“I’m way more comfortable,” Gardner said. “Last year was my first year starting, and it was rough, a lot of ups and downs, a lot of adversity. A lot of adversity I fought through, and I feel like I did a really good job of never giving up, never giving up on myself and my teammates. I feel my teammates recognized that, and my coaches recognized that, and I feel like that will help me.”
Charles Burks is a defensive end from Huntington Beach, California. Burks will be making the haul from CA to Ann Arbor this weekend for Michigan's Junior Day and Night of Champions. He currently holds an offer from Stanford, but hopes that Michigan extends one his way this weekend. Here's his highlight video, and what he had to say about Michigan.
TOM: Can we read anything into this visit? It’s pretty far to come all the way from California to Michigan.
CHARLES: I’ve always been an Ohio State fan, but I’ve always liked Michigan a lot, too. My dad is a big Michigan fan. They have the most wins out of any college, which is awesome. I’m definitely interested because of all the history and all the tradition. I’m interested because of all that, but I actually want to meet the coaches and see the campus. I want to get a feel for everything, and see how it is up close. Distance doesn’t matter to me, either, at all. I want to go where I can make an impact, and enjoy playing football. I just want to go to a school that can get me a good degree.
TOM: What coach is recruiting you? What have you guys talked about so far?
CHARLES: I’ve just gotten a lot of letters, and all of them have said Coach Rodriguez. The one about the junior day came from him, too.
TOM: Where does your interest in Michigan come from, besides your Dad?
CHARLES: It comes from my dad, but also everything that Michigan has to offer football wise. Michigan will always be one of those schools that will always have a great program. They’re consistently good. The past couple seasons don’t bother me, because I know they’re on the upside. They’re rebuilding, and they’re going to be good before you know it.
TOM: What other schools have offered you, and who’s been in contact with you so far?
CHARLES: Schools that have been in contact with me are ASU, Michigan of course, Kansas, Oregon State, and my first offer was from Stanford two weeks ago.
TOM: Are you going to any camps this summer? What other visits do you hope to make?
CHARLES: I’m going to all the major combines; the Under Armor, Rivals, and Scout. I’ll be at pretty much all of the bigger ones. As far as camps; I’ve considered Oregon State and Kansas. I might go to a couple, but I might go to the USC because they’re local.
TOM: Do you have a top list yet?
CHARLES: I’m kind of trying to feel everything out. As of right now, Stanford, Michigan, and Ohio State are the top three. If I had a top five, it would be UCLA, and Oregon State, too.
TOM: You said you were an Ohio State fan growing up. If they offer, is that it for you? Are you going to jump at it, or is it not like that?
CHARLES: My interest in MIchigan is higher right now, because I haven’t heard from Ohio State. I’m a fan of them, but I won’t just jump at an offer. I’m going to take my time, and see where I feel most comfortable. Just because I’m a fan doesn’t mean that’s the best fit for me. I went to Ohio State last year for a wrestling camp, so I want to see how Michigan is, and how I feel there. Who knows, maybe after this visit Michigan will be my leader, we’ll see.
TOM: You play defensive end right now. Do you play any other positions?
CHARLES: I play tight end, as well. I’m starting to work out at outside linebacker, too. I’m 6’1 and I weigh 230, and my 40 time is 4.6 or 4.7. Last time I ran it, I ran a 4.6.
TOM: What sets you apart from the competition? What are you going to be working on?
CHARLES: I had 14 sacks in 10 games, which is one sack shy of our school record, so I almost broke that. I broke my fibula, though, so I only played 10 games. I’m real quick off the edge. I’m going to try to work on the fundamentals a lot, too. I don’t want to get caught up with tackles, too much. I’m also going to try to adjust to my new position of linebacker.
TOM: What are you looking for out of this visit? What’s an ideal visit look like for you?
CHARLES: Just meeting the coaching staff, feeling comfortable, meeting the players, and feeling comfortable with them. I want to see how the coaching staff runs the program. Ideally, I’d love to get an offer from Michigan.
First of all, that tape has DEFINITELY been sped up in some spots. There's one point where a slot guy goes in motion that you can tell is half-speed or three-quarters speed, but it looks like he's running a 4.1 forty.
Regardless, he still looks good. Do you know if he's ever participated in martial arts of any sort? I know he said he's a wrestler - and he must be decent if he's traveling all the way to Ohio for a tournament - but some of his moves look like he's taken judo classes or something.
