Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.) offensive tackle Blake Camper was back in College Park, Md., March 9 for his second visit in two weeks, and this time he brought his family with him. The 6-foot-7, 280 pounder first took in the Terps for a Feb. 27 trip with his father, but his mother was unable to attend.
"I really wanted my mother to see the campus, the facilities and meet the coaches, but I was looking forward to getting back myself too," Camper said. "No one had to force me to go (laughs). I really wanted to meet Coach Stud [Greg Studrawa], Coach [Chad] Wilt and see Coach [Randy] Edsall. I got to meet the new FCA [Fellowship of Christian Athletes advisor Bryce Bevil] and talk to a couple players too, and it was a very good experience."
Camper, who holds offers from Maryland, Virginia, ODU and Rutgers, took in the Terps hoops team's basketball game against Virginia and saw the campus once again, but it was the coach meetings that truly resonated. The Virginia Beach product said Edsall, Studrawa and Wilt all left an impression on him and his parents, and he felt comfortable with the staff in general.
"With Coach Edsall, he was very happy I was back, and he was explaining to my mom and me about what goes on there, how the transition will be with the new facilities, the new coaches coming in, how spring practices were going, and also the addition of Coach Stud," Camper said. "He really impressed her with the 97 percent graduation rate of student-athletes, and how 79 out of 80 football players have graduated under Edsall. My mom was very impressed how much he cared about the academics.
"It was kind of funny, but my mom was talking to Coach Edsall for like 20 minutes and she didn't even know he was the head coach. She thought he was the recruiter or an assistant. She couldn't believe how great a guy he was and just how personable he was."
Camper spoke extensively to Wilt and Studrawa as well. Of course, Camper stays in touch with Wilt a couple times each weeks via Facebook and social media, so the two mainly engaged in small talk. But Camper hadn't had a chance to chat with the new line coach Studrawa before March 9.
"Coach Wilt laid everything out for me the first time I was on campus, and he was talking to my dad for awhile this time. He introduced me to a lot of people and did a great job with that," Camper said. "But Coach Stud, we talked a lot about the pro-style offense and how I'd fit in. He talked about how my size and abilities would be a great fit on the line. He also said Maryland's offensive line had already improved a lot since he'd been working with him. And considering he has two national titles under his belt, I think he knows what he's talking about (laughs).
"But even besides his knowledge of the game, Coach Stud was a very ,very personable guy and he made me feel like I was wanted. I really enjoyed talking to him."
Besides speaking to those three staff members, Camper had a chance to talk to a couple current Terps who he happened to meet in the locker room. He couldn't remember both of their names, but one was cornerback Jarrett Ross.
"The players came through to get treatment and they were very welcoming and talking to me about Coach Edsall and the program. That was really cool," Camper said. "They talked about how the coaches are committed to the players and how if you're injured they're very supportive of you. That was big for my mom, and she actually talked to the coaches during the basketball game specifically about that. And the coaches told her they were 100 percent behind the players from the day we step on campus. They have our futures in mind, and that means a lot."
To cap off the visit, Camper was treated to that aforementioned hoops game. He'd actually witnessed a court storming a couple weeks back when he watched Virginia knock off Syracuse, and this time around he saw the Terps' student section flood the hardwood after UMD defeated the ‘Hoos in overtime.
"The basketball game was crazy, real fun. It shows the Maryland fans can really get into it," Camper said. "That game was definitely special, from seeing all the great players get honored beforehand to the court storming at the end. Great atmosphere."
Although he's been there twice now, Camper wants to return to College Park for a third time in the coming weeks. He said he'd like to take in a spring practice or maybe even do an overnight stay if possible.
"I really want to get to know the players more, just to find out what really goes on there," Camper said. "That's really how I'm going to make my decision, how I relate to the players and what they tell me about the school."
He's still setting up another visit to Maryland, but Camper does have Duke – his father's alma mater -- scheduled for March 20 and North Carolina the day after. He has already seen UVA, ODU, Wake Forest and Rutgers, in addition to UMD.
"Right now I'm still really open and I'm taking this process one day at a time," Camper said. "I think I'll probably narrow things down in the summer, and then right before the season I'll make my decision. I still have no idea where I want to go, but I'll tell you Maryland really, really impressed me."
Camper, Family Highly Impressed With UMD
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