Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Feb. 21 Junior Day Wrap-up
There were more than 25 recruits who attended Maryland’s first junior day Feb. 21, and we caught up with 17 of them, including five for full interviews. Quite honestly, though, only a handful of attendees held Terps offers coming in, and there’s probably only a couple more who UMD will seriously consider extending scholarships to down the road.
Most of the recruits were so-called “camp guys,” meaning they’ll have to perform well at a College Park one-day, and possibly show more on senior film down the road.
The main prospects to be concerned with were quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), safety Aaron Hansford (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), outside linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), cornerback Robbie Robinson (Phoebus/Hampton, Va.) and cornerback Jordan Fuller (Old Tappan/Northern Valley, N.J.). That quintet all held UMD scholarships entering the junior day, and all are considered prime Terps targets.
Others who could potentially land offers in time include receiver Hasise Dubois (DePaul Catholic/Wayne, N.J.), running back Abdul Adams (Woodrow Wilson/Washington, D.C.) and defensive end Tymir Oliver (West Catholic/Philadelphia, Pa.).
Haskins, Hansford, Simms and Adams were actually at Maryland twice in a three-day span. After attending the junior day Feb. 21, they returned to College Park, Md., Feb. 24 for the Terps-Wisconsin basketball game, a court-storming affair that many of the DMV’s elite prospects attended.
You can read more about the latter group of visitors, and others, in the bolded section below.
Terps Offered; In Prime Position
With Haskins, the four-star gunslinger offered up naught but praise for UMD Feb. 21 (and later Feb. 24). He mentioned the close rapport he’s developed with quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley, area recruiter Chad Wilt and head coach Randy Edsall. Edsall’s brand-building, DMV-to-UMD, academics-first, job-opportunities message is resonating with Haskins, who knows he can be the face of Maryland football for years to come. The quarterback also noted how Locksley has dubbed him “The Franchise,” which the four-star found particularly intriguing (and funny).
I’ve stated it ad nauseum in past Shells, but Haskins is one of the more “aware” recruits out there. The Bullis quarterback is not oblivious to his recruiting pull, and how his Maryland commitment could start a surge of Terps poppers.
In fact, he led me to believe during his College Park stay he was talking to other local recruits -- plus the Virginia corner Robinson and the Jersey corner Fuller -- about just that: coming to Maryland and building a potential national contender.
So, why doesn’t Haskins jump on board and start “The Movement Part Deux?” Well, that’s a good question, but fact is he’s still a kid and he only gets one opportunity to go through the process.
Haskins enjoys all the pomp and circumstance that recruiting entails and would like to at least see what college football’s royalty is all about. Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, UCLA, Arizona State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Texas and Rutgers are all on his radar.
Haskins won’t publically acknowledge any clear leaders until those trips are completed, but it’s clear the Terps are the team to beat. It might take him longer than expected, causing UMD aficionados plenty of heart palpations, but by the spring the Bullis product should finally be ready to announce his college intentions. (ARTICLE).
With the safety Hansford, we’re inclined to believe the Terps are in very good shape with him as well, despite the fact he added a significant Big Ten offer from Wisconsin. Hansford, recall, was thrilled when he landed his UMD scholarship in January, saying it was a great opportunity to join “The Movement,” and for his parents to see him play regularly.
The Feb. 21 trip, though, was his first time garnering an inside look at the program and staff. Hansford said learning about Maryland’s academics, speaking in-depth with Locksley and Edsall, and seeing the facility upgrades all resonated. The Under Armour affiliation (St. John’s is a UA school as well, which Hansford specifically mentioned) and flashy gear didn’t hurt Hansford’s impression either.
It was hard to tell from the article, but speaking to Hansford personally, he simply couldn’t say enough about the opportunities Maryland would provide him. He’s still keeping Duke and Pittsburgh in play for now; has a visit to Penn State Feb. 28; and will undoubtedly check out Wisconsin as well, but the Terps currently own the pole position. (ARTICLE).
Besides Haskins and Hansford, though, the Terps probably have some ground to make up on the other Feb. 21 attendees.
