Welcome to our next installment of Inside the Shell, a weekly roundup of Maryland gridiron recruiting notes.
A few tidbits on the 2014 class
As we've suggested in our message board posts surrounding the topic, there will be a few recruits the Terps identify not currently on the radar. We just saw one earlier this week when McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) cornerback Josh Woods' name cropped up. The teammate of Terps commit Jared Cohen, Woods is long (about 6-foot-2, 180 pounds), rangy and fairly fast (4.5-second 40-yard dash) and seems like a solid second cornerback in this class if indeed that dude from Friendship Collegiate becomes a Terp. Woods had a huge game against archrival Gilman, and that's what you want to see out of your recruits -- big performances on the brightest stages. If Woods does indeed join the program -- and UVA is giving him a look so who knows what'll happen there -- that likely ends any pursuit (if there even was any in the first place) of Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.) corner Elliott Davis.
As for other off-the-radar targets, UMD could scrape up a running back, a defensive lineman and possibly more offensive linemen. We could see Maryland adding another seven players in this class, and once the staff hits the road in December I'm sure more names will crop up. (A reminder on some names we've heard: OL Chukwuma Okorafor from Michigan, OL Robert McClure from North Carolina, DB Shawn Boone from Florida, DE Cory Jones from D.C., … in addition to the obvious targets).
OK, we're not going to address the Jalen Tabor and Damian Prince saga every week (well, maybe not), but just a couple quick thoughts on each four-star recruit considering we talked to both following their official visits to College Park.
The consensus? Nothing has really changed. The cornerback Tabor (Washington, D.C., Friendship Collegiate Academy) still loves Maryland and all but committed on camera during his interview with Rachel, and the offensive tackle Prince (Forestville, Md., Bishop McNamara) remains high on the program as well. But while we're fairly confident about Tabor and the Terps right now, Prince may not be completely sold just set.
Prince said wins and losses -- and he watched Maryland take a bad loss against Syracuse during his official -- aren't a huge concern for him, but we'll find out what tune he's singing if the Terps don't turn things around. Prince will take official visits to the Floridas and Florida States of the world, so we'll see if he's still ready to don the MD Pride uniforms after that. Remember, Prince doesn't announce until Feb. 14, so there's a ways to go with his recruitment.
Besides those two prime targets, Maryland will have its chance to impress lineman Marcus Applefield (Weeki Wachee, Fla.) this coming week during the Boston College game, which is when he's taking his official. We still have Rutgers and Purdue as the leaders, but another recent update suggested the Terps are going to have every chance to make up ground. We'll know more after the official….
As for Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) linebacker Melvin Keihn, it's status quo. He loves the Terps, could love Virginia Tech and Virginia more. He's not ready to decide anytime real soon, however, and Maryland might be able to turn things around if they show well in Blacksburg, Va., during tomorrow's game.
One final word on the 2014 targets. After watching DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) play last weekend we had a chance to catch up with three-star lineman Brock Ruble, who had been relatively quiet. While it was thought Ruble had cooled on the Terps, he insisted the Terps are right there for him, along with Florida State, N.C. State and Tennessee. Of course, Ruble is a savvy kid who doesn't let on exactly what's going through his mind, so his UMD comments could be mere lip service. (By the way, his teammate, linebacker JaWhuan Bentley … yeah, that ain't happening for UMD).
The current commits
After Johnathan Thomas bolted, and given Maryland's play as of late, there's been plenty of clamoring about the other Terps commits, specifically those out-of-state guys who aren't in Maryland's backyard.
I've talked to all these guys, and right now they all seem solid with the red and white. Tyler Burke was just down in College Park for a game and still loves the idea of playing in Brian Stewart's defense; Jordan Noil, David Shaw, Andrew Gray and Brett Kulka aren't going anywhere unless they pull in a surprise SEC offer; and Brendan Moore has said time and again how much he loves the idea of leaving Texas and being near D.C.
I spoke to Juwann Winfree, the receiver from Jersey, and he's sticking with the Terps as well. That's an interesting situation, though, because his hometown Scarlet Knights just lost four commitments, including a pair of receivers. I asked him if RU had contacted him at all and he said they hadn't. Even more encouraging, Winfree said he's trying to lure one of those RU castoffs, safety Kiy Hester, to College Park. Now, I don't see that happening, but, hey, it's worth a shot.
The current JUCO/Prep commits
In addition to Prince and Tabor, both prep linemen, Derwin Gray (Fork Union, Va.) and JUCO Larry Mazyck (Iowa Western, Council Bluffs, Iowa), were in town for officials last weekend. Gray is as high on the Terps as ever and still sports his Maryland pride stuff wherever he goes. Mazyck, meanwhile, just wants to come home to D.C. and play for the program he committed to back in 2011.
