April 18, 2012
Charlton, Team 134 building early chemistry
For Pickering (Ohio) Central defensive end Taco Charlton, and the rest of the 2013 prospects that have already bought into Brady Hoke and company, Michigan's 2012 spring game provided an important opportunity to build a bond with Team 134 more than a year before they first step onto the field as a collective unit.
"It was really a good time," said the four-star prospect. "It was important to get down there with the guys, and it is always good hanging out with familiar people. I knew a lot of the recruits and it was good seeing them, especially spending time with guys that have already committed. It's nice getting the chance to have fun and joke around with them.
"I liked being with Team 134 on the sideline, and got a chance to talk to the coaches. The whole family atmosphere was great."
Walking onto campus equipped with a strong familiarity with his peers should help the transition to the next level for the 6-6, 240-pound two-sport prep star.
"It is really important to build relationships with my future teammates," he said. "We already have chemistry and it won't take any time to build that. We will be together from day one.
"We will already fit together as a team and be ready to play."
In 2011, U-M's coaching staff displayed the willingness to put the best players on the field regardless of class. With that in mind, this weekend also offered the projected weakside defensive end a first-hand look at some of the players he will be battling against for playing time early in his collegiate career and a feel for his role in defensive coordinator Greg Mattison's scheme.
"One of my favorite parts of the weekend was seeing Team 133 on the field and getting a chance to talk to the coaches," he said. "I definitely see them working hard on the defensive side of the ball.
"They are still improving along the defensive line and it will help with all of the recruits we have coming in. The defensive line should fill out.
"The offense looked good, too. I think they are going to be really good. Michigan is going to be a tough team to beat this season."
Even though remaining spots are scarce in this year's class, there were still several potential 2013 targets in attendance - a fact not lost on Charlton and his future brethren.
"We always try to get to know them better, figure out how they are doing and what they are thinking about Michigan," he said. "We stayed on them and told them that we want them to be a part of this team. We want them to know that we are hoping they make that decision."
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