CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Edwin Carter has seen the clip a thousand times. The Illini redshirt freshman receiver hasn’t tried to block the gruesome hit out of his memory, instead he’s embraced it.
“Yeah, right then I’m just thinking make the play,” he said as he watched the play again.
Carter blew out his knee catching a touchdown pass in his first college game last season. The Florida native caught two passes against Western Illinois, both for touchdowns. The second one ended his freshman season.
“I just watched it as motivation,” he said. “I just knew that I had rehab everyday, it was just motivation to get me thru and help me be able to come back this season.”
It took Carter about a month to get back on his feet after the first surgery to repair a shattered knee, where only the meniscus and MCL remained intact.
He then had a second surgery to repair his ACL.
“I’ll never forget, the day after surgery, we went to the hospital to see him and he said, ‘Coach, I’m starting next game, next year. I’ll be back out there.’ We thought it was a two-year rehab, you encourage him as much as you can but we’ve seen him working throughout,” head coach Lovie Smith said.
“I knew I was going to come back and make a big impact because I didn’t even know I was going to play that night, so I just knew it couldn’t be the end for me,” Carter said.
Carter was cleared by doctors last month and says he feels great. The 6-foot-3 wide out has been practicing every other day, impressing his teammates every step of the way.
“I seen Ed working very hard in the training room every day and he bounced back,” Ricky Smalling said. “I’m just very proud of him and he’s been thru a lot.”
A brace and multiple scars are the only thing that remain from the injury.
And the video that continues to motivate Carter to get back in the game.