Friday, September 14, 2012
Catching Up With Taco Charlton
Future Big Ten running backs and quarterbacks wont be too excited to see this guy on the Saturday menu. At 6-6 and 250, Taco Charlton is already a physical specimen. He has not had the benefit of a college weight room or the coaching from arguably the best DLine staff in the country. When it comes to his capabilities, the sky is the limit. Charlton is an exceptional 2 sport athlete, also excelling in basketball. I got to talk to the Michigan commit Tuesday night shortly after his Pickerington Central Soccer team beat cross-town rivals Pickerington North. In what Charlton says will be the beginning of a trend between both schools that will extend over other sports, most importantly football:
HMM- How was that game tonight?
Taco-It went great! It was good you know, we won. It's a big rivalry game everybody was there. Our boys did good. That's how it is for our games with them, every one comes out, it's a big deal.
HMM-Are you and Big Jake (Jake Butt from Pinckerington North) good friends?
Taco-Oh yeah, I've known him for years, we've been going against each other for a while in High School, and now we get to go up against each other another four years.
HMM-Taco, tell me about your awesome name; down here in Texas, a taco is a delicious food choice, how did you, a menacing monster defensive end get it?
Taco-My real name isn't Taco <laughs> my grandma gave me that name before I was even born.. my real name is Vidauntae'.. a lot of people can't say my real name, it's kind of hard to say. A lot of people mess it up all the time.. so she called me Taco its easy to say and its catchy and really easy to remember <laughs> so thats what I've stuck with and thats what I go by.
HMM-Being from right outside of Columbus, there has been some great games played right up the road. Who was your favorite college player growing up?
Taco-You know that's the weird part, I really didn't care about college FB growing up. I was more of a basketball player growing up.
HMM-College? Or NBA? What did you follow?
Taco-Oh, I think more the NBA, but some college too. It was all basketball for me until I got to High School.
HMM-Really? That to me is pretty crazy..<he laughs>.. Are you thinking of getting out there with the Hardaway's and the Glenn Robinson's that are going to be doing their thing up at Michigan?
Taco-HAHA I wish! but nah, my game is now more geared to Football...but I will always have love for the game.
HMM- You wear #33 that's a strange number for a monster DE like you?
Taco-Coming in I wore 87, but I wanted to get something lower and I was thinking #7 but one of our best players got #7..my favorite number is 3 so I went to Coach and was talking to him..he suggested #33 and I fell in love with it, and made it my own..it's me now.
HMM-Do you want to wear #33 at Michigan?
Taco-I hope so, but whatever number they give me I will make my own and hopefully I get 33 and rock it but I will make a name for whatever number they give me.
HMM-Ok, so being that Ohio has just so much football history, do you have a favorite NFL team?
Taco- I really don't have a team. I grew up a Cowboys fan because my Dad was one, but I don't really have a favorite. There wasn't much after that.
HMM-What did you think of the opening game with the Giants?
Taco-Oh man, that was a great defensive game. I was really watching as far as the defensive line goes. I mean you had a lot of great players going at it. Demarcus Ware was doing his thing with the Cowboys and the Giants, man, all of the defensive line is strong, they're stacked. Totally. It was a good one.
HMM-I see a lot of Demarcus Ware down here trust me.. you remind me of young DWare, how does that comparison sit with you?
Taco-Yeah, we're both big guys, you know. I look at guys like DWare, but more like a Julius Peppers too. Big guys, that type that are fast up the line, strong and pure. They are both great players, but I am really trying to do my own thing. Make my own name and start my own comparisons <laughs>
HMM-Who are you tightest with among the other commits?
Taco-Me and Dawson (David Dawson) talk a lot you know we hung out at The Opening. Me and Shane talk a lot, he was one of the guys that helped get me to Michigan. He was the guy that forced the hand when I was down there. I talk to Jake too. You know every body really. I am pretty laid back with that. I'm doing my thing though. I will try if I think it helps.
