NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) — The first thing most people notice when they look at Jalen Carr is his quickness.
The 5-9 wide receiver is hard to contain. The Orlando says he has “Florida speed.”
“When you’re from Florida, that’s all you know. People from Florida are fast,” said Carr. “Coming up here to Illinois, I have to bring my Florida speed. And do what I do.”
Carr caught his first touchdown pass of the season last Saturday in ISU’s 44-7 win over Indiana State.
“Jalen is fun out there,” said ISU quarterback Zach Annexstad. “I think people see on Saturdays, that he has cartoon-like, turnover legs,. They are just rolling!”
And when he’s rolling, good luck catching him. Carr already has a 98-yard kick return for a touchdown in his ISU career.
And he’s not satisfied with just one.
“My goal is three this year,” said Carr, who returns kickoffs for the Redbirds.” I’m going to make it happen.”
As explosive and exciting as Carr is, you’d think he’d been playing football all his life. But his first sports love wasn’t football in Florida.
It was martial arts.
He says he started martial arts when he was four. He has a black belt in taekwondo.
And Carr made a USA national team that won a junior gold medal in the World Association of kickboxing.
“When I was 11 or 12 years old, I started getting on teams, traveling and fighting the best of the best,” said Carr.
Now he’s playing against some of the best FCS teams in the country as part of the rugged Missouri Valley Football Conference. He says his days in martial arts as a youngster have made him a better football player.
“I know you’ve heard of Muhammad Ali,” Carr said with a smile. “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. Moving around the ring, getting groovy, it’s the same thing you do on the field.”