Add another professional athlete to the list of Apopka residents!
Jalen Carter, a standout defensive lineman at Apopka High School and the University of Georgia, was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles as the ninth pick in the first round of the NFL Draft. The Eagles are coming off a 14-3 season and a trip to Super Bowl LVII, which they lost to the Kansas City Chiefs 38-35.
"It's time to fly! Carter said on his Twitter account. "I can't wait to get to Philly and get to work #FlyEaglesFly."
According to NFL.com:
"Carter was one of the top recruits in the country after excelling at Apopka High School. Also, he played basketball and placed second in the state weightlifting competition's heavyweight division with a 395-pound bench press.
That strength showed up early in his career with the University of Georgia Bulldogs, as he started twice in 10 games as a true freshman during the 2020 season (14 tackles, three for loss, one blocked kick). Carter played alongside 2022 first-round picks Jordan Davis and Devonte Wyatt on the defensive line for the national champions in 2021. He was a second-team All-SEC selection that fall (37 tackles, 8.5 for loss with three sacks, two blocked kicks, two starts in 15 games). Carter led a Bulldogs defense that allowed the fewest rushing yards per game (77.1) in 2022, garnering first-team Associated Press All-American and all-conference honors despite missing time during Georgia's title run with knee and ankle injuries (32 tackles, seven for loss with three sacks, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles in 13 games, nine starts)."
Pete Prisco on cbssports.com was even more impressed.
"The Eagles move up one spot and give up little to get a guy I think is the best player in this draft. Yes, he has some off-field issues, but this is a great spot for him. Howie Roseman wins again."
There isn't much Jalen Carter hasn't accomplished on the football field. After graduation, Carter accepted a scholarship from the University of Georgia and helped lead the Bulldogs to two straight national championships, including a 65-7 thrashing of Texas Christian University.
But now, Carter is ready for his next challenge - the National Football League.
"These last three years have been exciting," Carter posted on his Twitter account in January. "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 past/present teammates 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; 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 about the next chapter. I WILL ALWAYS BE A DAWG!"
As a senior at Apopka, Carter 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.
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