In one season at Tyler Junior College, McLane Carter proved he belonged on the Division I level.
Texas Tech and its high-flying offense thought so too as the former Gilmer High School and Apache quarterback signed a scholarship agreement with the Red Raiders on Wednesday. He will have three years of eligibility.
“It felt like home,” Carter said during a ceremony before family and friends in the foyer of Wagstaff Gymnasium. “What a great opportunity to play for coach Kliff Kingsbury and Texas Tech and in the Big 12.”
Carter picked Tech over Southern Mississippi, Old Dominion and Massachusetts.
Carter, the younger brother of former Texas, Tulsa and current CFL quarterback G.J. Kinne, was named the Most Valuable Player and Offensive MVP in the Southwest Junior College Football Conference.
Carter, a transfer from Incarnate Word, led the nation’s quarterbacks by averaging 358.4 yards per game. The 6-3, 215-pounder with a cannon arm and quick feet, connected on 192 of 332 pass attempts for 3,226 yards and 30 touchdowns with nine interceptions. On the ground, he rushed for 224 yards and two TDs on 48 carries.
Carter directed the top offense in the nation as TJC averaged 54.3 points per game and 636.9 yards.
Carter’s breakout game came against Navarro, where he threw for 578 yards on 39 completions, and tossed six touchdowns.
As a senior at Gilmer High School, Carter completed 220 of 297 attempts (74 percent) for 3,969 yards with 47 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He led the Buckeyes to a 16-0 record in 2014 and the Class 4A Division II state championship.
TJC head coach Danny Palmer would have loved to have had Carter for another season, but he was elated for the opportunity for his quarterback to play in a Power 5 conference like the Big 12.
“I know it is a happy day for Texas Tech,” Palmer said. “We are really proud of him. He came here this time last year. He improved in everything from running ability to passing. He helped us win a lot of football games and set a lot of records. … He is going to do real well at Texas Tech.”
TJC offensive coordinator Ryan Taylor said, “Texas Tech just got a lot better today.”
Carter said throwing the ball “45 to 50 times a game” helped him pick Tech as well as his friendship with current Texas Tech quarterback and fellow East Texan Patrick Mahomes II of Whitehouse. Both work out at Tyler’s APEC.
Although Mahomes did not tell Carter if he was leaving for the NFL, Carter thinks the NCAA’s leading passer will declare for the draft.
“Obviously, I want to go in and play, but if he stays I will get to learn from one of the best quarterbacks,” Carter said. “I will learn the offense, the verbiage inside and out from him. Also, I can learn from him how he communicates with the coaches and everything about the quarterback position.”
Carter thanked Palmer, Taylor, the TJC staff and the school in helping him get to the next level.
Joining Carter from the JUCO ranks at Tech will be defensive backs Vaughnte Dorsey of Gulf Coast CC (Mississippi), Jaylon Lane of Independence CC (Kansas) and Nacogdoches High School, and Octavious Morgan of Butler CC (Kansas), offensive lineman Jacob Hines of Long Beach CC (California) and linebacker Tony Jones, also of Butler CC.