National Signing Day for high school football players is a little more than a week away. Beginning Feb. 3, the NCAA permits players to sign binding letters of intent to accept scholarships from its member schools. That day often represents the end of an arduous process for players and their families.
Leading up to signing day, The Augusta Chronicle will speak with a prospect from four area counties.
North Augusta senior offensive lineman Charles Coleman is one of five Yellow Jackets who plan to sign with a Division-I FCS school. Earlier this week, Coleman discussed his pledge to join The Citadel for the third part of our series.
Q: You're one of five seniors at North Augusta this year who will play Division-I football in some capacity. Did you grow up with most of these kids, and did you ever think this kind of thing possible?
A: We've talked about it since when we were kids. I went to Belvedere Elementary with (receiver) Matt Hazel. We played football on the playground in recess, and we talked about going to play in college. ... I don't think we ever thought it was going to happen, though. It's a pretty cool thing, because we all played rec ball together since we were kids. We just had a mentality to work hard.
Q: The Citadel is a military institution, and -- perhaps this is a myth -- military schools don't appeal to a lot of 17-, 18-year-old kids. Why did it appeal to you?
A: The military thing -- I feel like it helps bring out a leadership role in you and just teaches you more of how to be a man: be on time, pay attention to details, stuff like that. I don't feel like I'm bad at those things, but I can get better. It's going to be a big change, but I know I can tough it out. ... The coaching staff also makes me feel like I'm at North Augusta. (Citadel) Coach (Kevin) Higgins likes to joke around a lot and reminds me of coach (Dan) Pippin.
Q: The Citadel is in Charleston, S.C., a splendid city. How well did the school play up Charleston during your visit? What did you do there?
A: We toured the school first and then they took us all on a tour of the city. It was all old to me, though. My auntie lives in Charleston, and I've seen a lot of Charleston. ... I was visiting with (teammate) L.J. (Perry), and they took us to study hall, the place where everyone does their homework and can get help if they need it.
It must be working, because like everyone on the team has a 3.0 (GPAs).
Q: Despite the efforts of a recent blockbuster movie, The Blind Side , an offensive lineman is rarely noticed during a football game. How did you make yourself noticeable enough to schools that they would offer you a scholarship?
A: My athletic ability helped me a lot. Coaches always told me I have really good feet for someone my size (6-foot-3, 240). I can move around on the line and get to where I'm going real fast. That (surprises) the dude in front of me, that I'm faster than him. Good feet -- that's basically all it is on the line. If you have bad feet, you'll end up losing the battle every time.
Q: You recently shaved your head, slicing away some pretty long braids in preparation for The Citadel? What other lifestyle changes do you expect?
A: I'm not going to be able to go out as much as I'm used to. I'm going to have to knuckle down a little more on the books. ... Basically, I'll be spending a lot of time in my room my first year. It's not usually like that at my house. I'm always hanging out with friends, going to movies, chilling at the mall, stuff like that. I've thought about all this, but I know it's just a sacrifice I have to make.
AREA COMMITMENTS- NATIONAL SIGNING DAY IS FEB. 3
|DB, Cam Alston||North Augusta||6-0/180||Presbyterian|
|ATH, B.J. Bostic*||Jefferson County||5-11/170||Georgia Tech|
|OL, Charles Coleman||North Augusta||6-3/240||The Citadel|
|WR, Matt Hazel||North Augusta||6-2/185||Coastal Carolina|
|LB, Montel Hughes||North Augusta||6-0/190||Presbyterian|
|LB, L.J. Perry||North Augusta||5-10/195||The Citadel|
|WR, Gary Robinson||Hephzibah||6-0/180||Furman|
|DB, Khadi Tshishiku||Lakeside||6-0/190||Harvard|
*Is already enrolled in college this semester
To report a commitment, call (706) 823-3425 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.