Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
The Latest Poppers
The #MarylandPride momentum continued in earnest last week as there were four new Terps pledges in a four-day span, giving them 15 total in 2015. And the fun started with a pair of prime skill players June 20.
Who would've thought, given where Maryland stood recruiting-wise before June, that players like Jahrvis Davenport (Sickles/Tampa, Fla.) and Jameel Cook (Ridge Point/Missouri City, Texas) would be old news by this time?
Well, since I didn't get to comment on them in the last Shell, here are some thoughts on the two out-of-towners, giving UMD pledges from nine different states this class (Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, West Virginia, Maryland).
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Davenport wasn't nationally rated, but once the folks who do the evaluating get a look at this kid's film, they're bound to rocket him up the rankings. While he doesn't possess 4.3-second 40-yard dash speed or DeAnthony Thomas-like acceleration, Davenport is one quick customer whose wheels start spinning in a hurry. He has soft hands, doesn't shy away from contact and can absorb a hit. With a thick, Ray Rice-esque base, Davenport is difficult to wrap up and has been known to break through defenders that give him the ‘ol arm tackle.
Look for the Terps to get this guy the ball on slants and crossing patters, letting him work the teeth of the defense. Moreover, expect Davenport to take handoffs on end-arounds, where his speed should allow him to beat linebackers to the edge, while his power gives him an advantage over most incoming corners.
Of Maryland's four commits last week, the slot receiver Davenport may have been the most surprising. While we had inklings from our Florida guys that he was interested in Maryland, the consensus was USF had a solid hold, while Wake Forest was a close second. UMD, and perhaps Georgia Tech, were running third or fourth, but when Davenport and his mother ventured to College Park, Md., for the first time June 19-22, well, they fell in love with the place.
It's a credit to head coach Randy Edsall, area recruiter Mike Locksley and receivers coach Keenan McCardell, all of whom convinced the Davenports UMD was the place to be. The Big Ten shift, the offense featuring wideouts like Deon Long and Stefon Diggs, the terrific academics, and the beautiful campus with soon-to-come upgrades – it all hit home.
Davenport's pledge represents another big pull from the Sunshine State, where sometimes very good prospects are undervalued due to the abundance of elite talents. Not everyone can go to Florida and Florida State, and fortunately for the Terps, Davenport slipped through the cracks a bit. Expect UMD to continue mining the state, perhaps more in earnest, even though their recruiting base would seem to shifting north what with the Big Ten move. The Florida talent is just too good to leave untapped.
Now that Davenport is a Terp, Maryland should take just one more receiver, and the final one figures to be a bigger, taller type considering UMD already has two slots on board (Davenport and Fort Hill's Ty Johnson). (STORY
Unlike Davenport, Cook was not a surprise Terps pop -- but his timing was. After speaking with Cook a couple weeks back, he hinted he could very well pledge to UMD during his campus visit June 28. But rather than wait, he committed a week early, perhaps to ensure his spot wouldn't be taken by another safety (Jay Stocker?).
Regardless of the reason (Cook jokingly insisted it was his little brother who convinced him to join the Terps), he represents the Terps' most significant haul from the Lone Star State since maybe Jo Jo Walker. While Cook has never played safety before -- most of his career has been spent at linebacker -- this kid's football speed, instincts and ability to close should allow him to make a seamless transition.
The 6-1, 190-pounder has ball-hawkish, nose-for-the football tendencies, and he finishes plays with solid form tackles, often driving runners/receivers backwards. He can surely excel as an in-the-box safety at Maryland, and if he proves he can cover deep, well, maybe the Terps can play him at the "free" spot if need be. Cook's a worker, reared in the game's finer points by his father, Jameel Cook Sr., who played fullback in the NFL. And if the younger Cook is asked to fit a certain role he'll challenge himself to not only perform, but perform at a high level.
As far as his pledge to UMD, Cook had the Terps ranked ahead of Kentucky and Missouri, a pair of SEC suitors. The Big Ten move, the school's academic reputation and the fact he had family near College Park all played a role in Cook's choosing Maryland. But, really, the strong relationship he formed with new Maryland assistant Keenan McCardell, who has known the Cook family for years (he played against Jameel Cook Sr. in the NFL and the two resided in the same neighborhood in Texas), ultimately sold the Ridge Point safety. Cook will see Maryland for the first time June 28, and that may very well solidify his commitment, but his Terps pop deserves a tip of the cap to the ex-Jaguars' star.
