Welcome to the next edition of Inside the Shell, our weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
New Assistants Hitting the Trail
It seems Maryland has been on an offer binge this winter, with scholarships going out right and left, both locally and out of state. Most notably, the Terps seem to be expanding their horizons, singling out prospects in the Midwest, Texas and California.
New receivers coach Keenan McCardell has already been a hit with the prospects I've spoken to, as his NFL resume and relatable demeanor are playing well. Besides his forays into Delaware and parts of Maryland, it seems like he's making inroads into the Lone Star State as well. While Maryland may not be able to pull a high-profile Texas recruit just yet -- the Terps probably have to win some games first -- McCardell's efforts should pay dividends down the line as the UMD name and brand is spreading.
When I've asked prospects what they knew about Maryland, the typical response is, "Oh, that's the school with all the Under Armour stuff" … and that's about it. But in a year or two, Randy Edsall and Co. would undoubtedly like that answer to be something closer to, "Oh yeah, I saw them play on TV when they beat Penn State, and yeah, Coach McCardell was just down at my school which was really cool."
Most recently Maryland offered safety Jameel Cook (Ridge Point/Missouri City, Texas), who has offers from Colorado and Missouri, and cornerback Will Lockett (Mavel, Texas), who also holds a Michigan State verbal. Before that, UMD handed out scholarships to national recruit Holton Hill (Lamra/Houston, Texas), a cornerback, five-star quarterback Jarrett Stidham (Stehenville, Texas), big-time safety Prentice McKinney (South Oak Cliff/Dallas, Texas), receiver J.F. Thomas (South Oak Cliff) and defensive end Mbi Tanyi (George Bush/Richmond, Texas).
We'll see if the Terps can get these guys to visit over the summer, since that's their best chance of convincing them to play on the East Coast. Currently, Maryland's most realistic option is probably the defensive end Tanyi, who the Terps offered first and said he's definitely going to be trekking up to College Park.
Wilt Making Early Impressions Too
Defensive line coach Chad Wilt is an energetic, engaging go-getter; we could tell that as soon as we met him during a pre-spring practice media day. Like McCardell, all the recruits I've spoken to have really enjoyed talking to him and listening to his pitch. But while locals like Jalen Christian (Damascus, Md.) and Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.) have lauded him, he too has been spreading the good word to out of towners.
Having coached at Ball State, Wilt has connections to Indiana and Illinois, and along with his personality, it should help Maryland's chances with Chitown and Hoosier recruits. Again, the Terps probably have to win some games, and they're not going to out-recruit Michigan and Ohio State for the crème de crème, but those two- and three-star linemen that end up in the MAC can play a little bit. A lot of those guys come tough as nails, but just might not be big enough or fast enough for the Big House. That's where Wilt comes in: identify the talent, swoop in and convince said recruit to visit College Park. After that, you have a legitimate shot.
So far – and there are probably more we don't know about yet – Maryland has offered Indiana linebacker Darrin Kirkland (Lawrence Central/Indianapolis, Ind.), linebacker Josh Barajas (Andrean/Merrillville, Ind.) and lineman Brandon Knight (Noblesville, Ind.), and there are bound to be some others in the coming months. Kirkalnd probably isn't realistic, and Barajas is a big-time star who is high on Midwest programs, but Knight is someone with comparable offers to UMD and may be receptive.
Others to watch include defensive tackles Nick Dillon (Adlai Stevenson/Lincolnshire, Ill.) and Wesley Annan (Lake Forest Academy/Lake Forest, Ill.), two of those undervalued Midwest pluggers who can play a little bit.
Wilt also recruits parts of Virginia, which makes sense considering he was on UVA's staff at one point. The Terps just offered Hopewell (Va.) defensive end Darrell Taylor, Richmond (Va.) five-star outside linebacker Ricky DeBerry from St. Christopher's and four-star end Clelin Ferrell from Benedictine (Richmond, Va.), but needless to say Wilt's going to have his hands full with the latter two.
Taylor, though, was very receptive towards Maryland and is planning a visit. He had good things to say about the Terps' defense, uniforms and Wilt himself, calling him "a really energetic and cool guy." We'll see if UMD can pull him in, as he has the in-state programs (UVA, Va. Tech) and some Midwest offers to consider (Illinois, Iowa).
Wilt also recruits Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.) lineman Blake Camper, who I discuss below. Camper was just offered by UMD earlier this week.
