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November 2, 2005

Hoop dreams turn into football reality

SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. - If you're not a natural football player, college coaches say basketball and wrestling are where great athletes can be found and eventually turned into gridiron stars.

For Sherman Oaks Notre Dame offensive tackle Charlie Carmichael you could find him on the hardwood until he started playing football just three short years ago.

"I actually thought I was going to be a basketball player in college," Carmichael, who is 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, said. "I never really thought I would be a football player, but times change.

"Right now it's all about football. Two hundred seventy five pounds is an offensive lineman, not a forward in basketball. I just started playing football in high school, and I it's something I've turned out to be pretty good at."

Good enough to be considered one of the top junior offensive linemen in California. Carmichael has become good enough to be a big factor for Notre Dame, one of the top programs year in and year out in California.

"I'm real physical," Carmichael said. "I like that a lot. I'm not a cheap player, but I like to get physical. I like to be aggressive and make sure that I carry out my blocks. Some might think I'm a dirty player, but that's just because I'm always going hard until the whistle blows."

Carmichael loves being around a great program like Notre Dame, and he's become accustomed to the pressure that's placed on you when you play for the Knights.

"You get a good feeling here," he said. "Every game you win you get, you want to keep on doing it. It just builds on the great tradition here. The pressure does come with it, and you're expected to win all the time, but it feels good to come to a school like this and be in this position.

"It's a great honor to carry on the tradition. It's a whole new high. Going out there and it's like a different world. The fans screaming, but you don't even realize they're there. You go out there and lay it on the line with the guy next to you.

"That's what football here at Notre Dame is all about, and I'm proud to be part of the tradition."

Carmichael will get to carry on the tradition of having Notre Dame players go on to the next level. He will be a heavily recruited prospect next season. Early on he's not sure what to expect with the process or where he'll end up at.

"Anywhere would be Ok with me," he said. "I'm looking forward to the chance to play college ball. I think it'll be great. I've dreamed a long time about it. I just think that it would an honor to play college football, period.

"I'm getting mail already from Ole Miss, Arizona, Washington and USC. Like I said, I'm open to all teams if they're interested in me."


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