- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Taco Charlton accomplished what he wanted to this spring and summer. He made his commitment, is a member of the ESPN 150 and made it to The Opening.
Now his focus is back on his Pickerington (Ohio) Central team, which is hoping to make it back to the Ohio Division-I finals.
“I knew I had to dominate this year, my senior year. It’s my team now,” Charlton said. “I worked at the camps and everything, lifting, running, but also I had to thank God. He gave me the ability and I just had to enhance it and that’s what I got to keep doing.”
Charlton helped Pickerington Central open the game up this past weekend in a win against Marion-Franklin, not at as a defensive end -- where he is the 10th-best player nationally at the position -- but tight end. Central lead 17-16 when Charlton, No. 119 in the ESPN 150, caught a 15-yard touchdown to set off a second-half offensive explosion.
It also seemed to help Charlton on the defensive side of the ball, where he was relatively quiet in the first half against Columbus (Ohio) Marion-Franklin junior tackle Martesse Patterson.
“I faked like I was going middle and the linebacker stayed in and the safety stayed out and, I was wide open,” Charlton said.
Charlton’s touchdown meant that fellow Michigan commit Jaron Dukes (Columbus, Ohio/Marion-Franklin) would be on the losing end of a hard-fought game.
“I talked to him after the game, he had his head down and I told him to ‘Keep your head up. You got a great career ahead of you.’ I saw film on him and I know what he’s capable of,” Charlton said. “He’s 6-foot-5 and that’s hard to cover, and once he gets to Michigan the coaches will coach him up and he’s going to be good.”
With Charlton keeping his eyes on his high school season, he is not sure when he will make it back to Ann Arbor for a visit. He is eying the game against Michigan State, though.
“I’m just trying to help my team win right here. I want to go back up to a great game,” he said, “but that’s secondary.”
454dTom Luginbill and Craig Haubert