Coveted defensive end Lorenzo Carter commanded national recruiting attention at a young age, leading a dominant Norcross High School (Ga.) defense during consecutive state title runs. The 5-star prospect continues to keep coaches guessing as he remains uncommitted two weeks shy of national signing day.
Carter, a 6'5", 232-pound prospect, compiled gaudy statistics as a high school upperclassman. He tallied 268 tackles and 24 sacks during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, according to 247Sports.
Carter's massive physical frame and elite speed (clocked at 4.63 seconds in 40-yard dash per 247Sports) make him a rare specimen well-prepared to compete at the next level.
The competition for his commitment features Florida State and several SEC squads, including Georgia and Alabama. Carter's presence will immediately provide a formidable presence on any defensive front.
Lorenzo Carter will announce at 3pm on Feb. 5 at Norcross HS, per coach: http://t.co/DJvRA0yRb1— Michael Carvell (@RecruitingAJC) January 22, 2014
With an announcement approaching, we examine two of the top contenders for his services. Georgia and Alabama could each make defensive strides if Carter opts to commit.
So who needs him most?
The Crimson Tide already holds commitments from several elite-level defensive linemen, led by 5-star end Da'Shawn Hand. The Virginia native is rated the nation's No. 1 prospect at the position in 247Sports composite rankings.
He's hardly alone as an edge-rushing threat in this 2014 Alabama class. Impressive junior college defensive end D.J. Pettway is already in Tuscaloosa, while menacing 5-star outside linebacker is also a candidate to disrupt the pass pocket off the line's perimeter.
Saban has assembled three straight No. 1 national recruiting classes so there is a stockpile of talent along the defensive line, including returning impact performers with national championship experience.
It seems Saban's delivery to recruits during his program's dynastic run might as well be "we don't need you, but we want you." Carter can't ask for stiffer competition in his pursuit of a starting role than what he'll encounter in Tuscaloosa, and it will ultimately come down to whether he is willing to embrace that reality.
Who needs 5-star DE Lorenzo Carter most?
Richt was forced to find a replacement at defensive coordinator when Todd Grantham accepted the same position at Louisville. The Bulldogs quickly brought in Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who has won three straight national titles with the Seminoles and Alabama.
Pruitt previously recruited Carter in Tallahassee and the two have quickly rekindled their relationship now that he is in Athens.
Carter would have a quicker path to playing time at Georgia. Keyon Brown is a Florida prospect who provides the Bulldogs an explosive defensive end. The 4-star recruit doesn't have the raw size and length of Carter, but displays excellent burst.
Georgia has a legitimate incoming beast at defensive tackle in Lamont Gaillard but he does his damage inside.
Carter is the top in-state target for Georgia and the team has a true need for him in a pass-rushing role. The Bulldogs are the best fit and should be the most desperate to secure his commitment.