Football: Carrier brothers announce commitments to play for the University of Minnesota

Two weeks after University of Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck offered Mason and Ethan Carrier, the Detroit Lakes brothers announced their commitments on Twitter.

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Detroit Lakes' Ethan, left, and Mason Carrier committed to play football at the University of Minnesota on June 19, 2022. Both were offered by head coach PJ Fleck and Defensive Coordinator Joe Rossi on June 5. Ethan, a junior, was offered a preferred walk-on spot as a defensive back. Mason, a sophomore linebacker, is Fleck's first commitment in his 2023 class.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune
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DETROIT LAKES – June 5 was the night Mason and Ethan Carrier had been waiting for since they were little kids.

The two Detroit Lakes football standouts received offers in-person from the University of Minnesota football head coach PJ Fleck and defensive coordinator Joe Rossi following a camp invite. They wanted the Carriers to play for the Gophers, and they only had to wait two weeks to get an answer.

"We've talked about this since we were little kids," Ethan said of playing Division I football. "It feels really good to know that it's actually happening."

Mason, a sophomore, became the first commitment in Fleck's 2024 recruiting class. Ethan, a junior, adds to a homegrown list of midwest athletes as a preferred walk-on in Fleck's 2023 class.

"It shows that hard work pays off," Mason said of receiving offers from Fleck and Rossi. "Whatever you do, just keep working hard. It will come through in the end if you keep believing in yourself. Always bet on yourself."

The Carriers helped lead the Lakers to a 6-4 record in 2021 and a trip to the Section 8-4A championship game. The brothers played on both sides of the ball. However, both are projected to play for the Gophers' defense. Mason was recruited as a linebacker, while Ethan looks to line up in the secondary.


"This whole process isn't a reason to stop working hard," Ethan said. "It's cool that we got the chance to do this, but we also need to take the opportunity and keep moving forward. It motivates me to work harder to prove why we got this opportunity. I'm ready to prove that I can play Big Ten football."

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Ethan Carrier runs in a 16-yard touchdown in the first half of Detroit Lakes' 21-20 win over Rocori in the Section 8AAAA semifinals on Oct. 29, 2021. Carrier committed to the University of Minnesota after being offered a preferred walk-on spot on June 5.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

Power Five football players don't grow on trees, especially in towns the size of Detroit Lakes. It's not often two of them grow up in the same household, much less the same team.

"When a school like that gives you an offer, it proves they want you," Mason said. "There's something in you that they want for their program. It excites you. That's the home state big school. It's the school you always dream about."

"I think it's pretty special," Ethan said. "It's very rare that two kids from the same school get to go to the same college for a sport. It's even more rare for one kid to go to a Big Ten, Power Five program. It's surreal for it to be both of us. But we have a lot of work left to do."

The Gophers’ 2023 recruiting class is currently ranked 10th in the nation, according to 247 Sports. Ethan joins Osseo’s Jerome WIlliams, Prior Lake’s Greg Johnson and Marin Owusu, Kasson-Mantorville’s Reese Tripp, Maple Grove’s Sam Peters, Hutchinson’s Alex Elliott and Shakopee’s Garrison Monroe as a Minnesota recruit headed to Minneapolis.

Ethan is heading into his final year of high school in the fall. The three-sport athlete shifts from playing for opportunities to playing for something to prove.

"We want to be humble about the whole thing and keep working hard," Ethan said. "If you have something to prove, you can do it out there on the field. That's not just a football thing. That's how I want to play every sport. That's when everybody will get to know you."

Mason, who's also a three-sport athlete, feels like he got one of the most challenging parts of prep athletics out of the way. For him, his commitment wasn't just about fulfilling a childhood dream but also about "representing the community of Detroit Lakes."

"After the two offers, all of the family members and friends cheer you on. They like to bully you about it," Mason said with a laugh. "We got the offers when we were getting ready for track and stuff. It's a lot on the mind and the body. We just try to take it one thing at a time."


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Detroit Lakes' Mason Carrier runs the ball in a Sept. 3, 2022 game in Fergus Falls. Carrier accepted an offer to play for the University of Minnesota on Sunday. He is the first in the 2022 recruiting class for PJ Fleck.
Jared Rubado / Detroit Lakes Tribune

June 5 capped off a "surreal" five days for the Carrier boys. Earlier that week, both qualified for the Section 8-2A finals in the 100-meter dash. Before racing together to a state berth in the 4x100-meter at the 8-2A championships, the two brothers went head-to-head just as they've done growing up.

"He's usually the faster one, and I'm usually the stronger one," Mason said. "As little kids, we used to mess around and fight, like normal brothers, ya know? We're a little more mature now. Whenever he gets hurt, and we race, that's my only chance to beat him, but I still haven't done that yet."

"When we race, I always know he's right behind me," Ethan said. "I like to keep it that way because he ain't catching me."

Jared Rubado is the sports editor for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus. He moved to the area in September of 2021 after covering sports for the Alexandria Echo Press for nearly three years. Jared graduated from the University of Augustana in 2018 with degrees in journalism and sports managment.
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