Five teams to watch in recruitment of four-star Ja’Marr Chase
Late last week, Rivals100 Metairie (La.) Rummel wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase became the first major recruit to de-commit from Florida following the exit of head coach Jim McElwain. Unlike some of the top prospects in the country who have made headlines with de-commitments in recent weeks, Chase doesn’t intend to sign in December, which means his recruitment could take plenty of twists and turns between now and February. Today we take a look at the five teams to watch as Chase restarts his recruitment.
Numbers are tight in Athens as the Dawgs' surprise season has opened plenty of doors on the recruiting trail. It remains to be scene if the Bulldogs will have room for another wide receiver in the class, but they have been working behind the scenes on Chase for quite some time. In fact, when Chase announced his intentions to back off his pledge to the Gators, five-star Georgia quarterback commit Justin Fields was one of the first people to publicly reach out. Add in the fact that Chase’s high school teammate and close friend Aaron Brule is also committed to Georgia and that Chase will be on campus for an unofficial next weekend, it’s clear that the Dawgs are a school to watch.
The Wolverines jumped into the mix later than most of the programs on this list, but they were also the first to lock in an official visit (Nov. 25). It’s not very often a player from the state of Louisiana looks hard at Michigan, but it’s clear Jim Harbaugh and his staff have already made an impression on Chase and his family. In order to become a serious contender, the Michigan staff will have to blow Chase away on the official visit, but with Ohio State in town it should be an electric atmosphere.
When it comes to any prospect from the state of Louisiana, the Tigers can’t be counted out. But their pursuit of Chase has seen its share of starts and stops and that might be the reason that he’s not on the Tigers' commitment list already. Over the past six weeks, LSU’s offense has started to look much more receiver-friendly and, despite the Tigers taking several prospects at the position in the 2018 class, Chase is likely to have a chance to see early playing time in Baton Rouge. He’s yet to schedule an official visit, but expect LSU to make a push for Chase the closer we get to February.
When Chase was set to announce his commitment in July, only to have it postponed by a timing snafu during a live TV broadcast, conventional wisdom said it was the Horned Frogs who were set to land his commitment. Less than a month later, Chase was in Gainesville and shortly thereafter he was on the Gators' commit list. But during that time, the Horned Frogs coaches have kept in contact with Chase and the school’s success on the field this season can only help their case. Add in that Chase’s friend and 7-on-7 quarterback Justin Rogers is committed to the Frogs, and helping recruit as well, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see the Frogs be heavily involved going forward.
Several other schools could be in this spot, and right now it seems like the Gators will be out of the picture going forward. However, with the right coaching hire, it’s not completely unrealistic to think Florida could get back in the mix. Chase already formed a close bond with several other Gator commits, including quarterback Matt Corral. If an offensive-minded coach gets the job in December (Chip Kelly?), the Gators will have the better part of two months to convince Chase that he’s needed more than ever in the Swamp. A lot of things would have to fall into place for it to happen, but Chase fell in love with the Gators once, so it’s possible it could happen again under the right circumstances.