Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Recapping The Ohio State Reactions
There were more than 40 recruits who showed up at Byrd Stadium for Maryland’s 52-24 loss to Ohio State Oct. 4, and I was able to catch up with most of the headliners, either for full interviews or just to gauge their postgame thoughts.
Class of 2015
The two main class of 2015 recruits in attendance (besides the six or so current Terps pledges) were, once again, Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate Academy/Washington, D.C.) and Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.).
We just had an update with the FCA guard Boulware following his last Terps trip for the WVU bout, so I mainly wanted to find out if the 28-point Terps’ defeat Oct. 4 had altered his thinking about UMD.
Simply put, it really didn’t.
Maryland is still in very good shape for the 6-foot-2, 285-pound four-star recruit, and, ironically, this most recent foray to College Park, Md., may have actually helped the home team’s chances -- the team’s on-field play notwithstanding. Boulware was able to speak to his recruiter, Mike Locksley, in addition to several other staff members, and once again came away feeling comfortable and wanted.
Both Boulware and his mother are more than familiar with Randy Edsall’s program by now, and the latter may be playing more of a role in this recruitment than the FCA guard will let on. Boulware said his family doesn’t care whether or not he stays home for college, but it’s pretty clear they’d love to see him play six times a year. Also, the Boulwares appreciate the Maryland coaches’ consistent efforts, from Locksley to offensive line coach Greg Studrawa to Edsall.
Now, that doesn’t mean Boulware’s a Terps lock by any means. Florida is firmly on the brain, and the Gators are making a push for him. Meanwhile, North Carolina and Wake Forest are still prime players (he has family in the Carolinas, making it a homecoming of sorts), while Alabama (no firm offer yet) rounds out his top five.
The feeling here is this could come down to the Terps and Gators, with Boulware announcing his choice in January or on Signing Day.
As for Prince, he said wins and losses don’t really concern him, so he was unfazed by Maryland’s loss against OSU. In fact, he liked how the Terps showed some fight and were at least determined enough not to get embarrassed on their home field.
Prince, unlike Boulware, did not have a chance to speak to the staff since he arrived a little late and left before the game ended (he said his father had to be somewhere). But even so, Prince enjoyed the atmosphere inside Byrd and said it was good to be back on campus again (he was at the Terps-JMU game previously). He’s maintaining a relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and Edsall as well. Moreover, Prince believes the program can be competitive in the Big Ten if more recruits like himself opted to stay home.
Publically, though, Prince is keeping his four main suitors -- UMD, Ohio State, Alabama and Florida -- on an even plane. And, quite honestly, we’re inclined to believe him. He’s had consistent contact with coaches from each of the quartet, with all of them making an equally potent push. Prince has also visited the four schools before, lauding each following said trips. So, until he officially visits the Buckeyes, Tide and Gators -- he’s seen so much of Maryland he might not take an official to College Park, though we still think he ultimately will once he talks it over with Locksley and Co. – it’s going to be difficult for him to separate them.
The vibe is Florida and Alabama may have Prince’s ear right now, but it’s still early for the four-star tackle, who doesn’t plan to decide on a school until January or February. The Terps have time to win him over, starting this weekend when Locksley and possibly Edsall are scheduled to attend his high school game. We’ll have a clearer picture, however, once in-home visits begin and Prince takes a couple officials.
You can see my interview with him HERE.
One other 2015 name to monitor is St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Md.) defensive end Channing Hames, who attended the game with his teammates. The 6-4, 255-pounder, who transferred to SFA from Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) before the school year, does not hold a UMD scholarship, but could conceivably grab one down the road. He said he’s had some contact with area recruiter Andre Powell, who let him know the Terps are at least intrigued.
It’s clear Maryland is in need of defensive line help, but there may be some issues to iron out before any kind of UMD offer materializes.
If the offer is presented, Hames indicated he’d give the hometown school a long look, though that doesn’t mean he’d automatically commit to the Terps. West Virginia is on him and is considered a leader, while Hames also claims offers from Temple, UConn, Marshall, BC and a couple others.
Class of 2016
There were plenty of 2016 Terps targets who attended the Oct. 4 OSU bout, with some of the headliners including: Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), Devery Hamilton (Gilman), Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Terrance Davis (DeMatha), Keandre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), Brennon Dingle (Spalding/Severn, Md.), Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Bethesda, Md.), Kyree Campbell (Freedom HS/Woodbridge, Va.), Josh Ball (Stafford/Fredericksburg, Va.), Rahshaun Smith (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.) and Kareem Felder (St. Frances).