Cook, like Davenport, is another one of those slightly underrated recruits who wasn't quite what TAMU, Texas or Texas Tech was looking for. McCardell, and Houston native Brian Stewart, did well to identify Cook as a potential gem, go after him early and then close the deal before more big boys got involved. Much like Florida, the Lone Star State is teeming with talent, and UMD should be able to snag a recruit every year or two so long as Texas natives like McCardell and Stewart continue to hit the area hard.
With Cook on board, Maryland may be done with recruiting safeties in this class, though perhaps they make room if, say, a Jay Stocker wants in. (STORY).
The weekend went by quietly (although there was one commitment the Terps denied), but the momentum picked up again June 23. Caravel (Bear, Del.) cornerback Darnell Savage, who has been sitting at "hot" on the Hot Board for what seems like a year now, texted me that morning he was heading to College Park for a visit -- with his entire family. I inquired: Was a commitment possible? "Well, we'll see … maybe lol," Savage quipped.
Translation: Done deal.
The 5-11, 170-pound two-way dynamo made Terps fans wait until around 6 p.m. that evening, but he finally pulled the trigger with his family's blessing. It was a longtime coming for the Delaware product, who UMD started recruiting before his sophomore year and then offered last June. Maryland kept that scholarship on the table even after Savage suffered a season-ending broken femur last September, and stayed hard on him when recruiter Lee Hull left for Morgan State.
Savage appreciated UMD's loyalty, and developed a strong bond with Keenan McCardell, Brian Stewart and Randy Edsall. Although Savage may have wavered slightly when he earned a Rutgers offer following a stellar camp performance, he was practically a Terps lock from the jump as no program pursued him like Maryland.
The main question surrounding Savage was how well he'd recover from his gruesome injury, which left him in a walking boot for several months. But this camp season he not only proved he was healthy, but might just be better than before. He ran a 4.37 40-yard dash at a Temple camp, followed up with a similar performance at RU and then wowed the Syracuse coaches as well. Camp, offer. Camp, offer. Like clockwork.
If Savage continues to show out in pads, well, Maryland could really be getting quite a player -- perhaps a lockdown corner. Given his speed, quickness, smooth transitions, natural instincts and nose for the ball, it wouldn't shock us if he actually had a higher ceiling than UMD's other top 2015 cornerback pledge, Kareem Ali (Timber Creek/Erial, N.J.).
Savage is one talented kid, and if he had any junior tape to send out he would've undoubtedly secured double-digit offers. To boot, Savage is a film-room junkie and a workout warrior, the type who is never truly satisfied with what he's accomplished.
With Savage's pledge, expect Maryland to take one more cornerback in this class. (STORY).
To round out the week, the Terps added another local lineman when Middletown (Md.) tackle Will McClain decided to end the recruiting process. I had hinted a few days earlier that McClain was a "wildcard," because he said he could pop out of the blue. And that's what he did June 24, opting for the hometown school over WVU (Rutgers finished third).
Unlike many FBS-level prospects, McClain (6-5.5, 290) wasn't all that interested in accumulating offers or taking a wide range of visits. He simply wanted to end the ordeal and get on with his offseason. He didn't even need to be on campus to make the call, preferring to go with that "gut" feeling and randomly dial up Randy Edsall.
For a while, though, the "gut" suggested he was West Virginia bound. McClain raved about Morgantown and the football atmosphere surrounding the school. Moreover, many assumed after his two former teammates, Justin Falcinelli and Ricky Leonard, spurned Maryland for Clemson and FSU, respectively, the latest Middletown lineman would follow suit.
But McClain couldn't stop raving about line coach Greg Studrawa and Randy Edsall; the bond he developed with both ran deep. On top of that, he wanted to represent the state of Maryland and play near home so his family could easily travel to his games. He was comfortable on campus, enjoyed watching Studrawa coach up the linemen and thinks the program has a bright future in the Big Ten.
