Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
So What's Up With Prince?
The rumors are bound to fly and the twists and turns will inevitably surface in the remaining weeks leading up to Signing Day for four-star Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) tackle Damian Prince. Prince has a top three of Maryland, Florida and South Carolina, and the feeling on this end is the hometown school still holds a slight edge over UF. Penn State just entered the game late as well with new coach James Franklin going full force after the area's top uncommitted line recruit.
Maryland, along with UF, USC and Penn State, visited Prince at McNamara during the first day of the open period, and it's safe to assume all of those staffs will make a run. The Terps are selling the hometown angle; Florida has new commit and former Maryland target Jalen Tabor in his ear; USC is hyping the SEC bravado; and Franklin will undoubtedly push the PSU prestige and the fact that State College isn't too far from Prince George's County. Not to mention Prince's coach, Keith Goganious, is a PSU graduate.
Again, as of right now, we still feel the Terps are in a solid position for Prince given his relationship with his family and UMD recruiter Mike Locksley. Of course, Prince does have an official visit to South Carolina this weekend followed by Florida on Jan. 31, so much can change. Who knows, he may even set up a visit to PSU on the one weekend where he doesn't have a scheduled trip, Jan. 24.
Maryland's best bet would be to have the big lineman back on campus once again since he lives so close, and then follow up with another in-home from Randy Edsall, Mike Locksley and new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo, who has an NFL background that might appeal to Prince.
Ship Sailing? Maybe Not...
With Penn State flipping a couple offensive line commits in Brendan Brosnan (Maine South/Park Ridge, Ill.) and Chance Sorrell (Middletown, Ohio), and now Franklin's pursuit of Prince, it's becoming less and less likely the Nittany Lions will go after McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) guard Jared Cohen. The one-time Maryland commit seemed intent on visiting State College and subsequently committing in late January, but Franklin has reportedly not been in contact.
So, does that mean Cohen will re-up with the Terps? That might be the logical conclusion considering UMD still needs linemen and could use a guard with Cohen's talent. There still may be some salty feelings between Cohen's party and Maryland when the latter asked the former to decommit following the burly lineman's request to officially visit PSU.... but the two sides are apparently working to smooth things over. According to McDonogh coach Dom Damico, the Terps are still in contact with Cohen and are going to visit him personally Jan. 19. It wouldn't surprise us if UMD has Cohen meet new line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and got him back in the graces of the Maryland program.
Now, Cohen did claim a North Carolina offer, though that won't become official until he visits Chapel Hill. So far he hasn't set that trip up, and we're wondering if he even will before it's all said and done. ... Could bode well for Maryland.
Depending on the Cohen situation, it looks like they'll have a good shot at landing late-emerging Georgia lineman Andrew Miles (Flowery Branch, Ga.). The 6-foot-4, 280-pounder picked up his Terps offer Jan. 13 and is meeting with the UMD staff Jan. 17. He'll likely set up an official visit to Maryland the week after, and it wouldn't surprise us if he committed while in College Park (if in fact he follows through with the trip).
Miles is currently committed to Western Carolina and has a number of Division I-AA offers, but Maryland is by far his most prestigious scholarship. A few ACC schools have shown interest as well and could get involved, but if his recruiting remains status quo Miles could be another late UMD O-line addition. Word from his coach, Chris Griffin, is Miles was "thrilled" with the Terps' offer.
OK, On To Running Backs
Will Maryland take one in this class? That is the question, and as the days go by I'm getting the sense the Terps will stand pat, especially with the news that Wes Brown will be returning to College Park. Now, could Maryland identify an under-the-radar guy during this open contact period? Sure, that's always possible, so we'll see what transpires in the next couple weeks.
But barring that late addition, we've pretty much crossed off all the names we've been bantering about recently, including Anthony Scott (Green Run/Virginia Beach, Va.), Johnathan Thomas (St. John's Prep/Danvers, Mass.) and Mikale Wilbon (De La Salle/Chicago, Ill.). The one guy who we've kept on the hot board is Linganore (Frederick, Md.) tailback Phillip Butler, who their coach, Rick Conner, said is still receiving some interest. That intrigue is certainly mutual as Butler has said he'd love to be at Maryland ... if he had an offer.
The issue with Butler, who has already graduated high school, is he doesn't take the SATs until Feb. 1, so any team that wants him (Maryland being primary, with West Virginia and East Carolina on the periphery) will likely wait until after Signing Day to see if he qualifies academically. Maryland may take a late flier on Butler since he is a solid talent, but the chances of that happening are probably lukewarm at best -- unless there's some sort of attrition or position changes among the team's current backs.
