To say that Taco Charlton was on a mission heading into his final high school campaign would be an understatement. All offseason the Pickerington Central star dedicated himself to getting bigger, faster and stronger. The result was a physical metamorphosis that has stunned those that weren’t around to watch it unfold. Simply put, Charlton is not a 235 lb. kid anymore.
“I’m up to 260-plus,” Charlton said proudly. “(The Michigan coaches) said I’m good now weight wise. Basically when I get there they’ll add weight on me by eating three good meals a day and getting with the nutritionist and all that. They said I should put on 15 more pounds easy.”
If further size and strength gains equates to immediate improvement on the field as a college freshman like they did for Charlton as a high school senior, the four-star pass rusher will be a hard man to keep out of the rotation.
“I had a real good season,” stated Charlton. “It was definitely my best season out of all of them. I just basically got a chance to dominate and play my game. Last year I was kind worried about making a mistake. This year I really got to play comfortable and I got to play my game. I basically killed everybody. I made 1st team all-state, so it was a real great season and definitely something great to leave high school on.”
That said, Charlton still has a few weeks of high school left. He doesn’t report to Ann Arbor with the five other early enrollees until January 6th. In the meantime he is making the most of his remaining days as a prep by playing with the Pickerington Central basketball team, while also gearing up to play in the Semper Fidelis All American game on January 4th. At the same time he is wearing his recruiting cap and is trying to help add a few more commits to the Maize & Blue ledger. One of his top priorities is newly offered Westerville (OH) South LB/DB, Marcus Ball.
“It was a great visit,” said Charlton reflecting upon his time in Ann Arbor last weekend. “I had a good weekend with all of my teammates and all the coaches. (Marcus) loved it too. That’s my boy. We’ve been cool with each other for a while now. I’ve played against him in football and basketball. He is athletic, fast, and he is aggressive. He use to play quarterback and safety. This year he just switched to safety and wide receiver. He is athletic and he can hit you too. He is definitely a versatile player and he’s tall, so that’s going to help too. When he got (to Michigan) we started talking and he said he liked it… a lot.”
That’s a positive sign for the Wolverines, but there is more work to do if they’re going to pry Ball away from his Wisconsin commitment. The Badgers may not have a new coach yet, but Ball’s brother… offensive lineman, Ray Ball… is still on the football team in Madison. Luring Marcus away from the opportunity to play college ball with his elder sibling is no small undertaking. Neither is luring away an Ohio State basketball commitment to play football in Ann Arbor, but that hasn’t stopped the Wolverines from also pursuing 2014 Pickerington Central small forward, Jae’Sean Tate. The 6-5, 210-pounder held only a basketball offer from Michigan when he committed to the Buckeyes last month. After watching the versatile youngster be a menacing presence on the football field in a handful of games this year, Brady Hoke & company decided to extend him an offer as a LB/DE.
“We’re going to talk to him and see if he wants to play a little football,” said Charlton. “We’re just seeing what it’s about… especially if he doesn’t grow anymore. Maybe he might want to play football? We’re just seeing where he’s at right now. That’s like my little brother, so whatever is best for him, I’m down for… whether that is Ohio State or us. It’s about what he wants to play and what he thinks he has a better future at really.”
As for Charlton, there’s no uncertainty about his future course. He sets out on the path in a few short weeks.