FAU football recruit recap: James Charles

Part 14 of our weekly series highlighting each of the 19 players that signed with FAU on National Signing Day.


Mohammed F Emran | Staff Photographer

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

St. Thomas Aquinas High School’s James Charles experienced more wins in 2015 than the Florida Atlantic football program has recorded in its past three seasons.

As a team captain, Charles led his team to a 13-1 record, a state championship and a spot as the No. 21 ranked team in the country.

“It’s great, it’s something week in and week out that you want to get better,” Charles said. “You want that number one spot and that’s what we did.”

Charles now plans to bring his leadership skills and that winning tradition with him to Boca Raton, to help turn FAU into a program as successful as his high school’s was. He’s already seeing similarities between FAU and St. Thomas Aquinas.

“One thing that stuck out to me was the coaching staff and how it’s very similar to the one I had at St. Thomas,” Charles said.

At the helm of that coaching staff is head coach Charlie Partridge. Charles has already garnered so much respect for his future coach that he referred to him as his messiah.

“Coach Partridge, you can call him a family man, and a family man is the most dangerous man because he’ll do anything for the family to protect them,” Charles said.

One of the reasons trust was such a huge factor for this recruit was FAU’s depth at the running back position. Four running backs received carries last season and all four of them will be returning in the fall, along with fellow recruit Devin Singletary.

Partridge still sees playing opportunities ahead for Charles.

“I haven’t been anywhere, including here, where you haven’t gotten to the fourth or fifth running back over the course of the season,” Partridge said. “We feel like both of these guys come in and bring quality depth and talent.”

Charles said he isn’t too concerned about gaining immediate carries, but instead just wants to earn his way onto the field, however that may be.

“I plan on coming and working hard learning all the plays and coming to whatever opportunities I get,” Charles said, noting that he’ll be happy with “a run blocking or special teams role.”

Charles has a unique advantage: He’s able to play multiple positions, as he wasn’t a starting running back when he first began playing football. Instead, he played on both the defensive and offensive line, tight end and wide receiver.

Right before high school began, Charles started to play running back. Then after being a backup, Charles was inserted into the starting fullback role, creating a dangerous duo with fellow running back Deon McIntosh, who is now signed with Notre Dame.

“After that, [my position] was there and I knew it,” Charles said.

Though he missed three games due to a sprained ankle this past season, Charles said he still managed to record 13 touchdowns. He also averaged 5.3 yards per carry.

“[I’m] a running back that can do everything, an all purpose back,” he said. “I can catch, I’m big and powerful and can run you over, but can also make you miss.”

Therefore, the future FAU running back tries to model his game after Marshall Faulk and Adrian Peterson. Charles said he emulates Faulk because of his versatility, being “excellent with his hands and running the ball.”

Charles also tries to model himself after Peterson because “AP is a straight up monster who can run you over and has the speed to break free for the 80 yard touchdowns.”

When his FAU career comes to an end, Charles said he wants fans to remember him “as a leader, a great person and a great player who did what he had to do on and off the field.”

But he doesn’t believe his football career will end at FAU, as he thinks that he has potential to play in the National Football League one day.

“I see myself in the league,” Charles said.

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or contact him on Twitter.