Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins and his newest target, graduate transfer wide receiver Terrell Chatman, have a connection that transcends the hash marks.
“We’re both Sagittarius, December babies,” Chatman said Friday as he wrapped up his first summer conditioning session as a Cavalier. “We’re just always on the same page. That chemistry is definitely there, outside and within football.”
Both committed to Arizona State out of high school and were in the same recruiting class. Perkins committed before Chatman, and he texted the highly touted receiver photos of the dorms and tidbits about practice before he chose the Sun Devils.
When Chatman arrived in Tempe, Arizona, the duo became roommates, and Perkins landing in Charlottesville a year ago played a pivotal role in convincing the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Baton Rouge, Louisiana, native to move across the country for his final year of eligibility.
“Getting built in and joining the brotherhood were big for me, but coming from Arizona State, it was a big thing that I knew Bryce so well,” said Chatman, who also knew UVa strength and conditioning coach Shawn Griswold from his time in the same position at Arizona State. “That really was the majority of why I came here.”
Virginia head coach Bronco Mendenhall said in February that he preferred to only bring in graduate transfers with two years of eligibility remaining, but a lack of seasoned depth at the position and Chatman’s untapped potential convinced him the rewards outweighed the risk.
With fellow graduate transfer receiver Dejon Brissett still recovering from offseason foot surgery, the Cavaliers may find out sooner rather than later of the gamble pays off.
“We were happy with what we had coming back, but we’re happier adding quality depth,” Mendenhall said. “It should pay off in added competition alone, and especially in a league like the ACC, you can never have enough depth.”
Coming out of high school, ESPN ranked Chatman as the No. 30 wide receiver in the nation. But he went into his redshirt junior season with just one career catch, and he left Arizona State after last season with just three receptions in 13 career appearances.
Chatman said he feels like he’s spent the past three years just inches from a starting job, and he knows he’s running out of opportunities to prove his high school accolades were more than just hype.
“I’d be lying if I said playing wasn’t difficult because I‘ve always been one of most talented players on the field at all times. There was a learning curve, but it also helped me grow,” Chatman said. “This is my last go-round, so I’ve got to make the most of it.”