Chichester, a 6-8, 210-pound wide receiver from West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West, committed to Ohio State last June. But academic concerns have apparently led OSU to back off of Chichester. Accordingly, Chichester made a midweek official visit to Louisville. He may visit one more unnamed school this weekend.
"I felt it was in his best interest to visit some other schools," said Lakota West head coach Larry Cox. "Louisville was one of his top schools from the beginning. I thought that, given the point we are at, that we had to protect Josh and give him some other options.
"I haven't seen any scholarship papers and there has been no offer for an official visit from Ohio State."
When asked if he had been given a reason for OSU cooling on Chichester, Cox said, "I would defer that question to Ohio State. It's Jan. 26 and we have no visit scheduled and we haven't got any scholarship papers to sign. My focus is taking care of Josh. They have had his academic records for a long time. It is what it is."
OSU coaches are unable to comment about specific student-athletes until national signing day, which is Wednesday.
Cox did not discuss Chichester's academic status. It was previously reported he had a 3.2 GPA, although no test score had been reported. When asked if a grayshirt scenario had been discussed with OSU, Cox replied, "That wasn't indicated to us."
"With a young man like Josh with his character and his stature, he's just taken it in stride," Cox said. "He just says, ‘Tell me what to do and I'll do it.' "
Chichester is a fine two-sport athlete who hoped to walk-on to the OSU basketball squad. He was ranked as one of the state's top 15 football prospects and top 10 basketball prospects by Ohio High magazine.
Dropping Chichester from the 2006 class leaves OSU with 19 verbal commitments. OSU could still end up with 22 signees in this class. Junior college linebacker Larry Grant and Kentucky defensive lineman Corey Peters are mulling OSU offers, while Youngstown Mooney wide receiver Derrell Johnson was still holding out hope he could receive a late offer.
Below is a report from the Louisville Scout.com site recapping Chichester's visit to Louisville.
As InsideTheVille.com first reported, Scout.com four-star receiver/tight end prospect Josh Chichester made a surprise visit with the Louisville program on Wednesday and according to Lakota West (Oh.) head coach Larry Cox, the trip went well.
"Obviously he went down to Louisville to see what they had to offer," said Cox on Thursday. "He's exploring his options to find the best fit."
"He had a great visit," he continued. "He loved it. He was impressed with the whole staff - he loved everything about Louisville. He loves Bobby Petrino. He couldn't think of one negative thing about Louisville. He really enjoyed the people there and at this point I know that he feels good about Louisville."
Chichester, who was named to the Ohio North-South Classic game to be played in June, verbally committed to Ohio State in July, but according to his coach there may be some concerns about his academic status from the folks in Columbus.
"There are some schools that don't have a lot of faith in Josh and there are some that do," he said, adding that he didn't want to say if Ohio State had lost faith in Chichester's academic standing. "I'll leave that to you to determine."
Having not made an official visit with the school that he pledged to during the summer, Chichester has drawn the attention of a number of programs throughout the region. However, only a few appear to have a chance in landing the nation's 14th-ranked wide receiver.
"There are a lot of schools that are making contact once they learn of the situation, but there are just two schools that have a shot at getting a visit from him this weekend," said Cox, who further said that a trip over the weekend isn't a sure thing. "It's about 50/50 right now."
While it's clear that Louisville is heavily in the picture, Cox said that he couldn't divulge the others under consideration.
"I'm not at liberty to discuss that at this point," he continued.
With National Signing Day just days away, a final college decision from Chichester could occur at any moment.
"It'll probably be after this weekend, but he could call me tonight to tell me that he wants to get this all done."
As a senior, Chichester hauled in 36 receptions for 726 yards and 7 touchdowns. During his time at Lakota West, Chichester established new marks for receptions in a season (36) and career (94), as well as receiving yards in a season (734), career (1,793) and career receiving touchdowns (21).
"The best thing that I can say about him is that he is a humble kid," said Cox. "He's a really good kid and a team player."