Carlos Dunlap: Upside Unlimited

Tennessee is on the short list of a long list of prized football prospects, but none of those prospects with a short list has more upside than four-star defensive end Carlos Dunlap of North Charleston, S.C.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Dunlap has a largess of athletic ability and prodigious production to match. As a junior at Fort Dorchester High School, Dunlap amassed 103 tackles from his perimeter post, ranging sideline to sideline in hot pursuit of the football. He finished with 22 stops behind the line, including nine sacks, and he turned four offensive miscues into 24 defensive points.

"I am a big play guy," Dunlap told's Jamie Newberg. "Well, sometimes I am. I just read and react to the ball. I am a good athlete that is strong, quick and fast."

Indeed Dunlap is fast, as a recent 4.65 clocking in the 40 graphically attests. That explains how he was able to compile so many stops as a defensive end, and why it was that he seemed to be a fixture in opponent backfields.

Dunlap figures to get faster, as well as, a lot larger and stronger because time is literally on his side. You see, Dunlap accomplished what he did in 2005 as a 15 year-old. He'll begin his first season at the next level as a 17 year-old.

That's why his upside is virtually unlimited. In terms of physiology, Carlos Dunlap could add 40 pounds and still trim his time in the 40. There's a very good chance he hasn't finished growing up, which means he could play at 6-6 or 6-7 on the next level which, when combined with a wide wing span, high vertical leap and exceptional quickness will make him a QB's worst nightmare coming off the edge — from the blind side.

"His greatest attribute is his speed, especially to be so big," Fort Dorchester head coach Steve LaPrad told "He reminds me of (Manny) Lawson from North Carolina State. He is tall, quick and rangy. He was just 15 at the beginning of the year. He is only going to get better."

Dunlap, who was the Patriots top rebounder and second leading scorer as a junior, is already in the process of improving and expects to be bigger and stronger for his senior season on the gridiron. Plans call for him to also play receiver this fall.

"My agility off the line is my strength," he said. "I use my speed. I also have enough strength to get by the line. This year I am working to get stronger and gain a little weight. I would like to gain 20 or 30 pounds."

If he manages to achieve that goal he would for all practical purposes be a blue chip blueprint of a weak side defensive end. Maximize his potential through physical and emotional maturity and you're talking about one of the most exciting prospects in the southeast. You're talking a pass rusher with the ability to compress a signal caller's space and time. Furthermore he could create havoc against the run, and disrupt an offense's cohesion.

None of this is a secret to college football scouts as Dunlap already has offers from Auburn, Clemson, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina and Tennessee. Plus he's expecting one from any day from Georgia. Those schools comprise his list of favorites and he says "they are all equal."

Carlos Dunlap may just be barely old enough to drive, but he's definitely in the driver's seat of a big-time career.

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