Around 50 of the country’s top senior and junior prospects were at Notre Dame this past weekend, so the Fighting Irish coaching staff wasn’t able to give every recruit -- especially the juniors -- the kind of attention it probably wanted.
However, coach Brian Kelly and the staff made it a point to make sure Pickerington (Ohio) Central junior linebacker Taco Charlton knew he was a priority for the class of 2013.
“He just said he’s interested in the main guys they pulled over, like six or seven of us,” Charlton said of Kelly’s message to a select group of juniors, which also included Ohio’s Jalin Marshall. “They’re real interested in us and want us to be a part of the Notre Dame history.”
“They showed me a lot of love. Coach [Bob] Diaco and coach [Mike] Elston... I got a chance to talk to them each. I talked with Chuck Martin after the game, and he was saying how much they liked me and want to see me in that ND uniform.”
Even though it was Charlton’s first time in South Bend, Ind., he has heard quite a bit about the program over the last year. His former teammate, Eilar Hardy, is a freshman on the Irish, and Charlton said the two are “close like brothers.” Hardy’s father, Bill, has coached Charlton up about the Irish and recruiting process a lot, too, Charlton said.
The fans made the biggest impact on Charlton, who was shocked at the passion for Notre Dame football. He was also surprised that so many of them knew who he was.
“The [player] walk was crazy, so many fans showed up” Charlton said. “The fans were chanting my name. It was great. I even signed a couple autographs.
The Irish have yet to offer Charlton, but he said he expects it to come soon. Michigan State and Wisconsin are two other schools that have shown Charlton a lot of attention, and he wouldn’t be surprised to see an offer in the near future from those two as well. He already holds offers from Cincinnati, Michigan, Purdue, Syracuse and UCLA.
Since a slow start, Pickerington Central has won its last six games. Charlton had a couple of tackles, a sack and blocked punt in Central’s latest win.