The first two offers are in for Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) running back Kesean Strong, and more figure to be on the way. In mid-March, the 5-foot-9, 180 pounder added Toledo and Old Dominion, two emerging Division I programs that actively recruit the Maryland-D.C. corridor.
"It felt real good to get on the board. It was humbling for me," Strong said. "It makes me want to work harder to get even more. What happened was I was talking to the ODU coach [March 17] and he was saying they might offer, but he didn't tell me straight out. But then my coach [Ron Crump] called me the next day and said not only did ODU offer, but Toledo did too. So that was a shock and a blessing for me."
Strong does not know much about either school, but he plans to take in ODU's junior day March 29. He has not set up a visit to Toledo yet but figures to see the school this summer.
"The ODU coach told me how he was looking at my film and how I'm very elusive and explosive and he could use me in his offense. He was saying I was one of his top recruits and he wanted to get me down there for the junior day, so I'll definitely be going to that," Strong said. "And I didn't talk to Toledo since I got the offer, but my coach told me they want me up there as soon as possible. I'll take a look at both places."
While Strong will keep both programs on his radar, the dynamic back will likely have other options to consider. He said North Carolina, NC State, Michigan State, Ohio State and Maryland have all been in touch to varying degrees. However, he said the Terps have shown the most interest as of late.
"Coach [Mike] Locksley from Maryland says I'm one of his top guys and he's keeping in contact," Strong said. "And the running back coach [Andre Powell] said he likes the way I play, he thinks I could fit into their offense, and he likes my speed."
So, how close is Strong to pulling in the hometown offer? Well, if he runs another 4.37 40-yard dash like he did at the U.S. Army All-American Combine down in San Antonio, the verbal could be right around the corner.
"I think I'm real close with Maryland, real close," Strong said. "It's just a matter of me going up there and running at the camp again, and I think I'll have it. Maybe I'll even get it when I go back for a spring practice or the spring game."
If the Terps did extend the scholarship, UMD would be in a very good spot for the Potomac back. While Strong doesn't necessarily want to play his college ball 10 minutes from his house, the pros outweigh that one con, he said.
"I like everything they have to offer from the academics to the sports to the uniforms to the coaches," said Strong, who noted that he wouldn't commit to UMD on the spot if offered but would seriously consider it. "The only thing is that it's so close to home and I kind of want to get away a little bit and do my own thing. But that's not going to keep me from going there if it comes down to it."
Strong was just at Maryland's junior day Feb. 22 and is looking forward to returning this spring. He said his coach, Crump, who takes his players around to various locales, hasn't set their summer schedule yet, but after returning to College Park and Old Dominion March 29, Potomac will hit the road in earnest. Camps and visits at ACC, Big Ten, Big East, MAC and other schools are probable stops along the way.
"It's still early for us, but at the end of March we'll talk it all over and decide where we're going," Strong said. "Right now I'm just working to get better and hopefully get a couple more offers."
Last year Strong racked up 1,353 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. In addition, he had seven return touchdowns as a kick and punt returner.
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