Johns Breaks Down the Maryland Dynamic

Maryland seemed to be losing ground on local quarterback target Nick Johns (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) following his recent trip to Virginia, but the Terps are right back in the thick of things following a seven-hour visit to College Park, Md., April 18.

Maryland seemed to be losing ground on local quarterback target Nick Johns (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) following his recent trip to Virginia, but the Terps are right back in the thick of things following a seven-hour visit to College Park, Md., April 18. Johns, who currently holds offers from UMD, UVA and N.C. State, called the Cavaliers and Terps "dead even" and will likely choose between one of those two programs later this spring.

"I was just at Maryland from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and did just about everything you can possibly do on a recruiting visit. It was great," said the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Johns, a dual-threat triggerman. "I saw the dorms; I walked around the entire school with Coach [Randy] Edsall, Coach [Mike] Locksley and Coach [Ryan] Steinberg; I saw some classes; I ate lunch with Coach Edsall and Coach Locksley; and I met some players. It was awesome."

That may have been so, but the main concern, at least for Terps fans, was whether or not Johns would be OK with Maryland recruiting a second class of 2015 quarterback. In a recent interview, Johns appreciated how Virginia was making him "their guy" and was only looking to bring in one signal caller this year, whereas Maryland had made it known it's looking to add two.

"Yes, [the Maryland coaches] did talk about that, and they basically said if I were to commit there, the other QB they brought in would be a guy who would basically be a backup," Johns said. "They said it wouldn't be another elite QB they'd be bringing in with me – more of a developmental guy. They said I'm their guy."

Johns said he is well aware Maryland is recruiting Kai Locksley (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), another elite quarterback.

"Me and Coach [Mike] Locksley did talk about that," Johns said. "I know Kai is looking closely at Maryland and is being recruited by Maryland. I know the situation there. We'll see what happens."

Johns went on to say that he had an informative conversation with Maryland's head man. He said Randy Edsall let him know how much he was wanted and how much he could help Maryland.

"Coach Edsall said no matter who comes in or who is [in the program], there's no politics at Maryland," Johns said. "He said the best man wins the job and plays, no matter what year or how much experience he has. [Edsall] said if I come in and prove that I am a dual-threat that can run and pass and really compete, I have a chance to play as a true freshman or redshirt freshman. He said right now there's an open competition at quarterback, and C.J. [Brown] is leaving after this year, so I'd really have a shot to prove myself if I went there.

"And that's important to me," he continued. "I wouldn't want to sit out more than a year. I'd want to be playing by my sophomore year."

The Gonzaga quarterback said his visit wasn't all business, however. He said he had plenty of lighthearted, fun moments with the coaches and players, while he enjoyed touring the school as well.

"Basically it was me and the coaches riding around in a golf cart, and it was really fun," Johns said. "It was relaxing and cool, just me and them talking and joking around. I really connected with those guys."

Johns went on to say that he was highly impressed with Maryland's classes. He knew that it was a nationally-rated public school but wasn't aware of the inner workings until the April 18 visit.

"It's a top 20 business school in the country and I'm looking to study finance, so that's great," Johns said. "I'd never really seen the campus like that before. I thought the classes and professors were very impressive and informative."

Johns also had a chance to chat up a few players. Namely, he spoke to current Terps' backup quarterback Perry Hills.

"I was hanging out with a few other guys and they were saying how much they love it there. I talked to Perry, and he said he loved it there," Johns said. "He said it's a pro-style offense with spread qualities and it's a really cool system. That meant a lot hearing that from him, and I feel like I could fit into that [system] well. I would be the center piece, the game manager, and the offense fits my style. I'm an underrated runner -- I can pass, I can run and I can bring a lot to the table. I feel like I could really fit in well [at Maryland]."

Of course, Johns has Virginia under consideration as well. He visited Charlottesville a couple weeks back and raved about his stay.

"UVA is a great school, first and foremost," Johns said. "It's terrific academics. And they're getting better with their football program. They were young last year, but they're going to be more experienced and better next year. Coach [Mike] London has them moving in the right direction.

"You know, it's a pro style offense, a little shotgun, a little under center -- not really read-option. [The offense] doesn't really affect me, but if I went there I'm pretty sure they'd change things up and put some read-option in there. As long as we're winning it really doesn't matter, though."

Johns is also considering N.C. State. He visited Raleigh, N.C., recently and did have praise for the Wolfpack.

"I talk to Coach Barlow every week. They're coming up to watch me throw in the next week," Johns said. "N.C. State is a great school, a great tradition, and I enjoyed myself down there."

The Gonzaga signal caller mentioned that North Carolina, Miami, Duke, Penn State and Pittsburgh are monitoring him. But unless one of them makes a strong run, Johns is content to choose between the three suitors he has.

"I'm looking to make my decision by June," Johns said. "If more schools offer or say they're going to offer I'll extend it, but right now the schools that want me are my main schools."

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