Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Moore on Board
I was going to start out this Inside the Shell with some cheeky comment about the calendar turning and Maryland going into a recruiting drought, having not secured a commitment in over a week. But then D.J. Moore (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.) threw a welcome wrench into that lead, continuing the #MarylandPride momentum with some pre Fourth of July fireworks.
The almost-6-foot-1, 210 pounder had recently claimed Maryland as one of his top suitors, but the Pennsylvania product also insisted he wasn't close to making a decision. With spots filling up quickly (Maryland had one receiver opening left), however, and some of those big-name suitors (i.e. Ohio State, Michigan State) holding out on him, Moore popped to the program that "felt like my second home."
The school's proximity to his Philadelphia abode, the chance to play in the Big Ten, his relationship with area recruiter John Dunn and, most of all, his comfort level on campus, sold him on the Terps. Moreover, Moore's mother, whom he confides in often, fully backed her son's decision and also had UMD at the top of her personal favorites list.
Moore ended up picking Maryland over hometown Temple, which he said finished second, and in-state Pittsburgh as well. Rutgers, Wake Forest and Illinois were also in the game, but Moore admitted those three weren't pushing as hard as the Terps and Owls.
Adding Moore to the fold gives UMD its third and likely final receiver in the 2015 class, joining Fort Hill's (Cumberland, Md.) Ty Johnson and Robinson's (Tampa, Fla.) Jahrvis Davenport, a pair of slots. It's conceivable Maryland could take another wideout if their name is Auden Tate (Wharton/Tampa, Fla.) or Ryan Davis (Lakewood/St. Petersburg, Fla.), but barring one of those later additions, the Terps may be done recruiting receivers. If, by chance, a Davis does jump on board, UMD could always shift the versatile Ty Johnson to cornerback as Maryland only has two 2015 corners at the moment.
All other offered receivers or potential offerees (J.J. Arcega-Whiteside from South Carolina; Freddie Simmons from Pennsylvania; Lawrence Cager from Towson; Kesean Strong from Oxon Hill; David Gardner from Florida; Daemuhn Fuller from Florida; Irvin Charles from Jersey; and KJ McKnight from Florida) have been scratched from the hot board as a result of Moore's commitment.
As for the significance of Moore's pledge, he represents another rock-steady addition for a program that's made a number of them in the last month-plus. John Dunn has quietly done an admirable recruiting job the last couple classes, pulling in linebacker Tyler Burke last year and adding Kareem Ali (Timber Creek/Erial, N.J.) and Moore in the current class. Even better, Imhotep, much like Coatesville (Burke's alma mater) and Timber Creek (Ali), is a perennial talent factory and should have at least one ace recruit every year. The Philadelphia power boasts elite 2016 tight end Naseir Upshur, a top-100 prospect the Terps offered June 1, and he already has an affinity for UMD. Now that his teammate Moore is on board, it could very well help Maryland down the road as it tries to haul in the nationally rated tight end.
But Upshur is the future. Moore is the here and now, and he's a steady, reliable pickup for a Terps team looking for an outside receiver to complement the slots. Now, Moore doesn't have the sheer size of, say, a Jabari Greenwood (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) or Lawrence Cager (Calvert Hall/Towson, Md.), but he makes up for it with his aerial skills, long arms and big, soft hands. Boasting a thick, sturdy frame, Moore's got that Anquan Bolden-esque quality where a quarterback can put the ball up, and he's going to go out-muscle; out-position; and out-work the defensive back for it. He doesn't shy away from contact, works well over the middle and can absorb a hit without flubbing the catch. Moore doesn't look especially fast, but he's a smooth, long strider and actually can cover ground fairly quickly.
That said, Moore does not have elite speed, and he's not the type to take a 5-yard slant and accelerate through the teeth of the defense. He can get down the field, but don't expect him to separate from speedy cornerbacks (though his girth gives him an asset against bigger defensive backs as he doesn't get knocked off his routes). Moore also must show crisper footwork and become more explosive off the line. All in all, though, he's got the tools to be a productive Big Ten receiver and has a chance to earn early playing time if he works for it. (STORY).
The Big Show Breakdown
The Terps hosted about 50-60 prospects at the invite-only Big Show event in College Park June 28, including a who's who of national recruits from locales around the county. One of those, of course, was the aforementioned D.J. Moore, who popped to UMD four days after the camp.
