5-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter seems to be a perfect fit for the SEC, but there may an ACC program that can make a strong impression in the race for his commitment: Miami.
Carter is a big-time defensive end prospect and he's one of the more sought after recruits in the 2014 class. He checks in at 6'6'', 232 pounds, so he has great size for just a junior in high school. He also runs a 4.60 40 according to 247Sports, so he has phenomenal speed for a defensive end.
SEC programs like Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt are all on top of his 247Sports interest list, as well as well as Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, Notre Dame and USC.
He's from Norcross, Georgia and he's ranked as the No. 3 player from the state according to the 247Sports Composite. It would not be surprising at all if Carter did end up playing in the SEC, but according to Matt Shodell of CaneSport.com, the talented recruit has an affinity for the Miami Hurricanes:
Norcross (GA) High School 5-star DE/LB Lorenzo Carter says the Canes are among the schools he's giving serious consideration.
And UM has a big factor in its favor: Carter grew up a Miami fan.
"Growing up I loved Miami, loved them as early as I can remember," Carter said. "I lived in Memphis when I started liking them. I think it was the colors that pulled me in, and I said `I like this team.'"
Shodell went on to report that Carter is being recruited by Miami as well:
Coach Micheal Barrow is recruiting him to Miami.
"He's come to our practices and I've talked to him (on the phone)," Carter said. "He's a cool guy. I'd love to get down there so I can sit down and talk to him."
It's something that's not discussed quite enough, but affinity and the "nostalgia effect" can be huge on the recruiting trail. Most of us have grown up as sports fans and at one point or another we all latched onto certain teams for some reason or another.
Sometimes affinity for a specific team, program or sport is passed on via family or friends. Other times it's proximity, and sometimes it can even be something as simple as the colors of a jersey—as was apparently the case with Carter.
However it happens, there's a point where those colors and that team becomes a part of who we are, and that passion is what makes sports so great.
Imagine for a minute being an elite high school recruit with an offer from that team you grew up cheering for...
The draw is undeniable.
Al Golden and the Hurricanes have experienced their fair share of troubles both on and off the field and in recruiting, but Miami is still a program with tremendous potential. Golden is a good recruiter and Miami is still one of the marquee programs in college football.
The Hurricanes program is a "sleeping giant", and if they can get back on track, the future is very bright.
It all starts and ends with recruiting though, and this is where Carter could have the biggest impact.
A decision still seems a long way away for Carter, but if Miami could make it into the top group, that would make a statement to the recruiting world. If Miami was able to land Carter, that statement would ring out loud and clear.
An elite recruit like Carter choosing Miami would essentially put the Hurricanes on the map with a ton of other top-notch recruits, and Miami could slowly but surely start building back up its image and prestige.
If Golden can change the vibe of Miami football and once again turn it into a destination for highly ranked football recruits, this is a program that could take off extremely fast.
The Hurricanes still have the brand name and Miami is a beautiful place to live, so if Golden can restore a championship attitude on and off the field (and in recruiting), we could see the Hurricanes return to prominence.
Landing a recruit like Carter would be a huge step in the right direction. In fact, it would be good for the ACC as a whole, as the conference looks to be a major player for 5-star recruits in 2014.
There's still a lot of time left in his recruitment, but at the very least, it looks like Miami has a chance to make a huge statement on the recruiting trail by out-recruiting the SEC for an elite player.