Long Reach defensive end Ron’Dell Carter was a fan of Rutgers long before he got an offer from the Scarlet Knights or called Coach Kyle Flood at 7 a.m. on the dot Mondat to verbally commit. They were the first school to begin recruiting him and he knew he liked the campus and program after attending their 7-on-7 camp the summer before his junior year.

Long Reach DE/TE Ron'Dell Carter verbally committed to Rutgers April 21. (Photo courtesy Ron'Dell Carter) Long Reach DE/TE Ron’Dell Carter verbally committed to Rutgers April 21. (Photo courtesy Ron’Dell Carter)

Carter picked up four offers — Buffalo, Rutgers, Old Dominion and Boston College — in a whirlwind four weeks, but knew that Rutgers was the right fit and didn’t see the need to wait any longer.

“I felt they fit me as a person and they fit me as far as my major. I definitely feel like I’m a part of their family,” he said. “I feel that this is probably one of the best decisions I’ve made thus far in my life.”

The Scarlet Knights’ F.A.M.I.L.Y. mantra (“Forget About Me, I Love You”) and the business and sports management programs drew Carter to the program. But now that he has made a strong verbal commitment to a college team, Carter plans to spend the summer preparing to prove his worth as an individual, and for the Lightning, which went 1-9 this season. The 6-foot-3, 227-pound junior charted 42 tackles (24 solo) and seven sacks this season, as well as 174 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

“I think I can be a lot better than what people think I can do,” he said. “A lot of people think that a lot of things are given to me. I have to show people that I earned it.”

A couple of years ago, Long Reach was aiming for the state tournament. Standout running back Eugene Swen was a leader in the program and projected to be a definite Football Bowl Subdivision recruit by his senior year. But Swen passed away suddenly in the spring of his sophomore year and his teammates struggled to cope with the loss, going 3-7 in 2012 for the program’s first losing season. Since then it’s been one game at a time, Carter said. They will graduate several major playmakers, including corner Brandan Barrington and Carter’s older brother, Rob, who will run track at Florida A&M.

The team goal is a winning season, starting with the first game against rival Oakland Mills and quarterback David Pindell, who picked up offers from Syracuse and Monmouth this spring. Carter’s individual goal is to lead the county in sacks.

“As me being the defensive end in Howard County getting D1 offers, I should have the most sacks,” he said. “And if I don’t, I feel that’s a problem.”

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