All it took was one cross-country trip and a few hours on campus for Denzel Conyers to find his new home. The Butte Community College (Oroville, Calif.) cornerback, who had been urged to visit the University of Maryland by Terps' junior college coordinator Brian Stewart, hopped on a plane sans scholarship offer and headed East in hopes that everything he'd heard about head coach Randy Edsall's program rang true.
Turns out College Park, Md., was even better than he expected.
"I absolutely loved it," said Conyers, a Florida native who will enroll this summer and has four years to play three seasons. "It was a beautiful and big campus. It seems very alive and down to earth. Academically I know it will set me up to be an efficient and successful worker when the day comes when I no longer play football.
"And I love the team. The dudes have shown me nothing but respect and brotherly love. It's a great group of young men and I'm honored to be part of the program."
Indeed, a day after arriving at Maryland and taking in the red-white spring game, Conyers had a one-on-one lunch meeting with Edsall. After chatting about the school, the academics, and what the head coach expected of his student-athletes, he asked Conyers if he wanted in.
It didn't take him long to respond.
"Coach Stewart had hinted the offer would be there, so I was hoping for it, and when Coach Edsall said he wanted to [offer] I told him I was ready to be a Terp," Conyers said. "Coach Edsall told me he's happy and excited that me and him have a lot in common, and he can tell I'm a good person and he knows the team has gotten better with bringing me on board."
It was Stewart, primarily, who sold Conyers on the Terps. The Terps' defensive coordinator had contacted the Butte head coach and let him know that not only was he interested in recruiting Conyers, but what a terrific option Maryland would be for his long, burly defensive back.
At Maryland, Conyers and Stewart had a long discussion, with the latter showing the former around campus while explaining exactly how everything worked in College Park.
"Coach Stewart and I had a great conversation. I really respect him and think he's a great coach and will get the most out of me as a man and a player," Conyers said. "It's a real disciplined [program], and I like the way they stress academics and really look after their players."
Conyers also had a good time watching the spring game, despite the rain during the second half. The Butte CC product paid close attention to how Stewart moved around the defensive backs and how they interacted with one another.
"The spring game was awesome with a ton of big plays on both sides of the ball," he said. "I love the competitive nature the DBs showcased among each other in the way they played and giving the offense a good look. I can tell the team is headed for greatness. I want to contribute and be a major factor in the success that is coming very soon."
Maryland's newest commitment is hoping his second go-around with a major college football institution goes much smoother than two years ago. A hulking 6-foot-2, 185-pound safety out of Boca Ciega HS in Gulfport, Fla., committed and signed with in-state Florida International University out of high school but never played a down for the Panthers.
To this day, Conyers still isn't sure what transpired between the two sides, though a major knee injury that forced him to miss the entirety of his senior season may have played a significant role.
"I honestly can't tell you what happened; I signed there and then all of a sudden the coaches were telling me I couldn't go there," said Conyers, who at one time held offers from Connecticut, Northern Illinois, Arkansas State, New Mexico, Middle Tennessee State and Western Michigan in high school. "I had all my credits and grades in order, and I definitely was qualified. It just didn't work out, and by the time [the coaches] let me know I couldn't go anywhere else [for college]. So I chose to go to junior college."
It wasn't the ideal route, but less than two years after enrolling in Butte Community College -- Conyers knew several players on the team who were former high school teammates – the Florida native is getting a second chance.
Stewart first came in contact with Conyers, now a 6-foot-3, 200-pound corner/safety, more than a month ago. Then campus visit April 10-12 only confirmed his feelings heading into the 3,000-mile trip.
"I just felt very strongly about Maryland before I even went out there," said Conyers, who had looks from Youngstown State and Mississippi Valley State but no other firm verbals. "Coach Stewart and my head coach [Jeff Jordan] have a really good relationship, and [Jordan] was the one who let [Stewart] know about me.
"And just everything Coach Stewart was telling me about the school, and how they were willing to take a chance on me when no one else had, I felt like once I saw the school that's where I'd want to be.
"They're going to the Big Ten, and that's a great conference and a great opportunity for me. And Coach Edsall, he had a great career at UConn and has a track record for success. And like I said, it's a terrific academic school and they have a great business program too."
Though Conyers wasn't familiar with College Park before the visit, he does have relatives and friends in the area. He said his cousins live in Baltimore and he has friends that attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.
"I have some connections out there, some family out there, and that's always a good thing," Conyers said. "Hopefully my family can get up from Florida to see me play at some point too. They're all very happy for me and excited that I'll be playing at Maryland now."
Conyers is coming off a season where he recorded 26 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles. Now, he's hoping after two seasons at Maryland he'll be ready to take yet another leap in his football career.
"My dream is to play in the NFL one day, and I believe Maryland can help me get there," Conyers said. "Coach Stewart is a terrific coach, and it seems like all the coaches get the most out of their players. I'm looking forward to learning from them, reaching my potential, helping the team win and then hopefully play at the next level."
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