STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
BURNET — In signing his National Letter of Intent on Feb. 16, Burnet High School senior defensive lineman Seth Carpenter kept intact the family tradition of playing college sports.
However, Carpenter, who stands 6 feet 2 inches and weighs 280 pounds, is the first to play college football and chose one of the top Division III programs: the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
The Crusaders won an NCAA Division III national title in 2016 and have 13 10-win seasons and 14 American Southwest Conference titles.
When Carpenter looked at all that the Crusaders have accomplished, his decision was fairly easy.
“They win,” he said with a smile. “They’ve been winning for a few years. Their facilities are top-notch, and it’s close to home.”
The university is in Belton, which is halfway between Waco and Georgetown.
Carpenter’s older sister, Mackenzie, is a pitcher at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Father Brian was a pitcher for Baylor University and starred in the sport at Marble Falls High School in the late 1980s. Mother Amanda was a Baylor basketball player.
When he and his parents visited campuses, his mother and father advised him to get a feel for its program and campus and listen to the coaches, professors, players, and other recruits.
As a Bulldog, Carpenter played on the defensive line, but he might move to the offensive line as a Crusader.
Burnet head football coach Kurt Jones noted Carpenter has the ingredients needed to be successful at the next level.
“Seth is great young man,” Jones said. “He’s a big and strong kid. Seth is so coachable all the time. That makes a great player and young man. We’d take three or four Seths every year if we could. They’d make our team great.”
Burnet defensive coordinator Casey Carr said opponents would often focus Carpenter, which allowed his teammates to rack up tackling and turnover stats.
“He may have two or three people on him,” Carr said.
Carpenter said he learned plenty playing for Burnet, including how to deal with wins and losses and be a better teammate and leader.
The Bulldog had his own reasons for wanting to play college football: the love of the sport, the friendships, and being part of something bigger than himself.
“I’ve always wanted to be one of those guys,” he said. “To pursue this is pretty surreal.”