Thirteen Terps Targets React to UMD-Cuse

Maryland's hoops team dropped a heartbreaker to Syracuse Feb. 24, 57-55, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the 20-plus recruits in attendance. While there were plenty of basketball stars at the game, the Terps football team took full advantage of the hyped atmosphere by hosting some of the area's top recruits.

For the 22 player recruit reactions from Maryland's Feb. 22 junior day, click HERE.

Maryland's hoops team dropped a heartbreaker to Syracuse Feb. 24, 57-55, but that didn't seem to dampen the spirits of the 20-plus recruits in attendance. While there were plenty of UMD basketball targets at the game, the Terps' football team took full advantage of the hyped atmosphere by hosting some of the area's top prospects.

Among those at the Comcast Center were cornerbacks Jalen Christian (Damascus, Md.), Dionte Austin (Calvert Hall/Towson, Md.), Marcus Lewis (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) and Darnell Savage (Caravel/Bear, Del.); offensive linemen Richie Petitbon (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate/Washington, D.C.), David Robbins (Glenelg, Md.), Ellis McKennie (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) and Will McClain (Middletown, Md.); safeties Ayron Monroe (St. John's/Washington, D.C.) and Tyler Green (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.); defensive lineman Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.); linebacker Wyatt Cook (McDonogh); receiver Jabari Greenwood (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.); and quarterback Nick Johns (Gonzaga), who was at the Feb. 22 junior day as well.

"The game was absolutely awesome," said Petitbon, a 20-plus offer recruit. " I really, really enjoyed it. The student section was awesome, and we almost pulled it out.

"And just seeing Coach [Mike] Locksley, Coach [Randy] Edsall, and hanging out with Jabari, Marcus and Nick – it was great."

While the Feb. 24 visit didn't necessarily improve Maryland's standing for Petitbon's services, it certainly didn't hurt it either. The Gonzaga lineman has stated time and again the Terps are among his top four or five suitors, along with Alabama, LSU and Penn State.

"Maryland, it's always a school that's going to be involved with me, down to the wire," Petitbon said. "Just getting back there again only reassured why I like Maryland so much. We had a meeting with all the recruits and Stefon Diggs, Wes Brown, they spoke to us about what it means to play for Maryland. That meant a lot and I really enjoyed it."

Petitbon plans to return for a spring practice in the next week or two. He's also visiting Alabama for its spring game in April.

The man Petitbon protects, Nick Johns, already gave a detailed Maryland report following his Feb. 22 visit. The Gonzaga gunslinger was particularly impressed with Locksley's and Edsall's message to him, as well as the school's academics, offense, and plan for how to use him.

But on Feb. 24, Johns was more concerned with having fun at the game.

"All the coaches were more relaxed tonight, and we were just joking around," Johns said. "It was a real fun night, and it was cool to see Coach Locks and Coach Edsall being relaxed. Me, Richie, Jabari and Marcus all had a great time.

"And it was a great game. I was actually about to leave, but at the end Maryland almost came back and pulled it off. I loved it."

Lewis, the cornerback, has been in College Park plenty during the last year or so. This most recent trip, however, was a bit different. While Lewis has seen basketball games before, he'd never experienced a potential buzzer beater at the Comcast Center.

"It was nice – real nice. A packed crowd and Maryland played great even though they didn't win," Lewis said. "I had a whole lot of fun."

Lewis said his favorite part was being with his teammates and the other recruits, though. He, like Petitbon, also enoyed hearing from current Terps Diggs and Brown.

"It's always good to see those guys," Lewis said. "They're like big brothers to us, and just the way they were talking to us about Maryland, it was cool."

While Lewis had a knock-up time, it wasn't like he was thinking about committing or anything. He said his recruiting is still wide open and he has a full slate of visits ahead of him, including Ohio State this weekend, followed by Miami, Florida and Florida State.

"It's the same old, same old for me," Lewis said. "I'm weighing all my options, keeping everything open, taking some visits. I'm not deciding till after my senior year."

It might be "same old, same old" for Lewis, but the receiver Greenwood said the Feb. 24 trip actually helped Maryland's standing with him. The Gonzaga wideout has double-digit offers and doesn't claim any favorites, but he admitted the Terps are in good early position.

"You know, [the visit] really did help them because of what I heard from Coach [Keenan] McCardell," Greenwood said. "It was a great, great experience talking to him. It was my first time meeting him and he was really cool, and we talked for a good while. He likes how I play and said I'd fit in real well, and there's a lot he can teach me. He was a great receiver himself, so if I played under him I'm sure I'd learn a lot."

Greenwood had a chance to speak to the rest of the staff, as well as take in the hoops game too.

