UNION, NJ — Offensive and defensive tackle Charles James is a four-year veteran of Union High School football. After a fruitful career with the Farmers, he signed a letter of intent on Thursday, Feb. 14, to further his studies and play college football with Monmouth University. James was one of three Union High School players, along with David Brown and Patrick Thomas, to be part of this year’s signing-day ceremony.
How do you look back on your time with Farmers football?
“When I started the program, at first I was a little iffy about it. I wasn’t a big football person. As I started, and I kept going through it, it really changed me as a person. It helped me mature and make friends who I call family now — we’re all brothers on the team. It taught me a lot of life lessons, and helped me get to where I am now.”
When did you start playing?
“My cousin convinced me to join the team, so I started playing football in eighth grade. I was a big baseball fan, which is ironic because I’m so big” — James is 265 pounds — “and then, as I started to get the hang of it, one of my coaches, coach Carm, saw potential in me and told me to stick with it. I’m really glad that I did, because now I got the chance to play at the next level.” Carmen Marano, or “coach Carm,” is a longtime lineman coach at Union High School.
What was your biggest highlight with the Farmers?
“When we made it to the state championship my sophomore year. It was a great unit, that really taught me a lot.”
What would it take for the team to reach that level again?
“The most important thing is working together, getting the chemistry they need. A team without chemistry, they don’t really work together, and I know that from experience. That’s one of the best things they need to learn. You don’t really need talent on a team, but if you have a team that works together, you’re going to go on a really good run.”
During recruitment, what convinced you to attend Monmouth?
“It was a hard decision, because they give you basically all of the best things about that school, and at the end of the day you’ve just got to choose which school to say yes to and which schools to say no to. For me, I like Monmouth from the academic point of view, because I’m a really big academic person. I think, with my interests — I want to study software engineering — Monmouth was the best choice for me.”
How many schools were you talking to?
“I got visited by a lot of schools, when I was actually in school I kept getting called down. At the end of the day, I narrowed it down to Monmouth and Central Connecticut State. I went to both schools, because a former player went to both of them, so I had to choose between those two.”
What’s Monmouth’s football program like?
“They have a great football program. They will push you to your limit, and then make you go past that. I see how big everybody is, so I already know they’re going to transform me into that.”
How far do you see your football career going?
“People ask me if I’m going to the NFL and all that stuff. In my opinion, I don’t think the NFL should be my first, my main goal. That should be to get a degree. But, God willing, if I have the chance to get to the NFL, I’ll take it.”
Who’s your NFL team?
“The New York Giants.”
If you had a superpower, what would it be?
“It would be to fly, because I hate walking to school and walking home.”
Do you plan on returning to UHS and catching a few games?
“Yes, of course.”