Studrawa's resume at LSU speaks for itself, and the recruits are impressed. There hasn't been one offensive line prospect I've contacted who hasn't sung this guy's praises, not only for his coaching ability but for how he's recruiting them as well. He's already done some work in Frederick County on new Terps O-line target Will McClain (Middletown, Md.), but if Studrawa can snag a recruit or two from his home state, Ohio, that would be huge for the program. Maryland did get Chardon HS tight end Andrew Gray last year, but it would behoove them to pull some of that burly Midwest beef in order to shore up the trenches.
Right now, Ohio quarterback Joe Burrow (Athens, Ohio) and defensive tackle Elijah Taylor (Moeller/Cincinnati, Ohio), and Michigan athlete John Kelly (Oak Park, Mich) claim UMD offers, though none of them will be easy "gets." But the Terps also may be looking at Michigan quarterbacks Alex Malzone (Brothers Rice/Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) and Alex Mussat (Troy, Mich.); linebackers Carter Masek (East Grand Rapids, Mich.) and Tyriq Thompson (Martin Luther King/Detroit, Mich.); Ohio tackle George Brown (Winton Woods/Cincinnati, Ohio); and linebacker Regan Williams (Jackson, Ohio), among others. Expect more to emerge as the offseason moves along.
About that Defensive Line
Late last week, Maryland handed out at least four defensive line offers to Aaron Crawford (Stone Bridge/Ashburn, Va.), Neville Gallimore (Canada Prep/Ontario, Canada), Austrian Robinson (Trinity Pawling/Pawling, N.Y.) and junior college end Ulric Jones (Butler CC/El Dorado, Kans.).
At this point, we don't see Crawford ending up in College Park as he's expressed heavy interest in southern schools, while the JUCO Jones is probably SEC bound. But Gallimore and Robinson could be realistic options, and both have said they will visit Maryland.
Gallimore has solid film, and he certainly looks the part. After Maryland offered, he quickly added scholarships from Wake Forest, South Florida and Rice, with plenty of others on the verge. But while his profile is growing, he told me he's definitely keeping the Terps under heavy consideration and is looking forward to his College Park trip next month. After that, we'll see if Randy Edsall, Keith Dudzinksi and the Terps can close the deal next winter.
As for Robinson, he's a bit less impressive and we've heard he has some limitations. Even so, he's long and fairly athletic, and could be a decent addition to the defensive line. Since Maryland offered, he's received some interest from Penn State, and he'll likely attract other Northeast suitors as well. It's still early to handicap Robinson's destination, but it wouldn't shock me to see him in red and white -- if indeed he follows through with his March visit.
Not to Mention…
The Terps also offered a pair of local sophomore defensive linemen in Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) studs Ellison Jordan and Devery Hamilton. Both chimed in after visiting campus for the Feb. 22 junior day and came away raving.
Jordan, in particular, was impressed, and the early vibe is UMD will be in the game for him right up until he makes his decision in 2016. We've spoken to Jordan several times already, and while he has Va. Tech and Michigan State scholarships and will grab a slew more in the next year, we like UMD's position early.
Hamilton, meanwhile, is a tougher read at this point considering his recruiting is just beginning. He holds a Michigan State offer and figures to blow up and have plenty of options, so we'll see what transpires as we learn more about him.
The Junior Day Wrap-up
Maryland held two major junior days last weekend, the first Feb. 22 and the second two days later centered around the Terps-Syracuse basketball game.
You can read about the recruit reactions from Feb. 22 HERE.
You can read about the recruit reactions from Feb. 24 HERE.
In addition, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) cornerback Dionte Austin chimed in a day after the other recruits (See what he had to say here), as did Gilman quarterback Kai Locksley (See what he had to say here).
I'm not going to rehash every single recruit reaction (there were almost 40 kids who got back to me), but here's the gist of it:
The Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) recruits all have Maryland rated highly, with quarterback Nick Johns leading the charge. Of the four major targets, Johns is probably the most likely to end up a Terp based on his comments about the offense, the academics, the coaches and his father's feelings about the school. That said, his recruitment could increase exponentially, and if Penn State offers he'll likely head to State College, Pa.
Receiver Jabari Greenwood is the next-best bet to be a Terp (he has a solid early rapport with Keenan McCardell), though it's still early in his recruitment and he has to take more visits before we can handicap it. Cornerback Marcus Lewis, meanwhile, is currently open to all options, but we expect UMD to be among his top five suitors by the time he makes cuts. Edsall and Mike Locksley are on him hard, so we like UMD's chances to at least be in the game.
The final horseman, Richie Petitbon, continues to list Maryland alongside PSU, LSU and Alabama as his top four suitors. While the Terps' legacy said he's warming up to UMD, Bama is still the odds on favorite here. We'll know more as the offseason develops.