Maryland also had five primetime Florida recruits on campus, and while we don't project that quintet to be Terps, their pro-UMD Twitter chatter is invaluable. Don't think other recruits ignore that kind of pitter-patter. A five-star defensive end Tweets that Maryland is definitely in his top five? You'd better believe there's going to be ramifications. The question is, Can the Terps capitalize and close on a big-timer or two?
Here's a wrap-up of some of the other news gathered from the event:
Class of 2015 news
Kai Locksley, QB, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): Locksley didn't say it at the time, but he hinted June 28 that Texas, Florida State and Maryland were the three schools he had under firm consideration. He wouldn't completely rule out the Virginia Techs, Ohio States and Oregons of the world, but it was pretty clear he was tending towards the Horns, Noles and Terps.
So what are we to make of this, UMD fans? Well, Neil Armstrong did land on the moon, Moses did part the Red Sea, and the Red Sox did win the World Series, so miracles do happen occasionally. We're just not betting on it in this case.
Kai Locksley is never going to say a negative word about Maryland, nor will he rule out his father's employer until he absolutely has to. And he does have genuine interest in the school, has a rapport with Randy Edsall, likes the idea of leading UMD into the Big Ten, and knows he could anchor the offense for years to come. So, yes, logically it makes sense that Locksley would wind up at Maryland.
But, as we've oft repeated, we just don't think he wants to deal with the hometown pressure cooker and the stress of playing for his father. Again, he's not going to say that on camera or in interviews, but it is the vibe we're getting.
Locksley plans to visit Texas for the first time this month, and the feeling is the Longhorns may have pulled into the lead for his services. The Gilman gunslinger is not concerned with what other 2015 quarterbacks are brought in, nor is he worried about potentially being switched to receiver, and that could give the Horns a leg up.
Locksley may make his way back to Tallahassee as well, and the Noles are right in the thick of things. He thoroughly enjoyed his last FSU visit, saying he felt almost "too comfortable there." In other words, he was close to committing while on campus. It wouldn't shock us one bit if Locksley picked defending champ Florida State, where the staff and current quarterback Jameis Winston's success have resonated with him.
It's possible Va Tech could work back into the picture as Locksley would like to see Blacksburg for a second time later this July. Right now, though, we get the sense the Hokies are fading from consideration.
Ray Ray McCloud, RB, Sickles (Tampa, Fla.): McCloud has now been in College Park for a total of four-five days in the last few weeks, first visiting with his father earlier in June before attending the Big Show June 28. The four-star running back did say he has Maryland firmly under consideration, has a tight relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and thinks he can be an early difference maker at UMD. The Terps' offense, the Big Ten move and the chance to be a face of the program all stayed with him.
But McCloud's not going to be an easy haul. All the in-state powers want him, and when Florida or Florida State target Sunshine State products, they rarely miss. Oregon, Notre Dame, the Pac-12 elites, Clemson and others are also in play, and right now McCloud is saying all the aforementioned schools are in play. Translation: Maryland has a shot, but don't put all your eggs in Ray Ray's basket. McCloud does not have a timeline for announcing his college destination, though it will likely come after the season. (INTERVIEW).
Ryan Davis, WR, Lakewood (St. Petersburg, Fla.): Of all the elite Florida prospects Maryland lured North, Davis might be the most likely to end up playing his college ball in College Park. The four-star wideout willingly talked up the Terps following the Big Show and basically called UMD a sleeping giant. The Big Ten shift, area recruiter Mike Locksley's pitch, the zone-read offense, the Stefon Diggs-Deon Long comparisons -- it all hit home with Davis (who doubles as a quarterback).
Like McCloud, however, Florida, Florida State and other name suitors are firmly in the game. Arizona could be an intriguing option what with head coach Rich Rodriguez recruiting him as a quarterback, while schools throughout the SEC have his ear as well. It's going to be a battle, for sure, but if Maryland is going to get one of these Florida big boys, Davis might be the Terps' best bet. Davis does not plan to decide on a school anytime soon, so it's purely a waiting game with him. (INTERVIEW).