The Cornerback Target
Daniel Ezeagwu (Colonial Forge/Stafford, Va.) or bust? Probably. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound corner looks to be down to his two main FBS suitors, Maryland and Virginia, with a Charlottesville visit this weekend and a College Park trip Jan. 24 (according to Fox's Jacquie Franciulli it looks like his twin brother, David, will accompany Daniel on these visits). UVA coach Steve Fairchild visited Ezeagwu Jan. 16, and Maryland's Brian Stewart is expected to follow suit in short order.
Although Ezeagwu said the Terps and Wahoos are "50-50," the feeling on this end is UMD has the edge. UVA's program hit the skids this year, and there's been plenty of coaching turnover, so that could dissuade Ezeagwu from picking his in-state option.
Speaking of coaching turnover, Ezeagwu's original Maryland recruiter, Tom Brattan, is no longer with the program, but the Virginia corner has quickly developed a rapport with Stewart. Ezeagwu seemed genuinely excited about Stewart's plan for him and how the Terps plan to use him in their defense.
We'll know more after the officials (as of right now he still has one set up to Old Dominion Jan. 31), but we like Maryland's chances right now. Ezeagwu is expected to announce on Signing Day, but it's possible he could pull the trigger in late January if all goes well in College Park.
Vincent, Davis and Boone...Pack Bound
NC State was busy on the first day of the open period landing a trio of defensive back verbals in Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.) corner Elliott Davis, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) corner Troy Vincent and Dwyer (Palm Beach, Fla.) safety Shawn Boone. Each of these guys were once Terps targets, but none of them were "priority" recruits for the staff.
As we've been saying, UMD dropped off Vincent months ago and seemed rather ambivalent about him. Even when it became clear he was going to decommit from Penn State and look elsewhere the Terps didn't push or even contact his party. Would he have been a good addition politically given the program he plays for and who his father is? Sure. But Maryland obviously didn't feel it was necessary to pursue Vincent Jr.
As for Davis, recall UMD had him out for practices and tried to get him to commit back in the summer. Tom Brattan worked that one fairly hard, but when Davis didn't bite UMD backed off... and stayed off. Davis hadn't had any real contact with Maryland since before his senior season began. He's a solid player, but my bet is UMD isn't losing sleep over that one.
Last but not least, Shawn Boone. The undersized safety officially visited Maryland and the Terps did pursue him, but Boone never had the school on his priority list. In fact, he publicly eliminated Maryland a month or so ago. Boone actually favored Penn State throughout the process, but when James Franklin didn't pursue he opted for NC State.
Terps Recruiting Charm City ... East Side Represent
We knew the Terps were monitoring St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) linebacker Nnamdi Egbuaba back in the summer, but we hadn't heard his name in awhile. But I put in a call to the SFA head coach to find out about the coaching shakeup over there, and he informed me that his Nigerian import Egbuaba, who we profiled on several occasions months ago, would be coming in for a College Park official Jan. 24 and has heavy UMD interest.
Egbuaba claims a Terps offer, but according to his coach he has to go to campus first to pick it up, which seems like a mere formality. And following that, I would say it's a pretty good shot Egbuaba commits to the Terps. He had great things to say about Maryland when I spoke with him Jan. 16 as he's been to games, knows the staff well and feels comfortable in College Park.
Other schools he's looking to visit include Virginia, UConn and Oklahoma, and he said he's setting up officials to all of them. We'll see if he changes his thinking after he takes in a school like OU, but right now we like UMD's chances.
Egbuaba's emergence likely means the staff has moved on from Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) linebacker Melvin Keihn, a Virginia Tech commit. There was a glimmer of hope the Terps could flip him, but that doesn't look like it's happening now.
QBs and DLs
I haven't heard any serious candidates heading into the homestretch as far as quarterbacks and defensive linemen are concerned.
Signal caller KJ Carta Samuels (Bellarmine Prep/San Jose, Calif.) did in fact decommit from Vanderbilt following James Franklin's departure, but we're not so sure Maryland will get involved here. From the looks of things, UMD will stick with William Ulmer (St. John's/Washington, D.C.) as its one 2014 quarterback and look to add another top gunslinger in 2015. (We've brought up a bunch of names the Terps are looking at in the 2015 class, including Kai Locksley, Ryan Adzima, Cinjun Erskine, Alex Malzone, Nick Johns and more. We profiled Erskine this week and he looks to be the real deal).
As for the D-line, we haven't heard much traction at all. I'm thinking the Terps will stick with Dave Shaw and Brett Kulka, along with hybrid Jesse Aniebonam and call it a wrap.
The Jan. 24 Official Visitors
To recap, the Terps have Daniel Ezeagwu, Nnamdi Egbuabu and (potentially) Alex Miles coming up to College Park on Jan. 24. In addition, current UMD commits Andrew Gray, Sean Christie and David Shaw all indicated they'd be taking their Maryland officials that weekend as well. We'll update the list if we hear more names.
