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2016 standout T.J. Chase heads to IMG

Plant City’s T.J. Chase is the fifth bay area player in two seasons to take his talents to Bradenton.

Plant City’s T.J. Chase is the fifth bay area player in two seasons to take his talents to Bradenton.

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 had 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, including ones from Alabama, Florida and Michigan. A shoulder injury kept him out of three 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).

Recruiting: Canterbury shortstop Taylor Bump has committed to play softball at Michigan. Bump helped the Crusaders win two straight Class 2A state titles. This past season, Bump hit .557 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs. She is the second player from Canterbury's heralded 2017 class to make her college plans official. Last year, catcher Danielle Romanello committed to Florida. The Wolverines are coached by Carol Hutchins, who has more than 1,000 career victories and led the program to a national title in 2005.

2016 standout T.J. Chase heads to IMG 07/10/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 10, 2014 5:44pm]
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