ANAHEIM, California - If you asked the massive Florida defensive tackle Charles Deas about the last two years of his high school football career, he probably would have done things differently. Now, taking part in the Air 7 CaliFlorida Bowl, the three-star rated two-way player finds himself in a better place looking forward to the next chapter of his life.
Deas ended up transferring over the summer from one high school to his current institution of Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard. While he took the season off to focus on grades, many colleges looked like they may be pulling away from the 6-foot-4, 315-pound talent. However, this week's all-star game is just the stage that the No. 12 rated player in the state has been looking for.
"Everyone knows that I didn't play this season and now I just have to show everyone I'm still here," Deas said. "I'm ready to show what I can do. I transferred high schools and to be honest, that was really about me just trying to get my act together. That's all it was. Things are much better now and I'm ready to work."
The first day of practice came and went without any sign of Deas on the field. After missing his flight on Monday, he finally suited up and strapped on the pads for Tuesday's morning practice. It was then that people saw exactly what kind of a player he was.
One particular play included Deas swatting down balls at the line of scrimmage and breaking past several blocks to cause commotion in the backfield. Coaches couldn't stop talking about his play. It almost seemed as if he hadn't missed that first practice after all.
"I've caught up pretty well," Deas said about his first performance. "I'm just ready. I catch on quick and that's allowed me to show my stuff even after missing a practice."
Recruiting apparently has started to pick up and it appears those offers that he has been reporting are still sitting on the table at this point.
"LSU, Auburn, Georgia, and Nebraska are the main schools I'm looking at right now," Deas said. "There isn't a top school - they're all dead even. Really, it's those schools because I like how they have a rotation of their d-line. There are some on that list I could even come in and possibly start."
The other thing is that Deas has had a lot of time to build relationships with assistants from those schools.
"Yeah, really all the coaches have been great through the process," Deas said about his recruiting coaches. "I've built great relationships with coach Karl Dunbar from LSU, coach John Blake at Nebraska, coach Eddie Gran at Auburn, and coach Rodney Garner at Georgia. You look at that list, and they're all great coaches and great people."
With the game approaching, many players have walked into this game with their college commitment solidified. Deas is looking to do fight his way back to the top.
"This game, this week, and all of this is about proving myself," he said. "I'm all about showing people that nothing has changed. I can play and I'm still here. Because of this game, I'm going to show what I can do."
Deas is rated as the No. 25 defensive tackle in the country.