Auden Tate, WR, Wharton (Tampa, Fla.): Tate is another four-star receiver who has the Terps in his top 5-10 schools after visiting College Park. Unlike Ryan Davis, though, we didn't get the same positive UMD vibes from Tate. He talks up Maryland on Twitter and does like the school and his recruiter, Locksley, but the feeling here is Florida and Florida State are the leaders, while Michigan, South Carolina and a couple others are in contention. Tate may keep the Terps on his radar, but it may be on the mid to outer fringes at the moment.
Byron Cowart, DE, Armwood (Seffner, Fla.): Every school in the country wants the nation's No. 1 defensive line recruit. There are no moral victories in recruiting, but the fact Maryland was able to get this guy on campus, and then to have him Tweet that UMD would "definitely" be among his top five suitors … hey, that's a win in and of itself.
As for his recruiting, Cowart is more than likely bound for Florida, Alabama, Auburn or possibly Oregon (he'll be at The Opening), so it would take a minor miracle for him to end up in College Park. But again, the Terps have already gotten more than they could've hoped for from Cowart by way of positive publicity.
George Campbell, WR, East Lake (Tapron Springs, Fla.): Like his fellow Floridians, Campbell enjoyed his weekend stay in Maryland. But Campbell may have been the most nonplussed of the five elite Sunshine State visitors. He's considered a Florida lock, with Clemson running second, and we didn't get the feeling he was all that interested in giving UMD any lip service.
Quarvez Boulware, OL, Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.): The local guard recruit was back in College Park yet again, but there really isn't much new to report here. Boulware is coming off visits to UNC and Miami and has both under strong consideration, while he has trips to Auburn, FSU and a host of others coming up. He is claiming no firm leaders and isn't anywhere close to making a decision. That said, Maryland is still on his mind thanks to Randy Edsall's and Mike Locksley's overtures.
By midseason Boulware plans to narrow down his growing offer list to five schools, and he acknowledged the Terps will be on the short list. Currently, we still think UMD has more than a puncher's chance at landing Boulware, who values the rapport he's developed with the Terps (i.e. it's close to home, coaches want him, former teammates and current UMD players are in his ear).
Isaiah Prince, OT, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): As expected, Prince's recruitment has already begun to ebb and flow as the summer has gone on. His longstanding top four has morphed into a top six, which now includes Virginia Tech and Ohio State, to go along with Maryland, Alabama, Auburn and Florida. There's a good possibility others will be added to that list as well, with Michigan being one distinct possibility.
Prince will visit Auburn and Bama July 22-23, and after that he'd like to get down to Gainesville, Fla. He said he wants to make his college decision sometime in August, but we don't see it. His head coach indicated Prince won't be deciding on a school until he takes official visits, meaning he will drag his recruiting out well into the fall or winter.
As far as Maryland is concerned, we still like UMD's chances, regardless of when he decides. Prince said he needs to see more schools to compare them to Maryland (the only other program he's visited so far is Ohio State), but there's no denying his affinity for the hometown school. His relationship with the staff, the fact that it's near his Prince George's County home, and the chance to contribute early are all factors working in Maryland's favor here. (INTERVIEW).
David Gardner, WR, Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.): Gardner and his family thoroughly enjoyed their stay in College Park, and the Florida wideout indicated he was closing in on an offer. If received, it's likely he may have accepted it shortly thereafter as he loved area recruiter Keenan McCardell and felt comfortable on campus. But Gardner did not land the coveted verbal, and now it's highly unlikely he'll be returning to Maryland. Gardner's best options are Cincinnati, FIU and UAB,
and it wouldn't shock us if he chose one of those three schools.
David Rose, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Rose came to camp hoping to earn an offer, but we don't see one forthcoming with two corners already on board. The local defensive back has impressive size and a solid all-around game, but there's just not any room for him. He'll likely end up in the MAC or at a smaller Division I program.
Mike Yerardi, OT, Suffield Academy (Conn.): Yerardi made the trek down from Connecticut in order to participate in the Big Show, but he left offerless. He didn't give off the impression Maryland was going to actively pursue either, despite his impressive 6-6, 305-pound frame.
Kwanii Figueroa, DT, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.): The New York native, who is transferring to Paramus, claimed nine verbal offers, but we're not sure how many of those are committable. Either way, Figueroa did not indicate Maryland would be going after him. He's on the smallish side and probably doesn't fit exactly what the Terps are looking for in a defensive tackle. Figueroa did enjoy his stay in College Park, however, so if UMD does take a flyer on him down the road it could very well haul him in.