McClain's commitment was significant because he is the third local lineman and second Frederick County trenchman to jump on board, joining Ellis McKennie (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) and E.J. Donahue (Linganore/Frederick, Md.). Maryland recently watched elite Frederick talents like Rob Havenstein (Wisconsin), Nick Forbes (California), Ego Ferguson (LSU) and Zach Zwinak (Penn State), in addition to Falcinelli and Leonard, leave for other locales. So to pull in not one, but two, area big boys is a coups of sorts and a major step in the right direction.
Of course, McClain isn't quite at the level Donahue is, but he's a solid right tackle with a mauler's mentality. Primarily a run blocker, he gets a good push off the ball, has violent hands and fights through the whistle. McClain also shows some athleticism, and the ability to block in space and at the second level. His pass blocking technique needs work, and he must maintain consistency with his footwork and leverage, but there are definite tools to work with here.
With McClain on board, Maryland will probably take three more offensive linemen, perhaps two more tackles and a guard. The targets? Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.), Quarvez Boulware (FCA/Washington, D.C.) and Tony Pilato (Hempfield/Greensburg, Pa.). (STORY).
The Big Show
Many programs around the country have been holding special invite camps in order to attract top recruits to campus, allowing them to compete against other "name" talents while the coaches lay out the red carpet during their stay (within the NCAA rules). These events have often led to multiple poppers, and the Terps are hoping to reap the benefits this year. Maryland is holding its "Big Show" event June 28, and there will be numerous headliners visiting and showing out in Byrd Stadium.
The camp's biggest names are in College Park as you read this, touring the university, meeting the staff and hanging with the current Terps. Area recruiter Mike Locksley was responsible for securing five primetime Florida recruits to head north: Four-star receiver/tight end Auden Tate (Wharton/Tampa, Fla.), three-star receiver Ryan Davis (Lakewood/St. Petersburg, Fla.), four-star receiver George Campbell (East Lake/Tarpon Springs, Fla.), four-star running back Ray Ray McCloud (Sickles/Tampa, Fla.) and four-star defensive end Byron Cowart (Armwood/Seffner, Fla.).
Now, do we expect any of these guys to choose Maryland as their college destination? Maryland may have momentum, but it would take some mad swagger to secure any of the previously mentioned prospects.
Cowart, considered by many to be the top defensive end in the country, can go anywhere he wants, and word is the Sunshine State elites have a bead on him, while Oregon is firmly in play as well. Tate is a bit more open-minded and actually has UMD in his top 10. But, again, the traditional powers all want this guy, with UF and FSU leading the charge, along with South Carolina and maybe Michigan. Campbell is probably staying in-state as well, perhaps at Florida, with out-of-state Clemson making a push too. Alabama and Auburn are also possibilities.
The interesting name here is Davis, if for no other reason than he's fairly open in his recruitment. Now, he's probably bound for either Florida or Florida State, but he's said the Terps are going to get their shot. We'll see what kind of mojo Locksley, McCardell and Edsall have after this weekend.
The Terps also have a chance at McCloud, who has already been on campus before. We'll address where he stands with UMD in the "Running Backs News" section below.
Those five Sunshine State recruits can billboard the event, but there are a few other interesting names coming in, and these guys are realistic Terps targets. Four-star guard Quarvez Boulware is due in for another College Park visit, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Boulware is fresh off visits to Miami and North Carolina, and he said both schools caught his eye. He's also looking to return to Florida later this summer in order to see UF and FSU, two other offerees, and Alabama (no offer) and Auburn are on tap as well.
But while Boulware is thoroughly enjoying his trek through college football's royalty, he's maintained heavy Terps interest. The relationship he has with area recruiter Mike Locksley, plus the chance to play near his family and with former teammates (Cavon Walker, Yannick Ngakoue, Derwin Gray, Jermaine Carter), have kept UMD right in the running. Now, at the camp, he'll be able to work with line coach Greg Studrawa, and Maryland's new O-line staffer has appealed to many a line recruit this year. Given that, expect Maryland to be among Boulware's final suitors when he's ready to decide after the fall.
