Tra Carey signs to play football with UPike Bears

Published 2:03 pm Thursday, May 31, 2018

STANFORD — Standout Lincoln County High School running back Tra Carey will be taking his football talents to the University of Pikeville gridiron.

Carey made his college choice public during a special signing ceremony just over two weeks before the end of the school year. He signed his letter-of-intent surrounded by his parents, Dalton and Treina Miller, his coaches and his teammates.

“I’m glad to get it done,” Carey said. “I’ve been needing to get (choosing college) done, because it was getting late. I’m just glad I got it done.”

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Carey, who rushed for 726 yards and 13 touchdowns on 130 carries his senior year and led the team in scoring with 84 points, had narrowed his college choices to UPike and Georgetown, and it was the persistence of UPike coach Allan Holland Jr. and his staff that led Carey to sign on with the Bears.

“I was looking at Georgetown for a while, but they never really came out with an official offer so I just went ahead and chose Pikeville,” Carey said. 

And what a great choice it was. The NAIA school offered Carey a full ride.

“It’s a good college and it’s a free ride all the way,” said Carey, who had 56 receptions for 668 yards and four TDS his senior year. “I mean, I don’t have to pay a dollar out of my pocket. And the school has a good program in what I want to do (criminal justice major), so I want to pursue that.”

There were also other factors that helped Carey make his decision.

“I liked the campus a lot. I liked the teachers a lot. And I liked the students that I got to meet. They were kind of my type and I felt like we fit in together,” he said. “I just feel like it’s a good place for me. I’m not right on top of home so I get to learn something different.”

A lot of people were on hand to share in Carey’s college signing, including his former coach, Travis Leffew, who was quick to boast of Carey’s accomplishment.

“It’s awesome. We knew Tra had the potential to go on and play at the collegiate level.  We just didn’t know where that would be,” Leffew said. “Pikeville had been strong on him since his junior year. He was able to work hard on his academics to get those up because he as well as everybody knows that he kind of didn’t do it so hard his first couple years. He really picked it up at the end to get the GPA he needed and he ACT prepped to get his score up where it was and qualified for college. And UPike came along and offered that pretty much full ride for him to go for free.”

Leffew said signings like Carey’s serve as an inspiration for younger athletes as to what they can accomplish if they work hard.

“That’s why we always have the football team in on the signing,” Leffew said. “We had 19 eighth-graders in there that got to see it. We’ve got a bunch of seniors that are capable of going, but they chose other ways to go after graduation. Tra was one that chose to go play football.”

“He’s a monster at running back and he’s going to go down there and have an impact. I think he’s going to be very successful.”

That success will have to wait as Carey already knows his status with the team next fall.

“I know I’m going to be playing running back but, like this year, I’m going to be a redshirt,” Carey said. “They’ve already told me that. So I’m going to have to work hard every day.”

Carey says he’s heading down to Pikeville July 5  for summer classes (i.e. weight lifting). In the meantime, he’s keeping up with his conditioning and weightlifting on his own.

“I work out every night here so I can prepare myself for down there,” he said. “I want to go in in shape.”