Kobe Marfo, CB, Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.): Marfo was looking to land a Terps offer after camp, but he did not earn one. He has several I-AA verbals on the table, and that's probably the level he fits best at. Marfo has plenty of Terps interest, but we don't see them going after the Virginia corner.
Daemuhn Fuller, WR, Coral Gables (Fla.): Fuller looked the part when he entered Gossett Team House, but he hadn't generated much buzz before – or after –the Big Show event. I touched base with him after he returned to Florida, and Fuller said he didn't think a Terps offer would be forthcoming.
Rashad Blunt, WR, Creekside (Jacksonville, Fla.): Blunt indicated he would have popped to the Terps had he received an offer, but he didn't pull one at the Big Show. A day later, he visited Rutgers and, as expected, popped to the Scarlet Knights.
Michael Cornwell, WR, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Cornwell looked the part at 6-3-plus, but he's probably more of a I-AA type. Schools such as Monmouth and New Hampshire are after him, and that's likely where he'll end up. Cornwell didn't say the Terps were actively pursuing him.
Dewann Ford, QB, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.): An intriguing quarterback prospect who stands 6-3, Ford caught our eye at the camp. He said afterwards that he had significant interest in Maryland and would highly consider the school if offered. But although he holds verbals from USF, Wake Forest and Indiana, we're not so sure the Terps push here.
Jameel Cook, S, Ridge Point (Missouri City, Texas): Cook committed to UMD June 21, and a week later visited the school for the first time. The consensus? He's sold on Maryland through and through. He raved about everything the program had to offer, from the campus to the coaches to the surrounding area (D.C.) to Brian Stewart's defense. Randy Edsall's message, the new facility upgrades, and even the East Coast lifestyle/mindset (reminds him more of his former home in Miami) impressed Cook as well.
Apparently, though, his girlfriend is having a kid, and some wondered whether that would cause Cook to reconsider his UMD commitment. But the Texas product told me earlier this week he's still 100-percent on board with the Terps and is on track to enroll early. We'll see if that holds up. (INTERVIEW).
Deltron Sands, RB, Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): Sands committed to Maryland sight unseen, and June 27-28 was his first opportunity to visit his intended future college destination. After touring the campus, meeting all the coaches, taking in D.C., seeing the facility upgrades, etc., Sands said he was sold. He insisted he's not taking any other visits and has shut down his recruiting. We'll see if he's still singing that tune after the fall, but for now the mercurial Sands seems like a firm pledge. (INTERVIEW).
Gage Shaffer, QB, Frankfort (Ridgeley, W.Va.): Shaffer is a solid Terps commit, and when we caught up with him he discussed his offseason development and also his strong feelings about UMD. He also addressed the other team camps he attended (WVU, Penn State) and reiterated he merely wanted to get some extra work in. Considering he's an acknowledged developmental quarterback, Shaffer should and is attending as many different workouts as possible in order to ready himself for Big Ten ball.
Class of 2016 News
We'll briefly touch on some of the elite underclassmen in attendance. From Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), defensive tackle Ellison Jordan was back in College Park yet again. The undersized fireball has offers galore, but the Terps are a clear top contender early on. He loves the idea of representing the hometown school and has a rapport with the staff. His parents, who are Bowie, Md., natives, wouldn't mind him sticking around as well. Penn State is also a strong contender early on.
Jordan's rival at McDonogh, cornerback Eric Burrell, figures to land a Terps offer sooner rather than later. Burrell, like many Eagles recruits, has an affinity for UMD, and it wouldn't shock us if he becomes the next McDonogh-prospect-turned-Terp in a year. Burrell currently holds Virginia Tech and ODU scholarships, and will receive his fair share before it's all said and done.
Another MIAA cornerback, Spalding's (Severn, Md.) Deron Dingle, already holds a Maryland verbal, earned after he burned a 4.4 40-yard dash at camp. Dingle is loving the Terps early, though he's keeping an open mind about the recruiting process. But considering he attends a school headed by a UMD alum (Kyle Schmitt), and the fact the Terps offered before anyone else, it probably gives the local university a leg up.
