Coaches Corner: Kevin Atkinson — Keller HS

The Buffs have verbal commitments from three running backs in their current class. Coming in, the diminutive Hugh Charles from Keller High School outside Dallas, Texas, may be the most impressive physically. Keller head coach Kevin Atkinson says Charles is "the most powerful kid that I've ever been around."

Charles helped Keller to a 9-3 record in 2003. They lost to Irving in the second round of the district playoffs. Charles was named to the District 5-5A first team by the Dallas Morning News as both a running back and kick returner.

What jumps out about Charles is his physical strength. Along with football, he's competed successfully on Keller's power-lifting team, and his star has shone on the track team, where he's won several meets in the long jump (24-2.75), 100-meters (10.63) and 200-m (22.24).

But check out these numbers: Standing a shade under 5-foot-8, Charles owns a bench of 360 pounds, can power clean 325, and — most impressively — squats 550 pounds, according to Atkinson. That's the kind of lower body strength you want in a running back.

"He's an explosive type of athlete that did a great job of running the ball for us," Atkinson said. "He's extremely fast (4.35 in the 40-yard dash) and totally dedicated to being a champion in every facet of his life, whether it's football or the classroom or how he acts outside of the school."

Charles committed to Colorado shortly after he took an official visit to Boulder in early September, even though traditional in-state power Texas A&M offered a few weeks later. Charles also had offers from Kansas State, Kansas and Arizona.

"I think he really, really made a connection with Coach Barnett and Coach Watson," Atkinson said. "Coach Watson is a heckuva recruiter. And we're a big family-type atmosphere here at Keller High School, and I think he felt the same type of atmosphere with the Colorado players and coaching staff when he had his visit."

Atkinson went on to talk about Charles as a player.

"He catches the ball really well out of the backfield," Atkinson said. "In the most meaningful games he played this year, he played both ways (RB and cornerback) — he never came off the field. He shut down one of the state's leading receivers (Howard Morrow, junior, Fossil Ridge) — held him to one catch."

Charles will be joining former Keller teammate Walter Boye-Doe in Boulder in the fall. Atkinson said that the Colorado linebacker calls him every once in a while.

"Walter was down here for Christmas and was really excited that he got to play as a true freshman," Atkinson said. "That doesn't happen a lot at a Big 12 school."

Charles told about his prospects of playing as a true freshman: "Coach Barnett told me he only plays freshman that show up physically ready to play. I guess I'll only know if I am at the start of camp, but I'd like to play early. I'll work as hard as a I have to in order to do so."

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