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College Football National Championship

Apopka's Jalen Carter wins second national championship; declares for 2023 NFL Draft


There isn't much Jalen Carter hasn't accomplished on the football field.

He was probably one of the best players in Apopka Blue Darter history - and that is impressive all on its own. After graduation, Carter accepted a scholarship from the University of Georgia and helped lead the Bulldogs to two straight national championships, including Monday night's 65-7 thrashing of Texas Christian University.

But now, Carter is ready for his next challenge - the National Football League.

Jalen Carter (left) stands with former Apopka Blue Darter Coach Rick Darlington.
Jalen Carter (left) stands with former Apopka Blue Darter Coach Rick Darlington.

"These last three years have been exciting," Carter posted on his Twitter account. "I am most thankful to God for the talent and ability he has given me. Without him, I am nothing. I can’t thank Coach Smart and his staff enough for their commitment to helping me develop into the best version of myself on and off the field. I also want to thank my position coach Tray Scott. My teammates, past/present, have built bonds that will last a lifetime, and what we accomplished together will live on forever. I would also like to thank the fans and the entire UGA community. You make taking the field between the hedges special.”

After thanking the University of Georgia, Carter posted more about his goal to play football on Sundays.

"My dream since childhood has been to play in the NFL, and without my mother, this would not be possible. I am beyond blessed to have her in my corner. With all that said, I would like to announce that I am declaring for the NFL Draft. While I am excited for the next chapter. I WILL ALWAYS BE A DAWG!"

Carter is projected to be an early first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, possibly the first overall.

As a senior at Apopka,  he had 12 sacks to go along with 64 tackles and a touchdown.

At Georgia, Carter had 83 tackles and six sacks in three seasons. In the national championship game Monday night, Carter had two tackles.

Carter was a unanimous All-American in 2022. He earned All-SEC first-team honors and was named a finalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award as the nation's top lineman.

According to ESPN's Mel Kiper, Carter is the No. 1-rated player in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Congratulations Jalen, on two straight national championships, and good luck in your professional career. Apopka will be watching and cheering for your success.

A special thanks to Mel Bolden for the inside the story photos.

Jalen Carter, Apopka Blue Darters, Georgia Bulldogs. 2023 NFL Draft


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