Taiwo On The Terps' Radar

McDonough (Pomfret, Md.) defensive end Mufu Taiwo remains on the radar.

McDonough (Pomfret, Md.) defensive end Mufu Taiwo has lived in Southern Maryland for the last decade, but before settling in in the Old Line State, this 6-foot-5, 255-pounder hopped around to more locales than some of today’s college basketball players. The son of a current Army colonel (his father) and a retired military officer (his mother), Taiwo has lived at military bases in Virginia, Georgia, Spain, Italy and Germany during his 17 years, though the only one he has vivid memories of is Germany.

“I was really young when we were doing all the moving, but I do remember the base in Germany. I remember it because I didn’t like it at all,” Taiwo said, laughing. “I remember I hated the food, and they served you drinks without ice in them. It was terrible, and I thought the food was disgusting (laughs).”

But for Taiwo that’s a distant memory, and after 10 years in Maryland he’s no longer concerned with where his family might end up next. And as a byproduct of staying put in the land of crabcakes and football, Taiwo became quite proficient in a sport he had little interest in before high school.

“I really just played soccer growing up, and I really didn’t pay attention to football at all,” Taiwo said. “But then when I got to high school, everyone was all about football, football, football. So I decided to give it a try.”

It’s safe to say his gamble paid off, as Taiwo has blossomed into a surefire Division I recruit with a chance to reach the FBS level. He already holds firm offers from Old Dominion and numerous Division I-AA programs, while Maryland, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Iowa, Toledo, Ohio and Bowling Green have shown solid interest. Ohio State even kicked the tires on him after he attended the Buckeyes’ camp, though Taiwo admitted he doesn’t project to receive an OSU offer.

“The recruiting’s been going really well for me. I have some nice offers on the table, and schools like Maryland, Rutgers and Wake Forest have been in pretty close contact,” Taiwo said. “So I’m hoping something [from the larger programs] comes through after I send out some senior film.”

Taiwo first caught the Terps’ eye at an early June one-day camp. He said at the time he thought UMD might pull the trigger later that summer, but now mentioned the staff wants to evaluate his first game this fall.

“The thing with the Terps is the coaches evaluated my junior film, and they said it was decent, but it wasn’t close to the level I performed at the camp. Like, they were saying my camp performance was just amazing, like off the charts,” Taiwo said. “But they said because it was such a big jump from what I showed on film, they wanted to see me do it in pads again my senior year. So they want to evaluate my first game, and if I prove that I can play at a high level like I did at camp, the offer should be there for me. A lot’s going to be riding on that first game.”

Taiwo noted that he’s had fairly regular contact with his recruiter, Mike Locksley. He said UMD’s offensive coordinator has let him know exactly where he stands and that the staff does like his game.

“Coach Locksley, he lets me know what’s up. He’s a real honest, straightforward guy,” Taiwo said. “He told me they’re taking like three defensive line commits and they have one guy on board now. He was saying how they have a couple other targets out there, but I’m a guy that’s at the top of their board [to get an offer] if some of those players don’t commit there.”

And if Taiwo did eventually snag a Terps scholarship, well, the recruiting process might just end immediately.

“If Maryland offered me it would be something. The hometown school, close to home… I would really consider just taking the offer,” Taiwo said. “It would be amazing to get a scholarship from the local school and be like a hometown hero around here [in Pomfret]. It would also be really nice if all my family can see me play.”

Evidently Taiwo’s one-day experience wasn’t his first foray through College Park, Md. He said he’s been on campus for football games, basketball games, 7-on-7s, junior days and team camps.

“I’m always up at Maryland. It’s a great place, a great school and I’m comfortable there,” Taiwo said. “Like I said, it’s home. I love it up there, and I’d be honored to get an offer from them.”

Besides UMD, Taiwo attended camps at OSU, Towson, Rutgers, Virginia, Toledo and visited JMU. He would like to visit Tennessee, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest this July, with Wake being of particular intrigue since the Deacons have shown significant interest.

“I think what’s going to happen with some of these [FBS] schools is they’re going to want to see some film, and then I’ll know after that where I stand. After like the first five weeks of my senior season I’ll have an idea who wants me and who doesn’t, and I’ll probably decide [on a college] right after that in October,” Taiwo said. “I’ll send film out to all the schools that have shown some interest like Maryland, Wake, NC State, some other ACC schools, Georgia, Kentucky – all the schools that came through McDonough [during the evaluation period].

“Whatever school jumps on board is what I’ll go with, and if none of them do I have some great options [at the I-AA level].”

This offseason Taiwo said he’s working on his strength, speed and agility. He also wants to become more of a leader for a McDonough squad he has underachieved last season.

“This year it’s all about getting the team better as a whole and coming together as a team,” Taiwo said. “We can’t be individuals this year. We definitely want to make a deep playoff run, and we can do that if we put it together as one unit.”

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