Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Gunslingers, Signal Callers and More
The Terps have had numerous juniors quarterbacks on their radar, but now it seems like the staff is taking action, perhaps in case the prohibitive favorite coming into the offseason, Kai Locksley (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), may be headed elsewhere for college. The 6-foot-4, 185-pounder, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, hasn't publicly said anything that would lead us to believe he's shying away from UMD, but actions speak louder than words.
Locksley was recently at a Virginia Tech junior day and came away raving. That could be a good fit for him considering he's in the Tyrod Taylor/Mike Vick mold and would seem to fit will into the Hokies' system. He also holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Michigan State, UNC, Ohio State, Wisconsin and others -- and he's talked up several of them. A couple of those Big Ten programs, namely OSU, which produced Braxton Miller, Troy Smith and others, will probably be on Locksley's radar, as well as Cam Newton's alma mater, Auburn.
Granted, UMD is still involved here, although we're not so sure Locksley truly wants to play in that hometown pressure cooker. Not everyone, especially quarterbacks, can thrive under their dad's guidance, and Kai Locksley just might not want to assume that burden.
But for Terps fans, that's OK, because while Locksley is a highly-rated prospect with terrific athleticism, there are others with comparable or perhaps better quarterback skills.
UMD has already identified several options it would like to have on board, headlined by Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) signal caller Nick Johns. A 6-foot-3, 220-pounder in the Jake Locker mold, Johns should see his recruiting skyrocket this offseason, but the Terps have the upper hand early. He has a great relationship with the UMD staff, has been on campus more times than he can count and fits well into Maryland's zone-read. We'll see if Maryland can withstand the charge of other suitors and haul in Johns, who will likely be at UMD's junior day Feb. 22, this spring or summer.
Johns is likely priority No. 1 after Kai Locksley, but Maryland did offer three more quarterbacks last week in St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) gunslinger Josh Rosen, Hart (Newhall, Calif.) QB Brady White, and Eldorado (Albuquerque, N.M.) pro-style Zach Gentry.
Rosen is a pure West Coast guy and may opt for UCLA, and White is a national guy with a ton of option. The 6-6, 230-pound Gentry has some Mike Locksley connections from the latter's days at New Mexico, however. Gentry could make the long trip out to College Park, but would still be a tough pull and will likely end up in the Big 12 or SEC.
Others that will get long Terps looks include Barnegat's (Barnegat, N.J.) Cinjun Erskine, Wallington's (Wallington, N.J.) Ryan Adzima and Brothers Rice's (Bloomfield, Mich.) Alex Malzone. None have offers yet, but if Johns falls through the Terps may pounce on one of the trio.
Friendship Collegiate Notes
FCA (Washington, D.C.) isn't loaded with major Division I recruits in 2015 or 2016, but the Knights do have a pair of linemen the Terps would undoubtedly like to add. Guard Quarvez Boulware is a name we've bandied about for over a year, and Maryland remains hot on the trail. That said, Boulware will probably make this a long, drawn out process, and his profile has increased immensely in the last week.
While Maryland and Florida State were his two most significant offers coming into the winter, he's since pulled in Mississippi State, Auburn, Wake Forest, Iowa and Miami, with plenty of other SEC and Big Ten suitors ready to pull the trigger. Expect Boulware to take his time, go on a few visits and reassess his situation before next winter.
Maryland, though, should remain firmly in the game throughout, just like it did with another high-profile lineman it signed out of the D.C. area, Damian Prince (Bishop McNamara/Forestville, Md.)
The other FCA trenchman Maryland is after is sophomore tackle Richard Merritt, who has already contracted verbals from West Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Michigan State, Miami and Auburn -- with the Terps about to offer (it's not quite official yet until he meets Randy Edsall). Merritt's recruiting is in the preliminary stages, but, like Boulware, the Terps were in early and will undoubtedly stay on him. We're not ready to handicap this one, however, until Merritt has had time to check out a few schools and listen to recruiting pitches.
