Florida State has had plenty of talented running backs come through over the past few years, and 2018 3-star running back Charles Strong is no different in that regard. Strong picked up an offer from the Seminoles in February and committed on the spot despite being from the heart of Gator country in Gainesville.
Strong is a bit overlooked by some fans because of who else Florida State has currently committed at running back for 2018 and who they're recruiting. That certainly isn't the case for the Florida State coaching staff though. They're big fans of Strong and it's very easy to see why. Despite already being committed to Florida State, Strong worked out for all eight sessions of the Jimbo Fisher camp this summer. He didn't have to. In fact, the Florida State coaching staff told him to take a break during the recent camp in July.
"I just love to work," Strong said. "I like to work hard. I like to come out here and get better. Coach Graham, Coach Fisher they sat there and told me to take it easy. I just came from a full pads camp. Three days of that. I just came out and did four sessions of this. I just told them that I love to work. I love the game. I just love to work to get better every day."
Naturally, the coaches loved hearing that.
"They responded well," Strong said. "Coach Fisher said that 'Charles Strong is one of the type of kids that I'm going to have to tell him to sit down when he's outside working. He's working too hard."
Strong's father already has to do that, but he has to take it a step further. He has to lock up the weights so his son can't use them when it's time to rest.
"When it's time for me to sit out or rest, he'll say it's time to rest," Strong said. "Then I'll say, 'but I want to get stronger.' So I'll go back there and try to lift weights, but he locks them up. They won't come off."
It's easy to see that he lives in the gym. At 6-foot-1, 226-pounds Strong has a body that most college running backs work for. He's not just a big back though. He showed off his pass catching ability during the one on one portion of camp, and won every rep he took. So how did he get away from the Gators and find his way to Tallahassee? He feels at home because he feels that the entire program has the same mentality that he does.
"Florida State because you've got to work hard," Strong said. "I love to work. I've visited a lot of other colleges. I've seen their work ethic. I've seen how hard they work. I'm the type of person that I don't want it given to me. I don't want a coach giving me a position. I don't want to be given a starting position. I want to work for it. That's why Florida State. Coach Fisher said, 'when you come out here you've got to compete. There's a lot of competition. You've got to work for the position. I'm not just going to hand it to you.' So I told him I was willing to do anything to start my freshman year for the position, and to work as hard as I can just to be a running back."
Being a Florida State commit in Gainesville isn't easy though. Everywhere he goes he has to deal with Florida fans telling him he should go to Florida.
"There's a lot of Florida fans," Strong said. "Everywhere you go. It don't matter. You don't have to be on the campus. I just went to go get fish food for my fish. My daddy's got piranhas. So I went to go get fish food and I had my Florida State shirt on. Dude was like, 'Hey, you Charles Strong?' and I was like, 'Yes sir.' He was like, 'Man get out my store you need to commit to Florida.' I was like, 'Let me get my fish food first then I'll leave.' He had his gator shirt on and everything saying that I should be a gator. All the coaches and stuff like to talk to me, telling me to be a gator. I just tell them that Florida State's my home. I love Florida State. They made me part of their family. They treat me like a little brother."
Strong may not be the most heralded recruit in the 2018 class, but he is definitely an important one. Having a player with his type of mentality on your team is something that every program needs. The question is where does he play at the next level. For Strong, it really doesn't matter. He's going to work as hard as he can to see the field and help the team. That's just the type of person he is.