Maryland Goes Hard After Butler

Local talent doesn't deny the Terps allure. 2013 prospect talks Terps to TSR.

The Maryland Terrapins aren't messing around when it comes to the recruitment of Gonzaga HS junior cornerback Devin Butler. In a few short weeks after first contacting the local DC standout in February the Terps acted quickly and made a scholarship offer. “They offered me a couple of weeks back, like the last week in February,” said Devin in a mid-march phone interview. He had sent the coaching staff a highlight tape and a couple of game films, and it seems the Terps immediately liked what they saw. Among the coaches Butler spoke with was the Terrapins new offensive coordinator and former New Mexico head coach, Mike Locksley. “I talked with Coach Edsall and Coach Locksley,” the junior said. “They're definitely a program that does their homework before making an offer.”

It's not a surprising revelation for a program whose head coach seems to thrive on discipline and thoroughness. Indeed, a big question heading into the 2012 season is whether Randy Edsall's approach can work in an athletic department like Maryland's. After talking about the kinds of players the Terrapins are bringing in during the first full off season under Edsall, Butler seems to think his approach is the right one. “I think that they have program on the right track,” said Devin of the overhaul Edsall has undertaken in his less than 2 years as the Terps' leader. “They will raise some eye brows this year with who they're bringing in.”

The topic of recruitment turned the conversation over to some impressive off season coups by Maryland for its incoming freshman class. One in particular, local running back and Good Counsel star Stefon Diggs, shook up the recruiting world when he chose to stay with the only truly local big time college football program. It lent a measure of credibility and meaning to Edsall's young tenure, especially when so many of DC's talented football players have gone to other programs in the past.

Diggs has a certain amount of meaning to Butler as well, although in a very different way; they played each other for 3 years in DC's competitive WCAC. In fact, Good Counsel capped off last season by beating Gonzaga for its second straight conference championship and a top 5 national ranking according to most major sports publications. Diggs was the stand out on that team, and the loss rankles Butler.

Still, the signing of Diggs is something Butler says won't affect his own eventual selection, even if he respects Stefon's level of play. “For me it didn't increase my interest because I really want to make my decision for me,” said Butler of the Terps impressive recruiting haul. The comment was an indication of the high schooler's mature approach to the process. Still, he had to acknowledge that Diggs was a big get for Maryland. “It's good to know that they're recruiting well,” he said. “[Stefon] is a great competitor, someone that really makes you elevate your level of play.”

In the mean time, Devin will be focusing on getting better and finding the right school for him. When it comes to the Terps, Devin is pretty familiar with the University of Maryland. He's been to two camps at Maryland since entering high school, and also participated in their junior day for his class. While he's spent all of his time in the athletic facilities while on campus, he regards them highly. “The facilities are really good,” Devin said of places like Byrd Stadium and the Comcast Arena, “it's definitely a football school.”

Facilities aren't the only thing Devin is looking for in a school though. When asked about some of the other key pieces he's looking for in a school, he responded succinctly and smartly. “I want a place where I'd want to be if I wasn't playing football,” said Butler of where he'll spend a very important part of his life. “I want a place to live for the next 4 years and even after college,” said Butler of campus and surrounding area that he's looking for. “I want to be able to raise kids there.”

He continued by saying that he likes Maryland's proximity to his home and family. Still, he also talked about wanting to “get out of my comfort zone,” and “see what else is out there,” which could hurt the Terps recruitment of him down the road. When asked to list the schools he had offers from, Devin mentioned closer programs like Boston College, UConn, Rutgers, UNC, UVA, Penn State and WVU and schools as far flung as Houston, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, Nebraska, Northwestern, Baylor and Wisconsin. He doesn't have any visits planned yet though, but he's working with schools, including Maryland, to set them up. Regardless, it seems the Terps will have quite a bit of competition for his enrollment.

Devin says he's still very focused on his senior season at Gonzaga. He seems confident of their chances for the upcoming season and perked up when asked to expound up on it. “I think we definitely are looking good at Gonzaga,” said Devin of the private Jesuit school's prospects for the 2012 football season. “There are lots of young guys and kids in my class stepping up and taking a lot of leadership roles, including rising juniors,” he said of what he believes is a talented group of under classmen.

Indeed, the program has improved steadily over the past few years, edging their way into a WCAC championship game that has been dominated by Good Counsel and another local power; Dematha High School. If Butler and Gonzaga can knock off the two powers in 2012 and bring home a championship it will be a great achievement for the young star and his team. Maybe then, Devin can focus on bringing an elusive conference championship to another local program; Maryland.

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