The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Carter became one of three juniors to pledge to new Nittany Lions Coach James Franklin, who just took over the program in January.
The transition between coaching staffs brought “hesitancy,” after Franklin was hired, Carter said. But he got to know the new staff, and he said that the school’s strong academics and alumni support network was something he couldn’t ignore.
“As a school it pretty much has everything that you could dream of,” Carter said. “I got to go up there, and I got to meet them and spend quite a bit of time with the coaching staff. That’s where I wanted to be.”
Carter is a unique athlete who played as a linebacker at Gaithersburg his junior season, but he also has the ability to play on the edge as a defensive end. He showed his versatility as a sophomore, when he was called upon to play quarterback after the team lost several players to injuries. His recruiting stock gained traction last spring, when he picked up offers from Nebraska, Maryland and Michigan.
He’s listed as an athlete by many recruiting services, including ESPN, which ranks Carter as a three-star prospect and the state’s fifth overall rated player. He finished last season with 34 tackles, including seven for loss and five sacks for the Trojans, who won eight games and made an appearance in the Maryland 4A playoffs.
Carter was high on Maryland, among others, and he aimed to keep an open mind and consider every school during the process. He said he feels comfortable playing at defensive end or linebacker at Penn State, which continues to build a strong pipeline to the Washington area. The Nittany Lions picked up four local signees earlier this month: Wise safety Marcus Allen, DeMatha running back Mark Allen, Fairfax running back Nick Scott and Briar Woods quarterback Trace McSorley.
“I was always hoping that I would be able to commit early,” Carter said, “so I could just focus on my grades, focus on working out, getting ready for my upcoming senior season. Getting ready to be the best that I can be for next year.”
Highlights of Carter’s junior season can be found here.
NUMBER CRUNCH: 92
The number of points scored Saturday by Theodore Roosevelt against Coolidge, which was a season high. Troy Stancil and Anthony Whitney combined for 50 points in the rout.
— McNamara’s Alfred Bannister set out to accomplish a singular goal this season, and on Sunday at the Maryland Independent Schools state wrestling championships, he did it.
— Arianna Robinson hit rarified air Sunday, helping Freedom South-Riding to the Virginia 5A North region gymnastics championship.
— Considered a raw player when she arrived at South Lakes, the Seahawks’ Abigail Rendle proved Saturday that she’s come a long way in an emphaic win over McLean.
— Just a month after Kevin Bernot resigned, Magruder has promoted assistant Ray Fowle to be its next head football coach.
VIDEO FROM THE WEEKEND
PHOTOS FROM THE WEEKEND
WHAT TO WATCH
Boys’ Basketball: Huntingtown at Thomas Stone, 7 p.m.