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Joseph Charleston

Safety, 2019 Commit, Early Enrollee

6’2″/ 190

Alpharetta, GA

The Kraken: Hi 4-Stars

Rivals: 4-Stars, 247: 4-Stars, ESPN: Low 4-Stars

Recruited by Mickey Conn


1/22/19 – I’m checking back in on a safety commit and early enrollee that I really liked as a junior, Joseph Charleston. This past season, whenever I was asked about our talent level at safety, I would often include the phrase “help is on the way.” When I wrote that, the first guy I would think of is Charleston. He got a glowing review from me last year and I agree with everything I wrote then, including his star rating, except for these adjustments.

First off, he is still a great fit for what Coach Venables requires at the boundary safety position (that I refer to as Weak Safety). I do think his acceleration and top end speed have gotten better as expected his senior year. It’s still hard to gauge exactly what his top end speed is because he is so under control.

If I had to compare his game to another player, it would be a guy that only folks over 40 might remember, Alvin Walton. They both prefer to play under-control but can run when they have to, are both viciously physical, and have ball skills. When he gets to the college level this spring, things are going to speed up for him and he’s going to have to read and react faster. This could be a temporary hurdle that he has to get over. We’ll see.

Fortunately, our entire 2-deep is returning at both safety spots. The staff could choose to redshirt all four of the safety newcomers by playing them in just 4 games. However, with only Nolan Turner returning in 2020, I think the staff would be better served by playing both Charleston and Ray Thornton in 2019. I think that’s what we see. It would allow them to still redshirt Zanders and Phillips.


3/16/18 – Joseph Charleston is a Safety from Georgia that all of the elite programs want. He has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and Ohio State.

His high school team plays him everywhere from close to the line to back as a single high safety.  Most of the time he plays what we call the Weak Safety position, but he will line up at DE, FS, SS, and WR as well. WS is where Van Smith and Tanner Muse played the past couple of years.

Right now, Charleston has good speed, but not the kind of great speed that Jayron Kearse and T.J. Green had for us on the back-end. His speed is by no means a liability, though, and he is excellent moving sideline to sideline. Charleston is aided by good instincts that give him excellent range. I also expect him to get faster between his junior and senior seasons in high school.

Charleston has the big frame that Venables likes at WS and has room to put on 20 more pounds. Charleston is in excellent shape (a la Isaiah Simmons) and has a very low amount of fat on his body.  He is listed at 190, but he plays bigger than that and has a very high level of strength and toughness. He has great closing speed and has a good feel for when to lower the boom and when to break down and make a sure tackle.  He takes the right angle to the ball consistently.

As a coverage guy, he is great as a C1 and C2 safety already and he is already comfortable covering the slot in man-to-man. He has advanced fundamentals for a junior and he can flip his hips and run.  Charelston’s hands are good and he high points the ball well. He routinely wins jump balls as a WR.  When he gets the ball in his hands, he runs tough and accelerates into contact.

Along with Trayvon Mullen, Charleston is probably my favorite DB recruit of the Dabo era. If he could skip his senior year and go straight to the next level like you’re allowed to do from college to the pros, I would say that he just go ahead and jump up to the college level now. He has the the physicality, fundamentals, and football IQ to skip his senior year. I have him as a High 4-Star recruit as a junior. I don’t believe he has blazing top end speed, but if he did, he would be a franchise safety recruit in the mold of a Brian Dawkins. Right now, I would compare him to DeAndre McDaniel. I could see him being groomed his freshman year and starting at WS as a sophomore.

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