The Montgomery County Kids
New Terps Montgomery County recruiter Chad Wilt has already made an impression with his personality and go-getter attitude, according to recruits in the area. That said, he's got a tough task in front of him in helping Maryland land the top three junior recruits in MoCo.
Gaithersburg (Md.) outside linebacker Kamonte Carter is due up at Penn State this weekend, and word is the Nittany Lions are the leader. It would not surprise us to see Carter, one of the state's top two or three prospects this year, pop to PSU at some point this spring or summer.
Maryland is still involved, however, and Carter has had great things to say about Edsall and the Terps program, so if Wilt puts the time in perhaps he can stem the tide. Carter hasn't schedule a Maryland junior day yet, but the staff has undoubtedly made its pitch to get him out to campus Feb. 22 or 24.
Meanwhile, Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.) defensive lineman Adam McLean, who tends to change his mind quite often, may be warming up to the Terps again following Wilt's overtures. The Terps' defensive line coach dropped into QO during the open period and has stayed in contact with the four-star McLean via social media. McLean has plans to be at Maryland's junior day Feb. 22, so perhaps the Terps can continue to push into the local lineman's top five before the summer hits.
But for Terps fans, I wouldn't get my hopes up too high just yet. I still see McLean as a star gazer who is going to end up in the SEC or at an elite Big Ten programs. Alabama has offered, South Carolina is in the game, Michigan State is right there, Penn State is involved, Florida and Florida State have made pitches, and more are bound to work their way in. This is a recruiting process that will likely drag out, regardless of what McLean says (or where he commits to early).
Finally, there's Damascus (Md.) cornerback Jalen Christian, a 20-plus offer kid who refuses to tip his hand. The Terps remain firmly in play for Christian -- who should be back on campus at some point this offseason -- but he won't be an easy pull.
Christian will tour all over this offseason, and expect the South Carolinas, Tennessees, North Carolinas, Ohio States and Wisconsins of the world to leave favorable impressions. Again, Wilt has done a knock-up job early on, but he's competing with the big boys for Christian and Co.
Mencarini to Urbana
Speaking of Montgomery County, Quince Orchard head coach Dave Mencarini moved closer to his home in Frederick County, taking the Urbana (Ijamsville, Md.) job when Ryan Hines opted to become athletic director.
What does that mean for Terps fans? Well, Mencarini isn't allowed to recruit at a public school, but talent tends to follow him around as it did at QO. Expect Urbana, which always produces solid prospects, mainly at the Division I-AA level, to suit up a few FBS types in the coming years. Quince Orchard still will procure talent given its location and district, but there might be a few Hawks coming Maryland's way in the future.
The St. John's Kids
Maryland has two prime targets and at least two others on the radar at nearby St. John's (Washington, D.C.). Safety Ayron Monroe, who opened eyes after a stellar Nike Combine this winter (he got a Mississippi State offer off of it), has had a Terps offer since last summer and will be back in College Park for the Feb. 22 junior day.
The brother of current UMD lineman Andre Monroe, expect Maryland to put the press on Ayron and try to secure a commitment before the fall. Ayron Monroe said he wants to take his time and see a few campuses such as Georgia Tech, Virginia, Mississippi State and others, however, so he at least figures to feel out the process. But right now the Terps are in good position for his services given his relationship with the staff and familiarity with the program.
The other early Terps offeree is defensive end/tight end Devante Brooks, who is just a sophomore. Brooks has continuously talked up UMD, the staff and the school; he will return to College Park in the next week or two. Maryland identified Brooks early and has already seemed to make an indelible impression.
That said, Brooks could be a national recruit, and he just picked up Virginia Tech and Illinois verbals, so expect other programs to work into the game before it's all said and done. This one has a long way to go.
