Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Commitments No. 9, 10 & 11
Head coach Randy Edsall and Co. received a late Father's Day gift June 15 when Anthony Wayne (Whitehouse, Ohio) guard/center Mason Zimmerman popped to the Terps. Zimmerman, who held a Maryland offer since May and had been in touch with area recruiter Greg Studrawa, visited College Park, Md., for the first time June 8 and gave strong indications he'd be jumping on the Maryland bandwagon. He also had offers from Marshall and Toledo, but admitted neither quite held the same cachet UMD did in terms of academics, coaches and conference. Studrawa left a strong impression on Zimmerman, while Edsall's education-oriented mantra hit home with the entire family. Plus, when the Anthony Wayne (home of former Terps punter Travis Baltz) product was on campus he and his parents kept harping on the schools' home-like environment.
The Ohio center did visit nearby Northwestern and Illinois after UMD to see what those programs would do, but neither offered, making UMD the clear choice. And with Maryland missing out on top center recruit Tommy Hatton (St. Joseph's Montvale/Montvale, N.J.), who committed to North Carolina, Zimmerman became the No. 1 priority for the Terps as well.
It looks to be a good match all-around, as Zimmerman's athleticism and versatility should fit well into Maryland's blocking scheme. He's a noted run blocker with a hard-nosed, dig-deep mentality who plays through the whistle. Zimmerman has deft feet, shows the ability to pull around end and moves well in space. The main area he needs to shore up is his pass blocking as he played in a run-first offense at Anthony Wayne. (STORY.
Zimmerman's commitment gives the Terps three offensive linemen in this class, joining E.J. Donahue (Linganore/Frederick, Md.) and Ellis McKennie (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.). Look for UMD to take about four more offensive trenchmen in this class, with Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate/Washington, D.C.) and Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.) being two main priorities Maryland is in position for.
As for what the pledge means "big picture," it's a second straight pull from talent-rich Ohio, where UMD is looking to build a presence as it shifts to the Big Ten. Neither Zimmerman nor last year's signee, tight end Andrew Gray, were nationally-touted guys, but they do get Maryland in the door. Down the road, if UMD shows some on-field progress, Studrawa and Co. should be able to build on the Zimmerman verbal.
On June 19, inside linebacker Gus Little (Massaponax/Fredericksburg, Va.) popped to the Terps. The 6-4, 230-pounder, whose top two suitors were Boston College and Maryland, returned from last weekend's BC trip without committing. He did say the Eagles left a mark, and he loved the vibe, the staff and its reputation for producing NFL-caliber linebackers. But Little followed that visit up with another trip to Maryland – his fourth in the last several months – June 19. And the trip only solidified the Terps' standing with him, as he went in with the intention of committing.
UMD's area recruiter, Lyndon Johnson, had been in close contact with Little for months, and the Terps became an instant contender when they offered June 1. The coaching staff, the chance to play Big Ten ball, Brian Stewart's defense, the chance to work with inside linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski, the academics, and the family environment all resonated with Little and his parents during their forays through College Park.
Little could have waited to accumulate more offers -- and he picked another up from Virginia June 19 -- but he was tired of the process and wanted to focus on his senior year. He got "the feeling" at Maryland and didn't need more offers to tuck under his belt.
His pledge is significant because he's a Virginia recruit, representing a state UMD has not had success in and figures to have more trouble moving forward as their recruiting focus shifts further north, a result of the Big Ten move. Landing Little, though, shows that UMD holds some water in Virginia and can secure commitments if Lyndon Johnson, Chad Wilt and Co. work for them. The Terps may not get the four and five star guys, but pulling a solid three star like Little, who had a UVA offer, is entirely possible moving forward.
As far as what he brings physically, Little is an athletic, fleet linebacker who is adept in coverage and against the run. He's a violent finisher who drives runners backwards, while also showing flexibility, sound fundamentals and the ability to track down opponents in the open field. He has to work on his pure speed and getting off blocks, but this guy's a player. A nice get for Maryland. (STORY).
