Tennessee didn’t wait until Early Signing Day to light some fireworks. 4-star linebacker Arion Carter committed to the Volunteers on Wednesday afternoon.
You’re forgiven if you weren’t sure who Carter was until just a few weeks ago. His recruitment moved very fast and involved a lot of interested teams.
Carter (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) hails from Smyrna, Tennessee, and had been committed to the Memphis Tigers up until November 16th. With the help of a strong senior season, interest in Carter from big programs spiked, and Carter decided to step back from his original pledge. One of the teams showing interest was the in-state option Tennessee. Carter had actually visited Tennessee for the Florida game, but his interest level wasn’t totally clear.
Within a couple weeks of his decommitment however, the Volunteers had set up an official visit on the first weekend of December. By all accounts, that visit knocked it out of the park, and it vaulted Tennessee into the driver’s seat.
What makes that more impressive is this: their main competition was the Alabama Crimson Tide. In fact, Alabama was considered the favorite in his recruitment after he decommitted. All it took was one visit and some conversations with the Tennessee staff to change the momentum.
As for how projects on the field: Carter has the skill set of a pass rushing/havoc creating linebacker. He is clearly faster than everyone else on the field, and his closing speed is fantastic. He can be a bit slow to trigger, but he’s always keeping his eyes on the ball carrier and shows a disciplined style of play. The few coverage clips are also very encouraging. His technique looks solid, and his good ball tracking leads to some highlight plays. I am getting some Smael Mondon vibes from his tape. I don’t think he’s as much an athletic freak as Mondon, but he does have a certain versatility and smack to his game that made Mondon a well regarded prospect.
Carter is ranked as the 159th overall player and 13th ranked linebacker according to the 247Sports Composite. He is Tennessee’s 25th commit of the class.