Terps Offered; Ground To Gain
CB Robbie Robinson: It’s safe to say the Terps made some headway with Robinson following his first trip to College Park. Area recruiter Chad Wilt had already established a connection, but Feb. 21 allowed Robinson to connect with the rest of the staff and learn what Randy Edsall’s program was all about. An academic-oriented recruit, Robinson appreciated Edsall’s mantra, and enjoyed himself enough where he said he could return to Maryland this spring.
But we’re not about to elevate Robinson above “cool” on the hot board just yet. He’s a 757 recruit, a historical Terps trouble spot, and has offers from plenty of glamour programs. In-state UVA has a bead on him, as do Penn State, Clemson and Duke. The Nittany Lions may be the team to beat if they push, followed by the Wahoos.
OLB Keith Simms: It’s obvious Simms is high on the Terps and is all about the DMV-to-UMD movement. And if it wasn’t for that Stanford offer, we’d project him to Maryland in a heartbeat.
Every time Simms visits College Park he raves about the program, the players and the staff. Area recruiter Chad Wilt and head coach Randy Edsall both have done their best to sell Simms on the program and its educational benefits, which are primary in the Landon product’s recruitment.
Plus UMD commits like Darryl Turner (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) and Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha) are in his ear, Simms acknowledging the hometown movement is something that holds prime appeal. Simms’ parents are both on-board with Maryland as well, each taking to the school’s academics and structure.
But Simms admitted recently the Cardinal have his eye, mentioning that “Stanford was a huge offer for me, I’m not going to deny that.”
Simms will trek to PSU Feb. 28 and then hit California and Palo Alto, Calif., during his spring break. If he doesn’t commit while at Stanford, he’ll likely visit Duke and Wisconsin too. (ARTICLE).
CB Jordan Fuller: It’s a testament to area recruiter Keith Dudzinski that he was able to convince Fuller to visit College Park. The four-star possesses more than 20 offers, with Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan among them. Meanwhile, Fuller’s brother is at UCLA, giving the Bruins a leg up, while hometown Rutgers is also in the running.
That’s not to say Maryland is completely out of the game. Fuller did enjoy himself Feb. 20 (he visited UMD the day before the junior day), noting Maryland’s strong sports management program and the upgraded facilities. He had a good time connecting with Dudzinski and Co., and liked Edsall’s message regarding education as well.
Maybe the Terps can make more in-roads if Fuller returns to campus down the road, but it would be surprising if he doesn’t ultimately end up at a national program.
Potential Terps Offerees
WR Hasise Dubois: Dubois, who is being recruited as a receiver but can play safety, was in College Park for the first time Feb. 21. We thought he might leave with an offer, but that wasn’t the case, although he acknowledged a UMD verbal might materialize this spring.
Dubois, though, already holds scholarships from Ohio State, Rutgers, Boston College, Temple, Pitt, Wake Forest and Kentucky, so the Terps would probably be behind the eight-ball even if they did opt to pursue.
That said, Dubois did have a positive experience Feb. 21, especially the time he spent with receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell. He also said the facility upgrades and the Under Armour gear caught his eye too. Dubois went on to mention that, should UMD offer, it would “definitely” be in play since the school has produced NFL wideouts like Torrey Smith and Stefon Diggs.
I got the feeling, however, he was just giving the politically correct answers. When pressed for early leaders, he left off UMD in favor of OSU, RU, UVA, UK and Pitt. The Buckeyes are considered the team to beat -- if they accept his commitment. (ARTICLE).
RB Abdul Adams: A DMV back who has claimed more than 30 offers, Adams lacks one from nearby Maryland, maybe because he is still working out his academics. Adams told me the Terps “definitely wanted to offer,” but hinted the staff might have to monitor his transcripts before doing so.
The impression Adams left, though, was that he’s willing to work for said scholarship. The DMV movement resonates with Adams, as he knows the currently committed Terps (Harrison, Turner) and others already in the program.
Adams even said he and the other local recruits on campus were discussing a Maryland reunion, calling it a “great thing for all the big-time players around here to consider staying home.”
Moreover, Adams enjoyed connecting with area recruiter Mike Locksley and running backs coach Terry Richardson, while he appreciated how head coach Randy Edsall “was real” with the recruits.
But sans Terps offer, we can’t project Adams to Maryland. If he indeed has a committable offer, Michigan State, which he’s visited before, is a distinct possibility. Georgia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Kentucky are also on the radar. (ARTICLE).
