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North’s Barrett Carter

Clemson continued its raid of top Gwinnett football talent with a commitment Tuesday night from North Gwinnett’s Barrett Carter, one of the nation’s top linebacker prospects in the Class of 2021.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Carter is ranked as the No. 56 player nationally in the 247Sports.com Composite Rankings, which also have him as the No. 4 outside linebacker nationally and the No. 6 player in Georgia. He garnered close to 60 offers already and narrowed his list down to a top four of Clemson, Ohio State, Georgia and Auburn.

He chose the Tigers and defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who recruited Carter heavily along with fellow defensive coaches Mickey Conn (a South Gwinnett grad and former Grayson coach), Mike Reed and Todd Bates.

“I could visit Clemson a million times and before each visit I’ll have butterflies,” Carter said. “I really thought long and hard about that. That feeling can’t go unnoticed. Any school that makes me feel that, I can’t ignore it. … I just like the people there. They always say the people there, I fit them football-wise and off the field. I see that when I’m there. I feel like the coaches want the best for you on and off the field.”

Clemson now has three Gwinnett commitments, all four-star recruits, in its 2021 class — Carter, North cornerback Jordan Hancock and Grayson running back Phil Mafah. Hancock is ranked as the No. 8 player in Georgia by 247Sports.com and Mafah is No. 17.

The Tigers have done well recruiting Gwinnett in recent seasons, particularly on defense. The current roster includes South Gwinnett grad Justin Mascoll and Archer defensive backs Andrew Booth and Jalyn Phillips.

“They want me to show a little bit of the Isaiah Simmons position, play that Cheetah, the position they call Cheetah,” Carter said. “I’m really excited about that. I’m ready to build my own legacy when I get there.”

Carter had 84 tackles and 10 sacks last season as a junior, helping North to the Class AAAAAAA semifinals. He was an all-state selection by the Georgia Sports Writers Association and the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association, as well as the Touchdown Club of Gwinnett’s Inside Linebacker of the Year.

An early commitment wasn’t the plan initially for Carter, but he changed his mind in the last couple of months.

“To be honest, I didn’t really expect to commit this early,” he said. “But this quarantine and this virus really made me think. I had a lot of time to think about it, and I was ready to do it now.”

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