It's been almost a month since Colonial Forge (Stafford, Va.) cornerback Daniel Ezeagwu saw his recruiting reach the top levels of college football when the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland pulled through with offers. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound late-emerging phenom, who also holds offers from Old Dominion, James Madison and other Division I-AA programs, hasn't landed any new scholarships since then, but he seems content with his two most prominent suitors.
Ezeagwu said he's stayed in close contact with both the Cavaliers and Terps through the recruiting dead period, and both schools are making a strong push for him. He plans to officially visit UVA Jan. 17 and Maryland Jan. 24 before ending with ODU Jan. 31.
"Virginia and Maryland are the two big offers right now. There's some other schools that are interested like Temple and Virginia Tech, which came in [during the open period] and should be contacting me in January, but Maryland and Virginia are the two big ones," said Ezeagwu, who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash. "It's probably going to be Virginia or Maryland for me, though I'm going to check out the other two [ODU and JMU] as well."
Offensive coordinator Steve Fairchild is handling Ezeagwu's recruiting for UVA, while defensive coordinator Brian Stewart has the honors for Maryland. Originally the Terps had Tom Brattan on the Colonial Forge athlete, but he is no longer with the program.
"Right now Coach Fairchild is saying how physical I am, how he can't wait to have me up there, the family atmosphere at UVA and the great academics there," Ezeagwu said. "And Maryland, when they first contacted me it was [Brattan], and he said they were really interested in me and wanted to offer, but he's not there anymore. But [Maryland has] stayed in contact, and Coach Stewart talked about my position and potential role at Maryland. I actually called [Stewart] just recently and we've stayed in pretty close contact. I like him; he sounds like a good guy."
Ezeagwu said most of his conversations with Stewart have surrounded the impact he'd have on Maryland's defense. The Virginia corner said Stewart mentioned how quickly current Terps freshman Will Likely adapted to the defense and became a solid starter his first year in College Park.
"Coach Stewart said I could go there, be a boundary corner, have a big role on the team and how he'd help me be successful there," Ezeagwu said. "He said they need another corner in this class and I'd be a good fit.
"And he talked about early playing time too. [Stewart] said they had a freshman start this year and I had a chance to play soon too if I worked for it. That stood out to me about Maryland."
Ezeagwu didn't know much about Maryland when it first offered, but he's since done a bit of research. He said he's aware of the school's solid academics, its move to the Big Ten and its appearance in the Military Bowl.
"I know Maryland had a pretty successful year this year and made a bowl game," Ezeagwu said. "I know they're going to a great conference in the Big Ten, and I like their uniforms a lot too – they're really cool. Then I like what [Stewart] was saying about the school and the defense. It sounds like it could be a good fit."
The Colonial Forge product had similar praise for UVA. He said Fairchild has harped on the school's academics, as well as the potential to play a variety of roles.
"[Fairchild] said they've got to decide how to use me. He's the offensive coordinator so he wants me as one of those receiver/H-back roles, but they like me for defense too," Ezeagwu said. "I really don't have a preference [for position]; I'll play anywhere the team needs.
"But I'm pretty familiar with Virginia. I've played against a lot of guys on the team from the Virginia Beach area, and I know what they're about. I know it's a great academic school and I like how diverse it is there."
Of the two prime suitors, Ezeagwu said each has made an equally hard push for him. He said both Maryland and Virginia have stayed in contact through Facebook and both have made it known they want him in their respective programs.
"All I know is both say they really need me," Ezeagwu said. "I don't have a leader yet. I have to see both the schools on these visits first, and then I'll go from there. They both sound really good right now."
Don't count out ODU or James Madison quite yet, however -- especially the latter. Ezeagwu's twin brother, David, holds an offer from JMU, and the two have discussed going to school together. They have a very close relationship and Daniel Ezeagwu admitted it wouldn't be easy separating for college. That said, the allure of playing for an FBS program may be too strong to turn down.
"I'm definitely very close with my brother and we're going to be checking out JMU, so that's a possibility," Ezeagwu said. "But we'll do whatever is best for both of us. We'll sacrifice going to school together if the situation in right. We'll be OK."
When Ezeagwu does take his official visits he said education, campus life and how he fits in with the team will be primary areas he'll be evaluating. He said he'll likely make his decision in early February, likely announcing on Signing Day, though that's not set in stone.
"How will I like environment? How do I fit in? How are the facilities? How will they use me? How are the academics?" Ezeagwu said. "All of that good stuff is going to be what I'm looking at when I visit. It's not going to be an easy decision. Both Maryland and Virginia sound like great options."
Terps, Cavaliers Pushing Hard for Ezeagwu
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