Mark Richt has landed his latest budding defensive star.
According to ESPN, 5-star defensive end prospect Lorenzo Carter committed to the Georgia Bulldogs on Wednesday:
Carter was one of the most highly coveted recruits in the class of 2014. He received offers from top programs all over the country, with some of his top interests including Georgia, Florida State, LSU, Florida and Alabama.
Heading into proceedings, it all but looked like a lock he would be a Bulldog. 247Sports' "crystal ball" had him at a 81 percent chance of landing in Athens as of Feb. 4, with Alabama at 16 percent as the only other school one could consider close. Still, Carter was diligent in his choice, meeting with coaches and hearing their pitches right down to the wire.
One of the more interesting and physically gifted talents in his class, the Bulldogs hope waiting around through the process will pay off. A standout at Norcross High School in Georgia, Carter is widely considered one of the best defensive end prospects in the nation and was perhaps the most sought-after undecided player heading into national signing day.
According to 247Sports' composite rankings, Carter is the second-best defensive end prospect, the best player in the state of Georgia and the 18th-best player in the country overall. Throw a stone at a major collegiate program and they've offered Carter a scholarship, which makes his decision to land at Georgia all the more noteworthy.
Listed as a defensive end by most recruiting services, it remains unclear where he'll ultimately fit initially. At 6'5" and 232 pounds, Carter has a wiry frame that ingratiates itself to more of a hybrid role. He has experience at both defensive end and outside linebacker, so the adjustment won't be too difficult—and most expect it to be temporary.
His frame is similar to that of many two-sport athletes, and Carter was also a stellar basketball player before focusing full time on football. In an interview with Derek Tyson of ESPN, Carter even admitted football was a learned love—not his first muse:
It was basketball for me early. Me and my family always played basketball. It was kind of weird being recruited for football because I had spent so much time playing basketball and developing for basketball and then football comes and I’m like ‘I guess I have to change my time and effort to football now.’
Once Carter hits the weight room and adds some much-needed bulk, he should morph into an elite weak-side defensive end. He already has shown elite quickness with his burst off the ball, getting past overmatched tackles with relative ease at the high school level. Though Carter's consistency and awareness could use some work, he should develop into a strong run-defender later in his career.
And while it's an underrated skill if your name isn't J.J. Watt, Carter's ability to swat down passes with his length gives him an added dimension.
Luckily for Carter, the stable of talent and sensational defensive coaching staff at Georgia point to him having the time and infrastructure to develop. It's hard to guarantee anything about a high school senior, but with Mark Richt's track record, we could be looking at a future star.
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