Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Boulware & Prince
The Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) guard Quarvez Boulware and the Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) tackle Isaiah Prince remain Maryland’s two main offensive line targets, and while neither has produced much in the way of head-turning news recently, there are some updates to report.
The 6-foot-3, 285-pound Boulware has the same top five suitors of UMD, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and Wake Forest, though earlier this week he said the Gators were making the strongest push.
Cue the collective yawn.
Florida may indeed make a run here, but remember, college staffs are preparing for their seasons right now, and thus recruiting typically slows down across the board. When the open contact period begins again Sept. 1, I expect all five of Boulware’s primary contenders, in addition to a few new ones, to put in calls.
In other not-so-surprising news, Boulware said he wants to take all five of his official visits, though none have been scheduled as of yet. In general, it will be difficult for him to take trips during the fall considering FCA plays several games on Saturdays and has a couple out-of-state affairs. He may have a free date in mid-October when the Knights have their bye, so perhaps Boulware will schedule one of his five officials then.
Although Boulware is keeping an open mind and has genuine interest in each of the aforementioned five programs, we’re still a bit skeptical the feelings are totally mutual. While he claims an Alabama offer and his former head coach, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, is in Tuscaloosa, we think the Tide may have a few “big fish” targeted ahead of Boulware.
And even though Boulware said Florida is coming hard now, the Gators do have three interior offensive linemen already committed and a fourth, tackle George Brown (Winton Woods/Cincinnati, Ohio), in the fold as well. Will Will Muschamp really be knocking on Boulware’s door during the visitation period with what he already has in toe?
Meanwhile, North Carolina also has multiple O-line commits and has suggested it wants Boulware as a defensive tackle. But we’re not completely sure the FCA guard is willing to do that -- regardless of what he says during interviews.
Ultimately, we think Maryland and Wake have the biggest need for Boulware and may make the most potent push later this year. Boulware is from the Carolina area, so the Deacons are a sentimental favorite, but he’s had a close rapport with UMD and area recruiter Mike Locksley for several years now. His recruiting is bound to ebb and flow in the coming months, but we still like the Terps’ chances here.
With the four-star tackle Prince, he should be in College Park, Md., for the Terps’ season opener against James Madison. This will likely be Prince’s only opportunity to see Maryland -- or any other school for that matter -- this fall as Roosevelt plays exclusively on Saturday afternoons, which will preclude him from watching much college football at all. (Prince will return to Byrd Stadium Sept. 6 when his Raiders take on Gwynn Park at Maryland, but typically when high school teams play in College Park they merely enter the stadium, take care of business, then hop back on the bus. There isn’t any real interaction with college coaches or players).
Though Prince may still take an official visit to UMD after his senior season, this Aug. 30 trip is an important one. It’s a chance for the Terps, who are already in a solid position for Prince, to show the Roosevelt tackle what the program is capable of now and in the future. Remember, Prince didn’t get to work with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa at the June 28 Big Show camp, so this will be his first time seeing the energetic former LSU assistant in action. He’ll also have the opportunity to reconnect with area recruiter Mike Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall, as well as several current Terps linemen he knows like Derwin Gray and Damian Prince.
The Terps might only be facing a Division I-AA foe, but it’s important for the UMD crowd to show out, and for Maryland to play well, as this date will be Prince’s last memory of UMD for awhile.
When the season’s over, Prince will probably schedule officials for Florida and Alabama, and may take in Ohio State as well. His top four -- Gators, Tide, Buckeyes, Terps – remains the same, and unless another suitor emerges he will select from one of the quartet later this winter, perhaps during the Under Armour All-American game. At this point, given his longstanding relationship with UMD, we still like the Terps’ chances here as well.
The Latest on Austrian Robinson
The Trinity-Pawling (Pawling, N.Y.) defensive tackle has one official visit scheduled, to Purdue Sept. 20. He was supposed to see the Boilermakers Aug. 30, but that’s not going to happen and instead he’ll take them in a few weeks later. While Purdue will likely rank among Robinson’s foremost suitors, we don’t project Robinson to end up in Indiana for college.