A few DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) recruits attended the camp as well, and we were able to catch up with running back Lo Lo Harrison and cornerback Darryl Turner. Harrison holds a Terps offer and has UMD firmly in play early on, though his profile is steadily growing. It's way too early to make a call on this talented back.
Turner, meanwhile, won't be offerless for long. He evidently showed out at the Big Show and displayed loose hips and plenty of speed, so it's conceivable he could be the next Stags' 2016 recruit to land a UMD verbal. If so, Turner said he'd place the hometown program right at the top of his list.
From Jersey, Red Bank Catholic's Liam Smith made his first visit to Maryland June 28. Boasting a few early offers from Miami, UVA and Rutgers, Smith should secure a Terps verbal in short order. He liked what he saw in College Park, so he's a name worth monitoring for sure.
Meanwhile, from Thomas Dale High in Virginia, cornerback Malik Scott has intriguing size and speed, and he could be an offer guy in the future. And Cheshire Academy (Conn,) defensive tackle Ka-Ron Jones is a big ‘ol boy with a real nice frame, so we'll monitor him as well.
Class of 2017/18 news
It's worth noting some of the emerging young stars who attended. From Gilman, multi-offer defensive tackle Cam Spence stopped by, and this manchild already has the look of an upperclassman. He will be a national recruit before it's all said and done. His teammate, quarterback Kasim Hill, has already reached elite status before he's even started a varsity game. Hill is a big-armed gunslinger with savvy beyond his years -- and advanced touch to boot -- and it's likely he'll be even more heavily recruited that Kai Locksley.
The most prestigious underclassman quarterback in attendance, though, was Lindell Stone, who came up from Southlake, Texas. The Southlake Carroll class of 2017 recruit pulled a UCLA offer in eighth grade, and he'll have plenty more in the next couple months. His mere presence at Maryland opened some eyes, and it's a credit to area recruiter Keenan McCardell that he convinced the Stone family to trek all the way to College Park.
Last but not least, remember the name Allan Walters. He has yet to play a down of high school ball yet, but the class of 2018 signal caller already looks like a player. Walters is heading to Paramus Catholic next year, and he's bound to be a 20-plus-offer guy if he continues to develop.
Outside Linebacker News
Maryland's filled up its two inside linebacker spots thanks to Gus Little's (Massaponax/Fredericksburg, Va.) and Brett Zannotto's (Franklin Regional/Murrysville, Pa.) commitments, and the Terps have one outside linebacker on board in Mbi Tanyi (Bush/Sugar Land, Texas). So that means a single spot remains for what looks like three or four potential candidates.
Isaiah Davis, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes (Alexandria, Va.): Davis is likely Maryland's No. 1 target, and the Washington, D.C., native does have the Terps right on the brain. The younger brother of current UMD safety Sean Davis, Isaiah Davis has a rapport with area recruiter and position coach Lyndon Johnson, has been on campus multiple times, thinks playing in the Big Ten would be a terrific opportunity, and likes the idea of lining up on the same field as his sibling. He also said he'd like to visit Maryland again in August in order to gain more insight into the school.
But since Davis picked up his Terps offer June 8 (and before that Boston College), he's acquired a number of other interesting suitors. Tennessee, NC State and Virginia Tech have all jumped into the fray, while Michigan and Michigan State are monitoring him too.
Davis already visited Blacksburg, Va., and the vibe I got is the Hokies may actually be the team to beat here. The St. Stephen's/St. Agnes backer raved about the staff, the area and the chance to play in the Hokies' defense. Davis wants to return to Va Tech -- as well as take in BC, UMD, NC State and Tennessee -- this August, before choosing his destination in late summer.
The thought here is Tennessee may not be making a real strong push for him, however, and I'm not sure Davis is all that high on the Wolfpack. His recruitment could come down to Va Tech, UMD and BC, so let's see if the Terps can stem the Hokies' charge. (STORY).
Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River (Ringgold, Va.): The son of former Terp Ferrell Edmunds was supposed to be in College Park June 28 for the Big Show camp. But a family situation arose and Edmunds was unable to attend, forcing him to attempt to reschedule. He and his family were last at Maryland for the April spring game, and the crew left with a favorable impression of Randy Edsall's program. The academics, Big Ten move, comfort level and coaching staff all hit home.
