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Tuesday, June 11, 2013
LSU shows its belief in versatile Chark

By Gary Laney

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Louisiana has four wide receivers in the ESPN 150, so it was a bit of a surprise to see LSU take a commitment Monday from D.J. Chark (Alexandria, La./Alexandria), a receiver who isn't part of the state's big four.

That may lead to some wondering why the Tigers would take him, especially considering that LSU already has a commitment from one relatively lightly-regarded receiver in Tony Upchurch (Pearland, Texas/Glenda Dawson) in a class that has again grown to 10 commitments (LSU had a commitment from junior college receiver D'Haquille Williams, who has since decommitted).

There are a couple of reasons.

First and foremost, Chark played his way to an offer from the Tigers with his performance at LSU's recent June camp.

At a wiry 6-foot-1, Chark is a fluid athlete who runs well and has good ball skills. It was clear Tigers coaches were thinking he was, in many ways, comparable to the high-end talents LSU is interested in.

Beyond his receiving skills, Chark also offers potential versatility.

While LSU worked him exclusively at receiver during its recent camp, his effortless footwork and rangy frame makes him a promising candidate to play cornerback, especially with the emphasis the Tigers been placing lately on bigger cornerbacks (with the notable exception of Tyrann Mathieu).

If LSU has success pursuing the trio of in-state ESPN 150 receivers it covets -- Speedy Noil (New Orleans/Karr), Malachi Dupre (River Ridge, La./John Curtis), Trey Quinn (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) -- and also gets a commitment from ESPN 150 prospect Saeed Blacknall (Manalapan, N.J./Manalapan), then perhaps Chark's future might be at cornerback.

That is, unless LSU loads up at cornerback, where ESPN 150 prospect Tony Brown (Beaumont, Texas/Ozen) remains a top choice.

If the Tigers load up at both receiver and cornerback, then what becomes of Chark?

That would be a nice dilemma for LSU to have (but clearly not one it is taking as a given).

LSU was high on him after its June camp and gave him an offer contingent on his attendance in July's camp. A couple days later, Texas A&M offered Chark and, a couple of days after that, LSU invited Chark back on campus where he committed to the Tigers a few days before he was scheduled to attend camp at A&M.

Even with what's still out there, LSU believed enough in Chark to make sure he didn't get away. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes.