Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Ellis, Hall, Diggs Visit UMD
Along with Terps football commit Darryl Turner (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) and Terps hoops commit Anthony Cowan (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), three prime Maryland targets attended the Feb. 11 UMD-Indiana basketball game: receiver Tino Ellis (DeMatha), defensive end Terrell Hall (St. John’s) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.). Class of 2017 DeMatha quarterback Beau English was also in attendance.
Of the three main targets, Ellis was most effusive in his praise following the visit. Once again, the DeMatha product thoroughly enjoyed himself in College Park and connecting with the staff, namely area recruiter Mike Locksley and receivers coach Keenan McCardell.
He arrived about two hours before tip-off, giving him plenty of time to hang out in Gossett team house, try on some Under Armour gear, and just acclimate himself more with Maryland football. Ellis noted how comfortable he is around the program, and how UMD has a bright future with the 2016 recruits the staff is pursuing.
As for the basketball game, Ellis called it “live” and “electric.” He said the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center showed him Terps fans can really get behind their team, and he’s hoping the same holds true during football games as well.
Ellis still isn’t ready to commit just yet, maintaining a late July timeframe, but the Terps are trending right now.
That’s a change in tune from a few days ago when Ellis, who just added a Kentucky offer, said Va Tech’s stock was rising following his junior day visit to Blacksburg, Va. Some even suggested Ellis might be a Hokies popper at some point in the near future.
Maybe that was just the DeMatha receiver’s first-blush reaction following the trip, because after speaking to Ellis myself, I don’t sense that’s the case. Yes, Ellis did enjoy himself at Tech, and yes, he is fond of the staff, but, no, we don’t think he’ll be committing there just yet.
We still believe, barring a meltdown in the DMV-to-UMD movement (read: quarterback Dwayne Haskins doesn’t come), that Maryland is in the pole position for the Stags wideout.
Neither Hall nor Diggs responded to calls and texts prior to this writing, but Ellis said both the St. John’s end and the Avalon cornerback had great visits Feb. 11. The DeMatha wideout said Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall spent plenty of time chatting up all three prime targets, once again reiterating the “stay home” message.
In Ellis’ opinion, both Hall and Diggs are buying into the Maryland movement, though we’ll have to see how things shake out down the road.
Hall, for one, has been racking up offers faster than any recruit in the region. He has made it known he’ll be delving into as many of those suitors as possible.
Hall has already seen Ohio State and UMD this offseason, and next up he’ll be heading to LSU Feb. 21 and Penn State Feb. 28. He also would like to take in UCLA, Tennessee, Miami and Notre Dame, to name a few.
But Mike Locksley and Co. have been making quite a push for Hall, and should other DMV recruits jump on the Maryland bandwagon, it could help persuade the St. John’s end to join the Movement as well.
That might be the case down the line, but for now, though, Hall seems a bit starry eyed. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions definitely have his attention.
To read more about Trevon Diggs, see “The Cornerback Situation” section below.
NOTE: The DeMatha quarterback English liked his visit to UMD tool. Ellis said he hung out with his sophomore signal caller a good bit, and English had a chance to interact with the staff, try on some gear and learn more about the program. English does not hold a Terps offer, but the staff will undoubtedly be keeping tabs. (STORY).
Another week, another round of offers for the four-star Bullis (Potomac, Md.) gunslinger. Haskins’ most recent verbals have come from the likes of LSU, Michigan, Alabama and Oklahoma, and, naturally, all four of the renowned programs have caught his eye. The Tigers already have a quarterback pledge in 2016 (Feleipe Franks from Wakulla HS in Crawfordville, Fla.), so we’re not sure how much of a push they’ll make. But now, in addition to listing Maryland, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Rutgers among his primary suitors, Haskins is including the Sooners and Tide as well.
Which, really, is typical “Haskins Speak.”
So before someone on the message board reads an interview and says, “Dave, I’m hearing Haskins is really liking Oklahoma, what do you know?” just realize there’s a difference between what’s in the quarterback’s head and what comes out of his mouth.
Now, we do think Haskins will be traveling around to various locales before announcing his college decision later this spring. He’s intimated he could be trekking West to see Arizona, Arizona Sate and UCLA, while trips to Oklahoma, Alabama and possibly LSU are in play as well. It also wouldn’t surprise us if he returned to Notre Dame and Ohio State at some point too.
