Taco Charlton, Wolverine

Taco Charlton, Wolverine

February 19, 2012
Pickerington (OH) Central defensive end Taco Charlton poses with
fellow 2013 commit Shane Morris
(image via Twitter)

Pickerington (OH) Central defensive end Taco Charlton committed to Michigan on Saturday.  He chose the Wolverines over offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA.

Charlton is a 6’6″, 240 lb. outside linebacker for Central, but he projects to start out at weakside end for Michigan.  He claims a 4.8 forty, a 315 bench, and a 345 squat.  He had 40 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery as a sophomore in 2010.  I have yet to find statistics for his junior season.

ESPN: Unranked DE
Rivals: 4-star DE, #183 overall
Scout: Unranked DE
247 Sports: 4-star OLB, 93 grade, #9 OLB, #143 overall

Charlton was offered by Michigan in September 2011.  It was known that Michigan sat at or near the top of his list ever since the offer, and he was rumored to be on the verge of committing for the last few weeks.  In fact, most message boarders seemed to think that Charlton was the mystery recruit planning to announce on Sam Webb’s WTKA show yesterday at noon, which turned out to be Wyatt Shallman instead.  Charlton waited until late Saturday evening to share his commitment.

Much like with fellow Saturday night commit Chris Fox, there aren’t a whole lot of Charlton highlights available for analysis.  Those that are available show a long, lean, athletic kid with a good motor . . . who’s just kind of out on the field chasing after the ball.  I don’t see a whole lot of football fundamentals or discipline.  He’s a very raw prospect who, I think, needs to work on reading blocks and maintaining gap discipline.

Luckily for Charlton – and for Michigan – the Wolverines brought in a cadre of defensive end prospects in the 2012 class, so Charlton should have the opportunity to redshirt if necessary.  He has the right attitude and athleticism to play at the next level, but he’s a project.  I imagine he will likely start out at weakside end at Michigan, but he could very well grow into a strongside end by the time his career is over.

He is the ninth commitment in the class of 2013 for Michigan.  He was also the sixth player to pick Michigan on Saturday.  In one day Michigan tripled its number of pledges.  Charlton will join fellow Pickerington Central alum Tamani Carter, who will be a redshirt freshman safety this fall.


  1. Comments: 21381
    Feb 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

    Seems like this hand M thing is happening…. 🙁

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 19, 2012 at 3:07 PM

      If Sugar Shane is doing it, and it helps bring in six 4-stars in one day, I'm down with it.

  2. Comments: 21381
    Feb 19, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    Given that Taco Charlton is a big OLB (although he did put his hand down on a few plays in the highlight tape), why does it seem like teams are never accounting for him? Does that reflect that he played against poor competition? Does it mean this film came out before teams knew how good he is? Or is there nothing to read into it? In watching his tape, the first time he's blocked is by a RB picking up the blitz. That seems so strange.

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 19, 2012 at 3:14 PM

      I think it's a function of the position he plays. Sometimes those guys are unaccounted for. Sometimes they're just tough to block because of where they're positioned. I think teams knew about him as a junior, but as a sophomore, they probably didn't realize the kind of talent he had.

      Since his highlights are few, there's also a chance that when he was blocked, he didn't deal well with it.

  3. Comments: 21381
    Feb 19, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    What do you think? I know you were a little down on Dawson, but would it be fair to say that Taco is further from being an FBS starter than Dawson? It sounds like he's an athletic guy that doesn't know how to use his body.

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 19, 2012 at 3:15 PM

      I think he's a project. Like I said, there's not a whole lot to see in these highlights other than a) he's tall and b) he's pretty fast. Get him with some good D-line coaches, and who knows what could happen?

  4. Comments: 21381
    Feb 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    Are you content with the coaches zero-ing in on a potential high-ceiling, raw project like Taco rather than a more polished out-of-state DE guy? I know you mentioned the depth at DE allowing for a redshirt… but the coaches seemed REALLY enamored with Taco as a prospect just as they were REALLY enamored with Shallman at RB. The coaches got their guy (having offered, you know, months and months ago), but do you think their strategy is a good one?

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

      Er, by out-of-state I meant more "out of region" as I consider Ohio and Michigan to be our main recruiting grounds.

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM

      I think you can afford to take a project here or there. The defensive ends in the 2012 class are all pretty quality players. Even if they're not future superstars, Michigan should be able to get some decent play out of them. What you can't do, in my opinion, is take projects and tweeners all the time, which is what Rich Rodriguez got in the habit of doing. If you look at a team like Alabama, they get elite guys at most positions, take some projects here or there…and sometimes those project types turn into elite guys, too. But even if they don't, Alabama will still have a good defense because they take sure things, too (I use the term "sure things" loosely since there's no such thing, but you get the point).

  5. Comments: 21381
    Feb 19, 2012 at 5:38 PM

    He reminds me of a certain stud OLB we had by the name of Shawn Crable…definitely the size and technique, however it looks like he falls short to Crable in the speed category. 6-6 250, he's college ready for the outside rush position. Another solid DE/OLB pickup for Michigan.

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 20, 2012 at 11:36 AM

      Yeah, I can see the Crable comparison, but I do think Crable was a better raw athlete.

  6. Comments: 21381
    Painter Smurf
    Feb 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    I think you take is pretty accurate. I watched him play in the HS championship game against St. Ignatius. He did not have a chance to make a big impact because the opponent was chucking the ball all over with a lot of quick passes.

    Charlton is kind of the opposite of Ojemudia in my opinion, in that he has not figured out how to use his hands yet. Hopefully, he works on it his senior year. But his pursuit is top notch and that seems to be a particular emphasis with Mattison.

    Even though he is not polished yet, it is nice to see UM bring in the "physical freak" at DE they have been lacking since Woods/Crable left.

  7. Comments: 21381
    Feb 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM

    Hopefully this turns out better than recent tall/skinny/fast 'upside' edge recruits like D.Rogers and P.Brown.

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 20, 2012 at 11:37 AM

      Yeah. I actually liked both of those guys (Rogers, Brown), but they obviously didn't pan out for different reasons. Rogers has done pretty well at Youngstown State, and we'll see how Brown does. I wonder what Greg Mattison could have done with a freak like Rogers at OLB or WDE, though…

    • Comments: 21381
      Feb 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM

      Obviously, they want to find some play-makers at SLB and WDE. They seem confident in their abilities to manufacture one if they have the right athleticism.

      I thought Brown was a big loss. I know the coaches let him go by choice and/or to prove a point…but I wonder if they regret it a little bit. I think at the time they thought they could land Grant or another TE if he left. It'd be nice to have an athlete like him, a guy who could potentially play either TE or DE, depending on need. Ah well…

      OTOH, I'm very glad a spot ended up being available for Norfleet. My hopes are high with him, and he's the kind of player they don't seem to be recruiting. It makes sense given the current oversupply of mini-back/slot-WR types on the roster, but still. You need some quick little space-players, no matter how 'Power' your offense is, they help.

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