When Alliance of American Football (AAF) founders Charlie Ebersol and Bill Polian started to put together the AAF it is doubtful they knew defensive lineman Karter Schult personally. Although they didn’t know Schult specifically, they did know of the type of player Schult represents. Throughout the NFL’s history, there have been players who have slipped through the cracks of the NFL. Players who NFL teams deemed too slow, too small, or didn’t have the right intangibles they were looking for. The AAF was created to give those types of players a chance. A chance to display that they are productive football players and ones who can possibly contribute to an NFL team. Salt Lake Stallions starting defensive end Karter Schult is doing the most with the opportunity that the AAF has given to him.
Salt Lake Stallions Karter Schult Making the Most of his Opportunity
Being bypassed by so-called football experts isn’t new to Karter Schult. Growing up in small Tripoli Iowa and playing eight-man football as a fullback, he didn’t get many scholarship offers. In fact, the only Division 1 football offer he received was from Northern Iowa. If you are a fan of Iowa football, you know most of the talk is about the University of Iowa or even Iowa State. But being a local boy, being offered a scholarship by Northern Iowa was a dream come true for Schult.
The local boy made good on his chance at Northern Iowa. Under the tutelage of former NFL outside linebacker/pass rusher Bryce Paup, who was Schult’s defensive line coach, Schult turned into one of the best pass rushers at the Division 1 level.
During his career for the Panthers, Schult accumulated 36 ½ sacks and had 56 tackles for a loss. In his senior season alone, he had 17 sacks and 24 tackles for loss. That season, he led all of Division 1 in sacks and was tied for second in tackles for loss. Because of his production that season, he earned the Buck Buchanan Award, the award given to the top defensive player at the Division 1 level. The runner up to Schult for that award was Sam Houston State defensive lineman P.J. Hall. Hall would go on to be drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft.
Unfortunately for Schult, his college success didn’t land him a spot on an NFL regular season roster. Like with most small college football standouts, Karter Schult is having to fight his way on to an NFL roster.
A Football Journey Begins
While Karter Schult had a very impressive college resume, it didn’t get the attention of NFL scouts. As his draft profile from NFL.com predicted, he went undrafted in the 2017 NFL Draft and became an undrafted free agent.
Still, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cleveland Browns and did all he could to stick with them. That preseason, Schult totaled 11 tackles and had one and a half sacks. But the Browns cut him at the end of the preseason and chose not to re-sign him to their practice squad.
In fact, Schult sat out the 2017 season, with no other NFL team signing him. The following season, he signed with the Carolina Panthers but was released in August. It appeared that Schult’s chances of reaching the NFL had come to an end.
Then the AAF happened.
Making the Most of his Opportunity
Karter Schult wasn’t alone. A lot of unemployed NFL players, who don’t want to play in the CFL, had no place to showcase their talents for NFL scouts. But that all changed when Ebersol and Polian announced the formation of the AAF on March 20, 2018. In December, Schult signed with the Stallions. He would get another chance at showcasing his skills to NFL teams.
While the Stallions sit at 0-2, you can’t blame Schult for the Stallions struggles. In their week one loss against the Arizona Hotshots, he registered four solo tackles, one sack, and two quarterback hits.
In the Stallions week two matchup, a loss to the Birmingham Iron, he topped his prior week’s production. Against the Iron, he posted six solo tackles, two sacks, and four quarterback hits. In only two weeks of action, Schult is making quite a name for himself.
His play has garnered national attention as well. Last week, Bleacher Report put together a top ten list of AAF players who could be playing in the NFL next season. Karter Schult came in at number nine on the list.
If Schult keeps producing as he has in the first two weeks of the season, it wouldn’t be farfetched to believe he will be on an NFL roster next season. Ebersol and Polian’s AAF are giving players opportunities to prove themselves. Karter Schult is one that is seizing that opportunity.
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