Tennessee football picked up a substantial four-star commitment on Wednesday. In-state linebacker Arion Carter gave his verbal to the Vols. Carter chose Tennessee over Alabama and Ohio State, among others.
For much of his recruitment, Carter seemed like an Alabama-lean, picking up a crystal ball from Steve Wiltfong to Tuscaloosa. Josh Heupel and the Vols surged late to pick up the linebacker.
Carter, who hails from Smyrna, Tenn., ranks as the No. 13 linebacker in the class of 2023, and the No. 2 prospect, regardless of position, from Tennessee. He measures out at 6-foot-1 and 210-pounds.
The Vols hosted Carter for a visit, and Heupel has had an in-home visit with the prospect. Heupel also took a trip to Smyrna High School to visit Carter.
Obviously, Heupel’s late push for Carter was worth it. He took an official visit to Alabama this past weekend, speaking highly of the Crimson Tide following his trip to Tuscaloosa.
Carter picked up many postseason awards, including Mr. Football for Tennessee’s 6A division. His hometown is in Rutherford County, just outside of Nashville.
This season, Carter picked up 92 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, three forced fumbles, and a pick. He took an official visit to Alabama this past weekend, speaking highly of the Crimson Tide following his trip to Tuscaloosa.
It’s no secret that Tennessee football struggled on defense in 2022. For most of the year, the Vols had to rely on their offense to win shootouts.
UT boasts an older group of linebackers. Jeremy Banks is likely done as a Vol while Juwan Mitchell and Aaron Beasley will likely return.
Much of the status of the Vols’ linebacker room remains unknown. Carter can immediately impact the Vols’ defense.
With Carter’s commitment, Tennessee football now has six in-state prospects in its 2023 class. Defense has been an emphasis for Heupel’s staff in this cycle.
Jalen Smith and Jeremiah Telander are two other true linebackers in the class along with Carter. Tennessee’s class also boasts several EDGE rushers who may move to linebacker once they arrive in Knoxville.