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Charlton, Graham among FSU commits not deterred by on-field results

As Florida State begins the 2021 football season 0-4, many questions have been raised regarding the future of its program. A sizable portion of these questions surround the talent FSU can acquire for future seasons through recruiting, beginning with the effort of retaining its committed recruits within the 2022 class that currently ranks 10th nationally.  

On June 26, three-star offensive line commit Kanaya Charlton announced his pledge to the Seminoles. Spending the first 12 years of his life in Miami before calling Brunswick (Ga.) home, Charlton said Tallahassee gives him a mix of both cities between the lively atmosphere and the football-loving people.  

“I committed because Florida State felt the most at-home for me,” said Charlton. “It’s only three hours away from (Brunswick), so it’s close to home and it feels like home, because Tallahassee reminds me a lot of my childhood home in Miami — just the city and all the noise and everything … It reminds me so much of Brunswick too because of the people. The people love football here. They have many different things that they go through on a daily basis, but everything is connected through football.”

While the losses have piled up for FSU on the field, the 2022 recruiting class has stayed in tact. FSU’s class of 18 verbal commitments includes a unanimous five-star like Travis Hunter as well as a large group of four-star prospects like quarterback A.J. Duffy and Sam McCall.

Hunter is among the prospects who have been vocal on Twitter or Instagram in expressing they are locked in regardless of how the Seminoles have started the 2021 season. FSU’s class is ranked No. 1 in the ACC and No. 10 in the nation by 247Sports.

“I’ve been talking to a few other (commits) and they’re just saying that they’re ‘locked in,’ and it motivates them even more to come in and play because they know Florida State needs them,” linebacker Omar Graham said.

Charlton stays connected with FSU offensive line coach Alex Atkins, defensive ends and special teams coach John Papuchis, and head coach Mike Norvell. Charlton spoke about his relationship with Atkins, who he shares the most intimate bond. 

“My relationship with (Atkins) is an amazing one,” said Charlton. “I can call him whenever and just talk for quite a while. We just talk about things like life, and we barely talk about football now. We just talk about life and help me to become a better man and a better person.” 

Charlton said the message to him as a recruit from the FSU coaches has not changed as a result of the poor start to the season but has intensified instead. 

“They believe I am the right fit for their team, and they are in need of me,” said Charlton. “That’s been the message since Day 1 of my recruitment, and it just continued on. Through the losses and everything, it increased even more. They said they are dependent on the class of 2022 to help turn the culture around in Tallahassee back to a winning one.” 

Charlton communicates frequently with members of the committed Seminoles class and says the players have remained engaged in positive communication with each other through group messages despite the 0-4 start. 

“Everyone is really engaged and, to be honest, I feel like I’m the one who’s the least engaged because I’m not on social media too much, but every time I get on it, everybody is talking with each other and encouraging each other and everything. Like if somebody gets hurt, we wish them the best and let them know that our time is coming up soon, and we’re going to be the class that comes in and changes everything around at Florida State.” 

Outside of Florida State, Charlton is focused on school and his senior season of football at Brunswick. He does not have any visits planned at this moment but said if he were to trip anywhere soon, it would be to Florida State. 

Charlton believes in the bond that these players share and their ability to improve Florida State’s program upon arrival. He has no intention of looking elsewhere before signing his Letter of Intent in December and enrolling early at FSU in January.  

“Every single one of us is committed to Florida State and we are there for a lifetime,” said Charlton. “We have a bond with each other just because of that single commitment no matter where we are in the country. Every single one of us has that commitment and it brings us together. It is our class that they’re relying on so it puts motivation in us to stay committed and push hard so we can be the class that changes it all around.” 

The message to fans is straightforward, in Graham’s view.

“Don’t worry too much because we already know what we got ourselves into when we committed,” Graham said. “I know y’all have had a lot of bad years and stuff like that, but I feel like Norvell is really going to take us to where we need to be.”