That’s all well and good, but our stance on Haskins hasn’t changed since late fall. We still think he’ll ultimately wind up at Maryland, though he’s done his best to downplay his interest in the school.
Terps quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley and area recruiter Chad Wilt have done well with Haskins, and the four-star knows he would not only be the face of Maryland football, but the bulwark behind a DMV-to-UMD movement.
Haskins will enjoy the recruiting process, and programs like UND and OSU will make a strong run, but we still believe the Terps are the team to beat.
Look for Haskins and his family to visit College Park, Md., again during the winter/spring for a personal meeting with the staff.
The Running Back Situation
Based on the offers given out and talking to recruits, the feeling is Maryland will attempt to add two running backs to its 2016 class. Of course, Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) has been on board since July 2014, and we have no reason to believe he’s going anywhere.
Meanwhile, the No. 2 target appears to be Southlake Christian Academy (Huntersville, N.C.) four-star Robert Washington, who I spoke to earlier this week. The 5-10, 215-pound Washington holds more than 40 offers, but has been interacting with Maryland since his sophomore year and taken a real liking to the school.
He has daily contact via Twitter with Terps’ recruiting coordinator John Dunn -- his original UMD recruiter, Andre Powell, has left the program for Pittsburgh -- and believes the Maryland staff is “cool” and “down to earth.”
The major selling point for Maryland, though, is two of Washington’s friends are seriously considering the Terps. Washington has stayed in touch with both Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) and Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.). Should both of them wind up in College Park -- yes, it’s trending in that direction -- the Terps would have a considerable chance at coaxing Washington out of North Carolina.
The key, though, will be getting Washington back on campus this winter/spring. Washington visited College Park last summer, calling the campus “beautiful,” but while he said he “definitely” wants to return at some point, it’s not set in stone.
The Southlake back wants to make his college decision sometime in March, so there’s not much time to re-visit the programs that comprise his nine or 10 leaders. He wouldn’t reveal who those leaders were yet, aside from UNC and Pittsburgh, but there are several clues into who will be included.
If you look at his previous visits, Washington has been to Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, North Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, Syracuse, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Penn State, Virginia, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, NC State, Duke, Boston College, Michigan, Arkansas and Ole Miss. But he’s actually seen the Irish, Tar Heels, Buckeyes, Wolverines, Blue Devils and Wolfpack on more than one occasion.
After speaking to Washington, the vibe is Notre Dame could very well be the team to beat given its tradition and high academic standards. OSU could be firmly play as well, but Washington might be leery since the Buckeyes already have five-star running back Kareem Walker (Paramus Catholic/Paramus, N.J.) in toe.
Others he figures to take a close look at include Maryland, Michigan, Tennessee and the aforementioned UNC and Pitt.
Again, I do believe the Terps could make some serious inroads here -- provided Haskins and Diggs are on board and Washington visits College Park in the next month or so. (STORY).
If the Terps can’t bring in Washington, look for John Dunn and Co. to focus on Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) running back Tyliek Raynor, a 5-9, 185-pounder with an expanding profile. I interviewed Raynor back when he received his UMD verbal in December 2014, and since then he’s added three new offers to a list that now includes UConn, Purdue, Buffalo, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and UMD.
Although Raynor’s stock is on the rise, he seems to like hometown Temple plenty. He’s visited the Owls at least five times during the last year, including this offseason, and said they’re currently “the team to beat.”
But we’ll see if that holds true once Raynor trips to other campuses this winter/spring.
Raynor said he has visits to West Virginia (no offer, but the staff is interested) and UConn coming up, while he’ll try to see RU and UMD as well.
Recall, Raynor visited College Park last summer for a camp, lauding the staff and the school. Moreover, he is good friends with Terps signee and former teammate D.J. Moore, who has been in his ear about UMD.
But while Raynor does seem to be interested in Maryland, he also admitted he hasn’t had much contact with John Dunn of late. Which leads me to believe the Terps may not pursue in earnest as long as Robert Washington is still on the board.
That said, if the Terps' staff does eventually push, we think Maryland could be in solid position for Raynor down the road based off the Imhotep back’s previous comments regarding UMD.
