- Associated Press - Thursday, September 2, 2010

ROEBUCK, SOUTH CAROLINA (AP) - Charone Peake is relieved to have the very big weight off his 6-foot-4 shoulders entering his final high school season.

Let other football standouts take the visits, field the coach’s phone calls and read the text messages next January on the way to national signing day. Dorman High’s Peake is glad to pass on it all.

“I don’t think I’ll be missing anything,” Peake said.

He’s on The Associated Press South Region 25 list of recruits and plans to attend Clemson next year.


Not many colleges missed on Peake, a tall, speedy receiver who had coaches throughout the country traveling to Dorman’s campus, about 30 minutes from the North Carolina border.

“It’s easier to talk about the school that didn’t offer Charone,” Dorman coach David Gutshell said. “I didn’t hear from Texas. That’s about it.”

Notre Dame came calling, as did Southern Cal, twice, Gutshell said. Every school in the Atlantic Coast and Southeastern conferences offered Peake a scholarship and it promised to be a humdinger of a battle down the stretch to pick up the talented receiver.

But Peake is a quiet, thoughtful player who did not relish the late-night coach’s calls or continual visits. So ESPN’s No. 12 best prospect for 2011 put his pursuit to rest earlier this spring when he selected the Tigers over his second favorite, Georgia.

“Clemson had everything I was looking for,” Peake said.

Now, Peake has plans for a stress-free senior season that he hopes ends in similar fashion to his junior year. Peake caught 55 passes for 881 yards and nine touchdowns for Dorman. The year concluded with Peake’s 37-yard touchdown catch at South Carolina’s Williams-Brice Stadium as the Cavaliers defeated favored Byrnes High, 28-17, for a state championship.

Peake’s not looking to break 1,000 yards or reach 100 catches this season. That’s not what he’s about anyway, Gutshell said. “It’s all about team,” the coach says. “He wants to win that championship.”

Peake’s drawbacks? He’s a perfectionist who is hard on himself at any mistakes.

“When he drops a ball, we don’t hardly have to say anything,” Gutshell said. “He’s made at himself.”

He was a slender, fast eighth-grader when Gutshell saw him playing basketball and knew he was already close to varsity level. Dorman’s coaches prepped him for his freshman season and Peake delivered, catching a touchdown in his debut against Aiken four seasons ago. He has barely slowed down since then.

What makes Peake a special player, Gutshell says, is his speed and elusiveness after the catch.

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