Who is Irvin Charles?
☀️ Good morning.
Well unless you’re an NYR fan, apparently most of the players have forgotten how to play hockey as soon as the playoffs get up and running.
Anyway, we’re here to talk NY Jets football. There isn’t a ton of news to cover today, but we’re going to get to know the star of rookie minicamp just a little bit better.
Let’s dive in.
💪 Gavin Greene was in the building this past weekend working out on the defensive line as part of the rookie mini-camp. Greene is the son of the late Kevin Greene who clocked up 160 sacks on his way to the Hall of Fame. Greene was also an assistant under Todd Bowles in NY during the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
✍️ The Jets announced the signings of WR Calvin Jackson and OL Derrick Kelly who were at the Jets rookie mini-camp and in corresponding moves, cut WR DJ Montgomery and TE Brandon Dillon. Jackson caught 66 passes for 987 yards and 7 touchdowns last year for Washington State and was seen working as a return man during Jets’ rookie minicamp.
Both Calvin Jackson and Jermaine Johnson played for coach Jason Brown at Independence Community College which was featured in Netflix’s Last Chance U.
The Jets had a number of UDFAs in camp this weekend, but nobody stood out more than former Penn State recruit Irvin Charles. Charles spent three years at Penn State catching 3 passes for 110 yards and 1 touchdown.
As a former 4* recruit out of Haddonfield New Jersey who fielded numerous offers from Power 5 schools like Florida, Miami, and Alabama, it’s safe to say his time at Penn State didn’t go to plan.
James Franklin (Penn State’s Head Coach) once said that Irvin Charles was "Maybe the most talented wide receiver I've been around," - Considering that Charles finished his Nittany Lions career with more tackles on special teams than catches on offense, it’s a little difficult to piece it all together.
He was suspended from the team just before the Fiesta Bowl in 2017 for a “violation of team rules”, he had earlier missed a game against Nebraska rumored to be due to disciplinary reasons. For whatever reason, it just didn’t work out at Penn State, and having come in as a highly regarded recruit, there must have been a level of frustration for Charles.
Details around why Charles was dismissed from the team have never been disclosed, and he doesn’t want that to define him as a person or player.
“Everything that happened in the past doesn’t define me at all. I was just a young kid. I was fresh out of high school. I was finally on my own and making my own decisions. So, if anything, I just want to prove that like, I’ve grown, I’ve matured as a man” Charles said once enrolled at IUP
That certainly seemed to be the case at IUP, I checked in with Crimson Hawk head coach Paul Tortorella who confirmed that there had been no disciplinary issues for Charles while with the program and described Irvin as a “quiet, very unassuming individual, really nice guy”.
After sitting out the 2018 season, Charles transferred to the IUP Crimson Hawks, based in Pennsylvania. The expectation was that Charles would play in the 2019 season and he was in summer camp with the Hawks making catches and wowing teammates. Then IUP officials realized that Charles didn’t have enough credits to enroll as a graduate student and was listed as academically ineligible. He returned to Penn State to finish his degree as an out and out student, fast forward to 2021 and he was ready to return - “He showed tremendous perseverance waiting 2 years to get on the field at IUP” said Tortorella
“Having that stripped away from me at the last second hurt, it put a damper on things. But if anything, it served me a greater purpose. It made me work harder for when the opportunity did present itself. I wanted to be more than ready” Charles said at the Spring practice in the summer of 2021.
In 2021 he finished the season with 39 catches for 792 yards and 12 touchdowns, dominating the PSAC in division 2 football…as you’d expect from a former 4* recruit. But consider that he put up those numbers after missing years of football, years of coaching and conditioning, years to hone the skills, and years to develop in live-action.
In one game against Slippery Rock last season, Charles caught three touchdown passes during a 48-21 Crimson Hawk win, consider that before that game the Slippery Rock defense had allowed just 8 touchdowns in their first 6 games. Afterward, the Slippery Rock head coach Shawn Lutz called Charles a “red-zone nightmare”.
At 6’4 and 228lbs, Charles has the desired build to play on the outside at the NFL level. RAS has his forty at 4.66 which is relatively slow even for a man his size, but according to the testing results at The College Gridiron Showcase, an event that Charles participated in this off-season, his forty was timed at 4.50 and 4.47 which is an outstanding time for a receiver who’s pushing 230lbs.
I asked coach Tortorella what the Jets were getting with Irvin Charles: “Irvin has a great skill in making the 50/50 catch down the field when being covered by a Def back closely and is a tremendous receiver in the Red Zone and on the Goal - line because of his size and length”
When a UDFA start performing, the same thought usually pops up ‘Can they actually make the 53?’ - It’s always a long shot for a UDFA to make the roster, According to the NFL there were 486 UDFAs who made a teams 53 man roster last season. So that’s 486 of a total of 1696, or basically 29%. A lot of those guys won’t be first-year guys, a lot of them would have spent time on off-season rosters in previous years and worked their way up from practice squads.
If the Jets carry 7 wide receivers again in 2022 like they did in 2021, there are 3 spaces up for grabs. Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios and Corey Davis all have their places secured, which leaves the rest of the receivers fighting for 3 remaining places, I still believe Mims has an inside track on one of them, but the other two are for the taking, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see both Irvin Charles and Calvin Jackson Jr make the team.
While we’re on wide receivers, let’s just take a minute to talk about Denzel Mims. There is far too much negativity around Mims at the moment, you can’t tweet a positive without someone responding to say “show it on the field”…well he is showing it on the field, it’s what made Joe Douglas come out and praise him for coming back locked in, in great shape mentally and physically, and unfortunately it’s May so he can’t show it just yet. Are we not allowed to speak positively about a player? If there was a report out there about how he came in out of shape and unprepared people would be running with it, so why not find the positivity and run with that.
We all know that Mims has yet to perform up to the level expected of a 2nd round receiver. But 2021 was just a nightmare year, with the food poisoning, dropping 20lbs as a result, trying to work his way back only to get COVID and miss more time, it was just one of those years. Let’s not forget how excited we were about Mims following the 2020 season, even with inept coaching and playing catch-up, he made some splash plays on his way to a 23 reception, 357-yard season and that was with Adam Gase and Sam Darnold. It’s far too early to be giving up on a player entering year three and if a guy comes in locked in and receives praise from Joe Douglas, I’m gonna look and share that positivity.
Either this is all true, and it certainly looks that way from the footage we’ve seen from camp. Or the Jets are pumping up his value to try and trade him, in which case they’re doing a fine job. Maybe both are true.
Todd McShay released his way too early 2023 mock draft and he had the Jets taking Will Anderson Jr, the edge from Alabama: “Anderson is probably the best player in the 2023 draft class and is here at No. 3 only because the teams picking at Nos. 1 and 2 need quarterbacks. The 6-foot-4, 243-pounder is a special player with elite traits and great burst to the quarterback. He led the nation in sacks (17.5), tackles for loss (34.5) and pressures (79) last year. Pairing Anderson with Jermaine Johnson II (a first-rounder this year) could give New York one of the least expensive yet best overall edge tandems in the NFL.”
Tyler Calvaruso outlined his realistic expectations for each Jets draft pick saying this about Breece Hall: “Hall is going to team up with Carter to form a 1A-1B duo in Mike LaFleur’s backfield. It remains to be seen how exactly LaFleur will formulate game plans with the duo in mind, but he’ll be looking for Hall to compliment Carter as more of a workhorse. Hall shouldering a bit heavier of a load will be beneficial for the smaller Carter, who the Jets will be counting on as a high-impact player on the ground and through the air.”
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