We should know more about where Raynor stands later this spring. (STORY).
The Offensive Line Situation
I was able to catch up with four Maryland offensive line targets this week, including Gilman’s (Baltimore, Md.) Devery Hamilton, Carroll’s (Washington, D.C.) Richard Merritt, Stafford’s (Fredericksburg, Va.) Josh Ball and Bishop O’Connell’s (Arlington, Va.) Jay-Jay McCargo.
It’s unclear whether Devery Hamilton will play offensive tackle or defensive end in college – he said his position is yet to be determined – but regardless, he’s a local the Terps would like to stick around. Hamilton has been to College Park on multiple occasions, has a strong rapport with recruiter Mike Locksley, likes the fact his family can see his home games, and appreciates the school’s strong academics.
Hamilton isn’t one who will be directly influenced by his peers, so no DMV Movement is going to convince him to join Maryland, but it’s clear he does have a solid Terps affinity. He will likely have UMD among his top five or so suitors if/when he releases a leaderboard.
That said, I got the feeling a couple of Hamilton’s “name” offers have his eye at this time, namely Stanford. The Cardinal just extended a firm scholarship, and Hamilton seemed particularly excited about visiting Palo Alto, Calif.
And as we’ve seen with local recruits who’ve landed Stanford offers in the past, they typically end up as Cardinal signees. We’ll see if the same holds true with Hamilton, or if he gives his other suitors a chance to pry him away. (It’s possible Alabama could be one of those suitors. I’m not so sure the Tide will actually offer Hamilton, but, if so, it could be a game changer).
Before Hamilton checks out Stanford, though, he’ll be making a few other visits. First, he’ll be taking in UVA Feb. 14, Wake Forest Feb. 15 and Alabama Feb. 28. It’s possible he could be at Maryland Feb. 21 for its junior day.
Hamilton has no timetable for selecting a school, indicating it could come at any time. (STORY).
After speaking to Hamilton, I caught up with four-star guard Richard Merritt, the 6-6, 330-pounder the Terps have been pursuing since he was at Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) in 2013.
Merritt, like most D.C. products, has known Terps area recruiter Mike Locksley for several years now, but apparently the connection runs deeper in this case. The UMD offensive coordinator actually recruited the Carroll lineman’s older brother, Jamal Merritt, to New Mexico, so Richard Merritt and Locksley have known each other much longer.
That relationship alone has Merritt’s mind on Maryland, but the Terps have other factors working in their favor.
Thanks to Locksley, Randy Edsall and other area recruits, Merritt is cognizant of the DMV-to-UMD movement, noting that he and his local peers could potentially turn Maryland into a Big Ten power should they all stay home for college. Moreover, Merritt knows there’s an excellent opportunity to contribute as a freshman, is comfortable on campus, and is friends with numerous current Terps.
Of course, Merritt is not someone who is going to end his recruitment anytime soon. He has all the bigwigs to entertain first, with his eyes cemented on the likes of Alabama, Florida State and possibly Ohio State and Michigan.
You know how this story goes Terps fans: ebb and flow, ebb and flow.
Merritt will go through the process of taking visits, releasing a top 15 list, slowly whittling down said list, taking four or five official visits, and then announcing his decision next winter. (STORY).
The third offensive line target I spoke to was the four-star tackle Josh Ball, a 6-6, 305-pounder who has been in College Park multiple times, including Jan. 17 for the Terps-Michigan State hoops game.
Ball picked up a UMD offer last summer, and since then has been in every-other-day contact with either area recruiter Chad Wilt or offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. The Virginia product offered high praise for both coaches, and seems to have really taken to Studrawa and how he develops linemen.
Ball has also attended two games in Byrd Stadium and toured the campus before. He said he’s impressed with College Park as a whole, likes the facility upgrades and appreciates Randy Edsall’s education-oriented message. Expect Ball to return to Maryland at some point, possibly later this spring/summer.
But Ball is one of those “love every school” recruits, and it’s fairly clear there are other programs firmly in play for his services. West Virginia, which he’s seen numerous times, is considered an early standout, along with Penn State.
Hometown schools UVA and Virginia Tech are right in the thick of things as well. And if either Clemson or Florida State offers – both staffs have been involved recently – Ball will likely give them prime consideration too -- especially FSU.