But no matter how much Edmunds talks up the Terps, or any other team for that matter, it's hard to see him opting for another school besides Virginia Tech. His two brothers are Hokies, he's been in Blacksburg more times than he can remember, the coaching staff wants him, and he has an inherent comfort level there. Davis insists he's keeping an open mind, but we'll believe it when we see him pop to another program.
Davis, who just recently visited Wake Forest and has the Deacons under consideration, will take a slew of trips later this July, beginning with Va Tech July 14. After that, he'd like to see UMD, Tennessee, USC (questionable whether it's a committable offer) and Cincinnati before coming to a college decision in August. (STORY).
Amir Ealey, Coatesville (Pa.):: Ealey's profile has risen considerably in recent months, and he now has the big boys considering offering him. Ohio State could get involved, and he said even Alabama has been in touch. The latter possibility isn't likely, but f the Buckeyes pull the trigger, Ealey's recruitment might just end right then and there.
But we're not betting on the power programs pulling through with actual scholarships, which would leave Ealey with firm suitors like Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Syracuse, among others. The Coatesville backer said each of those latter four are standing out and he wants to visit each again during the next few months. UVA was once considered the leader, but Ealey reiterated that none of that quartet has separated itself yet.
Maryland has hosted Ealey a couple times this offseason, and the Pennsylvania prospect enjoyed meeting the Maryland coaches and taking in the campus. He has current Terp and former teammate Tyler Burke in his ear, and has a rapport with area recruiter John Dunn. Ealey even said he wants to take an official to College Park this fall.
Ealey has not been to SU or WVU yet, but plans to this July or August. He'd also like to revisit Charlottesville, a place he's heaped praise on. Despite words to the contrary, the tealeaves suggest Virginia is the current team to beat, though there's plenty of time for Ealey's recruitment to ebb and flow.
Note: Also keep the name Malachi Felder in mind. His coach, Dwayne Thomas, from Eastern Christian (Elkton, Md.) tells me area recruiter Keenan McCardell likes him, and Felder is apparently intrigued by UMD. He did not attend camp, however, so I'm not sure how hard Maryland will push. Maybe he's a guy UMD goes after down the road if the Terps miss on a couple other targets.
More News & Notes
DeShawn McClease, RB, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.): Area reporter Mike Clark's DeShawn McClease update corroborated with my report last week. McClease still has a top two of Maryland and Virginia Tech and said both schools are 50-50 in his eyes. The vibe, though, is UMD may be pushing harder for him as the Terps "need" and "want" McClease, while Tech would take him if he wanted in. Tech's perceived "lukewarm" pursuit might not matter, however, as the Oscar Smith back has strong 757 connections in Blacksburg, which could help the Hokies' chances.
McClease said he'd like to visit both UMD and Tech once more before announcing his decision July 16. But since it's a closed recruiting period we're not sure he makes said trips. Right now, we still like UMD's chances given his relationship with area recruiter Chad Wilt and his overall affinity for the program (academics, zone-read offense, campus feel), though we'll know more as McClease's self-imposed deadline approaches.
Jay Stocker, S, Coatesville (Pa.): Stocker, who the Terps are apparently still pursuing even with Jameel Cook in toe, returned to Pittsburgh for the third time earlier this week. Word is he had a great time on campus and is riding high on Pitt at the moment. The Coatesville product isn't claiming any leaders, but Pitt could very well be a team to beat.
Recall, Stocker visited Maryland a couple weeks back and said the Terps continue to resonate, what with former teammate Tyler Burke signed and sealed and his relationship with area recruiter John Dunn. Stocker also took in Cincinnati last week, and he'll hit Wake Forest and Duke at some point in July.
The Pennsylvania product will likely release a top five later this summer (Maryland and Pitt will probably both be included) before taking official visits in the fall. He'll decide on a school soon after his season ends.
Jamal Milan, DT, Al Raby (Chicago, Ill.): One of Maryland's prime Midwest defensive tackle targets is still considering the Terps, but the sense is UMD may be fading. Milan has not made an intended trip to College Park yet, and he's given no indication one is in the works. He just recently visited Syracuse, which he loved, and wants to take in Ohio State and Iowa State next. Illinois, the hometown contender, and Indiana are firmly in play, and it wouldn't surprise us if he chose either school.
