Great Bridge (VA) offensive lineman Justin Chase figured his recruitment was over after he committed to East Carolina over programs like NC State and Wake Forest during the summer.
"I wanted to be done with it before my senior season," said Chase. "That's why I went ahead and picked East Carolina. I had a great relationship with the coaches there and felt really comfortable with them. I thought that's where I would be going to school."
Then last week the Pirates fired head coach Ruffin McNeill, a move that caught Chase by surprise.
What did he do? He reached out to NC State, the program he nearly chose instead of East Carolina the first time around. The Wolfpack coaching staff had initially offered Chase back in the spring, and he still maintained a relationship with his area recruiter, defensive backs coach George Barlow, and NC State offensive line coach Mike Uremovich.
"They actually got on me really hard after my junior season," said Chase. "I went up for a Junior Day and then I went back for an unofficial visit. I always liked coach Barlow and coach Uremovich, really all the coaches, so last week I reached out them to see if they still had a spot available. They seemed happy that I did."
Barlow was up at Great Bridge High School on Monday to show Chase just how interested he was, and it didn't take Chase long to realize he wanted to be a member of the Wolfpack.
"I committed to coach Barlow when he was here," Chase stated. "He was really happy... he actually told me that the three-hour drive was well worth it. It felt good... I'm excited. We always had a tight bond."
How did coach Doeren react to his decision.
"I thought coach sounded happy," said Chase. "He told me that he was glad I'd be with the Wolfpack."
Chase is flying under the recruiting radar, but NC State loves his upside and long-term potential.
"He has a high upside," said his coach, Chris Gale. "Great athleticism, terrific frame... really, really good athlete. Justin has a lot of potential.
"More than anything else, he's a high-character kid. He comes from a great family, and he's really mature... grounded. He's comfortable with who he is, and that says a lot. He will yes sir, no sir you to death... big smile. Justin's just a nice kid to be around... he was a joy."
Chase added that he could be back in Raleigh this weekend for an official visit, but that trip hasn't been finalized.
What is done is his recruitment.
"I'm firmly committed to NC State," he said. "From the beginning of the recruiting process I loved NC State. When I visited it had great faiclities and the coaches were so down-to-earth. They treated me like family from the beginning."
Chase checks in at 6-foot-6 and 290 pounds, and he projects to play guard or tackle on the next level.