This offseason Ball has already visited UMD, UVA, WVU and Va Tech, with N.C. State and Penn State coming up. He wants to have his college decision made by late summer if possible.
We think Maryland has a decent shot at Ball, thus he’s listed as “warm” on the hot board, but it’s going to be a tough pull for sure. (STORY).
Last but not least, I spoke to rapidly emerging guard/tackle Jay-Jay McCargo, who doesn’t hold a UMD offer yet but should be receiving one shortly. He does have verbals from the likes of N.C. State, UNC, South Carolina, Clemson, BC, Duke, PSU, Temple, Tennessee, Va Tech and WVU, however.
McCargo had been in close contact with ex-Terps Northern Virginia area recruiter Lyndon Johnson (who now recruits Georgia), but said he’s now in touch with UMD receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell. McCargo said he’s looking forward to meeting McCardell and developing a rapport with him, while he’s eager to visit College Park for Maryland’s junior day Feb. 21 (we suspect he’ll get his offer then).
The 6-4, 270-pound McCargo, who likely projects as a guard, did visit UMD once before for the Terps-Rutgers football game. He said both he and his father “had a really good visit,” talking up the new facility upgrades; the coaches; and the atmosphere.
McCargo also mentioned that, should an offer arise, he’d give the local program a closer look since it’s near home and would offer a chance for his parents to see him play regularly.
But even if the Terps pursue in earnest, McCardell and Co. have some work to do. Right now, it seems like Duke, where McCargo’s cousin just signed, is at the forefront of his mind, along with UNC, PSU, Clemson and Tennessee. McCargro didn’t want to call that quintet his leaders at this point, but the vibe is Duke, UNC and possibly PSU are the teams to beat.
McCargo has visited PSU, Va Tech, UNC, Wake Forest, Clemson, N.C. State, Duke and Maryland before, while he’s camped at BC and Tennessee. He has upcoming trips to Duke and Maryland planned for the rest of February.
Look for McCargo to select his college destination later this summer. (STORY).
The other realistic offensive line targets in play for the Terps are Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), Terrance Davis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Andrew Boselli (Episcopal/Jacksonville, Fla.), Stephen Spanellis (Gilman) and Will Fries (Cranford, N.J.). We’ve been over these five in past Shells, but here’s a brief synopsis of where they’re at.
Williams is a national recruit who will drag out his decision until next winter. He has an affinity for hometown Maryland and a close rapport with area recruiter Mike Locksley, but has all the glamour programs after him as well. Expect him to entertain Penn State, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan and the like.
Davis is one of the DMV-to-UMD recruits who we think will eventually wind up a Terp. In the meantime, though, he’s enjoying trips to PSU and schools throughout the SEC. It will probably take him awhile to come to a decision, though he could possibly be ready to pop in August.
Boselli, who we’ve written about previously, is supposed to be in College Park for Maryland’s second junior day Feb. 28. He has a longstanding relationship with area recruiter Keenan McCardell, who knew his father, Tony Boselli, when they both played for the Jaguars.
Andrew Boselli is also familiar with head coach Randy Edsall -- recall, Edsall was with the Jaguars when both Tony Boselli and McCardell were there -- and likes how UMD’s headman preaches academics and character development.
But while UMD has made inroads here, Boselli’s profile is ever-increasing and he now holds verbals from the likes of Mississippi State, Missouri, Miami and Illinois, in addition to UMD. Duke, Northwestern, Florida, Georgia, Stanford and other southern powers are monitoring him as well.
If the SEC bluebloods come calling, it might be difficult for Maryland to pry him out of the Sunshine State.
Spanellis, meanwhile, said he's maintained contact with Maryland and does have interest in the hometown school. He called the Terps a "program on the rise" and likes the fact they play Big Ten ball. Spanellis also likes UMD's academic reputation, while his parents are fond of the program as well.
But we're not positive Maryland's staff will make an all-out effort to land Spanellis. He wasn't exactly overwhelming on the field last year, and we get the sense maybe the Terps will slow play this one.
