By ANDY BALDACCI
Thomas Dale’s football program has made it a tradition to get athletes to the next level, especially from the defensive side of the ball. The next player to join that list might very well be rising senior Devonte Chandler.
The 5-11, 218-pound linebacker has now garnered eight offers: Army, Navy, Morgan State, UVa-Wise, Elon, West Virginia Wesleyan, Saint Francis (Pa.), and William & Mary, with the latter two being the most recent.
Last year, Chandler was a nightmare for opponents in the backfield as he tallied 132 tackles, including 19 tackles for loss, and 10 sacks. His play earned him All-Conference and All-Region honors.
“He is a leader on and off the field,” said head coach Kevin Tucker. “He brings a fire to his workouts and on the field his intensity is unmatched. He is a coach on the field. He has one of the highest football IQs [of anyone] I have ever coached. In the classroom, he carried at 3.7 GPA, which means not only does he play at a high level on the field, but off the field he is a four-star student.”
Chandler has made the most of his summer by attending several camps, his biggest being one at Temple University. The rising senior is also planning on attending the one-day camp at William & Mary next weekend. All in all, Chandler’s recruiting is in a solid position heading into his senior season.
“He is a D1 linebacker [who] will lead us on the field with 130-plus tackles,” Tucker said. “He will be a steal for whatever college gets him because I think he is a Power Five player [who] will slide down to a smaller D1 school because he may be a little too short according to college standards.”
Going into the 2017 season, Chandler will be the integral piece of Thomas Dale’s “Dark Zone” defense.
“Being a leader for a great group of athletes … means a lot to me,” Chandler said. “I see the guys that come before and played that role and to know the coaches and players see me as that caliber of a player and person is humbling. I love my school and I love this team and as a leader, I’m going to do whatever it takes to get us to Hampton on December 10th.”
Chandler has high expectations in his last year donning the maroon and gray as the Knights will look to continue making their mark as an accomplished football program.