Last year, “Orange Carpet Day” produced eight commitments on that Saturday. This year, the annual event waited a week before yielding pledges for the Vols.
Rome (Ga.) defensive tackle Jamarcus Chatman made it three commitments for UT from the state of Georgia in two days on Sunday night, officially pulling the trigger with a Twitter pledge after a week-long social media love affair with Tennessee following last weekend’s visit.
Shortly after he left Knoxville, he decommitted from LSU, where he’d been bound to coach Ed Orgeron. Basically everything on his Twitter account since then has been regarding UT. On Sunday night, he gave Tennessee some big-time news with his decision. The 3-star defensive lineman doesn’t have the offer sheet of a normal 3-star player.
He chose Tennessee over LSU, Clemson, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Southern Cal and others. Maybe if Georgia (where his high school teammate and buddy Adam Anderson is entertaining along with LSU where he’s currently committed) were to offer Chatman, things could get interesting.
But he is definitely sold on the Vols, where he has family ties. His family wants him in orange, and his sister-in-law actually went to UT and is a huge Tennessee fan, and his brother is a Tennessee fan, too. According to 247Sports, he’s the nation’s No. 30 defensive tackle, but a lot of teams love the explosion and size of the 6’3″, 267-pound lineman.
Plus, it never hurts to have a kid say something like this that Chatman said in an interview with GoVols247’s Ryan Callahan:
“When I decommitted from LSU, that’s where I knew I wanted to go,” said Chatman, who’s ranked the No. 397 overall prospect and No. 30 defensive tackle in the 247Sports Composite for the 2018 class.
“After visiting, that place is just amazing. … I was going to wait (to decide). But I was thinking, ‘Why wait when I know where I’m going to go?’”
The Vols would probably love to get in on Anderson, but they don’t appear to be a serious option there right now. As for Chatman, he’s a big-time get for Tennessee, considering his athleticism on the interior and the frame to hold a lot more weight. He also plays for a North Georgia powerhouse that is used to winning big. It’s yet another major win for new defensive line coach Brady Hoke, who is proving to be a great hire. Also, Chatman’s primary recruiter was linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen, who finally landed another big fish in the Peach State.
He fills a major need for the Vols, who didn’t exactly hit a home run in defensive line recruiting in the 2017 class. Though the Vols are excited about the futures of Matthew Butler and Eric Crosby on the interior, they also took some developmental players such as Kivon Bennett, Ryan Thaxton, Marquez Bembry and Deandre Johnson.
This year’s class looks — at least on paper — like it has a much higher “boom” ratio. Chatman will team with Tennessee in-state defensive tackles D’Andre Litaker and Brant Lawless to form a stellar trio. Elite in-state lineman Greg Emerson and defensive end Jordan Davis, who is committed to Alabama, are still on the board. But the Vols have three strong defensive tackles in the fold, and that’s a major deal at this point of the recruiting cycle.
Also, it’s possible Chatman could be a “swing” player who could play on the interior or exterior, depending on where the Vols need him the most, much like guys such as Jonathan Kongbo, Kyle Phillips and others. It’s nice to have a few players with that kind of versatility, and Chatman has the type of athleticism and explosive that can allow for that, though his highest ceiling is probably as a 280-290-pound interior lineman. Regardless, he can play either the 3- or 5-technique, and that’s big news for a Vols team needing linemen.
This is a big commitment for the Vols.