Like many Florida youngsters, Deltron Sands (St. Thomas Aquinas/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) was reared on the gridiron. The first time he touched a football, he was all but two years old, and he began donning pads and a helmet just a year later. In many ways football was life for Sands, and it's the one profession he's been gunning for since he was but a toddler.
"My whole family revolves around football. It's like 24-7, football, football, football," said the 5-foot-8, 175-pound Sands, Maryland's latest running back commitment. "I first started with my cousin back in 2002 with the Fort Lauderdale Hurricanes, and since then I've just grown in the game. But the thing is I played mainly linebacker, safety and even nose guard in the youth leagues. I never really ran the ball. So when I went to Aquinas and they tried me at running back, I was like, ‘What?'
"But, you know what, that's where I fit. I had the quickness, the vision, the instincts all along. And in my first jayvee game I scored seven touchdowns in one game. Seven touchdowns in one game. I was like, ‘Wow, oh my God -- I'm good.' I honestly couldn't' believe what I had done. And since then I've just torn it up."
Now, Sands is hoping to tear it up in the Big Ten. The Florida back committed to Maryland May 23 over offers from Syracuse, West Virginia, Western Michigan, Virginia and others. He originally said he was going to wait to see if the likes of Clemson, South Carolina, Auburn, Florida and Florida State pulled through, but after talking to his UMD recruiter, Andre Powell, he opted for the Terps.
"I was really thinking about waiting this thing out. I was honestly going to wait, and I wasn't totally sure I was going to commit. But I talked to Coach Powell, and the thing with Maryland is I can play as a true freshman," Sands said. "Coach Powell was telling me how all I do is work and how I'm a workhorse, and if I continue that at Maryland I'll see the field pretty early. I don't think I'd have that chance at a place like Clemson or Auburn.
"So I told Coach Powell I was ready to be a Terp, and he said he was so fired up, and even his wife was fired up. He was just so happy for me, and I was real happy too. I can't wait to get up there."
Sands said he also spoke to Maryland head coach Randy Edsall and assistant Brian Stewart May 23. He noted how each coach let him know how much he was wanted and needed at UMD.
"You know, my plan was to wait things out, but after talking to all the Maryland coaches, I just had that feeling," Sands said. "I was just so excited about the Terps after talking to the coaches, and just happy about the opportunity. Not too many people even make it to college from where I'm from, so it's an honor just to get a chance to play at a great university like Maryland."
Sands committed to UMD sight unseen. He plans to visit College Park, Md., for the first time June 28 for the Under the Lights camp at Byrd Stadium. But he said he didn't need to see the school to know that's where he wants to spend his next four-plus years.
"I just really appreciated how the coaches at Maryland treated me. They didn't pressure me, didn't force me to commit," Sands said. "When I was talking to Coach Powell, we had conversations about life, about football, about school. I was never forced or pressured into anything. Coach Powell was like, ‘Hey, we'll just talk.' It was so normal; he didn't try to persuade me or anything. And I appreciated that, and after thinking it over I was like, ‘You know, Maryland really is the best fit.' It was totally my decision."
Sands went on to say that one of his main goals is to make it to the NFL one day. He believes UMD can aid him in that regard.
"Coach Powell, he was at Clemson when C.J. Spiller was there. He knows what he's doing," Sands said. "My goal is to make it to the NFL and I truly believe I can learn a lot under Coach Powell. I think he's a terrific teacher."
Although Sands has never trekked up the East Coast, he's spoken to several who have. In fact, he knows a few current Maryland students and has discussed the university with them.
"The people I know there say it's a great environment," said Sands, who mentioned that he's looking to get a few more Sunshine State recruits interested in UMD. "They say it's a great campus and a real nice place to be. I can't wait to get up there and see it. I know I'm going to love it."
Previously, Sands talked up the Under Armour connection and Maryland's snazzy uniforms. But he said that really had no bearing on his decision to attend school in College Park.
"You know, the UA stuff, the Big Ten move, it's great but it wasn't a huge factor. I mean, I love it, but it wasn't a huge factor. I wasn't going there because of the jerseys or the conference," Sands said. "It was the coaches, the program's direction and also the academics. They have a real nice law program there, and I want to major in criminal justice. I'm also thinking about communications, and I know Maryland has one of the best programs in that field too. It really is a great university."
Sands, who shared carries last year, is coming off a season where he rushed for 658 yards on 48 carries. His goal is to hit the 1,200 mark this season.
"I'm just really excited about the season and what I can bring to the table for Maryland." he said. "The main thing I'm working on is my speed since I ran a 4.6 40. But I have the moves, I have the shake and bake, and I'm elusive. I can block and do the little things for you too. I just need to get a little faster and I'm a complete back. I can't wait to show Terps fans what I can do."
Sands On Board With Terps
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