When Oklahoma offered Charles Tapper a football scholarship in 2011, the City star had played just one season of organized football.
On Thursday night, Tapper helped his Sooner teammates beat No. 3 Alabama, 45-31, in the Sugar Bowl. The sophomore made two tackles in No. 11 Oklahoma's win.
Tapper, who starred on the basketball court for the Knights and Nike Baltimore Elite before exploding on the gridiron as a tight end and defensive end for George Petrides, was lured to Norman, Okla., by defensive assistant coach Bobby Wright.
“He treated me like a father figure,” Tapper told The Baltimore Sun in July 2011. “He always tells me the truth. … Hopefully I will get to play [early]. They say as long as I work hard, the sky’s the limit.”
The Sooners were the first program to offer Tapper a scholarship, though he also received offers from Rutgers, Maryland, San Diego State, Penn State, West Virginia and Miami.
Tapper had 100 tackles and five sacks as a senior at City and also caught 10 passes for 200 yards and five touchdowns. As an Oklahoma freshman, Tapper played in five games and made two tackles in a 52-7 win over Kansas.
The 6 foot 4, 261-pound defensive end emerged as a playmaker this season, starting in 11 of 12 games as a sophomore and making 47 tackles, including nine tackles for a loss and 4.5 sacks. Tapper was named to the All-Big 12 First Team by coaches and Second Team by the Associated Press.
Tapper wasn't the only local recruit playing in the Sugar Bowl. Cyrus Jones Jr., a Gilman graduate, made one tackle and broke up a pass for Alabama.