Penn State head coach James Franklin was the Green Bay Packers wide receivers coach in 2005, and during his time at the helm of Vanderbilt, he coached Jordan Matthews, now a wideout with the Philadelphia Eagles who left the Commodores as the Southeastern Conference’s all-time leader in receptions.
So when the coach praised a non-starting Nittany Lion wide receiver the way he did, it turned some heads.
“I think you’re going to see over the next couple years that Irvin Charles has got a very, very bright future,” Franklin said of the redshirt freshman. “He is talented, talented, talented — maybe the most talented wide receiver I’ve ever been around.”
Charles certainly has the size and potential to make an impact at Penn State. The New Jersey native is 6-foot-4, 219 pounds, and his high school highlight reel is quite impressive.
Charles has only two catches in his first season with the Nittany Lions, one of which was the 80-yard, game-changing score against Minnesota.
“We all saw the catch that he had and what he was able to do with it once he got the ball in his hands,” Franklin said. “But there’s a lot more that goes into it than that.”
With a crowded group of wide receivers, Franklin said he and the staff are trying to give Charles more of a chance with the ball in his hands. That’s why he returned a kickoff against Indiana, and while it didn’t go particularly well (Charles dropped the ball, picked it back up, and made it out to only the Penn State 11-yard line), Franklin trusts his ability.
“Obviously Miles (Sanders) is our guy back there,” Franklin said of the kickoff return situation. “But we want to continue creating opportunities for other guys and developing other guys.”
Charles, evidently, is one of those players.