FAYETTEVILLE — Taurean Carter has been a key member of the defensive line rotation at Arkansas after seeing some action in 2020.
Carter was one of three recruits from Mansfield (Texas) Legacy who signed with the Hogs in the Class of 2019. Safety Jalen Catalon was one of the others from that school in the class as well.
In 2020, Carter played in eight games with one start. He finished with 11 tackles, four solo and one pass breakup. His lone start was against LSU when the Razorbacks were missing several defensive linemen due to COVID. Carter already has 11 tackles this year, two solo, 0.5 for loss and one pass breakup, after three games which equals his season total last fall.
“I just try to play my hardest, try to do my part to contribute to Coach (Barry) Odom’s defense,” Carter said. “You know he has a great scheme lined up for us. We’ve got to hold ourselves accountable and every time you step on the field it’s like you are the starter. It’s like there can’t be any falloff if you want to be the great team that you want to be.”
Senior linebacker Bumper Pool is impressed with what he has seen this year from Carter.
“He’s honestly this offseason just kind of went to work,” Pool said. “Got bigger. He’s so strong. I think he finally figured out he’s a great player. He now has a bunch of confidence in himself. So, it’s great to see him finding the ball. He’s got a great coach. Love seeing him play and excited that it’s coming to fruition.”
New D-line coach Jermial Ashley has a deep rotation on the defensive line playing several players.
“I love it,” Carter said. “I love it. It gives the opponent a task at hand to be able to study us and we can give them different looks. We’ve got talent all over the place and different abilities and different guys. I just think it’s a different asset to our football team.”
Senior offensive lineman Ty Clary has gone against Carter some in practice and likes what he has seen from him this fall.
“I think spring ball helped him a lot, too,” Clary said. “He got a lot of reps in spring. He really took it serious. He didn’t take spring off. So, I think that helped him a lot. In the offseason, he got bigger in the weight room. I think he has gotten a lot better.”
Carter is excited the Hogs will play in AT&T Stadium on Saturday which isn’t far from his home. He will be playing on the same field as the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
“This is a special event,” Carter said. “I’m looking forward to going back home and coming out with a W. Just trying to do my best and contribute towards the team.”
Carter, like many of the Razorbacks from the Metroplex, has been looking for tickets this game since he will have several family members wanting to come.
“It’s hard,” Carter said. “It’s hard. I wish they could supply us, like start off with a little bit more and then ask from there. But shoot, it’s difficult. It’s tight. It’s tight. You’d like to have a lot of family be at the game, but I don’t think everybody’s going to be able to make it. Might have to just tailgate or something.”
For Carter playing in AT&T Stadium won’t be the first time for him. Mansfield Legacy played there twice.
“Those were great moments, man,” Carter said. “Great memories. I can’t wait to go back. It’s a bigger atmosphere, a different level of ball. I’m hoping to see it fully packed out. It gets pretty packed during the high school playoffs, but I’m wanting to see what this game really is about on Saturday.
“So my first time, we played JSJ (John Stephen Jones) at Highland Park (in 2016). We lost against them in the fourth round. And then the second time was against (Frisco) Lone Star.”
Carter and the Razorbacks will kickoff at 2:30 p.m. against Texas A&M on Saturday with the game televised on CBS.