Maryland received a commitment from Colonial Forge (Stafford, Va.) cornerback Daniel Ezeagwu Jan. 26. In order to get a different perspective on the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder and what he brings to the table, we spoke to his head coach, Bill Brown.
Here's what he had to say:
Terrapin Times: Coach, can you just give us a little rundown of what Daniel does well and what he brings to a defense?
Bill Brown: Daniel does more than just play corner. He's a slot receiver, kick returner and can play safety too. He's also 6-2, 200 pounds and runs a 4.5 40, so he's a very gifted athlete.
He's had a great career for us; he's really a playmaker and can fit into many different roles. As a corner, he's physical, aggressive, he can run well, he can go up and get the football, and he does a good job staying with receivers. He's very, very physical in coverage; he's not going to stand down from anyone.
And Daniel is a guy who made a lot of plays for us -- a lot of big plays. We had an extremely hard schedule this year, and it was rated the toughest in the state of Virginia. So we relied on him, and he came through for us, and helped us get to the state semifinal game.
TT: And every player needs to work on a few things to succeed at the next level. What areas does Daniel need to improve in?
BB: He's a jack-of-all trades for us, so he hasn't been able to concentrate on [mastering] one position. He'll need to work on the technique and the finer skills. He's still a little raw based on experience, so he has to fine tune a few things.
TT: How did Daniel develop at Colonial Forge? Was he a four-year varsity guy, or did it take him awhile to reach the top levels?
BB: Well, Daniel and his twin David, along with their cousins, moved into our school district from Arizona during the middle of Daniel's sophomore year. We probably had a couple regular season games left and then the playoffs at that point, so they didn't get much time because they didn't know our system.
But you could tell right away that both Daniel and David, and their cousin as well, were great football players. We only really had Daniel, though, his junior and senior year, when we really had a chance to work with him and find out what kind of players he was and what position was best for him. But he, along with his brother, they were real football players from the time they got here.
TT: How did the boys end up coming over from Arizona?
BB: These boys' mother and father are still in Africa, and they've lived with their aunt and uncle for eight, nine years. What happened was their uncle, in the business he was in, got transferred from Arizona to our school district out here in Virginia.
So by chance they ended up at our school, and I remember when they walked into the guidance office with their mother (aunt), and she said, ‘I've got some guys here that want to play football.' And I thought to myself I just hit the trifecta. These were three really good looking athletes. You don't get that every day, and it's pretty nice when it happens.
TT: So, have the boys seen their biological parents in the last nine years or so?
BB: No, never seen them. I've talked to his uncle many times, and I don't believe their biological parents have been in the United States in a long time.
TT: I know Daniel and David are very close. Can you flesh out that relationship? What's it really like?
BB: Well, I can tell you they push each other very hard. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure they have each other's backs at all times, but they go at it. I mean, if one guy wasn't making the plays the other thought he could make, they'd really get on each other. You could hear them yelling at each other, ‘Pick it up!' It was kind of fun to watch them do that.
Then I can tell you last year they got in a serious fight. David had to have nine stitched behind his ear, and Daniel had a concussion. This was right before we had a huge game, and we had no idea this took place. So Daniel played in the game with a concussion, and we knew nothing about it, and we noticed he wasn't playing well. He was dropping passes and doing things out of character. Then after the game we found out about all this stuff, and I guess that made us realize these guys are true brothers. They fight and they get after each other, but they also have each other's backs too.
TT: And I guess they're going to be OK going to school at different colleges now?
BB: Yeah, but that's part of growing into young men. If one gets an opportunity for a scholarship at a different school, obviously he's got to take a look at his future. That's what it's all about, the future.
But I'll tell you both of those kids came to me when they first got to Colonial Forge and said, ‘Coach, we want to get a scholarship.' Of course most high school kids want that, but these two guys were adamant about it: ‘We want to play football in college.' And it just so happens that's working out, even though they're going to two different schools.
TT: OK, back to football here, I wanted to ask you about Maryland. I know Daniel was high on Virginia following his official out there. Were you surprised he chose Maryland?
BB: Oh, he committed? Man, that was news to me, he didn't even tell me (laughs). I mean, he must have really, really liked it. So, yes, it's a surprise to me. I thought Daniel was going to take his last official visit to James Madison. See, his brother has an offer from JMU, and I thought those boys were going to go out there together. But obviously Daniel was pretty excited about Maryland. So in that sense I am surprised since the original plan was to take all his officials.
TT: What's your relationship like with the Maryland staff? How did they recruit Daniel?
BB: Actually Tom Brattan was the one who recruited our area for the last few years. I've known Tom for a long time; I've been coaching in Virginia for 40 years now so I've know him at the high school level, some other colleges and of course at Maryland. So he's the one I communicated with the most.
But I know he left there, and now it's Coach [Brian] Stewart. Either way, Maryland is like a local school for us. They're right there and just as close or closer than Virginia or Virginia Tech. They certainly make their presence known in our area.
TT: How is Daniel off the field? Is a quieter type or more someone that's going to speak his mind?
BB: Daniel is not super vocal, but he is a captain for us. He's more of a lead-by-example type kid. His twin is a little more vocal, and he's also a captain for us. But Daniel helped us get to the state semifinal game this year, and he was a key reason for that with how he led the team.
I think [Maryland] fans are going to love him. He's a real hardworking kid, a good kid, and he's a playmaker. He's going to do really well up there.
Coach Speak: Bill Brown on Ezeagwu
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