Charlie Graham learned a lesson the hard way but now he's back on the right track.
For the past two years, the former Madison County tight end was living the high life as a member of the Seminole football team starting 13 games. But then, the 6-foot-3, 238-pounder slacked off in classroom and it cost him dearly. As a result, he had to leave Florida State and enroll at nearby Tallahassee Community College. After a semester of hitting the books, Graham has his academics back on track and is on pace to return to FSU this summer.
"I have one more class to take and then I'll be at FSU," said Graham. "I'll take the one class, one day of the week, Friday from 9-10. It's an American Constitution class that I need to take to graduate from TCC."
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The class isn't offered until later in the summer, but Graham is planning to be enrolled at FSU by the time training camp begins in early August.
"I'm real excited because I've had the whole spring off," said Graham. "I can't take sitting at home doing school work.
"It taught me a lot. It made me grow up and take responsibility. Just because you play football at FSU, it doesn't mean you can get away with anything."
Once he re-enrolls, Graham will have two years of eligibility remaining, including this upcoming season. And with the help of coaches, friends, and family, he's made it through and now knows what he almost lost - a chance of a lifetime to play football at Florida State.
"I'll give them all I got because I can't take it for granted," said Graham. "I can't moan and cry because I'm not playing."
With a tough lesson learned, Graham is taking his message to current Madison County Cowboys and future Seminoles Jacobbi McDaniel, Chris Thompson making sure none of them go through the same situation.
"I talk to Jacobbi a lot," said Graham, "telling him to get good grades so they don't have to go through what I went through. I did all that on the field, but I got kicked out.
"I had to pay for school, pay for where I was going to stay. You are on your own. I had to go to the real world."
Graham says he's kept in touch with both offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher and tight ends coach James Coley. Both continue to prep their tight end on what to expect this upcoming season, and to make sure he is staying in shape. And from there, it's up to the former Madison star to prove that he can earn his spot back. And while this is a feel good story, Graham wants to remind the other tight ends that he's not coming back to sit on the bench.
"I'm coming to get my spot," said Graham. "I'm not coming just to be on the team."
In 2007, the 'Noles tight end caught 11 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown. In 2006, he pulled in three receptions for 42 yards.
Lee Gordon is an Anchor/Reporter at WCTV in Tallahassee. Prior to his return to the Capital City, Lee spent three years as a Sports Anchor/Reporter at WTEV-WAWS in Jacksonville and prior to that was Sports Director at WCTV from 2000-2004. Lee has worked for Warchant.com for 5 years and brings over a decade of experience to our staff.
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