Senior Signing Spotlight: Avery Carrington
Beauty of campus, upswing of program led CHS safety to Nevada
This is No. 5 in a month-long series of profiles of Arizona high school seniors that signed with four-year colleges. Here's the full list (currently totaling 276) of players from within the state moving on to the next level.
Avery Carrington is that rare athlete that has been on both sides of the Chandler-Hamilton rivalry. After playing his first two years with the Huskies, he moved up Arizona Avenue to Chandler for two seasons with the Wolves.
In his sophomore year, Hamilton finished with an uncharacteristic record of 7-5. That ended a string of 17 consecutive seasons of 10 or more wins for HHS. Despite the results, Carrington gained knowledge that would help him later in his high school years.
"Being at Hamilton truly made me become a better leader as we had our rough season," Carrington said in an e-mail interview. "I also was learning from the people around me as safety was a new thing for me, and I thank that program for having me."
The transition to Chandler was an easy one as Carrington had played with several of the Wolves players in Pop Warner. In youth football, he was a wide receiver catching passes from Jacob Conover.
In high school, Carrington played safety on the defense and led the Wolves in tackles his junior season with 85 while also intercepting a pair of passes.
Fast forward to 2018 spring football at Chandler. As you might imagine for a team that was the two-time defending champions, many college coaches took in Wolves' practices. It was there that Carrington's relationship with his future school began.
"Nevada felt like the right fit when (defensive coordinator) Jeff Casteel and (defensive backs coach) David Lockwood personally came to see me in spring practices at Chandler and made me the offer the following week," Carrington said. "What interests me is that Nevada has a set plan for what they want to come in the future of teaching us how to play the game and grow as a unit. Honestly, that sometimes outweighs the wins in football."
The upward trajectory started last year as Nevada finished with its best record (8-5) since 2010. It was the most wins for the Wolf Pack since joining the Mountain West Conference. The team ended the year with a thrilling 16-13 victory over Arkansas State in the Arizona Bowl, played in Tucson.
A month after the offer, Carrington took an official visit to Reno. It was an opportunity to see first hand, along with his family, the changes that Nevada was making within its program.
"Getting on the beautiful campus and getting to meet the whole staff in person was truly special to my family and me," Carrington said. "Plus, getting to create bonds with current players on the roster."
Before the weekend had ended, Carrington committed to the Pack, selecting Nevada over other offers from Army, Liberty, New Mexico State, and Northern Arizona.
His senior year got off to a strong start with a career-high 12 tackles against Corona Centennial. The following week, he forced a fumble during a home win against Queen Creek.
Chandler put together a 13-game win streak to capture its third straight 6A title, but Carrington's season ended in October with a knee injury. It could have got him down, but the leadership skills learned earlier in his career kicked in.
"It did not stop me from attending every practice and meeting," Carrington said. "My teammates knew I was still there all the way through."
Good News: Carrington is now back and better with his knee fully healed.
I asked Carrington what last season's Chandler team did better than the '17 team. He acknowledged it was exciting for him, but he didn't take the bait. There would be no comparison of what he and his Ohana had accomplished the prior year. Carrington was simply there to finish what the '16 and '17 teams had accomplished, and that was getting the three-peat.
"This year's team really had to find the chemistry that I knew we had all along," Carrington said. "It showed in the end."
Following the season, Carrington made it official in the Early Signing Period in December. At 6-2, and 195 pounds, he is long and athletic.
He is following in the footsteps of his older brother, Devon, who played at Stanford.
Defensive back was clearly a need for Nevada as it signed six in this class, including Centennial's Kieran Clark, who visited Reno the same weekend as Carrington last June. The secondary is needed as the Wolf Pack run a 3-3-5 defense that likes to use pressure and create mistakes.
Carrington's recruitment may have seemed like it came in a hurry, but there was a lot of patience involved. It's just a matter of finding that right school.
"I feel that for everyone, no matter who you are, the recruiting process is always stressful, whether you are waiting on a school to offer you or if you're not sure what school is right for you," Carrington said. "I had a little bit of a long wait for the right school to come along, but once Nevada came, I was locked in."