Top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history: No. 46, Ontiwaun Carterby Anthony Gimino on Jul. 18, 2013, under Arizona football
Position, years at Arizona: Lineman, 1991-94
Honors, accomplishments at UA: No. 2 in career rushing with 3,501 yards, with the most carries in school history (805). … Earned first-team all-conference honors as a senior.
Why he made our list: First, you have to start with the recruiting visit. Coming from Los Angeles and having to switch planes in Phoenix, Carter asked an airline representative about his connecting flight, identifying himself as a football player. He was pointed toward a group of other football players and boarded their flight … to Flagstaff. Eventually, NAU coaches called down to the UA football office and said, “We think we have one of your recruits.”
Carter did find his way to Tucson, committed to coach Dick Tomey and ran into the record books. He was a quick, change-of-direction back, a key and constant cog on offense for Arizona’s Desert Swarm teams. With a variety of spin moves, cuts and micro-bursts, he led the team in rushing in 1992 (739 yards), 1993 (837) and 1994 (1,163).
In that senior season, he was free from a rotation that had included Chuck Levy and Billy Johnson. “Rotating in and out, I could never get in the flow of the game,” he said. “Believe me, there were times when I would go to our running-backs coach (Marc Lunsford), and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’”
Carter set the school rushing record Nov. 12, 1994, surpassing Art Luppino’s 3,371 yards in a loss to USC. Trung Canidate broke Carter’s record five years later.
Life after college: Carter, at 5 feet 9, wasn’t a big back and didn’t quite fit the NFL prototype. He was undrafted in 1995, but signed a free-agent deal with Miami before being among the final cuts in camp. He played two seasons with the Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, helping the team to the 1997 World Bowl before settling in to family life in the Las Vegas area, working with troubled youth in a juvenile facility. He got a call back to the Fire for the 2000 season, but that was the end of the football road. Carter, who grew up in Los Angeles’ rough inner-city neighborhoods, is now Pastor Carter, founder of Restorer of the Breach Ministries in Las Vegas.
In partnership with the Arizona Republic, we are counting down the top 50 football players in Arizona Wildcats history. Leave your top 10 at AG’s Wildcat Report on Facebook, and check out azcentral.com for the countdown of ASU’s Top 50 football players.
No. 50 — LaMonte Hunley
No. 49 — Hubie Oliver
No. 48 — Rob Gronkowski
No. 47 — Jim Donarski