In addition, at least three elite 2017 recruits were in attendance: Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.), Alex Faniel (St. Christopher’s/Richmond, Va.) and Cam Spence (Gilman).
As we did in our last Shell, we’ll give you a brief synopsis of each recruit’s reaction following the game:
-- The defensive end/outside linebacker Simms said UMD wants him at outside backer, and after eyeing him up, that’s probably where he’s best suited at the FBS level. Simms has had naught but praise for Maryland since picking up his Terps offer, and the OSU game did nothing to change that. He has a developing rapport with area recruiter Chad Wilt and likes the idea of representing the hometown school. But BC, Illinois, Indiana, UNC, Pittsburgh and WVU have all anted up as well, and Simms is keeping his options open. Penn State, which hasn’t offered yet, could be the favorite should the Nittany Lions pull through. (INTERVIEW HERE).
-- The quarterback Haskins didn’t return calls, but after speaking to a couple folks close to the four-star triggerman, we have an inkling the Oct. 4 game did more for Ohio State’s chances than Maryland’s. Haskins -- who just visited the Buckeyes two weeks ago -- has been on record as proclaiming the Buckeyes a favorite, so it’s no stretch to say OSU’s performance resonated with him. The Terps are still right there for Haskins, and a couple Maryland assistants are scheduled to visit Bullis Oct. 10, but it’s not going to be easy to trump Urban Meyer and Co. Notre Dame and Texas are also in Haskins’ ear, and he should be visiting each at some point. The Irish, however, did just get a big class of 2015 quarterback flip in ex-PSU pledge Brandon Wimbush (St. Peter’s Prep/Jersey City, N.J.), which could alter Haskins’ thoughts. Perhaps the Nittany Lions will amp up their pursuit with Wimbush gone and Haskins now seemingly showing increased interest in State College, Pa.
-- The defensive tackle Jordan once again gushed over the Terps. Believe it or not, Oct. 4 was the very first UMD game he witnessed live, and the Gilman fireplug ate it up. The atmosphere, the coaches (he spoke to the entire Maryland staff), the back-and-forth banter with other recruits -- it all hit home. We like UMD’s chances with Jordan, even though he said he has no leaders. (INTERVIEW HERE).
-- The two-way lineman Hamilton, who said the Terps are recruiting him for both defensive end and offensive tackle, has been in College Park for two games now. He likes the direction of the program, Randy Edsall’s academic-oriented message, and the chance to play near home. Maryland is the only school Hamilton has seen so far, however, so it’s too soon to make a call on him. Michigan State, Rutgers and Michigan (no offer yet) are three other universities he wants to check out. (INTERVIEW HERE).
-- The linebacker Jones had a chance to reconnect with the UMD staff Oct. 4, though we’re not sure it really changed his position on the school. Recall, Jones already had the Terps as one of his top two suitors, along with Penn State, and we don’t feel that’s changed. The Nittany Lions are probably still the favorite, with UMD right in the thick of things.
-- The receiver Dingle said he’s not picking a college until next summer at the earliest, but the Terps are probably the team to beat. The Spalding product has had effusive praise each time he’s been on campus, including after the Oct. 4 trip. He loves the entire Terps’ staff, how UMD offered him first (it’s still his only offer), and how Randy Edsall took the time to watch his high school game. (INTERVIEW HERE).
-- The receiver Diggs has remained status quo for the last couple months. The relationship with Maryland has already been fully established, and there’s really nothing one game or visit can do to alter his thinking. He maintains no leaders, but the younger brother of current Terp Stefon Diggs has to be considered an early UMD lean.
-- The defensive tackle Campbell has been in College Park four times and has a rapport with position coach Chad Wilt. He said he likes what he’s seen at Maryland, though the Terps probably have ground to make up in this recruitment. The Virginia product’s father attended North Carolina, giving UNC an edge, while “name” schools such as OSU, PSU, Florida State, South Carolina, Michigan and others are all in play. (INTERVIEW HERE).
-- The offensive tackle Ball has been in College Park multiple times now as well, though we’d say the Terps have a better chance at landing the Stafford lineman than Campbell. Ball has a relationship with area recruiter Chad Wilt, as well as O-line coach Greg Studrawa, who visited Stafford earlier this week. Ball enjoyed the game Oct. 4, liked meeting the coaches again and said the Terps are firmly in the mix. At the same time, in-state UVA, as well as WVU, are making a strong push and seem to have Ball’s eye at the moment.