A few hours later, Franklin Regional (Murrysville, Pa.) linebacker Brett Zanotto jumped on board. The inside linebacker Zanotto was set to see the second of his stated top two suitors this weekend, Syracuse, but opted against it when Little committed earlier that day. The Pennsylvania backer, who holds offers from UMD, SU, Toledo, Boston College and several MAC programs, said the Terps were the clear leader and he didn't want to pass up the opportunity to be part of the program.
Zanotto raved about his Maryland visit/camp in early June, saying the coaching staff, campus feel and academics moved UMD to the forefront. He appreciated how the coaches treated he and his family and said Maryland "felt like home." But Zanotto also has a close rapport with the SU staff, and his former teammate, Sean Hickey, is currently on the Orange squad. Even so, the bond he formed with Terps area recruiter Greg Studrawa, the immediate rapport he had with inside linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski, and the overall theme of the program (academics first, etc.) led Zanotto to pull the trigger for the Terrapins.
He truly appreciated how well UMD's staff treated his grandparents while on campus as well, and that can't be discounted. The family atmosphere resonated with Zanotto, and after experiencing it he knew he wanted to spend the next four-plus years in College Park.
On the field, Zanotto is a solid defender who wraps well and can defend in open space. He's a true thumper who runs through blockers and demolishes running backs. He can move, his footwork is sound, and he does well picking holes and moving downhill. Zanotto isn't terrific in coverage, but this is the type of hard-nosed, intelligent linebacker who can anchor a defense. He's a leader, for sure, and he's got that can't-be-denied attitude you relish in linebackers.
Zanotto represents another Western Pennsylvania recruit for Maryland. Last year, the Terps pulled Bett Kulka out of the region, and with Zanotto on board, perhaps it's the start of a trend. These kids may not be the highest-profile recruits, but they've grown up with that stereotypical Pittsburgh mindset. Toughness. Grit. Never say die. UMD needs plenty of those heading into the Big Ten, and they'd undoubtedly take five more Zanotto's if given the chance. (STORY).
TT Recruit Tour: Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.)
Calvert Hall hosts early morning workouts, and I decided to stop by June 16 in order to talk to the Cardinals' two main Terps targets, cornerback Dionte Austin and receiver Lawrence Cager, as well as to gauge what underclassmen CHC has rising through the ranks. Recall, some of Calvert Hall's top 2016 recruits -- including Rahshaun Smith and Juantez McRae -- bolted for St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.), but the Cardinals aren't exactly going to a gunfight with knives. Their arsenal may not be as loaded as, say, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), but CHC is going to be just fine moving forward under head coach Don Davis.
The 6-foot-5, 189-pound Cager, recall, added a Maryland offer following the June 8 one-day camp, and since then he's added verbals from NC State, Duke, North Carolina and Virginia thanks to his 7-on-7 performances at the aforementioned programs. Cager is up to about 17 scholarships, and while he's still listening to plenty of suitors, there are about five he currently has in play.
Ohio State, Notre Dame and Missouri haven't offered yet, but Cager has been hearing plenty from each staff and could pick up said verbals when he camps at each in the coming weeks. The other two he has in mind are Rutgers and Maryland, citing the relationship he's built with the RU staff and the budding rapport he has with the hometown school. He cited new receivers coach Keenan McCardell's reputation and the presence of elite receiver Stefon Diggs as two primary reasons he's considering UMD.
But while Cager didn't want to tip his hand, when prodded he admitted Ohio State, Notre Dame and Rutgers held somewhat of an edge over Mizzou and the Terps. He said he's not bitter that Maryland didn't become seriously involved in his recruitment until just recently, but, regardless, the vibe is UMD has ground to make up.
Expect Cager to make a late summer or fall decision. (INTERVIEW.
We've written and interviewed Dionte Austin numerous times now, as the Terps have been after the 5-10, 166-pounder since last summer. For the last month or so, Austin has had a consistent top five favorites list of Duke (his most recent offer), Wake Forest, Indiana, Maryland and Rutgers. Like Cager, Austin didn't want to say which of those five held an edge, but when probed further he said Duke, Wake and possibly RU stood in the forefront of his mind.
