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Earlier this season Jonathan Celestin took a pick-six to the house and pointed to the sky to honor his late father.
When Celestin’s father passed away unexpectedly last April one of the first teammates to offer support was senior Eric Carter. Not only is Carter one of the most respected leaders on the entire football team, but he could also relate with Celestin. He lost his mother as a junior in high school.
“When Jon lost his father I reached out to him and told him if he ever needed someone to talk with that I’m there for him,” Carter said.
Two years ago it was Carter who found the end zone at TCF Bank Stadium for the first time in his career.
“My first college touchdown was very surreal,” Carter said. “I finally crossed that end zone and was able to give all glory to God and give a shoutout to my mom for helping me out and getting me as far as she did before passing away.”
Growing up, Carter was given the nickname “Icky boo” by his mom. Most of his close family shortened it to Icky and he still gives a nod to his mom by having Icky as part of his social media handle. He still carries the life lessons he learned from her with him. Losing her has helped him appreciate life and take on any adversity that comes his way.
“It makes you grow so much as a person,” Carter said. “It gives you something far more to live for than football. It just makes you want to live and enjoy every day you have of life.”
Carter said his football career hasn’t always gone as he had planned after battling injuries. He has also seen teammates that started with him move on from football altogether or transfer to another school. He said everybody has their own story but he has loved his experience at Minnesota.
“I was taught to never give up, finish what you started,” said Carter. “People look to me for advice because they know what I have been through. I just feel like if you make it through college, it is one of the most glorifying things you can do. I feel like people on the team just see that I made it through.”
The Lakeland, Fla. native already has his degree in sport management and has fallen in love with the Minneapolis area.
“Coming here made me grow up faster just being so far from my family,” he said. “Minneapolis is just a great place to live after school. It’s a great place to get a job, you have all the sports teams around here and just playing as a Gopher is unreal. I’m thankful to all the fans who have stayed with us with unwavering support through the good and the bad. I’ve enjoyed every second and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
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