BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Chase Dutra has been one of the best football players in the Indianapolis area for the last two years, so imagine his frustration when the Brownsburg High standout watched his peers land scholarship offers while he went overlooked.
The Indiana coaching staff had a lot to do with Dutra pledging to the Hoosiers.
A do-everything player for the Bulldogs, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Dutra’s moment in the sun didn’t come until Indiana finally extended a scholarship on Aug. 9. By Aug. 13, Dutra was a committed Big Ten player.
But Dutra has always been committed. His competitive desire and never-wavering belief in his abilities kept him ticking through the tough times when he wasn’t sure of his college future. He also has four brothers to kick him in the rear if he was ever in the dumps for long.
“Just having four brothers, and we compete at everything we do,” Dutra said. “We compete at anything you can think of and we’re always trying to be the best. I’ve always hated losing more than I like winning. It comes from always competing with my brothers in this and that.”
Dutra is the middle son, and credits his oldest brother Elliott, a 5-9, 190-pound senior receiver at Liberty for inspiring him every day. On the elder Dutra’s profile on the school’s website, he is praised by his head coach as a hardhat man.
“Keep competing,” Chase stated. “He didn’t get a fair shot because of his size. He would go to camps and ball out. A lot of things went the other way. The thing I took is always trying to be the best I can be at whatever I do.”
Dutra’s been pretty darn good at Brownsburg. As a junior he had 22 touchdowns combined via rushing and receiving, and he’s off to a great start as a senior in helping the Bulldogs to a 4-0 record. He’s scored three rushing touchdowns, found the end zone twice on punt returns, and this past Friday his 55-yard touchdown reception was good for the go-ahead points in a 20-17 win over Westfield.
“This year he has assumed the role of being a leader,” Brownsburg coach Brett Comer said. “He’s a versatile guy that gives other teams a matchup nightmare because of what we run and where we put him. He’ll play anywhere to wing to fullback to wide out to quarterback. And he plays safety and he returns kicks and he runs punts back. Chase’s biggest attribute is he can make cuts and he doesn’t lose speed. Not many kids can do that and that’s what he does to people.”
Before Indiana offered, Dutra figured he’d be going into his senior season doing what he’s always had to do. Prove to people he can play at the highest level.
“Obviously it was real frustrating all the way through the recruiting process,” Dutra said. “I’d go to the VTO camp or Best Of The Midwest and I always wanted to go against the best and the kids with all the offers, just because those are the kids that get noticed. I’d perform well but the offers still weren’t coming.
“It was frustrating but I tried to shake it off. I’d just get back on the field and get back in the weight room and keep working and the work paid off when IU came through.”
It was obviously an emotional moment when Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson extended the scholarship offer.
“Man it was really, I was really speechless,” Dutra said. “I thanked him for the opportunity. I told him I’m going to talk to my parents and get back to him shortly. It was a great feeling inside, all the wake up early in the morning and bust my butt in the summer, and all the work in the weight room paid off, and I lived up to what my brothers were expecting me to be. I felt like I made them and my family happy with what I accomplished.”
He made Comer happy as well.
“I’m as proud of him in the way he’s developed as a man more so than a football player,” Comer said. “He’s always been a football player.”
That’s what Indiana is recruiting Dutra as. A football player. The position he’ll play in Bloomington is still up in the air. The coaching staff has talked to him about playing receiver, safety or nickel back. Wilson also told Dutra he’d be a factor on special teams.
Dutra was a frequent visitor to Indiana going back to last fall through the spring and this past summer. It was an easy decision all the way around when he got the Hoosiers offer.
“I really got a chance to start building a strong relationship with the team the countless times I’ve been there,” Dutra explained. “The coaches have a lot of knowledge with the backgrounds they have coaching with big teams. A lot of the coaches have been to a National Championship that are coaching at IU right now. I felt like I could attain a lot from them.
“The facilities there are marvelous,” he continued. “The setup is great and also it’s only an hour away so it’s easy for my family to come see me. Also friends go there as regular students. I do believe they’re on the rise and a lot teams don’t realize that.”
A lot of teams didn’t realize Dutra’s talents as well.