HART_FOOTBALL

Strasburg’s Caleb Hart scrambles in the backfield during the Rams’ game against Stonewall Jackson in Strasburg in August. Hart verbally committed Friday to play college football at William & Mary.

One visit is all it took for Chase Hart to know where he belonged.

The Strasburg rising senior quarterback took a visit to William & Mary College last week and just three days later verbally committed to play football for the Tribe.

“After I took my visit there, I really like the school a lot and it’s in a great place in Williamsburg,” Hart said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “The coaches feel like family. It’s a great place down there. They got beautiful facilities. It just felt like home.”

Hart said he went for a visit last Tuesday and made his commitment last Friday. Hart said he also had an offer from Central Connecticut State University, but he did not have an interest in playing for a school so far away from his hometown.

Hart said William & Mary offensive line coach Gordon Sammis came by Strasburg earlier this year and he and Hart began texting back and forth. The William & Mary staff was sent Hart’s film and then members of the staff dropped by Strasburg on May 21 to watch him throw in person. After seeing him throw, they offered him a scholarship.

William & Mary plays in the Football Championship Subdivision in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Tribe are big rivals of conference foes James Madison University and the University of Richmond.

Hart said it’s a good feeling to know that he’s playing at the Division 1 level.

“It’s awesome,” Hart said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play Division 1 football and now it’s finally come true. All the hard work’s paid off.”

Former University of Virginia head coach Mike London is now at the helm at William & Mary. London replaced Jimmye Laycock, who retired last year after 39 seasons as the Tribe head coach.

The Tribe went 4-6 last year, including 3-4 in the CAA.

“The main thing about the football program is the coaches,” Hart said. “The coaches are just second to none. I think they’re going to turn the program around and I’m ready to be a part of that.”

Hart threw for 1,450 yards last year for the Rams on 86-for-186 passing. He threw 20 touchdown passes with five interceptions.

Strasburg head coach Mark Roller said that he feels that Hart will be successful at that level.

“Chase’s hard work and determination has led him to where he is,” Roller said. “He’s a hard worker and he certainly has the arm for it. He’s only going to get better. He’s doing good things not only for himself but for our program.”

Hart will be the first Strasburg football player to play at the Division 1 level since tight end Jonathan Kloosterman played at JMU from 2014-17.

Roller said that he’s noticed the other players on Strasburg’s team are excited for Hart.

“I think they’re excited to say ‘hey, I’m playing with a kid who’s been recruited to go play at a high level,’” Roller said. “...I think his teammates are very faithful to him. He’s not much of a vocal leader at times but he is a leader. I think they look up to that. He’s a kid who wants to win and it doesn’t matter what it takes to win. He’s a competitor. So I think those guys like that about him.”

Roller said Hart has really improved on his footwork and speed in the offseason and his arm strength is getting even better as well.

Hart said he’s glad to have this decision out of the way so he can focus on his senior season. The Rams went 7-4 last year and lost in the first round of the playoffs to Shenandoah County rival Central. Strasburg starts football practice on Aug. 1 and the Rams play their season opener at East Hardy on Aug. 30.

“I’ve been ready for my senior season since we lost in the playoffs last year,” Hart said. “I’m just ready to make it a lot further this year and hopefully win a lot of games this year.”

– Contact Tommy Keeler Jr. at tkeeler@nvdaily.com