Florida State Seminoles: Lorenzo Carter

Signing day winners and losers

February, 5, 2014
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The ceremonies have concluded, the ink has dried and the fax machines have been turned off once again. And with that, the Class of 2014 is mostly in the books. As is the case annually, there were a number of winners but also some losers on national signing day. Here is a look at a few schools that excelled -- and a couple others that didn't.

THE WINNERS

LSU: The Tigers began the day at No. 3 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and ended with 2014's No. 2 class. The reason is simple: Les Miles and staff got the prospect they had to have in the nation's No. 1 wide receiver, Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian). The Tigers lost both Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson to the NFL, making defensive tackle a key position of need, and they inked a pair of talented tackles in ESPN 300 Travonte Valentine (Hialeah, Fla./Champagnant Catholic) and four-star Trey Lealaimatafao (San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren). Under the radar but significant is three-star defensive end Sione Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller), who flipped from Texas to LSU. Teuhema’s younger brother Maea Teuhema (Keller, Texas/Keller) is the No. 38 junior in the ESPN Junior 300 and has pledged to LSU as well. Holding off Auburn and UCLA to keep ESPN 300 defensive end Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La./Plaquemine) was another win on Wednesday.

Florida State: The Seminoles entered signing day with the No. 4-ranked class but were poised to close with a vengeance, and Jimbo Fisher and staff did just that. While the Seminoles moved up only one spot to No. 3, the hits on Wednesday are significant. Leading the way was No. 2-ranked wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead). The Noles weren’t done at receiver either, as Fisher and staff flipped Virginia Tech commit and No. 117 overall Ja'Von Harrison (Lakeland, Fla./Kathleen). No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Saint Louis, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and No. 253 Derrick Nnadi (Virginia Beach, Va./Ocean Lakes) were key gets at offensive tackle and defensive tackle, respectively. Three-star offensive tackle Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) was another key win over rival Florida.

USC: The Trojans stood to have a big signing day, and Steve Sarkisian and staff certainly delivered. Not only did USC win the hotly contested battle for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra), but the Trojans won the race for ESPN 300 No. 24 Juju Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) and signed No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) as expected. More than the names and rankings, Wednesday was a huge perception win for the Trojans and Sarkisian. USC jumped to No. 14 from No. 24 in the RecruitingNation class rankings.

Georgia: The Bulldogs didn’t have a big day in terms of number of commits, but quality ruled the day. Mark Richt and staff signed the player they had to have in five-star outside linebacker/defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). While Carter’s announcement was the big one Wednesday afternoon, the morning started off with a bang for Georgia with the signing of No. 286 overall Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), who was first offered on Monday and never even visited Athens. Those two big signings kept the Bulldogs in the top 10 at No. 9.

South Carolina: One of the big movers in the class rankings on Wednesday was the Gamecocks. Not only did South Carolina make a jump from No. 27 to No. 19 throughout the day, but the Gamecocks also addressed major areas of need. Steve Spurrier and staff had key areas of need at cornerback and along the defensive front, and they delivered by picking up a pair of ESPN 300 corners in No. 87 overall Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation) and No. 120 Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), as well as flipping ESPN 300 defensive tackle Dexter Wideman (Saluda, S.C./Saluda) from Florida State and three-star defensive end Blake McClain (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) from Nebraska. Fighting off the late January runs by Alabama and Georgia for ESPN 300 linebacker commit Bryson Allen-Williams (Ellenwood, Ga./Cedar Grove) has to be included in the huge wins in recent days.

Kentucky: Sure, Kentucky plucked only one key target on Wednesday in three-star former Vanderbilt and Penn State defensive end commit Lloyd Tubman (Louisville, Ky./Seneca), but it was still a huge day at the finish line for the Wildcats. The 2014 class marks the first time in the nine years that ESPN has ranked recruiting classes that the Wildcats have finished with a top 25 class, and that includes a big win over Alabama for in-state four-star defensive tackle Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./John Hardin). Signing six defensive backs fills a huge need as well.

Michigan State: The Spartans had a near dream season on the field, and followed it up by closing strong in recruiting. Not only did Michigan State jump nine spots in the class rankings from No. 38 to No. 29 on Wednesday, but it did so while filling a big need on the defensive front with big-time talent. ESPN 300 defensive end Malik McDowell (Southfield, Mich./Southfield) was a big win over Ohio State, Florida State and Michigan, while flipping four-star defensive tackle Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wis./Sun Prairie) from Wisconsin earlier in the week was another huge win for the Spartans.

Pac-12: The conference as a whole was quite possibly the big winner on signing day. Of the 13 live commitments on ESPNU throughout the morning and afternoon, seven committed and signed with Pac-12 programs. The winner within the Pac-12 was USC, but Stanford also enjoyed a big day with No. 25 overall Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell) and three-star corner Terrence Alexander (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian).