Joining Boulware will be another local lineman, Isaiah Prince. The four-star tackle finally ventured to another college last weekend when he took in Ohio State for the first time. The Buckeyes, recall, were not in his original top four of UMD, Florida, Auburn and Alabama, but they are now. Prince raved about his two-day stay in Columbus as he received the full Urban Meyer experience. Next up are trips to Bama and Auburn July 12-13, and it's likely each of those SEC powerhouses will resonate as well.
Maryland, though, is still in good shape for Prince. He has a very similar mentality to last year's Prince, Damian, who ultimately valued family and the chance to represent his hometown school over suiting up for a glamour program. It's possible Isaiah Prince could get starry-eyed, but we think after he sits back and evaluates the situation this winter, he'll have Maryland on the brain. Mike Locksley and Randy Edsall, along with Greg Studrawa, have done very well here.
Another name to note June 28 is Dan River (Ringgold, Va.) outside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, the son of former Maryland great Ferrell Edmunds. The legacy recruit visited College Park with his parents a few months back, and the whole crew came away talking up UMD. In fact, Randy Edsall, Lyndon Johnson, area recruiter Andre Powell and Co. made such a favorable impression that it vaulted Maryland into Edmunds' top suitors, alongside Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
But, recall, Edmunds' two older brothers both attended Virginia Tech, and it would be an upset if Tremaine didn't follow suit. This weekend will go a long way in determining Edmunds' fate, as he could decide between Tech and UMD by the end of the summer.
Coming down from Pennsylvania is Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) receiver D.J. Moore, who was just in College Park a couple weeks back. Recall, he put UMD in his early top two (along with Rutgers), harping on the atmosphere at Maryland, coach Keenan McCardell and the vibe around the program.
Now, Moore has since taken visits to schools in the Carolinas, Ohio, Michigan, and other Northeast locales, and numerous universities have caught his eye. But Moore remains high on the Terps and is eager to visit the school a second time. He doesn't plan on deciding on a college until later during the year, but Maryland has a legitimate shot with this one.
At least two more Florida receivers will be camping this weekend, and both are pining for offers. Rashad Blunt (Creekside/Jacksonville, Fla.) and David Gardner (Atlantic Coast/Jacksonville, Fla.) are both Keenan McCardell recruits who indicated they were closing in on UMD scholarships during the spring. Both have heavy interest in the school and could very well pop on the spot should an offer be presented. That said, each is going to have to show something special to secure said verbal. The Terps have said they're taking just one more wideout, and there are several targets who already have scholarships UMD is waiting on.
Blunt currently has a top five of Rutgers, Cincinnati, FAU, Temple and ECU, though that would immediately change if UMD anted up. If not, expect him to pick Rutgers in short order. Gardner, meanwhile, could end up at FIU or maybe Cincinnati if the Terps don't pull through.
Two locals to watch out for are McDonough's (Pomfret, Md.) Mufu Taiwo and St. John's (Washington, D.C.) William Jackson. The defensive end Taiwo attended a previous Maryland one-day and indicated the UMD staff "loved me." He said the coaches wanted him to return June 28 for further evaluation. If the Terps miss on a couple other defensive line targets, Taiwo could be someone they take a real close look at. A Maryland offer, Taiwo admitted, would be a game changer.
The safety Jackson, meanwhile, wouldn't seem to have a spot with Jameel Cook on board, but he's big enough and strong enough to perhaps slide down to outside linebacker. Jackson caught the coaches' eyes at an earlier camp. He was told if he ran well enough June 28 he could secure a Terps' scholarship. The St. John's product does have other suitors (NC State, UConn, etc.) and wouldn't jump at a Maryland verbal right away, but he does have significant interest in the school. If UMD wants him, it could very well reel him in at some point this summer.
There will be some elite area underclassmen in attendance as well. DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) head coach Elijah Brooks let me know that several of his 2016 recruits will be making the short drive to College Park, including receiver Tino Ellis, who just visited UMD June 24. Nationally rated defensive end Shane Simmons, running back Lorenzo Harrison, top 2017 running back Anthony McFarland, lineman Terrance Davis, cornerback Darryl Turner and others also should be there, and all but Turner hold Terps offers.
