Carroll made the five-hour drive north just outside of Jacksonville to his hometown of Green Cove Springs, where his alma mater, Clay High School, hosted Bishop Kenny. His ceremony took place during halftime of the Blue Devils’ 36-32 loss. Moore went back to the town of Newhall, California to have his No. 17 jersey retired before Hart High School blanked Saugus, 35-0.
“It was awesome and I don’t know how the decision was made but just to have it retired is a cool deal,” said Moore, who threw for 3,334 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior in 2001 while leading the Indians to a 13-0 record. “They put on a great little deal before the game and my whole family was there along with a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time, including a lot of players I played with. Heck, we just had our 10-year class reunion, so that was surreal.”
Hart has won seven straight after dropping its opener and head coach Mike Harrington, who coached Moore in high school, is known to be superstitious. So Moore promised to not be too much of a distraction before the Indians took the field and actually left at the half in order to make it to a second celebration at a local restaurant.
For Carroll, he was prepared for a little more fanfare last Friday night being that his mother, Jennifer, is the Lieutenant Governor of the State of Florida. His father, Nolan, Sr., stood on the track with him and his mother next to Carroll and an easel holding Carroll’s framed No. 4 jersey and some photos of him from his high school playing days.
“It brought back a lot of memories of being back in high school and being a teenager and really just enjoying my friends, my teammates and my coaches,” Carroll said. “It was a really good feeling and it really brought me back and humbled me because that’s where I got my start. I just was able to thank everybody that I could for guiding me in the right direction because it wasn’t just me. I didn’t do it on my own, I had coaches and teachers and people in the community that pushed me and helped get me to where I am right now.”
Even though he grew up close to the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars, Carroll’s favorite NFL team growing up was the Miami Dolphins. Of course he envisioned being on the other side of the ball after starring at wide receiver for the Blue Devils. He began his college career at the University of Maryland at the same position before switching to cornerback as a redshirt sophomore.
Now in his third season with the Dolphins after being taken in the fifth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Carroll couldn’t figure out where the years went. More schools have popped up in his area and some businesses have come and gone, so it was something for him to soak it all in.
“It’s been probably about eight years since I actually stepped on that field and I didn’t realize that I had been away that long,” said Carroll, who has started the last two games for Miami in place of the injured
Jim Reape was Carroll’s head coach when he played and was on hand for the ceremony. He talked about what it took to convince Carroll to suit up for the Blue Devils.
“Nolan did not play football until his sophomore year,” Reape said. “But when bugged incessantly in the lunch room to come out he gave in and played varsity by season’s end.”
Having his entire family on hand to celebrate with him, especially his parents, really made the night a special one for Carroll.
“Trying to see it through their eyes, they just came to the games to support me,” Carroll said. “I don’t even think they thought anything else of it except just coming to the games to support me and have fun at the same time. I just enjoyed playing on Friday nights with my friends I grew up with and I never thought about the NFL. I just thought about that moment and I never thought it would take me this far.”
Based on the weekend Carroll and Moore had, they have an experience in common they can share going forward.