DE Tymir Oliver: Given Maryland’s need for defensive linemen and its switch to a 4-3 defense, I thought Oliver had a real shot at snagging an offer while on campus. It didn’t happen Feb. 21, but perhaps when the staff does further evaluations one will surface.
The 6-3, 265-pounder is fond of area recruiter Keith Dudzinski and took to his first Maryland trip well enough, praising the academics, staff and upgraded facilities.
At the same time, in-state Rutgers has the early inside track, while Pittsburgh is right there as well. Boston College, Temple, and possibly UVA are in the game too. Numerous programs throughout the Big Ten and ACC are also monitoring him.
Oliver will visit Temple, Rutgers and BC coming up, and the consensus is he might be the Scarlet Knights’, or possibly Pitt’s, to lose.
Other Feb. 21 Attendees:
The following recruits will probably remain in touch with their Terps’ area recruiters, but don’t project as offerees. (That could change, of course, if they perform well at camp, and/or if UMD misses on some targets.)
Gene Coleman, WR, Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.: Coleman knows Zack Hawkins and Dwayne Haskins from back home, and enjoyed reconnecting with both Feb. 21, along with meeting the Maryland staff. He also liked the facilities and the Under Armour gear as well.
He holds offers from Syracuse and Rutgers, and said Terps area recruiter Keith Dudzinski had been in touch. Coleman suggested the Terps were looking at him as a slot, and could be offering at some point soon. We're not so sure the Terps will pursue unless other options fall through, but it's a name worth monitoring moving forward.
Coleman is also hearing from Tennessee, ODU and Cincinnati. He is visiting Syracuse Feb. 28, followed by Penn State and UNC.
Jay-Jay McCargo, OL, O’Connell (Arlington, Va.): McCargo took the highroad, choosing to talk up Maryland’s coaching staff and facilities instead of expressing disappointment over not pulling a Terps offer. McCargo had been pining for a hometown look, but we don’t see that happening now, especially after the staff handed out a bunch of new offensive line offers Feb. 23 but not McCargo.
So, with no Terps scholarship on the table, expect McCargo to consider Clemson, North Carolina, NC State and Duke, all of which have anted up. UNC may be the team to beat.
Solomon Manning, OLB, Colonia (N.J.): Manning has been in touch with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski and said the Terps might pull the trigger later during the spring. He enjoyed College Park and its athletic facilities, and could return again for a camp this summer. As of right now, Manning holds one offer from Pittsburgh and has been in touch with Rutgers and Penn State.
K.J. Gray, WR, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.): Gray, who has Rutgers and Uconn offers, connected with receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell Feb. 21, saying it was “a blast” speaking with a former NFL Pro Bowler. He seemed to thoroughly enjoy himself at Maryland and would undoubtedly place the Terps under prime consideration should they offer. But, for the time being, UMD’s staff has its sights set elsewhere.
Zack Hawkins, WR, Bullis (Potomac, Md.): The Jersey transplant loved his first in-depth visit to College Park and has made no bones about his desire for a Terps offer. Good friends with prime UMD target Dwayne Haskins, Hawkins wants to catch passes from the four-star quarterback at UMD (or another school for that matter).
But Randy Edsall typically refrains from handing out offers to lure other recruits, and we don’t suspect he will in this case either. Hawkins said Edsall will keep an eye on him, but unless the wideout shines during the summer and fall, he may not pull the scholarship. Hawkins does not have any offers at the moment.
Savohn Hunt, DT, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): Hunt spoke to defensive line coach Chad Wilt and had a great experience at UMD Feb. 21. The local product from nearby St. John’s would probably jump at the chance to play for the Terps, but he may not be considered a priority prospect.
Kwadir Brown, CB, DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.): Brown lauded UMD’s education and said he could easily see himself going to school in College Park. He has no early verbals, however, and doesn’t project as a Maryland target yet either.
Emmanuel Appiah, DE, Bergen Catholic: Appiah noted Maryland’s academics and said he liked learning about the school’s tradition. But he’s offerless, and isn’t considered a potential Terps target.
Tommy Lopez, OL, Middletown South (Middletown, N.J.): Lopez spoke highly of line coach Greg Studrawa, the facilities and the Under Armour uniforms, but he too lacks any scholarships and may not figure to receive one from UMD.
