Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
The Next Pied Piper?
We’ve been on pins and needles waiting for this one to drop, and indications from a few trusted contacts suggest this could happen in the very near future. In fact, it wouldn’t shock us if junior four-star Bullis (Potomac, Md.) quarterback Dwayne Haskins popped to UMD soon after this Shell is released.
As we’ve hinted at ever since Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) senior signal caller/athlete Kai Locksley, the son of Maryland offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, committed to Florida State in July, the Terps had been trending for Haskins. Even as the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder put on his best poker face, the telltale signs were there if you read between the lines. (And, really, even if you didn’t read between the lines. He’s been listed as “hot” on our pre-2016 Hot Board releases for a good while now).
Disregard what Haskins said during interviews. Instead, consider the following chain of events:
1. Soon after Kai Locksley’s commitment to FSU, Haskins and his father set up a personal visit to College Park, Md. The Bullis product watched a Maryland practice and afterwards lauded the staff, offensive scheme, the Terps’ skill players and the school’s aesthetic qualities (i.e. Under Armour, new facility plans, campus, location).
2. Haskins attended Maryland’s Oct. 4 game versus Ohio State. Many surmised he was there to see the Buckeyes, but in truth he was just as eager to watch the Terps.
3. Haskins attended Maryland’s Nov. 1 game at Penn State, saying the Terps showed plenty of gumption coming into State College, Pa., and knocking off the Nittany Lions. Again, the feeling on this end was Haskins was merely checking out Happy Valley and wasn’t taking a serious look at PSU.
4. Haskins attended Maryland’s Nov. 15 game against Michigan State. Even though the Terps lost, he noted the charged Byrd Stadium atmosphere.
5. Haskins attended Maryland’s Nov. 29 game against Rutgers. Despite the demoralizing UMD loss, Haskins seemed to be enjoying himself among the other recruits. He also had a chance to reconnect with Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley in person before the game.
So, that’s five times in the last four months Haskins has been exposed directly to UMD. Not to mention he’s developed a close rapport with Locksley via social media and the like, mentioning how he could see himself learning from, and playing for, the Terps’ quarterbacks coach.
It certainly helps Maryland’s case that Ohio State, Haskins’ previously-stated “dream school,” is no longer a likely landing spot what with J.T. Barrett and others on board. Plus Notre Dame, Texas and Texas A&M also have elite signal callers coming in, which may deter Haskins from choosing those programs as well.
Penn State seems to some like a serious threat, but we never got a pro-Nittany Lions vibe from the Bullis product. Same with Rutgers. Haskins is originally from New Jersey, so the Scarlet Knights represent a homecoming of sorts, but we don’t see that happening either.
Reality is, Maryland’s been the team to beat since the summer, and it’s only strengthened its position in the wake of the Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Keandre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.) and Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.) hometown pops.
Haskins admitted Harrison’s Terps’ pledge got him thinking even more about the “stay home” movement, and the DeMatha running back – and more recently McLean -- has been in his ear ever since.
Now, it’s true Haskins isn’t thoroughly influenced by others’ actions since he considers himself a leader. In fact, we think even without Harrison, Jones and McLean on board, Haskins would still have turtles on the brain.
Haskins senses there’s a true opportunity at Maryland -- a chance to anchor the 2016 class and influence recruits in the future. He grasps how much sway he has over DMV talents and beyond, and believes he can be the bulwark behind a program’s transformation.
Not to mention Haskins is well aware he’d have a prime opportunity to play soon after arriving in College Park. While he might have to sit on the bench at, say, a Notre Dame, he could potentially sit under center (or in the shotgun) for the next three-plus years at Maryland.
Add it all up, and this recruitment is looking good if you’re a Terps fan. Yes, strange circumstances always arise in this game (see: Tabor, Jalen), but the feeling is Dwayne Haskins could be a Maryland pledge in short order.
Is He The Most Important Maryland Recruit Of The Randy Edsall Era?
