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Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter has a bright future in fron of him.

Why ‘freak’ Jalen Carter is ‘a threat for the next 3 or 4 years’ for UGA

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Jalen Carter‘s athleticism is already turning heads for Georgia football

When Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was asked about what stood about Jalen Carter on the recruiting trail, Carter’s defensive line play wasn’t brought up. Smart didn’t mention a sack or a tossing around an opposing offensive lineman.

He brought up some of the other athletic feats the 6-foot-3, 305-pound defensive tackle had made in his prep career.

“He had a bunch of dunks—he had a bunch of basketball dunks that were pretty incredible,” Smart said. “Then, he had a one-handed catch at tight end, caught passes as a fullback in his offense. (He is) a really athletic, big man.”

One of the dunks you can see below. It’s easy to see why Smart and just about every Georgia player praises his athleticism.

“He’s a freak all over. I love what he’s doing and the way he’s playing,” senior defensive lineman Malik Herring said of Carter.

Carter is already living up to his 5-star billing in Athens, as he’s quickly earned playing time on Georgia’s stout defense. He’s come in as pass rusher in obvious third-down situations, as well as playing as a rotational piece on Georgia’s defensive line.

The freshman from Apopka, Fla., registered a tackle for loss in his first game as a Bulldog. As a high school senior, he had 12 sacks to go along with his 64 tackles while playing in Florida’s highest classification.

But what really captures people’s curiosity and attention was his play on Saturday against Auburn. It’s not what he did on the defensive line that got people excited.

It was seeing him lined up at fullback and clearing holes for Zamir White.

“Man, that’s easy,” Georgia running back Zamir White said of running behind Carter and fellow defensive lineman Jordan Davis. “It’s crazy. You’ve got dudes out there like Jordan, 6-6 and I don’t know his weight, but that dude is huge, man. Then there’s Jalen, and he’s just a really physical guy. He’s a great guy.”

The Bulldogs trotted out Carter and Davis out for two plays on offense. Both were in goal-line situations. Both plays ended up in touchdowns for White.

Carter’s block personified why Georgia was able to crush Auburn 27-6. It was just more physical and athletic on the line of scrimmage.

“It’s crazy, man. Those guys are huge,” White said. “Jordan Davis and Jalen, those guys are some real dudes. It’s fun for me to be out there running with them.”

Smart stated after the win that offensive coordinator Todd Monken had the idea to bring Carter and Davis to the offensive side of the ball, as NFL teams aren’t blessed with the same roster space that college teams are.

Related: Georgia football gets creative and back to basics in rushing game turnaround against Auburn

Carter also played tight end for much of his high school career, which was why Georgia felt comfortable with him on the offensive side of the ball. And yes, much like his basketball dunks, there’s some impressive highlights for what Carter can do as a pass-catcher.

As much fun as Carter is when pulling off other athletic feats, what is more important for himself and the Georgia team is how he helps out the defensive line in the coming seasons.

With the likes of Davis, Herring and fellow athletic marvel Travon Walker ahead of him on the depth chart, the Bulldogs don’t need him to be a game-wrecking defensive lineman to start this season.

They just need him to continue to do his job and continue to make the Georgia defense one of the best in the nation.

Georgia’s defensive line will have a tall task on Saturday as it matches up with Tennessee. The Volunteers have one of the top offensive lines in the conference. Georgia will be looking for the likes of Carter, Davis and others to really win the game on the defensive line this week.

“He continues to learn, learn the system and his assignment,” Georgia linebacker Nakobe Dean said. “He’s getting better and better as the season goes along and I can’t wait to see what he does for our team.”

Related: Incoming freshman Jalen Carter feels he can play a Tyler Clark-type role as a freshman

For as much praise as Carter gets for being a nimble big man, he packs quite a punch as well. In addition to basketball, he found time to be a state runner-up weightlifter in high school as well. His raw power was well on display at the Under Armour All-American Game in January, as he had no problem throwing around opposing offensive linemen as he took home MVP honors for the game.

That power has translated almost immediately at Georgia, as he produced a viral clip of himself pushing back All-SEC center Trey Hill in a practice rep.

When you add all of those attributes together, you see why he was one of the top prospects in the country. And why with continued development, he’s got the potential to become a cornerstone of the Georgia defense for years to come.

“He’s definitely a handful to block and he’s made a lot of improvement from whenever he first got here to last week and this week,” Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland said. “I think he’s gonna be a threat here for the next three or four years.”

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