Georgia's Carter will try to protect draft status at pro day

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Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter watches as players warm up on the field before the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Thursday, March 2, 2023. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

ATLANTA – Jalen Carter's next step in his attempts to preserve his status as a top prospect in next month's NFL draft will be Georgia's pro day on March 15, where he is expected to participate in workouts in front of coaches and general managers.

Carter, a defensive tackle who played a big role in the Bulldogs' back-to-back national championships, has been widely projected as one of the top picks in the April 27 NFL draft. His draft outlook was potentially clouded by misdemeanor charges of racing and reckless driving in relation to the Jan. 15 crash that killed teammate Devin Willock and a Georgia recruiting staffer, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy.

Police allege in an arrest warrant that Carter was racing his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against the 2021 Ford Expedition driven by LeCroy at the time of the crash. Willock was a passenger in the SUV LeCroy was driving.

Police determined LeCroy’s Expedition was traveling at about 104 mph (167 kph) shortly before the crash. The arrest warrant says LeCroy’s blood-alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

The crash occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony.

Carter tweeted a statement on Wednesday, saying he expects to be “fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”

He is scheduled for arraignment in municipal court in Athens on April 18 after posting a $4,000 bond on the charges late Wednesday night. He then returned to the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis for interviews with teams and measurements.

As he planned even before the legal problems, Carter only observed workouts at the combine.

Carter is not the only Georgia player facing charges of racing on public roads. Linebacker Jamon Dumas-Johnson, the team's second-leading tackler in 2022, was arrested on Feb. 22 on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing. Dumas-Johnson is scheduled for arraignment on April 17.

Also, Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett was arrested in Dallas on Jan. 29 and charged with public intoxication.

“It was a mistake,” Bennett said Friday at the combine. “Everybody’s aware of it, I know why they can’t happen. I talked to my the coaches about it, I apologized to my family because that’s who I felt worse about. I felt like I let them down.”

Bennett described the recent legal problems by Georgia players as “individual mistakes."

"They’re responsible for them, it’s not the culture,” Bennett said.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart told ESPN on Friday also said the arrests do not reflect a culture problem at Georgia.

“Absolutely not. I would say we’re far from it,” Smart said. “When you talk to people outside our program that come into it, they talk about what a great culture we do have -- and we do an incredible job. Because I’ve got a lot of outside entities that come into our program and pour into these young men.

“Do we have perfect young men and women and players? Not necessarily. But I promise you this, that’s the intent: for us to grow these guys and get them better. And I feel really good about the culture within our program.”

Smart said University of Georgia campus police and Athens-Clarke County Police had officers talk to Georgia players last summer about the dangers of street racing.


AP Sports Writer Michael Marot in Indianapolis contributed to this report.


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