Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter is planning to make his decision on signing day.
Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), the top uncommitted front-seven defender, is a promising DE/OLB hybrid type prospect. For Carter, scheme and physical development will determine how he can best fit at the college level. Carter is a long, lean prospect who will need to work to further fill out his frame and improve strength. His strength at this stage is as a pass-rusher, with his length and initial quickness he can present problems coming off the edge. He needs to learn to better use his hands and reach to his advantage, but flashes ability to turn the corner as well as redirect inside after working upfield. He also possesses very good speed for his size and can be a factor in pursuit while offenses will always have to account for him on the backside of plays. Carter flashes upside as an edge run defender, but here is where the talented prospect needs the most development, as running at him, rather than away from, is a better way to try and neutralize him. He needs to watch his pad level, and when he stays low, he flashes ability to hold ground, but at this stage lacks a prototypical anchor to set the edge against bigger linemen. Early in his college career, Carter will be more of a situational player, but he possesses some very good natural tools to contribute well in those areas with the upside to grow into a more complete defender once he fills out further and finds his fit.
Who he reminds us of: There are a few names that come to mind, but the most natural comparison for Carter is another Norcross High product: Alabama linebacker Adrian Hubbard. The comparison is not solely based on high school, though, as both are long, athletic players with basketball backgrounds. The Alabama defender, who has declared for the NFL draft, was a late riser in the 2010 class, having focused on basketball early on. Carter, in that regard, brings a little more experience at the same stage. As prospects coming out, both brought promising upside with similar areas for development, like the need to physically fill out and learn to use their reach and hands better. Both move very well, although Carter’s speed is outstanding while Hubbard is arguably a little more fluid. Hubbard, an Under Armour All-American as well, was a defensive end coming out of high school, but moved to outside linebacker in college. Carter, depending on the system, could very well make that move himself.
Teams with the biggest need at the position: The five-star has four teams at the top heading toward national signing day: Georgia, LSU, Florida and Florida State.
Georgia: One could argue that, of that group, the biggest need lies with the Bulldogs. With eight of the top-10 committed players in the Peach State heading out of state, keeping Georgia’s No. 2 ranked player at home would be big for the Bulldogs. The ESPN 300 defender could be a good fit and help fill a need for the Bulldogs as he reminds us some of current Georgia defender and rising junior Jordan Jenkins.
LSU: The Tigers, who just got a visit from Carter this past weekend, are also in the mix as Carter can draw some comparison to former LSU DE Barkevious Mingo.
Florida: Carter would project to the Gators’ ‘Buck’ position, and with Ronald Powell declaring for the NFL and Dante Fowler Jr. going into his junior year, Florida could claim a need as well.
FSU: While the Seminoles search for a replacement for departed defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, who left for Georgia, they can still present a good fit to Carter, who is scheduled to visit this weekend. The defending national champions might seem like the team with the least need, but Cater could fill a similar role to departing senior Christian Jones, who was able to contribute at OLB as well as DE.
Other uncommitted options at the position: Raising the "need" meter for all four teams involved is that few options remain in the mold of a Lorenzo Carter. Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) is a very athletic prospect who has played defensive end, but projects to OLB and can offer versatility. The ESPN 300 defender, however, is focused in on the hometown Tigers, in-state Alabama and UCLA.
Another uncommitted ESPN 300 defender out of Georgia is Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian). A defender with a lengthy frame and good athleticism, he is not quite in the mold of Carter or Evans, but can develop into a good college defensive end with a good initial burst and the ability to be tough versus the run and effective when rushing the passer. While some ACC and SEC teams are in the mix for him, the focus there is on Clemson, Auburn and Ole Miss.