If nothing else, it'll get these prime Stags targets back on campus, and perhaps they'll start giving the hometown school more consideration. Ellis, in particular, is high on UMD early, so this is another opportunity to make inroads with the Baltimore native.
The Gilman School (Baltimore, Md.) typically sends a handful of recruits to College Park for a camp, and it looks like June 28 will be the day. The Hounds, recall, boast some of the best 2016 beef in the state, and all those trenchmen are due in. Defensive end Devery Hamilton, nose tackle Ellison Jordan and offensive lineman Steven Spanellis, all of whom holds UMD verbals, are scheduled to be there, along with Gilman's two prime 2016 backs, Antonio Dupree and Dorian Maddox. Every one of the aforementioned linemen are highly sought after recruits and none will be easy pulls, but Maryland is being proactive by getting them on campus early and often.
Another elite underclassmen local who might be at UMD is Good Counsel's (Olney, Md.) Keandre Jones. Jones is the state's No. 2 linebacker prospect, and he's always spoken highly of Maryland, so it'll be a plus if he's in town as well.
In addition to all the other recruits, the Terps will host a pair of commits this weekend when Deltron Sands (Aquinas/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Jameel Cook visit College Park for the first time. Generally when pledges trek to Maryland it's not such a big deal, but it is for these two.
Sands, remember, has attended a couple camps this summer as he seeks to grow his offer list. When he made his UMD commitment he sounded a bit tenuous, and it even shocked his coach and those close to him when he pulled the trigger so soon. Maryland needs to wow Sands on this trip in order to keep him firmly in the fold. Sands is a good kid, but he has a bit of Kingsley Opara in him, which means UMD will probably be battling for his signature until signing day.
Cook, meanwhile, was quite honest when I interviewed him, noting that he could "always decommit" if he didn't feel Maryland was a fit after visiting. Edsall, McCardell and Stewart, along with the current players, have to ensure the Texas safety's stay is a memorable one. But there's little reason to believe the staff won't get the job done. When the Terps get recruits on campus, said prospects almost always leave with UMD firmly on the brain. Unless Cook just flat out doesn't like the College Park area, we sense he's a firm pledge.
The June 21 7-on-7 and June 22 Camp
The two most significant Maryland camp days, for recruiting purposes, last week were June 21 and 22. About 35 local teams participated in the 7-on-7, and there were several prominent Terps targets we were able to get the lowdown on. A day later, two more Maryland recruits showed out, and each has UMD under heavy consideration.
Perhaps the most newsworthy item to come from the 7-on-7 was that Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) slot receiver Kesean Strong's commitment was not accepted. With Jahrvis Davenport popping the day before, and Ty Johnson a week earlier, the Terps simply didn't have room for another smallish receiver. Strong sat on his UMD verbal since June 1, deliberating and discussing, but not acting. His parents wanted him to consider all his options, and he ended up visiting Buffalo and camping at Pittsburgh and Cincinnati without pledging to Maryland.
After said trips/camps, his family still wanted him to mull things over before ultimately deciding that, yes, UMD would be a great fit. Unfortunately for them, the ship had already sailed, and now Strong is in a holding pattern. He's content to wait to see if a spot opens up, but more than likely he'll be playing his college ball at a Temple or some school of that ilk.
While he didn't participate in the 7-on-7, we also spotted Darius Fullwood (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.) hanging with his teammates. Fullwood, who is announcing his college decision June 28 at his father's house in Bowie, Md., indicated that Maryland remained firmly in play for his services, along with Kentucky, Virginia Tech and Duke. He insisted all four schools were even in his eyes (Ohio State, the presumptive favorite, would not accept his commitment), and that Maryland had a good shot given its academic prowess; location near his home; coaching staff; and the fact the Terps already suit up several of his friends.
But later in the week we started to feel some anti-UMD vibes coming from Fullwood's party. Kentucky, a longtime suitor that has been on him for much longer than Maryland, is now considered the favorite. The Terps still have a glimmer of hope here, but it's going to take a terrific last-gasp effort to sway Fullwood UMD's way.
