My Interview With Former Red Raider OL Brandon Carter


Photo Credit: Christian M. Mericle

During one of Texas Tech’s most memorable and successful season in the school’s history, the driving force behind the historic passing offense was the massive offensive line former head coach Mike Leach had helped build. It was one of the most protective (you’re welcome Graham Harrell) and dominant offensive lines in Red Raider history.

One of the anchors of this line was Brandon “Mankind” Carter, a 6-foot-7, 340 pound guard (at the time) from Longview, Texas.

Alongside him were current Denver Broncos guard Louis “The Burrito Tower” Vasquez (Broncos center Manny Ramirez played Carter’s redshirt year), tackle Rylan “The Incredible Hulk” Reed, center Stephen “Mr. Incredible” Hamby, Marlon “Fat Albert” Winn and Shawn “The Terrorist” Byrnes, in a line that averaged 6-foot-6, 339 pounds. Not only were they gigantic, but they had incredible footwork and an insane ability to pass block and give Harrell time to pick apart opposing defenses.

I got the chance to interview Brandon “Mankind” Carter and see what he’s been up to since leaving Tech in 2010.

WW: Brandon, you were a Red Raider during the Mike Leach era and were an anchor to some of the most prolific passing offenses in college football. We also saw an offensive line that seemed to keep former quarterback Graham Harrell on his feet and off the turf. What was your favorite part of being at Tech during those memorable years (2005-2009)?

"BC: My favorite part of the program when I was there was just the family atmosphere. There were approximately 120 guys on that team that essentially were like brothers to me. We all worked our butt off together, we felt victory together and we felt defeat together, but no matter what we always did it as a team no matter what."

WW:After playing in the NFL for the Saints, Buccaneers and Cowboys in 2010-2011, you dabbled in the world of professional wrestling. I had read that you were a life long wrestling fan, how was that experience for you?

"BC: I still love wrestling to this day. I still have a few friends in the business and I love watching them grow and succeed. WWE was such a cool experience and something I worked very hard for. Essentially I left the NFL on a huge risk to go to the WWE. So when I started out I was a kid in a candy store. I caught into wrestling extremely quickly and was doing great things but was sidelined by a concussion which later led to many other health issues including pneumonia. So my wrestling career was extremely short lived and a huge gamble that didn’t work out but I can’t say I regretted it. I learn a lot about the business and I met a lot of good people. I think my body had just seen so much abuse over the years that it finally received the straw that broke my body."

WW: I’ve also read that you now live and work in Lubbock as a personal trainer. Living in Lubbock, have you been able to meet coach Kingsbury and his staff? How do you feel about Tech’s upcoming season?

"BC: I did move back to Lubbock from Tampa Fl actually to come coach at Tech when our previous coach was here but he had left shortly after. I have been training and it’s something that I’m pretty passionate about. I love helping people live a better and healthier life so that they can live a long healthy life. I have been in contact with coach Kingsbury and I am very happy with the direction of the program. I think it’s a young, exciting atmosphere that any prospect would be lucky to be a part of. He is bringing in high caliber athletes along with a dynamic program that he and his staff have put together, that is going to do quite well I believe. The Big 12 is making moves to go back to its dominance as a conference with the changing of the guards at many of the schools (ex. Baylor, WVU, and Texas) and I think that coach Kingsbury is the right guy to bring success to Texas Tech."

WW:You were alongside Manny Ramirez, Louis Vasquez, Rylan Reed and Stephen Hamby (at different times) as one of the best offensive line crews Tech has ever seen. Do you still keep up with those guys/do they come back to Lubbock/Tech very often?

"BC: I played alongside some of the greatest guys I have ever known. I would never take away anything from their play on the field, but these guys in real life are just world class. The best times I’ve ever had were with these guys and I could never give then credit without giving it to guys like Shawn Byrnes and Marlon Winn as well. We just worked so great together because we all trusted each other with our lives. I don’t stay in touch with them as much as I wished I did but every once in a while one of the guys gets to come to a game here in Lubbock, I love to get to see those guys. I’ll always be thankful for each and every one of those guys."

WW: You seem to be great at personal training and injury prevention for different types of athletes in the Lubbock area. Since you have experience playing and training, have you thought about coaching football?

"BC: As mentioned earlier, I am extremely passionate about training others. Athletes have to be my favorite to work with and it’s such a cool feeling helping athletes reach the college or pro levels and knowing I’ve helped them do that. My ultimate goal in life and the one big thing I have yet to check off of my list is to coach college football. I came to Lubbock to do so and it just didn’t work out. I always wanted to stay loyal to tech because that would just be the icing on the cake but I have waited about a year and a half so now I am in the process of traveling around and flirting with the idea of coaching elsewhere. I still watch film and study play books and have actually created many different schemes myself that I would love to enforce myself one day if I were to ever be a head coach. No matter what happens I’ll always be a red raider at heart. Always keep your guns up and Wreck em!"

It’s easy to see that Brandon is extremely passionate about both personal training and is wanting to one day become a football coach at some level. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen, but Mr. Carter is sure to excel at whatever he does with his work ethic and tough attitude that we all saw quite some time ago when he played in Jones AT&T Stadium.

If I had to sum up his collegiate career in one picture, you can take one look at his twitter and see that he played well against his rivals, especially Aggies…