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For Pitt players, no 'reality' in Last Chance U's portrayal of Carter

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Kam Carter’s prominent role on the second season of Last Chance U wasn’t particularly well-received.

The Pitt defensive tackle who spent a year at East Mississippi Community College after being dismissed from Penn State gained considerable notoriety as a result of the Netflix show, which highlighted his run-ins with coaches and clashes with teammates. USA Today called him “the most frustrating character of the season,” while the New York Daily News referenced his “aloof and childish behavior.”

Fairly or unfairly, that was Carter’s portrayal on the program. But his teammates and coaches with the Panthers knew him before Last Chance U’s second season debuted on July 21, and the show didn’t reflect the person they had come to know.

“I knew that he changed and that Last Chance U stuff was in the past because that was filmed before he got here,” redshirt freshman defensive tackle Keyshon Camp said this week. “So I knew he had grown up and matured, and he’s not that Kam Carter anymore.”

"He’s not that Kam Carter anymore."

While Carter said on Twitter that he felt the producers of Last Chance U left out things that would have reflected well on him, he also had some inkling that negative elements would be shown. So he reached out to Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi in advance of the show’s release.

“He told me about everything I needed to know prior to (the debut),” Narduzzi said Tuesday. “Like I said, he's a great kid. He was as up front and honest as you could be. He said, ‘Coach, I snapped on a coach one time.’ He called it ‘snapped.’ He told us everything. I mean, it didn't shock me. I think it's all for the show.”

Narduzzi says he watched only one episode of Last Chance U. But some of Carter’s teammates continued with the series, at least partially to get a look at their new teammate.

“I watched a couple of the episodes to see what it was all about, but he’s not like he was on the show,” redshirt junior defensive tackle Shane Roy said. “He’s a very down-to-earth kid. He was going a little wild in front of the camera, I guess, but he’s a great kid and he works hard, so I’m excited to work with him this year.

“He’s a great player. It’s a little different than his last school, I think, just the coaching and the way we do things. But he’s coming along very well and I’m excited to play with him.”

Talent seems to be a “first things last” topic when it comes to Carter. He was a four-star recruit as an “athlete” prospect coming out of high school - a position designation he received on account of being 6’4” and 250 pounds but having the athleticism of a player who is much smaller.

Pitt defensive line coach Charlie Partridge has seen that athleticism come through already.

“He can move,” Partridge said this week. “He’s really got to work on his pad level; he’s a tall guy…that length can certainly work to your advantage, but you have the challenge of working hard to stay down because you can murdered on some combo blocks if you’re not careful. So that’s really his biggest challenge. But he can move, he can cover ground, he can defeat a block and he’s a pretty sharp kid.

“He qualified out of high school, and obviously what happened at Penn State happened, but he’s doing everything he can at this point and we’re holding him to high standards to do things the right way. Hopefully, he stays on that track.”