Duke's academic prowess and budding football program may have the Blue Devils out front right now, while Wake has long been one of his favorites what with the staff's potent push. Rutgers is a school he's enjoyed visiting and said head coach Kyle Flood has made it known the Scarlet Knights want him.
Austin, however, has maintained steady Terps interest throughout, noting the relationship he has with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, the academics and the chance to play Big Ten ball in defensive coordinator Brian Stewart's defense. But, in all honesty, I don't get the feeling he truly wants to be in College Park. Could it happen? Sure, if UMD makes a strong run for the CHC corner and hosts Austin for a personal visit, perhaps that inkling will change. But if we had to handicap it right now, Austin forecasts for Durham or Winston Salem. (INTERVIEW).
Cager and Austin are Calvert Hall's two class of 2015 FBS recruits, but the Cardinals have several others who will end up at Division I-AA programs. Safety Brian Marine is an impressive prospect with heavy FCS interest, running back Damian Farmer will get his share of looks, and even quarterback Kenji Bahar has shown Division I promise.
The 2016 group has a few prospects with potential, though the one to know right now is cornerback Morgan Scroggins (5-11, 185). Scroggins actually holds early verbals from Youngstown State and Northern Illinois, and has generated plenty of interest during camp season the last two years. He'll secure double-digit FBS offers before it's all said and done, and I expect UMD to be monitoring him closely this summer and fall.
In the 2017 class, Calvert Hall has two high-end recruits in outside linebacker Tayshon Fogg and receiver B.J. Watson. Fogg (6-2, 210) reminds some of Rahshaun Smith in that he looks like a high school senior instead of kid who isn't old enough for his learner's permit. He will be a double-digit offer guy if he stays on track. Watson, meanwhile, is a bit undersized at 5-9, 165, but he's cat-quick and has ankle breaking moves. As he improves his 40-yard-dash time and explosiveness, Watson should get FBS attention as a slot receiver.
TT Recruit Tour: Avalon (Bethesda, Md.)
I decided to stop by Avalon School this week not only because I had heard elite class of 2016 receiver Trevon Diggs was transferring there, but because I knew new head coach Tyree Spinner would have some primetime athletes coming in. Spinner, formerly of Wootton, is a dynamic personality who figures to hit the recruiting trail hard in Montgomery County, so expect the Knights to have their fair share of FBS talents these next few years.
A Virginia graduate who played in the NFL, Spinner has already brought in about eight transfers from nearby schools such as Wootton and Watkins Mill – and more are on the way. Besides the national recruit Diggs, the 2016 class boasts cornerback Jaron Woodyard (5-11, 170), safety Joseph Maddox (6-1, 185) and running back Daquan Hill (6-0, 220) -- all from Watkins Mill. Woodyard is a 4.37 40-yard-dash track star who already has significant college attention and should pull in plenty of offers. Maddox and Hill still have to prove themselves, but both have more than a chance of reaching the Division I level.
As for Stefon Diggs' little brother, he's up to almost 20 offers from the likes of Florida State (most recent), Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Nebraska, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech and NC State, among others. The only schools he's seen so far (in terms of actual campus visits) are PSU and UMD, two programs that have caught his eye, and he is planning to hit Florida and the Sunshine State schools later this summer.
While Diggs is enjoying all the recruiting attention and currently loving up the SEC, he still has Maryland on the brain. He said he's always in College Park, either to hang out with the coaches or just to work out with Stefon Diggs on route running and the like. He mentioned how comfortable he is on campus, around the current players, and with his recruiter, Mike Locksley. Diggs does want to carve a different path than his brother, but he insisted he could accomplish that at Maryland.
