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January 17, 2005

Graham thrives on old-school work ethic

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video Charlie Graham scouting video

Madison County football coach Frankie Carroll said his star tight end Charlie Graham has the type of old school mentality that Florida State fans should embrace.

"He is the type of kid I think FSU built their program on," Carroll said. "They didn't always have the big-name kids who made the plays. They had guys like Charlie who didn't always have the hype but could always make the plays."

That's why Carroll said he thought Graham's decision to verbally commit to the Seminoles is a perfect fit.

"He'll do whatever it takes to win a game," Carroll said.

Both Carroll and Graham know a thing or two about winning.

Madison County, which sits roughly 50 or so miles east of Tallahassee, has pieced together a 34-3-1 record over the last three seasons. The Cowboys have finished as state runners-up in Class 2A in two of the last three years and have lost to the eventual state champion in all three seasons - Carroll's first three as the Madison coach.

"He's done whatever we asked him to do," Carroll said. "His sophomore year, we asked him to play tackle and he did a great job. Last year, we played him at tight end and he did a great job. This year, we put him in the backfield some. We threw to him some. We put him in motion. We ran him some. We had him blocking. He did whatever we asked and he helped us win some big games."

Carroll said Graham's long-time dream was to help Florida State win games, too.

According to Carroll, FSU coaches began focusing more and more on Graham after he played well against Tallahassee power Lincoln High in the regular season.

Before that game, Carroll said Graham seemed intent on signing with South Florida where former FSU assistant coach Wally Burnham had been recruiting him.

"I think he's always dreamed of going to Florida State," Carroll said. "I don't know if he thought he had a shot to go or not. I don't think he was really on the charts until late when we got them some film on him.

"Charlie played really well at Lincoln and that helped out a little bit. He graded out at 90 percent that game on his blocking and caught a couple of passes. I think that game kind of turned FSU on to him."

More than anything, Carroll said his tight end brings the off-field character that will add even more positives to the FSU program.

"The things he does that aren't necessarily on the field are what's most important to me," Carroll said. "He shows leadership in the weight room. He shows leadership in the community. He's always helping people. He wasn't born a natural athlete, but he's worked his tail off to get where he is.

"We have a mentoring program where our players go out to the other schools and Charlie's got one little kid that he constantly mentors. He talks to him all the time and takes him out and plays on the playground with him. He's the kind of guy you want in your program."

Graham has not yet taken his official visit to Florida State. He is not expected to take visits to any other schools.

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