Introducing: Taco Charlton

Submitted by Ace on September 7th, 2011 at 1:01 PM

Pickerington (OH) Central DE Vidauntae "Taco" Charlton is a member of both the ESPNU 150 Watch List and the Early Top 247 for the class of 2013. The 6'6", 240-pound junior tallied over 40 tackles with 7 tackles for loss, 7 pass breakups, and 2 forced fumbles as a sophomore last year in just his second season playing defensive end. On top of early offers from Cincinnati, Purdue, Syracuse, and UCLA, Charlton has drawn interest from Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, LSU, Iowa, Wisconsin, and several other schools as his recruitment gains some serious steam.

Taco will be one of several recruits at the Notre Dame game this weekend for an unofficial visit, and he took the time to answer a few questions about his recruitment, Michigan, and, yes, his name.

ACE: I know it's early on in the process, but which schools have been in contact with you so far? Do you have an early list of favorites?

TACO: Well I have offers from Cincinnati, UCLA, Purdue, and Syracuse. I've talked to all the Big Ten schools, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Virginia, N.C. State, and more. [My] early favorites would be the teams that offered me already because they showed me a lot of love.

ACE: What's your interest level in Michigan, and who from the coaching staff has been in contact with you? What will you be looking for when you visit this weekend?

TACO: I like Michigan a lot, it's somewhere close to home and the people there love their football and that is one thing that attracts me. The coach I've talked to is Coach Singletary. This weekend I'm just looking forward to enjoying the good game, seeing how crazy the crowd is, and geting to meet some of the coaches.

ACE: Have you been in contact with other recruits who will be at the Notre Dame game? If so, who?

TACO: Nope, I haven't really talked to anyone that I know that will be at the game recruit-wise but I'll probably meet some of them while I'm there.

ACE: For people who are unfamiliar with you, describe your game. What position do you think you'd fit at best in college, and what are you working on to improve as your recruitment picks up?

TACO: Well to round it up I'm a real big guy that's athletic and can move. I am still learning the position, I've only played it for two years. Most people say I am a great pass rusher but I believe I can stop the run also. In college I will most likely be a DE and I am just working on just dominating and taking over a game with my play.

ACE: I apologize in advance for asking the question that I'm sure you get from everyone, but I think the MGoBlog readers will revolt if I don't: How did you get the name Taco?

TACO: Yeah I get that a lot. It actually came from my grandma. My mom was having me real early so my grandma used to always send cards to the hospital [saying] don't let the baby come down south and sign it Taco. So once I was born my nickname became Taco and it stuck.

Thanks to Taco for taking the time to do this interview; he's definitely a player to keep an eye on for a potential offer, perhaps in the near future, as it looks like he'll be one of the top players in Ohio in the class of '13 -- Duane Long listed him as the #3 rising junior in the state back in April. He's looked at as a raw player (again, he's only played DE for two years) with a ton of athletic upside, he impressed over the summer at Ohio State's junior camp ($, info in header), and he should be a very hot commodity as the recruiting process wears on.



September 7th, 2011 at 1:11 PM ^

Yeah, to be honest I'm still a little unclear myself. As far as I can tell, it's an off-the-wall quote by his grandma about him not being born too soon that ended up turning into a nickname. In the end, I know his name is Taco, and that's pretty awesome. Respect from one person with a life-long nickname to another.


September 7th, 2011 at 1:26 PM ^

I take him to mean that his grandma would sign the notes "Taco" rather than her own name. I can imagine how a ridiculous name that somebody's grandma is using whenever she communicates about a person getting transferred to that person. But why was she using Taco to begin with? That would've been a great follow up to ask, IMHO. A sort of Diane Rehm-style "but you haven't answered the question" thing. Also would've been a great opportunity for him to say something hilarious, like, "Uh, well, Grandma's always stoned." (This is what I have to assume is the real explanation until I get better information.)


September 7th, 2011 at 1:44 PM ^

It was an email interview that came in last night, so follow-up questions were a little tough to do on the fly. If I get to chat with him in person, however, I'll make sure to get some clarification. This is the kind of stuff the public needs to know, obviously.


September 8th, 2011 at 3:42 PM ^

Sam Webb got a much clearer answer in his interview with Charlton ($):

"I was about to be born premature and my grandmother sent my mom letters saying, ‘don’t let him come down south.’ She used to always sign her letters taco because Taco Bell was really becoming popular.  So when I came out, the nickname that they gave me was Taco and I’ve had it ever since."

Mystery solved? Mystery solved.


September 7th, 2011 at 1:27 PM ^

My issue is if he moves inside, he will need to add a ton of weight and at that height he would be like BWC in the sense that leverage becomes of utmost importance. No matter how big you are leverage is key to winning the man on man battle (sounds kinda dirty), but with being 6'6", that could be very hard to do. I agree with you Ace, I would like to see what he is able to do at DE for a few more years before moving him inside.


September 7th, 2011 at 1:22 PM ^

I think, insofar as there is any advertising in the concourse outside the stadium, it should result in things like this. Y'know, we could say to Taco Bell, hey, we've got a kid named Taco in a prominent media spotlight, you can advertise in the concourse in exchange for free tacos for the students in addition to some advertising dollars.

In the same vein, I emailed Dave Brandon about the Arby's advertising on the hockey jerseys. I didn't want to complain--I just wanted the advertising relationships forged by the University to reflect relationships with corporations that somehow benefited students. But there isn't an Arby's anywhere on campus. It'd be a lot better if we had relationships with companies with a campus presence, and even better than that if we had relationships with companies with a campus presence who, as part of their advertising deals, gave benefits to students.


September 7th, 2011 at 1:46 PM ^

I think he was mostly a basketball player before starting to focus on football, which makes sense at his height -- he was a freshman letterman but I don't think he's played hoops since then. He also has played outside linebacker and is now getting some time at tight end, but I'm not certain how much he played prior to high school.


September 7th, 2011 at 3:02 PM ^

It seems weird to say that he's inexperienced because he's a high school junior who's "only" been playing the position for two years.  Has he only been playing *football* for two years?  Or perhaps he was only an offensive player before then?  If he was a LB before that I don't see how that makes him inexperienced; Brandon Graham was a LB until he got to Michigan.



September 7th, 2011 at 11:29 PM ^

I agree, I didn't quite understand why that's significant. 

He's been playing DE for only two years, i.e. for his entire high school career so far?  I would imagine that's not out of the ordinary for a huge number of kids, that they "only" start playing a certain position once they get to high school. 

Even if he just started playing football in high school, that also doesn't seem that unusual, or that big of a drawback.  Are you missing THAT MUCH from 7th grade football that you get labeled "raw" because of it?