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New Blue, Taco Charlton

Taco Charlton, listed as 6'6, 240ish, committed to Michigan yesterday, after the men's basketball team beat Ohio State in Crisler Arena. He noted that after the game, Maize Rage chanted 'We Want Taco', which he really loved. Taco received an early offer from the Wolverines, but was considered to be somewhat of a longshot at the beginning of his recruitment. Having grown up an OSU fan from the state of Ohio, most people shrugged him off as an OSU lock. If not the, Notre Dame seemed to be strong competition as well. Just like Kaleb Ringer last year, however, OSU never came through with an offer, and the life-long Buckeye fan ended up a Wolverine.

Just like Shallman, Taco comes from a well scouted school in Pickerington Central. In 2010, safeties Tamani Carter and Eilar Hardy signed with Michigan and Notre Dame, respectively, while two other DBs signed with Eastern Michigan and Buffalo. Earlier this February, Central sent another Boren to OSU, a safety to Ohio U (over Indiana, where he was formerly committed), a LB to Kent State, and fielded a rather rather tragic story in the form of WR Roger Lewis, who was formerly committed to OSU. Here's to hoping that Roger can get his life in order.

The point is, Charlton's been pegged as one of the best in the midwest since his sophomore year, where he exploded onto the scene as both a basketball and football player. In fact, some of his earliest interest was from the basketball staffs at Bowling Green, Notre Dame, and Dayton (in fact, he has a yearly bout with fellow Michigan recruit Jake Butt on the hardwood-this year, Taco came out victorious). While these never materialized into offers, it still shows you the type of athlete Taco is. By the end of this past summer, he had picked up offers from schools like Cincy, UCLA, Syracuse, and Purdue. He went through a series of visits to Notre Dame, Michigan, and OSU, at the beginning of the season, landing offers from the first two. The tides began to change, though, as he admitted that he had 'a good feel for Michigan' immediately after visiting OSU for the Colorado game. From then on, the Maize and Blue jumped in front and held the lead until he committed last night.

Although Taco is already up to 240 pounds (Wormley was about 250 this time last year, IIRC), I see his skill set translating best to the Weakside Defensive End position, with the potential to slide over, like Roh, if he puts on more weight than originally planned. Michigan has recruited the weakside DE fairly well over the past few years. Frank Clark exploded in the Sugar Bowl, highly touted DE Brennen Beyer got some PT under his belt this past year, and incoming recruit Mario Ojemudia is an athletic freak. This means that Taco will likely be afforded the luxury of a redshirt, which is definitely a good thing. Taco, as of right now, is 90% potential. The Bucknuts have said a lot of things to try to bash Taco, but saying he's raw right now, is...well..the truth. More on his breakdown in a minute. Anyway, that means Taco, should he soak in the learning his first year, could get into the rotation as a RS Freshman, and see his PT improve from there on out.

As I said, Taco is a project. His coach did what most HS coaches would do (the smart thing) with a kid of Taco's size/athleticism combo- planted him on the field, and told him to find a way to the QB (or RB). From his brief highlight film, you can see that he plays high, doesn't use his hands very well, and lacks other such technical refinements, but moves very well for his size, gets off the ball well, and never quits. MnB's Jeff Contizano adds his thoughts:

Charlton is a big athlete with great size and athleticism. He currently plays an outside linebacker role in high school, but will probably play rush end or strong side end in Michigan's defense. There has been some questions on his consistency, but at his best Charlton is undoubtedly one of the most talented pass-rushers in the Midwest. For Michigan, he shouldn't be pressed into an immediate starting role, so there should be time for him to redshirt and the coaches to tap his potential. With three defensive line coaches of the caliber Michigan has, that shouldn't be an issue.

The 'three defensive line coaches' thing really can't be stressed enough.

So there you have it, folks. Taco's another project, like Shallman, who has the potential to be a devastating playmaker on the defensive side of the ball. Due to the ambiguity of his role on the line, the coaches will probably pursue at least one more defensive end, ideally someone like KY DE Jason Hatcher, IN DE Elijah Daniel, or NJ DE Tashawn Bower.