The New Assistants
So now we officially know defensive line coach Chad Wilt is moving from Ball State to UMD, while Dave DeGuglielmo is moving from the NFL back to the college ranks. Former Redskins receivers coach Keenan McCardell will take the same position with Maryland.
I talked to a couple folks in the Midwest, and while not too much is known about Wilt's recruiting prowess, the feeling is he's a personable guy who relates well. In other words, there's potential there for him to be a very solid recruiter.
Wilt didn't pull in any huge names at Ball State, but then again, it's Ball State. We'll see if he can haul in a couple Midwest prospects for the Terps heading forward. Wilt, who previously coached at UVA, also has ties in Virginia, so any help he can offer in that area would undoubtedly be appreciated considering Maryland's lack of 757 success.
One thing is for sure, though: Wilt better hit the ground running. With James Franklin already attacking the DMV area, and other known recruiters at rival schools on the trail, he doesn't have time to ease into the job. Maryland needs linemen, more depth and more talent, and it needs it sooner rather than later.
And unlike at Ball State, Wilt won't (or shouldn't) be looking for the next diamond in the rough to rise up. He'll need to go after the big boys, and prove he can sell them on College Park.
As for DeGuglielmo, his hard-line approach and NFL background should appeal to those hard-working, high-character kids Edsall favors. But the jury is out on how affective DeGuglielmo will be as a recruiter considering he's been in the NFL for the last decade. It wouldn't surprise us if his primary responsibility was whipping the Terps' O-line into shape first, with recruiting running second.
As for the receivers' coach, McCardell has been on the Redskins' staff the last couple years and has no college coaching experience. That said, he's been known to be an outgoing, likable individual, and that typically plays well with high school kids. It might take him a second to learn the tricks of the trade, but McCardell looks to have upside as a recruiter.
Staff Movement in the Open Period
Expect the rest of UMD's staff to hit the road hard in the weeks leading up to Signing Day. D.C. Maryland. New Jersey. Pennsylvania. Ohio. Florida. Virginia. Delaware. Georgia. The Carolinas. Texas.
Not only will UMD be visiting the likes of Damian Prince, Daniel Ezeagwu, Alex Miles and their 2014 commits, but they'll be touching base with their top 2015 targets as well.
Keith Dudzinksi recruits New Jersey hard, so expect the top Garden State prospects' names (we've discussed them at length… refer to previous Shells) all to surface in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, John Dunn has been active in Pennsylvania, so the Jay Stockers (Coatesville, Pa.), Ryan Buccholzes (Great Valley/Malvern, Pa.), Jake Coopers (Archbishop Wood/Warminster, Pa.) and Andre Robinsons (Bishop McDevitt/Harrisburg, Pa.) of the world should all be brought up with Terps interest as well.
Naturally, Mike Locksley will be hitting the DMV hard, and all those D.C.-area WCAC schools (DeMatha, St. John's, Carroll, Gonzaga, Good Counsel, etc.) are getting visits, in addition to Friendship Collegiate, Dunbar, Woodson, Wise, Suitland, Potomac, Roosevelt and others.
Recapping the 2015 guys with Terps offers in the D.C. corridor: Marcus Lewis (Gonzaga), Richie Petitbon (Gonzaga), Jabari Greenwood (Gonzaga), Quarvez Boulware (FCA), Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt), Ayron Monroe (St. John's), Tyler Green (DeMatha).
Sophomore targets Devante Brooks (St. John's) and Jauan Williams (Carroll) also figure to be high on the priority list, and both have plenty of Terps interest. DeMatha's 2016 crop (Tino Ellis, Lo Lo Harrison, Shane Simmons, Terrence Davis) is full of UMD targets as well.
Two local areas of intrigue: Montgomery County and Frederick County. The former was recruited by Tom Brattan and the latter by now-Albany coach Greg Gattuso. Both counties produce Division I recruits, so it would behoove the Terps to establish a recruiter in each ASAP. Especially that MoCo area, where Jalen Christian (Damascus, Md.), Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.) and Kamonte Carter (Gaithersburg, Md.) all reside.
Finally, the Terps need to get back into Delaware with former assistant and that area's recruiter, Lee Hull, off to Morgan State. Carver (Bear, Del.) athlete Darnell Savage is picking up interest from several other FBS suitors, including Virginia, though Maryland remains his only offer. Savage said he's been in touch with Stewart but we're not sure if Delaware is his new area or if he's just holding down the fort until McCardell, etc., get established.
TTDave's Inside the Shell
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TTDave's Inside The ShellWelcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
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