While the Hurricanes coaching staff is under criticism from students, fans and alumni, the program as a whole had a shining moment this week when it introduced a brand new recruit from South Carolina, 8-year-old Carter Hucks.
Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Carter and his parents arrived in Miami on Wednesday, and Carter spent a few days with the Hurricanes, including his favorite player, Duke Johnson.
Carter was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, which can lead to cancer and bone marrow failure, but no one would have guessed Carter was sick when he spoke to the media before the game.
Suited up in his No. 8 uniform and pads, Carter took the podium, ready to go as if he were answering questions about a late fourth-quarter interception.
Carter spent time practicing with the team, including tackling Tracy Howard and running for two touchdowns.
When asked if he was tackled at all, Carter , “Nope.”
He was at midfield before the football game Saturday and then led the Canes through the smoke along with Sebastian the Ibis, enjoying the moment as the team trailed behind.
After the teams traded punts in their first possessions, the first play of Miami’s second drive was an 80-yard touchdown by Duke Johnson, rolling to his left and finding the hole.
It was the longest touchdown run of his career and moved him up to fourth place on the all-time Hurricanes rushing list.
One couldn’t help but think that was for his mini-me, Carter.
After Carter finished his press conference, his parents, Jessie and Derrick, took a few moments to thank the Hurricanes for all the support and accommodation during the week.
“The university did a great job of letting him actually experience the whole, what’s it like to be a Hurricane,” his mother, Jessie, said. “We’re so appreciative of everything they’ve done for us.”
His father, Derrick, connected the Hurricanes “renewed” philosophy to Carter’s present condition.
“The team slogan this year has been ‘renewed.’ The process that Carter is about to go through, having a bone marrow transplant, he’s going to be renewed,” Derrick said. “I just hope that they will find what it will take for them to be renewed.”
Featured image courtesy of Miami Hurricanes football via Facebook.