THE LOSERS

UCLA: Along with USC and South Carolina, the UCLA Bruins came into today with the most to gain. While Jim Mora and staff scored with four-star linebacker Kenny Young (River Ridge, La./John Curtis Christian), it was mostly misses throughout the day. Jackson and Smith picked crosstown rival USC, while Dupre opted for home-state LSU. At defensive end, the Bruins missed out twice on Wednesday with Thomas selecting Stanford and Godchaux sticking with LSU. And finally, No. 52 overall Rashaan Evans (Auburn, Ala./Auburn) stayed in state by picking Alabama over Auburn.

Ole Miss: It’s difficult to place the Rebels' No. 17 class with the losers on signing day, but that was the case in Oxford, Miss. Not only did Ole Miss drop a spot in the class rankings, but it also came up dry with explosive ESPN 300 receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), after Hugh Freeze and staff worked the Under Armour All-America Game standout all the way up until Wednesday morning before McKenzie announced for Georgia. While Dupre was a long shot, he was yet another prospect who went elsewhere. The Rebels also lost out on Alexander, who selected Stanford over Notre Dame. The bright spot for the Rebels on Wednesday was signing former Notre Dame transfer and No. 22 in the ESPN JC 50, Tee Shepard
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: The Class of 2014 will go down as one of the wildest recruiting rides in recent memory. With so many players switching commitments and some elite prospects still left on the board, here are five things to keep an eye on heading into recruiting’s biggest day.

Does Bama have the best class ever?

ACC class rankings analysis 

January, 29, 2014
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National signing day is one week away, so this is the time of the year when schools hope to be trending up in the class rankings. As the final elite uncommitted prospects wrestle with decisions, another highly-rated recruit picking a particular school could influence others to do the same.

Momentum works both ways, and any bad news could snowball in the final few hours.


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Most important targets: ACC 

January, 28, 2014
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This is the time for schools to make final visits and final pitches to recruits. Only a select number of prospects remain uncommitted, as most programs’ classes are close to completion, which means coaching staffs are focusing their attention on the final big pieces to the puzzle.

Here are the top targets remaining for each ACC school:

Boston College
DT Oseh Saine (Worcester, Mass./Worcester)
6-foot-4, 295 pounds
Not rated
It is possible Boston College will add another commitment between now and signing day. Coach Steve Addazio is hoping for a quiet signing day, as his first full class at BC is a good one, and any unexpected news on Feb. 5 could be bad news for the Eagles. Postgraduate defensive lineman Oseh Saine could sign, however, and he made an official visit after the Eagles had offered. There are academic hurdles, but if Saine is playing FBS football next season, it likely will be with the Eagles.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

January, 27, 2014
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Signing day is just 10 days away and this past weekend was one of the last times that coaches could get prospective student-athletes on campus. There were a handful of commitments and official visits from some of the nation’s premier prospects.


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Key recruiting visits -- ACC 

January, 24, 2014
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With only two weekends left until signing day, coaches are hitting the road hard during the week in hopes of convincing waffling prospects to come to their campus.

Here are the biggest visits in the ACC this weekend.

1. DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross)
Visiting: Florida State

It could be a long shot at this point, but it doesn't hurt to get the five-star lineman on campus this close to signing day. A good visit could push FSU toward the front.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: If USC is going to close strong, landing some of this weekend’s 11 official visitors are key; even though neither are going to land him, Alabama and Oregon earned high praise for their recruiting efforts with offensive lineman Braden Smith’s coach; and Lorenzo Carter has become priority No. 1 for several of the Southeast's top teams.

11 recruits set to visit USC


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video This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.

Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) is one of the most heavily recruited football players in the country. But football stardom didn’t always seem like it would be in the 6-foot-5, 234-pound athlete’s future.

"It was basketball for me early,” Carter said. "Me and my family always played basketball. It was kind of weird being recruited for football because I had spent so much time playing basketball and developing for basketball and then football comes and I’m like ‘I guess I have to change my time and effort to football now.’”

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Carter
Miller Safrit/ESPNLorenzo Carter has several factors to weigh before picking among Florida, FSU, Georgia and LSU.
Carter’s mother, Lisa, admits it was her advice that pointed her son in the right direction.

"He could never decide if he wanted to go football or basketball,” Lisa said. "So I always told him ‘Lorenzo, if you grow taller then basketball is the direction you need to go. Because at your current size -- think about the next level, they truly have 7-footers and guys that are 6-11. You’re not quite there. You’ve been playing in the post the whole time, so if you get taller it’s basketball but if you stay at your size, stay with football. You have beautiful size for football.’”

Beyond his imposing football physique, Lisa offered some hard truths.

