Norcross coach Keith Maloof isn’t one for hyperbole. He’s not in the business of putting young men on platforms they do not deserve or cannot attain.
That’s why when he says his junior defensive end Robert Beal can be every bit as good or better than UGA star Lorenzo Carter, he means it.
“I’ve said it a few times,” Maloof told the AJC. “Robert can be every bit as good and probably even a lot better than Lorenzo Carter.”
Maloof has now coached both blue-chip prospects at Norcross. He thinks Beal will eventually hold more weight than Carter. He pointed out that Beal had a size-17 shoe when he was in the seventh grade.
Maloof already believes Beal is every bit as good or better than Carter was at this stage of their prep careers.
“He’s already got like four or five sacks this year,” Maloof said. “He caused two fumbles and recovered two fumbles. He had a great game against Valdosta last week and had two sacks.”
When his phone rings, his message to any college coach in the country who wants to know about him is simple.
“He’s a great kid with good grades and a good student and he’ll be just like Lorenzo,” Maloof said. “That’s about all I need to say, I think.”
Beal was out sick on Tuesday at practice, but told the AJC late last month he was high on UGA, FSU and Notre Dame, but was considering all programs. He’s been rated as the No. 3 defensive end in the country for 2017 by the 247sports composite.
His Norcross teammate Jarett Cole ranks him even higher than that.
“Robert Beal is definitely the number one defensive end in the state,” said Cole, who is committed to Georgia Tech.
“He might be the best defensive end right now among the 2017 kids in the country. He might be the best defensive end in the country right now among the 2016 or the 2017 players. … Him and Lorenzo Carter are like the same. Which is crazy.”
Cole said Beal’s motor to go up and down the field play after play stands out. Then he’s stronger than he looks.
“Then take a look at his wingspan,” Cole said. “His wingspan is like from here to Afghanistan his arms are so long.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.