Former Apopka and Georgia star Jalen Carter facing arrest warrant as NFL Combine begins – Boston Herald
Former Apopka football star Jalen Carter has had a quiet college career at Georgia leading up to this week’s NFL Combine. That all changed on Wednesday.
The Athletic has reported Carter is facing charges in Athens, Georgia, stemming from a fatal car crash that killed Georgia team staffer Chandler LeCroy and Bulldogs player Devin Willock in January.
Both charges facing Carter — reckless driving and racing — are misdemeanors.
Carter spent Tuesday at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis meeting with teams and answering a whole slew of questions. The arrest warrant for Carter, which the Athletic reported on Wednesday morning, will likely jeopardize Carter’s potential to be top pick in April’s NFL Draft.
He has been a terror of a defensive lineman on the field, wreaking havoc on every offense that tried to stop the Bulldogs on their way to two straight national championships.
However, the former Apopka star is more like a gentle giant off the field. A laid-back, easy-going, unassuming momma’s boy who several experts predicted to be the likely No. 1 pick of the NFL Draft on April 27 in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s awesome. It’s always been a dream,” Carter said Tuesday by phone from his hotel at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “Just being with the guys I played with has helped me a lot, getting to where I’m at now, because they motivate me.
“They still motivate me because they went first round … so them talking to me and telling me, ‘You can be the next No. 1,’ just motivates me and keeps me going.”
Carter will not be working out at the Combine, but he’s been through many NFL team interviews since arriving in Indianapolis.
He said he’s a bit surprised by all the accolades because of his laid-back personality.
“Yeah, because I am a low-key guy,” Carter said. “I don’t get on social media a lot. I might post once in a while, so not all the recognition comes in and stuff, but I work hard and this is where I’ve gotten myself to.”
His on-the-field performances do the talking for him. He’s constantly fighting through double teams, but his athleticism, strength and technique allow him an advantage.
The 6-foot-3, 300-pound Carter was 9th on the Bulldogs’ defense with 32 tackles. He also had 3 sacks and 31 quarterback hurries. He was 10th in 2021 with 37 tackles, 3 sacks and 30 QB hurries.
One person knows the big fella far better than most.
His mother, Tonique Brown, has never missed a Georgia game since her son became a Bulldog. Brown acknowledged the humility in her reserved, quiet son.
“He’s very humble and he’s stayed that way and I pray he stays that way,” Brown said. “It’s easy for him because he doesn’t like being the center of attention. He is very gentle and calm.”
And he knows a thing about winning, yet it’s never changed his demeanor.
Carter was part of Apopka’s 8A state runner-up team in 2019 and he’s made sure to not endure that feeling since. He won the Under Armour All-American Game defensive MVP honor in 2020, and then played a huge role in Georgia winning back-to-back national titles in 2021 and 2022. Now he’s looking for big things in the NFL.
Until the recent news, Carter was figured by many to be one of the top three players, if not No. 1, in the draft along with Alabama linebacker Will Anderson and Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
He isn’t concerned about what team drafts him. He’s just ready to take the next step.
“I don’t really care. Just any team that wants me,” Carter said.
In two months he’ll be a very rich man, but that isn’t likely to change him. Despite the predictions of possibly being the No. 1 pick in the Draft, Carter will not be going to Kansas City for all the festivities.
Rest assured, however, mom will not be missing out. She’ll be at Kansas City’s Union Station representing, no doubt adorned in her glitzy No. 88 jersey.
“I could never have imagined any of this,” Brown said. “I’m really looking forward to going to Kansas City to the draft, but Jalen said he won’t be going. He said he’s staying home.”
Central Florida has more draft prospects
Little wide receiver Tank Dell, who measured out at 5-foot-8, 163 pounds, has meandered his way through a college career that has him poised to be one of the top prospects in the NFL Draft. His size was a huge drawback to recruiters ßcoming out of Daytona Beach Mainland High School, but he’s shown what he can do after two post-juco seasons at Houston.
The two-time All-AAC first team selection has amazed scouts with his speed and agility. The shifty little pass catcher can make cuts that leave defensive backs dismayed in his wake. He committed to FIU in 2017 but that fell through. He also had a pair of non-committable offers from USF and Akron so he chose Alabama A&M before transferring to Independence (Kan.) Community College, where he played one season before joining the Cougars.
Kentucky’s Tashawn Manning is one of the best stories of this year’s NFL Draft. The former Wekiva defensive and offensive lineman nearly had to retire from football before college even began. On Thanksgiving Day of his senior year, Manning received devastating news. After days of feelig ill, doctors told him he had a rare form of cancer called acute promyelocytic leukemia (APML).
Manning vowed immediately to his family that he wanted to begin his fight, and eight months of chemotherapy ensued. He had inspiration. Former Auburn player Shon Coleman battled leukemia and made it to the NFL. About four months after Manning’s diagnosis, another Auburn recruit Brodarious Hamm received a similar diagnosis. Each player has overcome, however and Manning, after transferring for his final season to Kentucky, is ready to test the waters of the NFL.
It’s a culmination of an amazing journey that his father, Buck Manning, thought might never happen. But the journey is far from over.
“Yeah, you have those thoughts along with plenty of other thoughts … thoughts about just life in general,” said Buck Manning on Thursday while taking a break from his job as manager of Orlando’s Callahan Neighborhood Youth Center.”Every thought crosses through your mind, like just wondering if he’ll have a normal life.
“Just talking to him on the phone last night and I asked him, ‘Do you know you are at the NFL Combine?, and I’m really amazed at it and he says, ‘Oh yeah, I know, and they’re gonna know.’ “
His father, who played high school football at Evans before four years at Marshall University, is overcome by what has transpired for his son.
“I’m amazed at it and not because its unbelievable and everything, because he has that determination,” Buck Manning said. “I told him to take pictures of everything because not everyone gets to go through this and I told him, ‘You’re gonna want to remember as much as you can about your journey.’ I tell him, ‘You already exceeded my [expectations]. ‘ I’m happy and his mom’s happy for him.
“He told me to tell everyone back home in the city [Orlando], ‘The big show is in town.’ “
Another former Wekiva player Brandon Hill has had a far more straight forward path to the NFL Combine. He played on a Wekiva team that sent five players from the Class of 2019 to FBS programs. Hill went on to Pittsburgh where he has been one of the top safety’s in the ACC in each of the past three seasons.
He’s the first player from that vaunted Wekiva defense of 2018 to enter the draft, leaving with one year of eligibility remaining.
In the past two seasons, Hill has put up impressive numbers while playing quarterback to the Pitt defensive backfield. His leadership skills are terrific and he can hit with the best in the college football. During his Pitt career, Hill had 172 tackles and three interceptions in 40 games. He returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown last season.
He had 24 FBS scholarship offers coming out of high school, but not from Florida, FSU or Miami.
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