In addition, Diggs discussed the possibility of all the elite locals teaming up and representing the hometown school, which has been Stefon Diggs' overarching message to his peers and incoming recruits the last couple years. Trevon Diggs said the Dwayne Haskinses (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), Keandre Joneses (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), Jauan Williamses (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), Tino Ellises (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), and Lorenzo Harrisons (DeMatha) of the world have talked about how they could instantly turn UMD into a title contender should they opt to remain home. Diggs admitted it won't be easy to pull off, but it could be done if they all collectively agreed on it.
It's still way too early to discuss a major Terps coups, though. Let's see if they can at least keep Trevon Diggs home first. (INTERVIEW).
Avalon doesn't have any "high major" rising seniors, but there are a few Division I-AA types. Defensive back Grant Ibeh holds a St. Francis (Pa.) offer, while safety Bryan Castillo has the measurables of an FCS prospect and should land an offer sooner or later.
Isaiah Davis, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.): This 6-1, 210 pound outside backer has been blowing up this camp season. It seems like every one-day he attends he opens coaches' eyes and earns on-the-spot offers. Since picking up Boston College and Maryland verbals following early-June camps, he's been to Virginia Tech, the Carolina schools, Tennessee and Michigan and come away with verbals from the Hokies, NC State and the Vols, with Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State and others showing interest.
At this point, Maryland's position with Davis seems a bit more tentative than after the June 7 College Park camp, which is when he indicated a UMD pop could be imminent. He's still high on UMD and has the Terps under heavy consideration what with his brother, safety Sean Davis, pushing Maryland and the fact UMD is close to home. But Tech clearly has his attention, as does Tennessee and some of those "name" Big Ten programs should any of them offer. Davis is still looking to make a July decision, and we'll know more about where he stands when he's finished his camp tour.
Wyatt Cook, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Cook is maintaining a top three of Maryland, Virginia and Purdue, but still wants to wait until after his senior season to make a decision. He seems intent on drawing a few more looks during the fall when he sends out senior film, and we'll have to see whether that affects his position with his current suitors should the Marylands, Virginias and Purdues of the world land multiple linebacker recruits between now and then.
Perhaps Cook's thinking will change after his next round of visits. He's set to be back at Maryland June 24 to meet with the staff again, and a few days later he'll take in Purdue for the first time. Cook has already been to UVA, but it wouldn't surprise if he returned to Charlottesville as well.
The Terps have maintained steady contact with Cook as area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has been on him hard. Before the recent string of commitments it wouldn't have shocked us if Maryland attempted to push for a commitment either during the visit or sometime in July. The question now is, Will the Terps take him at all? With Brett Zanotto and Gus Little on board, do the Terps really need another inside linebacker like Cook? Time will tell if they take him or drop out of the race altogether.
Neal Nelson, Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.): The teammate of Terps pledge Kareem Ali camped at Maryland June 7 and said the staff showed plenty of interest. In fact, Nelson suggested UMD could be offering when he returns for another campus visit later this month or in July. If that comes to fruition, Maryland could very well end up as one of Nelson's top suitors.
Right now, though, he has nine offers on the table and said UCF and Pittsburgh have pushed the hardest. He's scheduled to see Central Florida June 21 and has already taken in the Panthers. From the sound of things, Nelson is high on the Pitt program, noting their linebackers coach, the campus and the fact that former teammate Adonis Jennings is heading there.
Nelson is also going to see Louisville, another offeree, this summer. We'll know more about his situation in the fall.
Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River (Ringgold, Va.): This longtime Terps target is set to return to Maryland, for the first time in a couple months for the June 28 "Big Show" camp at Byrd Stadium. Edmunds, a legacy recruit who is the son of former Maryland Terp Ferrell Edmunds, has maintained contact with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson and has solid interest in the program. The first time he was in College Park, for a junior day, he said his entire family took to head coach Randy Edsall and the direction of the program. This June 28 camp will be another opportunity for the UMD staff to make inroads.
But while Edmunds seems to like Maryland, Virginia Tech is still considered the in-state favorite. Recall, both of Edmunds' older brothers went to Tech, and it would be an upset if Tremaine didn't follow suit. The Dan River backer is also taking a look at several of his other favored suitors this summer, starting with Wake Forest this weekend and North Carolina and Tech later this offseason.