HMM-Are you a big Michigan recruiter like Shane Morris?
Taco-I talk to everyone, I stay laid back usually. I talk to Derrick Green, you know when I saw that game on ESPN and I texted him joking around with him or whatever. He was doing his thing scoring touchdown's, he's cool.
HMM- Tell me about your recruitment, how did it start? You know there are hundreds of thousands of Michigan fans that wished they just got a letter...do you remember your first letter?
Taco-Oh man, I was getting letters from everywhere, at first the Michigan coaches came down my Sophomore year, but I was still really feeling OSU. When I first got up to Michigan my junior year, the fans really shocked me, I loved the way they were into it. They had a "we want Taco!" chant going. I took advantage of the whole experience. I loved it really.
HMM-When was your first time at the Big House?
Taco-The Notre Dame night game..last year. That was my first time. It was crazy, the craziest game ever. I was in the seats, not on the sideline. It was a packed house. Unofficial, just a visit to see how it was and it was crazy.
HMM-That's a great first game to see there! Amazing huh?
Taco-It really, really was.
HMM-When did you know you were going to Michigan? In your mind, when did you know it was a lock?
Taco-I didn't know at first, I mean Michigan was always my leader. I knew I wanted to take some visits and enjoy my time a little bit. I wasn't going to commit until I took some visits. But when I got down there.. you know, I don't know, I guess I knew that was always the place for me. But when I got down there for that Ohio St/Michigan basketball game, I just made my commitment and made my decision then. I just felt it was the right thing to do.
HMM-Was that your only visit to Michigan and did you take any other visits?
Taco-It was my only one. I went on a few visits here and there, I went to Notre Dame, I went to Cincinnati. I went to Ohio St a couple times..but that's really all I did.
HMM-I've seen some interviews where you mention your relationship with Coach Mattison..tell me about that?
Taco- Coach "Matti" is a great coach. I love him. He is a HUGE reason I am going to Michigan. You have to love that he was at the NFL level and has all that experience. He knows what it takes to get me there. Also, he is a big family man. I admire that about him. I love him and his wife, Mrs. Mattison. She is really an amazing woman. He is just a good person and I really like him.
HMM-Being so close to Columbus and "the school" there, you had to grow up a Buckeye fan right?
Taco-Oh yeah, most definitely a HUGE Buckeye fan, my whole family.. Buckeye fans..Grandma, Grandpa .I have family in California that are Buckeye fans..Mom, Dad I have family all over the country that are Buckeye fans..I have a lot of friends that went and go to OSU..I always rooted for the Buckeyes..but when it came to my recruitment it was about what was best for me and Michigan was that and is that.
HMM-What was it though, if you could put your finger on one thing? I mean, help me understand the mindset; you are the local kid, that could be the next "Lawrence Taylor type" of Columbus. How do you go to the hated Wolverines?
Taco-<laughs> Being an Ohio St fan, I would always be in a bad mood when Michigan would beat OSU or whatever. I really would hate it..then all the hype when they started beating Michigan again..now don't get me wrong, I knew coming in that I would get a lot of bad comments from the Buckeye fans, you know, hating or whatever just because I am going to Michigan. I knew they would come in and try and criticize. It all comes with the territory, but I'm not too worried about it. I don't mind it too much.
HMM-You know there seems to be a tiny trend of Michigan making Heisman trophy winners out of Ohio guys...
Taco-<laughs> Yeah, that's a big thing to us, you look at the Ohio guys, a lot of them are heading north these days. If Ohio guys don't have the love for or get love from the Buckeyes, then a lot of these guys think and feel they have something to prove and head north and outperform you know what I mean? They over-achieve.. Thats what a lot of Ohio guys are doing, thats what I am going to do...I'm going to show you, I just cant wait!
HMM Why no offer from them? Does that motivate you or will it motivate you?
Taco-I don't know, it does motivate me, but I'm the type that is going to go out and get it no matter what. It doesn't have to be because of them.
