College football recruiting has gone through some interesting changes in recent years, with social media and services such as Hudl helping athletes get noticed.
On Tuesday, we noted some of the changes and how it has affected how local athletes get their name out there to coaches all over the country.
On Wednesday, we took a closer look at Union quarterback Lincoln Victor who is not likely going to be a quarterback in college but instead will move to receiver.
Today, we shift to one of the top recruits in the state, and one of the biggest recruits in years from Clark County, Union defensive back and wide receiver Darien Chase.
Union’s all-everything football player has offers from four Pac-12 programs
VANCOUVER — Oh, he looks good in those colors, doesn’t he?
Guess that depends on your point of view.
Union football standout Darien Chase has posted several pictures on Twitter in recent months, modeling different college football uniforms. It is his way of showing gratitude to the coaches and programs who are recruiting him.
When he posted a picture of him in an Oregon State uniform, some congratulated him, possibly thinking he had made a decision.
Before reading anything more in this story, it is important to note that Darien Chase has not made a decision. At least not publicly. That, he said, will come in August.
Since the Oregon State photo shoot, Chase also has posted pictures of him in a Washington uniform, an Oregon uniform, and most recently, a Utah uniform.
“I’m pretty much focused on them,” he said of the four Pac-12 schools. “I’ll have a pretty good idea of where I’ll stand with all those schools.”
While the recruiting process can become a grind, it also has its benefits. Those photo shoots are memory makers. At one school, he walked into a room and the entire coaching staff stood up and cheered for him.
“I was stunned,” Chase said. “That’s the craziest thing.”
He still cannot get over the fact that he is “known” by anyone at that level.
“When the head coach knows you, that kind of surprised me a couple of times,” Chase said.
Oh, they know him.
Chase is one of the top five recruits in Washington among high school students in the Class of 2019. He will have one more season with Union and he expects to sign with a college program next winter. He could be a defensive back in college or a wide receiver.
“I really, really like him. I think he’s a dynamic two-way athlete,” said Ryland Spencer, an analyst working for Cascadia Preps, covering high school football and recruiting in the Northwest. “I think he’s a Pac-12 player. No doubt in my mind that he is. He is the best defensive prospect in the state of Washington in the 2019 recruiting class.”
Union coach Rory Rosenbach described Chase as the most talented player he has coached in 20 years.
“He is just a football guy. He makes every catch. He covers whoever needs to be covered,” Rosenbach said. “He’s real quiet. He’s super competitive but doesn’t appear that he is because he is so calm and relaxed. Once the ball is snapped, he is locked in. He never backs down from a challenge.”
Chase said Oregon and Utah want him as a defensive back. Oregon State likes him as a wide receiver. Washington offered him as an “athlete,” which just means the Huskies will figure it out if he ends up in Seattle.
“I honestly don’t know,” Chase said of his preference, adding that each of those schools have a “perfect” plan for him and whichever one he selects will be for the best. “I really don’t care which side of the ball. I love both.”
On Twitter, he gave a shout-out to Oregon State for “showing love.” For Oregon, he wrote he “had an amazing visit down in Eugene.” Later, he called it “a great day at UW.” And recently, he said his official visit to Utah “blew me away.”
From those photos, Chase looks like he is having a lot of fun on the recruiting trail. Yes, he is, but he also has learned a lot in this process.
“It is pretty stressful sometimes, too,” Chase said. “The salesmanship, trying to figure out what is true and what’s not. And getting pushed to make a decision.”
When he does, that will be another tough part of the recruiting process, one that does not get a lot of attention: the conversation with a coach to say “thank you, but …”
“You make relationships with the coaches quickly. Saying ‘no’ will be hard,” Chase said. “At the same time, it’s a business decision. They understand. It happens.”
Chase intends to make his decision before his final high school football season. He has picked Aug. 20 — his mother’s birthday.
“I’ll probably just put it on Twitter,” Chase said.
He has plenty of photos to choose from for his announcement.