Colorado State football head coach Jim McElwain has said that last season was good for the Rams, but this year they want to be even better. He referred to it as “The Climb,” and preached that every practice and every game is another rung in the ladder. This season, no other player on the Rams’ roster has taken that slogan to heart quite like senior wide receiver Charles ‘Chuck’ Lovett, a player who will not be on the roster next season.
Chuck is coming off of what is perhaps the biggest one-reception game of his career. His one catch last Saturday against Boston College ended up being the game-winning touchdown, solidifying the biggest regular-season win the Rams have had in years.
“It was kind of a surreal moment,” Lovett said. “I just kept telling my teammates ‘Wow, I can’t believe it.’ That’s something you grow up wishing that you could do every day of your life, catching a game-winning pass for a touchdown.”
It was not surprising that Rams senior quarterback Garrett Grayson found Chuck in the end zone to win the game, because according to Grayson, Lovett is one of his most dependable targets.
“You could say he’s a guy that you can count on to run his routes and be where he’s supposed to be,” Grayson said. “He’s very smart, he understands coverages. He’s a guy in key situations that I like to go to because I know he’s going to make a play for me.”
Grayson and Chuck are both seniors who are in their last seasons with the Rams, so there is a special connection between them and the other seniors.
“There’s this feeling between us all that we know what it takes to be successful because we’ve come from the bottom and now we’re starting to play with those top programs,” Grayson said. “We’ve seen what it takes to get there, so there is that feeling between everyone that we want to go out the right way.”
But if you thought Lovett would bask in the glory of scoring the winning touchdown against Boston College, you were wrong. His focus has already shifted to the next obstacle the Rams must overcome as they continue “The Climb”.
“We know that wasn’t the last game,” Lovett said. “We know that wasn’t the last catch of the season or the last play of the season. We have bigger goals. If that was the last game of the season we wouldn’t be in practice right now, so we still got more to accomplish.”
In his senior year, Lovett has not yet done everything he wants to. He still has goals, both personally and for the team, and plans on working harder than ever to see them through.
“I feel like any player always has continuous goals no matter what,” Lovett said. “I want to win every game on our schedule from this point on, get to a bowl game, and have another feeling like we did last year.”
But he knows that looking too far ahead can be dangerous, especially with a game coming up this Saturday.
“The confidence in the locker room is very high after beating an ACC team,” Lovett said. “But we just have to remember that we lost to Tulsa last year; we can’t overlook these guys.”
Lovett also admitted that with this being his last season, there are certain emotions and feelings he is experiencing that are new to him.
“I know it’s my last one,” Lovett said. “It’s the last time I’m going to play Tulsa, and the last time I’m going to play (teams like) Boise State, so I just got to go out and give everything I have and get ready for the next step in my life.”
Although the thought of Lovett graduating and leaving the team behind is a somber one, he does leave behind a legacy of his own that his teammates will not soon forget.
“It’s just the small things that Chuck does,” sophomore wide receiver Rashard Higgins said. “Chuck makes us laugh. It’s a good feeling having Chuck on the inside. He’s a great leader and he leads by example. The sky is the limit for Chuck; that’s my boy.”
Despite his small stature, the man they call “Big Chuck” has done nothing short of live up to his nickname in his time as a Ram.
Collegian Sports Reporter Steven Jacobs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @steven_jacobs_.