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Jermaine Carter Jr. is Maryland’s only sure starter at linebacker

Profiles in Terpage begins Linebackers Week with the team’s two-time leading tackler.

maryland football spring game practice Alexander Jonesi

Profiles in Terpage is back for 2017. Last week, we focused on the defensive line; this week, we’re taking a look at the linebackers.

Jermaine Carter Jr., LB, No. 1

Height: 6’0
Weight: 235 lbs.
Year: Redshirt senior
Hometown: Fort Washington, Maryland
High school: Friendship Collegiate

How he got to College Park

Carter was the No. 7-rated player from the District of Columbia for the Class of 2013, initially rated as an outside linebacker, though he now projects as a middle linebacker. He transferred from Archbishop Carroll to Friendship Collegiate his senior year, where he joined future Maryland teammates Yannick Ngakoue, Derwin Gray and Cavon Walker. The quartet visited Virginia in June of 2012, and Carter committed to Maryland the middle of that July.

Now Ngakoue is starting his second season in the NFL, while Carter, Gray and Walker represent three of Maryland’s key starters heading into the season. Carter flirted with the idea of heading off to the NFL Draft after last season, but will stay for his senior season and try to boost his draft stock.

Career highlight

Carter has been a constant presence for Maryland the past two seasons, starting every game and leading the team in tackles both seasons. In his 25 games as a starter, he has 213 tackles, with 110 coming in the 2016 season.

Carter also added six sacks, nine tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two forced fumbles and his first career interception, which he returned for a touchdown, in his junior season. He earned an All-Big Ten selection from the media for his efforts.

2017 prospectus

DJ Durkin and staff changed up the defense when they came to College Park, leaving Carter as one of just two starting linebackers on the second level, and made Carter a defensive captain. The scheme shift also switched him from a traditional middle linebacker role to requiring him to be responsible for an entire side of the field. Carter responded with an up-and-down season—though the team’s run defense suffered as a whole—and his second under the system should show improvement.

He’s on the Butkus Award watch list for the second straight season, given to the nation’s best linebacker, and was also named to the 2017 Chuck Bednarik award watch list for the nation’s top defensive player. Carter will once again be charged with leading this linebacking corps, but, after him, it’s unclear what the depth chart will look like.

Dream season

Carter improves his sideline-to-sideline coverage in year two of Durkin’s 4-2-5 defense. He takes the three-peat and leads the Terps in tackles again, and finds his name on some year-end lists. Maryland’s run defense improves under his leadership and Carter’s draft stock gets a nice boost, as well.

Up next

This next linebacker was born in Ohio, but played high school ball in Georgia.

Denton5 is on the board first.