In this segment, we profile some of the 49ers rookie draft class and what their lives are like off the turf. Looking at players' lives outside of football can give you a more comprehensive perspective of who they are and, in turn, who they can be on the field. Last week, we chronicled first round selection Eric Reid's characteristics and life outside of professional football.
This week, we go beyond the gridiron and take a look at the 49ers' second round selection, Tank Carradine.
Bio (per seminoles.com)
Born: February 18, 1989
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Attended Cincinnati's Taft High School where he was coached by Mike Martin...regarded as one of the top prospects in the Midwest prior to signing a letter of intent with Illinois out of high school...Prevented from enrolling at a Division I program out of high school due to academic performance...Attended Butler Community College (Kansas) for first two seasons and enrolled in January 2011 at Florida State...One of the nation's top overall prospects out of junior college (No. 1 by Rivals.com; No. 5 by Scout.com)...Picked Florida State from a wide array of offers including: Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia
The newest addition to the vaunted 49er defense has displayed a high motor both physically and mentally, evident in his elevation from junior college to Division I football as well as in his rehabilitation of a torn right ACL suffered in November 2012. Carradine's story falls right in line with Harbaugh's vision and with so many other current 49ers players. Of his relegation to junior college following high school, Carradine was quoted in a Fox Sports article as saying:
"I was mad the whole time I was there. Everyone used to tell me I could play at the Division-I level. All my friends went Division I, and I went to junior college...
"I was mad at myself that I didn’t take academics seriously (in high school). It bothered me a lot. I told myself that I’m going to go in, I’m going to do what I need to do and I’m going to get out of here."
And Carradine did just that. Not only did the 49ers rookie set out to improve upon his academics, he also enrolled in one of the better junior college football programs in the country; a squad that has produced players such as former NFL running back Rudi Johnson and current Saints cornerback Elbert Mack. Since 1998, the team has compiled a jaw-dropping 150-17 record.
A skim through Carradine's newly established Twitter account, and it's clear this guy has his eyes on the prize. Whether it's a quote rooted in his religious beliefs or just a general statement of positivity, the pervasive theme is working hard and never entertaining thoughts of doubt. Adding to his positive outlook is the Harbaugh-lauded quality of having a chip on the shoulder. Carradine carries the disappointment of not being able to enroll in a Division I school out of high school with him and wears it like a badge of honor. He also draws motivation from his ACL injury and those who passed on him in the first round as a result of it.
The nickname "Tank"
During a 49ers teleconference after the draft, Carradine was asked how he obtained the nickname "Tank". He explained that it goes back to childhood:
"My mom gave it to me when I was a kid. When I was a kid, I had this little army tank always with me. I could never go anywhere without that army tank. I just had to have it with me, and I used to always push people over, try to run over people and always had my army tank with me. So, that's how I got the nickname Tank."
He confirmed that his mother still has the toy tank that inspired the alias.
An Affinity for Prime Rib
New to Twitter and the Bay Area, Tank Carradine reached out to the internet masses to decide where to dine this past weekend. He ultimately chose San Francisco's renowned House of Prime Rib. It took me seven trips to the "City by the Bay," but I finally had the luxury of grabbing dinner at this San Francisco staple in October, when I went out with a bunch of friends from New Jersey. It did not disappoint in the slightest. I'm sure Tank was won over as well, and if that was one of his first dining experiences in San Francisco, he's doing a pretty good job of getting acclimated with the city.
That concludes our look at Tank Carradine: the man behind the facemask. Personally speaking, this was my favorite pick of the draft. At the time, I thought the 49ers leap-frogged the Giants in the first round for Carradine, only to be pleasantly surprised with Reid. The man they call Tank has all of the intangibles you could want in a player and on film, he appears to possess the same kind of motor that drives Justin Smith. Stay tuned as we look at the rest of the 49ers rookies and their lives outside the hashmarks.