Florida State has been heavily recruiting Orson Charles from Plant High School since the summer. Early on the coaches at FSU determined that Charles was the best tight end on their list. After flirting with a few other recruits it quickly became public knowledge that Charles was FSU's top target going into the season.
Before he headed into his senior season Charles was not a nationally known recruit due to the program he previously played for. After having a few outstanding performances on the summer combine circuit, as well as playing a pivotal roll in Plant's Nike 7-on-7 tournament win, Charles became a national prospect. Several months later Charles helped lead Plant to their 2nd state title over 3 years, as he proved he is a dominating offensive threat. His season allowed him the honor of participating in the Army All-American game. He told NoleDigest that he went into that week looking to prove his worth as the best tight end in the nation.
"I really enjoyed this year," said Charles, "and I am still enjoying this process. I'm now at the crucial part as I am preparing to choose the college I am going to attend. Just as the people at Plant depended on me this season I am going to depend on them and those around me to help me make my decision."
"When I went into the All-Star game I felt that I had a lot to prove," continued Charles. "I feel like I earned my 5th star that week (laughs). Seriously even if I don't get that it will give me that chip on my shoulder that I feel makes me better. I got a chance to have fun in San Antonio, played with a lot of good players, talked to some troops and overall just enjoyed the time there. I feel I proved myself as a player."
Florida State has always been a school Orson has kept his eye on. He's made several unofficial visits over the past year, and over last weekend he made his official visit. Charles said that he had a great time on the visit, but more importantly he was able to get questions about FSU's program answered that he couldn't during the season.
"I really enjoyed the visit to FSU," stated Charles. "From spending time with Coach Coley and Coach Fisher, to the hanging out with E.J. (Manuel) and Rhonne (Sanderson), I had fun. I got to go to the basketball game against Duke; man there was a lot of people there. That was cool because it was the first time I have been to a college game."
"My mother, brother and uncle came on the visit with me, and they had a lot of questions as did I," explained Charles. "They got to see the campus itself, the football facilities and stuff like that. The coaches made sure they got to see everything. For my mom it is about me getting an education. For me the biggest thing was seeing how they would use me there."
Charles told NoleDigest that during one of his conversations with Coach Coley he brought up the concern that FSU doesn't really use their tight end. Orson explained that concern quickly was eased.
"Coming in I was concerned about how they use their tight end, but Coach Coley fixed that. We watched film and he drew up a bunch of stuff for me, showing me how they used to do it at LSU and how they're going to use me if I go there. I connect well with Coach Coley because we are both fighters."
Last year quarterback E.J. Manuel was the key cog to the class, as he was the guy many people pegged as the future of the program. Over the weekend Charles was hosted by the future Seminole signal caller.
"E.J. was really cool," stated Charles. "We are similar in we both have that competitive edge. He was telling me that he's coming in next year ready to battle and compete. We also talked about why he chose FSU and about how it was for him being recruited. E.J. is definitely someone I hope to connect with in the future."
Orson has 4 more visits left as he has Florida this weekend, then Tennessee, Georgia and USC. He says he isn't sure when he'll make his decision, but he does know that he will not be signing on Signing Day.
"I have Florida, Tennessee, Georgia and USC left to visit, thus I won't be making my decision on Signing Day," said Charles. I'm even and I am wiping the slate clean with all of these schools. I waited until after the season to do the recruiting stuff because I wanted to focus on each individually. Since I am just starting my visits now I won't have them done by Signing Day. After I make my visits and get them all in I will sit down with my family, pastor and mentor to go over the notes and make my decision. Right now there is no timeframe."
Charles said in the end the school that has the most family feel will be the school that wins out in the end.
"I will look at how the visits go, if I can get number 7 and things like that," said Charles, "but the biggest factor will be how I fit in with the players and how much of a family feel the school has."
Florida State stood a good position to land Orson on Signing Day, and after the visit nothing changed that. FSU has always been at the top of Charles' list. After talking to him about the visit it is going to be tough for any of the schools to match what FSU offers. Stay tuned to NoleDigest for further updates with Orson, as well as the rest of the 2009 recruiting class.