Derek Carr's brother, David, was taken first in the 2002 NFL draft by the Houston Texans and played 11 NFL seasons. In 2001, he finished just outside the Heisman Trophy picture as the fifth vote-getter, missing out on a trip to New York.
Derek Carr, a senior quarterback who is piling up big stats for No. 18 Fresno State (6-0), might have a shot at taking that next step.
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"It would mean a lot, it really would," said Carr, who has thrown for 2,688 yards and 27 touchdowns with four interceptions this season. "But more than being a Heisman finalist, I want to win the thing. I think that would be great for our community and for my family. It would be cool to be a finalist, but to sit there and have them say somebody else's name, that would be a hard thing to swallow because of how competitive I am."
Behind Carr, Fresno State is off to its best start since that 2001 season when David led them to a 6-0 start and as high as eighth in the polls. The Bulldogs average 45.8 points a game, fifth in the country.
Carr threw four touchdown passes in a 38-14 win against UNLV last weekend to become the school's career leader with 86. His 412 passing yards marked the fourth consecutive game he has thrown at least 300. He is third in the nation at 391.7 yards a game.
"It's what he does every week," UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said of Carr's performance against his team. "He's good. There's a reason why he has 10,000 (career) yards."
Still, Carr is considered a dark-horse candidate behind players such as Oregon's Marcus Mariota, Florida State's Jameis Winston and the reigning Heisman winner, Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel.
"They're all just so talented," Carr said. "There are so many great players out there this year. ... I can't wait to compete against them."
Carr and Fresno State face San Diego State (3-3 overall, 2-0 Mountain West) on Saturday in the annual battle for the "Old Oil Can."
Despite playing in the Mountain West, Carr says his Heisman candidacy is as valid as those of quarterbacks from major conferences.
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Carr, who is from Bakersfield, Calf., chose Fresno State despite being recruited by LSU, Southern California and Alabama, among others, to stay close to home and have a better shot at playing time.
"I was recruited by those quote-unquote highly touted BCS schools, so I never understand the whole rankings thing," he said.
Carr, who is married and has an infant son, recently spoke with USA TODAY Sports about his life on and off the field.
You've been sacked three times this season vs. 27 last season. Do you attribute this to your line or a quicker release, or both?
"I give all the credit to my offensive line, always. ... When I get sacked it's my fault, and when I don't get sacked they're doing a great job."
It has been 23 years since a player outside the major conferences (Ty Detmer of BYU) won the Heisman. If your strong season continues, do you think you have a shot at winning it?
"Oh, yeah, definitely. I never doubt myself. I never doubt my abilities that God has given me. Nothing is impossible. I'm going to continue to work hard. That's the thing I have my head on, always. I'm going to outwork every single person out there and I'll let the rest take care of itself."
If you run the table, do you think Fresno State will end up in a BCS bowl?
"I hope so. That would be really cool. That would be great for our community and our program. But again, that's out of our hands. The only thing we can control is our effort and our attitude and trying to win each game each week."
What do you like most about playing at Fresno State?
"This is home to me. This is where I grew up watching games. I love this community, I love this valley. Bakersfield and Fresno, all the way between there. My favorite thing is just being able to play in front of my family and friends."
What's one thing fans don't know about you?
"I can play basketball really well. I don't go out and play that much because I don't want to get hurt."
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