’m just waiting for any other offers and just keeping my options open on the football side.”
With a decision required by National Signing Day on Feb. 2, there isn’t a whole lot of time to consider options, but Carver does want to make an official visit to learn more about WVU — in areas other than football.
“I’ve only heard about their program, it’s called the 5th Quarter Program,” Carver said. “And I’d love to learn more about that, it’s about helping their football athletes find jobs and all that stuff. So, that’d be super interesting. Obviously a huge upside of the program.”
The 5th Quarter Program, a program announced by Brown in 2020, is, “an initiative that educates its student-athletes and continues building the culture by serving and developing total Mountaineers.”
Carver and his father flew into Morgantown over the weekend, so he’d like a chance to get the full Morgantown experience in seeing the campus and surrounding area. He’d also like to learn more about the Business program at WVU.
While Carver isn’t too familiar with WVU, his defensive coordinator at Culver Academy played against Gaspar — and coached with him after — back in the day, so he’s been teaching Carver a bit about the university. “But there’s definitely a lot to learn,” Carver said. “I don’t have the knowledge to be able to make a decision yet, but that’ll come with time.”
With WVU not offering lacrosse, if Carver decides to eventually commit to the Mountaineers, he’d make the switch to football full-time and unlock the raw potential that has made him a Power Five football recruit despite his lack of experience.
Culver’s football season came to an end with a loss to New Prairie in the IHSAA state tournament, but Carver emerged as a legitimate football recruit throughout the season — highlighted by a 72-yard, 2-touchdown performance against North Judson earlier this season.
— Jackson Carver (@JacksonCarver11) September 25, 2021