Las Animas High School Football Player Invited to Dallas Texas

AJ Carter

Every young football player dreams of taking the field at a National Football League (NFL) stadium.  For Ashton (AJ) Carter, the 16-year-old son of Brandy and CJ Carter of Las Animas, that dream could become a reality if he can raise the money he needs to get there. AJ, who will be a junior, and plays defensive end and backup quarterback for the Las Animas Trojans, has been invited to participate in the Junior Day Football National Showcase at AT&T Stadium, Home of the Dallas Cowboys, in Arlington, Texas, July 17-19, 2022.

Because registration for this event is $1200, plus the cost of the hotel, gasoline, and meals, AJ’s mom has started a GoFundMe page called “AJ’s Football Dream” ( Money can also be donated on CashApp ($bcarter489) or Venmo (@bcart89), and there are donation jars at Hat & Spur Hardware, LA Café, 6th Street Tavern, and Pete’s Fan Zone in Las Animas.  While the money requested on GoFundMe is less than they need, the family is trying to raise money in other ways, too. They have had two bake sales, AJ is doing odd jobs and yard work, and his two younger brothers and sister have helped by selling lemonade.

The Junior Day Football National Showcase is an invitation-only event and is limited to 200 players from across the U.S.  Last year, 37 states were represented; this year looks to be bigger and better. It will not only give AJ an opportunity to play in a world-class stadium, but also a chance to work with and be evaluated by great college football coaches from around the country. There will be practices, skills testing and other events, and will feature head coaches, coordinators, and top assistants from more than 200 colleges and universities. Their goal is to make sure that each football player in attendance can be properly evaluated to determine if they fit with that school’s program. On the last day, players will be broken into 8 teams, and play a round-robin tournament, showcasing their talents and competing for prizes.

There are also more than 50 regional showcases, hosted by various colleges across the country, culminating in the National Showcase in Dallas.  AJ has already attended a regional showcase at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, and was invited to Dallas because he did so well at Golden.  He attended another showcase in June at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and has also been invited to Iowa, California, Arizona, Washington, and Oklahoma.

When asked what he expects to get out of the National Showcase, AJ said, “I hope to learn a lot, to become a better player, and to get noticed as a (football) prospect, even if it’s by a small college.”  His dream is to study architecture or mechanical engineering, play college football at Louisiana State University (LSU), and, if possible, go on to become a Wide Receiver in the NFL. His inspiration is Joe Burrow, quarterback for the Cincinnati Bengals, who also attended LSU.  When asked why, AJ said, “I admire him because he’s always relaxed, doesn’t fold under pressure, and seems to be having fun.”  He’s considering starting a blog or a Facebook page so friends can follow his progress as he chases his dream – of becoming a college football player.
From Jan Thierichen

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