A.J. Carter

UCLA Commitment Analysis: A.J. Carter

Apr. 24 -- We look at what UCLA is getting with the commitment of three-star Louisiana running back A.J. Carter...

Recruitment

UCLA running backs coach DeShaun Foster had offered Carter when he was the running backs coach at Texas Tech, and immediately offered Carter when he got the coaching job at UCLA.  Ever since then, UCLA has been the leader for Carter.  Carter told Scout recently that Foster was "like a brother."

Carter visited UCLA last weekend, attended practice Saturday, and verbally committed.  He picked UCLA over Texas Tech, Purdue and Arizona State, among others.

Evaluation

Even though Carter has flown a little bit under the radar in terms of scouting and evaluation, the three-star is one of the top 2018 running backs in the state of Louisiana, which is relatively deep this cycle at the running back position. He possesses great size and mass for a traditional, north-south running back role. He is strong and hits the hole hard, but also shows impressive open-field, straight-line speed at the second level. Carter can improve lateral mobility and change of direction, but has flashed some decent athleticism for a running back his size. His forte is  gaining yards after contact because of his strength and short-area burst. He's not an overly "quick-twitch" athlete, but his style and size does not require excessive explosiveness. He has shown the ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, both in the flats and down the seams when running downfield routes from his high school team's old-school, run-oriented offense. As evidenced by his production (he ran for 2,289 yards on more than nine yards per carry with 41 touchdowns as a high school junior), Carter provides workhorse ability as a go-to back against Louisiana high school competition. There will be an adjustment as far as competition level when he gets to college, but Carter owns the build that should be able to take the punishment at the college level. -- Scout's Gabe Brooks

How He'll Fit at UCLA

Carter is in the mold of current UCLA running back Jalen Starks -- maybe not quite as big (since Starks is 6-1 and 250ish) -- but his style of running is similar and he'll provide the same role in the UCLA backfield.  He could very well split time at tailback and fullback in UCLA's offense, as is the plan for Starks.  He's a three-down type of back, but not necessarily the homerun hitter that you'd like to see from the tailback who takes the bulk of the carries. Since Foster took the running backs coaching job, he's been targeting the bigger type of running back -- similar to the type of running back Foster was himself in college.  UCLA wants to take two running backs in the 2018 class, and with its current stable of running backs on the roster and the addition of Carter, it will be interesting to see if it now targets a quicker, faster back to complement Carter. 

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