Who is Charles Gaines, the 5-foot-11, 190-pound junior who plays cornerback for the University of Louisville football team?
An individual who was keeping some of his teammates and other onlookers in stitches during Saturday’s scrimmage at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. One who isn’t bashful about his own accomplishments and unrestrained from pointing out flaws in his teammates. One who is constantly talking, endlessly, on and on.
Coach Bobby Petrino, knowing the players listen to Gaines, pay attention to all the chatter and respect him for his abilities, joining the coaches and players in making Gaines one of the five co-captains. Former coach Charlie Strong wasn’t so appreciative of the hyper activity, benching Gaines the last five games of his freshman season.
Gaines is one of the quickest players on the team, clocked at a speed of 4.31 seconds in the 40-yard dash during pre-season workouts. After finishing second to Corvin Lamb in the 40-yard workouts, he said, “Muhammad Ali lost, too, but he’s still the greatest.”
(What’s up with all the formality anyway, Charles? Every Charles I’ve ever known preferred being Charlie.)
He would be a threat to score on either offense or defense, Petrino deciding cornerback was where he could best contribute this season. Don’t be surprised, however, if he returns a few kicks this season or winds up in an offensive formation. Just too much speed and maneuverability to be ignored.
He scored three touchdowns last season, including a kick return, an interception return and a blocked punt return. In his first full season on the defensive side, recording 22 tackles and leading the team in interceptions with five picks, including four in the last six games.
The Miami native, a product of Miami Central, helped his high school team win the 6-A state title with a crucial interception and subsequent touchdown return during his senior year.
Gaines is a natural-born entertainer, whether he’s in the game or on the bench, a sideshow all to himself. He’s good, knows it and expects to excel on the field. Watch for him to take his act to a new level this season.