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PROVO — Have you ever had a dream?
Not the Cinderella type where "a dream is a wish your heart makes." No, we're talking about the dream where you work hard and you are rewarded in the end. That's Nate Carter's dream, and it is coming true.
The Dixie High School product originally signed on to play football at Southern Utah. But he changed his mind while he was on his LDS mission.
"It was always my dream to play at BYU," Carter said. "I had that opportunity to play as a preferred walk-on."
The first part of the dream was fulfilled, but he knew he would not receive any playing time after he returned from Taiwan. Carter trekked down to Palm Desert, California, to play one semester at College of the Desert.
"I don't think I would be where I am now if I had not taken that step back," he said.
Carter's progression in Provo would be slow. In 2012, he was part of the practice squad. He rushed for 1 yard his sophomore season. But Carter refused to quit.
"I told myself that when I stopped enjoying football, I would stop … and that never happened," he said.
It all started adding up, according to his position coach.
"Nate is the epitome of the greatest walk-on," BYU running backs coach Mark Atuaia said. "I add the greatest because that's how I feel about him."
Atuaia sends other walk-on players Carter's way to show the right way to play without being on scholarship. But not every walk-on performs like Nate did his junior year.
Carter averaged 12 yards a carry against Nevada and rushed for 116 yards against Savannah State. And with big-time running back Jamaal Williams sitting out this season, the guy whom coaches calls "Shaky" hopes to play in every game in 2015. But would he finally get a scholarship? He wasn't sure during fall camp and said he had worked two jobs during the summer just in case he didn't receive one.
"There are guys who deserve the scholarship more than me," Carter said in a quiet tone. "I think when it's my time, if it's my time, I'll be ready to take the scholarship."
Several players tweeted out congratulations after coach Bronco Mendenhall bestowed a scholarship on Carter and Mitch Juergens. Carter was probably grateful that the offer wasn't blasted out on YouTube for the gawkers to watch.
Now we shall see where his dream goes from here.