By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Kanaya Charlton is going into his senior season at Brunswick High School.
Number 69 for the Blue and Gold stands at 6’5 and weighs in at around 335 pounds. At that size Charlton is a pretty good athlete. He has quick feet and plays multiple positions along the Pirate offensive line which he will anchor in 2021.
He currently holds 22 committable offers from some big-name schools. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida State, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech just to give you a sample size.
On the academic side Mr. Charlton has a 3.8 GPA and is fully qualified. He will graduate BHS early and will enroll in college in January 2022.
Things I noticed in the interview for this article was that Kanaya is a yes sir/no sir type of kid with a firm hand shake and he looks you in the eye when he talks to you.
Charlton’s head coach Sean Pender had to following to say about his highly recruited offensive line prospect: “Kanaya is a young man that wants to get better daily. He takes hard coaching very well, and he can play anywhere along the offensive line when we need him to do so. College coaches look for that versatility in kids they recruit plus he is a great student so we don’t worry about him producing in the classroom. He has gone from a shy kid when he arrived in 9th grade into a confident young man who now addresses the team in meetings in a leadership role. He is the type of kid that is going to show you every single day that he is up for any task we throw at him.”
I spoke with BHS Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach, Garrett Grady who is Charlton’s position coach and he offered the following comments: “Kanaya is a complete student-athlete. He cares about his academics as well as his performance on the field. He is a genuine person who truly cares about everyone around him. His development from his freshman year to now is amazing. He has made tremendous gains in the weight room becoming one of the strongest members of this team. Kanaya has stepped into a leadership role this year and has raised the level intensity & pride of this team. I am very proud of the young man he is becoming and looking forward to what the future holds for Kanaya Charlton. Expect Great things from him!”
I asked Kanaya a few questions regarding this season and his college plans:
What does this coaching staff at BHS mean to you? “My coaches have been there as role models for me. That is an amazing feeling. I feel like they are a huge reason why I’m in the position I am in today”.
What do you like about this 2021 BHS football team? “Since I have been here our team and coaching staff have gotten better every single season. Our goals this year are: City Championship, Region Championship, State Championship. Being put out in the second round the past two seasons has really left a bad taste in our mouth. We are going to change that in 2021. I want our group of seniors this fall to be known as the class that changed our program culture from just being a winning program into a championship program. That is a huge step for our program”
College choice, any thoughts on where you might go? “Today FSU is my #1 choice. I am going there on an official visit this month. I have been on many unofficial visits there so far. The coaches there make me feel the most at home. I will probably make my official commitment to the school I choose either the last week of June or the first week of July. I want to get this behind me so I can 100% focus on my senior season at BHS”. Charlton has indeed committed to go to Florida State.
What will you major in at college? “Life Sciences with a possible focus on Marine Biology”.
Any last comments? “Pirate Pride and remember it is “All about the Family” at Brunswick High School.
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Brunswick High Pirates had a rough season in 2018 finishing 3-7 and missing the playoffs for sixth time since 2011.
Sean Pender hates losing more than anyone I know and you can see a fire in his eyes during the spring drills.
The Pirates started as many as 12 sophomores in 2018 and the inexperience showed, but those baby Pirates have grown in size and experience this offseason and are primed to turn the tables in 2019.
When asked about Spring Practice Pender said “We have had more intensity and competiveness than we had in all of 2018 in our two weeks of practice. The kids have worked extremely hard and it is showing”.
Brunswick has 16 kids coming back in 2019 with starting varsity experience. BHS will be going to a new 4-3 defensive alignment in 2019.
When you ask Pender about his defense the first named mentioned is Devin Lafayette. The rising senior defensive back is 6’2 and 190 pounds and runs a sub 4.5 forty-yard dash.
“This kid is a quiet leader that leads by example and his worked his way into being a division one football prospect”.
Look for Lafayette to lead a talented back end of a much-improved Pirate defense. Lafayette is fully qualified with a 3.3 GPA.
Freddy Towns is a lock down All-Region corner returning for his senior season. Pender says Towns can lock down one side of the field every Friday night.
AJ Wilson looks good at safety and at 200 pounds can bring the lumber in run support and he runs really well.
Octavis Butler, Ryne Buckley, and Camron Crump played a lot of snaps in 2018 at LB and have bulked up in the offseason.
Demetrius Hardee will also be counted on in the secondary. Keep an eye on newcomer Devonte Gadson at safety.
Trevon Smith has impressed Pender at one CB position, and Michael McGee will get looks at both CB and WR. Pender really likes McGee’s speed and length in the secondary.
Justin Akra will lead the Pirate defensive line and a name to remember is incoming freshman Kayshawn Thomas on the defensive line.
