An unheralded athlete most of his career, Carpenter had his "coming out" party when he simply dominated the action during the 2005 Texas-Ohio State game. The son of former New York Giants and Houston Oilers running back Rob Carpenter, Carpenter was joined by his younger brother, Jonathan, a linebacker at Cincinnati (2004-05), in carrying on the family football tradition. Both were taught the art of playing the game by their father, who served as his sons' coach at Lancaster High School.
Carpenter joined A.J. Hawk and Anthony Schlegel in forming what many considered to be the best linebacker unit in college football last season. That trio was largely responsible for the Buckeyes leading the nation in rush defense (73.42 ypg) and ranking fifth in both total defense (281.33 ypg) and scoring defense (15.25 ppg) in 2005.
Carpenter was one of the most sought-after linebacker prospects in the Midwest coming out of Lancaster High School. He was a first-team All-Ohio choice by the Associated Press as a senior and rated the 13th-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com. He made 128 total tackles, including 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage his final season. He also competed on the swim team as a senior (50 and 100 free) and went to district finals.
Carpenter appeared in every game as a true freshman at Ohio State in 2002. He developed into a special teams standout, leading the coverage unit with twelve tackles (8 solos). He appeared in every game, starting three contests, including the final two, at strong-side outside linebacker in 2003. He totaled 37 tackles (24 solos) with 4.5 sacks, 6.5 stops for losses and a pair of forced fumbles.
He moved into the starting lineup for good in 2004, lining up at strong-side linebacker. He finished second on the team with 93 tackles (46 solos) and registered two sacks with 6.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Carpenter also deflected three passes and intercepted three others.
Carpenter continued to turn in highlight reel tackles during the first eleven games of the 2005 season. But, a fractured right fibula vs. Michigan in the regular season finale would prevent him from playing in the Fiesta Bowl. He finished fifth on the squad with 49 tackles and second on the team with eight sacks and 10.5 stops for losses, earning second-team All-Big Ten Conference honors.
In 50 games at Ohio State, Carpenter started 26 times. He registered 191 tackles (121 solos) with 14.5 sacks for minus 118 yards and 23.5 stops for losses of 140 yards. He caused two fumbles, batted away seven passes and intercepted three others for 13 yards in returns.
Positives: Has a tall, athletic frame with good upper body muscle tone, long arms, thick legs, good bubble and loose hips to accelerate and close on the ball Naturally fast runner who moves effortlessly when changing direction and has the range to make plays down the line Smart and instinctive athlete who loves to physically challenge the tight ends by coming right up to the line of scrimmage and attacking his defender immediately after the ball is snapped Makes good body adjustments on the move and knows how to use his power to face up and attack the inside rush lanes Keeps position at the point of attack and takes good angles in pursuit, as he is very effective at maintaining leverage and keeping containment (see 2005 Texas game) Showed good improvement with his hands in 2005 in attempts to fend off blocks and pursue the play Has the slippery moves to avoid trash and shows a quick burst to cut off the runner at the corners Effective tackler who won't punish the opponent, but can brake down, face up and wrap when working in space Shows good balance on the move and is quick to break out of his pedal to mirror receivers past the short area Has the smooth turning motion and loose hips to get good depth on his pass drops and keeps his head on a swivel Times his leaps well competing for the pass and will settle with speed to close and make plays on the ball Does a good job of reaching and plucking the ball away from the body's frame Physical pass rusher with a punishing club move to rock offensive linemen back on their heels Generates good speed while taking proper angles to close on the pocket.
Negatives: Has strong hands to grab, pull and jerk blockers to the ground, but when he does not get them up quickly, blockers lock on to his pads and he struggles to disengage Has good power, but is more of a finesse tackler than one that will generate pop on contact Demonstrated good pass rush ability as a senior due to better hand usage, but is more comfortable in run containment that blitzing Loses leverage when he gets too high in his stance, narrowing his base in the process.
Carpenter is a well-schooled run containment defender with good size and power. He has enough bulk to even play down as a defensive end in the nickel package and has been known for his highlight reel-type of hits on the kickoff coverage unit. He is the son of former NFL running back Rob Carpenter, who also coached Carpenter and his brothers in high school.
Carpenter is a smart and instinctive athlete with a good feel for blocking schemes and the awareness to quickly sniff out the ball when working through trash. He attacks the rush lanes with good aggression and has the hand punch to push the fullback back through the lanes, when he stays low in his pads. When he gets too erect in his stance, he will lose leverage and the result is the blocker latching on to his pads, causing him to struggle trying to shed.
