Jermaine Carter Jr. shined on a team that wasn’t very good defensively in 2015.
The defense gave up an average of more than five touchdowns per game en route to being ranked the 90th best Division I defense.
Often playing with a short field (and even shorter breaks) thanks to the offense’s historic turnover rate, Maryland’s defense was generally unable to keep opponents out of the end zone, despite the presence of several talented players on the roster.
Several of these players, such as defensive end Yannick Ngakoue and safety Sean Davis, now play in the NFL. Fortunately for the Terrapins, the team also had its share of young rising stars who are now looking to make a difference in 2016.
Carter enjoyed a breakout season for Maryland in 2015. As a sophomore, the Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) product provided a stabilizing presence in the middle of the field with over eight tackles per game.
He wrapped up his 2015 campaign with 103 tackles, which was the best mark on the team. The high point of his season came against West Virginia when Carter recorded a career-high in tackles (14).
Carter also added three tackles for loss against the Mountaineers. Fourteen ended up being a lucky number for Carter, as he finished the year with a team-leading tackles-for-loss (14). That was the most by a Maryland middle linebacker since E.J. Henderson did it in 2002.
Returning to College Park for his junior year, Carter is expected to be a key contributor on the defensive side of the ball.
Earlier in the offseason, he was named to the Butkus Award Watch List, joining Will Likely and Brendan Moore as Terps receiving national attention. During the season, Carter will be among ten Big Ten linebackers seeking recognition as the best in the country.
In addition, the upgrades to the coaching staff should also help Carter continue his development. D.J. Durkin’s defense at Michigan ranked fourth nationally, and allowed only 16.4 points per game.
Playing in an improved scheme with another year of collegiate experience, Carter should shine in the national spotlight this fall.