USA TODAY Sports
Taco Charlton is a project for the Michigan Wolverines, but the four-star defensive end has the physical skills that give Michigan fans hope the early enrollee can be a big factor for the team down the line.
Taco Charlton is already on board at Michigan, as the four-star defensive end recruit is the top defensive lineman in Michigan's highly touted recruiting class.
Charlton committed to Michigan almost a year ago, following a basketball game where Michigan students chanted his name. Although there was some worry he'd switch to Ohio State, the Buckeyes didn't offer, and thus the Pickerington, Ohio native never showed any signs of backing off his commitment. When the time came around for it, he graduated from high school early and became one of six incoming recruits to enroll early to participate in spring ball for the Wolverines.
The allure for Michigan fans is in Charlton's upside: at 6'6, 250 pounds, and with a 4.9 40, Charlton has the physical gifts that could make him a great player at defensive end. However, he's far from a complete player: he was first viewed as a basketball prospect, and is universally considered a project by scouts. Here's what Maize N Brew's Jeff Contizano had to write about the defensive end shortly after he committed to the school:
Charlton is a big athlete with great size and athleticism. He currently plays an outside linebacker role in high school, but will probably play rush end or strong side end in Michigan's defense. There has been some questions on his consistency, but at his best Charlton is undoubtedly one of the most talented pass-rushers in the Midwest. For Michigan, he shouldn't be pressed into an immediate starting role, so there should be time for him to redshirt and the coaches to tap his potential. With three defensive line coaches of the caliber Michigan has, that shouldn't be an issue.
When the site broke down the incoming defensive line class this January, not much had changed: the focus was once again on Charlton's potential rather than his immediate impact:
Taco's far from a done deal. While his upside has earned him four stars across the board, he needs to develop that talent. His highlights show poor leverage, inconsistency when exploding off the line, and poor hand use. Still, his long arms and rangy athleticism make him a prospect with tantalizing upside.
As such, Charlton isn't expected to play a big role right away: although Michigan loses defensive end Craig Roh, they still have plenty of depth there to buy their only defensive end recruit time to develop.
Ratings: Rivals, four stars (No. 10 positionally), Scout, four stars (No. 21 positionally), ESPN, four stars (No. 9 positionally, No. 116 nationally)
Vitals: 6'6, 250 pounds, 4.9 40, benches 315
Other offers: Notre Dame, Nebraska, Ole Miss
Twitter: Charlton tweets at @thekidTC33.
Recruitment timeline: Charlton committed to Michigan in February 2012 after initially drawing interest as a basketball recruit.
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