Others on Spanellis' radar, though, include Virginia Tech, Northwestern, Illinois and Tennessee. He also holds verbals from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia Tech, South Carolina and West Virginia, while Stanford has been in touch, though we're not sure all those offers are committable at this time.
As for Fries, the Jersey lineman has had social media conversations with Terps area recruiter Keith Dudzinski and visited UMD for the Maryland-Michigan State football game.
Fries, who is supposed to return to campus this spring, has had naught but positive comments about his connection with Dudzinski and his feelings regarding College Park in general. But Fries also holds verbals from the likes of Penn State, South Carolina, Va Tech, Miami, Duke, Clemson, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, BC, Wake, UVA and others. He’s open to all suitors right now, and is in the process of visiting campuses up and down the East Coast.
Fries, like Josh Ball, might be someone who ends up at a blueblood before it’s all said and done.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.) tackle Eddy Fish, a 6-6, 290 pounder who could see his recruitment increase rapidly during the evaluation period. He doesn’t hold any firm offers yet, but area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has been through Lawrence Academy and has interacted with the big Massachusetts product.
The Cornerback Situation
Maryland remains in a good spot for Stefon Diggs’ younger brother, cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), but it remains contingent on Dwayne Haskins’ commitment to UMD. Diggs and the Bullis quarterback are still intrinsically linked, with the former more than likely choosing the same college as the latter.
But, in the meantime, with Haskins still in a holding pattern, Diggs is collecting offers; taking visits; and extoling other suitors. Which makes senses since the younger Diggs has been at Maryland so much the last three years -- including Feb. 11 for the Terps-Indiana hoops game, which he reportedly enjoyed -- he’s probably tired of discussing the Terps, area recruiter Mike Locksley, and following in his older brother’s footsteps.
Diggs just received an offer from Alabama, his most significant verbal to date, and could be on the verge of adding Ohio State and LSU as well. He’ll be checking out the likes of Florida, Florida State, Penn State, Georgia and OSU this offseason. Diggs is even planning to camp at Ohio State to try and coax an offer out of Urban Meyer (he called the Buckeyes’ headman “one of my favorite coaches” in a recent interview).
From the sound of things, Diggs is nowhere near ready to make a college decision. If Haskins jumps on board with UMD it might expedite the process, but we don’t see the Avalon corner popping before August, or possibly later.
Another prime Terps cornerback target, Patrice Rene (Episcopal, Va.), who is originally from Canada, now has a new UMD recruiter: Keenan McCardell. The four-star Rene has just begun to initiate online conversations with McCardell, and the two are supposedly setting up a potential visit to College Park.
Whether that trip actually occurs anytime soon is up in the air. A national recruit with a growing offer list, Rene was just at Virginia Tech for its junior day and will be at Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame coming up Feb. 14-16. He’ll then take in Boston College Feb. 21.
We’ll know more about where Rene stands following those visits, but for now it seems like Penn State and Ohio State are at the forefront of his mind. Rene has visited Maryland a couple times before and spoken highly of Randy Edsall’s program, but McCardell will have to go toe-to-toe with the big boys to keep the Episcopal product in the DMV.
A third cornerback to monitor is Phoebus’ (Hampton, Va.) Robbie Robinson, a 5-9, 167 pound speedster who plays taller than his listed height. UMD area recruiter Chad Wilt has been through Phoebus multiple times and has already made a strong pitch to the four-star corner. In fact, Robinson is in the process of setting up a College Park trip at some point this spring, though no firm date has been chosen yet.
If the Terps can get him on campus, perhaps Wilt and Co. can make more of an impression on Robinson, who has offers from the likes of PSU, Va Tech, Clemson, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, WVU, Wisconsin and others.
Robinson just visited nearby Clemson, and the Tigers have his attention for sure. Wisconsin, PSU and OSU will get long looks too, while others are bound to enter the picture as the offseason moves along.
Beyond those three elite targets, expect the Terps’ staff to continue monitoring local corners like Patrick Johnson (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), Greg Ross (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.), James Green (Forestville, Md.) and others.
All three DMV recruits hold other Division I offers, but might pounce at the chance to join the hometown movement. They’re worth keeping an eye on moving forward.
