MARRERO, La. — Of all the mixups in the 2018 recruiting cycle, the one that fell on LSU wide receiver signee Ja’Marr Chase might’ve been the most publicized. And the most eye opening.
Back on July 2, 2017, Chase was scheduled to announce his commitment live on the NFL Network at halftime of The Opening, set to choose between TCU and LSU. Unfortunately, because of a scheduling conflict, Chase was bumped from the production and wasn’t able to commit on live television.
And did this ever work out for LSU. Chase knows he would’ve committed to TCU without a second thought if he had the chance on the NFL Network. The Horned Frogs were his leader at the time, and everything added up to Chase making his way to Fort Worth.
But that afternoon, everything changed. Chase went from wholeheartedly believing TCU was the school for him to doubting everything he had believed throughout his recruitment.
SEC Country visited Chase on Feb. 28 and asked him to talk through his mixup at The Opening, the events that followed and how it led to his LSU commitment. Here is a transcript of what Chase said:
SEC Country: You went to The Opening wanting to commit. Walk us through what happened behind the scenes.
Chase: The TCU commitment, it wasn’t a second thought in my mind. I knew I was committing there. I’d been plotting on that since two weeks, three weeks before. I was going to commit while I was up there. I was talking to an ESPN analyst and he told me if I wanted to commit up there, all I had to do was tell him. I had my hat. [4-star Louisiana quarterback and TCU signee] Justin Rogers, he was talking to me about it. He brought up a hat for me. I was ready to commit. Then I got kicked off the network somehow. After that, I looked at that as a sign. Maybe I should follow another step, maybe I should do something else. That’s what I did.
SEC Country: That was your grandmother’s birthday?
Chase: Right. July 2nd.
SEC Country: Why was it so important to commit on her birthday?
Chase: She had cancer. She died from cancer. I wanted to make it a special moment for her because she was back at home watching on TV. Her favorite color was purple, and I had a purple hat. I just wanted to see her smile.
SEC Country: How hard did you take it when you got bumped?
Chase: You know, once it happened, I was angry it about. But I got back by the team. I just let all that go because I had no control over it. So I had to overcome everything. I was, at that time, I was walking back thinking I was still going to commit. And then I was just thinking while the game was going on, I was just thinking about how could that happen. I was planning on this for so long and it just happened like this out of the blue. Something has to be wrong. That’s when I called my dad and he was just like, ‘We’re going to talk about it when you get back down here.’
SEC Country: How did you come to the decision that this was a sign?
Chase: Everything happens for a reason. You might not know why, but everything happens for a reason.
SEC Country: Does this still make you angry?
Chase: I would see it as a good thing. I went on my official [to TCU] too. I liked it, but I felt weird about it once I went back up there my second time. But I was messing with TCU since my sophomore year. I had a good relationship with them through my senior year. Being up there, I just didn’t like how I was. It had a beautiful town and beautiful coaches up there. I just didn’t feel like it was the right fit for me.
SEC Country: What pushed you to believe this is happening for a reason?
Chase: My first time committing was to Kansas, and I felt like I rushed it. And then after, that’s when all the fans and all the people that didn’t like what happened or whatever, that’s when I actually saw what was going on and how stuff works. I just was thinking about what I was going to do and how I was going to do everything. I just kept praying about it, thinking hopefully God shows me the right way.