This year has been one of wins for the UNC Charlotte 49ers tight end Ryan Carriere – both on and off the field.
First, Carriere undeniably has many reasons to be proud of his academic career. He started in 2016 as a business major, then decided to instead study computer science. “I realized the technology industry is becoming more popular, plus I enjoy working with numbers and statistics,” he said.
After earning an undergraduate degree in computer science with a concentration in software systems and networking, he began UNC Charlotte’s master’s program in data science and business analytics. He is expected to graduate in December.
Through his heavy course load, he has been the 49ers’ tight end. This comes naturally, as he has played this position consistently since the second grade. Carriere enjoys the combination of defensive plays and scoring, but his primary goal has been blocking rather than pass catching. “I know my role,” he says, and it shows.
His most exciting game to date was on Oct. 8 against the FIU Panthers, where in the final quarter Carriere scored his first career touchdown. “Everyone was super excited for me…I teared up a bit,” he said. The 49ers brought home the win with a final score of 45-33. As of now, the team’s record is 5-4. Carriere and his teammates also most recently celebrated their win of the Homecoming game against Rice, with a final of score 31-24 achieved in overtime. This victory brought them one step closer to winning the Conference USA title.
As exciting as this is, Carriere knows winning is not just about scoring on the field. In fact, when asked about his proudest achievements as a UNC Charlotte student, his first response was “meeting my wife.” Carriere and his wife Kathleen tied the knot in July. He also is extremely grateful for his acceptance into the Graduate School. Carriere has consistently earned a spot on the Conference USA Honor Roll, and played in the 2019 Bahamas Bowl.
There is no doubt great things are on the horizon for Carriere. “My dream is to make it to the NFL,” he said. “After graduation, I plan to focus on preparing for Pro Day.”
In the early months of 2022, recruiters from the National Football League will be on campus to watch Carriere and his teammates perform drills that showcase their skills and techniques. Aside from playing professional football, he envisions a career as a sports analyst. He is currently gaining experience as a sports analytics intern with the 49ers’ football team. He is open to working with data for any sport.
All in all, Ryan has been a great addition to his team and it will surely be sad to see him leave. As his head coach Will Healy said, "He's the foundation of our football team. The definition of consistency. He's so much fun to be around. I don't know anyone else on the team that our players celebrate the success of more than Ryan's. It means a lot to me that he decided to come back for this season. He's an integral part of the development of our program."