Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter is one of the more talented players in the 2014 class, and he's being targeted by some of the biggest programs in the country.
Schools like USC, Georgia, Florida and Florida State are all listed as "warm interests" on his 247Sports interest list, amongst others, but there are also two very notable SEC recruiting powerhouses that find themselves high on his list.
Alabama and Auburn.
The Crimson Tide's draw is self explanatory at this point, and Nick Saban is arguably the best recruiter and coach in the country. For all of Auburn's struggles last season, the program is trending up in a big way now that Gus Malzahn is at the helm, and his abilities as a recruiter and his high-powered offense should have the Tigers back to being an SEC contender sooner rather than later.
Carter is from Norcross, GA, and considering the success both Alabama programs have had within the state of Georgia as of late, both the Tide and Tigers need to be looked at as legitimate contenders for his commitment.
Here's my complete scouting report on the highly sought after defense end:
- Name: Lorenzo Carter
- Hometown: Norcross, Georgia
- School: Norcross High School
- Position: WDE
- Height: 6'6" (247Sports)
- Weight: 232 lbs (247Sports)
- 40 Time: 4.65 (Rivals.com)
- Rankings: 5-star (247Sports), 5-star (Rivals), 3-star (Scout.com), Watch List (ESPN Recruiting Nation)
Carter is a pure pass rusher, and he has the potential to be very good at that at the college level. His speed allows him to dominate the edge, and he couples that with a good burst and great technique.
He can simply out-quick the offensive tackle to the edge, and then he's extremely proficient at dipping his shoulder, turning the corner, locating the football and making a play.
You can see in the picture below that he has a step on the left tackle. His next goal will be to turn the corner, though, and gain that angle on him. The tackle will want to take him upfield as deep as possible at this point and the quarterback is going to try to step up into the pocket. Turning the corner, getting that angle and moving into the pocket is essential:
In the picture below you can see how he dips his inside shoulder, which creates less space for the tackle to block and also gives him leverage into the lane. You can see how the shoulder dip also changes the angle of his body so that instead of moving upfield, he's now targeting the pocket:
Carter then rips his inside arm through, which allows him to fully control the lane, and that gives him an unabated path to the quarterback. Notice how the rip causes him to "get skinny," which then puts the offensive tackle behind him. It's a simple technique that you work on all the way down at the youth level, but it's effective, fundamental football.
He then goes on to sack the quarterback:
Carter is an extremely good pass rusher with natural instincts, but he also displays enough discipline and patience to be effective against the run. He shows the ability to take on an out block and close the gap, and he can also "two gap" a blocker, disengage and make the play.
His length will also help him against both the pass and the run. He's going to be hard to reach block, and he'll be able to get good separation.
This is not a negative, per se, because frankly there's not a lot to dislike about Carter's game. If I'm being nitpicky, though, I'd like to see him work on more of a power game in order to be a truly effective defensive end at the college level. I'd like to see him put on a bit more weight and really work on a bull rush.
If he's constantly working the edges with speed, offensive tackles at the college level are smart enough to pick up on that and counter it. He'll need to develop a power game as well so he can keep blockers guessing.
That point becomes mostly null and void if he ends up in a 3-4 scheme, though, where he'll project at outside linebacker.
As I just mentioned, Carter projects as a defensive end in the 4-3 or an outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense. He has the speed for either position, but he'll need to put on just a bit more weight if he wants to be a dominant defensive end.
Carter has a ton of offers, and I would look for Georgia to really be a major factor in is recruitment. The Bulldogs are going to want to really lock down in-state talent this cycle, so expect them to be strong on the recruiting trail with him.
That said, it's hard to deny Alabama and Auburn's foothold within the state of Georgia right now, so this could come down to those two rivals.
He has an offer from Alabama and he may fit best as a 3-4 outside linebacker right now. Considering the success that Saban and the Crimson Tide are known for, it's going to be hard to turn them down—especially if Alabama has another dominant year on the field.
Also, consider the fact that Alabama just signed 2013 4-star running back Alvin Kamara, who also went to Norcross.
All signs point to Alabama having a great chance to land Carter when all is said and done.