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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Carson: Prepared for the limelight

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Then junior running back Tra Carson runs the ball in the 2014 48-31 loss to Mississippi State.

Four years have passed since Tra Carson entered the realm of college football. The six foot, 235 pound senior running back now enters his final season with the Aggies but begins a new chapter in his football career as the featured back.

Carson started his college career under Chip Kelly at the University of Oregon in 2011. After seeing game time as a true freshman, Carson transferred to A&M the next year, feeling that a school closer to home would be a better fit. The Aggies had a loaded backfield, but Carson was determined to climb the depth chart.

“Honestly I knew the situation I was coming [into,]” Carson said. “We had a lot of talented backs here. Those guys work hard every day, and they deserve to play. I just wanted to win, so I did whatever I needed to do to win.” 

Due to NCAA rules, the Texarkana native was forced to sit out and wait a season before he could see action in an A&M uniform. Carson finally saw playing time in 2013, taking handoffs from Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel. Carson only carried the ball 62 times due to a split backfield with Ben Malena, Trey Williams, Brandon Williams and Manziel, who rushed for 759 yards on 144 attempts. 

A year later, Carson’s role grew as he led the team in rushing. He ran the ball 124 times for 581 yards while averaging 4.7 yards per carry, along with finding the end zone five times. Carson’s breakout game was in the Liberty Bowl victory against West Virginia. He carried the load 25 times, rushing for 133 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per attempt. The senior talked about what it means to him now that he’s finally the starting running back in the A&M offense.

“This is what any running back in college could ask for,” Carson said. “I’m ready for this, and I’ve been preparing for this my whole entire college career, so I don’t feel any pressure at all. It excites me a lot, I can’t wait. I’m grateful that they gave me the opportunity, so I’m going to take it running.”

The Aggies finished 7-5 last season. With the addition of new impact freshmen, along with many returning players, Carson said he is excited to see what the season brings.

“I’m very motivated — I always come in motivated,” Carson said. “We have high expectations, which we should, because we have great players and great talent around, so we’re motivated. We just want to take it day by day and make sure we’re getting better every day. Then, hopefully at the end of the season, we’re where we want to be. We’re going to keep our heads down and keep working — keep watering the tree. Hopefully by the end of the season, we have a big apple tree.”

In the offseason, the Aggies hired former Wyoming head coach Dave Christensen as running game coordinator and offensive line coach in hopes he will improve a ground attack that ranked 12th in the SEC last season with 150 yards per game. 

Carson said his team is excited to get back on the field for a highly anticipated season opener.

“Big stadium, big stage — everyone is really excited about the game, and [we] just can’t wait to play,” Carson said. “We know what we’re capable of doing. We’re confident and just ready to get out there and show the world.”

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