Future on the field

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Stefan Charles is working towards a career kicking ass and taking names

Ed Kapp
Sports Writer

Ever since Stefan Charles first stepped on the gridiron in the 10th grade, the Scarborough product has wanted to someday make his living in the world of professional football.

“It was everything that I liked,” said Charles, who is now an important member of the University of Regina Rams defensive line. “It was aggressive, you had to work hard … I liked it from the very get-go.”

Though Charles played basketball and soccer in his youth, it soon became clear to those around him that his aspirations of one day playing in the highly competitive world of professional football may be within his reach.

“My coaches told me that I had the fastest first step that they had ever seen and, if I worked hard enough, I could probably go pretty far,” recounted Charles, who spent a season under the tutelage of former CFL all-star defensive lineman Daved Benefield while playing in the British Columbia Football Conference.

More than half a decade since Charles – who is to play his final campaign as a Ram this year – first tried his hand at football, the 2011 first-team all-Canadian is closer than ever to making his living in the world of football.

According to Akiem Hicks – who has spent the past two CIS campaigns helping hold down the Rams’ defensive line – the future appears to be quite bright for Charles.

“He is going to anchor the Regina Rams’ defence,” said Akiem Hicks, a teammate of Charles and a two-time Canada West all-star who will most likely hear his name called at this year’s NFL draft. “He has the ability to be something amazing and I know that right now he’s grinding. He’s in the gym, he’s hitting the weights, he’s running.

“I think that when he gets his chance, he’s going to make the most of it and he’s going to be an unstoppable force. So, my predictions for Stefan Charles for next year: I say all-Canadian, J. P. Metras winner, straight to the league … Either [the CFL or the NFL].”

Although he is closer than ever to entering the professional game at this point in his career – and is, by all accounts, ready to take the next step in the sport – Charles, who is studying to become a social worker and currently works as a youth-care worker with the Ranch Ehrlo Society, has aspirations outside of the sport, too.

“I want to be able to help kids,” said Charles, who grew up in a single-parent household with his older brother. “I haven’t had that role model or even that person that would take that much time to make sure that you’re on the right track, you know? For the kids that grew up in Toronto, I can relate to that.

“… The community that I come from is different. I just feel that I could give back more and make sure that kids are on the right track and not going down the wrong road.

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