Prep Rally

Ready or not, a top prospect named Taco is on the way

He's not a top-10 -- or even top-50 -- recruit yet, but a defensive end prospect from Ohio is making a serious name for himself with impressive shows of athleticism, dominant size and a captivating personality which can only be matched by his name: Taco Charlton.

Pickerington Central defensive end Taco Charlton — Rivals.comPickerington Central defensive end Taco Charlton — Rivals.com

Charlton, a rising senior four-star recruit at Pickerington (Ohio) Central High, was given the birth name of Vidauntaé, but quickly adopted Taco after his grandmother bequeathed the unforgettable nickname upon him when he was young. A Michigan commitment from the heart of Ohio State country, Charlton has failed to gain some of the national plaudits he probably deserves because he spent most of his time during summers on the AAU basketball circuit.

In fact, Charlton may be almost as impressive a basketball player as he is a football star; the junior led Pickerington Central's basketball team to a state title in March.

Yet Charlton seemed to make the leap forward at the recent Nike Combine in Columbus, the heart of the territory for the archenemies of the school to which Charlton plans to attend. Rivals network site TheWolverine writer Tim Sullivan claimed that Charlton competed for defensive line MVP honors at the event and showed that -- at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds -- he could transform into a true top-notch talent at the next level.

Rivals.com Midwest Recruiting Analyst Josh Helmholdt was similarly impressed by Charlton's performance in Columbus.

"If you just watch the on-field product, there is so much to like about him," Helmholdt told The Wolverine. "On Saturday, offensive linemen could not handle Charlton's speed, but he also surprised them with his strength. Charlton is very long and he knows how to use that length to keep offensive linemen from getting to him."

All of that skill will only bring more plaudits and media attention, with everyone sure to ask more about Charlton's nickname. Does he actually love tacos? What inspired his grandmother to turn Vidauntaé into Taco?

And, presumably, "Is there good Mexican food in Ann Arbor?" If Charlton ever reaches the true zenith of his potential and he decides there isn't a good enough Mexican restaurant nearby, someone might be willing to open one just to keep him around a little longer.

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