Four-Star Florida TE to Trip out West

Tampa (Fla.) Plant tight end Orson Charles has an offer from UCLA and plans to make a trip out West this summer to see the two Los Angeles schools and he could be camping in Westwood next week...

Orson Charles, the 6-foot-3, 215-pound four-star tight end from Plant Senior High School in Tampa, Fla., says he has 29 scholarship offers, but says he still hasn't really begun to narrow down his choices yet.

"I really have no favorites," Charles said. "I want to visit as many schools as possible before I start to narrow it down. Right now they are all even.

"I don't care where I go," he said. "I'll go anywhere. I just want to go where they use their tight end and where I'll get the ball. I want to find a place where I feel like I can live for four or five years."

Charles says he'll start to narrow down his list before the season starts. "I don't want to let recruiting get carried away," he said. "I want to be able to focus on my senior season and I probably won't decide until after the season is over."

A few of the schools that have offered Charles are Florida State, Auburn, Boston College, LSU, Purdue, Arkansas, UCLA, UCF, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Florida, Tennessee, Kansas, Clemson and Rutgers.

Charles says he followed Miami as a child. "There were my favorite as a kid," he said. "I love how they use their tight ends and all the tradition they have. They used to win a lot and I like how they are on their way back.

"Miami had a very good recruiting class and I've been to their practice and they've got a lot of speed," Charles said. "People better look out for Miami because they'll be back on the map."

Charles,'s No. 4 tight end, already attended camps at LSU (June 7), Georgia (June 14) and Florida (June 17).

"The facilities at Georgia are very good," he said. "I like the coaches a lot too. They are very active and involved with their players. Coach Mark Richt is a very strict coach and expects a lot from everybody. He's a great guy.

"LSU was interesting," Charles said. "That was my first time on the campus and it was nice. I didn't really know what to expect, but I was surprised by their academic center and that they are a pretty good academic school. The campus is great and it's a nice football environment.

"Florida has a great program every year," he said. "I like how they are recruiting me hard. They probably send me the most mail and they seem to really like me. They said that I'd be able to help out and that I'd be able to get the ball."

Charles also plans to visit Purdue, Illinois and Notre Dame the weekend of June 21.

"I really don't know much about the midwest schools," he admitted. "I know that Notre Dame has great tradition, but they haven't offered yet."

In addition to the Midwest, Charles also plans to head out West. "I'm going to camps at both UCLA and USC," he said, although only the Bruins have offered. "That's where the athletes are at.

"USC isn't really recruiting me, but I plan to go to the camp and challenge myself," he said.

Although USC hasn't offered Charles, cross-town rival UCLA has. "I've heard the campus at UCLA is beautiful," he said. "I look forward to getting to know the coaches better too. I've only talked with them a few times, so I don't really have a relationship with them yet."

Charles finished his junior season with 12 catches for 400 yards and three touchdowns. He says he can bench press 320-pounds, squat 450 and claims a 35-inch vertical jump.

"I can catch the ball well," he said. "But I can also block good. I can create mismatch problems and I'm real physical.

"I want to work on my blocking at wide-out and improve my hands when catching," Charles said. "I need to open up my stride."

Charles says he wants to major in constructional engineering and reports a 3.0 core GPA. He took the SAT on June 7 and is awaiting the results.

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