East standout back on offense, this time at center

Cole McCarter began his high school football career as a tight end at Columbus East.

After playing there for two years, McCarter moved to defensive side of the ball and was a starting defensive tackle on last year’s Class 5A state runner-up squad.

Now a senior, McCarter is back on offense. He anchors the offensive line from the center position.

“It’s a different intensity, and you just feel like you’re grouped together with the guys more,” McCarter said. “You have to play hard on both sides of the ball, but it’s a little different.”

That the 6-foot-1, 225-pound McCarter is even a lineman might be somewhat of a surprise. His older brother K.J. was a quarterback for the Olympians.

But Cole McCarter always has been a little bigger.

“In second grade, my football coach actually told me to eat two double cheeseburgers every day,” McCarter said. “So I actually did it, and I gained a lot of weight, so that made me become a lineman.”

McCarter has led an offensive line that has paved the way for more than 300 yards rushing in both games this season. East opened the season with a 42-17 win at Bloomington North before falling to Columbus North 34-17 on Friday.

Olympians coach Bob Gaddis said he needed an athletic center.

“That’s exactly why we moved him,” Gaddis said. “We thought he was a good enough athlete to move there. We like big guys that can move their feet. Cole used to be a tight end, so he has really good hands. When we asked him to move there, he said, ‘Sure.’ He’ll do what he had to for the team.”

McCarter is replacing an All-State player in Harry Crider. Crider, who now plays at Indiana University, was the state’s Offensive Lineman of the Year last season.

McCarter, who ranks 38th in his class with a 4.02 GPA, also likely will go to IU, but not to play football. Still, Gaddis sees some similarities between him and Crider.

“Cole is an awfully good player,” Gaddis said. “The similarities are that he’s smart. He understands what’s going on. It’s not easy to snap the ball in the shotgun and then execute your assignment, but he’s a good enough athlete of to that.”

Cole McCarter

Name: Cole McCarter

School: Columbus East

Year: Senior

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 225

Author photo
Ted Schultz is sports editor for The Republic. He can be reached at tschultz@therepublic.com or 812-379-5628.