Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
The Michigan State Visitors
Maryland wasn’t able to take down Michigan State Nov. 15 in College Park, Md., but the recruit reactions were generally positive following the 37-15 defeat. There were more than 50 recruits who attended the primetime “black out” affair, and many of them were elite locals or out-of-state headliners.
We’ve already exhausted you with reactions from the usual suspects like Isaiah Prince (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.), Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate Academy/Washington, D.C.), Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), Brennon Dingle (Spalding/Severn, Md.), Devery Hamilton (Gilman), Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.) and others. So we decided to touch base with a few fresh faces we hadn’t spoken to in awhile for their postgame comments.
(Note: For more on Bullis quarterback Dwayne Haskins and his teammates, read on in the “Bullis” section below).
I personally spoke to St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) defensive end Terrell Hall, he of the ever-expanding offer list. Hall had been on campus several times before, but he especially enjoyed this most recent trip, despite the result. He praised both the fans and the charged atmosphere, in addition to the coaching staff. He commented that while Michigan State had the upper-hand offensively, he felt the Terps’ defense held its own and showed him something.
Hall said he spoke to several coaches after the game, and mentioned that he and area recruiter Mike Locksley have a budding relationship. He connected with head coach Randy Edsall, who attended Hall’s last game, and position coach Chad Wilt as well. Moreover, Hall mentioned that current Terps like St. John’s alum Will Ulmer and friend Damian Prince are in his ear, while the Cadets’ staff speaks highly of the local program too. Hall said he’s “always going to support Maryland, because it’s the hometown school.”
At the same time, Penn State seems to have Hall’s ear, along with Tennessee. Ohio State is firmly in the game, and Hall admitted he’d love to land an offer from LSU. There’s still a long way to go in his recruitment, and he’s not going to be an easy pull for Locksley and Co. (ARTICLE).
Another top Terps target I touched base with was Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) tight end Naseir Upshur, who once again joined teammate and UMD commit D.J. Moore at the game. Upshur lauded the Byrd Stadium atmosphere, while mentioning that he “always has a good time at Terps games.” Upshur has a relationship with area recruiter and Maryland tight ends coach John Dunn, and said UMD is definitely one of the schools he’s considering.
But, like Hall, Upshur has assistant coaches galore in hot pursuit. The Spartans, the team that defeated UMD Nov. 15, are one program that’s caught his eye, in addition to Ohio State; Penn State; Pitt; South Carolina and others. Upshur’s recruitment is bound to ebb and flow.
One of our colleagues in Virginia, meanwhile, caught up with Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.) cornerback Patrice Rene, who we actually met in person two years ago at a Terps one-day camp. Rene is originally from Canada, but transferred to Episcopal last year. UMD hasn’t extended an offer yet, but we expect they will in short order. He already holds early verbals from PSU, Va Tech, Ohio State, Rutgers and others.
As for his Nov. 15 visit, Rene said he truly enjoyed being on campus and connecting with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson. He liked how “live” the fans were inside Byrd, and noted that Maryland put on a good show even though the Terps couldn’t pull off the upset.
Rene may ultimately wind up at one of the Big Ten programs closer to Ontario, but he does seem to have an affinity for nearby (in relation to Episcopal) UMD. We’ll see if Maryland ramps up its pursuit during the offseason.
Another interesting name that our Virginia-area analyst spoke to was Graham (N.C.) quarterback Jamie Newman, who has early offers from BC, Clemson, NC State and WVU. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve discussed Newman before. He was supposed to be in College Park for a game earlier this year, but rescheduled the trip for Nov. 15.
Newman said he liked Maryland’s facilities and talking to recruiting coordinator John Dunn, as well as head coach Randy Edsall. He said the staff in general was welcoming and did well representing the university.
Newman doesn’t hold a UMD verbal yet, however, and we’re not sure how involved Maryland will get. Maybe the Terps will make a run if they miss on top 2016 target Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), but, either way, Newman’s a name to keep in mind. For the time being, however, he seems to like West Virginia and his hometown Tar Heels.
Finally, our Midwest analyst caught up with Lebanon (Ohio) junior linebacker Jango Glackin, who has offers from WVU, Indiana and numerous MAC schools. Nov. 15 was his first visit to College Park, which he decided to take after Terps area recruiter Greg Studrawa came in contact with him back in October.
