Coach Speak: Jeff Jordan on Denzel Conyers

Maryland secured a commitment from class of 2014 junior college cornerback Denzel Conyers April 12. A day later, his coach at Butte Community College (Oroville, Calif.), Jeff Jordan, who has been at the school for almost 20 years, offered up a few thoughts on the Terps' latest addition.

Maryland secured a commitment from class of 2014 junior college cornerback Denzel Conyers April 12. A day later, his coach at Butte Community College (Oroville, Calif.), Jeff Jordan, who has been at the school for almost 20 years, offered up a few thoughts on the Terps' latest addition.

Here's our Q& A with him:

Terrapin Times: Coach, first and foremost give us a little scouting report on Denzel. We know he's a big guy, but what does he bring to the defense?

Jeff Jordan: Denzel is really rangy, and he's almost 6-feet-3 and 195 pounds. He's really long, and he has huge upside because of his size. He's pretty quick, he covers well and he can perform in either zone or man coverage. He's always around the football too and plays the ball well. He probably would have had six picks last year if he didn't drop four of them (laughs).

And he's very versatile and can move around the defense from corner to safety to linebacker. He came in as a safety, but I wanted him at corner and he made that transition very smoothly.

But what I love about Denzel is he wants to be good. He's a high-character kid and a worker who is going to do everything possible to reach his potential. Denzel is really a great person and a true student-athlete.

TT: Every player has things they need to work on. What does Denzel need to improve to take the next step at Maryland?

JJ: He just has to continue to keep growing as a player. Technique-wise that will come. He needs to be able to play fast within his body. To be able to play corner at 6-3, 200 pounds, he has to continue to redefine himself and work on his technique. And I still think he can add five,10 pounds of muscle once he gets in [Maryland's] strength program, and once he does he has to be able to control that.

TT: Were there any plays or moments that stood out to you last year that let you know Denzel could be a great player?

JJ: There were a couple times throughout the year where he made some big-time plays, but the one that will always stick out in my head came against Fullerton. One of their backs had a 50-yard run and was about to score, but Denzel chased him down from the backside, knocked him out of bounds and stripped him of the ball. If it wasn't for Denzel's hustle as a backside corner running across the field, the outcome of the game would probably have been different. He could have easily coasted when [the Fullerton back] neared the end zone, but Denzel went all out, knocked him out of bounds, and our defense ended up making a goal-line stand.

TT: How did Maryland get involved with Denzel? I know you and coach Brian Stewart have a relationship, so I'm assuming he checked in with you about him…

JJ: Yeah, Brian checks in with me every year to see who we have over here. In fact, [Maryland is] also interested in one of our 2015 defensive lineman, a big Swedish kid named Mark Rosinquist.

But I've known Brian for 25 years or so, and we've both been working in the coaching profession for about the same amount of time. We were fortunate enough to be roommates for almost a year, too, so we have a lot of roots. I wouldn't recommend a kid to him who wouldn't be able to come in, contribute, and be a great student-athlete.

And from my side, I know Brian is going to take care of my kids because I know he's a great guy and a great coach. Denzel is a great kid, and he's going to do well learning from Brian.

TT: When did Coach Stewart actually begin recruiting Denzel? How did the process go down?

JJ: It started a couple months ago, and it kept going from there. I think Brian [Stewart] was actually going to come out and check him out during spring recruiting, but I think Maryland wanted to speed the process up a little bit, so they had him out to campus. Fortunately for them they offered and he committed, because there were going to be a lot of Pac-12 and Midwest schools that were going to jump all over him. Once those schools saw him this spring I'm sure he would have gotten way more attention. So Maryland did well to get him out there, and they got themselves quite a player.

TT: So, is Denzel set to sign with Maryland, or is there still a chance other programs could get involved in his recruiting?

JJ: I don't see that happening. Denzel is committed to Maryland, and they're doing all the paperwork now. They should be sending out the papers for him to sign [April 14] or [April 15] and he'll be squared away with them. With JUCOs, our first Signing Day is when the high school kids all sign, but after that kids can sign the papers anytime they're ready, and my understanding is it will be finalized with Maryland early next week.

TT: Coach, how did Denzel end up at Butte? I know he signed with FIU out of high school, but he told me he had no idea why he wasn't able to play there.

JJ: Believe it or not we have had a few other kids from his school [Boca Ciega High in Florida] where there were some weird things that happened. Like Josh Bellamy, who is in the NFL now. He came to play here out of Boca Ciega after he had committed to South Florida.

But Denzel kind of knew about us from other kids from his school like Josh who decided to come out here. And I can't even really say what happened at FIU. I think what happened is FIU over-signed or took too many guys in their class. I know it was nothing on Denzel's end; it just kind of fell through. I know [the FIU staff] was talking to him, but I'm not sure they handled their business the right way. So it was a bummer for Denzel, but it's worked out for him. He's definitely upgraded his scholarship offer and is going off to a great program in Maryland.

TT: I know many JUCO players stay two years, but Denzel is leaving after one. Any reason why?

JJ: Well, quite simply he's squared away academically. Selfishly I'd love to keep him, but he's academically ready to go. And that's what we do here – if the player is squared away, we move them on to the four-year level. Denzel is ready, we've helped him as a stepping stone, and now it's time for him to be treated like a Division I athlete on full scholarship.

TT: What kind of a person is Denzel? He's seems like a very respectful, down-to-earth kid.

JJ: Denzel is kind of quiet, and he goes about his business. He's the type to hang out in the coaches' offices or the locker room just to say, ‘Hi' or ‘Good morning' between classes. But he's a kid who just takes care of business. I told Brian [Stewart] he's zero maintenance. He goes to class, he takes care of himself and he's a good kid and a good guy. He's the type you want on your team and in your program. He's not outspoken, he's not rah-rah – he just goes out and works and gets things done.

TT: Is his family all still in Florida?

JJ: Yes, his mom still lives in the St. Petersburg area and is very proud of Denzel. I've spoken with her a few times, and we were texting after he committed to Maryland. She's very excited that he's going there. I know Denzel and his mom have a great relationship and she's done a great job of him. I know [Conyers] has a couple siblings too who also play [football], but I don't think his dad's around.

TT: Coach, Denzel said his dream is to play in the NFL. Does he have that kind of potential?

JJ: Honestly, who knows? I think he definitely has the size [NFL scouts] would be looking for. Right now I'm just looking forward to following his progression and steps. I mean, he's still a freshman in college and there will be a lot of development these next three years. I'd probably know more about [his potential] if he was able to play for us his sophomore year -- that way I could compare him to our past players who are in the NFL, and we've had five of them. But Denzel definitely has the size and plenty of skills, and we'll see how he's able to progress at Maryland.

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