Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) cornerback Ashton White has long had high praise for Maryland, and following a June 4 campus visit to College Park, Md., the three-star holds the hometown school in even higher regard. White, who the Terps have been pursuing since last summer, when he was at Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.), said his most recent trek to the nearby school was "like no other visit I've taken there before."
"Even though it's so close, I'd never seen Maryland like I had [June 4]. It was way better than I expected," said White, who holds offers from UMD, UVA, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Illinois and Hawaii. "Me and my parents saw the whole ins and outs of the university, and we had a really great time. It was really informative, personal conversations with the coaches, and we all really enjoyed ourselves."
There was plenty to like about the visit, but White said the educational aspects in particular caught his eye. The McNamara corner mentioned how he'd never seen the academic buildings before, nor was he aware of how much head coach Randy Edsall stressed classroom success.
"The APR rating has skyrocketed since Coach Edsall has been there. He's turned it completely around, and since he's been there, as far as the athletes and academics are concerned, it's been a 180," White said. "The GPAs and success rate have gone up, and the players have been excelling as students, athletes and people."
Naturally, White's parents were impressed with those numbers. Both his mother and father heeded Edsall's message and came away raving.
"My parents were blown away. They loved it all," White said. "My mom, she loves Maryland and Coach Edsall and what he's about. You know, they're real similar – they're both thorough and straightforward and emphasize academics. They really got along well.
"And my dad, he's a D.C. guy and was born and raised here, so he definitely supports the whole stay-home movement."
So, does that mean his parents are pushing the U of MD?
"Well, they don't really say, but they definitely loved it," White said. "They said it was definitely one of the best visits they've taken with me."
Besides the academics, White harped on the Maryland staff's energy as a whole. He said he could sense each coach was motivated and had the drive to turn the Terps into a winner.
"They have a great plan for the program and they're just a couple puzzle pieces away from really making noise in the Big Ten and winning a Rose Bowl," White said. "And I think that is possible. On any given Saturday, if you have the right pieces in place, anything can happen. I think Maryland can get there if the right people stay home."
The White clan spent most of the day touring College Park with a trio of UMD staff members. White's recruiter, Mike Locksley, defensive coordinator Brian Stewart and Ryan Steinberg all showed the crew a great time, according to the Forestville corner.
"They took us through the whole nine yards. They all were telling us about the football, the academics and how Maryland is an opportunity for me to be great in all aspects of life," White said. "They talked about the education, and the chance to play for coaches who know what they're doing and can really help develop you personally and athletically.
"They said I can succeed at the highest level there under Coach Stewart, who has NFL experience, and how Coach Edsall will help make me a better man. Basically they laid out the path for me, and said it's up to me to take advantage of it. And if I follow [the path], there's no way I can't be successful there."
During the foray through College Park, White saw the new player dorms, the plans for the indoor facilities and the like. He said it all "caught his eye" and showed Maryland is serious about the Big Ten transition.
"Those new dorms -- they're really taking care of the players," White said. "And the new indoor facility is going to be great for recruiting and for football. A lot of programs around the county have an indoor facility, so it's good for Maryland to have that too."
An hour after returning from UMD, White called the Terps his "No. 1 school, for sure." That said, he's not ready to commit just yet. Next up are trips to UVA June 14, Notre Dame June 21 and Michigan State June 28. He's also considering a visit to Ohio State, though he admitted that probably wouldn't happen unless he found extra time.
White also noted that he'd be returning to Maryland at some point this June in order to talk to the players and the academic advisors. He said on June 4 the current Terps were busy with conditioning, while the professors were in meetings, so the family did not have a chance to speak to them.
"Maryland is the leader right now, that's for sure," said White, who should be ready to announce his college destination by late summer. "Then it's UVA, Notre Dame and Michigan State, and Boston College is also kind of in there. But I'm really liking Maryland right now."
White Has UMD No. 1 After Visit
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