“[Lorenzo] didn’t get any taller and we’re like ‘your ballhandling skills are not that great -- especially to be a guard,” Lisa said. “Take a look at some of the guards in the NBA and look at their heights and compare them to you. Can you play with LeBron?’ He’s taller than you.’ He’s like yeah you got a point, so football it is.”

Now that her son is an All-American football player, Lisa and her husband, Leo, are helping Lorenzo make the best college decision for his future.

"Look at each school,” said Lisa, describing her advice. “See what it has to offer academically and then see what the coaching staff has to offer for you athletically. Are they producing academically and athletically? If they are then those are the schools that you need to look at on your list. Once you determined who meets your needs, then how do you feel about those schools? Because you have to have a feeling, you have to have a connection with those schools. When you find the strongest connection, that’s where you need to be.”

For Lorenzo, there is one school with which he has made the best connection.

"I’d say Florida. I had the best relationship with the Georgia staff, but yeah, they are gone now,” Lorenzo laughed, "so I’d say Florida. I always spent time with the Florida and Georgia staffs. I went to Georgia all the time, then Florida was one of my favorites early so I just spent so much time with those schools. Florida is always here and every time they come they bring like four coaches to see me.”

Luckily for Georgia, new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt knows Carter from his time at Florida State. Carter said Pruitt has made him a priority since taking the new job.

"I think it was a good pickup for Georgia,” Lorenzo said. "I really didn’t talk to him much when he was at Florida State but I feel like I’ll have a better relationship now that he’s at Georgia. He’s been working hard to get a better relationship with me. He came to the house probably the day after he got hired.”

Carter has a top four of Georgia, Florida, Florida State and LSU and this week will be hectic for the No. 14-ranked player in the country.

All four of Carter's top schools have visited or are scheduled to visit this week. In fact, Florida and FSU had coaches at his basketball game on Tuesday night and LSU coach Les Miles met with Carter’s mother on Wednesday. Pruitt will visit Carter on Thursday while head coach Mark Richt will do his in-home visit on Monday.

In addition, Carter is still planning to take an official visit to FSU this weekend followed by his last official visit, to Georgia, the weekend of the Jan. 31.

With less than two weeks until signing day things are coming down to the wire. Factors like academics, distance and program stability will all factor in to Carter’s decision. Lisa, however, said there is one particular school she would like for her son to attend.

"I have a daughter, Larrisa, who plays basketball at Coppin State in Baltimore, Md. With Larrisa playing basketball in Maryland and Lorenzo here doing sports, we hardly ever had an opportunity to see Larissa play,” Lisa said. "That was very difficult. On holidays she couldn’t come home, she would have to spend Thanksgiving at a coach’s house and Christmas here for only two days. So distance was an issue for our family.

"Of course I would love for him to go to Georgia -- it’s an hour away. It’s close enough to get to him but not close enough to where I’m just going to drive up there every day. But, I have great respect for all of the coaches and, like I told Lorenzo, it’s his decision, wherever he goes -- we’ll be there. I favor Georgia, but only because of distance, not because of pressure or anything else. It’s only the distance for me. I’d be OK if he went to the University of Hawaii, if that’s what he wanted to do.”

And that sentiment is shared throughout the Carter family. The family will help guide and give their opinions, but at the end of the day, it will be Lorenzo making the final decision.

"I can’t let it play that big of a factor because I’m going to have to grow up and leave the house eventually anyway,” Lorenzo said. "They are going to have influence but it’s going to be my decision. We know that as a family."
video This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.

[+] EnlargeLorenzo Carter
Courtesy of IntersportFive-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.


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Signing day is a little more than two weeks away, meaning the next 15 days are going to be very interesting. Here are five storylines in the ACC to keep an eye on come signing day on Feb. 5.


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video
By hiring defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt away from Florida State, Georgia made a move that is sending shockwaves through the Southeast recruiting landscape.

One of those prospects who is certainly affected by the move is five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross). The nation’s No. 13 prospect has both Florida State and Georgia in his final group.


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Five-star DE Carter has top four 

December, 28, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. — Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) had Alabama out in front at one point during his commitment but now the Crimson Tide have fallen behind four other schools.


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The annual Florida-Florida State game is usually one of the top games in the country. This year, with Florida’s disappointing season, the game seems to have lost some luster. Florida State, however, is fighting for a chance to make it to the BCS National Championship game in January. The Gators would like nothing more to ruin their archrival’s season, especially in front of several top recruits. Here’s a closer look at which recruits will be watching this weekend.


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UA Game jersey tour: Lorenzo Carter

November, 1, 2013
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Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) was presented his honorary game jersey at his high school on Thursday, during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of the three-month tour.