"Mainly we were just chatting about moving to the Big Ten and all that stuff," Greenwood said. "But the game, the game was great. The atmosphere was crazy. [Maryland] almost had Syracuse, and I was real excited. I had a great time tonight."

Maryland also hosted one of Gonzaga's main rivals. St. John's sent over prime Terps safety target Ayron Monroe, the brother of current UMD lineman Andre Monroe. Ayron Monroe didn't want to put too much emphasis on his Feb. 24 visit, though he certainly enjoyed seeing his first basketball game.

"I've always said good things about Maryland, but I hadn't been to a basketball game before, so that was really good and exciting," said Monroe, who attended every home football game last fall. "The game was pretty good, the atmosphere was good, and it was really loud in there."

Monroe said he conversed with all the UMD coaches and bonded with them on a more personal level. But right now he's refusing to tip his hand, especially since his recruiting is skyrocketing. Monroe just recently picked up a Penn State offer and figures to procure plenty of others this offseason.

"Right now every school is pretty even for me; I'm pretty open," Monroe said. "I like Maryland, I like Penn State, and really I like every school recruiting me. I have to take some more visits first before I'll know who's [standing out]."

Monroe's counterpart at nearby DeMatha, Tyler Green, attended the game as well. Green now holds offers from N.C. State, Maryland and UNC-Charlotte, and he's always had positive remarks for UMD.

"As soon as I got there Coach Locksley opened up the door and from that point on it was all smiles," Green said. "We started talking football immediately and took a tour around Gossett [team house]. But it wasn't about seeing the building, it was just talking. [Locksley] said he's looking forward to seeing me play at safety this year, he's going to keep coming hard after me, and he'd love to see me in Maryland's secondary my freshman year.

"Then Coach Edsall pulled me aside, and he really wants me to come back and meet up. We're going to set some time aside when I can go around campus with my mother and father. I'm really looking forward to that."

Besides coach meetings, Green said he took some pictures, spoke to Diggs and Brown, and took in the basketball game with the other recruits. He said he enjoyed spending time with some of his rivals from St. John's and Gonzaga, "just laughing and joking with all of them."

"The game was great. Even though Maryland didn't come out with the win it was great," Green said. "I really enjoyed myself. I really like Maryland."

Sticking with the Prince George's County/D.C. theme, Friendship Collegiate lineman Quarvez Boulware was back in College Park Feb. 24. Boulware has been on Maryland's radar since his freshman year, and while he's secured recent offers from Auburn, Mississippi State, Iowa and Syracuse, UMD remains firmly in play.

"Coach Locks and I had a conversation about how I could be one of the leaders in this class for Maryland," Boulware said. "We were talking about how important it was for me to stay home, and I was listening to that.

"All the coaches, they were telling me they want me there, and to stay home. And I actually took it more into consideration."

Boulware admitted his mind may have been on other schools heading into the Feb. 24 visit. But he's back on the red-and-white Kool Aid after speaking to the staff.

"I've always had a real good relationship with Maryland, but this does change things a little bit," Boulware said. "They gave me some things to think about that I liked."

Even so, Boulware isn't ready to name leaders yet. He has upcoming visits to West Virginia, Virginia, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech scheduled, with Auburn, Mississippi State and others planned for the summer. He has already taken in Kentucky this offseason.

"I'm not deciding until after my senior year and after I take officials," Boulware said. "I'm open."

Over in Montgomery County, Damascus' primetime cornerback made his way over to College Park. Jalen Christian hasn't been to Maryland for quite some time, and he was thrilled to be back on campus.

"It was the first basketball game I've ever been to, and it was definitely different than a football game," said Christian, who holds upwards of 20 offers. "The game was packed; it was a great first experience."

Before the game Christian had a chance to speak to all the Maryland football coaches, including his new recruiter, defensive line coach Chad Wilt. Christian had built a relationship with former Terps assistant Tom Brattan, but evidently Wilt has picked up where the ex-line coach left off.

"Coach Wilt, he's very cool, it should be great building a relationship with him," Christian said. "But all the coaches, they all talked about the stay at home movement, building a family – it was everything you would like to hear from your family."

So, what did Christian think of that message?

"It's definitely something to think about," said Christian, who plans to be back at Maryland at some point this offseason. "I do like it a lot, and it's exciting to watch the program grow. But it's still kind of early; I'm looking at a lot of schools."

Christian said he'd probably make his decision during or after his senior season, though that's subject to change. In the meantime, he has a visit to Tennessee coming up and plenty others after that.

From nearby Quince Orchard came elite defensive lineman Adam McLean. The burly plugger has other schools ranked ahead of Maryland, but he said this Feb. 24 visit helped the Terps a bit.

"I don't want to put too much on this game, but it did help a little," McLean said. "I mean, I still like Maryland, but I wouldn't put them in the top five yet."

