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Penn State football star Abdul Carter has sights set high for 2024 season

Despite changing positions, Abdul Carter has high expectations of himself for the 2024 Penn State football season.



Penn State football, Abdul Carter
Nov 18, 2023; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions linebacker Abdul Carter (11) rushes the passer during the second half as Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gavin Wimsatt (2) drops back at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Even amid a significant position change this offseason, expectations are set high for Penn State football defensive star Abdul Carter in 2024. But perhaps no one has loftier goals for the linebacker-turned-edger rusher this fall than himself. This week, the Nittany Lions‘ newest defensive end laid out his plans for the season, which included an ambitious double-digit sack target.

Abdul Carter aiming for double-digit sacks in 2024

Abdul Carter may not have played an actual down at his new position yet, but he’s already being listed among the top defensive ends in college football for this upcoming season. The Philadelphia native has seen an extremely productive start to his college career, recording 105 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and 11 sacks in two seasons as a linebacker.

But the star defender has his sights set even higher for the 2024 Penn State football season. Answering questions on his Instagram this week, the Nittany Lions edge rusher said he’s aiming for 15 sacks this fall.

This is quite a lofty goal, considering there have only been eight players with 15+ sacks in the last five seasons combined, excluding the shortened 2020 COVID year. But it could be possible if new defensive coordinator Tom Allen gets his way.

“I had a chance today to meet him in the weight room,” Allen said at his introductory press conference in December. “[I] met him today, talked to him for a few minutes, introduced myself to him. [I] commented about how we had a tough time blocking you, man [at Indiana]. So now, I get to find creative ways to help you become unblockable.”

While there’s plenty of optimism around Lasch for his production this fall, there’s also no hiding the challenge Abdul Carter is undertaking this offseason.

“It’s not just like you make the decision to move, and you snap your fingers, and automatically, you’re a defensive end,” James Franklin said this spring. “It’s a different world the closer you get to the ball, just like it’s a different world if you move back to the secondary. We’re excited about watching his development and growth, and it should be exciting.”

Carter is stepping to the top of a talented Penn State defensive end room

Penn State football lost Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac to the NFL, but don’t expect the production off the edge to drop much. A defense that’s experiencing a significant amount of turnover relative to previous years, defensive end might be one of the strongest units when Tom Allen’s group takes the field this fall.

Abdul Carter is expected to line up opposite former five-star Dani Dennis-Sutton, now stepping into a starting role in his third year on campus.

Behind that duo is Smith Vilbert, who should return from injury in 2024, and Amin Vanover, who James Franklin praised immensely coming out of April’s spring game. Redshirt senior Zuriah Fisher adds another veteran presence, as well.

And then, there are the young up-and-comers. Jameial Lyons turned heads among the Penn State football coaching staff at several points as a true freshman, and is looking to take another step in year two. Though he didn’t play as a freshman, Mason Robinson was one of the top prospects out of Maryland a cycle ago and could start to work himself into the rotation.

Even if Abdul Carter doesn’t reach his high expectations in 2024, as a position room, the Nittany Lions may be among the top of the class in the Big Ten.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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