Briar Woods junior WR/DB Alex Carter verbally committed to Stanford. (Tracy A. Woodward/The Washington Post)

Carter notched his first offer last Feb. from Boston College then added Duke, Virginia and Stanford to the list early in the 2010 season. Over the last six months Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Notre Dame, California, West Virginia, Tennessee and Vanderbilt all expressed their interest in the dynamic 6-foot, 185-pound wide receiver and defensive back. But a visit to Stanford’s camp last summer remained at the forefront of Carter’s mind all year.

“Just to have an opportunity to go to a school like Stanford is something that I couldn’t pass up,” Carter said. “I wanted to go there since middle school, so it’s been my top choice for a while now.”

Carter - whose father, Tom Carter, played defensive back for the Washington Redskins from 1993-96 and currently works for the NFL Players Association - led the Falcons with 985 all-purpose yards on the season and totaled 11 touchdowns, including two on kickoff returns. He averaged 15.6 yards per catch on a team-high 48 receptions and carried for 235 yards on 50 carries. Defensively, Carter tallied 50 tackles and two interceptions to earn second team all-Dulles District honors on both sides of the ball.

It was during the Falcons' state title run where his playmaking ability proved vital. In a Region II Division 4 semifinal matchup with Liberty, Carter took a reversed field to turn a short completion into a 65-yard touchdown that proved to be the game winner. In the state semifinals, Carter returned an interception 38 yards for a score to cap a blowout win over Courtland and in the state title game against Harrisonburg, it was Carter's 77-yard catch and run for a touchdown that lifted the Falcons from a 14-0 hole and sparked their come-from-behind victory.

With a 4.1 GPA and an interest in pursuing a degree in engineering, the academic climate in Palo Alto - not to mention the weather - piqued Carter’s interest. New Cardinal head coach David Shaw visited Briar Woods as an assistant Carter’s freshman season.

“We all agreed that I wouldn’t find a better combination of academics and athletics,” Carter said. “I’m excited to get out there and compete for a starting position. The coaches are great - I pretty much love everything about Stanford.”

Carter is the first major Division I signee for the Ashburn school and by far Pierce’s biggest in his 11 years as head coach.

“Last summer he went to camp out (at Stanford) and he loved it right from the get-go,” Briar Woods coach Charlie Pierce said. “Deep down in his heart, I always thought he wanted to go there. And now he has the opportunity to get a really good education and play for one of the top programs in the country - that’s pretty exciting.”