ATHENS -- Orson Charles doesn't move like a tight end (no offense), he doesn't catch like a tight end (no offense) and he doesn't wear the number of a tight end (that's just math).
But Charles, No. 7, plays tight end for Georgia, and he played it well Saturday night.
On "Senior Day," the freshman had the game of his young career, catching four passes for 73 yards and a touchdown -- all in the first half.
"I told all the seniors, I have their back for the game," Charles said. "I wanted to go out with a bang. And I wanted them to remember this game."
Showing sticky hands and receiver-like quickness, Charles accounted for more than half of quarterback Joe Cox's seven completions and 143 yards passing in the first half.
But Charles didn't touch the ball in the second half and his performance was overshadowed in a 34-27 loss to Kentucky.
"I had a good half, but I didn't complete the game, and we didn't win, so all that doesn't matter," Charles said.
In a game where the Bulldogs needed receivers to emerge in the absence of the injured A.J. Green, Charles took the lead early. He caught as many passes in one first-quarter drive -- three -- as he had in any game to that point.
Charles, who caught a previous career-best three passes against Tennessee Tech, caught all three passes Cox threw his way on Georgia's first scoring drive for a field goal. Two of the passes came on bootleg plays for big gains: a 24-yard catch on the first play and a 13-yard catch five plays later.
Then Charles showed his soft hands on a diving catch over the middle for a 16-yard gain after Cox got hit as he released, forcing his throw off-target.
Charles' fourth catch of the first half was good for a 20-yard touchdown on a play-action pass down the left sideline. Charles dove into the end zone for his third touchdown of the season.
The 73 yards receiving were a career-high for Charles, topping the 62 yards receiving he had on two catches against Arkansas.
Kentucky was onto him by the start of the second half, and when the Bulldogs ran the bootleg on the first play of their second drive, Charles was covered closely. But that left Tavarres King free a little deeper down the field and Cox found him for a 37-yard gain. Georgia scored on Cox's 43-yard pass to Rantavious Wooten on the next play to go up 27-13.
Charles, who is 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, caught 75 passes for 1,440 yards as a senior at Plant High School in Tampa. This is nothing new to him, just maybe the start of something good.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.