Javon Charleston may be the only one who expects him to be starting at safety when the 2018 season begins, but that’s not going to dampen his belief.
“I am 100 percent confident in myself,” the 6-foot-1, 186-pound junior said. “Right now, it’s just me being comfortable. I know the defense. I know everything.”
Charleston worked as a starting safety most of the spring alongside Steven Montac, but head coach Will Muschamp said Montac is the only player at the position he feels comfortable can play “championship” football at the moment. South Carolina will get Jaylin Dickerson and Jamyest Williams, who could play safety, back from injury by the fall. They also are adding Rice graduate transfer J.T. Ibe this summer to compete at the position.
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Charleston is accustomed to overcoming odds, though. He joined the team as a walk-on wide receiver in 2015. He was moved to defensive back in 2016 as his role on special teams was beginning to increase, and he was awarded a scholarship last spring.
“It’s crazy to me that I went from sixth-string receiver to now first-string DB, and I just want to keep it that way and not lose hope and be confident in my ability,” he said. “I know I have to step into my role and show that I’m my own player. I might not be able to do what these other guys have done in the past, but I have my own abilities and I have to know what those are and get better and better at them each day.”
Muschamp has made it clear that is mandatory.
“We have to improve tremendously at the position from where we are today to get ready for Sept. 1,” he said. “We have some time to do that but we have to improve a lot.”