Oh, what could have been.
As I watched from the Jacksonville Municipal press box Saturday, I couldn’t help but be impressed with one guy in red and black. Most Gator fans have to have been thinking the same thing when they saw Georgia tight end Orson Charles line up opposite the Gators’ defense: Why isn’t this guy wearing different colors? I mean, he did knock over Florida’s 2006 national championship trophy last year. He did say Florida was one of his top schools for the longest time. And he lived right down the road in Tampa.
But Georgia got the better of the Gators, snatching Charles and quarterback Aaron Murray from Tampa Plant. Murray will probably redshirt, so he didn’t get to showcase anything Saturday, but Charles did. Sure, he had a couple of false start penalties, but that doesn’t take away from his athletic ability. He was targeted three times and caught just two passes for 18 yards, but he’s a guy that just screams playmaker. On a fourth-and-3 at Florida’s 13, Georgia drew up a play just for Charles. The true freshman lined up at wide receiver and Gator cornerback Joe Haden played about 9 yards off him. Talk about respect. Charles grabbed 7 yards, helping set up the Bulldog score. He’s got 12 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown, and he’s doing much better than starter Aron White.
Against Florida, Charles split out wide a few times. He’s got the speed of a receiver and the strength of a tight end. He reminds me of a faster, thinner Aaron Hernandez. Speaking of Hernandez, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him make the jump to the NFL after the season. Who would take his place? Well, Charles could have. He would have been perfect, but he spurned Florida, and now the Gators might rely on Desmond Parks (currently redshirting) or 2010 commits Gerald Christian and Mike McFarland. Maybe even freshman quarterback Jordan Reed, who is playing around at tight end, could be an option.
Of course, Hernandez could stay and give Florida’s staff time to develop the young guys. Still, seeing Charles in Florida’s offense would have been pretty exciting. Does the name Cornelius Ingram ring a bell?
Speaking of what could have been, Tennessee receiver Nu’Keese Richardson reportedly was a no-show at Vols practice Sunday. Uh oh. Rumors have spread this year that Richardson might not be too happy in Knoxville. The transfer talk is in full swing, and UT coach Lane Kiffin will speak more about Richardson’s situation Tuesday. Richardson has 58 yards rushing and 48 yards receiving with no scores. Percy position?