-- The outside linebacker Smith was on-hand Oct. 4, but we get the feeling his pro-UMD comments are more lip service than genuine. FSU, Oklahoma and Penn State probably lead for his services.
-- The cornerback Felder doesn’t hold a Terps offer yet, but he could land one in time. He really seemed to enjoy himself at the Terps-Buckeyes game, and was even spotted wearing a Maryland Pride jacket. Felder would highly consider attending school in College Park if given the opportunity. He currently holds verbals from Rutgers, Cincinnati, Toledo, Iowa and New Mexico.
-- Of the three 2017 recruits we mentioned, the Terps have a bead on the defensive tackle Cam Spence and the offensive tackle Jordan McNair. Both will be national names by this time next year, but the good news for UMD is they already have great relationships with Maryland’s staff. Each has been on campus multiple times and have an affinity for the hometown school, at least for the moment. The quarterback Faniel, meanwhile, holds multiple FBS offers and will be difficult to pry out of Virginia. Va Tech and UVA are probably the current favorites.
-- For news on the DeMatha attendees, please read on below:
Stopping By Hyattsville
With no Terps press conferences to attend this week, I decided to make a stop at the high school campus just five minutes down the road from College Park. DeMatha, as always, features an embarrassment of talent, from the 2015 class all the way through 2018. There are four prospects in particular I wanted to interview, though, including two who have been in Byrd Stadium multiple times this year, and two others who have UMD under heavy consideration. (It should be noted that Randy Edsall actually stopped by DeMatha Oct. 6 to take in a practice).
First and foremost, there’s class of 2016 running back Lorenzo Harrison, the ice breaker who may have opened a pipeline from the Hyattsville school to College Park. The current Terps’ commitment is firmly on-board with UMD and was sporting a Maryland Big Ten lanyard and Pride socks before team lifting Oct. 8.
Besides his wardrobe, Harrison has already done plenty with his mouth and his Twitter account to recruit his teammates, and other area prospects he knows, to College Park. He was in multiple players’ ears during the Ohio State game, including recruits from Gilman, Good Counsel and, of course, DeMatha. Harrison said he’s taking his “trendsetter” and “class leader” role seriously, and wants to attract as many locals to UMD as possible.
Joining Harrison at Byrd Stadium Oct. 4 was 2016 offensive tackle Terrance Davis, who already holds a dozen offers from the likes of PSU, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Florida State, Rutgers and others. The Terps were the first to jump on Davis, however, and he’s long appreciated that. And now, after visiting College Park twice for games this fall, he’s thinking about the program a bit more. Not to mention Davis has a strong rapport with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and likes that his family could easily see him play.
It’s early, though, and Davis has been a bit starry-eyed in the past, so we’ll see what’s on his mind after listening to overtures from the Nittany Lions, Tide, Seminoles, Gamecocks, Vols and the like. He’s eager to visit FSU, South Carolina, Bama and Tennessee at some point this offseason, or possibly during the fall. His recruitment will likely ebb and flow, ebb and flow. (INTERVIEW).
One Stags’ target who hasn’t been able to visit College Park in several months is 2016 receiver Tino Ellis. The 6-1, 185-pounder was supposed to be in Byrd for the West Virginia and Ohio State games, but said he was busy each Saturday (he made sure to mention he’s seen every game on TV, though). He will attempt to make the UMD-Iowa, UMD-Rutgers or UMD-Michigan State bouts, however.
Regardless of whether or not he actually shows up, we do think Ellis is high on the Terps. He’s known area recruiter Mike Locksley for years, and has had an affinity for the program since pulling an offer following his freshman campaign. Ellis believes he’d fit well into UMD’s offense, is comfortable on campus, and said it would be a “cool” opportunity to play alongside his friend and current teammate Harrison.
But Ellis isn’t ready to pop anytime soon. He’s still looking at his other offers like Virginia, WVU and Rutgers, with the latter of particular intrigue. In addition, he said he’s been hearing from Nebraska and UCLA and wants to take a trip West to check those schools out as well.
We’ll see where this leads, but right now we still think the Terps are in a good spot. (INTERVIEW).
Finally, I caught up with class of 2017 stud Anthony McFarland, a 5-8, 183-pound burner with sub-4.4 40-yard dash speed. McFarland already holds eight offers, and the Terps were his most recent earlier this week.
