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‘A lot of Quarterbacks Being Sacked’: Abdul Carter’s Former Penn State Teammates Confident He’ll Excel at DE

Abdul Carter and the Nittany Lions sing the Penn State alma mater following their 31-0 win over Iowa.

It looked like Penn State, aka “Linebacker U,” had its next great.

Abdul Carter started getting heavy playing time roughly halfway through his true freshman season. It didn’t take long for him to dominate. 

Wearing the famous No. 11, which had previously been worn by Penn State legends such as LaVar Arrington, Micah Parsons and NaVorro Bowman, Carter became a freshman All-American. He was also one of four finalists for the Shaun Alexander Award presented to the nation’s top freshman. 

In year two, Carter was a first-team all-Big Ten selection. But less than two months after Carter’s second season ended, Penn State decided to make a change. 

Carter is now a defensive end. 

On the surface, it might seem a little crazy. The team’s moving the guy who would have been its best returning linebacker elsewhere. But there’s no reason to think Carter isn’t capable of making the change. Carter’s listed at 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds. That’s a similar build to former PSU ends Chop Robinson (6-foot-3, 254) and Adisa Isaac (6-foot-4, 249). He’s also plenty fast, having run a 4.5 at a Penn State camp while still competing at La Salle College High School in the Philadelphia Area. 

It’s probably safe to assume he’s gotten faster since then, so when Carter’s time comes to run a 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine– which, if the move to DE goes well, should be next spring–, there’s no reason he can’t put up a number similar to Robinson’s 4.48 earlier this week. 

Robinson was asked about Carter while in Indianapolis, and said he thinks he’s “going to do great.”

“To me, he’s just a natural, natural guy in football,” Robinson said. “Wherever you put him, I think he’ll make a great impact.”

Isaac, who also spoke and performed at the combine, echoed the man they call Chop.

“He has a great skill set that can plug and play anywhere on the field,” Isaac said. “He just has to work on a couple of techniques, but he’s going to be a great player at d-end to watch out for.”

Penn State’s linebacking group will be one in transition coming into this season. Curtis Jacobs is going to the NFL and Carter’s  changing rooms. 

For Jacobs, Carter switching positions doesn’t come as a surprise. 

“We obviously had our prowler package,” Jacobs said, “so we both got experience playing a little bit of D-line. Being up on the line, making plays. I think it’s just going to give more of an opportunity for the plays to be called for him for him to be able to get after the quarterback.”

So what does Jacobs expect us to see from Carter in 2024?

“I think you can expect to see a lot of explosiveness,” Jacobs said. “A lot of quarterbacks being sacked. That’s just something… he’s worked. I feel like he’s earned that right to be able to make that position change. I think he’s going to be dominant. I think he’s the type of guy, when he gets put in a position, whether he’s good at it or not, he’s going to keep working until he is. I think that’s definitely something that he’s going to dominate in.”

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