The two Cadets who could eventually secure UMD scholarships are tight end Scottie Washington and defensive end Eric Assoua. Both will join Monroe and Brooks on campus Feb. 22 or 24, and the UMD staff is closely monitoring each. Washington (no offers yet) is a receiver who is adding bulk and strength in order to transition to tight end, while Assoua (Toledo, Western Michigan offers) is a tweener-type defensive end who has a motor but some questions surrounding his game.
If Maryland pursued either one, the Terps could very well snag commitments, as both Washington and Assoua had good things to say about the hometown program.
A Couple Pennsylvania Notes
Those pesky Lions of Nittany hold an allure for Keystone State recruits, and it wouldn't surprise us to see some of Maryland's Pennsylvania targets pop to Penn State at some point this offseason.
While Maryland could stand to lose the likes of running back Andre Robinson (Bishop McDevitt/Harrisburg, Pa.) or cornerback John Reid (St. Joseph's/Philadelphia, Pa.), who are longshots anyway, the Terps could be fading for defensive end Ryan Buchholz (Great Valley/Malvern, Pa.).
The brother of Terps walk-on Carl Buchholz, Ryan had been singing Maryland's praises and seemed eager to return to College Park a couple weeks ago. But after pulling in that Penn State verbal, the Nittany Lions look to be in the driver's seat. Buchholz doesn't have definitive plans to see College Park yet. We're sensing a slow but steady fade here, though perhaps Terps assistant John Dunn can work UMD back in.
A linebacker who doesn't currently hold a UMD offer but might get one shortly is Archbishop Wood's (Warminster, Pa.) Jake Cooper. Cooper has been in College Park and had high praise for UMD, but if he snags that PSU offer, it's over. There are also plenty of other suitors -- such as Rutgers, Pitt and UVA -- that are firmly in play and could make life difficult for Maryland should it pursue.
The Gonzaga Kids
We touched on Nick Johns above, but Gonzaga has three (which could eventually be four) other recruits with Terps offers.
Offensive lineman Richie Petitbon is the highest rated D.C. player, and while he'll always keep Maryland under consideration with his legacy recruit status, we don't see him ending up in College Park at this time. Petitbon has that Alabama verbal on the table, and it is certainly looming large -- along with the other SEC offers. But Mike Locksley is his recruiter, and UMD is the hometown school, so Maryland has a chance to turn this one around before it's all said and done.
A recruit who may be warming up to staying home is four-star corner Marcus Lewis. The former Virginia Tech commit was in College Park for a recent junior day, but has offers from everyone and their brother and will search around. But his latest comments have us believing UMD will be among his top five suitors when his initial favorites list comes out. After that, it's up to Locksley and Co. to bring him home by next February.
Lewis' close friend, receiver Jabari Greenwood, joined him at that initial UMD junior day. Greenwood has long had Maryland as a prime contender, though Rutgers, Michigan State and Pittsburgh, and any others that may jump into the game, are players as well. Greenwood, like Lewis, will travel a bit before making any kind of cuts or decisive announcements, but right now he's high on UMD. The Terps look to be in solid early position, with an emphasis on "early."
The final Zags star who could eventually work his way into Maryland's graces is running back Reggie Corbin, a tough, speedy 5-foot-11, 190-pounder. Corbin has an early offer from Illinois and is generating looks from the likes of UMD, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Rutgers, Temple and others. If Maryland misses on a couple running back targets, Corbin could get a long, hard look (and the interest would be reciprocal as Corbin has talked up UMD in the past).
The Good Counsel Kids
I stopped over at Good Counsel earlier this week for Terps signee Jesse Aniebonam's belated Signing Day ceremony, postponed from the Feb. 5 snowstorm. At the event, I spoke to both Aniebonam and head coach Bob Milloy, and both naturally believe Maryland is moving in the right direction. Milloy, a Maryland grad, has a great relationship with the school, so expect him to continue to pump up the hometown program.
