Jermaine Carter was one of the leaders of the Maryland defense a season ago.
In 2017, Carter should assume that very same role and become one of the top linebackers in the Big Ten.
In recent years, the conversation surrounding the Maryland defense started with cornerback Will Likely. The Florida native missed the second half of his senior season in 2016 and Carter seemed to step into the forefront for the Terrapins.
Following Likely’s season-ending ACL injury, Carter recorded at least six tackles in the final seven games of the season. He also tallied three sacks in the final two games, which included a 15-tackle performance against Rutgers in the regular season finale.
Carter’s performance against the Scarlet Knights was inspiring considering that the Terps needed a win to become bowl eligible at the season’s conclusion.
When it was all said and done, the 6’0, 235-pound linebacker totaled 101 tackles (58 solo), six sacks, two forced fumbles, and an interception. Carter hadn’t recorded a single sack at the collegiate level prior to last season.
Carter excels in several different facets on defense, which makes him extremely dangerous.
First of all, Carter is one of the most relentless tacklers in the entire Big Ten. If a ball carrier crosses his path, it’s rare that Carter doesn’t wrap him up and bring him down to the turf.
The Maryland linebacker is very instinctive and almost catapults himself right to the ball carrier on most occasions. Carter is very good against the run, which is evident in his 9.0 tackles-for-loss last season.
Carter is also versatile enough to help out in pass coverage.
On several instances in 2016, he was able to get down the field and stay with opposing wideouts and tight ends. He defended a career-high four passes this season after defending three as a sophomore.
Carter could be even quicker this season because he’s lost five pounds from the end of the 2016 campaign. His relentless motor and quickness off the edge resulted in getting to the quarterback frequently and the very same could happen again in 2017.
The star Maryland linebacker is definitely one of the top players returning at the position in the entire conference. In addition, he should stand out as the best player on the Terps defense and will be a huge part of their front seven.
If Carter plays at a very high level, he could be one of the top linebackers in the conference and Maryland will certainly be better for it.