The Orson Charles recruiting train is scheduled to make its final stop at a currently unknown destination at 3:45 PM today. (Unfortunately, recruiting trains are notoriously slow to come to a complete stop, so the arrival time is more like 3:45 PM through 4:14 PM today.) As you all know, Charles is down to three schools; since he comes across as a rather genuine kid, I don't foresee any wild choices outside of these three:
- Pros: The first "pro" that jumps out at Georgia is the faith angle. Charles is very open about his Christian beliefs, and so is Richt. In fact, Richt seems to have stepped up his public discourse of his faith over the last few days, which may or may not have anything to do with Charles (and isn't really worth getting into a fight about, either). The second "pro" is Georgia's QB recruit, Aaron Murray. Murray was Charles's teammate in high school and is a natural draw. Both claim that they're not using that as leverage to get Charles to UGA, but it can't hurt.
- Cons: It doesn't get much deeper for the pros for Charles. He can work his way into playing time, but UGA isn't hurting for a tight end at the moment, and while they aren't a bad place for tight ends to go, they don't stand out as a perennial TE factory either. He'd have a fine career there, for sure, but it probably wouldn't be a high-profile career compared to the wide receivers and the running backs.
- Pros: Tennessee has the greatest need for a tight end. With Brandon Warren moving to wide receiver and Aaron Douglas moving to offensive tackle, UT's tight end situation is basically identical to their quarterback situation - lots of upperclassmen but no freshmen or sophomores. If Cottam is healthy, he'll be in the running for playing time, but Stocker is the only other option. Both are huge guys who would normally be used as blocking TEs first, while Charles is a more natural passing option. Coming to UT would almost assuredly give him significant playing time - particularly in 2 TE sets.
- Cons: Like everybody else, he doesn't know how well the Kiffin regime will turn out at UT. Everything may look good, but at risk of a bad pun interpreted incorrectly, coming to UT does involve a leap of faith in the staff. It speaks volumes that the guy is even considering UT, but the few short months might not have been long enough to give enough peace of mind. Will that be a factor? We don't know.
- Pros: USC is probably the hottest football factory name in college right now. Even with UCLA's recent class of recruits, USC will always get top-flight recruits. Greater all-around talent leads to opportunities, and you have to admire their track record of getting kids to the NFL.
- Cons: First, the distance. USC is a long ways away from family. Distance isn't everything, as it didn't help any of the Florida schools stay on the radar (even UF, who needs a TE as badly as UT). But distance will probably matter to a degree. Second, culture. With the emphasis on faith and surroundings that Charles is placing on himself, you'd think that the L.A. scene would be less appealing to him than Athens or Knoxville. That's pure speculation, but it's a lot easier to believe that than to believe that Orange County is more of a cultural draw than the other two.
(Note: I'll be in the middle of a meeting at the time of the presser, so I doubt I'll be contributing. But please leave thoughts/observations as you have them. My first stop will be here to find out the reaction among the RTT family, so I'm counting on you.)