Carter, who has officially visited Florida, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“I just want to thank my teammates, my coaches, my parents, my administrators, the lunch ladies,” Carter said. “I want to thank them for everything they’ve done, but all the glory goes to God. I mean, I wouldn’t be anything without him. He’s given me all the talents and abilities I have, so I just want to thank God. … He’s the most important person in my life. It’s been great.

"I love it here at Norcross. I made a good move and I want to thank everybody that has been able to touch my life here.”

Carter's head coach Keith Maloof says his star player's work ethic sets him apart.

“What a fine young man, and what a great honor for Lorenzo and his family and also the Norcross community," Maloof said. "A lot goes into getting somebody ready, but Lorenzo makes it easy by his work ethic and what he does. His teammates know how he leads, not only on the field ... but off the field. He’s just one of those special defensive lineman that come along every once in a while. You don’t become one of the top defensive ends in the nation without working hard. I’m extremely proud of you and what you have done for this school and out football program. Thank you Lorenzo, and good luck to you.”

Carter said he is excited about the prominence of playing in the Under Armour All-America Game.

"It was a game with great legacy, and I want to be part of a game with a lot of elite players," he said. "It's giving me a chance to show my talents on ESPN. It's my last time stepping on the field as a high school football player, so I'm just looking forward to having a fun time."

The 6-foot-5 , 234-pound Carter is the No. 13-ranked prospect overall, and the No. 3 defensive end in the class. He is also considering Alabama, Georgia and Florida State along with the Gators.

ACC recruiting mailbag

August, 16, 2013
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College football kicks off in two weeks, but recruiting never stops. We present the first installment of the ACC recruiting mailbag, answering the pressing questions from ACC fans. We’ll try to give everyone a chance to get their questions answered. We encourage you to send your questions by Twitter to @cdowlar or @JShankerESPN. Feel free to email us as well at cdowlar@gmail.com or JShankerESPN@gmail.com.

@Jameshall616: Do you think FSU will get a five-star prospect in this class?

Corey Dowlar: The quick answer is no, probably not. They are in the running for three -- Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Ala./Hoover), Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) and Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen). But as it stands now, they are all heading to the SEC. I would guess the best chance at one of the three would be Humphrey when Jeremy Pruitt's Alabama ties are taken into consideration.

Humphrey intends to run track in college, too, so FSU's history of dual-sport athletes (Jameis Winston and Ronald Darby, for example) could make an impression. Winston, especially since he is not only one of the more prominent members of the football team but also from the state of Alabama, could be a factor.

@Kzovko: Outside of the state of PA, who are some "must-get" players for Pitt?

Jared Shanker: I’m not sure there any must-get players for Pitt outside of Pennsylvania right now considering the remaining top targets not just in the state but in the WPIAL. Anything less than at least two of Alex Bookser, Dravon Henry, Shai McKenzie and Montae Nicholson should be considered a major disappointment and would only intensify the longstanding criticisms of Paul Chryst’s ability to recruit.

But for Pitt’s out-of-state targets, I think Qadree Ollison from Buffalo (N.Y.) Canisius tops that list, especially if they miss on McKenzie. They have a shot at ESPN 300 receiver Jamil Kamara (Virginia Beach, Va./Bishop Sullivan), although I think he lands elsewhere in the ACC. With Rutgers filling up at receiver, four-star Juwann Winfree (Englewood, N.J./Dwight Morrow) has to move Pitt up at least a little. Pitt was at the top with Rutgers, but look out for Virginia or West Virginia. Chris James (Niles, Ill./Notre Dame) is another option at running back.

@vincevinvinny: Who are Clemson's top remaining targets? And where do they go at defensive end after Rick Leonard?

Dowlar: One guy fits both criteria pretty well. Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian Academy) is the country's No. 168-ranked player and a four-star prospect. You'd better believe the Tigers would love to have him in this class. Another guy they'd love to bring in is 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe). Clemson will be fighting Auburn, LSU, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.

At defensive end, there is another nice option in Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page). At 6-7, 202, Featherston has a tremendous frame to add weight. And he'll need to do that. He's ranked by ESPN as the No. 27 player in the country and a four-star prospect. Clemson is thought to be the team to beat for Featherston with North Carolina, NC State and Ohio State lurking in the background.

@JacobsDj082167: You think [Ishmael] Witter goes to Cuse if [Jonathan] Hilliman goes RU?

Shanker: Now that Hilliman is officially committed to Rutgers, it probably closes the door at running back for the Scarlet Knights, who have three pledges at the position. Rutgers looked to be the favorite for Witter, but now that absolutely opens the door even more for Syracuse. He took a visit to Syracuse in late July, and at the moment I think Syracuse looks to be the most likely landing spot. However, don’t count out the SEC when it comes to pulling recruits, and Missouri has offered. Big Ten program Indiana offered recently, too, and if the Hoosiers can get to six or seven wins, they could close strong.

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