While former five-star receiver Stefon Diggs certainly held clout and initiated the whole “hometown movement” when he signed in 2012, even he did not have the kind of impact/pull that Haskins potentially will. Whether or not Haskins ever develops into another Cam Newton (yes, it’s possible), his influence spans far and wide.
We’ve rehashed the names over and over again on the message board and in past Shells, but here they are again for you (followed by their Hot Board temperature readings). If the Haskins pledge comes to fruition, Terps fans could be in for something close to a clean DMV sweep -- something not seen in College Park since … well, never.
1. CB Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.): Haskins’ best friend has talked repeatedly about joining the Bullis product at the college level. Diggs is also the younger brother of Stefon Diggs, and has been around the Terps’ program so much the last few years he practically knows it inside and out. There was some question as to whether or not he wanted to follow in Stefon Diggs’ footsteps, but if Haskins is on board, we expect Diggs to follow suit shortly thereafter. Temperature Reading: Hot (White hot?)
2. WR Tino Ellis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.): Ellis is a heavy Terps lean regardless of what Haskins does. In fact, we thought he’d be committing to UMD even before the four-star gunslinger decided on a school. Harrison, along with area recruiter Mike Locksley, have already put in plenty of work with the DeMatha wideout. Ellis, however, does want to wait just a bit before making his college call, but we think if Haskins does indeed commit to Maryland, it could expedite the process. Either way, we’re projecting him to UMD. Temperature Reading: Hot (White hot?)
3. OL Terrance Davis (DeMatha): Davis is in the same boat as Tino Ellis. He’s the cousin of Lorenzo Harrison, has a strong relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and has been hearing about the hometown movement since he was a freshman. A Haskins pop would only strengthen Maryland’s position with him. Davis has talked up a few SEC suitors (Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, etc.) in the past, but Maryland seems to be in the pole position. Temperature Reading: Hot (White hot?)
4. DE Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.): Maryland and area recruiter Mike Locksley, as well as Randy Edsall, have made up serious ground with the St. John’s edge rusher. Even before the Haskins buzz, the Terps looked to be in a very good spot for Hall. He took note of, LoLo Harrison’s, Keandre Jones’ and Adam McLean’s commitments, and is clearly in-tune with the hometown movement. Ohio State and Penn State could still make a push, but we like UMD’s chances, especially if Haskins is in the fold. Temperature Reading: Hot
5. DT Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.): Jordan insists he’s keeping all his recruiting options open, but he’s another DMV recruit who has had his mind on the Terps for some time. The Bowie, Md., native’s relationship with the UMD staff, the chance to play in coordinator Brian Stewart’s defense, and the school’s strong journalism program all resonate with the Gilman fireplug. Add in the likes of Harrison, Jones, McLean and potentially Haskins? Well, we think Maryland has the inside track over PSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina and others. Temperature Reading: Hot
6. WR Brennon Dingle (Spalding/Severn, Md.): Is Dingle, whose only offer remains Maryland, really going to pass up the opportunity to catch passes from Haskins? Should the Bullis signal caller pledge, it may only be a matter of time before Dingle follows suit. He said he’s enjoying “going through the process,” but Dingle’s been a heavy UMD lean since the summer. Maybe the only reason this would fall through is if the Terps’ staff stopped pursuing in earnest. Temperature Reading: Hot (White hot?)