Mbi Tanyi, Bush (Sugar Land, Texas): Thought I'd note this. The recent Terps popper did pick up an offer from Washington last week, which means Maryland isn't the only FBS program interested in the converted defensive lineman. Tanyi, who previously held verbals from UMD, Houston, North Colorado, UTEP and LA Tech, remains firmly committed to the Terps.
Gus Little, Massaponax (Fredericksburg, Va.): See above.
Brett Zanotto, Franklin Regional (Murrysville, Pa.): See above.
Defensive Back News
Mike Majette, CB, Woodbridge Senior (Woodbridge, Va.): Maryland just offered Majette, who camped at UMD June 8, during a campus visit June 18, and it vaulted the Terps into his top three -- along with UNC and Boston College. The 5-11, 185-pound converted quarterback said he had a great time in College Park with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson, defensive backs coach Brian Stewart and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley. He talked up the Big Ten, the chance to contribute early at UMD, Under Armour, the campus and the family environment.
But Majette is equally high on BC and is visiting the Eagles later this June or July. The Boston College staff offered early and has been pushing for him for some time now. And if North Carolina does extend a formal offer, Majette could very well wind up a Tar Heel. He's suggested time and again how much he likes Chapel Hill (which he's visited before), and acknowledged he'd probably commit there if given the opportunity.
Majette wants to make a late summer or mid-fall decision. Let's see what develops the next couple months before predicting where he'll end up. (STORY).
Darnell Savage, CB, Caravel (Bear, Del.): Savage is camping at Florida this weekend and is set to visit Maryland early next week. He has the Terps and Rutgers as his top two suitors, with Syracuse running third. Savage was highly impressed with RU following a camp and campus trip, and said the family environment and Scarlet Knights' staff put the school on par with longtime favorite Maryland.
But the feeling here is the Terps are going to have real chance to jump back in front next week. In fact, it wouldn't completely shock us if UMD tried to squeeze a commitment out of him while he's in College Park. And the Delaware product, who the Terps have been pursuing for over a year, might just take it. I get the feeling Savage is tiring of the recruiting process, which explains his recent desire to move his decision date up from the middle of the fall to before his senior year.
He's well aware how much Maryland wants him; he appreciates how the staff has kept his scholarship committable following a broken femur; and he has a strong rapport with the staff, from defensive back coach Brian Stewart to new area recruiter Keenan McCardell.
Savage said he'd like to take in Syracuse at some point, but we're not sure he makes it up. If so, the Orange could become a player, but we're thinking this will come down to RU and UMD.
Marcus Lewis, CB, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): So the mercurial Marcus Lewis isn't going to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) after all. The former Va Tech pledge and current Florida commit said he's staying in D.C. and will play his senior year at Zaga. That's significant because it means he'll be right in Maryland's backyard, and the Terps will undoubtedly try to get him on campus a couple times the next few months, much like they did with his teammate Jabari Greenwood.
Last week, Lewis said he wants to take five official visits to Florida, Ole Miss, Oregon, Maryland and Miami. We still think he'll either stick with UF or possibly shift to Oregon since he called the Ducks' scholarship a "game changer," but the Terps look do at least have a shot. We'll know more in the winter as it's useless to make any hard-and-true predictions this early in the game.
Ashton White, CB, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.): White just visited Virginia June 14, and is set to see Notre Dame this weekend before heading to Michigan State June 28 and Ohio State soon thereafter. After his most recent trip to Maryland June 4, White claimed a top five of UMD, UVA, UND (no offer), MSU (no offer) and OSU (may not be a committable offer), and said the Terps were his clear No. 1.
He shook that top five up just a bit after his Wahoos visit, however, inserting Boston College in place of Michigan State. White also backed off naming any clear leaders. White said he wants to take in the Irish, Buckeyes and Eagles before forming a surefire favorites list, though we're inclined to believe the Terps still lead. We're not so sure Notre Dame will actually offer and don't think Ohio State will make a push (word is many of White's claimed offers are not committable).