Another non-camp participant, Coatesville (Pa.) safety Jazzee Stocker, was also in town June 21 for a personal campus visit with his family. Stocker has been to College Park several times now and has Maryland firmly in the running. He spoke highly of area recruiter John Dunn, Randy Edsall and Brian Stewart, and said his family enjoyed interacting with the staff as well. In addition, Stocker felt comfortable on campus, liked the academic programs and said he wanted to return again for an official visit later this year.
But Stocker, who has current Terps signee Tyler Burke in his ear, is still wide open in the recruiting process. He's claiming no leaders and mentioned that all of his prominent suitors – Pittsburgh, WVU, Duke, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Syracuse, etc. – remained at the forefront of his mind. Penn State, a potential offeree, is also a school he'd highly consider should it present a scholarship.
Regardless, don't expect Stocker to make any rash decisions, as he's set on letting the process drag out beyond his senior year. By that point, Maryland, which already has a safety this year and said it's taking just one in this class, might say "the heck with it" and move on. We'll see what develops. (INTERVIEW).
Another out-of-town visitor made the trek to College Park as well June 21. Four-star running back Jaason Lewis (Ocean Lakes/Virginia Beach, Va.), along with his mother, spent the day touring with Edsall, area recruiter Chad Wilt and Co., and commented that he thoroughly enjoyed himself. He said Maryland resonated what with its Big Ten move, coaching staff, academic-oriented message and overall campus feel. But Lewis is going to be one tough pull -- even though he has the Terps among his favorites, right with LSU, Florida, Arizona State, UCLA (he decommitted from there recently), Oregon and Miami.
Right now, Lewis has his sights set on the SEC and elite Pac-12 programs, and he wants to take officials to Miami, LSU, UF, ASU and Oregon. Maryland has done well to work into his final grouping, but it will have to knock off some serious contenders in order to land him. Lewis wants to decide on a school by Oct. 30.
There were several other "offer" recruits on campus June 21, but we had just spoken to Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) cornerback Dionte Austin -- he has since committed to Wake Forest -- and receiver Lawrence Cager the week before, while St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) 2016 outside linebacker Rahshaun Smith didn't have much new to say. St. Frances receiver Devin Phelps still has some Maryland interest, but I'm getting the sense UMD isn't going to make a strong push here, perhaps due to transcript issues.
The one other intriguing prospect I caught up with was Bullis (Potomac, Md.) 2016 quarterback Dwayne Haskins, a national recruit with 20-plus offers. Haskins discussed the idea of staying home and beginning a locals-to-UMD movement among the 2016 crop, but I didn't get a terrific vibe from him. He's going to be tough to keep away from the Ohio States and Florida States of the world.
A day later, on June 22, there were two recruits of note in College Park. The first has held a Terps offer for a couple months and left campus with UMD in his top two or three suitors. Offensive tackle Tony Pilato (Hempfield Area Senior/Greensburg, Pa.) and his family tripped down from the Keystone State and gave positive reviews all around. In particular, Pilato pointed to offensive line coach Greg Studrawa as the main reason he has the Terps in his top grouping, along with Pittsburgh (the prohibitive favorite) and possibly Syracuse or WVU. Pilato also said he loved the campus, head coach Randy Edsall's education-first message, and the Big Ten shift. Almost as important, the school hit home with his parents, who both felt welcomed while spending time with the staff.
Pilato wants to make his college decision shortly, and it's likely to come down to Pitt and UMD. Pittsburgh may hold the upper hand, though, as it's the local school and has been on him the longest. We'll see what develops in the next couple weeks, and if area recruiter Greg Studrawa can help put UMD over the top. (INTERVIEW).
The second recruit June 22 had previously been on our radar, but fell off when he said he wasn't sure schools like Maryland would offer him. But Westwood (Washington, N.J.) wideout Nolan Borgersen ran a 4.47 40 at Maryland's one-day and left with a verbal in toe, his most prestigious to date. Since then Borgersen has added offers from UCF and Boston College, but right now he's riding high on UMD.
Borgersen had visited Maryland two times prior to June 22, for a junior day and another trip, and talked up the Terps on both occasions. He's comfortable on campus, knows several people who attend school here (including receiver signee Juwann Winfree), and has a rapport with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski.
