Former Georgia defensive tackle and top NFL Draft prospect Jalen Carter reportedly won't be jailed after he pled no contest Thursday in his reckless driving and racing case, according to The Athletic's Seth Emerson.
Carter will reportedly receive 12 months probation, pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and finish a driving course as his sentence.
Carter was implicated in a car crash Jan. 15 that left two dead — Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and team staff member Chandler LeCroy. An arrest warrant was issued for Carter while he was at the NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis on Mar. 5. Carter was booked and released after posting bond Wednesday night before he returned to Indianapolis on Thursday.
Reports indicate Carter was present at the scene of the accident, left before emergency personnel arrived and returned around 90 minutes later at the request of police but "gave shifting accounts of the wreck as an Athens police officer questioned him about whether he had been racing the car that crashed."
Kim Stephens, Carter's attorney, said in a statement Thursday that Carter "did not cause the tragic accident" and "would have been charged with the far more serious offenses of vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle" if he had. She added that Carter "never left the scene of the accident without being told that he could leave" and "had not been drinking alcohol and was not under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal substance at the time of the wreck."
More will be in our story, but Jalen Carter’s lawyer said in a statement the facts “should debunk false information that spread online and in the media”: pic.twitter.com/P1b62rSTXh
— Seth Emerson (@SethWEmerson) March 16, 2023
Carter's draft stock
Soon after reports surfaced of Carter's arrest warrant, Yahoo Sports' Charles McDonald asked NFL scouts how this news could affect the 2023 draft. Carter was — and still is — considered one of the top prospects and some thought he could be the No. 1 pick in April.
One scout told McDonald at the time Carter "is special enough to survive something like this if this is the worst of the news," while another said his situation was more "wait and see." With no jail time, this appears to be one of the more positive outcomes of Carter's case.
However, Carter might still have to wait a bit longer before his name is called on draft night. Carter didn't look great at his pro day this week where he reportedly struggled to finish positional drills and weighed 9 pounds heavier than the 314 he weighed at the combine.
The No. 1 pick also changed hands after the Carolina Panthers traded up from No. 9 to acquire the top pick from the Chicago Bears — likely to draft a quarterback. Three other teams with top-10 picks could take a quarterback, too, leaving only a handful of options for Carter in a draft full of other top-end defensive prospects.