Orson Charles: Using the Draft to Help His FamilyFollow @NFLDraftShow
Orson Charles grew up without a father figure in his life. On top of going to school and playing football, he worked to take care of his family, sharing his paychecks with his mother so she could pay bills and get groceries.
Charles had to be the man of the house, he said, also taking care of his brother.
Now, as a 21-year-old pursuing professional football, he is still facing the same setbacks.
"Right now, I have no way of paying bills," the 6-foot-3, 252-pound University of Georgia product said. "I have no way of helping my mom."
This coming April in the NFL Draft, Charles should hear his name called early, perhaps in the first round on April 28. He sits as the top tight end on many boards.
In three years at Georgia, Charles grew from a four-star recruit as a receiver to one of the nation’s top tight ends. After his junior season, he declared for this April’s draft, leaving behind a Georgia team that could start next season ranked in the top ten.
“It wasn’t an easy decision by far,” Charles said. “I knew what we had at stake next year. It definitely wasn’t an easy decision.”
After Georgia’s loss in the Outback Bowl, Charles talked with his family, coaches, friends and mentors about his future. He spoke to the likes of former NFL coach Tony Dungy and former NFL tight end Ben Watson.
Watson joined Charles at the NFL Combine and at his Pro Day. His advice for him was simple: “Just relax.” Charles’ reason for looking up to Watson is telling about what kind of person he is.
“I look up to Ben because he’s a good, spiritual family guy,” Charles said.
Charles is on the road to being a similar type of person. He had to take care of his family growing up, and he leaned on God. He thanks God for everything from getting through the tough times to giving him athletic ability and opportunities he has today.
A big opportunity Charles has in the coming months is not only to play professional football but also to continue to help others.
With his first NFL paycheck Charles plans to pay off all of his mother’s debts and give back to his community.
“I’m definitely going to pay my ties to my church with ten percent of my check and pay my mom’s debt off,” Charles said. With everything else, he will be smart and “put everything in the bank and just focus on playing football and being a better player.”
It’s not guaranteed that Charles will make millions. As a late first or second round draft pick, he will surely have to earn his money. But there is no doubt in his mind that he will put in the work where ever he ends up.
"I'm pretty sure the quarterback will get tired of me," Charles said, referring to whoever will be under center for his future NFL team. "I'm going to be in his ear 24/7. I'm going to have his phone number on speed dial. I might call him in the middle of the night."
But it’s not all about being a better player for Charles. He knows that being a better player will help him become a better person. He has plans to reach out to the community in which he’s drafted into.
Charles even has a message for the kids, especially those who will grow up without a father as he did.
“Be a leader," he advised. "People are going to follow you if you’re doing the right thing.”
Charles appears to be the type of high character and talented player combination NFL teams should fall in love with.
The NFL is not just about playing games though, it’s a business and Charles understands that because he treats it as such.
“My whole motto right now is I just want a job,” he said. After growing through hardships, money is valuable so that he can help those around him.
After the Draft, he should have what he wishes for: a job. But success won’t come right away and he knows life won’t just become easy. He knows to keep working.
“Every day I feel like I have something to prove to somebody,” he said.
Patrick Woo is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and is a ComRadio Sports Director. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Slightly below average height for traditional tight end but excellent top-end speed for size, despite 4.75-second official 40-yard dash time at Pro Day. Plays much faster on tape and provides mismatches in passing game. Great pass catcher with good hands and snatching ability. Can make the big play. Not afraid to go over middle, tough runner with the ball. Bench pressed 35 reps of 225 lbs at Combine, but struggled with upper body strength in the blocking game. May have improved since junior season. Did not pick up blitzes well but athletic enough to pick up blocks in space. Not a complete tight end without improved blocking but excellent in passing game. Could be an Aaron Hernandez-type H-Back and receiver. Consideration may come from Denver Broncos and New York Giants in the first round.
NFL Comparison: Aaron Hernandez / TE / New England
About the Contributors
Senior / Journalism
Patrick Woo is a senior from Crumpton, Maryland enrolled in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.
He is a Sports Director for ComRadio, reporter for the Centre County Report and manager for the Penn State women’s lacrosse team. He has interned with Bill King on Sirius/XM College Sports Nation and the Reese’s Senior Bowl and covered SEC, Big Ten and MAC Media Days, the NFL Draft and Super Bowl XLVIII among many other things at Penn State.
His biggest passions are college football and helping others by making a positive impact.
You can visit Patrick’s personal website at http://www.patrickwoo.com and follow him on Twitter @P_Woo.