April 06, 2016

A ‘world class education’ and a path to the NFL

It’s rare for a Division III student-athlete to join the NFL, and even rarer for that athlete to make the transition from a small school like Beloit.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Redskins Photo courtesy of the Washington RedskinsDerek Carrier’12, an Edgerton, Wis., native who scored his first NFL touchdown last fall for the Washington Redskins, did just that—and he made it look easy.

Carrier majored in health and society at Beloit and missed his own Commencement ceremony after signing on with the Oakland Raiders as an undrafted free agent in April 2012. Since then, he’s played for the Philadelphia Eagles and the San Francisco 49ers. He was traded to Washington for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2016 NFL draft.

In October, during week five of the season, the tight end scored his first NFL touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons on a 7-yard pass from Kirk Cousins. “It was a long time coming for me. There was a lot of pent up aggression, frustration, joy, and excitement—a lot of feelings coming into one culminated point,” Carrier explains.

During a bye week last fall, Carrier and his wife, Dorota “Dora” Maslinski Carrier’14, took time out of their busy lives to visit campus to help Beloit in its recruiting efforts. They each did an interview and participated in a Snapchat takeover, showing their favorite campus locations. Dora explained how they loved returning to campus because it was like a second home to them. They said they were honored to help get the word out about Beloit to prospective students.

Derek Carrier recalls being unaware of Beloit until his junior year of high school, when then-head football coach Chris Brann contacted him about his college options. Carrier was coming off statistically strong football and basketball seasons and was considering a variety of schools that included smaller Division I institutions, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and other Big Ten schools that were trying to recruit him for football, basketball, and baseball.

Carrier says he loved sports, but he wasn’t driven only by the desire to play college football. He wanted to receive a good education. “When I was looking at Beloit, the football and basketball coaches were on board with me playing both sports while also receiving a world class education, so that’s why I chose it,” he says.

During four years, Carrier made the dean’s list every semester, was a Presidential Scholar, captained the football team, and received a variety of athletic accolades, including First Team All-MWC in 2010 and D3 Senior Classic Preseason All-American in 2011.

Dora majored in psychology, minored in studio art, and played on Beloit’s lacrosse team. She, too, made the dean’s list, and she received the Guy Allen Tawney Prize for academic excellence from the psychology department.

When they visited campus last fall, both reflected on the strength of Beloit’s faculty. “I think the teachers here are accessible,” says Derek. “They’re not just showing up and performing a duty—they actually care about the students and their well-being. They helped me connect school and athletics, especially during the time I was going through the draft process.”

In December, Carrier suffered a season-ending injury in a Redskins victory against the Chicago Bears. As he works on healing, he looks forward to returning to football and a few other milestones, including having children, buying his first house, someday winning the Super Bowl, and continuing his education. “I’m planning on getting my doctorate in physical therapy at the University of Madison-Wisconsin and practicing in an athletic or sports-oriented environment,” he says.

Also In This Issue

  • The Women’s Soccer team welcomed Isla Lentz.

    Soccer Team Signs 6-Year-Old

  • Wry Humor: Reflections as a Side Dish


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