All that being said, he almost looks more like a middle linebacker than a defensive end. I wish he wouldn't reach so much and make all those one-handed, grab-the-jersey tackles. But that's what high schoolers do if they're strong enough, I guess.
Spring ball and maybe a redshirt year will hopefully cure the sloppy tackling. Try those throws on a senior tackle or one handing a stud RB and you'll quickly learn the value of proper tackling.
I'm glad he's coming out for our junior day. It seems like a great chance to make sure he looks teachable in terms of tackling and such. Although since Stanford offered him I assume he has to be a pretty sharp tack, after if Stanford thinks your academically eligible you have to be fairly smart at least.
he looks ok..not great..he plays super high and lets the blockers get in on his shoulder pads. In addition, he does not explode through his tackles, he seems to rely on wrestling opponents to the ground rather than tackling through them. I think that he will be a project who looks more like a linebacker than a defensive end. best of luck on the offer.
Yeah he is probably a great Greco-Roman and free-style wrestler. Awesome throws and body control. Those ugly reaching arm tackles look a product of his ability to physically impose his will. I would believe that wrestler would have the tools to form tackle better (basically just a shot attempt in wrestling).
"If they ever catch me, they can have 'em." -Denard Robinson
Kids coming ll the way from Cali on his own dime. Knows the rich tradition and sees where the program is headed. I hope he likes what he sees this weekend as he sounds like he's got a good head on his shoulders. 6'1" 230 running a 4.6ish could be LB material or add 30lbs and keep the speed and you have....
He's got Dwight Freeney's uniform # and build - he just needs to develop that inside spin move that Freeney uses because I'm pretty sure he won't be able to throw the tackle to the ground in college. Looks like a good one though - hope he has a good visit.
Don't think he's as much of a pure pass rusher, looks much more like a linebacker. Also, he has a tendency to just overpower and throw offensive linemen rather than use technique.. still like him as a prospect.
I can see how 3000 miles could really dampen the need to love one and hate the other.
They are almost similar in terms of stature as far as programs go.
I wouldn't say OSU is right in there with M and ND as far as tradition and history, but they're probably in the top 5 or so. How's a kid from California supposed to know they're also the scum of the universe?
Wasting away in Ohio, a Wolverine in a sea of red and grey
All the flaws have already been mentioned, so there is no need for me to re-hash them. But this guy is just...well...MEAN; and that is EXACTLY the kind of attitude I want to see from defensive players in the winged helmet.
Give me a player like Burks who will go out on the field with the intention of ripping someone's head off. We'll teach him proper technique once he gets here.
I love it when players bring up the winning tradition U of M has. In light of the past couple of seasons, some people act as if bringing up any sort of tradition/past success equates to sticking your head in the sand. I can't wait until we are winning again, and all the "sky is falling" types try to limp back to the bandwagon with their tails between their legs.
Thanks for posting this interview.
I live in OC California and one of the traditional H.S. football powers here is indeed Edison (Huntingon Beach). They're uniforms are a distinctive mix between the Green Bay Packers and the more local San Diego Chargers. Edison went 13-1 last fall and defeated both Mater Dei and Servite in the regular season, but lost to Servite later in the playoffs.
I couldn't agree more about this kid's nasty approach to the game. I like it. I also agree that his tackling form is horrible. Most of those arm tackles are not tackles at all in NCAA Div 1 football. Teach him how to hit, wrap, drive, and this kid could play in multiple positions on the defense. Hope he goes blue soon.
Looks good. As others have stated, he looks more like a LB or run stuffing end than a pass rushing end. Plays a little high and doesn't punish people with his follow through on a tackle. I like his handwork, looks alot like the the "hump" move Reggie White was known for. I don't know if that will translate over to college tackles but he looks like a good prospect.
I got a 23 and didn't get in. Of course I'm a 5'8 white guy that can't catch herpes at a titty bar. - Toledowolverine
I really like his explosion to the ball. He seems to go from stop to full speed in one step.
I do have a question though. Is anyone else concerned by the "no offer/lack of offer" on alot of the guys interviewed or listed in the recruiting board? I know the coaches know far more than I do about what they're looking for or who they offer. But it's just concerning when alot of these guys with Michigan interest aren't getting offered early.
It seems like he really knows where he is headed and what he wants to do with his life. He may end up changing his course but he looks as if he has a lot of promise. Good luck to him and his decisions.
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