It's rare you run into five-star football players that are relatively new to the sport. Jalen Carter is exactly that.
A former basketball player that up until early into his sophomore season of football, thought he was going to be a basketball player. And for good reason, he was a force on the court with his size and leaping ability. It was truly something to watch.
He's 6'3, 300 pounds, and as athletically gifted as just about any defensive linemen you will find at his age. He hails from Apopka, Florida, home of Hall of Famer, Warren Sapp and he models his game after the All-Pro defensive tackle.
Though he probably won't ever be as big as Sapp, he moves with the same kind of athleticism and grace that the former Buccaneer possessed. Some may not remember, but Sapp very well could be the most athletic big man to have ever played the sport. At 6'2, 312 pounds, Sapp ran a 4.69 forty. Carter has the same ceiling athletically.
The scariest part about Carter's game is the fact that he's built like a grown man at the age of 18, and he's going to experience a kind of strength and conditioning program that's almost foreign to him at the University of Georgia. The term "country strong" is often used when describing this kind of football player.
To me, he reminds me of the caliber of player that Georgia got in the 2019 class in Travon Walker only slightly shorter. This is a player that will step onto the field as a true freshman this fall and he will completely overwhelm SEC offensive guards with his athleticism on passing downs.
Sure, Devonte Wyatt, Julian Rochester, and Zion Logue will play a major role in the interior of this Georgia defensive line, but Carter will be on the field quite a bit this fall. He played an odd front defensive end in high school and with this type of athleticism at 300 pounds, I think he provides a level of positional versatility along Georgia odd front defensive line that will have him playing a multitude of spots.
As we saw on pass-rushing downs last season, Kirby Smart and Dan Lanning like to overwhelm the opposition with speed rushers and athletic specimens like Carter. Last season it was a combination of Azeez Ojulari, Travon Walker, Malik Herring, and Tyler Clark along that defensive line. This fall, I think Carter fills the void left by Clark in these situations.
Carter does a great job setting up guards in pass-rushing situations. He was completely unblockable at the Under Armour All-American game. He hand fights exceptionally well for a young prospect that hasn't exactly grown up playing football at a high level. He also redirects as well as any player at his size, getting flat down the line of scrimmage and pursuing the ball carrier with incredible quickness.
Take a look:
Offensive lines in the SEC aren't going to know what to do with this type of speed and burst rushing the passer on third downs.
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