7. OL Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.): Williams has been quiet recently, but we’d been sensing a strong Terps vibe from him for some time. The chance for his mom to see him play, plus his strong relationship with Mike Locksley, are two major selling points. And the fact that four other touted DMV recruits (Adam McLean, LoLo Harrison, Keandre Jones and potentially Dwayne Haskins) could all be heading to Maryland bodes well for UMD’s chances. Watch out for OSU, PSU and maybe Florida, however. Temperature Reading: Hot
8. OLB Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.): Simms is another local who recognizes what’s going on at Maryland. The Terps and area recruiter Chad Wilt are already in a good position to pull the Landon prospect in, but adding a Haskins could potentially be a game-changer. He has offers from Wake Forest, Rutgers, Syracuse, North Carolina, Virginia, Iowa, Boston College and others, but the Terps are firmly on the brain. He also likes UNC, Wake and BC, but hinted that the Terps were the leader in the clubhouse Temperature Reading: Hot
9. TE Devante Brooks (St. John’s): Brooks is someone who has been directly influenced by his friends in the DMV. Originally “cool” on UMD, Harrison’s, Jones’ and McLean’s decisions held weight with Brooks. If Haskins follows through too, well, the Terps could very well vault into the No. 1 spot. As I’ve written before, it could be difficult for Brooks to pass up an opportunity to catch passes from the Bullis quarterback. Add in his relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and, again, we think Maryland’s got a good shot. That said, watch out for Virginia Tech, Kentucky and Tennessee, which have been hot on Brooks’ trail. Temperature Reading: Hot/Warm
10. DE Shane Simmons (DeMatha): I’m going to leave Simmons as “cool” for now, but I’m tempted to elevate his temperature reading to “warm.” He’s still a firm Penn State pledge, but after talking to his teammates, we get the feeling Maryland’s starting to resonate more here. Area recruiter Mike Locksley will undoubtedly continue to work at this one, as will Adam McLean, LoLo Harrison, Keandre Jones and others. Put Haskins in that mix, along with his friend Terrell Hall, and Simmons might just flip. Temperature Reading: Cool/Warm
11. OL Devery Hamilton (Gilman): We don’t sense another recruit’s decision is going to affect Hamilton, but perhaps if teammate Ellison Jordan commits to Maryland he could start to work on the Gilman offensive lineman. Either way, Hamilton does think highly of UMD given its academics and the fact College Park is close to home. Plus Hamilton has visited Maryland multiple times for games and camps, and is comfortable on campus. He’ll consider Michigan State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Virginia Tech, but the vibe is the Terps could be in position for his services should the staff push (there’s a chance they may not). Temperature Reading: Warm
12. OL Richard Merritt (Carroll): Merritt has offered up plenty of pro-Terps comments, complimenting area recruiter Mike Locksley; the program’s direction; and the staff in general. In addition, he likes the idea of playing in front of family and friends. The question is, Will the stay-home movement truly resonate with this stargazer? The sense is it might -- if McLean, Harrison, Jones and potentially Haskins resonate with him. But it’s a tough call at the moment. Merritt seems to like the idea of playing at a traditional power like Alabama or Ohio State, or an already-established program like Clemson, Michigan State or Tennessee. We’ll learn more as the offseason moves along. Temperature Reading: Cool
13. OL J.P. Urquidez (DeMatha): This one bears watching should Haskins jump on board and/or Shane Simmons flips to UMD. Urquidez is originally from Texas and may be keen on returning to Big 12 country for college, but he’s also friends with Simmons and had previously talked about joining him at the next level. Not to mention LoLo Harrison has already been in his ear about the Terps, and has Urquidez at least suggesting Maryland is on the brain. Add Haskins’ and McLean’s influence, and it might be enough to alter Urquidez’ thinking. Temperature Reading: Cool/Warm
14. DE/OLB Rahshaun Smith (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.): At this time we still think Maryland’s chances with Smith are slim, though that could change. For now, though, the five-star talent is still all about Oklahoma, Ohio State, Florida State, Penn State and schools throughout the SEC and Big Ten. Unless Haskins, Ellison Jordan, Terrell Hall, Shane Simmons and others join the Maryland movement, we can’t project Smith to College Park. He’s a name worth watching as the process moves along. Temperature Reading: Cool/Cold
The following recruits would be considered Terps leans should Randy Edsall and Co. decide to pursue. So far they lack firm offers, though they’ve expressed heavy interest in the hometown school anyway.