On offense the Pirates are stacked at wide receiver. Look for a huge break out season from Amarion Whitfield, and Marlon Carmena to return to the form he flashed in early 2018 before a high ankle sprain derailed his season.
Che Foy is great in space, and look for a huge season from “The Touchdown Machine” Xavier Bean, who can catch anything in his area code according to his head coach. Kyle Patterson is developing at the position as well.
Mitchell Richburg is a hybrid FB/TE and could be a factor in both the run and pass game.
Xavier Ramsey, Caleb Cook, and Kanaya Charlton will anchor the Pirate offensive line.
Charlton could be a 4 to 5-star recruit during the 2022 recruiting cycle. He is currently 6’5 and 330 pounds with very good athletic ability. Roderick Jones will also see significant playing time. Pender thinks this group can be really good barring injury.
Chuckobe Hill and Khamori Simmons will handle the running back position as both played significant downs as freshman in 2018. Pender like the toughness of his running backs.
Look for Jashawn Wilson to insert himself into the running back mix this fall.
At QB you have returning starters Anthony Mountain and KJ Lee, but both are battling injuries this spring.
Mountain had offseason ACL surgery and should be cleared to return by September. Pender loves his leadership qualities. Lee is battling a foot injury this spring, but has an elite arm.
With the injuries Jeffery Way has been getting a lot of first unit reps and the rising sophomore has worked hard according to his head coach.
Tyrease Jones has moved over from WR and has shown tremendous foot speed in space.
Kyle Rehberg will handle the PK/P duties and has a great work ethic.
Pender says “if we play like we have been working then we have a chance to be a pretty good football team in 2019, and we’ll definitely be much, much improved from 2018”.
Pender enters his third season as Pirate head coach this fall.
By: Kipp Branch
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
New Pirate head coach Sean Pender has met with his new players and current assistant coaches’ at BHS. The meeting in the words of one of the top returning players was he connects with players, and they loved his plan for the upcoming season, and he knows what he is talking about.
Pender met with the entire team and then met only with the returning seniors for next season. By my count Pender will have seven starters returning on the offensive side of the ball, and seven returning on defense from a talented 5-5 team that underachieved in 2016.
I was fortunate enough to sit down to dinner with him, Athletic Director Steve Waters, Jerry Mancil, Keith Reddings and myself. Pender’s football IQ is off the charts. The man flat out knows the X’s and O’s side of the game of football.
He talked about certain looks a defense will give you and then the amazing part was how they can run 3-4 different plays based on the look. Pender’s offense will create a lot of nightmares in this region in 2017.
Pirate fans can you picture top rated safety Sharrod Frazier in special packages on offense running speed sweeps with 4.48 speed? Not saying this will happen at all, but with anything new comes excitement.
Can you see Jaylen Jackson at WR wreaking havoc on an opposing defense? Can you see DJ Whitfield touching the ball 10-12 times a game on offense? Can you picture RB Shaq Robinson being involved in the passing game? Then once everyone is spread out in space watching Ben McCloud destroy the middle of a defense running between the tackles.
On defense can you see Kam Futch at 225 pounds making 12-15 stops a game with Frazier playing a hybrid LB/S spot drilling an opposing QB?
Exciting times are upon us at Brunswick High School. Pender will get to work fulltime at BHS on February 1st. The off-season program will be implemented and the assistant coaches will be coached up on the offensive and defensive schemes. Pender will start rounding out his football staff as he meets with current assistants and other candidates for potential staff openings.
In 2017 per a new GHSA rule schools can have a spring football game with another opponent. That game is scheduled for May 19th at Glynn County Stadium with opponent to be determined for the Pirates. Between now and the start of Spring Football practice Pender his to get as much of his system in place as fast as he can.
This man drips passion as he talks football and that enthusiasm is contagious. He has a unique way of connecting with players, administration, alumni, and boosters that in just two days has created quite a buzz around the program. My phone has been blowing up with former alumni and players that I have not seen in years asking how to get involved with the program.
Times are exciting again as a buzz surrounds the BHS Football program. The Pirates open the season in August with a road game at Coffee. I bet the Coffee coaches are blowing up the Pierce County Hudl account now trying to watch as much film as they can to try to defend Brunswick.
I can hear the Coffee coaches now saying “How are we going to stop this with the athletes Brunswick has?” Yep that’s your problem 2017 opponents. We’ll meet you at the 50 on Friday Night’s for the coin flip.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the Brunswick High Pirate football program this week coming off two straight region losses to inferior teams the Pirates kept their playoff hopes alive with a 24-10 win over a favored Richmond Hill.
It was senior night at the stadium and Coach Larry Harold had his team chomping at the bit to play and the Pirates played inspired football.