Ex-Oak Park, Purdue WR Maliq Carr in transfer portal, heading to Michigan State

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

There’s a new name in the NCAA transfer portal drawing plenty of attention at Michigan State.

Already busy in the portal this season, Spartans football coach Mel Tucker is bringing in another player in a move that could help Michigan State on the football field as well as the basketball court.

Former Oak Park star Maliq Carr is in the transfer portal, and plans to head to Michigan State.

Purdue redshirt freshman Maliq Carr, an Oak Park native, has entered the transfer portal, and will head to Michigan State where he’ll have the opportunity to play both football and basketball, a source told The Detroit News. In the portal, Carr’s name includes a notation that says he does not want to be contacted by schools, something he pointed out on his Instagram account when he confirmed his spot in the portal.

The (Lafayette, Indiana) Journal & Courier reported Carr’s reason for transferring after appearing in three games last fall was because he was promised a spot on the Boilermakers’ basketball team, but that has not happened.

When Carr committed to Purdue in October 2019 — turning down offers from the likes of Georgia, Ohio State, Auburn, Michigan, Notre Dame and Michigan State — he talked about how he intended to play both sports in college and that Boilermakers coach Matt Painter was “real happy” Carr would be joining the program.

Carr’s father, Cornell Mann, is an assistant basketball coach at Missouri. He’s also coached at Central Michigan when the Chippewas won the MAC title in 2003, at Western Michigan when the Broncos won the Mid-American Conference championship in 2004, at Dayton and Iowa State when the Cyclones reached the Sweet 16 in 2014 and at Oakland.

“He definitely has the ability to do both,” Mann said when Carr committed to Purdue. “What I really like about my own son is that I like him to do what he wants to do. He got enough guidance that he can make up his mind and do what he wants to do, so when it came to do whatever college or university that’s on him completely. The kid worked hard, and he deserves everything that he’s getting and I’m proud of him and happy for him.”

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Carr completed spring practice last month with the Boilermakers with expectations that he would be able to crack the playing rotation in the fall. Coach Jeff Brohm even said Carr would have been used more last season, but a minor knee injury slowed the freshman a bit.

“Maliq Carr is someone who's just got really great size and uncanny athleticism for his size,” Brohm told reporters. “We got to make sure we just get him the ball in the right places. Whether that's in the inside or on the outside, some especially in the red zone area for some plays where he can use his size advantage.”

Where Carr would fit in with the Spartans would be interesting. He was a four-star receiver coming out of Oak Park, according to Rivals.com, and was ranked 35th in that nation at the position. At 247sports.com, Carr was also a four-star but was listed as the No. 4 tight end in the country.

At Purdue, Carr played wide receiver, but could end up at either spot with the Spartans.

What’s just as intriguing is the idea Carr also would play basketball. Wide receiver Keon Coleman, who signed in February with the Spartans, also has talked about playing basketball, as well. That would make two football players with intentions to join Tom Izzo’s program.

Izzo’s team is seeing its own sort of roster shuffling this offseason as guards Rocket Watts and Jack Hoiberg have entered the transfer portal along with forward Thomas Kithier, while Aaron Henry is headed to the NBA Draft and Joshua Langford is likely to try and begin his professional career. The Spartans also have welcomed guard Tyson Walker from Northeastern.

For what it’s worth, when reporters interviewed Carr in late February during Purdue’s spring practice, he said he still hoped to play basketball, but was working hard to become a better wide receiver.

“I’m really focused on just getting better,” Carr said. “Cracking the starting lineup would be nice, but I'd rather just play my role on this team right now.”

Tucker has been busy in the portal since the end of last season. Currently there are six incoming transfers who are enrolled and taking part in spring practice while another seven have committed and are expected to arrive over the summer. Carr would become the 14th player to transfer in via the portal.

“The portal’s here to stay, and we embrace it,” Tucker said late last month. “It’s part of our process of acquiring players. Everyone’s in the portal for different reasons.

“You have to do your homework. We have to make sure that the guys that we decide that we want are a great for our culture. They fill needs on the field, but obviously, they need to fit in off the field as well — academically, socially, we’re looking for good teammates, guys that are unselfish and guys that love football.”


Twitter: @mattcharboneau