At the same time, the talent level is waning a bit at the Olney power, with maybe one or two surefire FBS recruits on the horizon instead of nine or 10 like in years past. In the 2015 crop, for example, the Terps haven't even offered GC's two most prominent prospects, defensive end Darius Fullwood or receiver Myles Robinson. Maryland would be in solid shape (not saying they'd land them, but in solid shape) with each should it offer, but we're not sure the Terps will actually pursue a Falcons recruit this year. UMD obviously has some questions about Fullwood's game, and there are probably other targets rated a tad higher than Robinson at this time.
The one guy Maryland seems to want is sophomore safety Keandre Jones, who secured a UMD verbal during his freshman year. Jones is a special talent who plays, acts and thinks beyond his years. He will be a national recruit by this time next year, so Maryland did well to identify and offer very early in the game.
The Prince George's County Kids
Earlier I wrote about Maryland's continued pursuit of recent Bishop McNamara transfer Ashton White, who came over from Friendship Collegiate. White is currently committed to Virginia Tech, but the vibe I got was that Hokies pledge isn't going to last.
White will see plenty of offers between now and next winter, and he'll be taking visits galore, so we'd expect him to have an entirely new favorites list by the time summer's over. That said, the one school sticking out to White right now is hometown Maryland, which has stayed in touch since last July. To boot, White will be at Maryland's junior day Feb. 22. There's a long way to go, but before next February it wouldn't shock us to see the Terps flip this hometown product.
At nearby DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), safety Tyler Green continues to praise both of his early offers, UMD and N.C. State. Right now, it looks like Green, who will be at Maryland's junior day Feb. 22, is seriously considering staying home for college. But we've seen this movie before with Chris Jones, Jawuan Bentley, Brock Ruble and the like. The DeMatha kids all loved Maryland early before opting to sign elsewhere on Signing Day. So while we might currently like UMD's chances with Green, that could easily change as the recruiting process ebbs and flows.
The third PG recruit we'll touch on is from the public school system. Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) offensive lineman Isaiah Prince hasn't had too much new to report, and has remained relatively mum since the winter began. But at this time we feel SEC offeree Florida may have an upper hand, although as Prince gains momentum and starts to take visits that could change.
Regardless of what offers he procures, though, we're not feeling the Terps. Randy Edsall and Co. are going to have to really work this one to get Prince's mind on Maryland. They'll have a shot Feb. 22 or 24, when Prince said he'll "likely" be on campus.
Last but not least, pay attention to under-the-radar running back Kesean Strong from Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.). Strong was at Maryland's first junior day and is apparently being watched by Locksley and Co. He's a dynamic talent with breakaway speed, so don't be shocked if Maryland jumps on him. Strong doesn't have any significant offers yet, but he should secure a few this camp season.
The Baltimore/Howard County Kids
It caused a bit of a stir around these parts when word came down that three junior recruits from Franklin (Reisterstown, Md.) -- lineman Pat Allen, cornerback Jordan Adams and athlete Jacquez Adams -- all received Wisconsin offers, while Maryland is still monitoring him. In fact, not even Franklin's most prestigious recruit, sophomore dynamo Steven Smothers, has a UMD scholarship.
Allen and the Adams twins have solid enough grades, and each has multiple early offers. Smothers, meanwhile, could have some issues, but he is a national recruit in the Stefon Diggs mold who you offer now and worry about academics later.
Allen is considered one of the top two or three O-line recruits in the state, while Jordan Adams is one of the Old Line State's best cornerbacks.
On a more positive note for Maryland, it looks to be in fine early position for McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) linebacker Wyatt Cook. The MIKE still holds just that one UMD verbal, and he's been in touch with assistant Keith Dudzinski on a regular basis. Cook also plans to be at Maryland's junior day Feb. 24 as he continues to build a relationship with Dudzinski and Randy Edsall.
But while Cook likes UMD early, he will travel to different campuses this offseason. A Penn State or major Big Ten offer could throw a kink into things for the Terps.