15. DB Eric Burrell (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.): We’re fairly confident Burrell would be a Terp if the UMD staff wants him. The Maryland-to-McDonogh pipeline is wide open, and we think Burrell would jump at the chance to join Ellis McKennie, Josh Woods and Roman Braglio in College Park. Adding a Harrison, Jones and potentially a Haskins would only aid Maryland’s chances. Sans scholarship, however, we’ll list him at “warm” on the hot board. Temperature Reading: Warm
16. OLB Cameron Brown (Bullis): He’s made no bones about his desire to play with teammate Dwayne Haskins and potentially show out for the hometown school. Brown’s a Maryland fan and grew up in the shadows of College Park. If he’s offered, and Haskins is on board with UMD, it’s conceivable Brown will hop on the bandwagon too. If no offer is extended, look for Notre Dame, PSU, Iowa, Boston College and perhaps WVU to be given strong consideration. Temperature Reading: Warm
17. CB Patrick Johnson (Bullis): See Cameron Brown above. Johnson is yet another DMV talent who would want in at Maryland should Haskins pop. If he doesn’t receive the hometown offer, though, look for him to focus on Rutgers, BC or Illinois. Temperature Reading: Warm
18. DB Darryl Turner (DeMatha): We have little doubt Turner would pop to Maryland should a scholarship materialize. He’s told us in the past how strong of an interest he has in UMD -- and that was before LoLo Harrison even committed. Now, with his teammate and other top DMV locals on the #MarylandPride train, it’s safe to say Turner will be working his tail off for a Terps look this summer. He currently holds offers from Toledo, UMass or ODU, so perhaps FBS programs don’t view him as a main priority yet. Temperature Reading: Warm
19. OG Stephen Spanellis (Gilman): Spanellis is a special case. Technically he does hold a Maryland offer, but we’re not so sure it’s committable at this time. Moreover, while Spanellis has spoken highly of the local university, we never sensed an overwhelming pro-UMD vibe. That said, it’s possible Spanellis could be a another Will McClain (Middletown, Md.) type, who remains quiet throughout the process and then pops out of the blue, but we’re not projecting him to Maryland at this time. Temperature Reading: Cool
We’ve discussed some of these guys in past Shells, but here’s a list of a few notable out-of-state recruits who could give Maryland a closer look should Haskins pledge to UMD:
TE Naseir Upshur (Coatesville, Pa.)
OT Josh Ball (Stafford/Fredericksburg, Va.)
RB Robert Washington (Southlake Christian/Huntersville, N.C.)
OT Clark Yarbrough (Woodberry Forest, Va.)
WR/CB Robbie Robinson (Phoebus/Hampton, Va.)
RB Tyliek Raynor (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.)
DT Rashan Gary (Paramus/Scotch Plains, N.J.)
DB Damar Hamlin (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh, Pa.)
LB Koby Quansah (Kingswood Oxford/Hartford, Conn.)
Terps In The Mix For Tyrell
The search for senior defensive line recruits continues, and it looks like the Terps will test the waters in the Bayou. Archbishop Rummel (Metairie, La.) is one of the most renowned high schools in Louisiana, and is home to three-star defensive end Tyrell Jacobs, a 6-foot-4, 260-pounder who had been committed to Oklahoma since July.
While Jacobs seemed content with his Sooners pledge, giving no indication he was considering reneging, the sense is the OU coaches may have initiated the decommitment. Oklahoma is evidently in position for elite defensive linemen like one-time Terps target Neville Gallimore (Canada Prep/St. Catharine’s, Ontario), Gabriel Campbell (Yazoo City, Miss.) and possibly current Texas pledge Du’Vonta Lampkin (Cypress Falls/Houston, Texas), so the staff might have needed Jacobs’ spot for the latter three.
Regardless of what went down, Jacobs is looking to take three official visits in January before selecting his new school right before Signing Day. The only set trip so far is to Missouri Jan. 23, but he’s also looking to see Maryland and Arizona State.
