Charles Gordon might not have gotten a chance in big-time college football if a former Santa Monica High star hadn’t preceeded him at Kansas.
Gordon didn’t receive a lot of scholarship offers after starring on the Samohi 2001 CIF championship team. He wasn’t particularly big (5-11, 170) and didn’t have blazing speed.
“He ran a 4.6 40 and the college scouts like 4.4,’’ said Norm Lacy, who coached the 2001 Samohi team.
“There was some interest but when it came time to offer a scholarship some schools pulled out. Dylan Smith, a former Samohi quarterback, had a productive career at Kansas and I think he alerted them to Charles’ potential.’’
It helps when someone from your high school has shown a university that it’s a good place to find players.
In the recruiting process, when college scouts are looking for the biggest and fastest high school players, some dropped out before Kansas came through with a scholarship offer. Gordon has excelled on both offense and defense and enters the 2005 schedule as a pre-season All-American.
“If Charles was two inches taller he could have picked his school as a receiver,’’ said Lacy. “If he was 20 pounds heavier he could have picked his school as a defensive back. He’s smart and had good grades.
“What he has that’s special is intelligence, He’s usually in the right place. He can get away with being not quite as fast by being in the right spot and anticipating a play. He has a natural instinct to play defense.’’
Gordon had seven interceptions and made 57 tackles last season, moving him into an elite class among the nation’s players at his position.
Lacy remembers the first time he saw Gordon play at Samohi.
“My reaction on the first day was Holy Smokes,’’ recalls Lacy. “He did some things that indicated he was a phenomenal talent.
“I had coached James Dunn at St. Monica and he had 99 catches one season. He went on to play at Tulane and he was special.
“I saw that Charles had similar ability, but we didn’t need him to catch so many passes. We won the CIF with a run-oriented offense and some effective passing. We had Derrick Davis at tailback, and late in the season we put our 260-pound tight end, Josh Smith, at fullback to be the lead blocker.’’
Gordon did enough to receive some interest from college scouts but a lack of film worked against him. Because he suffered a broken ankle as a junior, the Vikings didn’t have a lot of film of him to send to colleges that do a lot of evaluating from film of the players’ junior season.
It all worked out because Gordon got a chance and made the most of it.
Summing up his experience with Gordon, Lacy says:“He was a blessing. I told him I’m really glad you’re on my side.’’