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Top MAC Football Players of 2013: #36, Travis Carrie, Ohio University CB

After sitting out the entire 2012 season due to a shoulder injury, Travis Carrie is back to reclaim his title as one of the top defenders in the MAC.

Jamie Sabau

Coming in at No. 36, and the second Bobcat to make the list, is a player who didn't take a single snap in 2012.

After a stellar redshirt junior season for the Ohio Bobcats in 2011, cornerback Travis Carrie was poised to make a huge impact for the Bobcats in 2012. In 2011 Carrier earned All-MAC second team for the season with career highs in tackles (49), passes defended (13) and interceptions (4). He showed no signs of slowing down heading into 2012.

The 5-foot-11 redshirt senior was named to the 2012 Phil Steele All-Mid-American Conference Preseason First-Team and was considered one of the top defenders in the conference. He also was named to the pre-season Thorpe Award watch list, given annually to the nation's top defensive back. Carrie was the leader of a 'Cats secondary poised to be the best in the conference and a key piece in the 'Cats quest for a second consecutive bowl win.

But then weeks before the season was set to begin in Happy Valley, Carrie went down for the season.

Carrie suffered a season-ending shoulder surgery as one of many blows the Ohio secondary took in the 2012 season. In the end the 'Cats pass defense suffered, finishing in the middle of the pack as inexperienced underclassmen were thrust into starting roles.

But Carrie applied for and was granted a sixth year of eligibility and is back to reclaim his title as one of the top defenders in the MAC.

Travis Carrie stepped up a leader in 2012, despite missing the entire season due to injury.

In his time in Athens, the Antioch, Calif., native has become an elder statesman of sorts. Entering his second year as a team captain and his second year in grad school, Carrie is the leader of a 'Cats secondary that now possess a wealth of experience. With fellow seniors Jamil Shaw, cornerback, and Xavier Hughes, safety, also back from season ending injuries in 2012 the Ohio secondary looks ready to pick up where they left off in 2011. Carrie will be a key force behind their success.

If Carrie and his group of skilled defensive backs can improve upon their performance last season, it could be just what Ohio needs to win a MAC Championship in 2013. But it won't be easy.

The 'Cats will be tested all season, especially in Week One when Ohio travels to Louisville to take on Heisman hopeful Teddy Bridgewater and the Louisville Cardinals on ESPN. If Carrie can have a big game, he could not only find himself back into contention for being one of the top defenders in the MAC, he could work his way back into being a possible NFL Draft pick at the end of the season.

But looking forward, if the NFL doesn't work out, and Carrie can't find a job with either of his (soon-to-be) two degrees, the soft-spoken hitter could always look for a job in television. He's already hosted his own MTV Cribs-style tour of Peden Stadium.