February 1, 2009

Experience, Rocky Top impress Charles

Orson Charles wasn't quite sure what to expect with his weekend visit to the University of Tennessee.

Suffice it to say, the sublimely talented four-star prospect from Tampa's Plant High School was not disappointed.

"I enjoyed everything they said. At first, I wasn't real sure and thought I was just going to go up there and see what they said," said the personable Charles, a prep All-American with a recruiting list of college football bluebloods. "But I enjoyed talking to the coaches and how the players are, they want it done and have a winning attitude. That's something I'm really enjoying right now."

Though the 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pounder with 4.55 speed in the 40-yard dash is the No. 7 receiver nationally according to Rivals.com, Charles boasts the strength and versatility to become an opposing team's matchup nightmare at tight end. Doing just that, with the chance to get on the field early, were things Tennessee coaches and players talked to Charles about this weekend.

"They talked to me about some very early playing time. Brandon Warren, the transfer from Florida State, he wants to play receiver and I got to talk to them about the whole situation," Charles said. "(It's) very, very good. I'm liking what I'm hearing."

Charles, however, won't join the majority of prep football's stars on Wednesday in inking with his college choice. Because his Plant team captured a state championship in mid-December, his visiting options weren't as flexible as Charles had wished. So he'll take at least one more visit and likely decide later in February.

"I think Feb. 20 I might take a trip to USC (Southern Cal), and then after that, I'm going to decide where I'm going to go," said Charles, hosted this weekend by Eric Berry. "I haven't narrowed it down to three. I'm waiting till I take my last one (visit), and then I'll narrow it down to three."

In the meantime, Charles left Knoxville with a great impression from his Rocky Top visit � particularly Saturday's basketball game and the atmosphere inside Thompson-Boling Arena.

"Wheww, boy that basketball game was nothing to play with," he said. "Everybody was there, there were no seats. And then I just imagined a football game and was like, 'Wow, that's the kind of atmosphere I would like to be in.' I enjoyed that."

Charles is the No. 62 player nationally according to Rivals.com and one of the top 15 players in the state of Florida.

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