Currently, Milan is saying he's keeping an open mind and has no leaders, so it's conceivable Maryland could still make a charge here. He plans to announce his decision around midseason, so there's still time to get him out to College Park. We'll see what area recruiter Chad Wilt, who has a rapport with Milan, can pull off here.
David Sills, QB, Eastern Christian (Elkton, Md.): As expected, Sills decommitted from USC, the squad he popped to before his freshman year. Much has changed since then – most notably the head coach for the Trojans – and the feeling is once Lane Kiffin was ousted Sills' spot was in jeopardy.
Sills sensed this, and he began searching around for other destinations months ago. But some of the schools Sills had under strong consideration (Michigan, Alabama, etc.) have gone in another direction, leaving the ECA signal caller with a dwindling list of options. Some have surmised that Maryland would be a good fit considering UMD is in need of a quarterback, but we don't see it. Sills did visit College Park and had some nice things to say about the program, but we haven't gotten a great pro-Terps vibe here. West Virginia, where several of his former teammates have headed, could ultimately be the team to beat.
Thanks to D.J. Moore's commitment to UMD, a whole bunch of receiver targets came off the board. A quick rundown of who was removed July 2:
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Dorman (Roebuck, S.C.): Arcega-Whiteside had the Terps sitting No. 2 on his list, right behind Stanford. He's going to visit Palo Alto, Calif., at the end of July, and the feeling is he won't leave without popping. Michigan State, which just offered, is also a prime contender. Maryland made a push here, but Arcega-Whiteside didn't bite when he visited College Park. Moore, of course, took the bait, and now Arcega-Whiteside's window of opportunity has closed.
Lawrence Cager, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.): Maryland offered Cager, and while the Calvert Hall product appreciated the hometown school's efforts, he never seriously considered the Terps. His profile has skyrocketed -- and will continue to do so after he attends The Opening -- and he's hoping for offers from Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Miami and other SEC schools. Look for Cager to wind up in the Southeast Conference or at one of the Big Ten powers.
Kelvin McKnight, Manatee (Bradenton, Fla.): McKnight, another slot receiver, probably should have come off the hot board after Jahrvis Davenport popped to Maryland as the two are quite similar. Now, following Moore's commitment, he's almost definitely out. McKnight, recall, was effusive in his Terps praise after pulling in an offer, but he didn't make it up to College Park, and others claimed the available spots before he could pop. He could ultimately wind up at FIU or FAU, two other suitors.
Irvin Charles, Paul VI (Haddonfield, N.J.): Maryland made Charles' top 10, but we never sensed a hard UMD push. In fact, we're not even sure his "offer" was ever committable to begin with. Charles is likely bound for a Miami, a Penn State, a Michigan State, a South Carolina or maybe even a Florida if things fall into place. It's too early to make a call, but regardless, Charles is probably not coming to College Park.
Freddie Simmons, Bethlehem Catholic (Bethlehem, Pa.): Simmons may have been a Terps offeree had he actually made it to camp. He never did, and thus remained scholarship-less. Simmons does hold offers from UConn, Purdue, Rutgers, UVA, Wake Forest, Buffalo and California (not sure if committable), and at this point RU looks like a prime contender. Simmons is holding out for bigger offers, but the Scarlet Knights may be his best fit.
KeSean Strong, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): We kept Strong on the hot board as "cool," even after his Terps commitment was denied last week. Maybe, the thought was, if a Jahrvis Davenport wigged out down the road, or if the Terps moved Ty Johnson to cornerback, they could still take Strong. But right now the outlook is bleaker than before. With Moore on board the receiver spots are full, and we're not so sure UMD even takes another corner or wideout unless it's Ryan Davis or Auden Tate.
Devin Phelps, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): An intriguing talent, Phelps may have had some issues that caused Maryland from pursuing in earnest. He took a number of visits this summer and camped at a few different schools, and currently has plenty of programs monitoring him (most waiting on transcripts before offering). Phelps' UMD interest seemed to be waning anyway, and now he's almost assuredly out with D.J. Moore set to be a Terp.
Daemuhn Fuller, Coral Gables (Fla.): See Big Show breakdown above.
David Gardner, Atlantic Coast (Jacksonville, Fla.): See Big Show breakdown above.
Rashad Blunt, Creekside (Jacksonville, Fla.): See Big Show breakdown above.