Borgersen knows UMD only has one receiver slot left, and maybe that's why he's moved up his decision date to sometime in the next week or two. Given his comments about Maryland, it wouldn't surprise us if he popped to the Terps shortly. UMD may still try to add another elite wideout if Borgersen jumps on the bandwagon, but either way indications are the Terps may indeed accept the Jersey receiver's commitment. (STORY).
(It's worth keeping an eye on South Park (Pa.) offensive guard Ryan Podgorski. He said he performed well at the camp, and Studrawa will be monitoring him. I don't sense a push at this time, however).
Running Back News:
Deshawn McClease. Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.): Maryland could be closing in on its No. 1 running back target (realistically speaking), and the Virginia product might be ready to pop as soon as early July. The 5-10, 180-pound McClease told me he had a top two of Maryland and Virginia Tech, and the vibe was that UMD may hold an edge.
McClease hasn't been back to Tech in months, and he doesn't have plans to do so. He was, however, in College Park for the first time May 24 and afterwards rated the visit a "10." Area recruiter Chad Wilt and running backs coach Andre Powell have done an admirable tag-team job here, while McClease loved his stay on campus, the program's direction, how he would fit into UMD's offense, and the general feel of the school.
The Hokies were long considered the favorites, and it wouldn't be an upset by any means if he did pop to Tech. But the Terps may have surpassed McClease's hometown school after that May trip to College Park. Stay tuned. (STORY).
Ray Ray McCloud, Sickles (Tampa, Fla.): McCloud finally chimed in about his two-day stay in College Park in mid-June, and he had plenty of positive comments for the Terps. He spoke about his relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, how much he and his father liked Randy Edsall, and also how UMD presented a terrific opportunity for him (i.e. play early in the Big Ten). On top of that, he'll be returning for yet another trip to Maryland June 28 for the "Big Show" camp, giving UMD another chance to leave its mark.
But while McCloud has the Terps on his radar, it may be on the mid- to outer edges. This four-star back has his pick of schools and has subsequently talked up the Florida schools, Clemson, and Pac-12 programs like USC and UCLA, both of which he's visiting after Maryland.
McCloud won't be deciding on a school anytime real soon, but the feeling here is UF leads, while Clemson is also firmly on the brain. We'll see if Maryland, though, can get an official visit from him later during the fall, which he's indicated is a possibility.
Deltron Sands, Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): See above.
More News & Notes
Wyatt Cook, LB, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): It was telling this week when Cook and his father opted not to take a planned visit to Maryland June 24. Cook is a smart kid who knows what's up, and he's undoubtedly aware that UMD now has two inside linebackers on the board in Brett Zanotto (Franklin Regional/Murrysville, Pa.) and Gus Little (Massaponax/Fredericksburg, Va.). The Terps are probably only taking two inside backers, and Cook may be too late to join the party. He's stuck to the mantra that he wants to wait until the fall before making a college decision, and refuses to be swayed by squeeze plays and the like.
That may or may not come back to bite him, but we were getting the feeling of late Cook had been cooling on Maryland anyway. Of his top three suitors – UMD, UVA, Purdue – we sensed the Cavaliers may actually lead, with the Terps running second. UMD may no longer be an option for him, and the sense is that he could be OK with that so long as the ‘Hoos offer is committable. Other suitors – he's holding out hope for Penn State -- could potentially emerge later on as well if Cook puts out solid senior film.
Neville Gallimore, DT, Canada Prep (St. Catharine's, Ontario): Gallimore and his teammates won't be in College Park June 28, as was the plan, but evidently the star Canadian defensive lineman is still trying to make it to Maryland this summer. Gallimore's coach, Geoff McArthur, told me one of his many stops in July should be to UMD, a school the Canadian product's kept in play because the Terps were his first offer. Area recruiter Chad Wilt has done well here, and Gallimore appreciates his efforts, and he will at least reward UMD with a visit.
But Gallimore now claims upwards of 30 offers, and he suggested schools like Oregon, Florida, Florida State, Nebraska, Michigan State and others of that ilk were firmly in play. Needless to say, he ain't going to be an easy pull.
