Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, our weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
So the Terps have a Punter
Maryland's newest 2014 commitment comes via the walk-on variety, as Warwick High (Newport News, Va.) punter Lee Shrader announced he was accepting a preferred walk-on offer from the Terps. Shrader is in the new-school mold of punter, meaning he's not some undersized beanpole, but rather a 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver lookalike.
Last year for Warwick he averaged 40.5 net yards per punt and placed 17 of his 46 boots inside the 20-yard line. The website nationalcampsseries.com rated him five stars and the top-ranked punter in the 2014 class. A well-spoken, academic-oriented recruit, Shrader boasts a 3.5 GPA and scored a 1626 on his SAT.
He chose Maryland mainly for its academics, the Terps' punting situation, and his relationship with special teams coach Andre Powell, who has stayed in close contact.
Shrader had full scholarship offers from I-AA programs such as St. Francis (Pa.), Indiana State and Alabama State, but said he always wanted to play major college football. Thus, he only really considered the preferred walk-on options from Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State, Colorado and Kentucky.
Offers, Offers and More Offers
With the flurry of offers handed out last week, I didn't think we'd be able to catch them all. And indeed some did slip through for a couple days after the late February Inside the Shell came out. There's probably still more out there that haven't been publicized yet, but here are some recent verbals that were not listed in the last Shell:
LB Joe Giles-Harris (St. Joseph/Montvale, N.J.)
TE Chris Cunningham (Atlantic Coast/Jacksonville, Fla.)
LB D'Vonta Hinton (Texas City, Texas)
DE Quincy Vasser (Navarro College/Corsicana, Texas)
RB DeShawn McClease (Oscar Smith/Chesapeake, Va.)
LB Justin Hilliard (St. Xavier/Cincinnati, Ohio)
WR John Burt (Lincoln/Tallahassee, Fla.)
CB Holton Hill (Lamar/Houston, Texas)
ATH Ray Ray McCloud (Sickles/Tampa, Fla.)
OL William Sweet (First Coast/Jacksonville, Fla.)
To recap, here was last week's recent offer list:
RB Bryce Love (Wake Forest-Rolesville/Wake Forest, N.C.)
DE Darrell Taylor (Hopewell, Va.)
LB Manny Bowen (Barnegat, N.J.)
LB Josh Barajas (Andrean/Merrillville, Ind.)
DE Clelin Ferrell (Benedictine/Richmond, Va.)
OT Blake Camper (Cox/Virginia Beach, Va.)
LB Ricky DeBerry (St. Christopher's/Richmond, Va.)
RB Deltron Sands (St. Thomas Aquinas/Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
The Early Handicap Line
We have either personally spoken to, spoken to others about, or read about all of the above recruits. So here's the rundown of where Maryland stands with them.
Mid- to High Interest
For you hot board aficionados out there, these guys are listed as "warm" on the board. Neither of them has quite reached the "hot" category yet.
The two recent offerees who sounded the most enthused about the Terps were running backs Deltron Sands and DeShawn McLease.
Sands, a Florida native, said he's eager to leave the Sunshine State and actually called the Maryland offer "a dream." Now, realize we're dealing with teenage kids here, so take his initial reaction with a grain of salt, but this does sound somewhat promising for UMD early in the game.
Sands also mentioned West Virginia and Auburn as two other favorites, and is being monitored by schools throughout the Big Ten and ACC. But he is eager to visit College Park in the summer (if he's financially able to) or for an official visit. You can check out his story, HERE.
McClease, meanwhile, already has a tight rapport with Maryland assistant Chad Wilt and said there's plenty to like about UMD, including its academics and Big Ten move. He said he'll visit College Park in late March, so we'll know more where he stands after that, but his first-blush reaction was very positive.
Like Sands, however, there are plenty of other schools bound to get involved, and Virginia Tech and North Carolina are squarely in play. We'll see how high McClease is on Maryland after major programs start filing through, and after he visits UNC and the like. You can read his story HERE.
Many of the recent offerees fall into this category, meaning they're intrigued by Maryland, but it's so early in the process they're just starting to feel this recruiting game out. In addition, they've spoken highly about other programs as well and the tea leaves/hunches suggest they could look elsewhere as their offer lists grow.