Brandon Simon, DE, Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.): Simon had a good time on campus and said Maryland’s strong academics stood out. He has one offer from Army and a few regional schools monitoring him like Boston College, Uconn and Rutgers, but we don’t see the Terps’ staff pulling the trigger.
Tyrone Hill, CB, Don Bosco: Hill is an intriguing recruit at 6-2, 195 pounds, and he has had contact with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski. Like his teammate, Brandon Simon, he holds a single offer from Army with others keeping tabs. We’re not sure Maryland becomes too involved, but Hill is someone to watch for during camp season given his length and athleticism.
Michael Dwumfor, DT, DePaul Catholic: Dwumfor praised College Park and said Maryland has a “great upcoming program.” He also said the staff really liked his film, but we’re not so sure the Terps actually ante up. Dwumfor does not have any offers and may project to the lower Division-I level.
Andre Mintze, DE, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): Mintze has been in College Park before and said he had a terrific return trip Feb. 21. He’s also someone the Terps have seen considering area recruiter John Dunn has been through Imhotep on plenty occasions. But Mintze may not be a prime target unless he shines at camp. He currently holds no offers.
Jadin Ash-Dawson, DT, Canada Prep (St. Catharines, Ontario): Ash-Dawson said he “loved” his visit and “everything Maryland had to offer.” Unfortunately for the Terps, Ash-Dawson doesn’t have the same upside as the last recruit they looked at from Canada Prep: All-American Neville Gallimore.
Feb. 24 Hoops Game Visitors
Perhaps even more significant than the Feb. 21 junior day was the Feb. 24 Maryland-Wisconsin basketball game, which saw the crème de crème from the DMV attend en masse.
Some of those who checked in at the Xfinity Center were discussed above. Indeed, Dwayne Haskins, Aaron Hansford, Keith Simms and Abdul Adams were at Maryland twice in a 72-hour span. Joining them were defensive tackle Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), defensive end Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), receiver Marcus Simms (Sherwood/Sandy Spring, Md.), tight end Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.), slot/corner Darryl Turner (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), running back Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha), safety Keandre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), cornerback Trayvon Scott (Good Counsel) and defensive end Izon Pulley (Good Counsel). Four-star DeMatha receiver Tino Ellis was scheduled to attend, but had to finish a term paper.
I was able to briefly garner reactions from most of the above, as well as conduct full-scale interviews with the receiver Simms and the defensive tackle Jordan. Meanwhile, Scout analyst Brian Dohn caught up with the tight end Upshur.
Having already spoken in detail to the quarterback Haskins, the safety Hansford, the outside linebacker Simms and the running back Adams Feb. 21, my main objective post-hoops game was getting their first-blush reactions and then seeing if their Maryland perceptions changed.
The basic consensus among the dozen or so attendees? Quite honestly, elation.
The group ate up the electric atmosphere that persisted from start to finish, lauding the raucous student-section and UMD fans. Some, such as the tight end Upshur, the quarterback Haskins and the defensive tackle Jordan, even stormed the court after the Terps pulled off the 59-53 upset.
But the game itself was only one part of the visit. Most of the recruits arrived well before tip-off and once again interacted with the staff in Gossett Team House. On top of that, it allowed local commits such as Harrison, Turner and Jones to do some recruiting of their own, hyping the UMD-to-DMV movement to Jordan, Haskins, Hansford, Marcus Simms, Keith Simms, Diggs and Upshur.
Here’s what we learned about the above prospects:
Marcus Simms, WR, Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.): After chatting with Simms for awhile Feb. 25, the sense is he will become the next Terps popper. As a rule, we never use the word “lock” in recruiting, but let’s say this: The comments I used before D.J. Turner committed to UMD can be applied in this case too.
Simms practically admitted he was about to pledge Feb. 24, but refrained from doing so once Edsall informed him he’d have to renege on future visits. And since Simms has yet to venture outside the Old Line State, he at least wants to see what other college campuses look like before ending his recruitment.
Thus, he’ll be trekking to Penn State Feb. 28, Rutgers March 12 and WVU March 18. Soon thereafter, though, Simms should be announcing his college intentions, either by late March or sometime in April.
Could Simms’ Terps tunnel vision possibly be derailed between now and the spring? Not likely.
