OL Charles Armstrong talks ASU pledge
As more of a thought rather than trying to interject on his decision, Charles Armstrong’s mom would sometimes turn to him at the dinner table and offer her opinion on his recruitment.
“I really like them,” she’d tell her son about the ASU coaches. “I like the way they vibe.”
Armstrong agreed. He had narrowed his list of 18 offers down to a final three: Arizona State, Iowa State, and Pitt. On Monday, in the midst of a global pandemic and without having taken an official visit, the 6-foot-5, 300-pound three-star offensive lineman from Florida committed to the Sun Devils.
And, above all else, it was ASU’s coaches, and their attitude that sold him.
“I feel like ASU had a better coaching staff than the others. I feel like they are all great men, and they can all get me to where I need to be. I trust them,” Armstrong said, before discussing his two leading recruiters, offensive analyst Kevin Mawae and graduate assistant Adam Breneman.
“I liked the vibe they had, how they communicated, and how they talked … (My mom) just wanted me to be around great men and wanted to make sure they were going to make sure I will do what I need to do and make sure I’ll be alright.”
With his pledge, Armstrong becomes the eighth member of ASU’s 2021 class and the second offensive lineman, joining 6-foot-8, 270-pound Isaiah World, who announced his decision on Sunday. Aside from both being big men in the trenches, the two most recent commits are perhaps the best examples of two trends the Sun Devils have attacked during this recruiting period of uncertainty.
First, the Sun Devils made it no secret this offseason that while recruiting the ’21 class, improved length would be their primary objective. This went so far that recruiting coordinator and co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce had the recruiting team put pins on a map of every D-lineman in the country over 6-foot-4. Herm Edwards and Co. felt they lacked size, most noticeably in the trenches, that they were getting bullied on offense and unable to bat down passes on defense. So far, six of ASU’s eight commits are over 6-foot-5.
Secondly, a quandary every program in the country has dealt with. How do you make a recruit feel comfortable enough to commit to your school if they’ve never visited?
Unlike some prospects, Armstrong didn’t wish for his recruitment to drag on with no complete certainty he’ll be able to visit a college campus in the next few months. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a bit of urgency for some prospects. They feel the pressing need to pull the trigger on a commitment, scared programs will fill up, or their high school season may get canceled.
“(My high school coach, Yusuf Shakir) talked to me about it and said it’s getting to that point where I need to make a decision. I just did some research, and it came down to ASU,” Armstrong said. “We talked about how all these other players are committing, and I’m going to have to choose. So, I just decided.
“At first, I was nervous because I didn’t want to make the wrong decision. I just wanted to find the best place for me to be at … I just had this gut feeling, and I went with my gut.”
Armstrong said he’s tentatively set up a September official visit to Tempe. With the ever-swirling nature of set dates, it’s unsure if that will come to fruition. Regardless, Armstrong is confident in his decision.
And whenever he steps on campus, what can Sun Devil fans expect from him?
“Once the ball is snapped, I try to destroy the defender,” Armstrong said. “I have good footwork. I can bend. I can move. I have good length and good height … “I play with a passion. I love the game of football, so when I get on the field, I want to go out there and enjoy what I do and take it seriously.”
As of right now, Armstrong plans to graduate from Manatee High School in December which would allow him to participate in ASU’s spring ball in 2021.
With no certainty on much these days, it may be hard to project six months out. For now, however, Charles Armstrong's vision for the future is a bit clearer -- and it involves a college career in the maroon and gold.
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