Other offerees in attendance Feb. 22 included Kai Locksley, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) cornerback Ashton White, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) tackle Isaiah Prince, St. Joseph's (Philadelphia, Pa.) corner John Reid and UMD commit E.J. Donahue (Linganore/Frederick, Md.).
Locksley, as you can see from the article above, has Maryland firmly in play once again. He'll look at Ohio State, Virginia Tech and schools in the Pac-12 and SEC, but Maryland can probably claim the inside track here considering who Kai's father is.
With the Terps likely taking two quarterbacks in this class, it's conceivable that both Locksley and Johns could end up in College Park, however, we don't see that happening. Based on conversations I've had with both, it's probably an either-or situation.
White, meanwhile, doesn't look like he'll stay committed to Va. Tech. Expect Maryland to make a strong push here and possibly flip him down the road – if someone else doesn't first.
Isaiah Prince has the Terps among his top five, but we'll list him as "cool" on the hot board until he says something that would lead us to believe he won't end up at Florida or the SEC.
The offensive lineman Donahue reaffirmed his Maryland commitment and said he's a Terp through and through. He said if he looks at other schools, it's just because he's enjoying the recruiting process. Well, OK… but we're not naïve here in Terp land. UMD is going to have to stay on this one and fend off the Wisconsins and Florida States of the world, both of which have offered.
The cornerback Reid is a national recruit from Pennsylvania who said he's developing a rapport with the Maryland staff and loved the academics. At the same time, Reid has his choice of schools and has Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan and Notre Dame firmly in play.
Besides the four Zaga recruits, the others at the Feb. 24 hoops game were corners Jalen Christian (Damascus, Md.), Dionte Austin, and Darnell Savage (Caravel/Bear, Del.); offensive linemen Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate/Washington, D.C.), David Robbins (Glenelg, Md.), Ellis McKennie (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.), Matthew Burrell (Hylton/Woodbridge, Va.) (see comments in the "Lyndon Johnson" section below) and Will McClain (Middletown, Md.); safeties Ayron Monroe (St. John's/Washington, D.C.) and Tyler Green (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.); defensive lineman Adam McLean; and linebacker Wyatt Cook (McDonogh).
I discuss Christian and McLean more below, but basically Chad Wilt is putting in work here, and the Damascus corner in particular is receptive. McLean will be a tougher pull, but it's still early in the process.
Austin, meanwhile, has really warmed up to the Terps and has them among his top three suitors, and Savage continues to talk up Maryland. Don't expect either to make a decision anytime soon, however. Both want to look around and see what else is out there.
We backed off listing Boulware as "hot" on the hot board, mainly because he's expressed a desire to check out other programs and insists he has no leaders. We still like Maryland's chances, though, and wouldn't be shocked if he announced for UMD next winter. Recall, the Terps have strong connections to Friendship Collegiate, even without coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim there.
Besides Boulware, Robbins is a good bet to end up in College Park as well. The local product loved his College Park visit, and while he said he wants to trek to a bunch of schools, the hometown pull may keep him in-state. Robbins ate up Randy Edsall's and Greg Studrawa's message.
McKennie, like Robbins, was highly impressed with Maryland as well. We'll see what McKennie's thinking if/when he lands more offers, but UMD is in position early.
McLain is a harder read, because he's truly open and new to the recruiting process. He said he's still wrapping his head around things, though he was impressed with the Terps. The allure of playing for Studrawa and the chance to stay near home may be enough to keep McClain from bolting to West Virginia, but we'll let you know more later this offseason.
As for the skill guys, Monroe doesn't want to name favorites, but we'll cast our vote for the Terps. His brother, Andre Monroe, is already in College Park; Mike Locksley is his recruiter; and he's been a constant presence on campus. Penn State is in the game, but Maryland may have the upper hand in this battle.
Tyler Green was about as positive as you can be following the Feb. 24 visit. Of all the recruits in attendance, no one spoke more glowingly about the Terps than the DeMatha safety. But we're not ready to call this one Maryland's way just yet. Green also loved N.C. State, and he's bound to secure a few more offers before it's all said and done. As I've said before, we'll remain skeptical about DeMatha guys until we see one sign on the dotted line for UMD.
Last but not least, the linebacker Wyatt Cook. I get the sense the McDonogh recruit wants to explore other options, but at this time Maryland is his only offer. He did have plenty of positive comments about UMD, however, and we wouldn't be surprised if the Terps eventually pulled him in.
