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Penn State LB Abdul Carter Finalist for Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award

Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Abdul Carter (11) November 12, 2022 David Hague/NSN

Penn State linebacker Abdul Carter is one of five finalists for the Maxwell Club’s Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award.

Carter wears No. 11 for Penn State, a famous number that program greats such as LaVar Arrington, Micah Parsons and NaVorro Bowman wore way back when.

So far, Carter has been worthy of that number.

Carter finished his first college football regular season with a team-leading 6.5 sacks. He also finished second on Penn State in tackles with 55 (35 solo) and led the squad with 10.5 tackles for loss, tied for eighth in the Big Ten. Even more impressive was that Carter did all this despite posting just one snap in Penn State’s season-opener at Purdue. Carter got ejected for targeting on the first defensive play of his college career.

At La Salle College High School in Philadelphia, Carter made all-state twice and helped his team to the Philadelphia Catholic League championship as a senior. 247Sports, On3, Rivals and ESPN all rated Carter as a four-star recruit, and three of the four had him as a top 10 Class of 2022 player in Pennsylvania (ESPN ranked him 11th). Carter chose Penn State over South Carolina and Ole Miss, among other schools, committing on the last day of July 2021.

Carter’s film was the first defensive coordinator Manny Diaz watched after coming to Penn State last December. Diaz was impressed right away.

“After about four plays,” Diaz told Carter on early signing day, “I said, ‘heck yeah.’ This is exactly why I came to coach linebackers and defense at Penn State.”

The other four finalists for the award are Malaki Starks (Georgia), Harold Perkins (LSU), Drake Maye (North Carolina) and Quinshon Judkins (Ole Miss). We’ll find out the winner Dec. 29.

Whether Carter wins the Shaun Alexander Award or not, his future at Penn State is as bright as the sun, and fans are excited to see how much better he can get.

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