After visiting Purdue, Robinson will have to wait until after the season before he can journey to other locales. Trinity-Pawling plays exclusively on Saturdays, meaning he won’t be able to make any college games.
When November/December hits, however, expect him to schedule officials to Maryland, Miami (no firm offer yet), UCF and Syracuse, four of his primary contenders. Connecticut and Pittsburgh, two school he’s visited before, are also in play, and Ole Miss (no offer yet) and Kansas are of interest as well.
Of course, Robinson has stated several times this summer that Maryland leads for his services. The relationship he’s built with defensive line coach Chad Wilt and area recruiter Lyndon Johnson has him thinking Terps, as does UMD’s need for defensive linemen; the school’s academic reputation; and his spring trip to College Park, which continues to resonate. While Robinson acknowledged his No. 1 could change following several late-fall/winter officials, we think Maryland has a very good shot here.
Other D-Line News
Elite Thomas Dale (Chester, Va.) defensive tackle Darvin Taylor did list the Terps among his final four suitors, though we hadn’t even heard he had inklings of playing his college ball in College Park prior to this week. I guess you could call that a pleasant surprise, but much like some of the four and five-star Florida prospects who visited UMD, and select other highly-rated recruits, we took Taylor’s comments as mere lip service.
Sure, area recruiter Chad Wilt did well to work Maryland’s name into the conversation, and the school’s education and location certainly played in UMD’s favor as well, but Taylor was considered a heavy Florida State or Virginia Tech lean from the jump.
And that’s exactly how it played out Aug. 28 on Taylor’s birthday. As expected, he chose the Seminoles over the hometown Hokies, with UMD and N.C. State running third and fourth, respectively. He was never even included on our hot board, so… whatever. Moving on.
Some 2016 Notes
We were able to watch the Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) – St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) scrimmage last week, and after the exhibition we chatted with a few coaches and players to get an idea where Maryland stood with some of the two programs’ elite underclassmen recruits. I personally interviewed injured (torn ACL) St. John’s tight end Devante Brooks, and I got the feeling the Terps have some ground to make up there. While Brooks had been singing UMD’s praises for quite some time, it seems now that his offer list has blown up, a couple other universities have made serious inroads.
Virginia Tech and Tennessee both have his attention following visits to each, and Penn State, should it offer, is a prime contender as well. In fact, some believe Brooks, whose teammate Ayron Monroe is currently committed to PSU, would be a heavy Happy Valley lean should the Nittany Lions ante up. Brooks still has a rapport with area recruiter Mike Locksley, but the vibe is UMD is going to have to show something on the field this year to work back into Brooks’ upper tier.
Two other Cadets to keep an eye on are defensive end Terrell Hall and athlete Talik Mann, who plays quarterback. Hall is all arms and legs right now, but he’s 6-5 with a massive wingspan and a load of raw physical ability. Once his junior film gets out, he’s going to be a double-digit offer guy. Expect UMD to pounce on this one early and offer at some point during the next few months. As for Mann, he’s developing as a quarterback and likely projects as an outside linebacker or safety at the next level. But he’s 6-3 with a well-built frame and plenty of athleticism, so he’s worth monitoring down the road.
On the Gilman side, the main guys to pay attention to are the three down linemen: offensive tackle Devery Hamilton, tackle/guard Stephen Spanellis and defensive tackle Ellison Jordan. Running back Antonio Dupree is vastly talented as well, though the Terps haven’t offered him yet.
Of the quartet, the fireplug Jordan is the most likely to end up in College Park. He visited UMD for the umpteenth time a couple weeks back and continues to praise the academics (journalism program), staff, campus, and the like. Numerous Maryland coaches have been in touch with Jordan and his family -- including Chad Wilt, Mike Locksley and Andre Powell, not to mention head coach Randy Edsall -- and the Gilman tackle seems genuinely intrigued by the stay-home notion.