Of the Visitors Who Didn't Have Offers…
There were plenty of recruits on campus Feb. 22 who did not hold a Terps verbal coming in. Of them all, we could see Good Counsel's (Olney, Md.) Myles Robinson, a primetime receiver, and Millburn's (N.J.) Jake Pickard, a tight end, as viable offer candidates in the near future. Both felt they were "close" and said the staff was evaluating them closely.
If offered, Pickard would likely give the Terps a long, long look. He just has the one offer from Louisville at this time and had loads of praise for UMD.
Maryland would be in a solid position for Robinson, too, though far from a lock. The Good Counsel wideout has a Michigan State offer and said he wants to keep an open mind about the recruiting process. But if the Terps make a push, they could probably convince him to stay home.
Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) tight end Trevor Brown is also an interesting name to monitor. He's a good-looking kid (6-6, 250) who plays basketball, so you know he has the size and athleticism. It wouldn't shock us to see the Terps offer after at camp this summer.
A Day Later…
Franklin (Reisterstown, Md.) tackle Pat Allen didn't make it to the junior days, but he was in College Park for a personal visit Feb. 25. Allen claims double-digit offers from the likes of Ohio State, Florida State, South Carolina, Penn State, West Virginia and Virginia Tech, but Maryland still has not offered.
Why? Allen broke it all down HERE. He said he likely won't attend any college one-day camps, but it is conceivable he could hit up Maryland's. If he does participate, Allen might snag the offer then, and if so, Maryland would be a viable option for him. He seemed to genuinely like the school, the program and Randy Edsall's message following his visit.
But barring that, Allen might be bound for West Virginia like his two teammates, Jordan and Jacquez Adams, or a school like Ohio State or Ole Miss (should it offer). But, as some have mentioned on the board, I'm not sure all his offers are truly committable. WVU's probably is, but I'm not sure how much FSU, OSU, PSU or South Carolina really wants him.
Visitors for Spring Practice
It's almost March, so expect the Terps to host numerous recruits for spring practice. Adam McLean already told us he'll be at the first workout March 1, and there will undoubtedly be other high-profile locals in attendance as well. McLean is still talking up Michigan State, Ole Miss and others of that ilk, but Maryland continues to whittle away, hosting him for junior days, practices and the like. As aforementioned, Wilt is on this one, and McLean is in the process of developing a relationship with him. We'll see what tune McLean is singing come next winter.
The Terps will also be hosting numerous out-of-state prospects, and several of them are high-caliber athletes. We heard last week that three UMD targets in Keith Dudzinksi's territory are coming in, including tackle Grant Newsome (Lawrenceville Prep/Lawrenceville, N.J.), tight end Chris Clark (Avon Old Farms/Avon, Conn.) and center Tommy Hatton (St. Joseph's/Montvale, N.J.).
Newsome, who will visit March 12, has over 20 offers and sounds like he's SEC bound, especially now that he has an LSU scholarship. Clark, who will be in town March 7, will likely join Newsome in college football's power conference (he has a Bama offer).
Hatton (also a March 7 visitor), meanwhile, has been talking up Maryland for awhile and figures to give the school a long look. However, he's one of those recruits who could give loquacious 15-minute reports on every school that's offered him, so we're not ready to anoint him a Terp just yet. Hatton just got a Georgia Tech verbal, and he's visiting programs throughout the Carolinas and up and down the East Coast, including Tech, Miami, South Carolina, Duke and North Carolina. There's a ways to go before he decides on a school.
Lyndon Johnson Territories
Maryland's outside linebackers coach recruits northern Virginia and Georgia, and we've heard some Terps' scuttlebutt in both areas.
Down at Bishop O'Connell (Arlington, Va.), home of UMD hoops signee Melo Trimble, there's a junior defensive end, Channing Hames, who has early offers from UVA, Boston College and Virginia Tech. Hames was at Maryland's junior day and their coach said Johnson and Co. have been in touch.
O'Connell also has a long wide receiver in George Hawkins who looks the part, and a sophomore tackle, Jay Jay McCargo, who figures to be a double-digit offer guy by this time next year. Expect Maryland to keep tabs on all of them, with McCargo being an obvious offer candidate.
Over in Ashburn, Va., at Briar Woods, receiver Brandon Polk is still on the board and hasn't committed to Stanford yet. In fact, we're hearing Polk may be back in College Park yet again for a spring practice, so maybe Maryland isn't completely out of the game. We're not banking on it, but stranger things have happened…
In Woodbridge, Va., tackle Matthew Burrell (Hylton) visited Maryland for its junior day Feb. 24. Burrell has always had positive comments for Maryland, but we get the sense he'll end up at Alabama or a program like that.
