George Bush (Sugar Land, Texas) lineman Mbi Tanyi had never been on the East Coast prior to his trip to College Park, Md., April 11 for the Maryland Terrapins' spring game. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder had just received his first FBS offer from UMD a couple months earlier, and after researching the program decided he needed to take the flight up.
And almost exactly two months later, Tanyi, who is being recruited as an outside linebacker, decided he'd like to spend much longer than a few hours in the Old Line State. He committed to Maryland June 12 over offers from Houston, Colorado, UTEP and LA Tech, becoming the Terps' eighth class of 2015 commitment and second of the day.
"I knew I was going to commit to Maryland ever since I visited there. And really, ever since I got the offer I just had a feeling," Tanyi said. "But when I went there for the spring game, I just really liked how the environment was, how the coaches were, how everyone there tried to get to know you personally, and how everyone there was so welcoming and supportive. The student-body, the players, the coaches, they welcomed me like family, and now I want to be part of their family. I want to be at Maryland for the next four, five years, and it really is the best place for me.
"It's really a release, a weight off my shoulders. I really feel like I made the right decision for me and my family, and I feel great about it."
Tanyi originally was going to commit to UMD soon after the spring game, but he pushed back the date just to see if he could pull in a few more options. Then, after he decided Maryland truly was his best fit, opting for the Terps over hometown Houston, he set June 29 as his decision date.
"But then I thought, Why wait that long?" said Tanyi, who no longer plans to attend Maryland's June 28 camp and will now visit UMD again when he takes an official during the fall. "I knew I was going to commit to Maryland – everyone did. So why delay it? Over the past few days I really thought about it, so I decided now's the time, and I called Coach [Randy] Edsall to let him know."
Edsall was apparently a bit surprised though elated when Tanyi called.
"He said it was kind of a shock, but he was congratulating me and really happy for me," Tanyi said. "He said best wishes to me and my parents and he just wants me to keep working hard on the field and in the classroom. He told me to finish strong, work on my SATs and hopefully he'll see me next summer. Work harder, work smarter – that's what he told me."
While Tanyi had called Edsall, it was area recruiter Keenan McCardell who made initial inroads and let the Texas lineman know about the program. Tanyi said he had a friendly relationship with UMD's new receivers' coach and he talked to him often enough these last few months.
"Coach McCardell, he was the one that told me all about Maryland's academics, how Coach Edsall valued education and how the Terps were moving to the Big Ten and needed guys like me," Tanyi said. "He's a really good recruiter and easy to talk to. He played a big factor in my decision, along with the other coaches there."
Indeed, it's the academics that truly separated Maryland from some of his other suitors. He and his family have done ample research on UMD and found the school to their liking. Tanyi wants to go into pharmacy and may pursue a degree that will help him in that field. He is also considering majoring in premed.
"From what I learned, I know Maryland has one of the most recognized programs around nationally. Overall it's just a very good school," said Tanyi, who has a 3.1 GPA. "I know no matter what I get into, Maryland is going to prepare me for life with a terrific education."
Choosing Maryland, however, does mean leaving his immediate family in Texas. Tanyi does have an aunt who lives 30 minutes from College Park, though he said it will be tough to leave his mother and father.
"I will miss my family here, but I want to venture out and experience something different and meet different people, interact with different people," Tanyi said. "So I'm OK with leaving if it means I get to see something different."
Tanyi also touched on some of the other positives about the Terps. He mentioned the Under Armour connection, Big Ten move and the new facilities the school is building.
"And, you know, all those things are nice complements to why I really chose Maryland," Tanyi said. "That stuff is all great, but everyone knows why I really am going to Maryland – the coaches, the family environment and the education."
On the field, Tanyi has been a lineman almost his entire life. He started playing football in sixth grade and has basically resided on the offensive line as a guard and the defensive line as an end/tackle.
"But Coach Edsall made the final call that he wants me for defense and outside linebacker," Tanyi said. "Ill play wherever really, and if they want me at OLB that's where I'll play. I know I'll have to get faster, work on my hip mobility and start doing more basketball workouts again. Basically I have to be a faster, more mobile version of me now.
"But I really do think I can get there; I've been talking to my coaches here and they're going to help me work towards it this year."
The physical transition may take time, but Tanyi already has the intangibles needed to succeed. He's considered a leader, and he said whenever a play needs to be made he'll step up and get the job done.
"I bring intensity, fight, drive, determination -- everything a defensive player should bring," said Tanyi, who had 30 pancake blocks last season. "I mainly played offensive guard last year, but I have the qualities you want in a defender. Now I just hope I can get up there, continue to lead and help Maryland win a championship."
'Why Wait?' Tanyi A Terp
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