Senior cornerback Omar Bolden with his sideline variety act can make it difficult for even a regular observer to appreciate the muted maneuvers of his cornerback compadres.
If the old adage for cover corners is true, that utterance of name is evidence of error, save for the occasional interception or deflection, it could be a while before redshirt sophomore cornerback Deveron Carr gets his due.
That’s nothing new.
“I’m used to the underdog role and I love the underdog role,” Carr said. “It is where you work the hardest.”
Carr is going into just his fourth year as a cornerback. As a junior at Tempe’s Marcos de Niza High School, Carr was limited to two games by injury. He transferred to Scottsdale’s Chaparral High School for his senior year, where he put up close to ten yards per carry as a running back and 12 pass deflections as a corner — the first year he played the position.
Even as a standout two-way player at a top high school program, Carr had trouble getting attention from the top college programs. Despite his ideal size at 5 feet 11 inches and 185 pounds, as well as his blazing speed backed by a 4.35 second 40-yard dash time, Carr barely cracked the top five list of Arizona cornerbacks by ESPN Scouts, Inc. and Rivals.com.
Carr chose ASU over UA, committing to the Sun Devils after their home victory over the Wildcats in December 2007.
After redshirting his freshman year, Carr appeared in 11 games last season, starting three of the last four in part due to the suspension of fellow cornerback Terell Carr and to an injury suffered by senior cornerback Pierre Singfield before the Cal game.
Even though Carr tore his labrum against UCLA in the second to last game of the season, his performance in the brief starting stint was noteworthy. He helped the Sun Devils hold USC’s freshman phenom Matt Barkley to just seven completions and 122 yards.
Carr had two deflections, but it was one play in the third quarter where he seemed to travel a downhill plane.
Moving like skier Bode Miller, from the far hash to the near sideline, Carr vaulted in front of the USC receiver to break up a potential game — changing completion, sending a ripple of shrieks from the sideline to the normally buttoned-up press box.
Coach Dennis Erickson made sure to mention him in his postgame press conference.
“The one (play) that jumps out on me from Deveron was the play he made across the field from our bench,” Erickson said at the time. “The crossing route — you could see Deveron close.”
Carr was just happy to be on the field in a big role.
“You never know when you are going to get that chance,” Carr said.
Chaparral head football coach Charlie Ragle figured Carr would ascend the depth chart after arriving at ASU.
“It was just his character and focus,” Ragle said. “That’s the thing that separated him from everyone else I have coached. He was his own man. He knew what he wanted, which was to be a Division I scholarship player, and he fought to make it happen.”
After recovering from his shoulder injury, Carr was back training this off-season, working on his technique — which, considering his lack of experience at cornerback, could still use some work.
“When you consider how long he’s played corner, the upside for him is through the roof,” Ragle said.
Even if other stars on ASU’s top-ranked defense garner more attention, Carr’s work ethic and top-end ability is sure to keep his teammates gawking. They could even earn praise from the team’s most colorful songbird.
“He has worked his butt off in the off-season and it has made a huge difference,” Bolden said. “If he continues to play the way he played at the end last year and the way he is playing now, it is going to be something scary to go against.”