The path to the NFL is a long and challenging one for many players, with injuries and other obstacles standing between them and their dreams. For new Washington Redskins running back Martez Carter, the road was even tougher.
Originally from Monroe, La., Carter is one of 11 children. He was also the first in his immediate family to graduate from high school - Carter's mother, father and older brothers all dropped out before the 11th grade.
"I have a 27-year-old brother who is incarcerated," Carter told ESPN’s Undefeated. "My mother dropped out of school in 10th grade, my father dropped out in the 10th grade, and I have older brothers who dropped out in the 10th grade. … I didn't want to be a bad product of my environment. I didn't want to be a statistic, so I just really put in my mind that if I hadn't gotten a chance to go to college, I was going to make the best of it."
Determined to be the first college graduate in his family, Carter worked hard to make it to the next level. Eligibility issues forced him to miss his senior year of high school football, and Carter initially accepted a scholarship to play basketball at Wiley College.
When his basketball coach transferred and left him without a spot, Carter was invited to walk on at Grambling State. Back to playing football, Carter made a name for himself right away.
Carter played in every game as a true freshman, and never missed a matchup over his four-year college career. He switched from cornerback to running back and earned a starting job as a sophomore, racking up 876 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 7.9 yards per rush.
Despite his smaller size at 5-foot-7 and 193 pounds, Carter is a threat in both the run and receiving games. He added 449 yards and two touchdowns through the air during his senior season. He was also a significant contributor on special teams throughout his career at Grambling State.
Waiting for his shot at the NFL on Draft weekend, Carter was offered an opportunity to sign as a free agent with the Redskins.
Football has helped Carter to become not only the first person in his family to earn a high school diploma, but the first to earn a college degree as well. He graduated in December of 2017 with a Bachelor's degree in criminal justice and has hopes of becoming a police or probation officer in the future.
Carter has already achieved so much on his road to the NFL, but he has plenty of ambition left in him.
"To be given an opportunity to do what I love every day is even more drive to stay on the right path," Carter told ESPN's Undefeated.