The Sherwood product is all about the DMV-to-UMD movement. He has said repeatedly he’d love to play with his former teammates -- remember, he was at DeMatha for two years -- DJ Turner and LoLo Harrison. Plus he’s taken to both area recruiter Chad Wilt and receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell; appreciates Randy Edsall’s message; and wants the opportunity to represent his home state. (ARTICLE).
Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): We do think Ellison Jordan will eventually come around to the hometown school, but it might take a little longer than originally expected. Now, instead of committing during the summer, Jordan wants to first put out a top 10 list by August and then choose his school following his senior season.
That might make Terps aficionados a little uneasy, but this is no time to write Jordan off as another local who slipped away. The four-star fireplug is always effusive in his UMD praise, noting his rapport with the entire staff; the facility upgrades; the school’s journalism program; and the program’s direction heading into its second Big Ten season.
Furthermore, Jordan is one of the prime DMV-to-UMD locals, someone who knows all about The Movement and is in constant contact with other nearby recruits. On Feb. 24, the affable Jordan went through his normal routine of talking to anyone and everyone. D.J. Turner. LoLo Harrison. Adam McLean. Dwayne Haskins. Naseir Upshur. Terrell Hall. And so on and so forth.
Add in practically the entire coaching staff, and Jordan might have spent more time chatting than he did watching the hoops game that night.
So, is Jordan talk, or is there some substance to his words? Well, there’s a reason he’s listed as “hot” on the hot board. Having known Jordan since his freshman year, I still get the feeling he wants to be close to home; wants to represent his hometown; and wants his family to see him play.
All the other hullabaloo is just part of “the process.”
Jordan, who insists he has no No. 1 suitor, will be at Penn State Feb. 28. Then he intends to take in Rutgers, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and a few other locales this spring and summer. After that, he’ll put out a top 10 via Twitter, narrow it down during the fall, take a couple more visits, and then finally pop.
We do think Jordan will keep a close eye on PSU and Virginia Tech, but we’re still giving the edge to Maryland. (ARTICLE).
Naseir Upshur, TE, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): Upshur has now been in College Park as much as many DMV recruits -- so much so that we’re inclined to include him in “The Movement” discussion. The 6-3, 235-pounder continues to suggest the Terps are at the forefront of his mind, namely because of the connections he’s formed inside the program.
Initially, it was Maryland area recruiter John Dunn who let him know about the program, but since then it’s been teammate and UMD signee D.J. Moore; fellow Terps signee Adam McLean (Quince Orchard/Gaithersburg, Md.); and quarterback Dwayne Haskins talking up the Terps.
Both McLean and Haskins were at the basketball game Feb. 24, and each apparently made a pitch to the standout tight end. Upshur’s peers have him believing UMD could turn into a Big Ten power with all the nearby talent potentially joining the program.
Moreover, Upshur knows he’d have an opportunity to play immediately and likes how College Park is easily accessible for his family.
Now, that’s all well and good, but realize there’s a ways to go before the Philadelphia product commits. In fact, he’ll probably go through the whole official visit process, dragging his recruitment out until next winter.
Which admittedly would give many of Upshur’s national suitors plenty of time to win him over. Recent offeree LSU holds appeal, Alabama is in the game, Michigan and Michigan State are involved, Oklahoma remains a possibility, South Carolina has his attention, Miami recently made a charge, Ohio State is right there, Penn State is a prime suitor, and even Arizona State could be attractive.
Basically, it’s way too early to get overly excited about any Upshur-to-UMD possibilities.
As for the rest of the Feb. 24 visitors, here’s what I was able to garner:
After leaving campus Feb. 24, Dwayne Haskins was elated, responding ecstatically to our inquiry and then expressing his pro-DMV Movement feelings via Twitter. As previously stated, Haskins isn’t one to become overwhelmed and make rash decisions, but the Terps are unquestionably trending for him -- as they have been for a few months.
The Feb. 24 visit put the Bullis quarterback squarely in the middle of numerous potential future teammates, with D.J. Turner, LoLo Harrison and KeAndre Jones urging him to commit. And based on what other recruits told me, Haskins and select others discussed at length what they could accomplish at Maryland if they all teamed up. In fact, Marcus Simms even suggested Haskins was recruiting players to Maryland, leading the Sherwood receiver to believe the Bullis quarterback was already committed.