Over in Towson, at Calvert Hall, cornerback Dionte Austin has Maryland among his early top three, along with Indiana and Virginia Tech. The Terps offered Austin back during the summer, and while the CHC corner was initially lukewarm about College Park, he's seemed to come around to the idea of staying home for college. He plans to be at Maryland's junior day Feb. 22, and wants to continue building a relationship with Dudzinski. We'll see where it all leads in the coming months.
Moving down to Howard County, Maryland has a good shot at landing junior Glenelg (Md.) guard David Robbins, who just received his Terps verbal last week. Robbins will be at the Feb. 24 junior day along with Cook, and he told us he's pumped about it. Robbins does have an Illinois scholarship and other Big Ten schools looking at him, but he seemed genuinely thrilled about UMD. We wouldn't be shocked if the Terps had Robbins commit before the offseason is out.
The Frederick County Kids
West Virginia seems to be a natural draw for Frederick Country recruits, and while the Mountaineers didn't swipe anyone in 2014, they could cause some angst for Maryland in 2015.
Terps commit E.J. Donahue (Linganore/Frederick, Md.) took a visit to Morgantown back in January and thoroughly enjoyed himself. Donahue insists he's firmly a Terp and plans to spend his career in College Park, but excuse us if we've become a bit jaded following the Jared Cohen situation last year. At this point, nothing would surprise us in the recruiting game.
Another junior lineman, Middletown's (Md.) Will McLain, picked up his first offer from WVU in late January. McLain doesn't claim the Neers as an early favorite, however, and he's willing to listen to whoever shows interest. But from the way it sounds, Maryland is still evaluating him and Edsall and Co. might not offer until camp season or later.
Either way, McLain had a very good relationship with former assistant Greg Gattuso, so new Frederick County recruiter Greg Studrawa is going to have to reestablish the bond if indeed the Terps decide they want the 6-foot-5, 285 pounder.
The Delaware Kids
Maryland has continued its pursuit of Caravel (Bear, Del.) athlete Darnell Savage, who is high on the Terps and will be at the upcoming junior day Feb. 22. Savage has already spoken with new recruiter Keenan McCardell and is looking forward to establishing a bond with him.
But Savage isn't the only Delaware recruit the Terps may be targeting. Over at Alexis I Dupont (Wilmington, Del.) running back/slot Quadree Henderson has UMD interest, and McCardell stopped by his school in January. But Henderson claims offers from Clemson, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and West Virginia, and the Tigers and Panthers look to be the early leaders. McCardell and UMD will have to offer and go hard at Henderson in order to give Maryland a shot.
Three final notes
OK, I'm tired of writing, but I did want to mention that Myles Hartsfield (Sayreville War Memorial/Parlin, N.J.) is coming down from Jersey for the Feb. 22 junior day. Hartsfield has early offers from Rutgers and Syracuse, with the in-state verbal figuring to have the upper hand. But the fact this speedster is visiting College Park could bode well for Maryland. We'll know more about his situation later this offseason.
Also in that Jersey region, New Rochelle (N.Y.) running back Jonathan Forrest is coming down for the Feb. 22 junior day and is being monitored by the staff. He doesn't have any offers yet, but he should procure regional verbals this offseason. We'll see if the Terps get involved here or not; right now, Forrest is probably a backup option to some higher-rated running backs.
Finally, while the Terps haven't officially offered Dominion (Sterling, Va.) linebacker Chad Smith, they probably should. The kid's profile is about to explode (Clemson, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Pittsburgh have already offered), and his film is stellar. If Maryland waits too long, it will be out of the game before the winter ends. The Terps need to get Smith on campus pronto and see if they can convince him to give UMD a long look before PSU and others gets involved.
Confirmed Junior Day Visitors Recap
A recap of the Feb. 22 or 24 junior day visitors, potential and confirmed:
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