Most things in T.J. Chase’s life revolve around football and his future in it. But when it came to making one of his biggest decisions to date, the 2016 Division I recruit had something else on the mind.
Chase announced Thursday via Twitter that he transferred from Plant City to Bradenton’s IMG Academy, a program known for Heisman Trophy winning coach Chris Weinke and flashy facilities. Those things, however, weren’t Chase’s motivating factors.
“I just wanted to come here for a better education,” he said. “It’s really all-around, I just want to be better prepared.”
A rising junior, Chase has picked up 22 offers so far, including ones from Alabama, Florida and Michigan. A shoulder injury kept him out of three Plant City games last season, but Chase still led the Raiders in receiving with 562 yards, adding 43 tackles as a defensive back.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound athlete said he first became interested in transferring in March while playing at a 7-on-7 tournament at IMG. His parents then contacted the school, he said, and things began falling into place.
IMG, which is heading into its second season of football, has claimed four other Tampa Bay players: Tyree St. Louis (Tampa Bay Tech), John Tauber (Palm Harbor University) Shane Dixon (PHU) and Tony Jones (St. Petersburg Catholic).
Chase, who has already met with the defensive backs and wide receivers coaches at IMG, said he’ll miss his teammates and coaches at Plant City, but looks forward to the opportunities his new school will provide.
“They’re just always trying to do what they can to make us better,” Chase said “and I appreciate that.”