Maryland played host to an official visitor this weekend as Lake Forest Academy (Lake Forest, Ill.) defensive tackle Wes Annan and his family took the flight from the Midwest to College Park, Md., Nov. 14-16. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound Annan, who already had the Terps under heavy consideration, called the 48-hour stay "terrific" and "eye opening" and said he's thinking long and hard about spending his college years in College Park.
"I really loved it. My family and I, we had a really good time, and the people we met here – the players and coaches -- were special," said Annan, who lives in Ontario, Canada."This is a really nice school, a really special place. I definitely enjoyed the visit. This was my first official visit, and I definitely liked what I saw. I'm really glad I made the trip out here."
During the visit, Annan had the opportunity to tour nearby Washington, D.C., take in the Maryland-Michigan State football game Nov. 15, sit in on position meetings, talk to pretty much every coach on staff, spend a good deal of time with the current Terps, chat with several academic advisors, and check out the campus and facilities.
He said the time he spent with host Nnamdi Egbuaba and Co., though, may have been the highlight of the trip.
"Nnamdi is from Nigeria like me, and I appreciated how the coaches matched us up together. We kind of connected over that, and he showed me a really good time," Annan said. "Nanmdi was telling me about the coaches and the school, and how much he likes it there. He said the program is on the rise in the Big Ten, and he's seen nothing but improvement in the short time he's been there. He was saying how the coaching staff takes care of you, and he was explaining how they've helped him and really taught him a lot about life and the game. He believes that Maryland is going to set him up, not just with football but after college too."
Annan also spoke to Maryland's entire starting defensive line -- Darius Kilgo, Andre Monroe and Keith Bowers -- and Egbuaba's roommate, Daniel Ezeagwu, who is also from Nigeria. He said he "really liked" hanging out with Egbuaba and Ezeagwu, calling them "cool guys who I really got along with well; they really treated me well."
"And just talking to [Kilgo, Monroe and Bowers], they gave me the scoop about the school and what it’s like to play there. They all praised the coaches and said they’re great to play for," Annan said. "They said Coach [Randy] Edsall, Coach [Chad] Wilt, they’re great. But those guys, they're kind of on their way out. Nnamdi and Daniel, they're going to be there if I go there, so that would be cool."
The Illinois tackle said he had conversations with Edsall, Wilt, defensive coordinator Brian Stewart, outside linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson and a couple others. He said he could tell the staff really cares about each individual player, while the academics-first message resonated with Annan.
"I really liked the whole staff there. Me and Coach Wilt sat down, and we went over how I’d fit into the program and how he plans to use me. We went over technique, scheme, things like that," Annan said. "He was telling me how I can have a big impact there and could play early during my career. I liked what he was saying, and I think I could do big things at Maryland.
"And Coach Edsall and those guys, they were saying I’m their type of guy, their type of player. Coach Edsall said he wants to recruit good players and also good kids who can come into the program and represent it well. He said he wants kids who want to be successful on and off the field. He wants players who will keep Maryland growing.
"It was a really good message and it’s something that really meant a lot to me. I’m very concerned with academics and getting my education, and Maryland is defintley a great opportunity for that."
Evidently Edsall and Co. hit home with Annan's family as well. Annan said both his father and mother were particularly impressed by Maryland's emphasis on education.
"My dad liked it a lot. He really liked the coaches, the area and the school. But, you know, he’s really impressionable. My mom, she’s kind of like the iron hand in our family (laughs)," said Annan, who has a 3.5 GPA. "But she said she really liked the school too. She’s really concerned about where I will be spending my next four to five years, and what kind of education I’ll be getting. But she said she’s very comfortable with Maryland. They’re both very comfortable at Maryland."
Annan went on to discuss Maryland's 35-17 loss to Michigan State Nov. 15. The Lake Forest prospect said he wasn't overly concerned with the outcome, and that he actually thought the Terps' defense played particularly well.
"The atmosphere was really live, and I liked the whole ‘black out’ and how the fans were into the game," Annan said. "Just from watching that game, I really believe Maryland is just a couple players away from competing in the Big Ten. If they can bring in some more linemen recruits they’re going to have a chance to do very well.
"I thought defensively Maryland did well. Michigan State had some big linemen up front, and that was hard for Maryland to deal with, but I thought Maryland did well. Maryland is quick up front, and they get after it. The defensive linemen they have – they’re very good players.
"But one thing that I was really impressed with was how they handled the loss. You know, it’s an emotional game and it’s tough, but I thought the way they handled it afterwards, that said something to me. They really treated me well there."
Annan also said he thought the campus was "beautiful," and he felt like he'd be able to assimilate himself well in the College Park environment. He said the academic advisors were informative, while his trip to D.C. and dinner at Ruth's Chris were "awesome."
"Ruth's Chris was phenomenal. I had the cowboy ribeye – 20 ounces there (laughs)," said Annan, who lauded the Under Armour paraphernalia as well. "Then we saw the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument -- it was really fun. My sister, she’s big into all that and she really liked that a lot. It’s pretty cool that D.C. is just a few minutes from College Park."
The Midwest product left UMD the afternoon of Nov. 16, and said he could definitely envision himself as a Terp. He still would like to take a couple more officials just to see what other schools have to offer, but admitted that "I just don't know. We'll have to see how it goes." He still has Boston College, Ole Miss and possibly Virginia on his radar, but he hasn't set anything up with those programs' respective staffs. Nor is he sure when or if said trips will materialize.
In fact, Annan isn't even positive when he'd like to have his school chosen by.
"Honestly, it could be any time. It really could be any time," Annan said. "Me and my family, we’ll talk everything through, and my coaches too. Then we’ll go from there. I've got to talk everything through."
Annan Raves About Terps Official
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