Ohio State added another key piece to its highly ranked 2018 recruiting class Thursday, bringing another talented prospect to Urban Meyer’s program. What will the Buckeyes’ latest verbal bring to Columbus, on and off the field?
In case you missed the news as you were preparing to watch Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Thursday night, Ohio State picked up commitment No. 11 in its 2018 recruiting class when 4-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield committed to the Buckeyes over LSU, Wisconsin and a handful of other programs.
What are they getting from this big addition? Let’s take a look.
As a football player
The first thing you should notice about Chatfield is that he’s fundamentally different from most of the defensive ends Ohio State has recruited in the last few years. Part of that is because the Buckeyes have found themselves as a top school of interest for players such as Chase Young and Nick Bosa. But it’s also because a lot of the recruiting focus has been on finding ends who can move down and play inside as part of the newfangled “Rushmen” package that defensive line coach Larry Johnson wants to employ.
Chatfield is somewhere between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-3 and in the 220- to 225-pound range. Similar to a player such as 2016 5-star signee Jonathon Cooper, he goes the other way. He projects as an end who also can stand up and play a little bit of outside linebacker.
I asked one source familiar with Chatfield about his game and was given an interesting comparison.
“When I see him, I think of a guy like Noah Spence,” the source said. “He tried to commit to Ohio State a year ago but didn’t have the offer. Larry Johnson loves him, and he loves the Buckeyes. He’s got a great first step and really has good balance as a pass rusher. He could be a difference maker if he comes in and puts in the work.”
In his junior year at American Heritage High School, Chatfield recorded a whopping 24.5 sacks and helped lead the Patriots to a second consecutive state title. At a loaded regional camp in March for Nike’s The Opening, Chatfield earned the distinction of “alpha dog” as the top overall performer at the event, per 247Sports.com:
Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage edge rusher Andrew Chatfield dominated offensive tackles from start to finish. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder prospect used his elite quickness to consistently win his one-on-one reps. Chatfield ability to bend around the edge makes him a very effective pass rusher. LSU appears to have the edge in his recruitment.
What Ohio State is getting from Chatfield is a young, talented – but unfinished – player who could be an asset in a number of ways on the defense.
His role in the 2018 recruiting class
This is where things will get very interesting with respect to Chatfield.
If he’s a defensive end, he gives the Buckeyes their second player at the position for 2018, joining 5-star Georgia prospect Brenton Cox. If he’s a linebacker, he joins 4-star outside linebacker Dallas Gant as the second player at that position committed for 2018.
No matter what position he plays in college, his commitment means Ohio State is likely going to be faced with some very difficult choices in the coming weeks and months. The Buckeyes are right in the thick of things for a number of defensive linemen. That list includes Micah Parsons, Tyreke Smith and Daniel Carson, all of whom are very high on Ohio State. Smith and Carson project, potentially, as outside/inside combo type of linemen, so while they might not be directly affected by Chatfield’s commitment, there’s almost no doubt that players such as Aeneas Hawkins and Christopher Oats will be.
With the addition of Chatfield, Ohio State moves back into the No. 2 spot in the national recruiting rankings, trailing only Miami. The Buckeyes have 11 commitments and the Hurricanes have 18.
The off-the-field intangible stuff
Though it’s not really off the field, per se, Chatfield’s addition opens up some interesting possibilities for Ohio State in sunny South Florida.
In all, the Buckeyes have offered four defensive standouts at American Heritage, and they are a principal player in the recruitment of the other three: Tyson Campbell, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Nesta Silvera. With Chatfield on board, it appears the Buckeyes are in a position where landing three of the four players isn’t an entirely far-fetched idea. After signing Torrance Gibson from the school in 2015, it seems the relationships Zach Smith, Kerry Coombs and others have at the powerhouse school haven’t diminished.
To stay effective in recruiting in Florida, you’ve got to win at the state’s best football factories. With Ohio State entrenched at St. Thomas Aquinas and American Heritage, it’s in a great position moving forward in the Sunshine State.