Last season the Georgia defensive line rotated as many as nine or ten guys, all who played meaningful snaps in 2020. Now, Georgia is searching for more depth in that rotation heading into the 10-game conference only season. The great news is that Georgia has plenty of talent, and even better is that they will have freshman Jalen Carter in that mix.
Carter was one of Georgia’s biggest gets in the 2020 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 1 nationally by the 247Sports Composite team rankings. Carter was ranked as the nation’s No. 18 overall prospect, No. 4 defensive tackle, and No. 3 in the state of Florida the 247Sports Composite. So, there’s a lot riding on him going into his freshman season.
UGA defensive coordinator Dan Lanning sees the raw talent that Carter possesses, too.
“Jalen Carter has plenty to learn but he’s very strong,” Lanning said via Zoom on Friday. “He’s an explosive athlete. We definitely think he can make an impact for us and it’s good to see his technique get better day in and day out. He definitely makes the guys across the ball better.”
Lanning made a terrific point in relation to Carter. He’s only a freshman and he has a long way to reaching his full potential. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound defender played tight end his junior year at Apopka High School, but moved over to defensive tackle after. During his senior campaign, Carter racked up 64 total tackles and 12 sacks.
The thing that might keep him off the field a lot this season are the two seniors ahead of him, Devonte Wyatt and Julian Rochester. Last season, Tyler Clark and Wyatt played a lot, but keeping Carter off the field will be tough. His physical build is unique and he has the tools to make an impact this year.
But in order for him to crack that rotation he’ll have to out-perform a lot of big, talented individuals. Last year, the Bulldogs signed five defensive linemen in the 2019 class, but Travon Walker was the only one who didn’t redshirt. Walker played defensive end as well as junior college transfer Tramel Walthour. The other three interior linemen are Zion Logue, Bill Norton and Tymon Mitchell. All three of those previously named are all from Tennessee and will be pushing for playing time after redshirting.
“The Tennessee crew, their development, it’s always fun to see year one to year two and I give coach Scott credit, he’s done a good job with their development from the standpoint that the technique is a lot cleaner,” Lanning said. “We actually did a player development piece in our defensive meeting where we’re kind of highlighting where guys have improved. We were able to show some film of Tymon early, right, in practice, something he was doing wrong, something he fixed and adjusted and then really a perfect rep in a team run setting. It’s fun seeing those guys come along.”