Maryland is continuing to make its push for one-time UMD commit Jared Cohen. The McDonogh School (Owings Mills, Md.) guard played host to Terps assistant Keith Dudzinski Jan. 22, and the 6-foot-4, 290 pounder said the in-home visit went well.
"It wasn't anything special, but [Dudzinski] was basically just reassuring me that Maryland was the best place for me and that the coaches all still want me there," said Cohen, who decommitted from Maryland right before Christmas, after he received a coveted Penn State offer from former coach Bill O'Brien. "[Dudzinksi] said everything was water under the bridge. After this entire situation with me decommitting he wanted me to know there is no grudge or anything like that."
Cohen, who now holds offers from UMD, PSU and North Carolina, went on to say that he believed Dudzinski's message was genuine and heartfelt. He said he knows the Maryland staff is letting bygones be bygones and understood why he backed away from his verbal pledge in the first place.
"They understand why I decided to look around and that I had to see other schools just to be sure I was making the right choice," Cohen said. "[Dudzinksi] said the whole staff understood why I wanted to weigh all my options, and they're not against me taking another official visit.
"[Dudzinksi] said, ‘Hey, go down for an official, see if you like it, and if you don't feel free to give me a call and come to Maryland. We still want you here.'"
The McDonogh lineman's feelings are apparently reciprocal. He said he holds no hard feelings after Maryland head coach Randy Edsall asked him to decommit following his wanting to visit Penn State. Cohen initially sought to stay committed to UMD even as he checked out State College, Pa.
"I still have a lot of respect for Maryland and really like the school," Cohen said. "Nothing has changed with how I feel about Maryland. It's still a great program and I love all the coaches there."
Though Cohen still holds College Park in high regard, the fact that Maryland did let go of former offensive line coach Tom Brattan did somewhat hurt UMD's chances of landing the McDonogh lineman. Cohen was looking forward to learning from the veteran assistant and had spoken to him numerous times while on campus visits.
Even so, Cohen was eager to meet new Terps line coach Dave DeGuglielmo this week, but on Jan. 22 news broke out that DeGuglielmo had accepted a position with the New England Patriots. Thus, UMD is still in search of a line coach, and Cohen still wants to know who he'd potentially be learning from.
"I'd say they should get [an O-line coach] pretty quickly, because that's big for me in where I want to go and who I'll be spending the most time around," Cohen said. "I want to be able to meet this guy as soon as possible so I can build a relationship with him and make an informed decision.
"But my understanding is they'll have a new coach by early next week, which should give me plenty of time to stop by one day after school to meet him, or he [the new line coach] comes up here to see me."
In the meantime, Cohen is set to take an official visit to North Carolina this weekend. The Tar Heels recently offered, and their coaches had an in-home visit that resonated with the McDonogh guard.
"They're really excited for me to get down there. They definitely impressed me when they came to my house," Cohen said. "I'm interested in seeing the campus and seeing how I get along with the players. I've never been there before, so I'm looking forward to it."
Cohen said he probably wouldn't commit while in Chapel Hill, however. In fact, he put the odds at 5 percent.
"Unless it's an overwhelmingly awesome visit I'm not committing. It's a slim-to-none chance," Cohen said. "I'll probably commit sometime next week, hopefully after I meet the new Maryland line coach."
As for Penn State, Cohen has basically eliminated them. He said new Nittany Lions coach James Franklin did contact him last weekend and said coaches would be in touch, but Cohen hasn't heard anything since.
"I haven't completely ruled them out, but they're kind of at the bottom of the three schools," Cohen said. "It's probably going to be Maryland or UNC."
Cohen, UMD Clear the Air
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