Texas City linebacker D'Vonta Hinton fits squarely into this section. The excitable recruit had glowing comments about UMD and assistant Keenan McCardell, and he said he'd love to officially visit in the fall or next winter. He appreciated that Maryland was his first FCS offer and judged him on his overall game instead of his height (he's undersized at 5-10).
At the same time, Hinton wouldn't totally commit to seeing College Park if his offer list explodes, as it just may do this summer. He already holds a Texas Tech offer, and when a program of that caliber verbals this early it usually means other "name" suitors will follow.
Hinton also wouldn't call anyone a leader and said he's open to all suitors, so we'll see what develops. You can read his story, HERE.
The next on-the-fence recruit is the lineman Camper, a Virginia Beach product. Camper is your classic "I love every program" guy, which means he'd probably tell the recruiting analyst from Southwest Washington State A&M that he'd really like to see what their school is about.
Granted, we do sense Camper's interest in Maryland is genuine, and after taking a visit to UMD in late February he will be returning to College Park March 9. He said his initial trip was first class; he loved the academics, the school itself and Randy Edsall's message to him. Given that, we do think he'll keep UMD under firm consideration.
At the same time, Camper is a surefire double-digit offer guy who just landed verbals from Rutgers and Virginia, with others like Duke, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest about to come through. He gave the same spiel about UMD to those who cover RU and UVA, so we're not ready to elevate his status to "hot" just yet. Also, he's a Virginia Beach recruit, and the Terps have traditionally had a difficult time pulling recruits out of that area. You can read Camper's story HERE.
The linebacker Joe Giles-Harris remains in the preliminary stages of his recruitment and is currently taking everything in. He certainly appreciated the UMD scholarship, is planning a March 10 (he told one of our guys May 10) visit, and has family near College Park, so we think the Terps will have a shot here.
Giles-Harris' offer list, though, is steadily growing (he just picked up No. 10 from Syracuse March 6), and he is also high on in-state favorite Rutgers. He hasn't taken too many visits yet, and until he does we can't call Maryland a surefire bet yet. You can read his story HERE.
The Virginia defense end Taylor was receptive towards the Terps after they offered Feb. 27. He said he'll visit College Park at some point this spring and really likes Chad Wilt and the Under Armour connection. But Taylor, who also has Illinois, Iowa, Virginia and Va Tech offers, insisted that he's wide open in his recruitment and will check out numerous suitors this offseason. Virginia Tech looks to be a prime contended, and Taylor even admitted the Hokies stood out a bit. You can ready his story, HERE.
Medium to Low Interest
The Florida tight end Chris Cunningham said he was excited about the Maryland offer and wants to visit College Park in mid-March. He noted how the Terps have several tight ends that are NFL alumni, and how exciting it is UMD is shifting to the Big Ten.
At the same time, Cunningham has SEC offers on the table and was especially pumped about Mississippi State and Louisville, in addition to North Carolina. His offer list will inevitably expand, so we'll see if Cunningham follows through with his UMD visit and where he stands after that. You can read his story HERE.
In the junior college ranks, Maryland was the first to offer Quincy Vasser at Navarro. But while Vasser likes that UMD offered first and is only about four hours from his home in New York, he seemed lukewarm about the school in general. Vasser admitted he'd love to play in the SEC or at a southern school. He also said West Virginia, a program he grew familiar with at Hargrave Military Academy (Va.) last year, stands out as well.
At this point, though, Vasser is receptive to visiting College Park and at least seeing what the Terps have to offer. You can ready his story HERE.
We'll put Jersey linebacker Manny Bowen in the "medium to low" category, but the Terps have ground to make up here. When we interviewed Bowen he didn't seem all that interested in Maryland, although he did acknowledge he could visit at some point this spring. However, he has since picked up offers from Alabama, Nebraska and Wisconsin and expressed more intrigue in regards to those programs in subsequent interviews. Tennessee, Michigan State and South Carolina have also caught his eye, as well as Oklahoma (if indeed that offer is legitimate). You can ready what Bowen had to say about UMD HERE.
You can't blame Maryland for trying, but at this point it will be difficult for the Terps to pull in the four- and five-star out-of-state guys they recently offered. Not all of them have chimed in about UMD specifically, but based on their comments about other programs it ain't going to be easy sledding.
The five-star Ricky DeBerry has touted SEC schools and also Michigan State, along with nearby programs like Clemson and UNC.
Clelin Ferrell is leaning towards in-state favorite Virginia Tech, with South Carolina also in the game.