Jacobs said Missouri, which had been on him since the summer, is making the hardest push, and the consensus is the Tigers may be the team to beat. Arizona State has also been recruiting Jacobs for awhile and will get a long look too.
Maryland just entered the picture recently, and technically hasn’t even extended a scholarship yet (probably just a formality). That may put the Terps at a disadvantage, but we do think the Maryland staff has a shot if it gets Jacobs on campus.
Jacobs has never been to College Park, nor does he have any true connections on the East Coast, but he realizes he’d have a chance to play right away in defensive coordinator Brian Stewart’s 3-4 scheme. (Jacobs is a 4-technique, and would line up to the right of the “B-gap” or just over the tackle’s inside shoulder, much like Andre Monroe.) He’s aware the Terps graduate all three starting down linemen and have holes that need immediate filling.
We should know more after the New Year. Stay tuned.
An OLB To Consider
After a poster mentioned the name Winston Delattiboudere (Howard/Ellicott City, Md.) on the message board, I checked in with a couple contacts in Howard County to find out more. Apparently the senior DeLattiboudere had almost 20 sacks this year en route to Baltimore Sun Metro Defensive Player of the Year honors.
DeLattiboudere holds offers from N.C. Central and Idaho, but is receiving a few late high-Division I looks. The Terps haven’t had much contact, but that could change once the holidays are over.
The Ellicott City edge rusher played defensive end at Howard, showing a lightning-quick first step and plenty of initial explosiveness, almost reminiscent of another late-emerging recruit from Maryland’s 2014 class: Nnamdi Egbuaba. The Terps, of course, took a flyer on the St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) product, and perhaps they’ll consider doing so again since they have just one outside linebacker commit in 2015.
And that outside linebacker recruit, Mbi Tanyi (Bush/Sugar Land, Texas), could eventually develop into a down lineman given his size and frame. If so, it would leave UMD with no true standup edge rushers in this class.
At one time, Maryland seemed to be in position for three-star outside linebacker Amir Ealey (Coatesville, Pa.), but following his official visit to College Park Dec. 12, he opted for Syracuse.
After the Ealey situation went awry, we got the sense the Terps’ staff was content to stand pat for 2015 outside backers, especially with KeAndre Jones on board and other highly-rated 2016 targets like Keith Simms firmly on the radar.
Even so, DeLattiboudere seems like someone to at least keep tabs on as Signing Day nears.
The Foster Farms Bowl
On Dec. 30, Maryland will square off against Stanford in the Foster Farms Bowl at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif. The Terps are two-touchdown dogs heading in, and many pundits aren’t giving Randy Edsall’s boys much of a chance.
But even if they’re correct and Maryland can’t snatch a victory out West, we don’t think it’ll affect recruiting much at all. You’re aware of our mantra by now: Individual wins and losses don’t hold a ton of weight these days, even in bowls.
Fact is, by the time Signing Day rolls around in February, no recruit is going to remember if the Terps lost by a touchdown or two to the Cardinal. Maybe if Maryland gets drubbed on national TV it could result in some negative feelings, but even then, it’s probably not going to factor into, say, Isaiah Prince’s (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.) decision.
(It also helps that Maryland has a bit of a cushion considering it’s 7-5 heading into the matchup. Finishing 7-6 as opposed to 6-7 certainly looks better on paper.)
But what if Maryland pulls off the upset?
While we don’t think it would cause a Prince or a Quarvez Boulware (Friendship Collegiate/Washington, D.C.) to immediately pop to UMD, that kind of signature win could give the program added momentum. Every selling point helps in recruiting, so if the staff has a Stanford-victory card to play, well, it can’t hurt their chances out on the trail.
Moreover, Maryland counts some 14,000 alums in California alone, so a win over the Cardinal would certainly engender some West Coast goodwill. It might not have major ramifications, but it’s still something -- and better than a loss.
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