The Safety Situation
The most realistic Terps’ safety target appears to be the St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) prospect Randy Edsall just offered a couple weeks back: Aaron Hansford. Remember, the 6-2, 200 pounder was thrilled when the hometown offer came through, noting how it was a “great opportunity” to be able to play in front of family and friends.
Hansford, who already knows area recruiter Mike Locksley well, is another prime DMV-to-UMD prospect Maryland has a better-than-average shot at reeling in. Look for him to return to College Park -- he has been before for games and a camp -- shortly, perhaps for the Feb. 21 junior day.
Hansford also has Duke and Pittsburgh in play, and just visited the Blue Devils, noting the strong academics and developing football program. He’d previously been to Pitt, mentioning he “really, really liked” the Panthers too.
Look for Hansford to visit a few more schools and entertain a couple other offerees before choosing a college in late summer.
We do think Maryland will attempt to add two safeties in its 2016 class, and the second recruit to note is McKeesport’s (Pa.) Khaleke Hudson, who was just recently offered. The 5-11, 200 pounder has had initial contact with area recruiter Greg Studrawa, who has trekked through McKeesport a few times now.
Hudson seems to have Maryland on the mind, and should be scheduling a College Park visit, either for a February junior day or a spring practice.
But Pittsburgh, which Hudson just visited again, holds hometown appeal and is a program he’s very familiar with. As is in-state Penn State, which many believe will ultimately be the team to beat. WVU and Michigan State are prime contenders too.
At nearby Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.), another Studrawa stomping ground (he just tried to recruit Johnny Petrishen from there), is four-star safety Damar Hamlin. The Pittsburgh product has offers from the likes of Penn State, Michigan, Ohio State, Pitt, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and others.
It’s really not worth delving too much into Hamlin’s recruitment, because he’s viewed as the Nittany Lions’ to lose. Pittsburgh, Notre Dame and Ohio State could make a run if PSU falls through, but the smart money is on Hamlin ending up in State College, Pa. It will be a moral victory if the Terps can secure a campus visit from him.
If the Terps can’t reel in Hamlin or Hudson, maybe the staff takes a closer look at McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) safety Eric Burrell. We’ve written about Burrell plenty in this space, and his affinity for the hometown school has been well-documented. Burrell would love the chance to join ex-teammates Ellis McKennie, Roman Braglio and Josh Woods in College Park, but he’ll probably have to run better than a 4.8 40-yard dash to garner a serious look.
UVA and Virginia Tech have already offered, however, and if the Terps don’t ante up, we could easily see Burrell ending up in Charlottesville, Va.
Another safety to keep an eye on is 6-3, 210-pounder Hasiese Dubois out of DePaul Catholic in Wayne, N.J. Terps area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has been through DePaul, and though Dubois doesn't hold a Maryland offer yet, he is thinking about visiting this spring. He'll also be checking out UVA and PSU, two other programs that have made contact but have yet to offer.
Dubois already holds verbals from the likes of Boston College, Pitt, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Temple and Ohio State, with that latter offer standing out in a significant way. In-state Rutgers, which he's seen several times, is also a prime player.
The Linebacker Situation
Maryland already has one linebacker on board in Good Counsel’s (Olney, Md.) Keandre Jones, a four-star who actually just landed an Auburn offer. Jones will likely secure a few more scholarships of that caliber as his recruitment moves along, but we don’t see him wavering at this time.
When Jones committed to UMD, one of the primary reasons was so his mother could easily see his games. Jones admitted he was raised in a single-parent home, and his pledge to nearby UMD was, in some ways, a “thank you” to his mom.
A second DMV outside linebacker could be joining Jones at UMD later this summer. We originally listed Landon (Bethesda, Md.) backer Keith Simms as “hot” on the hot board for a reason: He’s been on campus maybe more than any other local; he’s gushed over area recruiter Chad Wilt and the rest of the Terps’ staff; he loves the school’s academics; and he likes the idea of representing his hometown school.
Simms has said time and again he’s taken notice of D.J. Turner’s, Lorenzo Harrison’s and KeAndre Jones’ commitments to Maryland, and would highly consider being part of the DMV-to-UMD movement as well. Moreover, both Simms’ parents, who are Terps fans, have taken a liking to Maryland and Randy Edsall.
