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Norcross' Lorenzo Carter picks UGA

Norcross' Lorenzo Carter holds up a stuffed bulldog as he announces he'll play football at the University of Georgia during a signing day ceremony on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Jason Braverman)

Norcross' Lorenzo Carter holds up a stuffed bulldog as he announces he'll play football at the University of Georgia during a signing day ceremony on Wednesday. (Staff Photo: Jason Braverman)

NORCROSS — Lorenzo Carter spent the last year touring college campuses, trying to decided where he wanted to go to school.

It turned out it was a college just 45 minutes from his home.

Carter signed with the University of Georgia on Wednesday during a live announcement on ESPNU for National Signing Day.

"I'm far enough away that I can grow up and experience life, but if I get a little homesick or want my mom to make me some food or wash my clothes, I can go home," Carter said. "It's going to be fun. I'm excited."

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Carter is the state's No. 1 college recruit and the defensive end had his choice of every major Division I program. His other finalist was LSU, but he was also considering BCS national champion Florida State and Florida.

"I just realized that I have a great opportunity at UGA," Carter said. "There's nowhere I can go that can give me a better chance to be a great player and win a national championship."

Carter took an official visit to LSU on Jan. 17 and official visit to FSU on Jan. 24. However, his visit to Georgia last weekend sealed the deal.

"Just the fact that anything I can do at LSU, I can do at Georgia and be closer to home," Carter said of his decision.

Carter is being recruited as outside linebacker/rush defensive end.

"I plan on being an impact player on third down and getting to the quarterback and once I get my weight up I'll be an every down player," Carter said.

Carter was an impact player at Norcross the last two seasons, helping the Blue Devils to back-to-back state championships. He posted 125 tackles and six sacks last season. As a junior he recorded 136 tackles and led the county with 17 sacks.

As a sophomore, Carter won a Class A basketball state championship at Whitfield Academy. At the time, he was considered a major college prospect in basketball. That all changed when he got to Norcross. Carter helped the Blue Devils win a state championship in basketball last season, but doesn't plan to play it at UGA.

We haven't talked about it, but I don't think I'm going to do that," Carter said. "Especially not my freshman year."

Carter will get to face some of his Norcross teammates over the next four years like Myles Autry and Clinton Lynch, who signed with Georgia Tech.

"It's going to be fun. (Myles) is going to be salty after we smack him up a little bit," Carter said with a laugh.

Carter continues a long line of Gwinnett County players to Athens.

It's the eighth time in nine years that a Gwinnett player has signed with UGA. The last Norcross player to sign with UGA was Fred Munzenmaier in 2006.

"I think it's a great place for him and his family," Norcross head coach Keith Maloof said.