Mention Army linebacker Andre Carter II to Navy trainer Ken Niumatalolo and you’ll likely get a one-word answer.
At 6-7, 250lbs, Carter was easy to spot in his first full season as a starter because he showed so much in the backfield. He leads the nation with 1.21 sacks per game and has 14.5 in 12 games, including 13 solo (Alabama’s Will Anderson Jr. has another sack but played one more game).
“I’m not surprised to be successful just because I know the work I have put in, but I will say my goal was to get double-digit sacks by the end of the season,” he said. said Carter, who was for the most part a tight end in high school. The junior is from Missouri City, Texas. “Seeing so much success really surprised me.”
Carter also has 38 total tackles (30 solo), forced four fumbles, intercepted an interception and blocked a kick. It was a resume that helped Carter secure AP All-America third-team status on Monday.
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“, Incredibly proud of himself. Just as he makes a difference on the pitch, Andre also serves as an example as a West Point caddy off the pitch. He well deserves this honor and the Army Football Brotherhood celebrates his recognition as one of the best players in college football. ”
“It’s a blessing to be recognized,” Carter said. “My teammates and I have been working hard all season so it’s really amazing to be able to share that with them as a reflection of all our hard work throughout this season. ”
Carter is the first All-American selection during Monken’s eight-year tenure.
“We knew he could be very special the day he set foot on campus,” said senior defensive back Cedrick Cunningham. “He was a tall, skinny kid when he first came here. Now it’s great to see how much he’s grown as a player on and off the pitch. When you see a guy with that. work ethic like him, you know he’s going to stand a chance.
A chance was all Carter wanted, and her route to West Point was about as twisty as it could get. The family moved from California to the Houston area the summer before their freshman year of high school. He transferred to a private school and missed much of his senior year with an injury.
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With little success in recruiting, her mother, Melissa, began looking for prep school to give Carter another year to develop. The family chose Cheshire Academy in Connecticut after speaking with coach David Dykeman, who needed help in defense.
“He came here as a guy who had never played in defense and really grabbed the opportunity,” said Dykeman. “He had a backpack that he picked up for 97 yards. The things he did were just phenomenal. He was driven.
The Army, just 90 miles away, came first with an offer after linebacker coach John Loose got a firsthand glimpse of Carter, who didn’t know much about West Point but thought it was perfectly logical. He would have the chance to play college football at the highest level, get a top-notch education and be able to serve his country after graduation.
“I think he likes them to be pretty down to earth,” his mother said. “And I think he really respects Coach Monken and his program.”
Carter didn’t play his first year but made his presence felt in training.
“To be honest, it’s a cash machine,” said offensive coordinator Brent Davis. “It’s so sudden and so long that you really don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. That makes it difficult. He used to do this to us all the time when he was on the screening team. It was painful to live with. . the ass.
Carter played in 10 of the Army’s 12 games last season, mostly third until he made two starts. Against Georgia Southern in late November, he gave a glimpse of what was to come, recording a sack, an interception, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.
“He only got one sack last year, but he was still a disruptive player for us,” said defensive coordinator Nate Woody. “If you could just go out there and look at his work ethic in training, it’s amazing the mental preparation he puts in for training and for games.”
Carter started this season with three sacks against Georgia Southern and had a backpack in Wisconsin that offense couldn’t convert into a close game. In an overtime victory over the Air Force with the Commander-in-Chief’s trophy on the line, Carter had a sack among his two loss tackles, a rushed quarterback and an impressive pass break along the line. hits deep into army territory which deflected towards teammate Cameron Jones, who sent him back 45 yards.
“He’s standing out,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “He’s talented and the effort he plays with – that’s a really good combination.”
Carter was also selected as Pro Football Network’s 2021 Independent Defensive Player of the Year, 2021 Independent Defensive Lineman of the Year and was named to the First Independent Team at the Edge position.
The Army (8-4) has one game remaining, a December 22 date with Missouri (6-6) in the Armed Forces bowl.
“He’s now become his own man and you can only be proud,” Carter’s father said. It’s just on a whole new level proud no matter what he does from that day forward. I let him know how proud I am of him because he does remarkable things that in your wildest dreams you couldn’t imagine.
Beat writer Ken McMillan of The Times Herald-Record and USA TODAY Sports contributed to this report