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Penn State Top 10 of ‘22: #5 Abdul Carter

The Nittany Lions have another superstar-in-the-making wearing the 11 jersey.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Penn State Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Following each season, the BSD staff votes on the 10 best players. A #1 vote is worth 10 points, a #2 vote is nine points, and so on. Today we continue our Top 10 series with our #5 vote-getter - linebacker Abdul Carter.

The second line of defense will always be an area of interest in Happy Valley, particular when you consider that it is home to “Linebacker U.” Coming into the 2022 season, the player described by Patrick as a “physical freak”, was thought to probably see the field as a true freshman.

Abdul Carter did indeed see the field, suiting up for all 13 games and starting just under half of those. As predicted, his athleticism and nose for the ball stood out right away, as he tied for the team lead with six tackles, including a sack, and a forced fumble in the road victory over Auburn, had five tackles and a pass breakup against Central Michigan, eight tackles and a half-sack against Northwestern, and four tackles and another sack against Ohio State.

Carter had a remarkably strong end to the season as well, recording four sacks, five tackles for loss, two pass breakups, and a forced fumble in the final four games of the conference slate. The freshman’s standout day came in the regular season finale against Michigan State, as he posted seven tackles, and a career-high three tackles for loss and two sacks.

For the season, Carter ranked fourth in the Big Ten with 6.5 sacks, along with two forced fumbles and 10.5 tackles for loss. All of these numbers were tops among conference freshmen, while his 56 tackles ranked second.

Carter was named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches, and third-team by the media, and earned numerous freshman All-American honors.

In 2023, Carter has already added 16 pounds to his 6’3’’ frame. If he can retain the athleticism and improve on his ball skills. the rising sophomore will form a truly terrifying duo with Curtis Jacobs in the middle of Penn State’s defense.