Monday, January 19, 2015

Massachusetts Football Recruit Profile: Jahkari Carpenter

By Joe Parello (@HerewegoJoe)

Throughout January our SuitePreps section will be rolling out profiles for some of the top football recruits in Massachusetts, all leading up to National Signing Day on February 4th. We continue our rundown today with Doherty running back Jahkari Carpenter, a human highlight-reel who helped the Highlanders win the 2013 Division 4 state championship, and rushed for over 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns as a senior in 2014.

Jahkari Carpenter

Doherty Memorial High School (Worcester)
Running Back
5'7'', 160 lbs.
College Choice: Doing a Post Grad Year at Bridgton Academy in Maine.
Senior Highlights


ESPN Scouts Inc.- 2 stars, 62/100, #27 in MA, #195 RB

Ranking Note: ESPN, like most recruiting services, grades on the "star scale," awarding players between 1-5 stars, but it also grades on a 1-100 scale to place players more precisely.

Strengths: Lateral quickness, balance, receiving ability,

Areas to Improve: Strength, downhill running 

Jahkari Carpenter burst onto the scene as a diminutive but explosive running back for Worcester North a few years back, but really announced his arrival to the state as a part of the Division 4 champion Doherty Highlanders in 2013.

During Doherty's magical playoff run, Carpenter seemed to make a highlight reel run or catch in every close game the Highlanders played, and was perhaps the unsung hero of a squad that featured current Boston College defensive back Isaac Yiadom and UMass wide receiver Alfred Adarkwah.

This season, the load of Doherty's offense was placed squarely on Carpenter's shoulders, and the speedy back delivered, rushing for 1,575 yards (the most in D4 Central) and 15 touchdowns. Carpenter's 8.2 yards per carry also placed him among the best backs in the state, and he added eight catches and a touchdown through the air.

As a prospect, Carpenter has shown some serious upside, particularly as a shifty runner with tremendous "stop and go" quickness. His vision and balance make him a tough runner to bring down in the open field, and he often finds ways to emerge from a crowd of bigger bodies unscathed.

While he wasn't as big a part of the Doherty passing game this past year, Carpenter has shown soft hands and the ability to pick up huge chunks of yards after the catch. He looks natural catching the ball out of the backfield, but will have to expand his route tree to full take advantage of his abilities as a receiver.

While size is the obvious knock on Carpenter, the Highlander star has also used his smaller stature as a weapon the past few years, slipping his way through holes and creases a larger back couldn't get through. That being said, he will still need to bulk up to withstand the punishment of the next level, and likely won''t be able to dance around quite as much as he did at the high school level. There will be some plays where he'll just have to lower his shoulder and get what he can.

On the whole, Carpenter projects as a solid Division 2-type of spread back that will stress defenses out as both a runner and receiver. A year at Bridgton Academy (where he will likely play alongside fellow CMass highlight reel running back Mark Wright) should help Carpenter refine his game as a receiver and get bigger.

With more advanced receiving skills and the addition of some good weight, Carpenter could catch the eyes of some FCS coaches.

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