Sept. 12, 2013
By Alex Marcheschi
OhioBobcats.com - Staff Writer
Certain people are put on this earth to be special, they're given gifts that allow them to shape the world and inspire others.
Ohio cornerback Travis Carrie and his family are some of those people.
Gloria and Reynard Carrie have five sons, all of whom have played football at a high level. But, their success is not limited to the gridiron. The Carrie boys have all developed into extremely motivated and faithful men, extending their success into society.
Travis is the fourth of their five sons and he has been through a lot in his football career.
His trials include passing out on the field as a freshman in high school, having open heart surgery as a sophomore, getting injured at the start of his freshman year at Ohio and most recently, rehabbing from a shoulder surgery that caused him to miss all of last season.
His perseverance is something to be admired. It was molded by his family all the way across the country in Antioch, Calif. He's expressed himself through the game of football, overcoming obstacle after obstacle as if they were hurdles on the track of life.
However, while football is important, everything has always taken a backseat to faith with the Carries. It's essential to their lives, and it's the driving force behind their success.
"Our faith is our highest priority, it's the most important thing before anything else," said Travis' mother, Gloria Carrie.
And the brothers' success on the football field, and in life, is no coincidence, according to Travis' father, Reynard Carrie.
"I believe that all my kids have a mission, and we raised them with the good faith in the Lord, and the Lord led him here," said Reynard. "(Travis) has had the faith that he could still play when he's been hurt no matter what kind of obstacles he's had to go through."
Mr. and Mrs. Carrie raised their children to be focused, goal-oriented people. While raising them, everything they did had a plan behind it and it seems to have come to fruition.
"They are the centerpiece to our inner strength," said Travis' older brother Eric Carrie, who played safety at New Mexico State. "Our parents showed us that family is the key to success."
"I think the two of them complete each other, they've laid a great path for us as brothers," Travis said. "They've presented us with all types of role models. Without them, all this would have been hard to do."
Gloria and Reynard Carrie support their children so much that they recently decided to pack up and move from California to Cleveland, so that they would be able to watch Travis play every game during his senior year.
Few things demonstrate love more than when the Carrie's decided to move from California to Cleveland to be closer to Travis.
"We decided that once our last kid went off to college, we were going to go out and support Travis," Gloria said. "We've been self-employed for many years, so it was easy to make the transition."
They even stayed with Travis in Athens throughout fall camp. They want to savor every moment of Travis' senior year.
It's evident that the Carries are motivated people. They seem to be on a mission, especially Travis, who overcame open-heart surgery on his coronary valve during his sophomore year of high school.
Not only did Travis come back and play after the procedure, he went on to win awards for being the best football and track athlete during his senior year as he was named First Team All-Conference.
"He's always been inspired and positive," Eric said. "After the heart surgery, he became more encouraged and motivated. He was more outgoing as far as knowing what he wants, the surgery has given him the confidence to fight through any type of adversity. He basically had one year to prove, after the surgery, that he could still play. And he did."
The Carrie's mission and their "everything happens for a reason" mindset become more visible as one analyzes the aspects of how the family works together. Travis' oldest brother, Reynard Jr., played cornerback at the University of Portland, and now he's a physical therapist with his own training facility. It's the perfect situation for Travis, who has needed to rehab on multiple occasions throughout his football career.
"After the open heart surgery is when we really started focusing," Reynard Jr. said. "Because I didn't want to see anything happen to my brother out there. I made sure that I did whatever I could do to help him overcome that."
Ever since then, Reynard and Eric have helped Travis get through every physical ailment, from hip troubles to rehabbing a shoulder surgery.
"My brothers helping me with physical therapy have been great," Travis said. "It was just more familiar and it put me in a different perspective, because it was easier for them, as brothers, to push me and motivate me every day."
Travis is not only inspired by Eric and Reynard Jr., but his brother Domonick also played football at Portland, and his little brother Rajheem played running back in high school.
On top of that, Travis has been influenced by the NFL talent that has come from his high school. He attended De La Salle High School in Concord, Cal., which is a nationally recognized football powerhouse. He had to drive an hour to and from school every day, but every minute was worth it for Travis as he got exposure and performed well under the pressure.