And the rest of the hot board scratches:
Darius Fullwood, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Fullwood kept Maryland among his top suitors up until his June 28 announcement, but it was clear he was heading to Kentucky a few days prior. The Terps, while an intriguing option for him (he liked the business school and coaching staff), may have been a bit late to the game here. Kentucky, meanwhile, had been pursuing for a few months and left its mark after Fullwood visited campus. Virginia Tech and Duke were also under consideration. Fullwood probably would have chosen Ohio State, but the Buckeyes did not accept his commitment.
While it would have been beneficial to keep the Good Counsel pipeline going, this was not a huge loss for Maryland. The Terps do need defensive linemen, but there are some questions surrounding Fullwood's game. Maryland obviously had some concerns itself as it hesitated before finally extending the verbal following a one-day camp.
Jabari Greenwood, WR, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): Greenwood popped to longtime favorite Kentucky right along with Fullwood. The two friends had discussed going to the same college, and it became apparent it was going to happen in the days leading up to their dual announcement.
Maryland made a late charge to get back into the Greenwood game -- receivers coach Keenan McCardell was the main reason he was considering UMD -- but the Terps had been on the outside looking in for a good while. Michigan State, Rutgers, NC State and Illinois rounded out his top five, though he'd been forecast for KY for several months.
Greenwood would have been a solid addition for the Terps, not only because he's talented, but because it would have reopened the doors at Gonzaga, a local power Maryland hasn't pulled a recruit from since A.J. Francis. UMD is still working on reviving its Zaga connection, but at least the Terps made up for the Greenwood loss with the D.J. Moore commitment.
Ashton White, CB, Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.): After having Maryland in the pole position for months, White changed tune when Notre Dame offered him following a camp. He deliberated for a couple days before popping to UND July 1, saying it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up. White cited the history, tradition, coaching staff and academics as the main reasons he became an Irish pledge.
White, though, may not have been able to commit to the Terps anyway. Maryland already had two corners on board in Kareem Ali and Darnell Savage (Caravel/Bear, Del.), and the sense is that UMD ended its pursuit once the Delaware corner jumped on board. White is a solid prospect who will do well in the right scheme, but he isn't a "must have" type the Terps needed to save a spot for.
Wyatt Cook, LB, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Cook's chances of playing for the hometown school pretty much ended when Brett Zanotto grabbed that second inside linebacker spot after Gus Little. We kept Cook on the hot board for novelty's sake, but he can be removed now that he's firmly committed to Purdue. Virginia, which was considered the front-runner, finished No. 2 for his services. Cook originally wanted to see what offers materialized during his senior season, but he saw the writing on the wall and popped while there were still openings.
Chance Hall, DT, Northside (Roanoke, Va.): Hall had been in College Park four times in the last couple years and said the Terps were firmly in play for his services. He had a rapport with area recruiter Chad Wilt, and the idea of playing Big Ten ball resonated with him. But Hall recently released a top five of Notre Dame, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Vanderbilt and ended up popping to the Vols July 3. Moving on.
Eric Assoua, LB, St. John's (Washington, D.C.): We kept the local linebacker on the hot board until camp season had ended. The thought was if Assoua performed well enough at a Maryland one-day he'd pull in an offer, but the verbal never materialized. While Assoua had high praise for the Terps, the interest never seemed mutual. Assoua might end up committing to Boston College or a smaller Division I program.
Nolan Borgersen, WR, Westwood (N.J.): Maryland offered Borgersen following a standout camp performance, and the Jersey wideout did hold the Terps in high regard. There was a question, though, how much Maryland really would have pushed for a commitment considering it had other wideouts (see: D.J. Moore) higher on its board. Borgersen may have sensed this, and soon after pulling in a Boston College scholarship he popped to the Eagles, which really was his best fit.
Nick Dillon, DL, Stevenson (Lincolnshire, Ill.): Dillon expressed plenty of Maryland interest and had family that lived near College Park. On top of that he said area recruiter Chad Wilt had checked him out, and the Terps would consider offering if he visited the school and showed out at camp. But Dillon didn't make it to College Park during June, and he isn't sure he'll be able to visit at all this summer. Unless something changes in the coming months, Dillon is probably bound for the MAC or a Midwest program.
TTDave's Inside The Shell
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