ORONO, Maine — Carlton Charles spent the 2012 season doing whatever he could to help out the University of Maine football team.
This season, the Windham High School product plans on making his contributions on the field.
Charles hopes to make his return to the Black Bears lineup at fullback when UMaine opens its season August 31 at Norfolk (Va.) State.
The 6-foot, 232-pound sophomore appears ready to play after missing last season with a back injury.
“I just want to help out the team whatever way I can — block, catch a pass — I don’t really care as long as I’m out on the field and contributing in a positive way,” Charles said recently.
Charles, the younger brother of former UMaine defensive lineman Raibonne Charles, hopes to provide the Bears with a presence at fullback. It is a position that has not been utilized consistently and effectively in recent years in the “spread” offense.
Charles appeared in all 13 games during UMaine’s run to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision national quarterfinals in 2011. He had three receptions that season and saw duty on special teams.
“Carlton’s back and healthy,” said UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove.
“We’re counting on him a lot in in our two-back situations,” he added.
Charles is expected to block for tailbacks Rickey Stevens and Nigel Jones, get an occasional carry and also has shown the ability to catch the ball.
It was a difficult 2012 for Charles, whose existing back issues worsened, forcing him to rest and rehabilitate.
Initially, he feared his career might be in jeopardy.
“I was worried about it at first,” he said. “You don’t really know, because your back is a really important part of your body.”
He wore a brace for three months, including 24 hours a day for the last two months. In the meantime, he did what he could for the team, helping out with drills during practices.
The experience, though frustrating proved to be an eye-opener.
“In a way I felt like it rejuvenated me to really know what it was like not to be able to play, so this year I’m really excited to get back on the field,” Charles explained.
Cosgrove is encouraged by what he’s seen from Charles during the offseason and training camp.
“He’s a good football player,” Cosgrove said. “He got through the spring healthy and [has been] very good, very active, very energized in camp.”
Husson’s Wiggins recognized
Ernest Wiggins of Husson University in Bangor has been selected by Beyond Sports Network as a member of the Division III Preseason All-America Third Team.
The senior defensive lineman from Bridgeport, Conn., will serve as a co-captain on this year’s squad, which is coached by Gabby Price.
Wiggins racked up 93 tackles, including 12 sacks, and recovered eight fumbles last season for Husson. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder was named to the All-Eastern Collegiate Football Conference First Team for his efforts.
Husson opens its season Sept. 7 at Division III Hartwick in New York.