Josh Barajas is probably Notre Dame bound.
Bryce Love is all about the Carolina schools and it wouldn't surprise us to see him at UNC, his hometown school.
Ray Ray McCloud, a Florida recruit, is more than likely Florida State bound, as is fellow Sunshine State prospect John Burt.
William Sweet is a Florida kid who loves the in-state schools too.
Justin Hilliard is all about the name schools and will likely end up at Bama, Ohio State or Michigan.
And Holton Hill is a Texas kid who will probably stay in Texas, either at A&M or TU.
The Out of Town Visitors
Here's a list of recruits who said they'd be visiting Maryland for practices in the near future (this excludes kids who don't have firm dates and said, "Oh I'll probably get up there at some point this spring.")
On March 7, center Tommy Hatton (St. Joseph/Montvale, N.J.) said he'll be trekking down to College Park for his third trip to Maryland. The Terps have more than a punchers' chance at Hatton given his previous comments, although he's another one of those "love every program" kids. The in-state school Rutgers, which he just visited, is high on his list, and he's also spoken positively about UNC, N.C. State, South Carolina and Georgia Tech, three other campuses he's seen. Boston College and Penn State, should it offer, would also figure to be under consideration.
Joining Hatton March 7 is national tight end recruit Chris Clark (Avon Old Farms/Avon, Conn.). Clark recently added offers from Auburn, Florida State, Kentucky, Nebraska and Bama, and seems highest on the Tide, Eagles, Ohio State, Michigan and Notre Dame. Maryland is just the first stop on a long list of visits that includes PSU, OSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and Purdue.
Two days later, on March 9, cornerback Kareem Ali (Timber Creek/Sicklerville, N.J.) is due on campus. Ali has said Maryland is pushing hard and is firmly in the game for him, and it does seem like the Terps will get a long look here. At the same time, he just added Florida and North Carolina offers and is taking the recruiting process slow.
We'll see how high he is on Maryland in a few months after he sees a few more schools. Rutgers, the hometown school, is in the game, as is West Virginia, while Ali will undoubtedly give UNC and the Gators a look.
As mentioned above, Blake Camper is supposed to be back at Maryland March 9 as well. Even though it's early, that's a good sign for the Terps and does show he's genuinely receptive to the program. Joining him will be the aforementioned Joe Giles-Harris, who has family connections to the area.
On March 10, Lawrenceville School (McLean, Va.) tackle Grant Newsome is coming up for his first look at Maryland. Newsome is a borderline five star, however, and he's been talking up Michigan a good bit, along with LSU, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State. He also just got a Bama offer, and he figures to give the Tide their due.
Those Who Already Visited
After the flurry of junior day visitors in late February, the Terps hosted several prospects for practices and personal visits. Unfortunately, we're not allowed at every practice, nor are we always on campus, so we can only list who we saw or heard about.
On March 1, Glenelg's (Md.) David Robbins was back on campus yet again. Robbins was just at Maryland for the junior day and seems to really be warming up to the Terps. While he insists he'll look around (he's already seen Kentucky, Louisville and UMD, and will be visiting Auburn and Ohio State in late March), we like UMD's chances early. Both he and his father have been impressed with line coach Greg Studrawa, Maryland's academic reputation and Randy Edsall's pitch.
Also on March 1, Liberty (Bealeton, Va.) tackle R.J. Proctor made the trip up to College Park with a few teammates. Proctor doesn't have any offers yet, however, and we're not so sure the Terps will make a move. He's likely bound for the Division I-AA level unless he performs at a one-day camp and puts out solid senior film.
A day later, on March 2, Briar Woods (Ashburn, Va.) receiver Brandon Polk was in College Park, along with his teammates (linebacker Dominic Moore could be on Maryland's radar, and 2016 tight end Mark Birmingham definitely is). Polk has stayed mum on his recruiting, however, though his coach told us he definitely thinks highly of UMD.
We're not sure it will be enough to fend off early favorites Stanford, Penn State (his former teammate Trace McSorely is in his ear about the Nittany Lions) and Virginia Tech, but the Terps are in the game. Polk has been on campus numerous times and has said before he enjoyed being around the staff, so we'll see if UMD can make a charge.
Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.), who just picked up offers from Texas A&M, Notre Dame and Tennessee to give him 30 big ones, told us he was going to be in town March 1 or March 2, but we didn't see him. The defensive end may take in a Terps spring practice in the coming weeks, but we're not getting a great vibe from him. Currently we'd have to say he'll end up at a "name" school in the SEC or Big Ten.
More Rumblings in Northern Virginia … and some in PA
We keep hearing about more and more junior day visitors, and we'll list them as the names surface…
As we mentioned last week, Lyndon Johnson's territory in NoVa has its usual talent-rich crop, and there's been plenty of Terps interest in said recruits. One new name who just came to fruition last week is Massaponax (Fredericksburg, Va.) linebacker Gus Little, who Scout's Jacquie Franciulli tipped us off about. Little, a 6-3, 230 pounder, was at Maryland's junior day and apparently could be closing in on an offer.
He is a Virginia Tech legacy, however, and is high on the in-state programs as well (assuming he gets scholarships from them). He's already secured offers from ODU and Marshall and has visited UVA, UMD, Pitt and Wake Forest with others on the horizon. It's still too early to predict his college destination, but if Va Tech pulls through it wouldn't surprise anyone if he became a Hokie. Maryland, though, has a legitimate shot.
Up in Pennsylvania, offensive tackle Hayden Mahoney (Malvern Prep/Malvern, Pa.) said he was at Maryland's junior day and enjoyed taking in the facilities and meeting the staff. But he said the Terps are still monitoring him and he'll likely have to camp to land a scholarship.
Of course, Mahoney doesn't have to wait for a Miami verbal, as the Hurricanes have already offered. During a recent interview, he had high praise for the Miami staff and program. Mahoney is also high on in-state favorite Penn State, though the Nittany Lions have not made a move quite yet.
Two Recruits Name Leaders
Marcus Lewis (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) jumped the gun too early once before when he committed to Virginia Tech, and he almost did so again earlier last week. After taking a visit to Ohio State, the four-star corner anointed the Buckeyes as his favorite over the likes of Maryland, Clemson, Penn State, Va Tech, Tennessee, Notre Dame and others.
Excuse us for letting out a collective yawn. Lewis may very well end up a Buckeye, but it's still early in the process. He'll likely back off his claim at some point and say he has no clear favorites, which is typically what happens when national prospects claim a leader 11 months before signing on the dotted line. Maryland is still very much in the game, and Lewis said he will be back in College Park this weekend for another visit with the Terps' staff.
Meanwhile, Damascus (Md.) cornerback Jalen Christian released his top 11 on Twitter. Again, it's early, so take it with a grain of salt, but here's the lucky 11 in no particular order: Maryland, Duke, Kentucky, Rutgers, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio State, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Oklahoma.
Christian's most recent visit was to Maryland for the junior day, and he does have a solid relationship with his new recruiter, Chad Wilt. The Terps figure to be in the game until the end, along with the South Carolinas and Ohio States of the world.
The Weekly Quarterback Update
OK, so before we get to the guys you care about, we have to cross a couple periphery options off the list and update a couple more.
Last week I removed Zach Gentry (Eldorado/Albuquerque, N.M.) from the hot board as he's continued to talk up the Big 12 and SEC schools. He recently received an Alabama offer and has Oklahoma State and Tennessee firmly in play as well. Gentry had a connection to UMD through offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, but we don't see that being enough to lure him East.
Also, we've pretty much written off Brothers Rice (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) quarterback Alex Malzone, who doesn't have a UMD offer. Malzone just received a Pittsburgh verbal and is closing in on personal favorites Michigan and Michigan State (Wake Forest is also close to offering). If Malzone does indeed secure his desired scholarships he'll likely end up at a Midwest program.
Meanwhile, Wallington (N.J.) signal caller Ryan Adzima said he remains in close contact with Maryland and could be nearing an offer once he camps in College Park this summer. He's on the verge of a UMass verbal and said his two primary suitors after the Minutemen are the Terps and Boston College. We'll know more after the offseason and into the fall.
Over at Barnegat (N.J.), Cinjun Erskine said Maryland has stayed in touch as well, and he too may camp in College Park this summer. But Erskine said Rutgers is closing in on an offer, and if the Scarlet Knights pull the trigger he'll probably pop to the hometown school. Erskine currently holds scholarships from Bucknell, UMass and Miami, though we're not sure that Canes verbal is legit. If the Terps do pursue, however, they'd be in solid position for his services.
