• John Macon Gillespie

Carlos Charleston Thrives In Coverage

After following along with the the first Fortius Project stop at Petal, Jim Hill High School linebacker Carlos Charleston decided he would attend the next stop at MRA on April 2nd.

Charleston is interesting in competing against other athletes that can challenge him and take him to the next level. And like many of the athletes who attended the camp at Petal, it will give him a gauge of where his talent level stands and where his hard work has put him.

“For me it’s the opportunity to not only see other great players in the state, but also get a chance to compete against them,” Charleston told SES Mississippi.

Last fall was productive for Charleston, in fact, he racked up 61 solo tackles. The thing about the ball-hawking middle linebacker is that he always seems to find himself in the right position. What is unique about his game is that he thrives in coverage, where most linebackers on the high school level struggle.

The same skills that helped him lead the Tiger defense last season will be on full display when he arrives at the Fortius Project.

“The best part of my game is I recognize many things before the ball is snapped,” He said. “Another part is my covering skills, especially when I have to play man defense.”

Not only will his ability to cover shine amongst the linebacker group, but it could shine amongst the entire group of defenders that will be on hand. While he has a great feel for what it takes to be successful in man-to-man coverage, as he mentioned, he admits he is still working on mastering playing zone coverage.

“It starts in the offseason when I can work on my speed so I can get dropped in zone faster. In man I have to use my head when playing. I pay attention to what type of routes are the running back or receiver’s favorites. Also if they are are fast or just big,” Charleston explained.

In turn, however, Charleston is especially looking to working on the areas of his game that need it when he comes to Fortius. He mentioned his speed, but he has his sights set on another area, as well, including breaking harmful habits. Actually, that work has already begun.

“The first thing is my speed and getting stronger,” He said. “One area I definitely need to get better is sometimes I hesitate. That’s something I’m working hard on.”

The atmosphere that he will be in at Fortius could be a perfect match. Charleston thrives on and is driven by competition. In fact, chirping back and forth with his opposition keeps him more locked in and provides a boost for his game. Though, he is also driven by those who have helped him reach the level he is currently.

“I’m a little bit cockey but that’s what keeps me going. Sometimes I’ll get to talking noise and it helps me when I’m in the game,” Charleston said. “What drives me is my competitiveness. And the love for the game as I’ve been playing for a long time. Also my family as they help with many things dealing with football.”

Last season was a long one for Charleston and his teammates, but he is using that to push him even harder. He knows that he has to step up and take on a new role to reach his goal.

“Last season was tough with us going 0-12. It was hard for me mentally when I knew we could have won some of those games,” He said. “But next season I’m going to have to step up as a leader and try to get a winning mentality into everyone else. I hope to win the 6A title. That’s a huge goal for me.”

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