Badgers Pursuing Texas Defensive Back

Defensive Backs Coach Kerry Cooks established in-roads in the lonestar state back in his coaching days at the University of Minnesota. Those relationships have carried over to Madison, which was evident with signatures of prospects Jay Valai and Maurice Moore last winter. It appears Coach Cooks has once again found himself back down in Texas. Josh Clark reports.

Justin Chatman likely wasn't a familiar prospect to Badger fans last spring, or at least, he shouldn't have been.

"Wisconsin began showing me some interest during spring practice," Chatman informed BadgerNation.com.

"During May, Coach Cooks made his way by the high school, but only talked with my coach. He didn't have a chance to see me in person. Then, he called my home but I missed his call. It wasn't until the third week into September that I finally spoke to him on the phone for the first time."

Heading into this fall, Chatman had received offers from the likes of Rice, SMU, UTEP, Vanderbilt, Akron, and Minnesota. Shortly into the fall, he added offers from Purdue and New Mexico State. Northwestern and Toledo have indicated they may soon be offering, as well.

"When Coach Cooks called that first time, he asked if I was intersted in Wisconsin, and then he verbally offered me a scholarship," added Chatman, who stands at five-foot-ten and weighs in at 175-pounds.

"Right now, I'd say I'm favoring the Big Ten schools recruiting me."

"I like the fact that Coach Cooks spoke more about academics when we first got talking. He told me they are heavy on academics at Wisconsin. Coach Cooks seemed more laid back than other coaches, and just told me Wisconsin is a great place. He said I'd have the opportunity to play great Big Ten football for a prestigous program," Chatman said.

"I like Coach (Joel) Thomas, who is recruiting me for Purdue. He makes Purdue seem like the best. First of all, he said they take academics very seriously, and have one of the top five business schools in the country. He told me they have great coaches, and put a lot of players into the NFL. He also said I'd have a good chance to play as a true freshman."

"I've talked to Minnesota's defensive backs coach (Craig Bray) several times, and he isn't the coach recruiting this area for them. We talk about coverages, everything they run, and how I would fit in. Then, Coach (Vic) Adamle, my recruiting coach, really does a good job to make me feel positive of what I could do up there. He talks about my speed, and how they need me," Chatman stated.

"I've talked with (Offensive Coordinator) Garrick McGee, and he's told me they have serious interest. They also have one of the top business schools in the country, and he told me I'd have a good chance to play as a true freshman. I went up there for a junior day last March, and really enjoyed the coaches, particularly Coach McGee."

While the Badger's main competition for Chatman's services have been recruiting him as a cornerback, Wisconsin has given him the option of also playing free safety.

"Coach Cooks just told me they need defensive backs, and he felt I had the ability to play either cornerback or safety," informed Chatman, who plays free safety at Mesquite Horn High School.

"He liked how I fast I play the game, and how I fly around and come up and hit people. He likes how I can come up and support the run."

Thus far, six games into his senior season, Chatman has recorded 61 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and an interception.

Asked whether he had a preference on his future position, Chatman provided his thoughts.

"I'd like to play cornerback in college. I like to cover more than coming up having to play against the run. Now, I'll come up and hit, but I like the challenge of going up against somebody one-on-one. I believe it really shows your skill," Chatman stated.

Chatman is awaiting a phone call from Coach Cooks this week in regards to confirming an official visit to Madison. The two had previously spoke regarding potential dates.

Chatman has only one official visit set at this point to Minnesota the first weekend in December.

"When I was a freshman, I wasn't the fastest, I wasn't strong, it was my work ethic that carried me. I give everything I have. My dad pushes me, and my older brother, Troy, has been a role model for me. He is always offering encouraging words. Whatever school I choose, they should know I'm bringing a great work ethic with me," Chatman concluded.

Chatman's older brother, Troy, will walk-on at Texas Tech this spring at wide receiver.

Lastly, Chatman is fully qualified with a 3.56 GPA and a score of 1260 on the SAT.


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