Anyone that has a good read on where five-star prospect Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) is headed might want to give the No. 10 prospect in the country a heads up.
Because he says he has no idea.
“People say that because of the people that have gone from Norcross to Alabama or the people in my ear about Georgia, that I will end up at one of those schools,” Carter said. “I just realize that I do not have anything to do with anyone that has gone to Alabama in the past, and whatever other people think does not affect me.”
After making 18 sacks last season while helping the Norcross to a 15-0 season and its first state championship, Carter emerged as a national recruit. Carter, the No. 1 prospect in Georgia, lost count at 42 scholarship offers. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound defensive end will arrive at The Opening next week with a dozen schools still under serious consideration.
“I have all of the offers I could want, so any other school that comes in will probably not have a chance at this point,” Carter said. “Thirteen schools have a chance with me right now, but hopefully I can narrow it down to a top five before my season starts.”
While Carter has not locked himself into a specific top five yet, the elite pass-rusher has singled out five programs -- Alabama, Florida, Georgia, LSU and Notre Dame -- that are standing out right now.
All five programs have had Carter on campus in the last four months. Alabama hosted him in March and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart broke down how Carter would be utilized in Alabama’s defense, which made his parents realize they would need to be informed on the nuances of different schemes.
“That was an eye-opening experience and the first time we really sat down as a family and talked about how I should narrow down my schools and if I could fit in a 3-4 versus a 4-3 scheme,” Carter said. “I feel like I can do either and if anyone tells me I am too small to play in a 4-3 or anything else, they are really just insulting me as a player because I feel like I can do whatever I put my mind to.”
Like most, Carter is well aware of the Crimson Tide’s success over the last few years, and he knows they are recruiting on a different level than most.
“Alabama is the powerhouse of college football right now,” Carter said. “I do not think any kid growing up in this era right now would not want to play for Alabama, unless they are an Auburn fan. They just have a great program and the best players go there. I feel like I am an elite player, so why not go there?”
The ESPN 150 prospect visited Georgia on June 1 and said he is reminded daily of the pull to play for the nearby Bulldogs.
“They are the in-state school and I always get pressure to go there,” Carter said. “Wherever I go I hear ‘Go Dawgs.’”
Carter likes the fact that his intended major was recently added at the University of Georgia.
“I feel like Georgia is a great school and they have a brand new engineering program,” Carter said. “The building is brand new and the classes are small, so I feel like I can go there and actually take advantage of the school, not just the football program.”
The UGA coaching staff has made Carter a recruiting priority and have connected with his family on multiple levels.
“Coach [Mark] Richt is a great person and a godly man,” Carter said. “I think coming from my family, where God is first in everything - that is really good. I feel like Coach Richt has that same mindset. Coach [Bryan] McClendon has been a great recruiter, and he probably talks to my parents more than he talks to me. I am cool with that because I have talked to him enough. I would also have to say Georgia is the school recruiting me the hardest. I think that has had a positive effect on me.”
Two weeks ago, Carter made a trip to check out Florida and Florida State. The Gators were able to capitalize on hosting him, making a big jump up his list.
“Going in, I felt like Florida was one of the top schools I am considering, and when we got there, they blew us out of the water,” Carter said. “They showed my family a lot of good things, and I think that is why Florida is in my top cluster of schools like Alabama and Georgia.”
Two things that stood out about the Gators.
“(DL) Coach [Brad] Lawing came from South Carolina, and I have seen what he can do with players,” Carter said. “He had Jadaveon Clowney. Florida is always in the hunt for the SEC Championship every year, and if you win the SEC Championship, there is a good chance that you will win a national championship. That is what I am looking for in a school.”
Last weekend, Carter made a trip north with teammate and linebacker prospect Kevin Mouhon to check out Ohio State and Notre Dame. With Urban Meyer out of town, the OSU trip was short, but Notre Dame positioned itself to get a return visit from Carter, who admits that without the success the Irish had on the field last fall, he likely would never have taken a closer look at their program.
Even if Carter is able to narrow it to five by the end of the summer, don’t expect him to rush his pick.
“We are taking our time,” Carter said. “No one can rush us because this is my decision. I am just going to pray about it and see which school provides the best opportunities for me in life. This is not a four-year decision, it is a forty-year decision. I have to make that choice and live with it, so if I am not fully comfortable, I am not going to commit.”
The possibility of Carter’s recruitment lasting for a while is almost certain.
“I do not see myself being able to make a decision before [signing day]. I am sure those schools would love for me to commit before then so I can help recruit, but I just cannot because I do not know where I want to go yet.”