The more he listened to Nittany Lion head coach James Franklin and his staff, though, he kept hearing more and more things he liked. Pairing those with what he saw — facilities, education and a starting quarterback with a rifle for an arm — was easy, too.
Saturday morning, Charles became the third wide receiver to join the Lions’ Class of 2015. Once he did, an explosion erupted inside Lasch Building.
“Everybody is just so loving and a big family, and everybody is together about everything,” Charles said. “That’s one of the main things. When I committed, [Franklin] announced it and everyone went crazy. That was great and I wouldn’t get that anywhere but here.”
More than 15 programs vied for the opportunity to use the 6-foot-4, 217-pass catcher in their scheme, but the receiver said the Nittany Lions always sat near the top of his gigantic offers list.
Charles said the head coach told him what he was hoping he would, and in some cases, had an answer better than what the senior was expecting.
“I just came here with an open mind and I just wanted to get to know Coach Franklin,” he said. “I’ve heard so much about him that I just wanted to meet the rest of the coaching staff. That’s why I jumped the gun and committed to Penn State.
“I already know what Penn State is about, because I’ve been up here repeatedly, so Penn State has always been a school that’s number one and been sitting pretty high. It’s really a big family up here, which is another reason why I had to pull the trigger today.”
”Penn State has always been a school that’s number one and been sitting pretty high. It’s really a big family up here.”
Of course, so was receivers coach Josh Gattis. The first-year Nittany Lion assistant turned into part coach and part role model during the three-star’s recruiting process. The two met through football, but grew their relationship far beyond it because they talked about more than just football.
“We talk about my grades, and helping me to get on track with my grades and stuff like that,” Charles said.
“That’s another reason I feel like I can accomplish everything. And to come out here and spend hours with him — he’s a real great guy — and I feel like I can enjoy myself with him over the next four years.”
Penn State did not sugarcoat its situation, Charles said, adding he heard that he has the opportunity to come in to compete while also learning more about the university’s academics, alumni and fan base.
“Basically, every coach tells you what you want to hear. But [Franklin]’s one of the coaches that tells you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear,” Charles said. “He told me honestly, I’m not going to promise you anything, you’re going to compete because. It’s not the fact of favoritism or none of that, it’s about being able to come in and compete for a spot.
“I took all of that into consideration, and that’s another great reason I picked Penn State.”
The recruiting process ending often marks a major relief for a college recruit, and Charles is no different. He’s hoping for a successful senior season before arriving at Penn State.
He’ll play a similar role at Haddonfield, N.J., Paul VI as he expected to play at Penn State. That’s one more reason he’s excited.
“They want me as a big wide receiver on the outside because I have the speed and the agility to work into the offense and what they’re trying to do in the next couple of years,” Charles said. “I’m just trying to get the best of the best [to close the Class of 2015] because I know what we can do, what we’re capable of, so it’s just getting the necessary tools and guys out here to show the world that.”