One of the more intriguing official visitors who took in College Park, Md., Dec. 12-14 was junior college defensive end Ulric Jones, an Alabama native who attends Butler Community College (El Dorado, Kans.). Jones, who was joined by nine other recruits, including seven current Terps pledges, actually gave UMD defensive line coach Chad Wilt a soft verbal Nov. 10, but his word wouldn’t become official until he trekked East and shook head coach Randy Edsall’s hand.
Which Jones ended up doing Dec. 14, although the Butler product said his commitment still hasn’t quite been firmed up yet.
“Everything did go well, and the visit was everything I expected. Right now everything is leaning towards Maryland,” said the 6-foot-7, 285-pound Jones, who had an offer from now-defunct UAB and claimed another from South Carolina. “But I’m still not committed yet; my decision is still open.
“I’ll decide sometime soon here, though -- maybe in the next day or so… I just want to wait and take time and talk to my family about things. [My family] is pretty much telling me to keep an open mind and don’t rush into anything. They’re saying be patient.”
Jones had never been in the Old Line State before, and his first impressions were generally positive. But while he liked the area, the campus and Maryland’s location in the hub of Washington, D.C., Jones said the people he met highlighted the trip.
“It was great man, great people to be around,” said Jones, who flew into town by himself. “I really enjoyed the coaches and just being on campus. It took me a long time to get up there, but I enjoyed it. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to finally get there and see what it was like. It’s a really good school and I can definitely see myself fitting in there.”
Maryland linebacker Jermaine Carter played host to Jones. The latter said Carter practically mirrored his personality, which made for a good match.
“He was a great person man, and he was just like myself -- very funny, very laid-back,” Jones said. “It was all good things he was saying about Maryland, like how much I would like the program, how much I’d enjoy playing there. He said the coaches are great and take care of you.
“So I just really enjoyed talking to him and the rest of the guys there. They made me feel like I was part of the program. A few of the other guys [the current Terps pledges who officially visited] were talking to me too, and they were all trying to persuade me. They were all telling me to commit, but I told them I just needed a little more time.”
Jones said watching the team practice also resonated. He paid attention to the defensive line and how they operated under coach Chad Wilt, who just so happens to be Jones’ area recruiter.
“Coach Wilt, I feel he’s a great person and great coach. He’s very energetic and I like him a lot. I didn’t talk to him a whole lot [on the official], but we have a good relationship,” Jones said. “But basically I feel like I can be a good fit for the D-line and I can make plays there. I know they’re losing some guys, so they have a need for guys like me.”
The Alabama native said he had the longest conversation with head coach Randy Edsall Dec. 14. Jones said Edsall went over what was expected of him athletically and academically at Maryland, and the defensive end left impressed.
“We sat and talked for a little bit, how recruiting was going, and we got to know each other a little more as far as a player and person,” Jones said. “We pretty much talked about how I can contribute, and a whole bunch of other stuff that involves the game. I enjoyed the talk. I think it’s pretty special that he cares that much.”
Jones also talked about the Under Armour gear, the new indoor practice facility and other aesthetics that resonated.
“I thought all of that was amazing man,” he said. “It’s pretty unique that one school has the key to all those types of things. I like what they have planned out there, with the facility and all that. It looks really nice.”
If all goes according to plan, Jones could be on board with the Terps by Dec. 15 or 16. That said, he insisted that he’s taking a look at South Carolina, and said it's a committable offer (if he wanted to go to South Carolina, he would have to stay at Butler for another semester). He said he’s thinking about officially visiting Columbia, S.C., in January, though it’s not set in stone.
“It’s just something I’m thinking about, just keeping everything in mind,” Jones said. “I can make a decision without seeing a school; I’m OK with that. But right now I do like Maryland and I think it’s a great place.”
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