In Northeast Oklahoma A&M cornerback Maurice Chandler, Arizona State is getting a player whom its coaches have targeted for four years, since he was a high school junior in Lawton, Oklahoma.
Though just a three star designation by Scout, the No. 44 overall ranked junior college player and No. 5 cornerback in the 2016 class may not take a backseat to anyone and we have him evaluated except perhaps Subtyl among ASU's junior college players in terms of overall potential.
The combination of size (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) and speed (self-reported 4.42 second 40-yard dash run at Northeast Oklahoma) before he left for ASU) presented by Chandler on film is that of a high end college prospect capable of reaching into the elite tier as a prospect and as such it makes sense that he was formerly an Oklahoma commit before re-opening his recruitment. He's a recruit who would not be a reach at any program in the country as a big cornerback recruit.
Chandler can be a bit mechanical at times opening up out of press man coverage but has very good recovery speed and is excellent in phase with his back to the play. He pins to the hip and uses his size as a weapon, utilizing the boundary relatively well, and mirrors receivers on fades and go routes.
One of the best things about Chandler as a prospect is his ball arrival anticipation. He has a rare ability to maintain composure and understand when and how to get his head around to the football. He does a great job at picking up tip off cues from receivers' eyes as an aid in this regard, and Chandler has impressive ball skills as well in these types of situations.
Playing closer to the line of scrimmage, Chandler is physical at circumventing blocks on screens and boundary runs and does a much better than average job at making tackles with his arms extended than most cornerbacks. Before Lloyd Carrington and Kweishi Brown, ASU struggled for a period of years with lighter corners who were moved off the ball more easily in the perimeter run and wide screen game, but that's not going to be the case with either Chandler or fellow mid-year junior college addition J'Marcus Rhodes.
Another positive attribute of Chandler is how well he plays in relaxed man and zone coverage situations. He's just as effective if not more so at getting unhinged and driving to the ball. That's one of the reasons he could easily convert to playing field safety in the ASU scheme, particularly with his coverage ability. He eats space well and doesn't tend to get separated from in coverage.
Chandler also has a very good feel for when to slide off his man and make plays on throws intended for other receiving targets, though this is a double edged sword because it also hints at some eye discipline issues that better offenses will exploit on double movement routes. He's going to have to work on stemming vertical lines better with his backpedal and not commit or be quite as mechanical, but when he gets his hips flipped with purpose he does so well for a cornerback of his size. ASU coaches will stop some of the bad habits he has with his hands and posture at the line of scrimmage rather quickly and easily, so that's not going to be much of a concern.
Overall, this is perhaps the best cornerback prospect ASU has signed under Todd Graham. His success will come down to how quickly he assimilates, but he has all the tools to be very successful and play after college.