Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell hopped on a flight during the Martin Luther King holiday Jan. 18 en route to Metairie, La. His destination? Archbishop Rummel High School, home of dual-threat gunslinger Chase Fourcade.
Bell, formerly the offensive coordinator at Arkansas State, ardently pursued the 5-foot-11, 180-pound Fourcade previously. And with the Terps in need of a quarterback in the wake of Dwayne Haskins’ (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) flip to Ohio State, Bell sought Fourcade’s services in College Park, Md.
“Coach Bell came down to my school, offered me a scholarship, and now I’m leaving [Jan. 21] for my official visit there. I’m looking forward to meeting the coaches, seeing the campus and the facilities,” said Fourcade, who is currently committed to Nicholls State. “I was pretty excited when [Bell] offered me. He’s a very good coach, he’s honest, and he’s great at what he does. It was pretty cool seeing him again, because I hadn’t seen him since last summer at a camp.”
After Bell extended the offer, Fourcade promptly asked if he could officially visit Jan. 22. Fourcade didn’t know much about Maryland (he recalls the Terps playing on TV once), but the chance to play Big Ten ball and for an offensive coordinator he was particularly fond of immediately piqued his interest.
“It’s a chance for early playing time up there, and it’s a Big Ten school and that’s great competition up there,” said Fourcade, whose other offers are from McNeese State, LA Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe. “I love to compete, no matter what level, and the Big Ten is great competition and a great opportunity.
“And Coach Bell, he ran a great offense at Arkansas State. With him there, they scored a lot of points and were really up-tempo. Coach Bell did great things at Arkansas State and I know he’s going to do great things at Maryland. So that really stands out to me.”
Fourcade was well aware of UMD’s current quarterback situation. He knew about Haskins’ flip to Ohio State and that the Terps currently lacked a signal caller.
“I know they’re bringing a couple [quarterbacks] in, but Coach Bell told me they’re taking two guys,” Fourcade said. “So I know there’s room there and an opportunity there.”
Would Fourcade potentially consider flipping while on campus?
“I’m not so sure right now,” he said. “I have to see the facilities and what they have to offer up there first. And right now I’m scheduled to take a midweek official to ULM and Jan. 29 I’m going to McNeese State. And I am still committed to Nicholls State.”
Indeed he is. Fourcade is maintaining his pledge, firming up his commitment during an official visit last weekend.
“It was a great visit to Nicholls. I was there with the other commits, and I built a great relationship with them and the coaches,” Fourcade said. “It was a great visit and a great community. Right now I’m firm [to Nicholls].”
Fourcade is coming off a season where he passed for 2,500 yards and 25 touchdowns, with a 60-percent completion percentage. He rushed for 500 yards and 10 more scores.
“Mainly, I’m a passing guy. I think pass-first,” Fourcade said. “But if a play breaks down or I have to scramble, I can run too.”