COVINGTON, Ga. -- If Taylor Carter wanted to take on a bit of a selfish attitude, there may be some who probably wouldn’t blame him for it.
Carter, the 5-foot-7, 180-pound tailback, burst on the scene last season as a sophomore when he rushed for close to 600 yards and nine scores while splitting time with graduated running back Anthony Brown.
So it seemed plausible to believe that the next season would be Taylor’s to shine as the featured back in a retooled Eastside offense that will feature a new quarterback in Brayden Harper to replace three-year starter Austin Holloway.
Even Eastside’s highly touted lineman Lamarius Benson excitedly spoke of the big plans he had in store for his running back teammate.
“We’re gonna put 1,000 (yards) on TC this year,” Benson said.
But that may be a little harder to come by now that Carter has been joined with a couple of familiar football players from his childhood.
Senior Tyon Davis and junior Jordan Rogers — both recent transfers from Rockdale High — will be joining the talented Carter in the offensive backfield for 2017. And Carter has absolutely no qualms or misgivings about sharing the ball with two more talented backs.
“Honestly, it starts a new thing for the backfield for our upcoming season,” Carter said. “I’m excited about it.”
Part of that excitement perhaps stems from the fact that Davis, Rogers and Carter are not new to each other.
“I played with both of those guys before in middle school,” Carter said. “I’m glad to see us coming back together. I think it’ll be something new and good for our offense. Maybe something different than what we’ve seen before.”
Carter isn’t the only one who will be making a sacrifice for the greater good of a team’s betterment. Davis, a 5-foot-10, 185 pound speedster, could’ve also made a case for wanting to be somewhere where he could have more of a featured role.
After a sophomore year that saw him rush for about 200 yards on 24 carries at Rockdale, Davis missed all of 2016 with a dislocated shoulder and torn rotator cuff. And for a while, he thought his football playing days were done.
“It happened in spring practice last year,” Davis said. “I was running, and a guy pulled on my arm and it just kind of came apart. I really thought it was over. It was a hard time. But I’m ready to come back and bounce back and just make a major comeback.”
He’ll do it with another Rockdale teammate joining him in Rogers.
Rogers ran for a 6-yard-per-carry average on his way to 274 yards and a score during his 2016 campaign at Rockdale. And Davis doesn’t see a problem with it.
“I’m really excited about this, actually,” Davis said. “Jordan and I ran in the backfield at Rockdale, so it’s pretty cool to see him come to Eastside. He’s going to bring a good, physical running style to this offense.”
Carter said that from what he’s seen in practice, the addition of Davis and Rogers will bring a needed change of pace from his own running style that should make Eastside’s offense tough to stop.
“With me, my breakaway speed isn’t really my strength,” Carter said. “But I think I’ve got great vision. Really, I think all three of these guys have great vision. But with Jordan and Tyon, you’re going to have more speed coming from them. I think we’ll be able to have more success running the ball to the outside because of them.”
But Davis isn’t selling the talents of his teammate Carter short.
“TC is a pretty quick guy too,” Davis said. “He’s pretty quick with his cuts. He’s got the ability to make people miss.”
But Davis said he may be the one most willing to absorb and distribute the punishment.
“I think I’m more of a straight up and down runner,” Davis said. “Where the others may try to get around you, I may run tougher, like sometimes I might try to run the person over where TC or Jordan might go for the cut. But we all can still put the hammer down.”
Davis said he’s enjoyed his brief time at Eastside, and has stated that everyone has been accommodating and hasn’t treated him much like a newcomer at all.
“It’s been pretty good being here,” he said. “The coaching staff, the players, they’ve all been great to work with. And everyone on the team too. Like working with (Lamarius) Benson and guys like that has been cool. They’ve really been showing me love.”
It’ll definitely be a new look offense for Eastside — even up front as the Eagles will try to find a few more pieces on the offensive line to complement Benson’s expected dominance. That’s something Carter says he isn’t worried about, though.
“With the leadership of Benson, just him leading the rest, giving them good advice and building chemistry along with the rest of the backs, I think we’ll gel,” Carter said. “And then with Brayden (Harper) at quarterback, I know he brings a lot of confidence.”
And the reuniting of his middle school teammates is the icing on the cake.
“My first reaction when seeing them again was how great it’s going to be being on the same team again,” Carter said. “Then coming here is going to spark something in us. IT’s going to be great for the Eastside rushing game.”
Davis agrees, stating that the expectations should remain high despite the unfamiliar faces.
“I think this is going to be a great season for the offense,” Davis said. “It’s gonna click for us, and I Think we’ll go far and deep into the playoffs. I think we’ve got something big in store for everyone watching.”