DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) athlete Darryl Turner garnered the major headlines Jan. 24 with his commitment to Maryland, but another significant Terps target was in College Park, Md., for a visit and has the Terps at the forefront of his mind as well. Landon (Bethesda, Md.) three-star outside linebacker Keith Simms made the short trek over to UMD with his family in order to meet the staff and tour the campus.
“It was a great, great time,” said the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Simms, who has offers from the likes of N.C. State, Temple, Boston College, Indiana, Iowa, North Carolina, Marshall, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest and Maryland, among others. “It was the first time for my parents to get to see the campus and that was the biggest thing – just getting them up there to see the school. But I always have a great time at Maryland, and [Jan. 24] was no different.”
Simms interacted with the other College Park visitors, and said he was “right outside” Randy Edsall’s office when D.J. Turner committed to UMD. He also met official visitor Mbi Tanyi (Bush/Sugar Land, Texas) and Maryland pledge Lorenzo Harrison as well.
“I saw all those guys there, and it was good to see them all and get to know them. But D.J. committing, man that was big,” Simms said. “It was really big. I actually played football with him and Lo [Harrison] in the sixth grade, so I know those guys. It was a good initiative for me, actually, to see them choosing their hometown school, because it gets me really thinking about Maryland too. Just knowing some guys I played with, and they’re going there now, yeah, it’s big for me.”
Simms said he spent the majority of his Jan. 24 stay interacting with area recruiter Chad Wilt, who has had consistent contact with him for close to a year now. The Landon product also had a chance to tour the campus, meet academic advisors, view plans for new/upgraded facilities and chat with staff members like Randy Edsall, outside linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski, offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, the Terps’ strength coach, Wilt and others as well.
“Obviously I already knew the campus from being up there before, but [Jan. 24] I really got to see how genuine the coaches are at Maryland and how they’re developing this brand for the school,” Simms said. “Coach Edsall and Coach Wilt have been at my school, so I kind of knew a lot about the program already, but [Jan 24] I learned even more and my parents did too.
“Maryland, I think, is doing great things, and it’s not only on the field, but the people they’re bringing in to represent Maryland – that really stood out to me and my family today [Jan. 24]. The people at Maryland, that’s what really stands out to me and my parents. It’s great people at Maryland.”
The Landon outside backer said his family is highly supportive of UMD and are fans of the program. Simms mentioned that his father watches most Maryland games and would “love” to see him attend school in College Park.
“My dad has always been a big Maryland fan, so it kind of added to his fire for Maryland, just seeing the school and meeting the coaches,” Simms said. “He really liked meeting Coach Edsall, and he was saying how genuine and sincere he was. He really had a good time, and my mom did as well. Maryland is definitely hot on my radar after [Jan. 24]; it’s a school that’s definitely high on my list.”
Simms went on to comment on the “hometown movement” trend, saying he's well aware how his peers view the Terps. The Landon backer said Tuner’s, Harrison’s and others’ decisions “definitely” have an impact on him.
“No dout,” Simms said. “The DMV-to-UMD thing is really picking up. A lot of the guys I want to play with at the next level are deciding to go there, so that’s a big thing for me. And a lot of guys I’m talking to, Maryland is just becoming that school to go to. Maryland is big for me and big for a lot of guys in the area.”
The three-star has developed a close rapport with the Terps’ staff as well. He’s known Wilt for close to a year know, while Edsall has made it apparent how much he covets Simms as well.
“Coach Edsall came up before Christmas break and I saw Coach Wilt Jan, 15 when he was at my school. Those guys are always in touch with me,” Simms said. “[Coach Wilt] wasn’t really allowed to talk to me [Jan. 15], but my coach relayed the message. From my conversations with [Wilt] and on Twitter, he’s saying I’m a priority in the 2016 class and how [the Terps] really want me there. It’s important to me, just the interest [Wilt] and Maryland is showing. Coach Wilt, I really have a good relationship with him, and that he’s been letting me know how much I’m wanted there -- it’s definitely hitting home.”
Simms did acknowledge that he’s had consistent contact with other assistants besides Wilt. He said Virginia, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Boston College, South Carolina, Duke and Penn State have been In touch, while NC State and Temple have recently jumped into the fray.
He plans to visit the Wahoos, Deacons, Gamecocks, Nittany Lions and Blue Devils in the next couple months.
“I want to commit before the season, but time will tell. There’s no real rush. I’m just waiting for that moment,” Simms said, “I want to sit down with my family and friends one day, and if that moment comes, I’ll be ready. I know I like Maryland, but I want to get to a couple other places to see what they have to offer.
“I’ve been able to get to Maryland pretty easily because it’s been so convenient for me, but I just want to get to know some other coaches and what their programs are about before I make my final decision.”
If all goes according to plan, Simms will have his college selected by the summer.
“I’d say the earliest I would make my decision would be August, and the latest would obviously be Signing Day. Only time will tell though.” he said. “[The decision] will probably be in the summer, though. I’m pretty sure I’ll have seen enough to make a sound decision in August.”
Simms Visits UMD, High On Hometown School
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