Penn State, though, is lurking in the background and would be a serious contender should it offer, and Virginia Tech is in the game as well. In addition, there’s plenty of other schools that will surely attract Jordan’s attention once they evaluate him this fall.
The two offensive linemen, meanwhile, remain wide open in their recruitment, and I didn’t get a strong “Terps vibe” from either Hamilton or Spanellis. Spanellis, who played guard during the St. John’s scrimmage, currently holds offers from UMD, Georgia Tech, Michigan State and South Carolina, with others like PSU, Wake, Va Tech, UNC, Pitt and the like potentially about to jump into the fray. Either way, it’s too early to get a read or make a call on Spanellis’ destination, as he’s content to let the process play out and see what scholarships he can accumulate following the fall.
Hamilton, meanwhile, has the same set of offers as Spanellis and will add to his total in the next few months. Like Spanellis, he’s fairly tightlipped about recruiting and really won’t have a clear idea about it until he begins taking visits. He has been in College Park, though, and offered up plenty of positive comments about Randy Edsall’s program, but we’ll see if that holds as his profile grows.
As for Dupree, he just looks like a Wisconsin type of guy with his thick, stout base and downhill, power-running style. He currently holds offers from WVU, Ohio State and others, but UMD hasn’t pulled through yet. Perhaps Dupree’s game doesn’t fit what the Terps are trying to do offensively, or maybe his 40-yard-dash time underwhelmed the staff. Dupree did express interest Maryland should it offer, but at this time we can’t project him for UMD sans scholarship.
Two other Gilman recruits to watch out for are 2017 quarterback Kasim Hill, who figures to be a national name, and 2017 defensive end Cam Spence, who already has multiple Division I offers. Both are special players that UMD will surely court in earnest.
A Couple More 2016 Notes
With the Terps’ remaining 2015 targets mostly identified, I began contacting some of the area’s top rising juniors to see who would be coming out to Byrd Stadium this fall. The good news is several of them should be able to catch a game; the bad news is it probably won’t be anytime real soon. So far the only “headliners” who said they would be attending the Aug. 30 JMU bout were Isaiah Prince, the Roosevelt tackle, and Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Bethesda, Md.), the 2016 receiver who makes pretty much every home game to see his older brother, current UMD wideout Stefon Diggs.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), running back Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), wideout Tino Ellis (DeMatha), guard/tackle Terrance Davis (DeMatha), linebacker Keandre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), lineman Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), lineman Richard Merritt (Carroll), linebacker Rahshaun Smith (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.), and Devante Brooks, Ellison Jordan, Steve Spanellis and Devery Hamilton will be unable to make the outing. That said, many of them, such as the DeMatha kids, want to see the UMD-Ohio State contest Oct. 4. Another “hot” game figures to be the Maryland-Michigan State battle Nov. 15, while there will likely be several prominent prospects who take in the UMD-WVU game Sept. 13, UMD-Iowa Oct. 18 and UMD-Rutgers Nov. 29.
As far as recruiting news goes, there’s not much new with any of these guys. Their main focus is producing on the field, and for the next couple months college will play second fiddle to their respective teams. That said, UMD has made solid early impressions on Haskins, Ellis, Harrison, Williams, Keandre Jones and Jordan. Terrance Davis, Hamilton and Spanellis have also expressed some Terps interest.
I checked in with both safety Jazzee Stocker (Coatesville, Pa.) and his teammate, outside linebacker/tight end Amir Ealey, to see if they had set up any official visit dates or knew when they’d be visiting Maryland again. Initially, it looked like Sept. 1 would be the day, as Ealey said he and Stocker both wanted to see the Terps "as soon as possible.”
But Stocker said the pair won’t be trekking down this week and haven’t set a firm date yet. Expect both to check out UMD in short order, however, provided they don’t have a high school game. Ealey currently has the Terps as his No. 1 suitor, with North Carolina firmly in play. Stocker lists UMD among his top three schools, along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh.
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