Glackin said the staff showed him a good time, and he enjoyed touring the campus and seeing the facilities as well. That night, he mentioned how the charged Byrd Stadium crowd left an impression and that the game was “a lot of fun.”
The Ohio product should find out where he stands with the Terps shortly. He’s also receiving interest from numerous other Big Ten programs, including the likes of OSU and Michigan State.
Glackin and his father have already visited Maryland, Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan State and West Virginia. The two will be back in Morgantown, W.Va., this weekend, followed by trips to Illinois, Miami (Ohio) and OSU. Glackin is taking a deliberate approach to the recruiting process and wants to explore every interested suitor before naming any leaders.
A Bit of A Let-Down
It wasn’t quite the gut punch Ayron Monroe (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) gave the Terps when he spurned his hometown school and his older brother’s alma mater for Penn State, but when Maryland lost Lake Forest Academy (Lake Forest, Ill.) defensive tackle Wes Annan to Stanford -- just days after raving about his College Park official visit and practically declaring UMD the team to beat -- it certainly hurt.
Mostly, this stings because Annan’s a defensive tackle, a position of definite need. Maryland can’t afford to miss on many of their top line targets, because there are so few available in the DMV. Skill position athletes are a dime a dozen around these parts, but quality linemen are few and far between.
This particular case burns a bit more, though, because of the time and effort Maryland put into Annan. Area recruiter Chad Wilt did a knock-up job convincing the Illinois prospect that he could excel academically and athletically at UMD. Wilt, who had been recruiting Annan since the spring, consistently stayed in touch each week via Twitter, and even visited Lake Forest twice to talk to his coaches.
By early fall, Wilt’s message had resonated to the point where Annan declared Maryland one of his top two or three suitors, and said he was eager to see the school with his own eyes. Which he did Nov. 14-16, joined by his mother, father and sister.
After 48 hours on campus, Annan and his family left raving about College Park, the academics, Randy Edsall’s education-first mantra and the opportunity to play early in the Big Ten. Not to mention Annan immediately clicked with the entire staff, as well as his host, fellow Nigerian Nnamdi Egbuaba, and the other D-linemen.
The fact College Park is on the East Coast didn’t bother Annan, because he’s spent his entire high school career hours away from his family, who live in Ontario, Canada. And, in reality, Annan loved the school’s location just outside of Washington, D.C., a city that could provide him valuable job/internship opportunities after college.
Add it all up, and Annan seemed like a Maryland lock.
But although he expressed a desire to “think things over” before deciding, the staff really needed to wrap Annan up before he reached BWI Airport. It’s the old car salesman mantra: “Don’t let the customer walk out the door until they buy.” That may sound heartless, and it’s not really what Randy Edsall is about, but sometimes you’ve got to play the game in order to achieve the desired result.
So, with Annan back home and out of Maryland’s clutches, he basically reentered the free-agent market, so to speak. And when Stanford came calling less than 24 hours later, the Cardinal offer became a game-changer.
Annan had been in touch with the Cardinal earlier during the recruiting process and visited Palo Alto during the summer, practically calling the renowned institution a “dream school.” But Annan also admitted he didn’t think Stanford’s staff would ante up, so he stopped mentioning the Cardinal as a possibility. Maryland, Boston College and Ole Miss were the schools he talked up most, with Illinois and Virginia also in the picture.
But when the Cardinals jumped in Nov. 17, well, it was the offer Annan couldn’t refuse. The Stanford staff likely gave him a “take it or leave it” directive, and after speaking to his parents, he indeed grabbed it.
Now, it’s hard to blame Annan, an honors student whose primary focus is education, for choosing Stanford. But it seems I’ve been writing this line too often the last few years: “Maryland’s in good shape with Joe Recruit right now, but if [Ohio State/Penn State/Florida State/Alabama/Michigan State, etc.] offers, watch out.”
Which Could Well Be Happening With…
Trinity-Pawling (Pawling, N.Y.) defensive end Austrian Robinson. The 6-5 edge rusher had been listing Maryland as his No. 1 suitor since the summer following his first visit to College Park. But a boatload of “circumstances” arose in the last week or so to make a mess of Robinson’s recruitment.
