Coppell High School (Coppell, Texas) long snapper Connor Choate committed to Memphis over the weekend, officially shutting down his recruitment in the process. Choate is ranked as the no. five long snapper in the class of 2017 by Kohl’s Kicking, which provides rankings to ESPN for special teams recruits.
Choate received his offer from Memphis last Thursday before his official visit to their campus. He told me that he held a full offer from Louisiana-Monroe and preferred walk-on offers from Oklahoma State and Texas Christian University. If he were to not receive an offer from Memphis, he told me that ULM was his second choice, and TCU was his third choice.
When asked whether he would consider OSU or TCU, Choate told me, “Yeah, I have always wanted to go to OSU growing up, but once I visited Memphis I knew this was the perfect place for me.”
Choate, who stands at 6’1″ and 190 pounds told me that special teams coordinator Joe Lorig and assistant special teams coach Spencer Knight played big roles in his recruitment. “I talked to them both equally,” Coate said. “They are great coaches, I’m looking forward to being coached by them.”
A source familiar with the Memphis program told me that Choate has a good chance to compete for the starting job.
Senior Memphis snapper Trevor Morgan will be exiting the program, meaning junior Andrew Ashe and sophomore Tim Belles will likely assume the first and second snapping roles, although that could change depending on how well Choate performs in preseason action.
Choate has a connection in the Memphis program, as he knows Riley Patterson, a kicker from Edwardsville, Illinois who is committed to the Tigers. He spoke on that connection, saying. “Yeah, he told me what it was like there and I went on a visit and met him there on my visit and we knew we could do special things together at Memphis together.”
Does he think Patterson has a chance to start soon? “Yeah I do if he can go into camp and do what he is capable of and stay focused I do think he can,” said Choate.
With the departure of senior placekicker Jake Elliott (no relation), Patterson is likely to become Memphis’ backup placekicker behind Spencer Smith, who will be a senior by the time the 2017 season rolls around.
Choate also has a great relationship with the staff at Kohl’s, and that’s clearly outlined by their constant support of him. A great example is what happened after his commitment. “Oh yeah, they were super supportive,” Choate confimed. “On Twitter they gave a ton of support to me after I announced that I committed. They are great.”
“They helped me with exposure and got my name to a bunch of schools, Memphis being one of them. They helped me with my form and the mental side of snapping. Overall they made me a great snapper,” said Choate.
Memphis extended scholarship offers to three other snappers, but each one choose to commit to a power-five school instead. Bill Taylor, the no. two ranked snapper in the nation from Tuscaloosa, Alabama decided to stay in-state and head to Auburn. Thomas Fletcher will go from powerhouse high school IMG Academy to Alabama, a respective powerhouse in their own right. Finally, Adam Bay, Kohl’s number one ranked snapper pledged to Wisconsin over the summer instead of Memphis.
What does he have to have to say to Tigers fans?
“I am ready to get started!!! We are gonna make something special happen!! Super happy for the opportunuity!!”
As of Signing Day, Memphis has the 58th ranked class of 2017 recruiting class, the best among the American Atletic Conference.
All quotes are obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted, and all rankings are via Kohl’s Kicking.
Check back here tomorrow on National Signing Day for exclusive, comprehensive, and free Chicagoland and elsewhere football recruiting coverage. You can follow Peter Elliott on Twitter @PelliottSports, and email him at [email protected]