August 9, 2011
Taco focused on big junior year
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All eyes will be on rising junior Taco Charlton this fall. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end from Pickerington (Ohio) Central is one of the top prospects in Ohio for the 2013 class and after finishing his sophomore year strong, the big pass rusher is focused on having a big junior season.
"My coaches are expecting me to do a lot more," he said. "My last game against Hilliard Davidson, I really had a great game so after that (the coaches) saw what I could do and how much better I got in the off-season so they're expecting me to do a lot more things this year and to perform real well."
After a strong sophomore season and some impressive camp performances, Charlton has picked up four early verbal offers from BCS programs. In addition to the offers, Charlton is getting strong interest from some of the top programs in the Midwest.
"My offers right now are UCLA, Purdue, Cincinnati, and Syracuse," Charlton explained. "Also coming at me pretty hard is Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan State."
Living under 30 minutes from Columbus, Charlton has naturally become pretty familiar with the Ohio State program. Charlton performed at two camps this summer at Ohio State, including the Buckeyes' two-day underclassmen camp in June.
"My coach actually took me up to the Ohio State (underclassmen) camp because their coaches wanted to see me," he said. "I got a chance to meet coach Fickell and got to talk to the defensive line coach (Jim Heacock). I just got to see how things are there and I got to see the (facilities) and stuff like that. It was a good atmosphere and everything and I got to show them what I can do on the field."
Recently, Pickerington Central has started to develop into a mini-pipeline school to Ohio State. The Tigers have sent two players to Ohio State over the last three years, have a third committed for the 2012 class in Jacoby Boren, and have offered senior receiver Roger Lewis. While Charlton likes the familiarity of the Buckeyes' roster, he knows that he will ultimately have to make his own decision.
"It's a plus for sure," said Charlton of the idea of playing at Ohio State with his former teammates. "But it could fit right for them but not fit right for me so I wouldn't go to a school just for that but it's a plus to know that I could go somewhere and know a lot of people already."
Not only has Central sent a few players to Ohio State recently but the school has been one of the top talent producing programs in Ohio the last few years and schools all over the Midwest have taken advantage. Charlton says that playing with other high level prospects has helped him greatly, both on and off the field.
"It's real good," Charlton said. "I get to hear stories from like what they've been through like before I even go to a (school for a visit). I get to hear what they like about different schools and stuff and got their input. Then on the field, it's good to have good players around you because you have somebody to depend on. You don't feel like you have to do too much and everyone pulls their weight. I love playing with the guys that I play with."
For anyone that may doubt Charlton's ability, his Central team will be playing in two of the biggest high school football showcases in the nation the first two weeks as they play Cincinnati Moeller week one in the Crosstown Showdown, followed by Cincinnati St. Xavier week two in the Herbstreit Varsity Football Series.
"I like to go against the best," he said. "Going against them should just elevate my game even more than it already is. I love the competition and I can't wait to get our team out there so we can show the nation what we can do on the field."
Charlton is the tenth-ranked prospect in the BuckeyeGrove.com class of 2013 Ohio rankings.
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