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Elite LB Barrett Carter Commits to Clemson

The Tigers beat out nearly every major school in the country to land their top LB target

NCAA Football: ACC Championship-Clemson vs Miami Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Linebacker room in Clemson continues to grow more and more talented, as the Tigers added highly-rated Barrett Carter out of Georgia on Tuesday. The recruiting victory gives Clemson arguably the best pair of Linebackers of any school for the 2021 class, and marks yet another victory on the trail versus Georgia. With the commitment, Clemson moves up to the #3 overall class in the country, and surpasses UNC for the top class in the ACC with 3 fewer commitments than the Tar Heels.

This is nothing short of a massive recruiting victory, as Carter was prioritized by every major program on the East coast. Carter had 56 offers, which is to my knowledge the most of any player in the 2021 class. Popular opinion had Carter as a lock to go to Georgia ever since the Dawgs offered given the numerous ties to the school, however, a visit in March changed everything for Clemson’s chances. This was a recruit that Georgia wanted to land badly, and is a huge upset with all factors considered. The usage and development of Isaiah Simmons by Brent Venables was a huge selling point for the Tigers, as Carter will play the same position in the Tigers defense as the now Top-10 draft pick once did.

Carter is an eventual 5-star talent by my account, and was even the #1 rated LB on the recruiting boards of many SEC teams. With a verified 4.59 40 time as a sophomore, and a 4.2 shuttle, it’s obvious that Carter is incredibly athletic, and it shows on film. He fits the mold of a new age LB that plays well sideline to sideline and in space. Carter shows strong blitzing ability and closing speed. His film does not showcase many instances of him in coverage, but that should not be a problem given his high-end athleticism. Barrett also shows that he can sift through traffic both as a pass rusher and against the run game. There really are not many flaws to his game, and that is a big reason why he has been recruited by so many schools. The areas for improvement with Carter are that he might be a tad undersized, and that he can improve his tackling form in certain instances.

These are not particularly problematic, however, as Carter’s size is not all that different from many of the recent first round Linebackers. He is also a workout warrior who posts impressive lifting numbers at his age and size. The floor of this prospect is likely to the level of former Clemson star Dorian O’Daniel’s peak, while the ceiling is a first round talent, a talent spectrum every Tiger fan would gladly accept.

QT’s Take

So Barrett Carter sits at #1 in my defensive most wanted list. This is a huge recruiting coup. Clemson goes into the state of Georgia and pulls the top LB in the state who is teammates with one of the top corners in the state and country. This just solidifies our position with Hancock and both will help keep the other in the fold. UGA will keep recruiting Carter, but I don’t think he is going anywhere despite the wishes of dawg fans.

Carter is a top 50 player in the country and someone who eventually knocks on the door of 5* status. I think he belongs in the 30-40 range right now with his senior season determining how high he ultimately ends up.

Carter is a versatile piece you can move around and play in different ways. At 6’1 he gives you ideal size and has the speed to cover sideline to sideline. Plays against top competition in Georgia at North Gwinnett where he is well coached and has a solid football base knowledge. Perfect fit with Trotter who can be the interior run stuffer, freeing up Carter to do what he does best—play in space, blitz, and get after the QB. He plays at 220-225 so doesn’t need to bulk up much to play at the college level. He is decent in coverage, but will need to improve there if he wants to add more coverage responsibilities, but should be able to cover TE’s. I’d also like to see him be a bit more imposing in the run game. But overall, he fits what Brent Venables wants in his linebackers.

This guy was at the top of Clemson’s board for months now and quietly worked their way to the top of the board. The public perception was that Carter was a UGA lock, but like I said—the door was cracked much wider than most knew. In fact, Auburn was a real threat for Carter a couple months ago, although Clemson remained at the top after all visits stopped. Clemson beat out UGA, Auburn, Ohio State, Bama, and everybody else. It was crucial to get Carter on campus and solidify its position with Carter and Hancock. The two are good friends and wanted to be teammates at the next level. I think Dorian O’Daniel is a good comparison for Clemson, but I do see a good bit of Raekwon McMillan in Carter, although McMillan has another inch of height and a slightly bigger frame. McMillan grew to play more inside but their games at the high school level are similar.