White has long been high on the Terps, and all indications are UMD would accept him into the program, so we still think Maryland is in the pole position. We could see White ending up at BC or maybe UVA, but that might only happen if Maryland backs off its pursuit. Expect a late summer decision, regardless.
Jazzee Stocker, S, Coatesville (Pa.): Stocker was supposed to visit Maryland last weekend, but he moved the date back a week to June 21. The Coatesville product was last at Maryland for the April 11 spring game and has the Terps among his top suitors. He has a rapport with area recruiter John Dunn, likes the fact that he could have an early impact in the defense, and thinks highly of the Big Ten move. Not to mention current UMD signee and Coatesville product Tyler Burke is in Stocker's ear about the Terps.
Stocker, though, has just begun to wrap his head around the recruiting game, and there could be a ways to go before he truly has an idea what his favorite schools are. It could very well change, but Syracuse resonated after his recent trip there, while he's looking forward to seeing Indiana and Duke this summer as well. Pitt, Purdue, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Virginia, Georgia Tech and others are also in play and could get looks at some point.
William Jackson, S, St. John's (Washington, D.C.): Jackson now has offers from NC State, ODU, Nevada, UConn and Toledo. He said, however, that Ohio State and Maryland have been in touch and the Terps could be on the verge of offering. Jackson attended Maryland's camp June 1 and apparently impressed Brian Stewart and his area recruiter, Mike Locksley. Jackson relayed that he would have landed the verbal then had he run the 40-yard dash. So he plans to return to College Park June 28, and if he clocks in with a respectable time the scholarship should be there for him.
What would that mean? Well, the St. John's product probably wouldn't pop right away, but UMD would be in solid position for him. He said the chance to play close to home, Big Ten ball and for Stewart all appeal to him. But Jackson also said he wants to see what kind of options open up once he sends out senior film and finishes the year, although he may not have that luxury if schools start filling their safety spots. Stay tuned. (STORY).
Dionte Austin, CB, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.): See above.
Kesean Strong, WR, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Strong is still a heavy Terps lean, and right now we're just waiting for the shoe to drop. The Potomac slot said during our last interview with him he was in the process of scheduling another College Park visit with his mother, and once that occurred he'd likely pop while on campus. That meet-and-greet with the UMD staff should occur sometime shortly, at which point Maryland should have its second slot receiver commitment after Fort Hill's (Cumberland, Md.) Ty Johnson. Strong also has offers from Marshall, New Mexico, ODU, Buffalo, Temple and Toledo, while Pitt and Cincinnati are showing interest.
Jabari Greenwood, Gonzaga: After visiting Maryland June 2, Greenwood said he had six schools in mind: Kentucky, Michigan State, NC State, Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland. He then tripped to UVA last weekend and came out with a list that included the aforementioned six plus Virginia. In other words, there's no real change in his recruitment since we reported on him in early June.
Greenwood still has Kentucky, MSU and NC State out front, though the Hoos may be making a charge thanks to Gonzaga quarterback and UVA commit Nick Johns' overtures. Greenwood plans to visit Rutgers and MSU soon, and it's possible he'll take in Illinois, Ohio State and return to Maryland as well.
The Gonzaga wideout would like to wrap up his recruitment in August, and the feeling is the Wildcats still lead for his services. The Rutgers and Michigan State trips may change his thinking, however, so let's see what happens following those – and if Maryland can make another charge.
The Primetime Florida Receivers (and Ray Ray McCloud): Ryan Davis (Lakewood/St. Petersburg, Fla.), Auden Tate (Wharton/Tampa, Fla.), Jahrvis Davenport (Robinson/Tampa, Fla.) and running back Ray Ray McCloud (Sickles/Tampa, Fla.) are all supposed to be in College Point at some point soon, likely for the June 28 camp. Davis and Tate are long shot Terps targets and will probably end up staying in-state, the former likely heading to FSU and the latter to Florida or maybe Michigan.
