Northwestern Breakout Candidate: Chance Carter

WNUR Sports Director of Marketing and Public Relations Greg Mroz (@GregDMroz) explains how junior defensive tackle Chance Carter could be a star for the Wildcats in the near future.

With no pun intended, Northwestern needs to take a “chance” on this defensive tackle.

Chance Carter, the junior and Evanston native, was someone Wildcat fans first saw on display back in the 2012 spring game. Carter made a big play by intercepting a pass and running it back for a touchdown and getting credited with 17 points (Spring game scoring is notoriously odd). From that game you could already tell two things about Carter. The first was that he was extremely agile for someone who is 6’3” and 270 pounds. Yet more importantly, you could tell just by his field awareness how smart of a player Carter is.

However, with veteran Brian Arnfelt and breakout star Sean McEvilly manning down the starting defensive tackle spots in 2012, Carter was left in a substitute role with Will Hampton. With Arnfelt gone, McEvilly is the only returning starter at defensive tackle, and someone is going to need to step in and fill the hole left by Arnfelt. That man could be Chance Carter.

If you look at the statistics, Carter was third in tackles from his position in 2012 behind Arnfelt and McEvilly, which gives the naked eye an indication that hes ready to make even more tackles in 2013 with an increased amount of playing time. Yet when you look at tackle statistics for those in the DT role at Northwestern, they aren’t gaudy.

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Source: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images North America

Arnfelt led all DTs in tackles in 2012, but was 11th among all defensive tackles in that category. In Mike Hankwitz’s system, the defensive ends make more plays than the tackles. We all know how big of an impact Tyler Scott and Quentin Williams had last year, but Carter could have just as big of an impact in a less statistically gaudy role.

The pass rush is going to come mainly from the outside, there is no question about that. Tyler Scott wreaks havoc, and guys like Deonte Gibson and Dean Lowry have the capability to get after quarterbacks. So where does someone like Carter come in? When teams see what the defensive ends can do, they will want to force the ball up the middle with the running game. Carter is not like most defensive tackles in the sense that he is very agile and has very solid side to side movement. Because he can cover a lot of ground, Carter is going to do a good job on north-south running plays of plugging up the holes. If he can read blocking schemes well, that’s going to give him a bigger advantage when it comes to run defense.

Even though most of the pass rush is going to come from the end spots, Carter still has a chance to be a great pass rusher. With guys like Tyler Scott, opposing offensive lines are going to try and double team the ends, which is going to leave Carter free to bull rush quarterbacks and others that are in the backfield. What is great about someone like Chance is that his agility and size will allow him to bowl over and get around much slower and subsequently weaker offensive linemen.

When you ever sit down and speak with Chance Carter, you know right off the bat how smart of a person he is. If his off the field intelligence can translate to his on field play, Northwestern will have one of the best if not the best front four in the entire Big Ten. So my message to Coach Fitz is this. Take a chance on Chance Carter. You wont be disappointed.

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