Now, onto the two guys Maryland is in position for. First, Nick Johns (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) took in a junior day at Virginia, his other top suitor. UVA was the first to offer Johns, and he seems to think just as highly of the Cavaliers as he does the Terps.
We still like Maryland's position right now, however, as he's been in College Park more times than any other recruit this offseason (he should be returning with Lewis this weekend) and has a terrific relationship with the staff.
Johns did just add his third offer from NC State, and it will be interesting to see what other schools jump on the bandwagon. Could Penn State, a personal Johns favorite, throw a kink into things for Maryland? Well, maybe, but right now he doesn't have the Nittany Lions scholarship and we're not sure he'll get one.
Finally, there's Kai Locksley (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), the four-star who just added a Miami offer while on campus. Still in Florida, he is set to see Florida State March 7, followed by a West Coast swing in late April.
Locksley hasn't said much since Maryland's junior day, and we're still inclined to believe the Terps remain in a strong position for him, although he will consider FSU, Auburn, Ohio State and maybe a couple others. Expect to see Mike Locklsey's son back in College Park at some point this offseason, probably for the spring game in April.
We discussed Chris Cunningham, the Florida tight end, and Chris Clark, the Connecticut recruit, above, but there are others on Maryland's radar.
Jake Pickard (Milburn, N.J.) recently picked up an offer from Cincinnati and now has the Bearcats and Louisville to consider. He said UMD could be close, but we get the sense he'll have to camp before receiving any kind of Terps scholarship.
Meanwhile, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) tight end Trevor Brown landed his first offer from ODU and said the Terps have been in touch more since he attended their junior day. He is due back in College Park March 9 and said he could be close to a scholarship. We're not sure that's the case, although perhaps after he attends a one-day he'll secure one. If so, Maryland would probably be the school to beat for him.
Top WR Target
Jabari Greenwood's (Gonzaga) profile continues to grow as he just added his 12th offer from NC State. He now holds verbals from the Pack, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Vanderbilt, UVA, Indiana and Wake Forest.
The Gonzaga recruit had naught but praise for UMD after his junior day visit, and we still think Maryland is in a solid spot for him. He's scheduled to be back in College Park with his teammates this weekend. At the same time, he loved his most recent trip to N.C. State and has friend and current Wolfpack member Deonte Holden in his ear. Wake Forest, another program he took in last week, is also on the brain. Next up, he'll take in Vandy and Tennessee in mid March, followed by RU, UVA, Pitt and Michigan State trips.
Two Local D-Linemen Fading
Maryland hasn't made a move on either Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) defensive end Darius Fullwood or Bullis (Potomac, Md.) edge rusher Jonathan Holland yet, and at this point it looks like both will wind up elsewhere.
Fullwood isn't claiming favorites, but he was just at N.C. State and is high on the Wolfpack. Meanwhile, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Miami and others are all in play. He won't come out and say it publically, but Fullwood seems a bit agitated that his hometown school hadn't pulled the trigger.
Holland isn't as high profile as Fullwood, but he's done enough to land scholarships from Penn State, Pitt, WVU, Wake Forest, Illinois and Boston College. He told me the Terps have shown more interest lately, but that doesn't mean an offer is on the horizon.
Regardless, that PSU verbal definitely meant something to him. Wake is also under heavy consideration what with his former teammate, Justin Herron, down there. Holland was just in Winston Salem for a visit and enjoyed himself immensely.
Gallimore Keeps Rising
The Canadian Prep (Ontario, Canada) defensive end the Terps offered early has since seen his recruiting rise faster than dot-com era stocks. An athletic freak, Gallimore now claims scholarships from Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Nevada, Rice, South Florida, TCU, Wake Forest and most recently UCLA. He was particularly pumped about the latter scholarship, and he'll likely visit the Bruins at some point.
Gallimore still wants to see College Park, however, and as far as we know the Terps are in the game. He appreciated how UMD offered him early and has a budding relationship with assistant Keith Dudzinski, so we're not counting UMD out.
Some Random Offers
Figured I'd throw these out there:
Will McClain (Middletown, Md.) picked up his third offer from Temple and now has the Owls, Terps and Mountaineers.
Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate/Washington, D.C.) added a Boston College offer and now has 14 verbals.
Wyatt Cook (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) got his second offer from ODU to go along with Maryland.
TTDave's Inside the Shell
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