Freshman Carter expected to be factor in linebacker corps

Inside linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson are entering their third seasons at Georgia. Reggie Carter has 15 spring practices under his belt.

That doesn’t mean the freshman won’t be a factor this season.

Carter made the most of enrolling early, showing coaches plenty of playmaking ability in scrimmages.

Now he has the summer to continue to get bigger physically for his rookie college season.

“He’s a young kid,” inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti said. “He’s going to look like those guys probably at the end of the summer. You guys will come back and at the opening of training camp he’s going to look like a college linebacker all the way. He’s put on some weight and it’s good weight. He’s going to look like those guys pretty much.”

The 6-foot-1 South Gwinnett High product, who missed nearly all of his junior season after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL, is now listed at 229 pounds, up five from his pre-spring weight.

Herrera (6-2, 244) and Wilson (6-2, 232) are the starters on the summer depth chart, but Carter is also in the plans at the position that lost first-round draft pick Alec Ogletree, Mike Gilliard and Christian Robinson, who wore jersey No. 45 before Carter.

Carter, who says he models his game after three-time Pro Bowl linebacker Jonathan Vilma of the New Orleans Saints, made an interception in all three of Georgia’s spring scrimmages, including in the G-Day game when he also had seven tackles.

“I’ve been messing with Christian Robinson every single time,” Olivadotti said of the newly hired graduate assistant. “We finally got a No. 45 that can catch.”

Olivadotti said Carter executed his assignments for the first two and the third pick came on a ball thrown right to him.

“That’s pretty much what I expected from him,” he said. “He was a good football player in high school. He was an instinctive guy. He was a guy who made a lot of tackles and had production. He caught the balls that were thrown at him and he made nice plays.”

Coaches got a chance to see Carter and fellow inside linebacker early enrollee Ryne Rankin this spring.

“Both of them like to hunt pretty good,” coach Mark Richt said. “They’ll come and hit you. I think Ryne is a little bit more like a wild dog. I think Reggie is a little bit more — he plays with a little bit better base and good football position — and Ryne, he’s just flying around trying to whack somebody. Both of them are very physical.”

Carter looks poised to have a role at inside linebacker with Herrera, who has 107 career tackles along with 17 starts, and Wilson, who has played sparingly so far in his career.

“There’s going to be competition all the way up until the time we start getting ready for Clemson,” Olivadotti said. “That’s the way I think everybody functions the best. If the last two years have proven anything out, we need more than two guys anyway. We’ve got to get more guys ready to play and get more guys ready to go. Whoever the best is for whichever game we’re playing in….Different guys played in different games and in different situations. Each game’s going to be a little bit different in who’s going to play. Right now we’re still trying to figure out everybody’s skill-set and what they’re going to be best at.”

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