Travis Carrie’s season ended before it even began.
Carrie, a fifth-year senior cornerback, returning starter and team captain, will miss the 2012 season, Ohio University football coach Frank Solich said Thursday after the Bobcats wrapped up practice inside Peden Stadium.
Carrie will soon have surgery on his injured shoulder. The injury occurred Aug. 10 in Ohio’s fall camp. Since then, the team and Carrie have explored several options for possible treatment in order to avoid surgery.
None, however, could get Carrie back on the field this season.
“(Carrie) will not be able to play this season. It will require surgery,” Solich said.
Carrie was hurt on a relatively routine play. In 7-on-7 drills, Carrie lunged over a receiver on a slant route with his arm out to deflect the pass. After landing, he immediately removed himself from the field.
That was two weeks ago, and was the last time Carrie took part in any on-the-field practice activities.
Carrie’s status is a definite hit to the Bobcats, the clear preseason pick to win the Mid-American Conference East Division and MAC Championship game. Ohio opens the season Sept. 1 at Penn State.
A cornerstone of the secondary, Carrie had the size (5-10, 212 pounds) to be effective against the run and the athletic ability to also be the club’s ‘shutdown’ corner. The Antioch, Calif. native played as a true freshman in 2008 as part of Ohio’s nickel package, then took a medical redshirt in 2009.
Carrie became a starter at corner in 2010, and last fall had a breakthrough season with career-highs in tackles (49), passes defensed (17), interceptions (4) and punt return average (12.5). He was named Second Team All-MAC last season, and this summer was named to the 2012 Thorpe Award watch list, Phil Steele’s preseason First Team All-MAC team and one of five MAC players on the inaugural Senior Bowl watch list.
Carrie was regarded as perhaps the best pro prospect on Ohio’s roster this season, and one of the best defensive players in the MAC.
Ohio won’t just miss Carrie on defense; he was a top-flight special teams threat as well. Solich has said Carrie would be a terrific running back with athletic ability, and had hoped to showcase those skills more this season with a more pronounced role on punt and kick-off returns.
Carrie also excelled as a ‘gunner’ on the punt team. He was part of the reason that Ohio opponents returned just nine of 54 punts in 2011.
Solich said he anticipated the surgery being done “quickly.”
The decision for what happens next will be up to Carrie. He has already graduated from Ohio, but could petition the NCAA for a sixth-year of eligibility under the medical hardship provision. Carrie could also move on and try to pursue a professional career.
“That’s a question he’s going to have to answer,” Solich said. “He’s thinking through a lot of things.
“I think he’d obviously like to play. But since that’s been ruled out, he has the option of coming back next year,” the coach continued. “We’ll file a petition for that, and he has great grounds for it.
“It doesn’t seem like that would be a problem. But it’s a decision for him to make.”
On the field, Ohio’s cornerback group just got a lot younger. Redshirt junior Jamil Shaw was expected to start opposite Carrie, with sophomores Larenzo Fisher and Ian Wells, and redshirt freshman Devin Bass all expected to get reps. Now, Fisher, Wells or Bass will likely be inserted into a starting role.
On special teams, with Carrie out, freshman RB Daz’mond Patterson, Bass and senior WR Ryan Clark will get more opportunities on punt and kick-off returns.
Carrie, speaking at the MAC media day in Detroit in July, said his goal for life after football included being a athletic trainer who worked with developing kids.
“I love helping out. I love being a part of somebody’s success,” he said.
For now, he’ll have to help the Bobcats in an advisory role instead of being an on-the-field leader. It wasn’t what he had in mind a month ago, but injuries are and will always be a part of the game.
“No guarantees,” he said in July. “You never know what can happen, how quickly things can change. You have to approach every practice, every game like it could be your last.”