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June 10, 2013There was no other way in the mind of Alexandria Senior High wide receiver D.J. Chark then to seal his commitment to LSU than with a handshake.
In what has been nothing short of a whirlwind recruiting process the past month Chark - a 6-foot-1 ?, 176-pounder - brought everything to an abrupt halt Monday afternoon following an unofficial visit to LSU that ended with a firm handshake with LSU football coach Les Miles.
"He talked about being a native of Louisiana and all the opportunities that would be presented even after football because you can't play football forever," Chark said. "He said to enjoy yourself while you're playing football but you have to start planning for your future after football. I plan on being a resident of Louisiana after my football career."
The decision by Chark (pronounced Shark) gave LSU its second commitment from a wide receiver, joining Tony Upchurch of Pearland, Texas, and 10th overall in the Class of 2014.
Chark said he was in the process of making a decision by week's end, starting with a visit to LSU followed by a scheduled trip to Texas A&M later this week. Oklahoma State, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, UL-Lafayette and Tulane were other schools that offered as well.
"I was just coming to get one last look at the campus before I made my decision," Chark said. "I met the coaches again and talked to all of them individually and went on a tour of the campus, including academic center, and talked to some professors and students.
"After that I went with my family and met with Coach Miles," Chark said. "During conversation he assured me he wanted me to come and play for him and this being home. I felt good about the decision and we shook on the commitment."
Chark said Miles also agreed to allow him to wear his high school jersey No. 21.
"We shook on it and I have my number secured to play for LSU," Chark said.
Chark was a high school teammate of LSU freshman M.J. Patterson at Winnfield during the 2011 season when he started at wide receiver for the Class 2A state runner-up Tigers but was regarded as more of a runner in the team's spread offense.
Chark moved to Alexandria and started last season for the Trojans and amassed more than 1,000 yards of offense and approximately 11 touchdowns with 20 catches for 500 yards and nearly 500 rushing yards.
This season Chark expects to start at receiver, play cornerback and return both kickoffs and punts.
Chark acknowleged growing up a fan of LSU but with his under-the-radar status (he's a two-star prospect) he never envisioned being able to play for the Tigers.
That all changed last month when LSU special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey went by for a look at Chark during the spring evaluation period which sparked some interest from the Tigers perspective.
Chark took part in the first session of Miles' summer camp last week where he earned an offer and plenty of ammunition for a decision about his future.
"I went to camp and started talking to the coaches and I liked them and they liked me," said Chark, who ran a sub-4.5 at the camp. "I just became an even bigger fan of LSU again and it felt like the right decision.
"I was mainly talking to ULL and Tulane before spring ball," Chark said. "I had a lot of coaches coming through that were interested and watched tape. A lot told of them told me if I went to camp I would be offered, but LSU was different and felt they saw what they needed at camp and offered me."
Chark said he plans to compete at the wide receiver position at LSU and work at all three of the (X, Y Z) spots in order to find a home.
"I'll play that coming in but I'm going to learn all the positions so I'll be interchangable at each one of them," Chark said.
Chark said Monday's choice of LSU brings closure on a recruiting process that barely got off the ground but turned fulfilling in the end.
"I'm finished for now and I'm going to put all of that behind me and start focusing on high school football," Chark said. "Growing up LSU was a dream school and now they're one of the premier schools in the nation.
"I haven't gotten a lot of exposure as a lot of other players that are rated higher and players from Central Louisiana don't get recruited as much because of a lack of exposure," Chark said. "I still liked them as a team but I didn't have my sights set on LSU until now."
Discuss this recruiting news with other LSU fans on the Tiger Den recruiting message board HERE.