Five-star weak-side defensive end Lorenzo Carter is going to be one of the bigger names in the 2014 recruiting class when all is said and done, so get used to him being mentioned in correlation with the Alabama Crimson Tide.
Naturally, Nick Saban and the Tide will throw their hat in the ring with elite recruits, and while 'Bama certainly won't land all of those recruits, Saban and his program will usually be in the running.
Carter still has a very wide open interest list, but I expect the previous statement will be true for his recruiting process as well.
In fact, according to Greg Ostendorf of ESPN.com, Carter recently had a good visit to Alabama:
Carter arrived on campus Friday and left Sunday morning.
“It was good,” he said. “It was probably the most informative visit I’ve had so far with my parents. I think they feel a little more comfortable with Alabama now that they’ve talked to the coaches and sit down to see how the program works.”
Carter went on to discuss how Saban addressed one of his mother's concerns:
“He told me how much he liked me,” Carter said. “Then he asked my parents if they had any questions. My mom, she had questions about Alabama because her co-workers and people around her don’t think I should go there because of how deep they are with talent. They don’t know if I would play.
“So he answered that. He said the only thing you could not to go to Alabama for is if you’re too good and you don’t think you’ll play. He told me that I shouldn’t worry about any of that because wherever I go, I’ll play.”
According to Ostendorf's report, Alabama believes Carter would project well at the "Jack" linebacker spot, and I couldn't agree more. Actually, this could end up being 'Bama's best pitch with the 5-star defensive end/outside linebacker.
In a 4-3 defense, Carter would be a great defensive end. He's 6'5'', 232 pounds and runs a 4.60 according to 247Sports. He has the size to control the edge in the 4-3 and the speed to be a big-time pass-rusher with his hands to the ground.
Alabama runs a 3-4 though, and Carter doesn't have anywhere near the size that you look for in a 3-4 defensive end. The defensive end in the 3-4 is responsible for two gaps, thus he needs to be big and strong enough to take on double teams. While Carter can take on a double, I don't see him consistently being able to control two gaps in the 3-4.
If you back him up off the line a bit and play him at the "Jack" linebacker spot though, he could have the chance to be extremely productive.
The "Jack" position is basically a defensive end/outside linebacker combo position. He's usually utilized as a pass-rusher from a stand-up position right off the line of scrimmage. The "Jack" is normally responsible for getting edge pressure and making life extremely hard on the quarterback, but he'll also be charged with dropping back into coverage, disguising pressures and coverages, and generally making all the plays in open space toward his side.
Carter has the pass-rush ability to really stand out there, but he's athletic enough to drop back into coverage. He's also a good enough tackler to really set the edge and control any run toward his side of the line of scrimmage.
The "Jack" normally makes a ton of plays, and when you're making plays at Alabama, the whole college football world normally knows about it.
Carter also has a connection to the Alabama program, and specifically the "Jack" linebacker spot. According to Ostendorf's report, incoming Junior linebacker Adrian Hubbard went to Carter's high school—Norcross High School in Norcross, Georgia—so that connection could prove to be another selling point for the Crimson Tide with Carter.
At the end of Ostendof's report, Carter had this to say about his recruiting process:
“I’m still wide open,” he said. “I’ll probably talk about it with my coach and try to come up with a date that I can come out with a top five or 10.”
Will 'Bama be in Carter's top five?
According to his 247Sports interest list, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, South Carolina, USC and Vanderbilt are all listed as "warm interests"
Will Alabama find a way to make it into his top 10 and eventual top five? The Crimson Tide normally do with elite recruits, and they have a good pitch for Carter.
I'd be truly surprised if Alabama wasn't in his top five when all is said and done.