And it’s safe to say McFarland was thrilled when Randy Edsall pulled through. He called the verbal the “one I was looking for” and went on to talk about the importance of representing your hometown; how he looks up to current Terps’ star Stefon Diggs; and how he’s already heard great things about UMD from Harrison and area recruiter Mike Locksley. McFarland also thought it was “really cool” that a head college football coach (Edsall) watched a DeMatha practice Oct. 6, saying it meant a lot to him.
But we’re not ready to forecast McFarland to UMD just yet. He said he’d have to evaluate Maryland’s running back situation down the road to see how he’d fit in, and how soon he’d be able to contribute. Moreover, McFarland has plenty of other enticing options like FSU, Nebraska, Ohio State, Va tech, WVU, Wisconsin and Clemson, with programs like PSU, Michigan, South Carolina, UNC, Michigan State, South Carolina and more all monitoring him. Penn State seems to have his eye at the moment, and he’ll be trekking up to State College, Pa., for a game this fall. (INTERVIEW).
Note: Based on what I could glean while on campus, elite Stags 2016 defensive end Shane Simmons is still a solid Penn State pledge. It’s recruiting, so that could always change later on, but he sounds like he’s firmly on the James Franklin bandwagon.
Bye weeks aren’t rest weeks for college football coaches. Instead of breaking down film and hashing out a game plan, they’re on the road recruiting, traveling to high schools around the country, and also reconnecting with top local targets. Here’s where we’ve heard the UMD staff members have been this week:
Keith Dudzinski: Connecticut (numerous 2016 recruits); New Jersey (Bergen Catholic, Red Bank Catholic); Baltimore County (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.)
Lyndon Johnson: New York to see defensive end target Austrian Robinson (Trinity-Pawling/Pawling, N.Y.); Northern Virginia (numerous recruits)
John Dunn: Pennsylvania for outside linebacker target Amir Ealey (Coatesville, Pa.) and receiver D.J. Moore (Imhotep/Philadelphia)
Greg Studrawa: Ohio for current Terps pledge Mason Zimmerman (Anthony Wayne/Whitehouse, Ohio) and probably others; West Virginia for Josh Ball; Frederick County for Will McClain (Middletown, Md.) and E.J. Donahue (Linganore/Frederick, Md.)
Keenan McCardell: Texas for Mbi Tanyi (Bush/Sugar Land, Texas) and Jameel Cook (Ridge Point/Missouri City, Texas) and others; Delaware for Darnell Savage (Caravel/Bear, Del.)
Chad Wilt: Illinois for Wes Annan (Lake Forest, Ill.) and Jamal Milan (Al Raby/Chicago, Ill.); Landon (Bethesda, Md.) for Keith Simms.
Andre Powell: St. Frances Academy; maybe the Carolinas
Mike Locksley: Gilman (Ellison Jordan, Devery Hamilton, Cam Spence), Friendship Collegiate (Quarvez Boulware), Potomac (Keiron Howard), Bullis (Dwayne Haskins), St. John’s (Devante Brooks, Terrell Hall) and possibly other local programs.
Brian Stewart: Did not hear where he went. Our JUCO guy said he hadn’t heard of Stewart being out West to check out post-grad defensive lineman or quarterbacks, and a few junior college guys I texted were unaware of him coming out.
Randy Edsall: DeMatha, Spalding (Severn, Md.), Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) and a few other local programs.
New Offers Out
There were probably more, but here are some of the new offers Maryland reportedly handed out this week:
In addition to Anthony McFarland, UMD threw its name in the hat for these two class of 2016 recruits: Detroit Martin Luther King (Wyandotte, Mich.) receiver Donnie Corley and Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, Both are four-star talents who will not be easy pulls. Corley is considered a Michigan State lean as the hometown school has been all over him. Guarantano, meanwhile, may be Oklahoma’s to lose, with OSU, Alabama and Clemson also in the game.
An interesting name to keep an eye on, though, is Kingswood Oxford (West Hartford, Conn.) linebacker Koby Quansah, who holds verbals from BC, UConn, Rutgers and Syracuse. He told me Terps area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has had consistent contact with him, and even visited his school Oct. 6.
An offer could materialize in short order, according to the Connecticut product, and if so expect Quansah to visit College Park as soon as possible (he wants to make it to the UMD-Michigan State game). He already likes what he’s been hearing from Dudzinski, and he’s friends with current Terps tight end Andrew Isaacs, who used to be his neighbor. He’s a name to monitor down the road, for sure. (INTERVIEW).
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