Paul Gutierrez, ESPN Staff Writer 100d

Derek Carr's childhood dream realized as Fresno State retires No. 4

ALAMEDA, Calif. -- Derek Carr has a simple goal Saturday evening at Fresno State, when his alma mater retires his jersey No. 4 at Bulldog Stadium.

"Man, I hope I don't all of a sudden get randomly emotional," Carr said this week. "I literally dreamed of that since I was this tall."

Carr put his left hand at his waist. His football dreams, though, were much higher when he was younger.

"Every time I walked in that stadium for my brother's games, I would tell my Dad, 'Yeah, they're going to put Dave's [number] up there, but they're going to put mine, too.' Then when I was there, it said, 'Carr 8,' obviously, every day I walked down that ramp.

"I said, 'They're going to put my name right next to that.' It drove me."

Other numbers retired by Fresno State are Kevin Sweeney (No. 9), Trent Dilfer (12), Henry Ellard (83), Dale Messer (21) and Vince Petrucci (14).

"It's an awesome thing," Bulldogs coach Jeff Tedford told the Fresno Bee. "I don't think there's any better ambassador that we could ask for with Derek Carr. Obviously, what he did on the football field -- conference championships, player of the year, numerous school records, academic All-American -- so he balanced it on and off the football field, which is always what we're looking for. Obviously, as he has gone on into the NFL, he has done very special things.

"I feel that I have an extra personal gratification of this because when David was here and [Derek] was 5 years old, he was out there and we were doing drops ... with his Nerf football. It's awesome to see him this many years later having his jersey retired here and being such a great ambassador for our university and our football program."

The younger Carr was his big brother's biggest backer for the Heisman Trophy in 2001, saying the award "should go to the best quarterback, the best player" because other candidates that year "can't make the throws your brother can, and you know that, well, he's just the best quarterback in the nation."

David Carr finished fifth in the 2001 Heisman voting, behind winner Eric Crouch, Rex Grossman, Ken Dorsey and Joey Harrington, all quarterbacks. Carr went first overall in the 2002 NFL draft to the expansion Houston Texans.

Derek Carr wanted to finish what his big brother started at Fresno State and did more than that from 2009 through 2013, leaving campus with 27 school records, including being the Bulldogs' career leader in passing yardage (12,842), touchdowns (113), completion percentage (66.6) and total offensive yards (13,032).

Twelve years after David Carr's senior season, Derek Carr finished eighth in the Heisman voting, then fell into the Raiders' lap in the second round of the 2014 draft, 36th overall.

Now entering his fourth NFL season, the 26-year-old Carr is being feted with an honor usually associated with players whose best days are long behind them. Instead, Carr, who wore No. 4 in honor of Brett Favre, is prepping for an NFL opener with a team on the rise and him at the helm.

There are parallels between what he did in Fresno and what he is currently doing in Oakland and, he hopes, in Las Vegas, the future home of the Raiders.

"It pushed me to want to, again, change a culture of things that were going a certain way," he said of elevating Fresno State and having his jersey retired.

"It's just one of those moments that I've dreamed off. Thank God it's coming true."

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