But the Terps may have a real shot at Davenport and a punchers' chance for McCloud. Recall, McCloud and his father have already spent a full day in College Park and came away highly impressed. Though this primetime runner can go pretty much anywhere in the country, area recruiter Mike Locksley's message must have hit home. He's still likely bound for Florida or an SEC program (or Notre Dame), but perhaps the Terps can make real in-roads during the June 28 visit.
Davenport, meanwhile, has held a Terps offer since the evaluation period and should be trekking to campus shortly. He has offers from the likes of UMD, Pitt, Rutgers, USF, FAU, FIU, Marshall, Ohio, ECU, Temple, Toledo, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Ball State and UConn, and is eager to check out Maryland. He's hoping some larger Florida programs get involved, but the Terps could be in solid position here.
D.J. Moore, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): The Imhotep team is in the middle of an exhaustive tour since beginning summer visits at College Park and Piscataway, N.J., in early June. Recall, Moore had Maryland and Rutgers sitting pretty after taking in both schools, but since then he's seen Michigan and Michigan State, and will be hitting Duke, UNC, Wake Forest and NC State this weekend.
Moore seems to love every campus he steps foot on, though currently the Terps are still in play for him. Neither MU nor MSU have offered yet, and we're not sure they will. His current scholarships include Duke, UMD, Wake, Temple, Rutgers, Pitt, Indiana, Illinois, UConn and UVA, among others.
The Philly receiver has no plans to commit before his senior season, however, so his recruitment is bound to ebb and flow.
Lawrence Cager, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.): See above.
More News & Notes
Darvin Taylor, DT, Thomas Dale (Chester, Pa.): The four-star defensive tackle listed Maryland among his top eight suitors, along with Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, NC State, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Virginia Tech. We never included Taylor on the hot board and figured UMD to be a long shot, but area recruiter Chad Wilt has done well to work Maryland into the game. In fact, Taylor is seriously considering visiting Maryland this summer.
But we're not sure it will be enough to vault UMD to the top of his list. Taylor has long been considered a Seminoles lean, while Virginia Tech is in play as well. It would be an upset if he slipped from the grasp of the "power" schools or an in-state favorite like the Hokies.
Darius Fullwood, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): After visiting Maryland and Rutgers to begin the month, Fullwood has recently been to Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Duke and now Ohio State. He's trying to cram as many trips in before announcing his college decision at his house June 28.
Fullwood – claimed offers from WVU, Wake, NC State, Georgia Tech, UMD, Kentucky, Duke, Rutgers, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, UVA, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, etc. -- is listing no favorites at this time, but recent offerees like the Blue Devils, Scarlet Knights and Terps are right in the thick of things. Many of his previous verbals may not have been committable, which is why he decided to camp in locales like College Park, Durham and Piscataway, proving he deserved some firm offers.
At one time, Ohio State was considered a clear favorite, but when Fullwood visited Columbus, Ohio, earlier this offseason the Buckeyes probably weren't ready to accept a commitment. Perhaps the staff's thinking changed, however, after Fullwood returned to campus June 18. If so, he's likely OSU bound June 28. If not, well, Maryland could very well be a serious player here as Fullwood grew up a Terps fan and likes the school's strong business program.
With the recent string of commitments affecting several recruits' statuses with UMD, and other targets popping elsewhere, there were a lot of hot board scratches this week.
Tommy Hatton, OC, St. Joseph's Montvale (Montvale, N.J.): As we'd mentioned in previous Shells, Hatton looked to be bound for one of the Carolina schools – North Carolina or South Carolina – with Maryland and Virginia Tech running third and fourth, respectively. Hatton ended up popping to UNC June 13, a week before he was supposed to visit Chapel Hill, N.C., for Larry Fedora's "Freak Show" camp.
Basically, after Hatton visited UNC in February, he fell in love with the Tar Heels, and if he had an offer from them then, he may have committed back during the winter. But Carolina was monitoring several other center recruits at the time, including one who had the Heels under heavy consideration, Brian Chaffin. Hatton knew Chaffin was high on Carolina, so he popped to UNC a week early, beating the other primary contender to the punch.
