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Florida Football

Where are they Now: Ran Carthon

April 22, 2020

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What better way to kick off our Where are they Now series than to begin with a former player who will be in the spotlight this week in his role as the San Francisco 49er's Director of Pro Personnel.

Ran Carthon inked with Florida as part of the Class of 1999. He went on to rush for 1,353 yards while catching 56 passes for another 511 yards during a four-year career playing for Steve Spurrier and Ron Zook.

Today he is the Director of Pro Personnel for the Los Angeles Rams. He took a little time from draft prep to bring the Gator Nation up to speed as to his time at Florida and what he has been up to since leaving Gainesville.

Not to make you feel old, but there will be people reading this who weren't even alive when you were coming out of high school. In your recruiting process, what were the programs most involved, and what most helped you to decide to sign with Florida?

“LOL! My school choices came down to Miami and UF. My plans were to commit to Miami after the first game of my senior year, but I got injured. At which time Miami backed off because of the nature of the injury and UF pursued me harder. Coach Rod Broadway did a really nice job of making me feel wanted. Plus I knew going to UF I would be playing a lot of nationally televised games and that my family outside of Florida could see me play.”

What is your lasting on-the-field highlight from your time at Florida?

“No specific highlight comes to mind for me personally. But our 2003 team win over LSU was big! We had come off of back-to-back home losses to Tennessee and Ole Miss. We called a players-only meeting to help get things back in order and the LSU game was the first game after that meeting.”

What about off-the-field?

“I built a lot of lasting relationships while at UF. Not only with my teammates and other athletes, but the rest of the student body as well. I’m a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma, Inc and still talk daily with my brothers.”

Do you still have former teammates that you are close to 15 years later?

“I still speak to quite a few guys, but I probably speak to Bobby McCray the most. We were on the same visit to UF and were suite mates. We were groomsmen in each other’s weddings. And I’m also his only daughter’s Godfather.”

Going back to your time at Florida under Spurrier and then Zook, did you know then that you wanted to pursue a career in either coaching, scouting, or the front office?

“I always knew that I wanted to work in the front office. My now wife, whom I met at UF, thought I was crazy when I first told her that after college and the NFL, I wanted to become a General Manager. My former teammate Edgerrin James used to always tell me that I’ll be a good coach someday. I coached one year of high school ball at North Miami Senior High and quickly learned that I didn’t have the patience for it.”

How much did you learn from those two that pertains to your current job?

“I learned a lot from both. Directly and indirectly. Learned offensive concepts from Coach Spurrier. I got my introduction to scouting Special Teams from Coach Zook”

After a long pro career, your father Maurice Carthon went into coaching. How much did he influence you getting into not only playing football, but then getting into the off the field side of the game?

“To be honest, I never wanted to play football growing up. It just didn’t make sense to me. I only played to prove a point to an old PE teacher. The first time I touched the ball, I scored. And I’ve been hooked ever since.

“A lot of people don’t know this, but my dad wanted to do Personnel not coaching. Bill Parcells convinced him to get into coaching. When I was at UF, when the NFL Coaches would come for Pro Day, my dad would have me watch film with them and chart their numbers for them.”

You went undrafted, but still played for the Colts for three seasons. What was that experience like?

“Playing for the Colts was like going to medical school. It was like pursuing an advanced degree in football. To be in a room with Offensive Coordinator Tom Moore (only OC in NFL history to have a 4K yard passer, three 1k yard receivers and a 1,500 yard rusher in the same season-did it twice. With Lions and Colts) Edgerrin James, Peyton Manning and Jeff Saturday, you can't help but learn the game of football. I use a lot of what I learned from those guys to help me evaluate players to this day.”

After playing a couple of years in the NFL what did you do between then and moving on to becoming a scout with Atlanta? If so what? And then what led you to getting the job with the Falcons?

“This is where I always give Urban Meyer his props. After I was done playing in 2007, I enrolled back at UF in the spring of 2008 to finish my undergrad degree. Urban let me come around and sit in recruiting meetings with Terry Jackson and Mark Pantoni. Because it was the spring, college scouts were coming in and out which allowed me to reconnect with them. I met Todd Vasvari, who at the time was an area scout for the Colts. I told him that I wanted to get into the business. His close friend Dave Caldwell (now Jags GM) had just got hired by the Atlanta Falcons as the College Director. He mentioned my name to Dave. I also had my former agent Kevin Connor call teams that he had a good relationship with. He had a good relationship with then Atlanta Falcons Pro Director Les Snead (now Rams GM). From there, Les brought me in for an interview and they hired me two weeks later.”

What does life as an NFL scout entail?

“Ultimately, and I always say this, but I get paid to watch football. I get paid to do something that no matter what profession I was in, I’d still likely come home, sit back and watch football.”

After four years with the Falcons you were hired as the Director of Player Personnel for the Rams. What was it like to get that type of promotion while still so relatively young?

“I actually got hired as the Director of Pro Personnel. I was very excited about the opportunity. I knew Les was hiring me because he respected my work.”

What are the responsibilities of a Director of Pro Personnel?

“As the Director of Pro Personnel, you’re responsible for the day to day transactions of the team via the daily waiver wire, street free agency, and unrestricted/restricted free agency. We also do advance scouting reports for upcoming opponents.”

Because of your current position, understandably, you are unable to speak specifically of current players about to be drafted. However, in general, what are your thoughts on the type of players Florida is putting out now compared to what they were like under the last couple of UF coaches?

“Regardless of what the record has been, UF has always had talented players. Some years it’s more than others, but nonetheless, we produced NFL caliber players.”

What are your overall thoughts of the Florida football program over the last decade, from the days of Will Muschamp, to Jim McElwain to now Mullen?

“UF is a tough place to coach. The expectations are high and there’s a standard to uphold. We’re one of the elite programs that is expected to contend for a national championship every year. Just winning the SEC East won’t do. Just winning the SEC won’t do. Coach Mullen and his staff have done a very nice job of recruiting and assembling talent that can hopefully not only compete for, but win those SEC and National Championships.”

Now, with San Francisco you have three former Florida Gators on your roster in Marcell Harris, Chris Thompson, and Teez Tabor - what is it like to be able to give former Gators an opportunity to play at that level? Do you share Florida stories with them?

“It’s always great to have fellow Gators in the building. We share stories of our times there. Although I’m far removed from them in age, we have commonalities of experiences in Gainesville. Jason Storch was both mine and Chris’s academic advisor. Jeff McGrew is the head equipment guy now, but was a student manager when I played. Things like that.”





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