The 2015 guys
Last week we discussed many of the local class of 2015 prospects Maryland is going after, including Gilman QB Kai Locksley, Gaithersburg DE/OLB Kamonte Carter, Gonzaga OL Richie Petitbon (who recently said the Terps are in his top four), Gonzaga WR Jabari Greenwood, Gonzaga DB Marcus Lewis, St. John's DB Ayron Monroe, Friendship Collegiate OL Quarvez Boulware, Quince Orchard DE Adam McLean and Calvert Hall DB Dionte Austin. In addition, we talked about Maryland's improving chances with Jay Stocker (Coatesville, Pa., Coatesville HS) and their strong position with Darnell Savage (Bear, Del., Caravel) and Ryan Buchholz (Malvern, Pa., Great Valley).
This week, we'll break out a few notes on guys not so close to College Park. But first, one note on another local target. McDonogh (yes, McDonogh again) linebacker Wyatt Cook, who is in the Cole Farrand mold, either has or is about to get his Terps offer. We spoke to head coach Dom Damico, and he said all that was needed was Randy Edsall's approval. If it's a viable scholarship, the Terps are in a strong position to land him as he's talked up UMD in the past.
Alright, one more local to mention. Our national analyst, Brian Dohn, broke out the name David Robbins this week. An offensive lineman who is generating solid BCS interest, Robbins attends Glenelg, a school not known for producing top-level talent. He's an interesting prospect though given his 6-4, 295-pound frame, and he's the type of guy who the Terps might be able to snag before other programs catch on (ala Jared Cohen).
Another OL/DL to watch out for is Potomac's Keiron Howard. He's a ferocious, relentless kid with an SEC offer, and their coach tells me Mike Locksley is highly interested. We'll see…
Oh gosh, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention Gonzaga quarterback Nick Johns. While Kai Locksley looks like the priority signal caller target in 2015, Johns said the Terps are considering offering him as well. Johns is a big kid with a big arm, and he's more refined mechanically than Locksley. Johns was in College Park recently and raved about his stay, so he's a name to watch.
Once again, the staff seems to be hitting New Jersey hard. Keith Dudzinski is active in the area and has a good rapport with the high schools up that way. Defensive backs Minkah Fitzpatrick (St. Peter's Prep) and Kareem Ali (Timber Creek) seem to be the two big prizes, and while Maryland probably isn't in position for the former, the latter seems to have legit Terps interest.
Ali wants to visit College Park and had plenty of positive comments about UMD. Ali was thought to be a Penn State lock and even put out a tweet that he was "ready to get the process over with," but nothing ever came to fruition. If PSU backs off -- and they very well could due to Ali's junior year -- UMD could be in position to pounce. We'll see where that leads, though, as it's still very early in the game.
One intriguing Jersey linebacker the Terps have been in touch with is Don Bosco's Anthony Malaguti, who was down for the UMD-Syracuse game and has been on campus before. We'll see if he gets an offer…
Lakewood HS's Chapelle Cook is quite a running back, though right now he's flying under the radar. We hear the Terps are giving him a long, hard look too; we'll monitor the situation.
Also in Dudzinksi's territory is Connecticut, and apparently there's a tight end up there with a few ACC offers Maryland is monitoring. Chris Clark from Avon came down for a visit and said he enjoyed his stay in College Park. If Maryland offers during the offseason they figure to be one of his leaders.
Virginia, especially northern Virginia, has not been kind to Maryland what with the Wahoos and Hokies locking down the area. Even when guys express a lot of early interest in the Terps, they seem to look in another direction before it's all said and done (see: Jeremiah Clarke and Marvin Stewart).
But that doesn't mean the Terps will, or should, stop trying to haul someone in. Briar Woods (Ashburn, Va.) seems to be a school Maryland has been involved with, with the main target being athlete Brandon Polk, whose recruiting has blown up. Polk might be bound for Stanford or a glitz and glamour program, but he was in College Park and had some good things to say about UMD. His teammate, cornerback Dominic Moore, who doesn't hold an offer yet, is a solid player and enjoyed his recent visit to Maryland. If the Terps pursue, he might be the type to break the ice in NoVa.
Here are some other names to keep in mind who have at least mid-level Terps interest: elite offensive lineman Matthew Burrrell (C.D. Hylton HS), top OL Austin Clark (Rockbridge), WR Trevion Armstrong (Matoaca … no offer yet), Chuma Edoga (McEachern … same school as Jajuan Dulaney … UMD could have an "in" here) and OL Chance Hall (Northside … visited UMD, has significant interest).
Finally, we'll touch on John Dunn's territory up in Pennsylvania. After taking an oh-for two years ago, the Terps hit PA hard in 2014, securing three commitments. They'll undoubtedly be back in 2015. We mentioned Jay Stocker during the last Inside the Shell, but he's hardly the only recruit Maryland is going after. Running back Andre Robinson (Bishop McDevitt) is a strong runner who is building a national reputation, but he wants to visit and check out College Park.
One final name to keep in mind is cornerback Jordan Whitehead (Central Valley HS), who has early offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, UVA, Va Tech and West Virginia. Maryland should be offering shortly, and from what we hear he'd be open to giving the Terps a look.
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