Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.) wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside had been waiting for a Maryland scholarship for upwards of two months now. Ever since Terps area recruiter Andre Powell first came in contact with the 6-foot-3, 208-pound three-star, Arcega-Whiteside has been checking his Facebook and Twitter accounts hoping to see the word "offer."
It finally came on the morning of April 28.
"Literally for two months I had been going back and forth with Coach Powell," said Arcega-Whiteside, who now holds 10 verbals from the likes of Wake Forest, UMD, Harvard, James Madison, Appalachian State and others of that ilk. "Coach kept saying the staff wanted to offer me, but they were giving some other local guys a chance, other guys they promised they'd take a look at. Coach Powell was saying that offer could be there sooner, or it could happen later, but just be ready when it happens.
"Then [April 27] Coach sent me a message saying the offer was basically there but he just had to get it confirmed. And [April 28] I got the confirmation the offer was on the table."
Arcega-Whiteside was naturally thrilled. Other than Wake Forest, most of his early verbals were of the Division I-AA variety, and the Big-Ten-bound Terps represent arguably his most significant offer to date.
"I was really, really excited about it. It's a Big Ten offer, a major Division I offer, and that's always a plus," Arcega-Whiteside said. "Maryland is also a good school, which is very important, and an up-and-coming program. Coach Powell was telling me how they have a new receivers coach [Keenan McCardell] who played in the NFL, and that's exciting. So I'm definitely looking forward to getting up there, meeting the coaches and checking the school out."
The South Carolina wideout went on to say that he's developed a rapport with Powell the last couple months. The two first came in contact after the Dorman receivers' coach, who is apparently a friend of Powell's, let the Terps' running backs coach know about his big receiver. Soon after, Powell visited Dorman to get a firsthand look at Arcega-Whiteside.
"My receivers' coach was like, ‘You have to take a look at this guy,'" Arcega-Whiteside said. "Coach Powell was actually coming down anyway to take a look at one of our other players, but then he started recruiting me when my coach clued him in.
"And I really like him; he's a good guy and we have a personal connection. [Powell] said he loves my ball skills, how I can go up and get it, how I can make plays after the catch and how I'm explosive. He says to just keep working on my game and I'll have success at the next level."
Next up is a trip to Maryland, which he plans to take sometime in July. He'll be hitting camps throughout June, as well as training, so the earliest he can make it up to College Park, Md., is the middle of the summer.
"I don't know too much about the inner-workings of the program, so I plan on going up in the summer," Arcega-Whiteside said. "Right now [Maryland is] one of my top two offers with Wake Forest, so I want to find out more. Harvard also stands out to me a little bit. I have a 4.5 GPA and they offered as well. It's crossed my mind to go to an Ivy, but I really won't know until I visit everyone and get a feel for some of these schools."
Before he hits UMD, Arcega-Whiteside would like to camp at South Carolina, Clemson, Auburn, North Carolina, N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Georgia. Arcega-Whiteside has already visited the Tigers, Gamecocks, Tar Heels, Bulldogs and Yellow Jackets, in addition to Wake Forest, Appalachian State and Furman.
He has been to Wake the most and considers them a leader.
"Wake is going to be right there for me when I make my decision," Arcega-Whiteside said. "I've been there three or four times and I just love it. How they treat me, how the coaches are always in touch, and how everyone there knows my name – it's a really good place to be."
At the same time, Arcega-Whiteside isn't ready to end his recruiting too soon, and said he doesn't have one school that he would automatically commit to if offered.
Right now, Arcega-Whiteside has been hearing the most from coaches at Louisville, Michigan State and Central Florida, while South Carolina and Clemson have kept tabs as well. So far UNC, Air Force and Louisville have filed through Dorman, while plenty of others, including Maryland, are set to visit next week.
"I'm hoping to get a few more offers this spring and summer, because I want to be able to take some visits and commit before the season actually starts -- sometime in July or August," Arcega-Whiteside said. "I want to get the process over with before the season so I can just concentrate on school and football."
Arcega-Whiteside, who also plays basketball for Dorman and has received recruiting interest for his hardwood game as well, is coming off a season where he racked up almost 1,500 receiving yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He currently runs a 4.51 40-yard dash.
Arcega-Whiteside Eager to Check Out UMD
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