Carter leads JMU NFL hopefuls

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HARRISONBURG, Va. -- Ron'Dell Carter saved his best for last.

James Madison redshirt senior defensive end Ron’Dell Carter has been voted one of three finalists for the 2019 STATS FCS Buck Buchanan Award.

"The thing with this year is I've shown that I've improved every single year," said Carter, who played his final three seasons of college football at JMU after transferring from Rutgers.

After a strong junior year with James Madison in 2018, Carter put together his best college season in 2019 when he registered 12 sacks and 27 tackles for loss. The JMU defensive lineman earned CAA Player of the Year honors for his dominant performance.

"I just didn't expect for it to be that crazy," said Carter. "Going into my senior season, I knew I was going to make a statement. I had to solidify everything and just show that I belong here and all that good stuff and that obviously started with (the) West Virginia (game) and even as a collective team we did really, really well."

After the season ended, Carter took part in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl in Pasadena, California. There he had the chance to show his skills and versatility in front of representatives from NFL teams.

"I have the quickness and the speed to play the edge but I also have the size that I can play inside on pass rush," said Carter. "So a lot of teams see me as a guy who's a 3-4 outside linebacker or 4-3 defensive end, third down comes, (I) rush inside."

Carter says he has talked with almost every team in the NFL and has had video calls with at least six franchises. There's a good chance he is selected on day three (rounds 4-7) of the NFL Draft this Saturday. If he's not picked, Carter will likely be quickly signed as a free agent.

"It can workout in my favor, it can workout against my favor," said Carter. "The only thing I expect is to get a phone call after the draft if it doesn't workout. That's the one thing I do expect but I am just saying...I am very optimistic about what's about to happen."