GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Zachary Carter is the top-rated commitment in Florida’s 2017 class.
The 4-star recruit is the No. 1 strongside defensive end from the state of Florida and ranks sixth nationally at the position. He pledged to the Gators four months ago and holds offers from 40 schools, including Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Texas A&M.
However, Carter still came into his senior season with a chip on his shoulder.
“I feel like people still don’t know what I fully have to offer,” Carter said.
His high school football team does. Carter plays both offense and defense for Tampa Hillsborough and has dominated defensively this year.
Through eight games, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound pass rusher has 40 tackles, 6 sacks, 14 quarterback hurries, a fumble recovery and a safety.
He recorded 3.5 sacks in the season opener.
“That was a wake-up call for everybody,” he said.
Carter has led the Terriers to an 8-0 start, their best record in seven years. They’ve allowed one score or less against six of their opponents, including two shutouts.
“It’s a good feeling for me to be this successful my senior year, especially since last year we struggled with a 4-6 record,” Carter said. “We got a lot of negativity at first from students and in the papers. The local media counted us out. That really just made us work harder, and I like proving people wrong.”
Carter’s primary recruiter and future position coach at Florida, Chris Rumph, is impressed with the progress Carter has made as a senior.
“Coach Rumph is real happy,” he said, “about my improvement over the season and my jump from junior year to this year. He told me I look like a different player.”
UF coach Jim McElwain visited Carter last Friday at his school and they speak on the phone regularly. McElwain recently found out that Carter was playing more than 100 snaps per game.
“He was wowed,” Carter said. “I do whatever I can to help my team. He’s ready for me to get to Gainesville.”
Carter was one of 32 recruits chosen for an online voting contest to determine the final two roster spots for the Under Armour All-America Game. Carter made it through the first round and has three more to go.
“It would mean a lot to be selected,” Carter said. “I would have rather been invited, but I’m still happy that I got an opportunity out of 31 other players. I appreciate all the fans that are voting for me.”
Florida fans can vote for Carter at this link. Below are his midseason senior highlights:
Another Tampa commit coming for UF?
Carter could have a fellow Tampa product join him in Florida’s 2017 class.
Malik Davis, a 3-star running back from Jesuit High School, is scheduled to announce his college decision Wednesday morning. His top three schools are Florida, Miami and North Carolina.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound prospect picked up an offer from the Gators on Friday after receiving a visit from Rumph. Davis would be the third Tampa commit for UF this year, joining Carter and 4-star wide receiver Daquon Green, an Under Armour All-American.
Florida has not signed three or more recruits from Tampa since 2006.
Unless otherwise indicated, ratings and rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.