Welcome to our post turkey day installment of Inside the Shell, where we roll out the latest and greatest in Maryland gridiron recruiting.
Applefield and Ruble
So Marcus Applefield (Weeki Wachee HS, Jacksonville, Fla.) and Brock Ruble (DeMatha, Hyattsville, Md.) were a bit difficult to get a hold of following their official visits to Maryland last weekend. We did finally get in touch with Applefield's coach, while Ruble called Rachel late Wednesday night.
While Applefield himself didn't chime in (still working on that), the vibe we got from his coach was that Rutgers and Maryland seem to be in the forefront of his mind. Rutgers, of course, gets the last crack at Applefield when he takes an official visit to Piscataway Dec. 7, so we'll see what he's thinking after that. Word is he's easily swayed/wowed by visits, so the fact that RU will be the last school he sees might bode well for the Scarlet Knights. Right now, though, it seems like he appreciates the Maryland staff's efforts, has enjoyed both his experiences in College Park (he visited back during the summer) and likes the fact that he could possibly be an earlier contributor.
As for Ruble, it looks like Maryland and N.C. State will battle it out for this one, though Florida State (if they do in fact want him) is right there as well. During his official, Ruble spoke highly of Maryland's academics and coaches, and in fact it seems like Randy Edsall is personally taking the lead on this one. Ruble seems to relate well to Maryland's head man, and if he commits to Maryland it will be in no small part because of Edsall's efforts. That said, there is probably something riding on this weekend's Wolfpack-Terps game, which Ruble will be in attendance for. He likes N.C. State a good bit and has spoken very highly of the program on multiple occasions. It wouldn't surprise me if he opted for State, even if the Pack loses to Maryland this weekend.
A Couple 2014 Notes
We heard back from Green Run (Virginia Beach, Va.) running back Anthony Scott, and while Maryland hasn't offered yet, he said the Terps are monitoring him and have been in touch. He wants to visit College Park and learn more about the program, and it's conceivable he could get the scholarship then. But Maryland isn't the only school that's on this late blooming speedster. Virginia Tech has already offered and he seemed particularly high on his hometown school.
One more 2014 note from earlier this week was the news Southfield (Mich.) tackle Chukwuma Okorafor is staying committed to Western Michigan. He texted me saying he wasn't taking any visits even though he's received a few significant offers in recent weeks.
Some 2015 Notes
We've hashed and rehashed the names on the 2015 radar, and, quite frankly, it's still early for most of these guys and their recruiting is bound to ebb and flow during the winter, spring and summer. Guys that are high on the Terps now might not be after SEC schools come calling, and likewise for local players who will finally have a chance to visit some farther-away destinations. In turn, some out-of-state recruits who didn't have an opportunity to check out the Terps this fall will undoubtedly make the trek to College Park and love the place. Plus there will be (and probably are) numerous prospects on the Terps' radar who we haven't even heard about yet (the next set of David Shaws and Brett Kulkas).
We all know the local targets the Terps are going after by now. Kai Locksley. Jalen Christian. Richie Petitbon. Adam McLean. Ayron Monroe. Jabari Greenwood. Marcus Lewis (committed to Virginia Tech). Quarvez Boulware. Isaiah Prince. Dionte Austin. Kamonte Carter. Tyler Green (maybe). Ashton White (maybe). E.J. Donahue (committed to Maryland).
We're not going to update every guy every week, but we did hear some key news from McLean from Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.). The defensive end visited UMD for the BC game and said he was very impressed with the Terps, despite the loss. He's been on campus countless times and seems very comfortable around the program.
At the same, McLean hinted that he was actually thinking about committing to "some school" earlier this week, and the feeling I got is that school probably isn't Maryland. He wants to visit Florida State, Ohio State and Michigan State this offseason and it wouldn't surprise me to see him end up at an FSU or OSU. But we'll see; a lot can change during the course of an offseason.
One name I really like is Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) linebacker Jake Cooper, who has early offers from Temple and Pittsburgh. Cooper's film is solid, and he looks to be a prototypical MIKE in the Cole Farrand mold. The thought is that if Penn State pursues he's done to the Nittany Lions, but if not the Terps have a shot. He visited campus last weekend and enjoyed himself quite a bit.
Another Pennsylvania prospect I spoke with last week, strong safety Trevor Morris (Malvern Prep), seems to be on Maryland's radar as well. Like Cooper, he might be a lock for PSU should they pursue, but that's not a guarantee. Morris doesn't have any offers yet, but that will surely change in the coming months. If John Dunn and Co. hop on him early, Morris could give the Terps a strong look. He hasn't been to campus yet but wants to get down at some point soon.
