Best of 2012: Stripe Hype Interviews Georgia Tight End Orson Charles

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Dec 3, 2011; Atlanta, GA, USA; Georgia Bulldogs tight ens Orson Charles (7) carries the ball past LSU Tigers defensive back Tyrann Mathieu (7) during the first half of the 2011 SEC championship game at the Georgia Dome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The Bengals selected TE Orson Charles from the University of Georgia in the fourth-round of the 2012 NFL Draft.  Charles attended Henry B. Plant High School in Tampa, Florida before attending Georgia. He was named a finalist for the 2011 John Mackey Award and was named All-SEC First Team in 2011 after he caught 45 passes for 574 yards and 5 TDs. Charles finished his college career having started 29 games for the Bulldogs, and caught 94 passes for 1,370 yards, a UGA career yardage record for tight ends. He also snagged and 10 TDs, which tied the school record for the position. He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season.

Let me start off by saying thank you for taking the time to sit down with us at

"I appreciate it. Thank you for having me in."

Give our readers a little info on who you are, what your values are, and how you got to where you are today.

"My mom always told me to never forget the people who help you to get where you are today. Always look to help and serve others. I always play for my God, and never let what other say get me down. I always wanted to do my best to be a good example for my younger brother. One of the reasons I got to where I am is because I decided at the age of 12 that I wanted to play in the NFL. I started working hard at a young age and it really paid off. I never listed to those who said I was too small, or too slow, or not strong enough. I just always wanted to do what was pleasing to my God and family."

How would you describe your draft weekend experience?

"All of my family was there. My pastor, Aubrey Shines, my mentor, Dr. Al Akair, my loved ones, and close ones. It wasn’t a party. I didn’t want it to be a draft party. I wanted it to be an opportunity to bring my family together. I wanted us al to enjoy it together. The draft was kind of bittersweet. I had people telling me that ‘Orson, you should have been picked here, or you should have gone higher in the draft’, but I was really just relieved and happy to be picked and was am where I am."

What was your honest feeling and reaction to receiving the call that you’d be drafted as well as hearing your name called?

"I just felt like at that moment, you realize its worth all of the hours you spent on the football field, in the film room, in the weight room, all the blood, sweat, and tears. I see my mom and brother and everyone else there who are so happy for me. Its an amazing experience."

What community projects, charities, and things of that nature in Cincinnati are you involved in?

"They’ve had us involved in a lot of things. One of the main ones we’ve done is working with the local food bank. I’ve really gotten involved with them. I’ve even formed a relationship with the manager there. I’ve actually gotten to go to the farm where a lot of their food is gathered, and helped them gather and collect food to be distributed at the food bank. I don’t just want to be known as Orson, the football player, but as Orson, the man who helps others."

Describe your football life. When did you start? How has your view of the game changed as you’ve gotten older.

"I feel like the biggest thing I’ve learned is when I realized I always needed to look to improve every aspect of my life. With football, I always look to go back to square one with my coaches on everything I learn to make sure I don’t miss anything. Attention to detail."

What do you feel is your greatest strength(s) as a football player?

"I really feel good about my catching ability. I’ve always played with a chip on my shoulder, and always looked to be relentless on the field. Whether I’m blocking or catching a pass, I always look to punish defenders. Another strength is my understanding of the game, as well as my love for the game."

Heading into training camp, what do you feel you need to improve on the most to make an impact in the NFL?

"Just keep improving and do everything in my power to get better so that I can make the 53-man roster and contribute in any way I can."