Hatton long held Maryland in high regard thanks to area recruiter Keith Dudzinski's overtures, and he enjoyed working with line coach Greg Studrawa at the June 1 camp. But it wasn't enough to pry him away from UNC. Moving on.
Blake Camper, OT, Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.): At one time, Camper looked to be the 757 recruit who would end Maryland's Virginia Beach drought. He had visited College Park, Md., three times with his family, and was in the process of planning a fourth trip. Camper lauded the strong academics, the Big Ten move, area recruiter Chad Wilt, line coach Greg Studrawa and head coach Randy Edsall.
But Camper also held Virginia, Virginia Tech and Rutgers in high regard, and he ended up popping to the Scarlet Knights June 13 during his fourth trip to Piscataway, N.J. He cited the strong relationship he had with RU coaches Kyle Flood, Ralph Friedgen and Tariq Ahmad, and the family environment as the main reasons he joined "CHOP Nation." But the tipping point here may have been that Camper is actually from Wyckoff, N.J., so attending Rutgers is like a homecoming for him.
Kevin Murphy, DT, West Chester (Pa.): I'm late on this, as I somehow glossed over Kevin Murphy's Connecticut commitment earlier this June without removing him from the hot board. Recall, Murphy visited College Park once for a personal visit and then attended the June 1 camp in hopes of landing an offer. But the verbal never materialized, and Murphy decided to choose from UConn, Cincinnati, Navy, Army and Western Michigan offers. He said the coaching staff and education were the reasons he picked the Huskies June 9.
Justice Pettus-Dixon, CB, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): We thought Maryland might show more interest in this talented Baltimore City corner, but the Terps never took more than a cursory glance. Pettus-Dixon told me last week he hadn't heard from UMD in a good while, so we're inclined to scratch him. He's camping at Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and BC coming up and has no plans to be at Maryland's one-day. Pettus-Dixon currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Oregon State, Toledo and New Mexico State, and he has high interest in the Blue Devils.
Trevor Morris, LB, Malvern Prep (Malvern, Pa.): Maryland showed some interest in Morris last year, and we figured it would continue what with Malvern bringing in former Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) coach Aaron Brady this spring. But Morris ended up going on an African mission trip, and he did not take any winter/spring trips. Moreover, he has yet to attend camps this summer. Morris does have a couple I-AA options, but Maryland and other FBS programs may not get involved unless he shows standout senior film.
DeAndre Kelly, TE/OLB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): This DeMatha tight end said he'd been hearing from Maryland, but there was no indication the Terps were making any sort of realistic push. We thought UMD might take a flyer on Kelly considering the Terps don't have any tight end commitments and some of their top targets seem to be favoring other schools. But that's not likely to happen now as Kelly recently receiver a Temple offer and immediately popped to the Owls.
Justin Julien, WR, Canada Prep (St. Catherines, Ontario): This is the speedy slot receiver with ankle breaking moves that area recruiter Chad Wilt checked out -- along with defensive end Neville Gallimore -- during the evaluation period. Julien had high interest in UMD and is still set to camp in College Park with his teammates June 28. Thing is, the Terps now have one slot receiver on board in Ty Johnson and another set to pop in KeSean Strong, which means there probably aren't anymore spots open for Julien.
Frankie Hickson, RB, Heritage (Lynchburg, Va.): The Virginia back seemed to have more interest in Maryland than the Terps had in him. He loved UMD after visiting the school and said he'd maintained contact with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson, but the intrigue has since waned. Hickson is likely bound for the I-AA level.
Domenique Williams, CB, West Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.): Williams claimed a Terps offer, but it was never legitimate. And while UMD gave him a look, Williams has yet to make it to College Park and doesn't seem all that thrilled with trying to earn a Maryland scholarship. Duke has offered and is considered the heavy favorite.
TTDave's Inside the Shell
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