UMD Making Strides With the Locals

Everyone knows Maryland has done well for itself nationally -- and its new Big Ten recruiting footprint -- by securing commitments from prospects from nine different states and counting of their total of 15 pledges. But on June 24 they brought it back home again in strong fashion.

Everyone knows Maryland has done well for itself nationally -- and its new Big Ten recruiting footprint -- by securing commitments from prospects from nine different states and counting of their total of 15 pledges. But on June 24 they brought it back home again in strong fashion.

After missing on both of Middletown (Md.) High School's national recruits last year, four-star Justin Falcinelli (Clemson) and three-star Ricky Leonard (FSU), they rebounded at the western Maryland emerging power with a pledge from three-star offensive tackle Will McClain. The latest commitment has multiple levels of significance.

Middletown is going to have prospects every year now, and the Terps finally got an elite one. The Terps had even travelled to the school last spring for one of their spring scrimmages, but neither Leonard nor Falcinelli even took an official visit to campus.

Additionally, the Terps protected their western border from West Virginia, which was runner-up for McClain, who rates as the nation's No. 59 guard prospect. WVU has often held an upper hand in the region, and if not them, well Penn State has had its way. Next, it was new offensive line Coach Greg Studrawa's second commitment since coming on board last winter, while McClain adds yet more beef to a still-thin offensive line group as the Terps pivot to the Big Ten starting July 1.

But the local significance cannot be over-stated. The list of local flight is a long and painful one, in last year's class as well as this one, with already 2015 national elites like Gonzaga's (Washington, D.C.) Richie Petitbon (Alabama),Damascus' (Md.) Jalen Christian (South Carolina), DeMatha's (Hyattsville, Md.) Tyler Green (OSU), Gonzaga's Marcus Lewis (Florida), St. John's (Washington, D.C.) Ayron Monroe (Penn State) and others off the board. Maryland has done well for itself by adding recruits from Texas, Florida, Ohio, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and others in the 2015 class, but you want to protect the home turf as best you can, even if this is a transient area.

That is going to prove an on-going issue, but the Terps, by adding McClain to already-committed four-star Linganore (Frederick, Md.) lineman E.J. Donahue, as well as fast-riser guard Ellis McKennie of McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.), are proving they will not go away locally despite the other misses. If Maryland could add four-star tackle Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.) and Quarvez Boulware (FCA/Washington, D.C.), well it could have one of the Terp's best offensive line hauls ever -- and all locals. That would send a message no doubt.

Locally, Maryland still remains in the hunt for three-star defensive end Darius Fullwood of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), who is set to decide this weekend among five finalists, of which the Terps, Virginia Tech and Kentucky may be the leaders, while others in the area still on the board include three-star McNamara (Forestville, Md.) corner Ashton White four-star Gonzaga receiver Jabari Greenwood, and three-star McDonogh linebacker Wyatt Cook, among others.

The class is filling up so quickly (Maryland was stuck on one commitment, Donahue, for eight months before the massive June haul), that the recent wave since June 19 of six pledges has recruits jumping aboard before the ships are gone. Several of the recent batch cited that as the reason, and some were probably squeezed by the UMD staff, no doubt.

Clearly, Maryland wants to add more beef, especially now on the defensive line with the offense filling up; as well as an elite quarterback; another receiver and running back or so; and perhaps another 'backer and corner. Attrition can always change the numbers, but the Terps may be down to their last seven or eight spots in the class, and somehow you get the feeling they will hold ones for the likes of the Princes and the Boulwares of the world come January and February when many of the elites decide.

McClain was the most recent, preceded by Caravel (Bear, Del.) corner Darnell Savage June 23, and before him last weekend Ridge Point (Missouri City, Texas) safety Jameel Cook, Robinson (Tampa, Fla.) receiver Jahrvis Davenport, Franklin Regional (Murrysville, Pa.) linebacker Brett Zanotto and Massaponax (Fredericksburg, Va.) backer Gus Little in a dizzying week of "poppers."

With spots filling, the Terps had to say no thanks, at least for now, to speedy slot Kesean Strong of Potomac High School (Oxon Hill, Md.), who tried unsuccessfully to commit Saturday morning at the Terps 7-on-7 camp. No longer are some locals going to be able to just sit on UMD offers to see what else comes down the pike. There's now something of a sense of urgency, and the aforementioned prospects all expressed a strong desire to be here, something that always ring true with Edsall regardless of "stars."

There are a lot of intangibles associated with this class so far, including Savage, who broke his femur last year. Maryland stuck with him, his stock soared some, but he remained true to Maryland as the Terps did to him when he brought his entire family to campus June 23.

Turning guys away, well that's a good position to find yourself in in some ways, and represents a bit of a change in the local recruiting dynamic, hopefully one which will continue. Maryland's not there locally yet, and overall the class is still ranked No. 43 nationally, but the commitment of Middletown's Will McClain represents a breakthrough of sorts for the surging Terps. The June 28 'Big Show' camp, a first of its kind for the Terps, could yield even more commits by week's end. Randy Edsall's message, as well as the BIG Ten impact, is being seen and felt in the class so far, with Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Ohio, West Virginia, Florida and Delaware already represented. But today's ‘Maryland' haul represents one of the biggest yet no doubt.

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