Most notably, Robinson procured two significant offers from the likes of traditional power Penn State and top-25 SEC program Ole Miss. Robinson had been pining for a Nittany Lions offer since the spring, but when the staff didn’t show much interest, the Trinity-Pawling end bristled a bit.
But Robinson is seeing blue-and-white colored stars again after James Franklin extended the scholarship. The three-star recruit apparently wants to visit State College, Pa., in short order, and should be in attendance for the Nittany Lions’ game against Michigan State Nov. 29.
If we had to handicap it right now, Penn State will likely become the team to beat -- if it hasn’t already.
Robinson is also planning to take an official to Ole Miss at some point in January. The Rebels hadn’t really been pressing for the New York product until recently, but that SEC allure is probably enough to secure a trip South.
So, do the two most recent scholarships knock Maryland off its pedestal? Well, he’s still listing UMD as his No. 1, citing his relationship with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson and position coach Chad Wilt, in addition to the vibe he got while in College Park back during the summer.
That said, it seems Robinson had a bunch of schools jumbled in his mind even before the most recent turn of events. He did list Maryland first when asked about his current leaders Nov. 17, but the vibe was he could change his mind on a dime.
Penn State, Ole Miss, UMD, Miami (no firm offer yet), UCF, Virginia Tech (no offer yet), Missouri (no offer yet), Temple and Rutgers are all in touch with Robinson, and it sounds like four of the those schools will receive official visits. Robinson already took one official to Purdue, but the Boilermakers are not thought to be a threat for his services.
For now, Robinson still is set to see College Park Dec. 5, UCF Dec. 12 and Miami and maybe Ole Miss in January. We’ll see what transpires with Penn State, but my gut is he will probably officially visit State College instead of one of the aforementioned quartet.
If this recruitment weren’t complicated enough, there’s even more kinks that could send it spiraling in another direction. Evidently Robinson has some academic issues and needs to take the SAT again. He said he wants to sit for the test in December so he has his scores in before Signing Day, but according to the SAT website, the only available test date next month is … December 6.
Put two and two together Terps fans. If Robinson takes the SAT Dec. 6, he won’t be officially visiting College Park that weekend. He’ll likely have to reschedule, or perhaps renege on the trip altogether.
Either way, if Robinson doesn’t qualify, it could be tricky getting him into any school without a prep year. Let’s see what transpires in the next month or two. (ARTICLE)
So, What Are Maryland’s Options At DL
With Wes Annan off the board, and Austrian Robinson perhaps bound for Penn State unless the Terps can stave off the Nittany Lions’ charge, the options are dwindling as far as high school targets are concerned. Maryland might be best served to go after even more junior college defensive linemen to pair with soft commit Ulric Jones (Butler C.C./El Dorado, Kans.) and top target Drew Bailey (Pearl River C.C./Poplarville, Miss.), who now holds additional offers from Fresno State and NC State.
The Terps might also scan the ranks for fifth-year seniors, like two years ago when they brought in Zeke Riser from Houston. We haven’t heard any definitive names crop up as of yet, but Bailey did let us know that Wilt may have been in touch with Itawamba C.C. (Fulton, Miss.) defensive lineman Larry Jefferson.
The Terps may have offered Jefferson back during the spring, but may be ramping up the pursuit now that they're in need of more bodies along the defensive front. Jefferson may be looking at recent offerees WVU and Kentucky at this time, so we'll have to see how much traction UMD can gain (provided the staff really does want him).
As far as high school prospects are concerned, defensive tackle Jamal Milan (Al Raby/Chicago, Ill.) is still available. Milan, recall, was supposed to be in College Park Nov. 14-16 along with Annan, but the former had to cancel his official visit. The 6-2, 290 pounder suffered a significant injury during Al Raby’s final regular season game, and said it would have put a damper on his trip East.
Thus, Milan said he and area recruiter Chad Wilt are rescheduling the trip for sometime in January. Which could actually work in Maryland’s favor if it’s Milan’s final official, giving the Terps last dibs.
At this point, though, we’re still inclined to believe Milan wants to stay closer to his Chicago home. Iowa State, which he’s already officially visited, is in the game, while the Illinois plugger may have his eye on Indiana or maybe even Syracuse.
