ATHENS - Orson Charles, as expected, is passing on his final year at Georgia and declaring for the NFL draft. He will enter the draft process among the top tier of draft-eligible tight ends.
Here are some comments from Charles on a Wednesday afternoon teleconference arranged by Georgia:
- On how tough a decision it was to turn pro:
“To tell you the truth it wasn’t really difficult at all. It really was a blessing to be in this situation. I thank God for allowing me to be in this situation because either way I wouldn’t be wrong if I came back or entered the draft. But the one reason I felt like I entered the draft is I just felt like I met the majority of my goals. I felt like I’ve grown spiritually … I felt like I’ve grown as a player, I just felt like as my situation and I continued to pray about it, I felt like I was ready to enter the draft.”
Charles said he spoke almost every day with former NFL head coach Tony Dungy, and they had a meeting at one point. He also consulted with Ben Watson, Randy McMichael, D.J. Ware, Dustin Keller, Ben Watson, Vernon Davis, Mike Williams.
“There are a lot of people that helped me make the decision,” Charles said.
His family, of course, was the main sounding board, especially his mother. So what was the advice he received?
“They just were throwing some pros and cons at me," Charles said. "The majority of people said you’ve gotta be happy. If you come back you can’t look back. If you go to the NFL you can’t look back. You just have to be happy with your decision.”
- Charles was asked if only catching one pass, for two yards, in the Outback Bowl affected his decision.
“I didn’t want to make an emotional decision. So that’s why I waited until after the game. …. I just felt like I was ready to go. Me not catching the ball in the last game has no effect on me making my decision today.”
- Finally, he was asked about the future of the position he's vacating.
“They have a lot of people who can fill the hole at tight end. We’re called tight end U. for a reason," Charles said. "We have a youngster in Jay Rome. And we have a veteran who’s been around and working out late with me in Arthur Lynch.”
He also mentioned walk-on Jake Looman and two recruits, although a UGA official quickly broke in to remind Charles not to mention who they were.
ATHENS - Georgia has scheduled a 2 p.m. press conference with Orson Charles. The reason wasn't given, but the presumption is that the junior tight end will announce his NFL decision.
The expectation here is that Charles will turn pro.
I'll change the headline and update this spot once we either get more info, or hear it straight from Charles. But ESPN's Mark Schlabach, who is still tied in at Georgia, is reporting that Charles is leaving, and let's just say that doesn't surprise me.
Charles led Georgia in receptions during the regular season, finishing with 44 catches for 572 yards and five touchdowns. But he only had one catch for two yards in the Outback Bowl, which was in his hometown of Tampa.
Georgia is also losing senior tight end Aron White.
Arthur Lynch, a redshirt sophomore who played in every game this year, but didn't record a catch, is the early favorite to replace Charles as the starter. The 6-foot-5, 272-pound Lynch is a good blocker, and coaches and teammates have said Lynch will prove to be an able pass threat as well.
Jay Rome, a five-star recruit a year ago, will also push Lynch. Rome redshirted this year because of the depth at tight end, and has been playing with the Bulldog men's basketball team.
Ty Smith, the incoming freshman from Colquitt County, will also be a candidate to play next season.