Even so, McLean had a great experience and said there's still plenty of time for him to change his mind. He said he had a lot of fun at the game, and loved how amped the crowd was. In addition, he enjoyed speaking to Randy Edsall, Chad Wilt and the rest of the staff.

"I liked Coach Wilt. He's a pretty energetic guy, fired up about the season, fired up about his players," McLean said. "I feel like he's going to get them where the need to be.

"And Coach Edsall, it's the same old with him. He really wants me back and I'm going to visit for the first practice March 1 to hang out with the players and coaches more. [Edsall] wants me there, and he wants me in the program."

In addition to another College Park visit, McLean said he'd probably return to Penn State in March, and possibly South Carolina as well. He said he doesn't have a clear top five any longer, though there are a couple schools standing out.

"It's always changing," McLean said. "But l do like Michigan State, Ohio State and Ole Miss. But it's still early; we'll see how everything goes."

There was one Howard County recruit in attendance Feb. 24. Glenelg's David Robbins, who has been high on UMD since picking up the offer last month, had his first inside look at Randy Edsall's program.

"I learned a lot about the program today from Coach Stud [Greg Studrawa] and Coach Edsall. I'm really impressed with where they're taking it and I think they'll do well in the Big Ten; I think people are going to underestimate them," Robbins said. "Coach Stud, I think he was a great hire, and he seems like a great coach. He'd be great to play under."

Robbins went on to call the Terps-‘Cuse game "awesome" and said that UMD lost a heartbreaker. He loved watching the students and how energetic the crowd in general was.

"I'd say Maryland is up near the top after this," Robbins said. "I'm still not naming favorites and I want to look at a bunch of schools before I make a decision, but I do like what I see at Maryland."

Robbins doesn't plan to commit until during or after his senior season. He wants to visit Wake Forest soon, and has Auburn scheduled for March 22.

Yet another lineman Maryland has targeted made the trip over from Owings Mills. McDonogh's Ellis McKennie, a recent offeree like Robbins, had a particularly good time in College Park Feb. 24.

"The game was wild; I loved it," said McKennie, who holds just the one Terps verbal. "The atmosphere, the crowd – it was all great."

McKennie had spoken to his recruiter, Keith Dudzinski, before, but this was his first chance to talk to the rest of the staff extensively. He met his potential line coach, Greg Studrawa, and had high praise for him, as well as Edsall and Maryland in general.

"I got a really good feel for Maryland and what they are all about. I really enjoyed the visit, just being at the game, seeing the coaches and being around the other recruits," McKennie said. "I'm getting a good vibe out of Maryland right now."

McKennie does not plan to pull the trigger early, however. He wants to see what other offers come in, and said Virginia Tech, a school he just trekked to, could be close.

The McDonogh lineman's teammate, lineback Wyatt Cook, joined him at Maryland Feb. 24. Cook also holds just that one Terps offer right now and is equally high on the hometown program.

"Maryland will always be near the top because it's the home school, but just in general they're really doing a good job with all the local recruits," Cook said. "I could see that [Feb. 24] -- they emphasized that at the visit, and it was cool.

"I had met all the coaches before, but it was cool to be around them again, be with the other recruits, see what the new facilities are like, and just all that good stuff. Maryland is moving in the right direction."

As for the hoops game, Cook called it "crazy" and loved how Maryland made a late charge to almost pull the upset.

"Wild," Cook said. "Just wild."

Cook might be heading to Penn State and Ohio State shortly. He isn't sure what programs may offer next, but he wants to take his time, look around and wait until after his senior season before making any decisions.

The one out-of-state recruit in attendance was Darnell Savage, who made the three-hour drive over from Delaware. Savage has been singing Maryland's praises for some time, lauding the Terps for keeping a scholarship on the table despite his broken femur.

Feb. 24 was his first time back on campus since the fall when he attended a home football game.

"This [visit] improved my standing with them," said Savage, who is being recruited as a cornerback. "I feel real comfortable with them, real comfortable around the program. I had a lot of fun, and I liked the atmosphere."

Savage had a chance to speak with his new recruiter, Keenan McCardell, who took over for Lee Hull (Morgan State), as well as defensive coordinator Brian Stewart and Edsall.

"We were just talking about getting me on campus more," Savage said. "It was a real good conversation. I liked Coach McCardell, he seems like a really good guy and someone I can connect with."

The Delaware product said as of now he's still open in his recruitment, however. He said his main focus is proving he can still play at a high level following his injury.

"I'm not really concerned about picking a school yet," said Savage, who plans to be at Cincinnati's junior day March 1 or March 29. "I just want to show I'm healthy and maybe get a few more offers."

TerrapinTimes Top Stories