Maryland does still have a shot, though, given Milan’s relationship with Wilt and the chance to play early in the Big Ten. Get him on campus, and the Terps’ prospects increase even more.
Two local names to keep in mind moving forward are McDonogh (Pomfret, Md.) defensive end Mufu Taiwo and St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) edge rusher Channing Hames. Neither are knock-your-sock-off recruits, but they’re big bodies who could develop after a couple years.
Hames (6-4, 255) holds a handful of ACC offers, in addition to Purdue and West Virginia. I spoke to his head coach, Messay Hailemariam, about him earlier this week, and he said Maryland hadn’t really gotten involved yet. But Hailemariam did allow that the Terps’ staff had seen him play, and could conceivably pounce late, just like last year when Maryland pursued -- and signed -- St. Frances star Nnamdi Egbuaba.
Hames did visit College Park for a game this fall and said he’s interested in the hometown program, but he may be favoring West Virginia at this time.
Taiwo (6-5, 250), meanwhile, is currently committed to Old Dominion, but said he’s been hearing from several higher-level FBS programs. He specifically mentioned UMD, Iowa and Nevada as three schools whose assistants have stayed in touch.
Taiwo attended the Terps’ game against Iowa earlier this year, and after the game spoke to area recruiter Mike Locksley, head coach Randy Edsall and defensive line coach Chad Wilt. Taiwo said he “got a good vibe” from the staff and believed an offer could eventually materialize. But he hasn’t heard much since and said it’s been a little while since he’s exchanged messages with Locksley.
If Locksley and Co. do pursue in earnest, however, Taiwo could very well jump at the opportunity. He said he’d “love” the chance to play for his hometown school.
One DL (And Safety) Who Probably Won’t Be Coming to Maryland …
As we’ve mentioned multiple times since Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/North Potomac, Md.) suggested he’d be opting out of his summer Penn State pledge, the fireplug defensive tackle will not wind up in College Park. McLean and PSU pretty much agreed to part ways earlier this week, perhaps because the Quince Orchard product had some issues to iron out. For that reason, we can’t see Maryland becoming involved with McLean, even though he’s back on the open market.
Look for McLean to take a long, hard look at Ohio State, which could make a push, as well as Ole Miss and Tennessee. At the moment, he is scheduled to officially visit Washington State, the Rebels and the Vols, but could very well set up others to OSU, Texas or Texas A&M. Regardless of what direction this goes, McLean probably won’t be checking out Maryland anytime soon.
The other name that cropped up in conjunction with McLean’s is Ayron Monroe. One of the reasons -- certainly not the main reason -- Monroe chose Penn State in the first place was because he listened to McLean’s pro-Nittany Lion overtures. So, with McLean no longer bound for Happy Valley, could Monroe be the next PSU pledge to decommit?
Simply put, no.
From all we’ve heard, current Terp Andre Monroe’s little brother is firmly on board with James Franklin’s program. It’s always conceivable Maryland’s D.C. recruiter, Mike Locksley, could make a late push, but at this point we don’t project Monroe to flip to UMD -- or anywhere else for that matter.
Stopping By Bullis
Here’s a little positive news for you, Terps fans (although it could have been better). On Nov. 18 I stopped by Bullis (Potomac, Md.) in order to talk to elite class of 2016 quarterback Dwayne Haskins, plus two of his touted junior teammates, outside linebacker Cameron Brown and cornerback Patrick Johnson.
Alas, Haskins is harder to find than Waldo in the middle of New York City rush hour these days. Not even his coaches or teammates can predict where he’ll be, or if he’ll answer his phone. That was the case on my visit, with head coach Pat Cilento letting me know Haskins hadn’t been in school that day and wouldn’t be available for an interview.
For what it’s worth I did inquire about the four-star gunslinger’s recruiting status, and was told once again Maryland is still very much on Haskins’ mind. Others options are beginning to emerge in the Big 12 and SEC, and Haskins will go through the whole visit process this offseason, but I get the feeling the Terps do have a legitimate shot.
Even though I didn’t speak to Haskins, I conducted a couple solid interviews with both Johnson and Brown.