HMM-Does it go without saying that you are going to be jacked for that game? <laughs>
Taco-OH YEAH! I mean its going to be crazy! Especially when I get to come back home and play my Sophomore year. It will be so crazy!
HMM-What's your opinion of the Urban Meyer hire?
Taco-I have a ton of respect for Coach Meyer. He's a great Coach. He's an offensive brain. "The Rivalry" is back now basically, ya know? It's going to be a lot of fun for years to come. I'm glad I'm going to make an impact in "The Rivalry".
HMM-I see you starting to play some TE this year...what brought that about?
Taco-You know, I will do whatever I have to do to help my team win. I told Coach, whatever it takes I will do it. He has put me in the position and I have had some success so far.
HMM-Are you interested in playing tight end at Michigan? Is that a possibility, or you straight D all the way?
Taco-I honestly would do whatever the coaches want. If they think I can come in and make an impact early at tight end then I would do it. I want to help this team though. They are young. I want to help them. After seeing that Alabama game, I really am motivated to help this team get to where we should be. But yeah, I am defensive minded.
HMM-PS3 or Xbox?
Taco- All the sports games, you know, I play 2k I even play a little FIFA..I'm always on the sports games and even some Modern Warfare. I play a little Madden but mostly NCAA and stuff.
HMM- You are stuck on an island with a tv and dvd player and you get one movie. What is it?
Taco-I'm going with "He got game" with Ray Allen, since I love basketball it would have to be "He got game". I still watch that to this day.. a lot.
HMM-Favorite TV Show?
Taco-I watch a lot of ESPN, but I like Family Guy. <laughs>
Taco-My dream car is a Bugatti, but that's a lot of money, If I have enough money some day I will get one...
Taco-Hawaii or somewhere overseas somewhere.
HMM-Who's with you on that vacation? Coach Mattison? <we both laugh>
Taco-Nahhh <laughs> I would take one of my boys...lol..one of my boys from home that I kick it with...<still laughing from the Mattison joke>
HMM-How do you get up for a game?
Taco-I always take a shower..get loose, listen to music going to the stadium..I don't like to get my stuff on to early..I always listen to music..when its time to get ready, I make sure I have a lot of Icy-Hot on, make sure my muscles are loose so I am ready...always get ready..and I always pray, that's the ONE thing I have to do..Always pray.
HMM-What's on your iPod before a game?
Taco- Meek Mill, a little bit of Kanye you know..
HMM-What can Michigan fans look forward to when they see Taco "Touch the Banner"?
Taco-Easy..Domination.. I want to dominate. I am going there to dominate and that's what I am going to do..help this team to win some games and win a B1G Title and a National Championship..were fixing to dominate. Watch.
HMM-Tell me one thing most people don't know about you?
Taco-Hmmm...you know, one thing most people don't know about me is that I didn't really like football growing up. I played just to play, but that was mostly because my dad wanted me to. I wanted to play basketball in college growing up. It's REALLY CRAZY how the situation changes like that!
HMM-Taco I really appreciate the time, Wolverine Nation is fired up to see you play.
Taco-I appreciate you, it was fun, I enjoyed it. I can't wait to get up there and contribute. I love it already, and I am excited to go.
HMM-I will keep in touch through out the season, good luck to your Sr. Season.
Taco-Thank you and yeah keep up with me, that's cool!
What a great kid. His situation can't be described with anything less than "crazy". He is a homegrown Buckeye, that we stole. It is crazy to imagine "that school" lets a talent like that walk. It is a testament to Coach Hoke and his staff winning that battle and extending the fences. Honestly, there probably wasn't any "lets" to it.
Taco you are right, It is crazy.
It's crazy how his situation changed all the way around. From your love of basketball to your found talent of chasing and harassing backfields to your own choice in going to Michigan.
Its unique. Just like your name.
Credit for this interview goes to our newest writer: Joel Wiscombe