Applefield Eager to Visit College Park

Weeki Wachee (Fla.) offensive tackle Marcus Applefield will officially visit Maryland the weekend of Nov. 22 when the Terps take on Boston College. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder has taken in College Park once before, and since then said he has had regular contact with the UMD staff.

The last time Weeki Wachee (Fla.) offensive tackle Marcus Applefield visited Maryland was back during the summer when he stopped by College Park as part of a seven-school, six-day road trip. Since then, however, there's been little buzz about the 6-foot-6, 285-pound three-star recruit -- at least as far as the Terps are concerned.

But Applefield, who has accumulated around 20 verbal offers, just recently announced his five official visits, and the Terps made the cut. The Florida tackle plans to be back in College Park Nov. 22 for the UMD-Boston College game.

"I had a great time at Maryland when I visited in the summer, and I loved the environment there and thought it was a great group of guys," said Applefield, who just recently returned from a Virginia official, and plans to see Purdue, Vanderbilt and Rutgers as well. "The coaching staff, the players, it was all great at Maryland, so I decided I needed to take a second visit. I'm excited to get back and learn more about the program."

Applefield said Terps assistant Mike Locksley stopped by his school recently, though the two didn't have a chance to chat. That said, Applefield has stayed in touch with the Maryland offensive coordinator on a semi-regular basis.

"Coach Locksley is real funny; he's great," Applefield said. "Like once a week I talk to him now. He said I could definitely help them out on the line, and since I'm graduating early I could have a good chance of playing early there.

"And I know I'll have to do work to get that opportunity, but I'll do whatever I can to help the team out. [Playing early] sounds good to me (laughs)."

But while Locksley has had contact with the 285-pounder, Applefield said it's head coach Randy Edsall he's talked to the most. The Florida product said he's had a number of great conversations with the Terps' headman, beginning with that initial trip he made to Maryland back during the summer.

"When I was there in the summer [Edsall] said they definitely want me and that I'm a hard worker, I fit their needs and he said he liked that I'm a leader on and off the field," Applefield said. "Then ever since then we've been talking to each other like every Friday. He's been telling me good luck in my games and I said good luck in his games. And in two Saturday's I'll be able to tell him that in person."

Applefield went on to say that he's paid fairly close attention to Maryland's season thus far. He said he's been impressed with the team and believes they're moving in the right direction heading into the Big Ten.

"I've seen them on TV quite a bit; I watched the West Virginia game – I remember that one," Applefield said. "I think they're doing a great job, but the line may need some help. That's why they're recruiting me (laughs)."

Maryland, though, is one of just five final suitors for the big tackle. Though the Terps have seemingly made up ground just to secure an official, the consensus is that Rutgers and Vanderbilt are the current leaders considering those two have been recruiting him the hardest.

Not that Applefield is about to tip his hand.

"I want to take all five of my officials before putting any of that out there," he said. "All five of those schools are in the running."

Applefield took in the first of those final five last weekend when he returned to Charlottesville, Va., for a second time. He said he had a great time hanging out with sophomore center John Pond and liked the whole vibe surrounding the school.

"I had a real good time overall," Applefield said. "It was nothing specific, but it was just a great experience and a great school. I got a real good feeling there and I like what they're doing [at UVA]."

This coming weekend Applefield will take in Purdue, and after that he'll head to Maryland Nov. 22, Vanderbilt Nov. 30 and Rutgers Dec. 6.

"I've never been to Purdue, but I like what I hear about the school and the team," Applefield said. "Rutgers feels like home to me, and I'm very comfortable there. The staff there has been great to me. And Vanderbilt, they have great academics and it's a great school in general."

Six days after his final official to Piscataway, N.J., Applefield plans to announce his decision. He'll enroll in a school Dec. 13th and will have his mind made up before then.

"I just want to find a place that feels like home since I'm there for the next four years, and then after that I want to feel like it's home always since I'll be an alumni," Applefield said. "I want to find the place I'll feel most comfortable calling home. Things like wins and losses, playing time, that matters too, but for me it's mainly about comfort level."

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