Penn State Football All-Big Ten Defender Making Surprising Position Change

Penn State Football
Penn State Nittany Lions Linebacker Abdul Carter (11) tackles West Virginia Mountaineers Running Back CJ Donaldson Jr. (4) during the first half of the College Football Game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Penn State Nittany Lions on September 2, 2023, at Beaver Stadium in University Park, PA. (Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)

After two All-Big Ten seasons at linebacker, Abdul Carter is moving to defensive end for the 2024 season, according to the latest Penn State Football roster update.

In 2022, Carter earned freshman All-American status after posting 56 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, and four pass deflections. He followed that up in his sophomore season in 2023 with 49 tackles, 4.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and an interception, earning Carter first team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches and second team honors from the Media along with a second-team All-American honor from Sports Illustrated.

However, with Penn State losing both starting defensive ends, Chop Robinson and Adisa Isaac that anchored the 2023 defensive line, Carter will now move to defensive end ahead of spring practice.

What Abdul Carter Position Change Means for Penn State’s Defense

Carter will join a defensive end room that includes one presumed starter in former five-star Dani Dennis-Sutton who rotated as Penn State’s third defensive end last season, and other rotational pieces in Jameial Lyons, Amin Vanover, Smith Vilbert, and another converted linebacker Zuriah Fisher, along with other younger players.


Carter would be expected to immediately start alongside Dennis-Sutton as he has started in 19 games and played in all 26 games in his career at linebacker and presumably would not make the switch to play a backup role. Carter’s move to defensive end gives Penn State an ability to play its younger linebackers in 2024, with sophomore Tony Rojas getting recognition for his work on the field and in the strength and conditioning program in just over a year on campus.

One of three players that switched positions according to the newest depth chart release, Carter joines redshirt sophomore Mehki Flowers has moved from cornerback to wide receiver and redshirt freshman Lamont Payne Jr. has moved from cornerback to safety, who will open the season in a new position form how they ended the 2023 campaign. 

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