And in Sterling, Va., linebacker Chad Smith (Dominion) has claimed a Terps offer, though we're not sure it's official yet. Smith appreciated Maryland's interest, but right now we see him staying in-state (Virginia Tech?) or heading further south for college.
Maryland also apparently extended an offer to Georgia tackle Kaleb Kim (Mill Creek/Hoschton, Ga.), who is a four-star guy. But Kim holds verbals from programs throughout the SEC, Pac-12 and Big Ten, and he hasn't said anything about UMD. He won't be added to the hot board.
Maryland recently offered Red Bank Catholic (Red Bank, N.J.) linebacker Jamie Gordinier, who we've interviewed and written about before. Gordinier expressed solid UMD interest previously, and now that he has the offer will be giving the school a harder look. He hasn't scheduled a visit yet, but expect him to make the trip down to College Park at some point in April.
Gordinier also holds offers from BC, Duke, Cincinnati, Miami, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, UVA and West Virginia, and he will see that list grow in the coming months. Maryland has had some Jersey success with Dudzinski recruiting there, however, and we could see UMD working its way into the game. But Gordinier also admitted if Penn State, which is showing strong interest, gets into the game, he'd have a hard time saying "no" to them.
Maryland also offered Barnegat (N.J.) linebacker Manny Bowen Feb. 27. Bowen has seen his recruiting explode this offseason, racking up offers from BC, Kansas, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and now Maryland. He is set to visit hometown favorite Rutgers this weekend, and those Oklahoma, Michigan State and South Carolina offers are legit according to those who know him well, so this won't be a walk in the park for Maryland.
I spoke to Bowen, and he was very appreciative of UMD's interest, and he could visit at some point this spring. But at this point, given his excitement about Michigan State, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Tennessee, I'm not sure I see him ending up in College Park.
In the 757
Maryland's lack of success in Virginia Beach and the 757 has been well noted. But the Terps did just offer an offensive line recruit from Cox HS that might just be a viable target. Blake Camper, who is recruited by Chad Wilt, holds verbals from Rutgers and ODU and is definitley receptive to Maryland. He just visited College Park and came away impressed with the program. (Camper also took in RU and North Carolina this week).
Sure, it's still early in the game and Camper's recruitment will likely fluctuate, but Maryland did well to jump on this one early. The Terps have to end the 757 drought at some point, and maybe Camper's the one to do it. His father played at Duke, however, and he's bound to secure double-digit offers before it's all said and done, so we'll see what develops.
A Little Further South...
In North Carolina, where Powell also recruits, running back Bryce Love (Wake Forest, N.C.) pulled a Terps offer. Love is a four-star with offers galore, however, and the hometown school, UNC, is in good position. Maryland would do well just to secure a visit from him.
In Florida, running back Deltron Sands (St. Thomas Aquinas/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) pulled a Terps offer as well. Sands is an under the radar guy with a Syracuse offer and seemed receptive to visiting UMD. We'll know more after he visits campus in the spring or summer.
Recapping the Feb. 27 Offers
Maryland handed out what seems like 25 offers Feb. 27. Here's the list of the names mentioned above in case they started to run together:
RB Bryce Love (North Carolina)
DE Darrell Taylor (Virginia)
LB Manny Bowen (Jersey)
LB Josh Barajas (Indiana)
DE Clelin Ferrell (Virginia)
OT Blake Camper (Virginia)
LB Ricky DeBerry (Virginia)
RB Deltron Sands (Florida)
There were probably others, but those are the ones we heard about. The other prospects discussed were all offered prior to Feb. 27.
I know you don't want to read it, but…
Sorry, we don't play the Ron Burgundy game here, telling you just what you want to hear while showing pictures of kittens. So, yes, I do have to bring up the fact that Penn State did land former Terps target Ryan Buchholz (Great Valley/Malvern, Pa.), running back Andre Robinson (Bishop McDevitt/Harrisburg, Pa.) and linebacker Jake Cooper (Archbishop Wood/Warminster, Pa.), who UMD was keeping tabs on but did not offer. Fact is, Buchholz and Cooper were considered PSU locks from the jump, and when the Nittany Lions pulled the trigger, it was essentially over.
Now, Buchholz and Cooper look to be solid players and may have been good additions for Maryland, but they probably aren't "can't miss" guys. There are other comparable recruits out there Maryland can pursue. Basically, if the Terps can pull in, say, a Neville Gallimore from Canada, then Ryan Buchholz will be all but forgotten.
As for Robinson, the kid's a boss and there's a reason he had more than 20 offers. Maryland was never really in the game there, though it did make a pitch.
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