The other Pennsylvania products we've discussed before, safety Jay Stocker (Coatesville, Pa.) and Morris' teammate, defensive end Ryan Buchholz, both of whom hold Terps offers, are right there as well. We'll know more about these two as the offseason develops, but I get the vibe Buchholz is going to be a much more realistic target than Stocker.
St. Joseph's (Philadelphia, Pa.) cornerback John Reid has exploded nationally and might be out of Maryland's grasp. The Terps have offered and have been in touch, but I'm not sure he's a realistic option. Reid might be Penn State bound if he does indeed want to stay home for college.
Johnstown defensive back Kareem Gibson (Johnstown, Pa.) has visited College Park and likes the school, though I'm not sure the Terps will make a push for him. He has a few local offers, but the word I get from my guys up there is he's OK but not spectacular.
Running back Andre Robinson (Bishop McDevitt, Harrisburg, Pa.), though, should get an offer. This kid is a bull of a back, and the Penn States of the world are already on him. Maryland might be too late to the party on this one, but we'll see.
Yes, a tough spot for Maryland recruiting… Will there be a breakthrough this year? I'm not so sure, but you've got to like the staff is still going after a number of recruits. The one guy on the radar right now who I could potentially see winding up in College Park is Northside (Roanoke, Va.) offensive lineman Chance Hall, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound beast. He's been to Maryland three times and was at the Terps-Boston College game most recently. Hall has had high praise for the Terps' staff and seems to like the school a good deal. But schools such as UNC, UVA and others are involved as well and it wouldn't surprise me to see him stick with one of his hometown programs.
The other names we've been over -- including Briar Woods (Ashburn, Va.) receiver Brandon Polk, Hylton (Woodbridge, Va.) lineman Matthew Burrell, Rockbridge (Lexington, Va.) lineman Austin Clark, Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) tackle Harry Lewis and Thomas Dale (Chester, Va.) tackle Darvin Taylor – seem to favor other programs at the moment. Polk, a vastly talented and dynamic receiver, has been to Maryland a bunch of times, but Stanford is after him and he seems intrigued.
Lee Hull's territory has a couple top talents for the picking. We've talked about Caravel (Bear, Del.) athlete Darnell Savage a bunch, and in fact he texted me out of the blue last weekend saying he was sorry he missed the Maryland-Boston College game. The kid seems to genuinely enjoy being at Maryland and loves the fact the Terps have stuck by him through his injury (broken leg). We could see him pulling the trigger for the Terps at some point this winter or spring.
But there's more over in Delaware besides Savage. This week our guy Brian Dohn broke out the name Quadree Henderson from Alexis I Dupont (Wilmington, Del.). A 5-foot-9, 175-pound all-purpose back, Henderson is the type of quick-twitch back or slot receiver Maryland should be looking at. He holds early offers from Clemson and WVU and said Maryland could be coming in next. The Terps would be wise to pull the trigger and get him on campus, because his recruiting could blow up.
We're not going over the entire New Jersey list in this addition, but here are two names we've gathered notes on this week.
Millville (N.J.) athlete Robert Ennis was supposed to come down for the Terps-BC game last weekend, but that hit a snag and he was unable to attend. Ennis, though, said he "definitley" wants to get down this offseason to see what Maryland is all about. He doesn't have any offers yet and the jury is still out on his game, so we're not positive the Terps will actually push here.
A Jersey prospect the Terps have offered is Timber Creek (Sicklerville) cornerback Kareem Ali. Word is Penn State, thought to be his destination, is no longer after him in earnest, and that Ali has genuine Terps interest. There are questions about his game, however, and concerns about his speed, so maybe Maryland won't go hard after him either. We'll know more this offseason.
We'll touch on one name in Keith Dudzinski's Connecticut territory, Avon Old Farms (Avon, Conn.) tight end Chris Clark, who Maryland will probably offer in short order. Clark said the Terps have been in touch quite a bit and is planning to visit at some point during the winter. He has early offers from BC, N.C. State, Pittsburgh and Syracuse, and Penn State could pull the trigger on him as well (he recently visited PSU). Clark is a Boston College legacy, so that would seem to give the Eagles some traction, but the big tight end said he's keeping an open mind.
One tidbit out of the Midwest. Maryland will definitely be hitting the Midwest hard this offseason, and one defensive tackle we heard they'll be on is Moeller's (Cincinnati, Ohio) Eliah Taylor. Taylor already held offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio and WVU, and the Terps have reportedly pulled through as well. Moeller is in the playoffs right now and Taylor told me he didn't have a ton of time to chat, but we'll be talking to him this offseason. The early word, though, is that Notre Dame offer is sticking out a bit…
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