List of scholarship offers growing for Freeport lineman Charlton
Matt Charlton sees the frequent social media posts of Division I football prospects, providing updates with every scholarship offer that comes in. More of a private person, he kept his first two offers closer to the chest.
Charlton, a rising senior lineman at Freeport, picked up a pair of scholarship offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools Alcorn State and Indiana State in recent weeks.
He decided not to tweet about them.
"It's really exciting," Charlton said. "I can't say I was surprised, but I was just more excited because I see all over Twitter guys posting scholarship offers left and right. To finally get a few is pretty awesome, to play at the next level."
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound Charlton began receiving interest from Division II schools after his sophomore season, when he started for Freeport's WPIAL semifinalist team. But the offers began rolling in this summer as he began to attend camps.
Alcorn State offered first, after Charlton worked with their coaches at the West Virginia camp in late June. Then came the offer from Indiana State, which worked Charlton out at the University of Cincinnati camp earlier this month.
"Both of their coaches were working individually with me, so it was really cool to receive an offer to play there," said Charlton, who also attended Robert Morris' camp. "It was honestly so sudden because I never talked to those schools until I was at the camps. I've been talking to their coaches and talking a little bit about when I could possibly come up to visit. It was just so sudden that I haven't had a chance to set one up yet, especially with the season coming so close."
Charlton said he talked to 2016 Freeport graduate Logan Thimons, now a linebacker at West Virginia, before attending WVU's camp; Thimons' offer from the Mountaineers came after a standout camp performance in Morgantown.
He attended the Robert Morris camp at the behest of former Freeport quarterback Andrew Romanchak, now a quarterback for the Colonials. Austin Romanchak, Freeport's rising junior quarterback and Andrew's younger brother, also attended the camp.
Villanova, Holy Cross and Ivy League schools Columbia and Penn also are showing interest in Charlton, along with several Division II schools.
"I'm not the guy that's receiving Big Ten offers in my sophomore year and getting all these crazy options, but I know every offer that comes in or every school that's looking at me, I need to take it slow and see if my interests are there, just to see if the school fits me as a person before I see if it fits me as a football player," Charlton said. "But I'm really enjoying the process, taking it slow, and I'm going to make the best decision for me and my family."
As a junior, Charlton played every spot on Freeport's offensive line as the Yellowjackets finished 4-5. He had 27 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery on defense.
"Definitely my football IQ (is my biggest strength), knowing where people are going to be before they get there and having a really good understanding of the playbook," he said. "I'm almost like a coach on the field. I've been teaching guys the playbook since my sophomore year. (Former teammate) Bobby Jendrejewski was doing the same for me, so I kind of took over that role once he graduated (in 2016)."
This fall, Charlton expects to stick at offensive tackle as the Yellowjackets hope to get back to the playoffs after a one-year absence.
"Honestly, I need to help my team win," Charlton said. "We had a bit of a down year last year coming off the WPIAL semifinal run, and I honestly think the more you help your team win, the more you lead your team, more schools are going to come calling and more schools are going to become interested. Really, I'm just trying to help my team out the best that I can and hoping that schools just come with me."
Doug Gulasy is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org via Twitter @dgulasy_Trib.