Joseph Charlton couldn’t wait to show off his strong leg this summer at South Carolina and make a run for a starting role this season.
After all, it had been awhile since he kicked a ball.
Charlton fractured his L4 vertebrae in his lower back while kicking during his senior season at A.C. Flora High in Columbia. He enrolled at USC this month with his last kick coming Nov. 28 when the Falcons’ season ended.
“It was midseason. I played through it,” he said. “I’ve been working on getting that better. It’s a lot better right now.”
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Charlton is finally kicking again. He is spending the summer strengthening his core and working on his flexibility to help prevent the injury from happening again.
He is hoping to compete for the Gamecocks’ kickoff and punting roles.
BY THE NUMBERS
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 190 pounds
Stats: As a senior, had 26 kickoffs for touchbacks, a 39-yard punting average and was 4-for-8 on field goals with a long of 48 yards
Rating: Three-star prospect, according to 247Sports Composite
▪ Both of Charlton’s parents graduated from USC.
▪ He counts Ryan Succop among the most-regarded of USC kickers he grew up watching.
▪ Also had interest from Connecticut, North Carolina and Baylor.
▪ “USC is always where I wanted to go. It’s in the backyard. It means everything. I love watching South Carolina with my dad and my family. It will be great playing for them too.”
▪ “They’re good guys,” Charlton said of USC’s specialists. “I’m looking forward to hanging out with them more and working with them.”
▪ “All I want is a chance. I’ve always had a strong leg, but I’ve really improved by working on technique thanks to my kicking coach, Dan Orner. He’s helped me become a more accomplished kicker. It’s more than just have a strong leg.”
Special teams coach Joe Robinson: “Young man with a tremendous amount of potential. A young man with a very strong leg. We have been able to see quite a bit of Joseph. He’s a guy with a lot of talent.”