Last night I called Taco Charlton to wish him good luck in the Ohio High School State Basketball Championships. For those who do not know him, Taco plays basketball for Pickerington Central. He also plays football for Pick Central who, by the way, also played in the OHSAA's Football State Championship game last fall. But my respect for him has grown big time over the last year.
Actually, I first Taco play in a reserve football scrimmage as a freshman. Long, gangly, and slow. Also saw him as a sophomore, but he just ran around, but looked good in a football uniform. Potential was there, but he had to grow into his body. Worse, I do not think that he understood the game. But I thought as a junior, he would be a player.
First game of the season last year, Pickerington Central played Moeller in a Cross-town Showdown game. As the Moeller team got off of the bus, I watched Taco and a Tiger teammate kind of taunt the Moeller team. My first thought was "don't do that."During the warm-ups, that kind of behavior continued from Taco. At that point, I knew he was all talk and "tryin to be bad." Moeller went on to destroy Pickerington Central. Just a guy!
In the state championship game against St Ignatius, a different story. For Taco, everything was business. No dancing, no taunting, no "we are bad attitude." He went on to play a solid game from his defensive end postion. Had some QB hurries, but no sacks. But for me, more importantly, his maturity and instensity as a player had really improved.
Last Saturday, I watched him play a regional final basketball game against Canton McKinley. The "play hard and stay-focused" attitude was still there. Not a great basketball player, but a very hard worker. Rebounds strong and plays defense. To a degree, I, also see a team leader in him.
Taco has given Michigan a verbal commitment to play football for the Wolverines. He has not played as many snaps as people might think. He may not be a defensive end, but at 6'5-260, he is a football player. Runs the court in basketball. Needs to improve his change of direction on the football field. Some recruiters question how well he runs. I believe he runs well enough, but may be able to slide down inside.
Sometimes, when I evaluate football players I just get a "good feeling," on a player, especially one who I have evaluated for three years. Sometimes I am guilty of wanting to a prospect to be better than he is and miss some of his weaknesses. Hopefully, that is not the case with Taco Charlton and that my "good feeling" on him is justified.