Welcome to SEC Country’s daily Eye on the Tigers, a rundown of everything happening in LSU Tigers recruiting, with Sam Spiegelman. In this edition, we discuss former Ohio State commit Andrew Chatfield, who is closely considering LSU, Florida and the Buckeyes. We break down the Tigers’ unique edge.
LSU’s edge over Florida, Ohio State for Andrew Chatfield
PLANTATION, Fla. — A flood of Crystal Ball picks have poured in for Andrew Chatfield to Florida since the Gators offered the South Florida defensive end at Friday Night Lights over the summer.
At the time, the 4-star pass rusher still was committed to Ohio State. Chatfield reopened his recruitment in August but doesn’t have a leader. He still is calculating his options but knows three schools that are in the thick of it.
Consider LSU, Florida and Ohio State as the teams to watch for the American Heritage (Fla.) High School standout. LSU was the team with all of the momentum for Chatfield in the spring before he was offered by and then committed to the Buckeyes. The Gators are the in-state team and the presumptive favorite, but Chatfield provided a reason the Tigers remain a team in play.
“They have always tried to keep a relationship with me,” Chatfield told SEC Country. “They have always kept talking to me — about my position there and asking how my family has been. They’ve done a good job of recruiting me, and that’s the one thing I can say about them right now.”
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound defensive end last visited Baton Rouge in the spring, when he made an unofficial stop along with teammates and top targets Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell. LSU was pushing hard then and didn’t stop after Chatfield gave a verbal pledge to Ohio State three months later.
While he once was committed to the Buckeyes and is a newly minted target for the Gators, Chatfield is well aware of which team has been pushing for him the longest.
“They have always been the same about it,” he said of LSU. “They tell me that I’m a big-time player and that I can wait all the way to the end with us. That was really cool what they were saying. They’re all the way in with me, and the way I see it, it’s a blessing for a school to have my back for that long.”
The fact the Tigers coaching staff is willing to wait bodes well for its chances because Chatfield has no exact timeline to make a decision.
Chatfield visited Gainesville, Fla., and caught LSU’s 17-16 victory over Florida from the sidelines. That was an unofficial visit; he won’t begin to take his officials until after his senior season.
LSU, Ohio State and Florida are surefire bets to host Chatfield for official visits. The Tigers have put themselves in that position as a result of a strong push from not only outside linebackers coach Dennis Johnson but some assistance from Ed Orgeron.
“They tell me, ‘Come to LSU,’ ” Chatfield said, smiling. “They tell me that they’ve got my back and it’s a family there and to always play as hard as I can. They [LSU] mainly say the same things [as Ohio State and Florida]. They’re all mainly equal, but LSU has been doing it before a lot of them.”
The Tigers are courting Chatfield to be a hybrid defensive end, outside linebacker in the 3-4 defense, which is comparable to what the 4-star prospect does at his high school. Chatfield often lines up with his hand in the dirt, but he also steps back and rushes from a stand-up position. He also drops back into coverage and sees snaps on both sides of the formation and, at times, as an inside linebacker.
Johnson has tried to capitalize on Chatfield’s position versatility by coaching him from afar. That includes exchanging film with the top-20 weakside end, which he has used during his senior season.
“We talk about playing defensive end, outside linebacker, and he sends me film showing me good moves and some new things that I can use on the field,” Chatfield said of his conversations with Johnson. “I take that in a lot.”
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