Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. Today, we discuss one of LSU’s priority 2018 targets, Ja’Marr Chase, who made an unexpected commitment to Florida in July during Friday Night Lights. LSU has refused to turn down the pressure on the 4-star wide receiver, who will officially visit in the fall. Find every post of SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers recruiting notebook right here.
4-star WR Ja’Marr Chase close to shutting recruitment down?
METAIRIE, La. — Top-100 prospect Ja’Marr Chase didn’t plan on giving a commitment to Florida during his unofficial visit to Gainesville, Fla., for Friday Night Lights. But when the dust settled, it made sense.
Three weeks removed from his scheduled commitment announcement on the NFL Network at Nike’s The Opening Finals, Chase made the decision to return to Florida and explore his other options outside of LSU and TCU, the teams he was set to decide between on July 2 in Oregon. It turns out that Florida checked off all the boxes for Chase, allowing him to commit to the Gators upon his return home to New Orleans.
“When I got to Florida, it felt like I was at home,” Chase told SEC Country. “I had great communication with the coaches and going out and building those relationships was what I wanted to do. I felt real comfortable with it, so I committed. It just felt like it was the right place to be.”
Part of Chase’s comfort level with Florida had to do with 5-star quarterback Matt Corral, who behind the scenes, had plotted a decision to commit while both were in town. The two forged a relationship at The Opening Finals in Oregon, which transferred over to their joint visit for Friday Night Lights.
While the recruiting rankings suggest Chase is a blue-chip prospect, the truth is he does not enjoy the limelight of the process. The nation’s No. 100 overall prospect and the No. 20 wide receiver in the 2018 class, Chase’s decision to shut things down and commit to the Gators provided him with a sense of much-needed relief given the twists and turns that occurred earlier in the summer.
When asked if his recruitment was shut down, Chase had this response …
“I want to say yes, but I’m still looking,” he said. “I want to say yes because I don’t want to go through this again. I’m still listening. LSU still talks to me. TCU hits me up sometimes and I talk to them.”
LSU, TCU remaining in communication
Upon committing to Florida, Chase was in touch with both LSU and TCU immediately.
On one hand, TCU was expecting to land the wide receiver at the beginning of July. LSU had zeroed in on the state’s No. 4 overall prospect and was making countless attempts to appeal to him.
New Orleans area recruiter and wide receivers coach Mickey Joseph reached out to Chase and his family and made one thing clear to him moving forward.
“They just said, ‘Congrats’ and that he still wants me here [at LSU],” the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Chase said. “He said he’s still going to come after me, he’s going to come after me no matter what until signing day.”
Part of Joseph’s push centers around having the 4-star wide receiver on campus as often as possible in the fall. Joseph pushed for Chase and his family to visit in the days following his decision to pop to Florida, but the All-American receiver kept his plans under wrap out of respect to the Gators’ coaches.
Chase expects to be at several LSU home football games this season, as well as some TCU games and contests at Florida. He’s ensuring he makes the right decision in the end, which means he has to see the Tigers’ offense in person and whether it matches his expectations.
“I didn’t want it to be out yet,” Chase said, of his unofficial visit in July. “When I go up there, I want it to be more of a surprise. But I’m going to their games and stuff. I’ll go to Florida games, TCU games, just going to games to go to games and to watch.”
“One [reason] I didn’t consider being at LSU is because of their offense,” he said. “If they throw it more … they’ve got a new OC [offensive coordinator], so now I just got to go see it.”
Official visit plans
Chase aims to take all of five of his official visits. Three are surefire bets: Florida, LSU and TCU. Two more destinations remain up for grabs.
For context, LSU will have an opportunity to host Chase for several games in the fall, as well as an official visit. Chase is not an early enrollee, so a final decision won’t happen until signing day.
“LSU is in touch probably twice a week, telling me they want to get me up there and that they’re still coming after me,” Chase said. “I know that I’m going to Florida, TCU and LSU, but for sure I’m taking all five [official visits]. I want to take five. I have to.”
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