The first July "live" period has concluded, and the staff gets back on the road July 16 for round two. Obviously, some things can change between now and the end of the month, but as of July 14, here's how we're breaking down 2015 recruiting:
Justin Robinson, St. James (Md.): Robinson played solidly at the recent Oladipo/Lawson Camp. At this time, he still appears to be the No. 1 Terps target at the lead guard position. Robinson is being deliberate with his recruitment, and has not released a list of finalists. He has a slew of offers all over the country, but we're thinking Maryland, Virginia Tech, GW, and Temple will be among those schools getting serious consideration.
Noah Blackwell, Woodcreek HS (Roseville, Calif.): The Terps are still involved here, and Blackwell has an offer, but we don't think Mark Turgeon has yet seen him in person. That should happen this week at the Under Armour Tournament in Atlanta, Ga. This kid has serious talent, with schools like Oregon State, Arizona State, San Diego State, St. Mary's, Long Beach State and New Mexico in the mix, along with the Terps. But it's easy to see that Maryland is, at the moment, the only school back East under consideration. He's probably going to be a tough get.
Glynn Watson, St. Joseph HS (Westchester, Ill.): We hear the Terps are involved here to some extent, and the staff did watch Watson (an Under Armour kid) this past week. We should know soon if an offer is extended. To this point, Nebraska, Purdue, Creighton, Missouri and Wichita State have all been involved, and obviously all are Midwest schools.
Tyrone Taylor, Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.): Cliff Warren has reached out somewhat to Taylor, a Kansas City product, who will prep at Hargrave. Taylor's a 6-3 combo guard who originally was ticketed for Texas but now has opened it back up. Creighton and Wichita State are involved, and the Terps have yet to offer.
Jordan Murphy, Brennan HS (San Antonio, Texas): Murphy played very well at the Adidas Unrivaled Tourney in Chicago this past week, and remains a key Terp target. At last report, this 6-7 athlete listed Maryland, Texas A&M and Creighton has schools under serious consideration. It's possible other schools can still be factors, but we do think the Terps have a real shot here. Murphy will take his visits in the fall, so nothing appears imminent in terms of a commitment.
Danjel Purifoy, Hargrave Military Academy (Chatham, Va.): Purifoy, at least recently, has tabbed Maryland as his top choice, citing his relationship with Trayvon Reed and Robert Carter (both Atlanta XPress products). Purifoy showed a versatile game at the Reebok Breakout Challenge, and appears on most Top 50 lists nationally. He reportedly has some academic work to do, but he's an excellent talent. We see Auburn and Georgia as major challengers at the moment.
Prince Ali, Sagemont School (Miami, Fla.): Ali is a UConn de-commit, and a big time prospect at the two-guard position. The Terps have been in contact, but it looks like UCLA is the strong leader, with Michigan, Indiana and now Louisville all making inroads. I'd consider it an upset if Maryland can pull this one off, as they got a late start, while the Bruins and Wolverines have been in there for quite some time.
Malik Ellison, Life Center Academy (Burlington, N.J.): Ellison is slowly recovering from some knee problems due to his growth spurt, and we're told he did play well in the Reebok events in Philadelphia last week. Ellison hasn't added many schools to his list, and at the moment, it looks like Maryland, Temple and Penn State are the schools he is highest on. Despite his up and down spring, we still like this kid, who's pushing 6-6 now, but it appears as though a few other prospects would have to fall by the wayside for him to wind up in College Park, Md.
Kipper Nichols, St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio): We got a good look at Nichols last week at the Oladipo/Lawson Camp -- and were impressed. Nichols is not a spectacular, highlight reel type player, but a sturdy 6-6 wing man who does a lot of things well and plays very efficiently. The Terps have offered, but we see Xavier, Dayton, Northwestern and Penn State as perhaps the leading contenders, although Nichols is planning to visit Maryland if the Terps show sustained interest.
Chris Clarke, Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.): Clarke wowed everyone at the Oladipo/Lawson Camp, and his stock continues to soar. We've gotten mixed signals on the Clarke/Maryland relationship all along. There was an offer, then a lack of communication, and now it appears the Terps are trying to get back in there, though we suspect it's too late. Clarke's a spectacular athlete and premier slasher who seems to be focusing mainly on Iowa State, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Minnesota at the moment, though we would not be surprised to see more schools offer after his sterling play last week.
Esa Ahmad, Shaker Heights (Ohio): Ahmad has been a top priority for months now, and nothing's changed. Though all the recruiting "experts" are predicting this talented 6-7 combo forward to Ohio State, we expect Maryland to fight hard until the bitter end. The Buckeyes are still holding out hope for big timer Carlton Bragg, but at the moment he lists Kansas, Kentucky, and Illinois as schools he knows he will officially visit. When the dust clears, Ahmad may well wind up in Columbus, Ohio, but all signs point to the Terps making every effort to pull the upset. At this point, my guess is that those will be the last two schools standing.
There's always the possibility a few new players could jump on the board in the next couple weeks, but these appear to be the main targets here in mid-July. Robinson, Murphy, Purifoy and Ahmad would seem to be the "main four" right now, but again, that's based on the amount of time being spent by the staff on those players, and the level of interest being shown in return by each kid. I still see a class of three signees when all is said and done. Robinson, though not the highest rated, still could be the most important, because you simply have to grab a competent point guard in this class.
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