Prominent football names like the Jacksonville Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew; the Cleveland Browns' T.J. Ward; the Chicago Bears' D.J. Williams; and the University of Arizona's Kylan Butler all went to De La Salle. And Travis has been inspired by their success.
"When those kids come from our neighborhood and make it to the league, it makes all the younger guys think, `yeah, we want that too," said Travis' father Reynard.
"I think Williams, Ward, and Jones-Drew laid down a foundation to follow, they left legacies and we all want to pick up and go from there," Travis said.
Travis is busy leaving his own legacy in Athens. Whenever people find out that he came all the way from California, they are interested, and he hopes other players make the decision to come to Athens too. He loves it here, and feels like it has always been the right place for him.
Since his arrival, he's embraced the role of a team leader. It's something that his brothers instilled in him at a very young age. He's learned from his family, but some of it just came naturally, he's the classic born-leader.
"Always from elementary school on, Travis was a leader, a go-getter and a mentor," Gloria said. "That's been a part of him since day one."
And leadership isn't the only thing that he picked up from his brothers. He also has taken aspects of his siblings' game and crafted them into his own skill set.
"I was more of a finesse player, I liked using my feet. Eric was the aggressor, he was more of an explosive type of player," Reynard Jr. said. "I think Travis tried to take all the good qualities from us and mold it into his game."
The Carrie brothers began developing their skills and bodies at a young age and it wasn't always their choice. Their father made sure to discipline them when necessary, but he wasn't a fan of the traditional time-out or spanking methods of punishment.
The consequences of misbehaving made the Carrie brothers re-evaluate their actions, while simultaneously sharpening them as athletes.
"He would make us do squats for about an hour at least. We would've rather gotten spanked, because it was quicker," Reynard Jr. said. "We definitely didn't like it, our legs were so tired that we definitely got the message. I think it helped shape our character because we didn't want that to happen."
Travis has been made into the man that he is today by making smart life decisions, which have been guided by his family. He's everything you'd want in a team captain. One fan even said that she hopes her future sons turn out to be like Travis during training camp.
"Whether it is football, or his personal life, he's destined to succeed," his mother said.
Travis shines under pressure, leads through adversity, and perseveres through hardship.
"As long as you have faith and believe in God, I think anything is possible. A lot of people may say that things are impossible, but I'm a true believer that through His hands and guidance, you can receive an abundance of blessings," Travis said. "My perseverance comes from my family, from great leaders, and role models."
He's still getting into the swing of things as he returns to the playing field after missing all of last year, but his inner circle has no doubt about whether he'll be successful. If anything, they think he'll be better.
"I think he's going to be able to play at a higher level, because now he's an even smarter player. That will be the thing that differentiates him from other players," Reynard Jr. said. "I just told him to put his body in position to make plays and not to overextend to make plays, if he does that, he should be fine."
That shouldn't surprise anyone, Travis makes the best out of the cards that he's dealt, and he benefitted from watching last year.
"I think I learned a lot from sitting back and watching as far as noticing things that we could do better as a team, things I could do better, and things other players could do to help themselves," Travis said.
The sky is the limit for Travis this year; he's been through so much that it's hard to imagine anything holding him back at this point. He's even going to earn his masters at the end of this semester. His success is hard to ignore, but his humbleness keeps him grounded.
"The humbleness that I have will be able to keep everything in perspective," he said.
With nearly the entire season ahead of him, Travis hopes to lead Ohio to a great record. He did just that on Saturday by containing North Texas' Brelan Chancellor, the team's leading receiver, to just one catch for 33 yards as the Bobcats put the Louisville loss behind them.
"Travis has been through so much adversity. We always see him triumph through that, he just has that positive outlook," Reynard Jr. said. "He's gone through a lot of turmoil in his life, and he just feels like everything has been working together for the better."
And that's just it, the problems always work out for Travis, no matter how daunting they may be. Faith has led him to where he is today, and it seems like things are simply destined to keep getting better.
Alex Marcheschi will serve as the OhioBobcats.com staff writer during the 2013-14 season. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @BobcatFeatures.