February 2, 2012
Chandler beats the odds
Charles Chandler was a late bloomer in the recruiting process. When you're a wide receiver on a team that features a future Ohio State running back - Warren Ball - it's tough to break through in the offense.
At the end of the day, athleticism and potential shine through. In the case of Chandler, that was the end result. That's why on National Signing Day, the Columbus (Ohio) St. Francis DeSales product chose Kent State, the school that never gave up on the 6-foot-3 target. It was that size that attracted Darrell Hazell to Chandler.
"Charles is a bigger receiver," Hazell said. "He goes up and attacks the football. He plays way outside of his body, which means he has tremendous range. Has the ability to make the tough catch, but also the ability to break a tackle with his big frame."
Said Chandler about the Golden Flashes: "It's a great coaching staff. The surroundings are great. I felt really comfortable. They just made me feel at home."
A two-way player at DeSales, Chandler led the Stallions with 23 catches for 609 yards, an average of 26.5 yards per catch, and five touchdowns. Chandler finished with 17.5 tackles and four interceptions as a defensive back, earning him First-Team all-Central District honors on defense. Chandler was also honorable mention All-State and an All-Central Catholic League selection.
At Kent State, though, it's all offense for Chandler.
"I was planning on going in to play receiver," he said. "So that's all we really talked about."
Chandler, a two-star recruit, was off most schools' radar until signing day quickly approached. However, he wouldn't change the outcome.
"It was really up and down," he said about the recruiting process. "At one point in time I didn't know if I would get offered by Kent State or not. Then at the last second it came in and everything worked out."
DeSales head coach Ryan Wiggins takes part of the blame for Chandler not being able to exhibit his vast array of skills.
"Charles is a great talent," Wiggins said. "He didn't have a lot of junior film because we don't throw the football enough to really showcase him. If he was playing at a place like Dublin Coffman where they throw the ball, he'd probably have even more opportunities."
The Kent State program that Chandler is walking into is not the Golden Flashes of years past that were on the low end of the college football totem pole. Hazell led Kent State to a 5-7 season in his first year as head coach, finishing third in the MAC East with a 4-4 record. Three of the Golden Flashes' losses came by a touchdown or less. For a program that has struggled for decades, the progress is uplifting.
"Coach Hazell, I really like him, and Marcus Freeman, another Ohio State guy, those guys did a great job recruiting (Chandler)," Wiggins said. "They were honest with us, and the scholarship came later in the process. I think he's going to a place where he's going to do well academically and play MAC-level football. I think Kent State is heading in a good direction. I really like Coach Hazell. They made huge strides this season, so (Chandler is) excited to be a part of that."
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