But there's a caveat ... and it's a big one. Simms just received an offer from Stanford, which is apparently his "dream school." And, as we mentioned above in the offensive line section, we know what happens with recruits who hold Cardinal scholarships.
Simms will also be looking at North Carolina, Wake Forest, UVA and Va Tech, in addition to UMD, but we'll have to see what transpires with this Stanford situation.
At inside linebacker, Kingswood Oxford’s (West Hartford, Conn.) Koby Quansah is probably the most realistic target for the moment. Quansah has been trying to set up a College Park visit for a few months now, but due to financial constraints he hasn’t been able to.
We do expect Quansah to see Maryland at some point this offseason, however, more than likely in March. In fact, he said he’d like to stay overnight at UMD in order to get a better feel for the school and delve deeper into the program’s structure and academics. (Hint: This is a positive development for the Terps, should it come to fruition).
Quansah has a connection to Maryland in the form of Terps tight end Andrew Isaacs, a friend from back home, and area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has done well here too. Dudzinski has been through Kingswood Oxford, and Quansah has maintained consistent contact with him on Twitter and the like.
The Connecticut product also has offers from Boston College UConn, Pitt, Duke, Syracuse, Rutgers and Northwestern, with Kansas, Vanderbilt, Michigan and even Stanford showing interest. He has visited the Eagles, Orange, Scarlet Knights and Huskies, in addition to Penn State, previously.
Quansah is planning on trekking to Duke, Maryland and North Carolina in short order, while Michigan is on the radar as well. He would like to see Palo Alto, Calif., but likely won’t be able to unless he takes an official there later this year.
After speaking to Quansah this week, the initial leaders appear to be UMD, Duke, BC and Rutgers. We’ll see if that holds up as this recruitment moves along. (STORY).
One more linebacker note: Greg Simmons from Fort Pierce Central (Fort Pierce, Fla.) just landed a Miami offer, and, predictably, he named the Hurricanes his early leader.
The Terps apparently offered Simmons in January, and following the verbal the Sunshine State backer called UMD his No. 1 ahead of Cincinnati and FAU. But, as I warned at the time, Simmons was bound to change his opinion as more options became available to him.
That’s exactly what’s happened. Simmons still wants to visit College Park this offseason, but we’re not holding our breath on this one.
Even if UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell were to secure a commitment from him, I’m not sure Simmons would stick. Basically, I get the feeling he could be another Deltron Sands-type of recruit.
The Keenan McCardell Situation
So it sounds like Terps' receivers coach Keenan McCardell is interviewing for a position as LSU. We'll have to see what comes of that, but if he does stick at Maryland, it would obviously be a boon for UMD.
First and foremost, from the look of things, McCardell is now recruiting Northern Virginia, in addition to Texas, Florida and Delaware. And for UMD aficionados, that’s a positive development in terms of possibly snagging prospects from what should be a Maryland hotbed.
By my estimation, and after speaking to numerous prospects during the last year, McCardell was either UMD’s second or third most proficient recruiter last year. So it makes sense to place him in an area loaded with “gettable” DMV talents.
Other than landing a couple under-the-radar NoVa players here and there (see: Isaiah Davis last year), the Terps have never had much success in Northern Virginia what with UVA, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Clemson and a few bluebloods flooding the 703. But considering the area is practically in Maryland’s backyard, you’d think the Terps would be able to reel in an impact recruit every once in awhile.
Terps linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson did his best to make connections there, but it looks like he’s been reassigned to Georgia, which was ex-coach Andre Powell’s stomping ground. Enter McCardell, whose aggressiveness and personality – not to mention NFL resume -- seem to resonate with high school kids.
It still won’t be easy for him to recruit against the in-state Wahoos and Hokies, in addition to CU, UNC, South Carolina and others, but his presence immediately gives the Terps a chance.
Look for him to make immediate connections with elite cornerback Patrice Rene (Episcopal/Alexandria, Va.), three-star lineman Jay-Jay McCargo (O’Connell/Arlington, Va.), three-star receiver Eric Kumah (Forest Park/Woodbridge, Va.), four-star lineman Clark Yarbrough (Woodberry Forest, Va.) and four/five-star defensive tackle Kyree Campbell (Freedom/Woodbridge, Va.), among others.
