Saline quarterback CJ Carr continues Carr family football legacy

Sophomore leading Hornets during undefeated season

The Carr family is a football family. We all know of the legendary Michigan coach Lloyd Carr. His son Jason wore the Maize and Blue and quarterbacked the team in the 90s. Now there's another Carr making a name for himself on the gridiron.

SALINE, Mich. – C.J. Carr is only a sophomore at Saline High School, but it’s clear he’s getting very comfortable in his role as starting quarterback for the Hornets.

Saline’s Coach, Joe Palka, said Carr makes decisions well beyond his years.

“Less than two games into season, he’s thrust into being the full-time starting quarterback,” Palka said. “He’s done a great job. We changed things offensively to build it around him. He’s done a great job leading, great job finding receivers. He’s getting kids to rally around him.”

Carr didn’t even start playing tackle football until the seventh grade. It was a decision his parents made for him.

“Our family always said you don’t need to tackle until you’re 12 (years old), so he did flag football,” his mother, Tammi Carr, said.

But once C.J. put on the pads, his mother said it was clear. He became the latest Carr to obsess over the game.

“Now we’ve got Lloyd, Jason, CJ and our other son, Tommy, because his other brother is a quarterback too,” Tammi said. “Our house is film session these days.”

Is it an unfair advantage to have a legendary Michigan head coach and a former Wolverine quarterback in the film room? C.J. said it’s just family.

“We are a football family, a football household,” he said. “We have my younger brother in his eighth grade year. We’re coming home watching two games of film, watching practice every day. I love it.”

C.J. said his late brother, Chad, is never far from his mind. It was a quite a moment this year during Saline’s ‘Chad Tough Game,’ when everyone in the stands wore orange on both sides, and C.J. led the team on the field to victory.

“His brother is leading the team during a game that is so meaningful,” Tammi said. “C.J. walks a fine line. He never wants people to feel sorry for him and think about that first, but he always wears his Chad Tough bracelet every day, and he knows his brother is always out there watching him.”

“That was a great experience,” C.J. said. “Knowing he’s with us even in the game. It was a great game. It was really fun.”

With his brother in his heart, and his family by his side, C.J. has caught the attention of big-time Division-I programs. He has nine offers so far, including from Penn State, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Michigan State and, yes, the University of Michigan.

“It’s really fun to watch college football this year, because I think, ‘Oh I talked to this coach this week,’” he said. “I’m loving the recruiting process so far.”

C.J. said it’s not a given he will go to Michigan, even with his family history.

He said he’s taking all the attention in stride for now. His most immediate goal is to win a state championship.

The Hornets are well on their way, undefeated so far this season and winners of the SEC Red Division.


About the Author:

Jamie anchors sports coverage on Local 4 News Saturdays at 6 & 11 p.m. and Sunday at 6 p.m., in addition to hosting Sports Final Edition.