When the area's best players converged on Augusta Marriott Hotel and Suites last week, Nigel Charles was still not certain where he would play football next season.
Charles, Evans' senior defensive end who was honored by The Augusta Chronicle , WJBF-TV and the Greater Augusta Sports Council with a spot on the All-Area Georgia defensive team, had narrowed his choices to Coastal Carolina, Savannah State and South Carolina as National Signing Day approached.
Coastal's Chanticleers were thought to be Charles' top choice, and the school was listed as Charles' choice when his name was called at the All-Area banquet. But Charles said afterward a final decision hadn't been made.
He said he was leaning toward Coastal, but that he was still talking to the Gamecocks. Charles was clear, though, that he didn't want to go somewhere he would get lost in the shuffle.
"I want to go where I can get some guaranteed play time and develop," Charles said. "That's what every athlete wants. Those big colleges, sometimes, they might not have that for me."
Charles said Vanderbilt had expressed interest in him as a defensive back, a prospect Charles could only shake his head at. He said he had trouble contacting Savannah State and thought the school's recruiting contact might have changed.
Charles recorded 10 sacks and 15 tackles for loss during his breakout senior campaign. He started his high school career at Lakeside, where he said he didn't have the opportunity to play defense.
He spent his first year with the Knights learning behind the defensive front of Trey Golston, Tim Tillman and Mykel Green. He emerged this season as one of the Knights' biggest surprises.
His accomplishments were honored at the All Area banquet Jan. 22.
"It was beautiful," Charles said afterward. "It was nice to be around all these guys that played on my level."
Also in attendance from Columbia County was Greenbrier defensive lineman Dylan Turner, who has committed to Air Force. Charles' teammate, defensive back Brandon McCladdie, also was in attendance as a first-team selection.
Augusta Christian placed multiple players on the Independent schools first team.
Lions senior William Banks, the Lions' most versatile player, said he is in talks with Georgia Southern. Banks played running back, quarterback and wide receiver during his high school career. Lions coach Bruce Lane said he thinks Banks will play defensive back in college.
Lions lineman Jonathan Gibbs said he will play for Brevard College next season.
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