Expect Haskins to finally end his recruitment later this spring, following several intended trips.
Hansford, meanwhile, is pretty much in the same boat as Haskins: It’s probably just a matter of time before he jumps on the Pride bandwagon. The St. John’s safety will follow through with other visits, but by August we expect him to be a Terp barring a major change in his recruitment during the evaluation period.
Not only does Hansford have a relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall, who have been urging him to join The Movement, but Turner’s and Harrison’s words have started to hit home. Both were in his ear Feb. 24.
Hansford’s teammate, the four-star edge rusher Terrell Hall, was back in College Park for the second time in a little more than a week. He previously visited for the Terps-Indiana hoops game and had a similarly positive experience for the UMD-Badgers’ bout.
Hall said he was able to connect with both Locksley and defensive line coach Chad Wilt, along with head coach Randy Edsall. He spent a good deal of time around the other recruits too, chatting up Turner, Harrison, Upshur, Haskins, Hansford and the like.
At this point, we believe Maryland is among Hall’s foremost suitors, and perhaps squarely in his top three. But two other Big Ten programs remain on his mind as well: Penn State and Ohio State.
Hall will be back in State College, Pa., Feb. 28, and should be returning to Columbus, Ohio, as well. The Buckeyes are considered the team to beat, with the Nittany Lions running a close second.
There’s still a ways to go in this recruitment, however. So perhaps as the DMV-to-UMD movement gains more steam, the Terps can vault to the top of Hall’s leaderboard.
As for Keith Simms, his status remained status quo. The race seems to be between Stanford and Maryland, with that Palo Alto trip this spring looming large. The Terps, however, have Simms’ attention after his Feb. 24 visit, and the vibe is UMD and the Cardinal are pretty much neck and neck.
But there are no second-place prizes in recruiting, and ultimately it might prove too difficult for Simms to turn down his dream school, Stanford.
We’ll have a clearer idea exactly where Simms stands later in March, and whether that Palo Alto allure is still holding true.
With the cornerback Diggs, we’ve been over his deal time and again. Regardless of what he tweets or shouts at awards banquets, he’s probably College Park bound -- provided his good friend Haskins follows through with his Maryland pop.
What Diggs witnessed Feb. 24 is not going to have a bearing on his recruitment. Maryland is right there for him, and it’s probably his No. 1 suitor, regardless of what Turner, Harrison and the coaches intimated during the UMD-Wisconsin game.
Diggs will, however, follow through on visits to SEC and Big Ten royalty, namely Alabama, Florida, Penn State, Georgia, FSU (no offer yet) and Ohio State (no offer yet). Like his older brother, Stefon Diggs, Trevon Diggs wants to go through the process before choosing his college destination later this summer.
I detailed Abdul Adam’s situation in the section above. The feeling on this end is the talented running back really does like Maryland and would like to possibly join The Movement. But before he’d be able to, he has to iron out any transcript issues.
If he takes care of business in the classroom, then we could see Adams landing a coveted Terps scholarship down the line. If not, someone else will snatch him.
NOTE: Keandre Jones’ two teammates, the cornerback Scott and the defensive end Pulley, are not considered top Terps targets at this time. We don’t project them to receive UMD offers unless other things transpire like top targets fall off.
Terps All Over O-Line Recruits
It must have been offensive line evaluation day at Gossett Team House, because the Terps extended offers galore Feb. 23. There were probably others, but those we know of were: Brandon Ford (Upper St. Clair/Pittsburgh, Pa.), Chandler Reeves (Eagles Landing Christian/McDonough, Ga.), Nik Urban (South High/Willoughby, Ohio), Baveon Johnson (Lake Gibson/Lakeland, Fla.), Mackenzie Nworah (Manvel, Texas) and Kellen Diesch (Byron Nelson/Trophy Club, Texas).
Ford was the first to chime in, and the Pittsburgh product couldn’t stop raving about the Terps. Yes, he’s from State College, Pa., and, yes, he now lives in Pittsburgh, but we think UMD is firmly in play.
Maryland’s academics certainly stand out, as does its Big Ten affiliation, while area recruiter/line coach Greg Studrawa has made a quick connection as well. Ford sounded especially eager to visit College Park in March, which will be his first time on campus.