If McCardell can help the Terps secure just one of the above recruits, you’d have to consider it a success based on UMD’s history in the area.
The Tight End Situation
Maryland will undoubtedly pour all its efforts into Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) four-star Naseir Upshur, the nation’s No. 1 tight end recruit, buy we did hear earlier this week they’re at least monitoring other targets.
Poly Prep (Brooklyn. N.Y.) three-star Ray Marten told our Northeast analysts he’d been hearing more and more from Maryland, although the Terps haven’t pulled the trigger on an offer yet.
We’ll see what kind of traction UMD can gain here, but it might not get too far since Marten already has four offers and a clear favorite. The 6-4, 230 pounder said early offeree Boston College, which he’s seen twice already, has long held appeal, while Rutgers and Syracuse are next in line.
Marten is panning to visit BC, RU and SU this spring, and hasn’t set anything up for UMD yet. Maybe if area recruiter Lyndon Johnson and Randy Edsall extend an offer it will pique Marten’s Terps interest, but for now we’re not inclined to place him on the hot board.
A second tight end to watch for is Noah Turner from Carmel Catholic (Mundelein, Ill.), a Chad Wilt recruit the Terps just offered. He now currently holds offers from Illinois, Inidiana, UMD and pretty much the entire MAC. Turner has visited a few Midwest prograns already, but it's likely he'll trek East to College Park now that the Terps have anted up.
He is wide open in the recruiting process and open to all suitors.
And yet a third tight end to watch is Jay Rose (Southington, Conn.). The 6-3, 230-pound Rose has, like Marten, been in contact with Keith Dudzinski and just received a Terps offer. He also holds verbals from BC, Uconn, NC State and WVU.
Rose has already seen BC and UConn and is in the process of scheduling trips to UMD, State and WVU. He's just started to dig into the recruiting process, however, and really doesn't have any early favorites or ideal suitors.
We'll know more about his situation following his spring trips.
The Feb. 21 Junior Day
Maryland will hold its first junior day Feb. 21, but so far most of the recruits I’ve contacted are a) busy that day, b) have other plans, or c) were unsure they’d be able to attend. I’ll reach out again next week to see if I can gather up a few more definitive names.
So far, though, we have:
1. Eric Kumah, WR, Forest Park (Woodbridge, Va.)
2. Jay-Jay McCargo, OL, O’Connell (Arlington, Va.)
3. Sal Mauro, DE, Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.)
4. Lawrence Garner (Northern Burlington/Columbus, N.J.)
5. Jadin Ash-Dawson (Canada Prep/St. Catharines, Ontario)
Off The Hot Board
The class of 2016 hot board has only been out a week, but I already removed three names from the initial release.
First, I took off St. Frances Academy’s (Baltimore, Md.) Kareem Felder, a solid cornerback prospect who I thought the Terps might take a closer look at. But Felder ended up popping to Virginia Tech while in Blacksburg, Va.; he never held a firm UMD offer.
I also removed another DMV cornerback, Sir Patrick Scott (Riverdale Baptist/Upper Marlboro, Md.), after speaking with him earlier this week. Scott is one of the more talented defensive backs in the 2016 class, but he lacks a Maryland verbal and suggested the Terps weren’t all that interested. Scott said area recruiter Mike Locksley had been through his school before, but had not been in touch via social media.
The Riverdale corner seemed more focused on some of his primary suitors such as Wake Forest, Michigan State and Kentucky, in addition to Penn State, which has shown interest but hasn’t offered yet. At this point, Scott is not planning to visit Maryland unless an offer materializes or interest increases. (STORY).
Finally, I chose to take four-star Woodberry Forest (Va.) offensive tackle Clark Yarbrough off the hot board after speaking to our Virginia analyst. Yarbrough had been interested in visiting College Park during the fall and this offseason, but, at this point, we’re skeptical such a trip will come to fruition.
Fact is, Yarbrough’s recruitment has exploded, and now he’s looking to see Clemson and Tennessee coming up, with trips to Penn State, South Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and others possible this spring/summer.
Meanwhile, in-state Virginia has built a deep connection with Yarbrough and has hosted him for multiple visits. Yarbrough hasn’t listed any leaders yet, but UVA or a blueblood program figure to be his ultimate landing spots.
TTDave's Inside The Shell
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