Chad Thomas spent the past three seasons menacing opposing quarterbacks at the University of Miami.
It looks like he knows who he’d like to have as his successor in Coral Gables.
Thomas, a former star defensive end at Booker T. Washington, got a chance to spend some time recently with a fellow South Florida rising star, Plantation American Heritage senior Andrew Chatfield, during his official visit to UM.
After the visit, Thomas tweeted at Chatfield that the No. 9 Thomas wore at UM — the same number Chatfield wears at Heritage — is his should he choose to come to Coral Gables.
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On Wednesday, we’ll find out if Chatfield, a 6-2, 220-pound defensive end is indeed joining the Hurricanes or choosing UM’s longtime rival, the University of Florida, instead when he declares on National Signing Day on Feb. 7.
Chatfield, rated the No. 13 weak-side defensive end in the nation by 247sports.com, would be a huge get for a Canes’ class that’s already beefing up its future defensive front with fellow American Heritage lineman Nesta Silvera (expected to sign Wednesday with Miami) and having already signed Champagnat Catholic’s Gregory Rousseau and South Dade’s Patrick Joyner.
Charles Fishbein of Elite Scouting Services, who has scouted players from the state of Florida for several years, compared Chatfield to former Miami Jackson High star and NFL All-Pro Elvis Dumervil.
“[Chatfield] is very underrated,” Fishbein said. “He’s an old school type player. He’s one of those guys that’s kind of like a [former UM linebacker] D.J. Williams type, or Cornelius Green or an undersized pass rusher like Dumervil.
“He can get up the field and put pressure on the quarterback. With the game more to the spread [offense], you want guys that can pressure the quarterback and there aren’t that many that are better than him.”
Chatfield has recorded 38.5 sacks over the past two seasons while helping American Heritage win back-to-back state titles.
Many expect he will end up in Coral Gables this fall where he could make an impact relatively early on a defense that has seen freshman rise into key roles quickly over the past two seasons under UM coach Mark Richt.
But the Gators, under recently-hired coach Dan Mullen, have made a big push for Chatfield in the hopes of strengthening its own recruiting class.
“Florida has a really legit shot at him,” Fishbein said. “[Mullen] is a very good coach. He won at Mississippi State so I don’t think he’d have a problem winning at that school.”
THE PLACE TO BE
American Heritage will be one of the prime spots to be on National Signing Day with Chatfield announcing alongside Pat Surtain, Jr. and Tyson Campbell, rated the top two cornerbacks in the nation by 247sports.com.
ESPN will be broadcasting the Patriots’ ceremony live on Wednesday morning as somewhere between 11 and 18 football players according to the school’s athletic director Karen Stearns will be signing letters of intent.
LSU is the favorite for Surtain, Jr. (6-1, 200), who is the son of Louisiana native and former Miami Dolphins cornerback Pat Surtain.
National runner-up Georgia is said to be the favorite to land Campbell (6-2, 180), but the Hurricanes have tried to make a push.
“I think Pat Surtain is the best DB down here since Patrick Peterson and he’ll make an immediate impact,” Fishbein said. “He’s big, long, athletic, and can run.
“Tyson doesn’t get as much hype, but he’s got really good size. He can play corner or safety. They’re both very good players. You just look at the secondary and the players these guys have played with like Quincy Wilson and some of the other guys they’ve had there, they’ve had some pretty good players around these guys. There’s not too many high school secondaries that could end up having four or five guys in the NFL one day.”
In addition to Silvera, a longtime UM commitment, speedy wide receiver and track sprinter Anthony Schwartz is expected to sign with Auburn. Running back Miles Jones is also committed to Nebraska.
TOP 25 BROWARD SENIOR RECRUITS
Rank, name, pos., school, height, weight, college
1. Patrick Surtain;CB;American Heritage;6-1;200;Undecided
2. Tyson Campbell;CB;American Heritage;6-2;180;Undecided
3. Asante Samuel Jr.;CB;St. Thomas Aquinas;5-10;165;FSU
4. Xavier Williams;WR;Chaminade;6-1;190;Alabama
5. Kevin Austin;WR;N. Broward Prep;6-3;200;Notre Dame
6. Nesta Silvera;DT;American Heritage;6-2;310; UM
7. Al Blades Jr.;CB;St. Thomas Aquinas;6-0;170;UM
8. Anthony Schwartz;WR;American Heritage;6-0;170; Auburn
9. Nik Bonitto;OLB;St. Thomas Aquinas;6-3;205;Oklahoma
10. Andrew Chatfield;DE;American Heritage;6-2;220;Undecided
11. Elijah Moore;WR;St. Thomas Aquinas;5-11;180;Ole Miss
12. Rosendo Louis;MLB;Deerfield Beach;6-1;225;South Carolina
13. Shaun Shivers;RB;Chaminade;5-7;170;Auburn
14. Trenell Troutman;S;St. Thomas Aquinas;5-10;190;Louisville
15. Dominick Watt;WR;Miramar;6-1;200;Nebraska
16. Stanley Garner;CB;Dillard;6-3;180;Kentucky
17. Avery Thornton;WR;Boyd Anderson;6-1;175;Undecided
18. Dejmi Dumervil Jean;DT;St. Thomas Aquinas;6-5;365;Louisville
19. Jamari Brown;CB;Blanche Ely;6-3;180;Kentucky
20. Miguel Edwards;CB;Deerfield Beach;6-0;165;Oklahoma
21. Bryand Rincher;CB;Piper;5-9;160;Undecided
22. Miles Jones;RB;American Heritage;5-9;170;Nebraska
23. Marvin Alexander;WR;Chaminade;6-3;175;Kentucky
24. Davoan Hawkins;DE;Chaminade;6-4;270;Kentucky
25. Marquis Williams;CB;5-9;165;Pittsburgh
Sources: espn.com, 247 Sports.