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After a 41-16 defeat at the hands of Seminoles Saturday, Maryland head coach Randy Edsall said his team simply could not match up with the speed and athleticism of teams like Florida State or Clemson. It would have to be an area the team would have to address in recruiting.
On Tuesday, at his weekly press conference, Edsall elaborated on the importance of his future recruiting classes.
"Recruiting is the lifeblood of any program," Edsall said. "What all these people have to understand is, just like in any profession, any business, every year you're trying to upgrade your business or your organization. Every year, I have the mindset that I want to try and recruit better.
Edsall made his recruiting pitch clear, emphasizing that he's concerned with bringing student-athletes to the institution, that academics must be a priority.
In May, the NCAA penalized the Terps for failing to meet academic progression rate. In a year when football's average four-year APR improved, Maryland's score was 922, costing the team a loss of three scholarships.
After being hired by the University just five months earlier, however, Edsall has changed the practice to help players get study days or have an opportunity to meet with professors. Players also meet with the coaches once a week to measure progress.
"This is a great institution academically, first and foremost," Edsall said. "You can come here and get a great education and a degree that has meaning to it."
Edsall also said that even as a freshman, each player has an opportunity to play. This week, seven players on the two-deep are true freshmen, including Justus Pickett, who is serving as the team's kick returner and back-up running back, and Marcus Leak, who caught his first touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game.
In addition to Pickett and Leak, Tyler Cierski earned the starting fullback job before the season. On defense, Edsall opted to start Titus Till, Mario Rowson and Keith Bowers after injury, and Lorne Goree and Alex Twine have both seen action at linebacker. The evidence is out; Edsall will play the best player at each position, regardless of standing.
"You can come here and play in an offense that's going to work to get the ball to their playmakers in space. And you're going to play on a defense that's going to be aggressive," Edsall said. "You're going to have opportunity because whoever are the best guys are going to play, regardless of whether they're a freshman, sophomore, junior or senior."
This year, Maryland currently ranks 54th among Scout.com's recruiting ranks, behind the likes of ACC foes Florida State (4) and Clemson (10).