Gage Shaffer, QB, Frankfort (Ridgeley, W.Va.): The Terps' quarterback commit raised a few eyebrows when he attended camps at Penn State and West Virginia last week. Was he trying to add more offers like Deltron Sands? Was he still a solid Terps' pledge?
No worries, UMD aficionados. Shaffer and his coach both said he merely wanted to work on his mechanics and compete; he wasn't at either camp attempting to draw looks from the Mountaineers or Nittany Lions (neither program has shown interest in him). The Frankfort product said he's 100 percent committed to UMD, and that's not likely to change.
Jabari Greenwood, WR, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): We add Greenwood to the hot board, we scratch him. We add him again, then we scratch him again. This time, we think, he's scratched for good. The Gonzaga wideout announced that he was going to be announcing his college decision June 28 with friend Darius Fullwood, and the receiver's final suitors are Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan State and Rutgers. Maryland made one final push for Greenwood a couple weeks back when it hosted him for a personal visit, but it looks like the Terps will come up short in this race.
Kentucky has long been the leader here, and if the Wildcats don't receive his pledge June 28, it'll be an upset. In fact, UK could very well hit the daily double, as both Greenwood and Fullwood may have coordinated co-Kentucky announcements.
Dionte Austin, CB, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.): Austin has stood by a top five or six of Maryland, Wake Forest, Duke, Indiana and Rutgers for some time now. But the overarching feeling was Wake was the team to beat given its longstanding relationship with him. Austin, as expected, popped to the Deacons earlier this week, citing the academics, staff and the overall vibe he got from the program.
Did Maryland miss on Austin? Not likely. The Terps had an offer out to him for a year, but I never had the feeling UMD made a strong push, preferring other corners like a Darnell Savage and a Kareem Ali. Maybe if Maryland missed on one of the latter two it would have gone harder after the Calvert Hall defensive back.
Neal Nelson, LB, Timber Creek (Erial, N.J.): Speaking of Kareem Ali, his teammate, Nelson, said the Terps were showing interest in him as well. But UMD never offered the Jersey backer, while schools such as BC, UCF, Louisville, Kansas, Pitt and Syracuse had. Nelson wanted to get away from home, and he jumped at the chance to play in the Florida sunshine, popping to UCF last week.
Chris Garrison, TE, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.): UMD offered Garrison late in the game, but by that point he'd already had several programs he favored, led by BC, Syracuse and UConn. Boston College had long been the leader what with the school's academics, staff and its proximity to his home. It was no surprise when Garrison committed to the Eagles June 21 -- and he's about as firm in that pledge as you can get.
Chris Barr, WR, Trinity Christian (Jacksonville, Fla.): Barr claimed a top two of Maryland and Louisville, but he does not hold a firm Terps offer. And after talking to his coaches, it's unlikely UMD will pursue in earnest unless Barr attempts to make a College Park visit (none planned). Barr has a number of options to consider, and while we don't know where he'll wind up, we're pretty sure it won't be Maryland.
William Lockett, CB, Manvel (Texas):: Maryland offered Lockett, and he did express interest in visiting UMD earlier this offseason. But since then he's given no indication he'll be coming East. Instead of heading to the right coast, Lockett opted to head West and North, and he visited a number of Pac-12 schools and a few select Big Ten programs. Now, Lockett is basically down to Missouri, Michigan State and UCLA, and he's likely to choose from one of those three.
Trevor Brown, DE, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Brown was unable to attend one-day camps this summer, and it hurt his recruiting. He would have undoubtedly secured a couple FBS offers had he hit the circuit, but a personal situation prevented him from doing so. Thus, he committed to the best I-AA offer he had on the table, James Madison. Maryland showed some interest, but again, Brown would've had to perform at a one-day to draw a closer look.
More Cornerback Scratches: With Darnell Savage's commitment this week, that gives UMD two cornerbacks in the 2015 class. That leaves maybe one spot open for an Ashton White (McNamara/Forestville, Md.) or Mike Majette (Woodbridge, Va.). We no longer see the Terps taking a chance on any "fringe" guys like McDonough's Josh Teachey, Hayfield's (Alexandria, Va.) Kobe Marfo or Kansas junior college corner Wesley Bailey (Coffeyville, Kans.). All have been removed from the hot board.
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