Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is a fan of getting athletes who are used to playing on offense to play in the secondary in his defense. Both of UT’s projected starting cornerbacks for the 2020 season — Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson — played on offense in high school, and both have developed into solid defensive backs under Pruitt.
Another do-it-all athlete is currently on Tennessee’s radar in the 2021 class, and he just included the Vols in his list of top teams on Monday.
Christian Charles is a 6-foot-1, 180-pound athlete who plays for Chestatee High School in Gainesville, Georgia. On Monday, he tweeted out a graphic listing his top five schools, and Tennessee made the cut along with Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, and Arkansas State.
— ?Christian Charles ³ ? (@CD___Charles3) July 13, 2020
Right now, Charles is not rated by 247Sports, but he’s seen his offer list grow substantially despite the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Tennessee extended an offer to Charles back on April 23rd of this year, just a couple days after he picked up his first Power Five offer from Washington State. Since UT’s offer, Charles has added offers from Vanderbilt, Indiana, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, and Oklahoma among others. He also holds offers from Army, Navy, and Air Force among many other Group of Five programs.
Charles has had a lot of contact with Tennessee ever since picking up an offer from the Vols, hearing from Pruitt and defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley regularly. In an interview with Matt Ray of VR2, Charles said UT’s coaches have told him he has an “elite skill-set” as an athlete.
“I talk to Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt and Coach (Derrick) Ansley all the time,” Charles told Ray. “They tell me that I have a pretty elite skill-set with what I bring to the table.”
Though Charles is used as a quarterback and all-purpose offensive player at Chestatee, Tennessee is recruiting him as a defensive back, and that’s likely where he’ll end up in college no matter where he goes.
Charles has superb athletic traits and is a threat to score every time he has the ball in his hands. And at Chestatee, he has the ball in his possession very, very often, playing in all three phases of the game. He has a really good frame and shows off a lot of quickness with his acceleration.
As a junior last season, Charles completed 170 of his 296 pass attempts for 2,092 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions while running for 921 yards and 10 touchdowns on 169 carries according to MaxPreps. He also totaled seven tackles, a tackle for loss, an interception, and a pass defended on defense.
In three years at Chestatee, Charles has amassed 4,297 passing yards and 2,695 rushing yards, totaling 55 touchdowns on offense.
According to Charles’ interview with VR2, he’s shooting to make a college commitment before the start of his senior season, “probably early August or late July.”
Tennessee currently holds commitments from 23 prospects in their 2021 class, a class that ranks fourth nationally and No. 1 in the SEC on 247Sports.