Xavier Carter wants to be remembered as one of the best athletes to ever graduate from LSU. And just like on the track, Carter is blowing past his competition left and right.
Carter is already a three-time All-American. In just his first visit to the NCAA Outdoor Championships, Carter anchored the national champion 4x400-meter relay team that just happened to run the fastest collegiate time in the history of the event.
In addition to helping set the national record in the 4x400, the Palm Bay, Fla., native holds the LSU team record in both the indoor and outdoor 200 meters. In his first indoor season, Carter shattered Roshaan Griffin's nine-year-old team record three times in just three weeks.
Two months later, Carter ran the fastest outdoor 200-meter race of any Tiger. His time of 20.02 at the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships was the fifth-fastest time in the world last year. Carter just missed out on the individual title in the 200 meters at the NCAA meet, finishing second with a blistering time of 20.08.
After just two weeks off, Carter competed in the USA Championships after his successful appearance at the NCAA Championships. The speedster advanced to the finals in his first appearance at the meet.
And all of that was in just his first year of college.
The young star is living up to the hype generated by a stellar freshman year. Carter has already qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March having ran just two races this season.
"Mentally and physically I'm a better person. I'm trying to become a better person as I age," said Carter. "I'm trying to have a better season than I had last year."
The awards are coming in just as fast as he is rewriting the record books. In addition to his All-American distinctions, in July of last year Carter became the first athlete to be named both the SEC Indoor and Outdoor Freshman Runner of the Year.
This season, the stand out sophomore has already been named SEC Indoor Runner of the Week for his efforts in the New Mexico Invitational. His time of 20.74 in the 200-meter dash currently ranks as the fourth-fastest in the world so far this year. It is the fastest time ran by an amateur as well. And he shows no sign of slowing down.
Just a few weeks later at the New Balance Collegiate Invitational, Carter ran 46.40 in just his second 400-meter race for the Tigers, giving him yet another world ranking time. The time is the fastest ran by an American this season.
It's Carter's mechanical improvements over last year that have LSU head coach Dennis Shaver excited. With Carter's improved form, Shaver feels that he is bettering himself for a successful career.
"Xavier's always been very competitive," said Shaver. "But over the last year, he's done a good job of trying to learn the mechanics,"
Shaver and the rest of his coaching staff have stressed the importance of physical conditioning to accompany the competitive fire, as well.
"That was my biggest concern last year with him, was that he's such a competitor but yet he wasn't very mechanically efficient." Shaver continued, "The key for him is going to be learning the process of what you have to do to get to that point where you can be not only a part of something but be very successful at them for the long haul."
Carter is quick to give thanks to others for his accolades. Carter credits God first for his abilities. Past that, the young man thanks his family and his coaches for guiding him to where he is today.
"I want to credit the coaches and staff," said Carter. "And my family for the support that they've given me throughout the years, without them I probably wouldn't be here."
Those same coaches are doing their best to help Carter in his effort toward greatness. Coach Shaver is most boastful about the sprinter's ability to take instruction.
"As the year went on last year, he started to understand some things," said Shaver. "He's very coachable from my standpoint, trying to improve. He's still got a lot of room for improvement on some things. He was just raw talent when he got here, but he made pretty significant improvements last year from his senior year in high school."
Coming to LSU out of high school was no easy choice for the Florida native. Carter was heavily recruited by the Florida, Florida State, and Miami in addition to LSU. But it was the joint success of the football program and the track program that tipped the scales in LSU's favor.
"Most of the schools in Florida I was going to had good football programs but not good track programs," Carter said. "When I visited LSU, I saw that they had an outstanding track team, I figured this would be the best place for me playing both sports."
With such a successful start to his career, some find it difficult to believe that Carter can keep up his meteoric pace. Yet, Coach Shaver remains confident.
"I've seen a lot of maturity just in one year," said Shaver. "If we can see that much again this year, then we'll really be on the right track with him."