Branch Firmly on the Radar

Kai Locksley isn't the only Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) 2015 recruit the Terps are keeping tabs on. Junior safety Robert Branch has been on Maryland's radar for a couple years, and although UMD hasn't offered yet, there is mutual interest between the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder and his hometown school.

Kai Locksley isn't the only Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) 2015 recruit the Terps are keeping tabs on. Junior safety Robert Branch has been on Maryland's radar for a couple years, and although UMD hasn't offered yet, there is mutual interest between the 6-foot-1, 190 pounder and his hometown school.

"Maryland I know has been talking to my coaches about me, and I think they're close [to offering]," said Branch, who currently holds offers from Boston College, Georgia Tech and Rutgers. "I'm not positive about that, but I know they're talking. I'd like to get [the offer] from Maryland, because I really like the school, they're going to the Big Ten, and it's close to home. If they offered I'd definitely look into them more."

Maryland assistant Andre Powell recruits Baltimore City and has been Branch's main Terps contact. But the Gilman safety has also spoken to offensive coordinator Mike Locksley before, which makes sense since Locksley's son, Kai, is the Greyhounds' quarterback.

"I know both of them, but I've mainly stayed in touch with Coach Powell. He's a good guy, and he's been saying he'd like to get me up to the school a few more times, meet all the coaches again and get accustomed to the way they do things there," Branch said. "I'm thinking I'm going to go up there again with Kai for a spring practice or the spring game."

Branch actually was not in attendance for Maryland's February junior day when it hosted 14 Gilman recruits. He said he had a prior commitment and was unable to make it. In fact, the last time he was in College Park, Md., was for a game his high school team played in Byrd Stadium his sophomore season, although he did attend the Terps-West Virginia game at M&T Bank Stadium last year.

"Well, just from playing [in Byrd] I can tell you I like the stadium and the Under Armour things on the field," Branch said. "And I saw the game at M&T, and Maryland played well. They have a good defense, and they get after it. Afterwards I talked ot the coaches and players a little bit, and they all seemed nice."

But while Branch had high praise for UMD, it's not like his full attention is focused on the Terps. After all, Maryland hasn't even offered yet, while BC, Rutgers and Georgia Tech have. He pulled in the Eagles and Scarlet Knights verbals during his sophomore year and Georgia Tech this year.

"And I have good feelings about other schools that are talking to me," Branch said. "Penn State, Virginia Tech, Maryland and South Carolina a little. All of them stay in touch and seem interested."

Of the offers he does have, he said there are no clear standouts. Branch has already visited BC and RU, and plans to see Georgia Tech for the first time later this spring.

"I like different things about each one. Georgia Tech has a great, great engineering program and that's what I want to major in," Branch said. "BC is an all-around good academic school. It was a great place when I visited, and I think I'll go up for a personal visit instead of a junior day just to get a more personal experience and talk to the players. And Rutgers, I really like the staff there. I went there for their game against Cincinnati and that was tough, but afterwards I really enjoyed talking to the coaches."

Right now Branch said he'd like to return to BC, take in Georgia Tech, and then visit Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. Stony Brook is on the docket as well, and he said he'd take a look at Michigan State, UCLA, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Arkansas should those programs reach out more.

He had previously visited Penn State, Virginia, Maryland and the aforementioned Boston College and Rutgers trips.

Currently Branch is running outdoor track after completing his indoor track season. He's also lifting with the team and preparing for several college one-day camps this summer.

"I'm thinking about doing camps at PSU, Rutgers, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech," Branch said. "I'll probably hit a couple Nike combines as well."

Branch is coming off a season where he recorded around 50 tackles and three interceptions. He runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.5-second range.

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