The cornerback Johnson has offers from BC, Rutgers, Illinois and others, but said the Terps and area recruiter Chad Wilt were in close contact. He went on to describe how he grew up a UMD fan, has attended multiple games in Byrd Stadium (including the Nov. 15 Michigan State game), and loves what the program has to offer. In fact, Johnson went as far as to call a potential Maryland offer a “game changer.” Now we’ll have to see how hard the Terps push.
Brown, meanwhile, has early verbals from WVU, BC, Rutgers, Iowa and ODU. He hasn’t had much contact with Wilt and Co. yet, but figures to draw significant Terps interest once he sends them his junior film.
Either way, the long 6-6 outside backer said he’d seriously consider UMD should it pursue. Brown said he and his teammates, along with others in the DMV, have talked about what Maryland football could become if all the locals stayed, you know, local. The Bullis backer suggested the chance to turn the Terps into a national power, built primarily on hometown talent, is something many elite area prospects -- including Johnson and Haskins -- are considering.
Now, let’s see if these big-time 2016 prospects put their money where their mouth is.
Will Muschamp, Ryan Davis and the Florida Situation
We’ll have to see how the situation plays out at Florida and who the Gators pursue as their next head coach (Mike Gundy? Dan Mullen?), but our gut says if UF makes a splashy hire, said coach will be able to salvage the recruiting class. Now, that doesn’t mean five-star prospects will immediately jump back on the Florida bandwagon, but someone like three-star receiver Ryan Davis (Lakewood/St. Petersburg, Fla.), a prime Terps target, very well could -- provided the new headman wants him.
When Will Muschamp said he’d be leaving UF, Davis responded by telling our Florida guys that it “really didn’t bother him all that much.” Davis, like many recruits considering the Gators, is more concerned about the program’s future than its current floundering state under Muschamp.
For now, Davis will take a wait-and-see approach, but given his previous comments about his hometown school (i.e. loves Chris Leak, can be an early contributor, comfortable on campus after multiple visits, fits the scheme well), we’re inclined to believe UF could move back on top for his services.
At the present moment, Davis may be favoring another local program, Florida State, which he’s also visited several times this fall. There’s still some question as to whether or not the Seminoles would accept his commitment, but if Davis really wants in, we think Jimbo Fisher may take him.
Maryland is still right in the game, however, and if things fall into place (Florida doesn’t pan out; FSU won’t accept him) Davis may very well fall into the Terps’ laps. The 5-9 speedster has a terrific relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, knows he would be a potential star at Maryland, and has raved about both campus visits (an unofficial in June and an official in September).
Texas Tech, Ole Miss and Kentucky are also in the game, however, so even if FSU and UF fall through, Davis wouldn’t immediately become a Maryland lock. He’ll likely officially visit several of the aforementioned programs, so there’s still plenty of time for his recruitment to ebb and flow. He has no plans to commit until January, or right around Signing Day.
New Offers Out
There were probably more, but we heard of at least three new Terps offers this week: two in the Keystone State and one in North Carolina. In Pennsylvania, junior offensive guard Connor McGovern (Lake-Lehman Jshs/Lopez, Pa.) added Maryland to his growing list, while William Penn Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) defensive tackle Karamo Dioubate picked up a UMD verbal as well. In North Carolina, elite running back Robert Washington (Southlake Christian/Huntersville, N.C.) finally added Maryland to a list that’s grown to more than 35 offers.
Of the three, however, Washington seems to have the most interest in the Terps. Not to say we’re projecting him to UMD, but the 5-10, 215-pound bulldozer has friends in Maryland; has visited the school before; and said he likes the program in general.
“The offer meant a lot to me,” Washington said. “I visited up there before and really like it.” Of course, the Terps will have to stem off Ohio State, Texas, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford, UCLA, Wisconsin and a host of others that Washington’s talked up in the past.
As for the Pennsylvania products, the guard McGovern is considered an early Penn State lean. BC, Duke, UMD, Georgia Tech, Miami, UNC and Pitt are also after him. Dioubate’s recruitment is just getting started, and right now he doesn’t have any clear leaders. PSU, Rutgers, Temple, Maryland and Ohio State have already offered, and he figures to see his recruitment escalate exponentially this offseason.
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