In projecting ahead to their new Big Ten recruiting footprint, Maryland football couldn't have enjoyed a better 'three-for' than their recent pickups this past week.
The states of New Jersey (cornerback Kareem Ali), Texas (outside linebacker Mbi Tanyi) and Ohio (center Mason Zimmerman) were represented, and all three are key geographies moving forward in their new conference digs.
First, New Jersey has been long a state the Terps have plumed for talent from way back in the day, and then more recently under Ralph Friedgen (see standouts Alex Wujciak, Tony Logan). And it's a state the Big Ten taps regularly from Penn State to Michigan to now more so with new member Rutgers. But it had been a state that had seen a Terps decline in recent years until Maryland bounced back strong with four-star receiver signee Juwann Winfree last year, and then last week, after losing several Garden State targets to other schools (Joe Giles-Harris, Jamie Gordinier, Grant Newsome, etc.) the Terps secured three-star cornerback Kareem Ali (Timber Creek/Erial, NJ) -- a solid, all-around cover man.
If Maryland is to feel slippage in some of the southern states (see Virginia and Georgia possibly) due to their changing conference status, states like New Jersey, Pennsylvania and even Delaware in the Mid-Atlantic may have to pick up the pace as multiple-prospect contributors. All are states the Big Ten hits heavily, and Maryland may do well by itself to land at least a few each year from each state to make up for their shifting geography.
The Terps, meanwhile, have done well for themselves in recent years in the 'Small Wonder State,' with Evan Mulrooney, the Ross brothers Brandon and Jarrett, and possibly Darnell Savage (Caravel/Bear, Del.) later this summer -- all after some slim years in Delaware when most top-tier talent (see the Harris brothers, Luke Pettigout, etc., who went elsewhere.)
But back to the "big three," New Jersey has seen its share of hits for the Terps (additionally Kendall Ogle and Matt Furstenburg) as well as misses (Bearthur Johnson, Masengo Kabongo) over the years. But with Rutgers now a regular visitor to Maryland's backyard and even further south, plus the other Big Ten schools on top of that, Maryland's presence must try to keep up just up the road on I-95. In-state recruiter Keith Dudzinski has always worked the state diligently and led the effort on Winfree last year, while John Dunn was point man on Ali this year. Getting those two national recruits was big, and both filled key need spots along the way.
While losing Jersey center Tommy Hatton (St. Joseph's Montvale/Montvale, NJ) to UNC was a blow last week, the Terps recovered solidly with guard/center Mason Zimmerman (Anthony Wayne/ Whitehouse, Ohio), the second Ohio product to commit to Maryland in as many years following tight end Andrew Gray a year ago. It's another obvious strategic state in their new recruit footprint, and one the Terps had already maintained something of a presence in recent years (see Andrew Crummey, Travis Baltz).
Zimmerman could play either interior spot, and brings more beef to a program in need of more on both sides of the line. Maryland has multiple recruiters in the state, and it's a major battle ground for all Big Ten schools. Securing a few each year would be key as Maryland stakes a claim in this central state, and tries to rebuff schools like Ohio State from raiding Maryland's border every year.
Tanyi, an athletic lineman who will covert to backer, was big in that he was Keenan McCardell's first "get" since arriving at College Park last winter, and he may be the first of multiple hits McCardell could get in this class (see Ridge Point/Missouri City, Texas safety Jameel Cook). And Tanyi is from perennial power Sugar Land High School, where the Terps will undoubtedly be every year.
Last year the Terps began their Texas foray with three-star guard Brendan Moore, and there should be plenty more to come as Maryland, given the D.C./Baltimore job/career corridor, opens up another attractive option to kids that may want to get away, or maybe fly a bit under radar. The Lone Star State certainly has enough to go around.
In Texas, where over the years the Terps had gone sparingly and had only dribs of success (see JoJo Walker as one of the few), the Terps have multiple recruiters in both McCardell, a Houston native, and Brian Stewart, who once served as defensive coordinator with the Dallas Cowboys. Both have established connections and ties in the state, and it's a talent-rich one, obviously, in every Big Ten school's sights.
Meanwhile, Zimmerman, a versatile lineman who excels at run blocking, hails from former All-ACC Terps punter Travis Baltz' high school in Whitehouse, Ohio, and legacies are usually always good.
So "big picture" it was a key strategic week with the additions of Kareem Ali, Mbi Tanyi and Mason Zimmerman, as Maryland's recruiting reach expands into new areas, while re-visiting an old stomping ground that may prove even more important now in the Big Ten. Ali and Tanyi are solid three-star gets, while Zimmerman is yet to be rated but likely projects as a 2-3 star guy. But perhaps more important than just the "stars" is where these prospects hail from.
Geographical Importance of Last 3 Commits
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