With a constant smile and quick to give a “Fight On!” or a “Fours Up,” depending on the audience, running back prospect T.J. Pledger is a crowd pleaser, especially if he is on the team you’re cheering for.
The 2018 West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade four-star has been pleasing to watch this summer. He’s shown his versatility out of the backfield and in the slot while playing for Pro Way’s 7-on-7 squad and has been working to find his groove with new Chaminade quarterback Brevin White on the school’s 7-on-7 team.
If Pledger’s talents weren’t known before, word has got out. He has received new scholarship offers from near and far with schools such as Ohio State, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Washington State, Arizona and UCLA all offering this calendar year.
“It’s been great. It’s all just a blessing,” Pledger said. “I’m thankful for every offer that I get. It hasn’t got hectic yet like some of my big bros out here like [Pro Way teammates] Tyjon [Lindsey] and Darnay [Holmes] and them, but I love it right now and I’m just thankful for every offer that I get.
“But it’s going pretty good. I’m building relationships with every coach that calls. Oklahoma visited me. Cal visited. Nebraska. So things are going great.”
The offer from UCLA was one he had been waiting on as one of the local Los Angeles schools.
“I thought that’s a big offer just like all the rest of them,” he said. “I was just happy to get it and I can’t wait to build a relationship with them and the coaching staff and really see how the chips fall.”
Pledger also has interest across town at USC. He has held a scholarship offer from the Trojans since last spring, but wasn’t sure how that would play out after USC’s coaching change. But he was reassured that there is mutual attraction from the new staff.
“I went to the Junior Day. It was great. I got to meet the new running backs coach. Things was awesome. When I was there, they showed lots of interest from the new staff. Everybody on the new staff, I could tell that they still have high interest in me.”
Meeting running backs coach Tommie Robinson was the highlight of the early spring visit and Pledger has been working to build a relationship since then.
http://www.scout.com/college/usc/story/1646670-pledger-surprised-by-dept... “I didn't know all the history about him. I didn’t know that he was there before and all of that, so it was great to get a better understanding of him. I can tell he’s a great running backs coach that really knows his stuff. He’s been around a long time. I’m just looking forward to taking some knowledge from him throughout this whole process.
“He seems like a football guru — a running back guru and he’s an old style coach. I could tell he wants the running backs to run like the old style running backs. I could tell he’s like a grimy, savage, physical running back and that’s exactly what I am, so it’ll be interesting to see how we collide and how our relationship builds over the future.”
With so many talented and coveted players on the Pro Way team, Pledger said he’s constantly picking the brains of guys like Holmes, Lindsey and Keyshawn Johnson Jr. about recruiting and what other players are hearing from different coaching staffs. Rather than trying to direct Pledger to a certain school, the most common advice he has received is to follow his heart.
“Just follow your heart and keep God first and then everything else will play itself out.”
Check out T.J. Pledger's highlights from his sophomore year at Chaminade: