The pair of Nigerian commitments, Daniel Ezeagwu (Colonial Forge/Stafford, Va.) and Nnamdi Egbuaba (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.) made headlines in College Park, Md., last weekend, but the Terps also played host to three other official visitors. Granted, Maryland already had this trio wrapped up with verbal pledges, but tight end Andrew Gray (Chardon, Ohio), defensive tackle David Shaw (Spring Grove, Pa.) and offensive guard Sean Christie (Patchogue Medford/Medford, N.Y.) all had plenty to say about their two-day stay at their future school.
"It was an awesome trip, man," said the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Gray, who committed to UMD back on June 15. "It made me want to go there that much more, and I already loved it, you know? I met a lot of cool players, a lot of cool coaches. It was an exciting time."
Gray, naturally, had fellow tight end Andrew Isaacs as a host. The Chardon mauler, known for his blocking prowess, said he got along really well with the Connecticut native, and took the opportunity to pick his brain about Maryland.
"Andrew was really cool, and he was explaining how things were there and how it would be with the other guys and coaches," Gray said. "I asked him questions about what the transition was like from high school to college, and he was telling me it's more mental than physical. He said everyone at this level has physical ability, but it's the mental stuff, the preparation, and perfecting things like footwork that separate you. So that's something I can take with me and work on before I get there."
Besides hanging out with Isaacs, Gray spent a good deal of time with the other official visitors. He said they were all "really cool guys," and he was happy to see both Ezeagwu and Egbuaba pull the trigger for UMD Jan. 26.
"I was actually right there when they both committed, one after the other," Gray said. "It was a pretty cool moment, and great to see that go down. It's good to have them on board."
The Chardon tight end also spoke to pretty much every Maryland coach, but he was particularly intrigued by his area's new recruiter, defensive line coach Chad Wilt, who was hired to replace former D-line coach Greg Gattuso. Gray said Wilt visited him last week, so this official was their second encounter.
"Oh, he's really cool," Gray said. "He has a great personality, but, really, all the coaches there do. I liked talking to them all."
Gray enjoyed the free meals and the basketball game between the Terps and Pittsburgh Jan. 25 too. He said the crowd was "live" and the Comcast Center was an impressive arena.
"But unfortunately I missed the Friday night festivities, because I had a basketball game and I didn't get there until Saturday," Gray said. "It was still cool, though, and I can't wait to get down there. Maryland is where I want to be."
The two other previous Terps commits, however, weren't shortchanged, both receiving the full official visit experience. Sean Christie (6-4, 280), who committed Dec. 14, and David Shaw (6-5, 280), who pledged June 2, actually had the same host in Maryland lineman Michael Dunn. Both spent the majority of their Friday-to-Sunday stay with their shared host, defensive tackle Ty Tucker and punter Christian Carpenter.
"They had me and Sean together most of the time because we were both with Mike Dunn," Shaw said. "I liked Dunn a lot, but we didn't go into too much detail about the school -- we just had fun. But he said he liked it there and Maryland has been a good experience for him.
"And overall it was just good really getting to know some of the players and all the coaches. Then the food was good, the hotel was nice and it was just good to check the whole atmosphere out."
Shaw said two of his favorite parts of the trip were dinner at Ruth's Chris and the basketball game Saturday night. While the Pennsylvania nose tackle said his New York strip was top notch, he enjoyed the hoops game most of all, despite Maryland's loss to Pittsburgh.
"It was just exciting seeing the crowd, the student section and the music all coming together," Shaw said. "It was crowded, really loud and really exciting. Then how they reacted to the alley-oops and dunks, that was pretty awesome. It shows you Maryland fans can get into it."
When he wasn't with the other recruits, Shaw had a chance to speak to the staff. He chatted with head coach Randy Edsall for a bit, "but I've been down at Maryland so much that me and him have pretty much talked about everything there is to talk about. It was just small talk."
Like Andrew Gray, Shaw also met new defensive line coach Chad Wilt. But unlike Gray, Shaw will be spending the next four-plus years learning from him.
"Coach Wilt is a real good guy, a real outgoing guy," said Shaw, who had 70 tackles and six sacks this year. "He's kind of hyper and really enjoys football. You can tell when you talk football with him he gets all into it and loves it. He didn't go over specifics with me since he just got there, but he was saying just work hard, come in with a good attitude and be ready to go. He's going to be good to learn from."
While it had been awhile since Shaw and Gray were last on campus, Christie was just in College Park last month for an unofficial trip, after which he committed. But Christie said this visit gave him a much better idea what Maryland will be like.
"It was a very detailed experience," Christie said. "When I went down for the Boston College game I saw a little of what it was like, but not a whole lot. This last weekend I saw the whole college, and it was great all-around."
Although he did see more of the school, Christie said he spent a good amount of time hanging out in the dorms with Dunn, Tucker, Carpenter and Shaw. He said they played a lot of Xbox and PlayStation, but the current Terps did provide the in-coming class with a good bit of inside intel.
"They gave us the rundown of how things are there," Christie said. "They went over the schedule, and it's busy. I mean, really busy. And then they were talking about the coaches, and they basically said Coach Edsall is a very nice guy and does things the right way. He said he's the kind of coach you want to play for."
Christie did talk to Edsall himself, but he chatted up his recruiter, Keith Dudzinski, the most.
"We really didn't talk about football, oddly enough," Christie said. "It was just casual conversations, just getting to know each other more. It was nice getting to know him more, and the rest of the coaches too."
Naturally, being a lineman, the food was a major draw for Christie. He detailed both breakfasts in the team house, lunch in the president's suite and dinner at Ruth's Chris.
"Oh my god, best steak ever. I got a T-bone – so good," Christie said. "Definitely one of the highlights of the whole trip."
There might not be too many more steak dinners in store for Christie and Co., but the group is still eager to get on with their college careers. The report date is June 23, and it's safe to say most of them have it circled.
"Yup, June 23, I'll be ready," Christie said. "Can't wait to get down there, can't wait to be a Terp."
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