Considering USC’s proficiency of landing commitments from the area, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one of its top remaining targets is from the Atlanta suburbs.
Banneker (Ga.) defensive back Chaz Elder is an intriguing prospect rated as a top-15 safety nationally by both Rivals and ESPN. At 6-foot-2, he’s got the frame to become a college safety but also possesses the athleticism to play corner.
Elder had 87 tackles and three interceptions last season.
He’s been favoring the Gamecocks for months, though Georgia and Vanderbilt are also pressing hard for his services. A wildcard, Arizona State, has also entered the picture, giving Elder another option to consider in the short window before he’s expected to make a decision.
Banneker secondary coach Ryan Andrews joined GoGamecocks.com for a Q&A to discuss Elder and his recruitment:
Question: What makes Chaz special?
Answer: It’s kind of rare for a kid his age to understand how to play both safety and corner – and play them well. We’re talking about a 6-foot-2, 185-pound kid with a 6-foot-6 wingspan. That length gives him the ability to do things that most kids can’t at his age.
Q: What roles does he fill at Banneker?
A: He’s a safety. He plays corner. He returns punts. He returns kicks. He plays tight end, and he plays receiver. It just depends on what we need. Usually if we’re playing good receivers, we’ll play him at corner, but for the most part he’ll play safety. On offense, it just depends on what formation we call. In some formations, he’s a tight end. In certain formations, he’s a receiver.
Q: Does he have the physicality to play safety in college or would he be a better fit at corner?
A: That’s really what makes him unique. He does both well. He’s played safety all through high school, so the tackling and being able to play in the box are things he can do. He’s done it on film. But he’s also gone to various combines and workouts and shown that he can cover like a corner. That’s why South Carolina wants him to play corner.
Q: What will Chaz bring to the program he chooses?
A: He’s always even-tempered. I’ve never seen him get upset in three years of coaching him. Ever. I don’t care how hard the practice may be or how hard I’ve coached him or anybody else has coached him, he’s pretty much the same kid all the time. That keeps our guys from getting too emotional. He’s going to bring that to the school that he picks.
Q: What is Chaz looking for in a college?
A: First of all it’s something that’s not too far from home. His mom was really big on him not getting too far from home. Playing time, I think, was the most important thing, especially at corner. That’s what he really wants to do.
Q: What schools have a shot at his services?
A: South Carolina, Georgia and Vanderbilt are his final three. Despite the distance, he’s still kind of intrigued by Arizona State. They just came in, but I don’t think that’ll keep him from making a decision this month. Arizona State is an interesting school for him.