He has the natural strength to create a pile, but is more of a finesse tackler. While he is effective at wrapping and securing, he needs to generate more pop on contact. Carpenter showed much improved pass rush moves, especially the rip and club, as a senior, producing eight sacks in the process. He closes on the pocket with good desire and has the speed to disrupt the plays in backside pursuit. Still, he appears more comfortable in run containment than when blitzing.
Carpenter has the valid speed, feet and acceleration to handle man coverage assignments. He has the loose hips to come out of his breaks cleanly and is smooth dropping back into pass coverage, getting good depth in those drops. He is also very effective at getting physical and using his hands to reroute tight ends at the line of scrimmage.
His ability to flow from sideline-to-sideline allows him to chase hard in making plays vs. the outside run. He is quick to digest plays and has the passion to make plays, even at the cost of his own safety. At the pro level, he can provide a team with a physical presence at the strong-side position. He did suffer a season-ending broken ankle in 2005, but as a testament to his work ethic and conditioning, he was back running with the team (though held out of the game as a precaution) four weeks later preparing for the Fiesta Bowl.
Ranks tenth on the school's career-record list with 14.5 quarterback sacks Recorded 142 of his career 191 tackles, 10 of his 14.5 sacks and 17 of his 23.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage during his final two seasons Tied the school game-record with four sacks vs. Michigan State in 2005, equaling a mark first set by Jason Simmons vs. Washington State in 1991.
All-Big Ten Conference second-team selection Started the first eleven games at strong-side outside linebacker, missing most of the season finale vs. Michigan and the Fiesta Bowl vs. Notre Dame after suffering a fractured right fibula vs. the Wolverines Finished fifth on the team with 49 tackles (33 solos) and ranked second with a career-high eight sacks for minus 65 yards His eight sacks were good for tenth place on the school's season-record list Added 10.5 stops for losses of 72 yards and deflected three passes Part of a unit that led the nation in rushing defense (73.42 ypg) and ranked fifth in total defense (281.73 ypg) and scoring defense (15.25 ppg) Recorded at least ten tackles in the Texas and Michigan State.
2005 Game Analysis
Miami (Oh.) Only totaled three solo tackles in the season opener, but sacked QB Josh Betts for a 10-yard loss midway through the first quarter.
Texas Teamed with fellow outside linebacker A.J. Hawk to kill any Heisman Trophy hopes for QB Vince Young Constantly harassed the Longhorns passer, as Carpenter made eleven tackles (6 solos) with two stops for losses of 6 yards and a pass break-up Took down Young for a 2-yard loss on a run off right tackle late in the first quarter Tipped a third quarter pass thrown by Young that was intercepted by safety Nate Sally at the Texas 37 Running out of shotgun formation, Carpenter tossed offensive tackle Jonathan Scott aside to tackle Young for a 4-yard loss on a third-and-goal play early in the third quarter.
San Diego State Followed with three tackles (2 solos) and a pair of sacks for minus 15 yards Sacked QB Kevin O'Connell for a 5-yard loss in the first quarter and for a 10-yard loss at the start of the fourth quarter.
Iowa Added another three hits (2 solos) and sacked QB Drew Tate for a 13-yard loss on a third-and-3 play in the third quarter, forcing the Hawkeyes to settle for a 52-yard field goal.
Penn State Assisted in taking down tailback Tony Hunt behind the line of scrimmage and was in on four tackles (2 solos).
Michigan State Totaled eleven tackles (7 solos) with a career-high four sacks for losses of 27 yards His four sacks tied the school game-record first set by Jason Simmons in 1991 vs. Washington State Sacked QB Drew Stanton for a 5-yard loss on a third-and-4 play at the start of the second quarter and forced MSU to punt when he sacked Stanton for minus 13 yards on a third-and-20 play ten minutes later Sacked Stanton for a 2-yard loss with 1:20 left in the first half and capped the game off with a 7-yard sack of Stanton with 4:49 remaining in the game.
Indiana Deflected two passes and recorded three solo tackles.
Minnesota Followed with four hits (3 solos).
Illinois Held to one solo tackle.
Northwestern Collected six tackles (4 solos).
Minnesota Suffered a fractured right fibula on OSU's first defensive play of the game. Carpenter's leg twisted under him and then Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long fell on top of him, resulting in the injury.
Notre Dame (Fiesta Bowl) Even though he began running a week before the game, he was held out as a precaution Despite not being able to play, Carpenter was in pads and paced the sidelines next to his coaches, offering words of encouragement to his teammates.
