Carter arrived in Athens after eschewing an offer from LSU, among others, and with plenty of high expectations after dominating at Norcross High. His height, speed, and natural athleticism on the field led many, including Carter himself, to desire immediate results. But with Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins playing ahead of him, Carter would have to learn some patience.
During his freshman and sophomore seasons, playing mostly as a backup, Carter displayed a knack for impact, notching 4.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery, despite the star power ahead of him on the depth chart.
By the time 2016 rolled around, Carter had earned his spot on the field, starting nine of the 13 games he appeared in, finishing tied for the team lead in sacks with five. Adding 4.5 more as a senior, Carter earned the Charley Trippi Award for being the most versatile player on the team, and earned legendary status in Athens by blocking Oklahoma’s field goal attempt in the second overtime of the Bulldogs’ semifinal playoff game.
Former top player in the state of Georgia, Carter chose the nearby Bulldogs over LSU, and never looked back. He loves the Rugrats cartoon, and he is described by friends and family as a completely different guy on and off the field. Is the youngest in his family, with a mother who played college volleyball and a father who played college basketball. Before focusing on football full-time in high school, played the Tuba and the Cello in band and orchestra.
Long, rangy frame with excellent wingspan and “spider-like levers.” Sets the edge very well and holds containment without sacrificing flexibility or option to disengage from his blocker. Gets excellent leverage for such a tall player and beats offensive linemen to the punch to earn good hand placement allowing him to control his adversary rather than the other way around. Will get his hands into the air to affect passes and bat balls away. Still has room to add bulk to his frame without sacrificing speed or agility. Was mentioned by coaches as athletic enough to play cornerback if necessary. Is a willing tackler who wraps up well and brings anger to each hit. When rushing the passer, stays wide and keeps his eyes up, never losing sight of the ball and keeping himself in position to make a play away from his immediate location. Times the snap well and gets a great jump on the ball because of it. Presses blockers with his early movement and puts them on their heels with his athleticism. Drinks all the coffee in Glengarry Glen Ross — is a closer! Does not miss tackles when he gets close to passers or backs. Will flat out lay people out whether rushing from a standing or down position. Has a knack for forcing fumbles and his length makes him an asset on kick-block units, as well. — Hunter Ansley 2/2/2018
Has a tendency to get high and leggy when not moving forward. If he’s not solely rushing the passer, he can allow blockers to get under his pads and drive him off the ball, especially against power runs when he’s standing off the ball. Is more fluid than sudden as a pass rusher, so athletic offensive tackles can occasionally get the best of him. Times the snap well, but has a more gradual than instant first step. Is uncomfortable in coverage in the flats, and allows a lot of separation because he plays high and on his heels when not headed downhill. Wasn’t able to earn more than five sacks in any one season, despite elite physical tools. — Hunter Ansley 2/2/2018
Compares to: Leonard Floyd, Chicago Bears — Yes, it’s an easy comparison to draw considering both played at Georgia and both have nearly identical frames, but sometimes the obvious answer is the right one. Floyd was slightly more sudden in his movements, where Carter has more fluidity and deliberate strength. Still, both proved that they can affect the passer from standing positions all over a defense, and both are likely to have entered the league after rising throughout the entire draft process due to natural athleticism and great length and range as linebackers.
In our view: Carter is a rare athlete who has experience in a pro-friendly defensive scheme and showed excellent versatility in college, lining up with his hand in the dirt, rushing from a standing position as a 3-4 outside ‘backer, and dropping into coverage against tight ends, backs, and even receivers. That kind of scheme versatility, combined with a penchant for closing like a bear trap and a naturally long frame will get him drafted no later than the second day. Still, there will be questions about Carters lack of sack production after managing just 9.5 over his final two college seasons, despite starting 19 games over that span.