2013 Athlete Talks Maryland Visit

2013 athlete JT Ventura talks about his visit for the Maryland/Georgia Tech visit.

JT Ventura took in the Maryland-Georgia Tech game recently. It was his third visit to College Park, not including camps, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a helpful trip for this class of 2013 athlete. Ventura had another chat with head coach Randy Edsall and defensive back coach Brian Stewart.

“[Stewart] would be a great coach for me,” Ventura said. “I was definitely impressed by the coaching staff. I think Edsall's a great coach.”

Ventura took in a game last year and also visited in the spring, which was when he met Stewart for the first time.

“During spring, it was great,” Ventura said. “That was when I got to see the campus a little bit. I got to talk to the coaches more, and it was the first time I got to talk to the defensive back coach.”

It was also the first time Ventura met Edsall.

“I got to talk to Coach Edsall,” Ventura said. “He's just a great guy. I think he's going to turn around the program and do a great job.”

Ventura said he's been in contact with Maryland since the summer before his junior year, where he impressed former secondary coach Todd Bradford. After that Ventura took the initiative and contacted assistant coach Greg Gattuso, who recruits in Ventura's area.

“I was really impressed by the camp and team in general,” Ventura said.

Ventura is still impressed with the Terps and their interest in him.

“They are definitely up there, in my top five,” Ventura said. “They have already been interested in me.”

While Ventura only has a preferred walk-on offer from Maryland he isn't deterred.

“I like football because it's so hard,” Ventura said. “I enjoy competing. I'd be excited to compete, to play football, even if it's a preferred walk-on. I would have the same thing at Pennsylvania State.”

Maryland and Penn State are two of Ventura's top six schools with James Madison, Virginia, North Carolina, and Rutgers being the other four.

“I have an offer from James Madison,” Ventura said. “James Madison is the main one I been talking to. I got involved in the whole process kind of late. Maryland was the only school I talked to early on.”'

However, Ventura says his coach, John Barton, has assured him that more offers will come in soon.

And Ventura's senior season certainly seems worth of a scholarship offer. Ventura says he had about 5 tackles a game, 8 takeaways in total- an interception, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles. Ventura also says he only allowed two passes to be completed on his side of the field all year long.

“During games, receivers would tell me 'We are not even going to get the ball.' By the end of season not too much action came my way,” Ventura said.

He did this all while adjusting to a new position.

“This year I just started placing safety,” Ventura said. “Safety is fun so is cornerback. I been playing cornerback all my life.”

Ventura is open to playing any position in college.

“I'll do whatever I can to help the team,” Ventura said. “Wherever the coaches think I'm best at, if that's what it's going to boil down to.”

Ventura believes his strength as a defensive back are his physicality and footwork. Both attributes were probably developed through his participation in two other sports- boxing and track.

Track also helped in another aspect. It gave him the opportunity to train with Pittsburgh Steeler's cornerback Ike Taylor.

“One time I was in Florida for a track meet, I went to see a trainer for three days and it was the same trainer that Ike Taylor goes to,” Ventura said. “He plays for Pittsburgh and I'm close to Pittsburgh and that's how that got started.”

Because of Ventura's proximity to Pittsburgh, he attends Hollidaysburg Area High School in Pennsylvania; he got to learn from Taylor this summer and now models his game after him.

“I worked out with Ike Taylor,” Ventura said. “He's taught me so much about defensive back position. So on Sundays I watch him and remember what he taught me.”

Ventura hopes he will be playing on Saturdays soon. Ventura is looking for a school where he will get playing time.

“I definitely want to be able to play as soon as possible,” Ventura said.

Ventura also stresses the coaching staff and weight room as important factors in his decision as well.

Ventura doesn't consider academics a big factor in his decision. He believes all the schools he's considering have a good business program, which is what he's planning to major in.

Ventura will get a better sense of the schools when he starts visiting schools.

“As soon as the college season is over in January I want to take visits,” Ventura said. “Then after those visits I'll decide.”

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