All-Big Ten Conference second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report Moved into the starting lineup at strong-side linebacker, finishing second on the team with a career-high 93 tackles (46 solos) Recorded two sacks for minus 16 yards and 6.5 stops for losses of 25 yards Intercepted three passes for 13 yards in returns Also deflected three passes Had at least ten tackles in four contests.
2004 Game Analysis
Cincinnati and Michigan Produced nine tackles in each contest.
Marshall Posted thirteen hits (6 solos) with a stop for a 2-yard loss.
Northwestern Assisted linebacker A.J. Hawk in stopping tailback Noah Herron behind the line of scrimmage and was in on ten tackles (4 solos) Also intercepted a Brett Basanez pass.
Wisconsin Took down tailback Booker Stanley for a 1-yard loss and posted six hits (2 solos).
Indiana Made two stops behind the line of scrimmage, including a 7-yard sack of QB Matt LoVecchio and recorded eleven tackles (5 solos) while returning an interception 4 yards.
Michigan State Collected thirteen tackles (6 solos).
Purdue Sacked QB Kyle Orton for a 9-yard loss and had nine tackles (4 solos) with two stops for minus 13 yards.
Oklahoma State (Alamo Bowl) Picked off a Donovan Woods pass on Oklahoma State's third play from scrimmage and returned it 9 yards to the Cowboy 28-yard line Ohio State scored three plays later to take a 7-0 lead with 12:02 on the clock and never looked back Finished with four tackles (2 solos).
Played in every game, starting at strong-side outside linebacker vs. Iowa, Michigan and Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl) Registered 37 tackles (24 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 37 yards and 6.5 stops for losses of 43 yards Deflected a pass and caused two fumbles.
2003 Game Analysis
San Diego State Made four tackles (3 solos) and sacked QB Matt Dlugolecki for an 8-yard loss.
Bowling Green Caused a fumble when he sacked QB Josh Harris for a 9-yard loss and produced six hits (4 solos).
Northestern Followed with four assisted tackles, including one that resulted in a 3-yard sack of QB Brett Basanez.
Wisconsin Had a pair of tackles and assisted in taking down tailback Anthony Davis for minus 2 yards.
Michigan State Added two more tackles, causing a fumble when he stripped the ball from QB Jeff Smoker on a bootleg.
Purdue Tackled tailback Jerod Void for a 3-yard loss and made four stops (3 solos).
Iowa and Michigan Posted two solo tackles in each game.
Kansas State (Fiesta Bowl) Deflected a pass, delivered five tackles (4 solos) with 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and sacked QB Ell Roberson twice for losses totaling 17 yards.
Played in every game as a reserve linebacker, seeing the bulk of his action on special teams (kickoff coverage unit) Finished with twelve tackles (8 solos) Made his collegiate debut with three tackles (2 solos) vs. Texas Tech, adding three more stops (2 solos) vs. Wisconsin Had a season-high five tackles (3 solos) vs. Kent State.
2005: Suffered a right fibula fracture when his leg twisted under him on the first defensive play vs. Michigan (11/19). The injury was further compounds when UM offensive tackle Jake Long fell on Carpenter's leg.
Campus: 4.59 in the 40-yard dash 345-pound bench press 510-pound squat 32 -inch arm length 9 -inch hands Right-handed 25/41 Wonderlic score.
Attended Lancaster (Oh.) High School, playing football for his father, former NFL running back Rob Carpenter His brother, Jonathan, also played linebacker alongside Carpenter in 2001 Was one of the most sought-after linebacker prospects in the Midwest First-team All-Ohio choice by the Associated Press as a senior and rated the 13th-best outside linebacker in the country by Rivals.com Made 128 total tackles, including 12 stops behind the line of scrimmage his final season Also competed on the swim team as a senior (50 and 100 free) and went to district finals.
Business major Son of Susie and Rob Carpenter His father was a standout running back at Miami (Oh.) and played in the National Football League for the Houston Oilers (1977-80), the New York Giants (1981-85) and Los Angeles Rams (1986). Rob appeared in 118 games, rushing 1,172 times for 4,363 yards (3.7 avg) and nine touchdowns. He also caught 215 passes for 1,707 yards (7.9 avg) and 15 scores Younger brother, Jonathan, is a linebacker at Cincinnati (2004-present) and both played for their father at Lancaster High School Likes to play the piano and is an accomplished bowler (high game of 240) Born 8/01/83 Resides in Lancaster, Ohio.