Maryland dipped into Ohio for a recruit last year, and the Terps could be positioned to pull another prospect from the talent-rich state. Offensive center/guard Mason Zimmerman (Anthony Wayne/Whitehouse, Ohio) has held a UMD offer since late May, and he made his first trip to College Park, Md., June 8 for the one-day prospect camp.
"The visit and camp went really great, and I really enjoyed myself there, and my parents loved it too," said Zimmerman, who holds offers from UMD, Toledo, Marshall and Air Force. "The campus is beautiful and really well kept. I liked how the stadium was right there on campus, and I saw they have plans for a new indoor bubble too -- that looks really, really nice. And the coaches were great too."
Indeed, the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder said it was the Maryland staff that left the greatest impression on the Zimmerman family. The trio spent most of the day with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and head coach Randy Edsall, who explained the inner-workings of the program, the academic expectations and what he's looking for in a student-athlete.
Zimmerman, an honors student, said the educational opportunities at UMD resonated with the family, while the chance to play in the Big Ten hit home as well.
"All the coaches were really knowledgeable and I had a great time with those guys. Coach Edsall was telling us how Maryland would just be a great fit for me as a football player and as a student," Zimmerman said. "He said how I could be a big part of what Maryland football is looking to do – be a winner in the Big Ten."
During the camp, Zimmerman had a chance to work with Studrawa. The Ohio lineman already knew plenty about the Terps' new offensive line coach since Studrawa, along with Andre Powell, recruit his area, but this gave him an up-close-and-personal idea how it would be to play for him.
"Coach Stud is a great guy and really funny first of all, but he's a really, really good teacher," said Zimmerman, who mentioned that both Studrawa and Powell visited his school during the evaluation period. "I learned a lot from him, actually. He gave me a lot of little pointers to help me out. And when you did something wrong, he knew exactly what it was and helped you fix it. He obviously knows a lot about the game and is one of the best in the business."
Zimmerman said he had Maryland under heavy consideration following the visit. He's not ready to commit quite yet, but it's possible he could pull the trigger at some point this summer, perhaps even this month.
"I really liked what I saw at Maryland, but I do want to sit back and make sure I don't make a decision when I'm on a high after the visit," he said. "But I am really excited about everything they have to offer there. It really does fit all my needs, and they are at the top of my list. But I just want to sit back for a little bit and don't make a rushed decision."
The Ohio guard/center didn't want to completely rule out Toledo or Marshall either. He's visited both schools and has each under consideration.
"I liked both of them. Toledo is right in my backyard, and I've grown up around them," Zimmerman said. "Marshall, I knew them from the We are Marshall movie, and there's great tradition there with their football program."
There are a few other programs in touch that could offer once he visits. Zimmerman and his family are scheduled to be at Illinois and Northwestern this weekend, and each staff has expressed some interest. Cincinnati has indicated an offer could be coming too, though the Zimmermans haven't scheduled a Bearcats trip yet.
"I think if I got a Midwest offer and really connected with the coaches at a school like a Northwestern or Illinois, I think I would really have to think hard about it. I mean, I kind of want to compare the coaches at Northwestern and Illinois to those that I met at Maryland and see which staff I feel most comfortable with," Zimmerman said. "All of those schools are playing each other in the Big Ten, and are at the same level, so I feel like I need to see those [Illinois and Northwestern] and compare it to what I saw at Maryland. Obviously I'd have to get the offers from them first to even consider going [to IU or NU], so we'll see what happens with that."
Zimmerman does not have a definite decision date, but he indicated he'd like to have his mind made up before his senior season.
"Honestly, it could be anytime," he said. "I'm going to make my decision when I get that gut feeling when I know I've found a place. It's whenever it feels right."
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