And it only helps UMD’s chances that his good friend, Brian Yates, played lacrosse at Maryland. Apparently Yates has talked up the program to Ford, leaving the latter rather excited.
But while the Terps have Ford’s ear for now, Pitt, which has also offered, may be the leader. The Panthers are right in his backyard, and he’s visited the campus several times already.
Penn State’s staff could offer at some point too, and if so would immediately jump to the head of Ford’s leaderboard. Michigan State, which has been in touch, could become a player as well.
Ford, who was back at Pitt Feb. 24, will be at PSU Feb. 28, followed by UMD and ODU in March.
Look for him to make a late summer decision, if not later. (ARTICLE).
Minutes after Ford commented on UMD, I spoke to Chandler Reeves from Georgia. Reeves did not have any other offers prior to Feb. 23, so the 6-6, 250-pounder was naturally thrilled when UMD pulled through. He had briefly been in contact with new Georgia-area Maryland recruiter Lyndon Johnson, but had no idea the Terps were about to offer.
“I’m just thankful and bless for this opportunity,” Reeves said. “It means a lot that Maryland was the first school to offer me. That’s something I’m always going to keep in mind.”
Reeves didn’t know much about the Terps when we chatted, but Maryland’s being in the Big Ten certainly hit home, in addition to UMD’s standout business program.
But just because UMD offered first doesn’t mean the Terps are a leader quite yet. Nearby Georgia Tech could be anteing up shortly and would immediately become a player. Purdue, Virginia Tech and even South Carolina have been in touch as well, with the Boilermakers closest to offering.
Reeves will be at Georgia Tech Feb. 28, and then wants to see CU, Purdue and USC in March. His recruitment is in its infant stages, and he doesn’t figure to select a school until the fall. (ARTICLE).
The Willoughby, Ohio, guard Urban checked in Feb. 24, just after area recruiter Greg Studrawa let him know Maryland wanted him in the program. The 6-4, 280-pounder said the verbal “changed things” for him considering it was his second Big Ten look (Illinois is the other). In fact, Urban said UMD now resides firmly among his top two or three suitors, along with the Illini and Duke. (Urban also claims offers from West Virginia, Toledo, Akron and Miami of Ohio.)
What set Maryland apart, though, was its Under Armour connection and strong sports management program. The latter, in particular, piqued Urban’s interest after Studrawa informed him about the major.
Urban is in wrestling season at South HS, but by late March he should be able to visit College Park for the first time.
His recruitment is just beginning, however. Urban could very well land a number of other Big Ten offers, including Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana and more. Of those, MSU and Northwestern -- he’s set to visit both in March -- hold appeal and could ratchet up Urban’s favorites list.
Expect Urban to make a late-summer college decision. (ARTICLE).
The Texas product Nworah also commented on his Maryland offer, although he’s probably the least likely of the linemen I interviewed to be a Terp. That said, Nworah has no standouts and is interested in flying to College Park this summer. If he does so – we’re a bit skeptical he will – then we’ll give UMD better odds in this recruitment.
Nworah pretty much admitted he’s looking for one of the elite Texas programs to offer, and would even consider in-state TCU and SMU should either pull through. The latter two programs, which Nworah just recently visited, are both in close contact, so it wouldn’t shock if each offered by the spring.
Auburn, Oklahoma and Boston College are keeping tabs too, plus Nworah previously held offers from Arizona State and Colorado, two programs much closer to home than Maryland. Nworah plans to check out both the Buffaloes and Sun Devils this spring or summer.
We’re going to keep track of Nworah, though, because Terps area recruiter Keenan McCardell seems to have cache with Lone Star State recruits. Recall, McCardell was able to secure visits from a couple Texas products last year, nabbing commitments from two (before Jameel Cook reneged).
It also helps that Nworah is a high-academic recruit, giving McCardell a prime selling point what with the Terps’ emphasis on education. (ARTICLE).
The above quartet are the most realistic options for Maryland, but the rest of the Feb. 23 offerees may be out of the Terps’ grasp.
With the Florida center/guard Baveon Johnson, he already holds offers from all of the Sunshine State elites and projects to wind up at FSU, UF or Miami. Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Wisconsin and others are also in play.
And the Texas prospect Diesch, meanwhile, has verbals from many of the top Lone Star State programs: Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor. Arkansas, Oklahoma, Arizona State, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, SMU and others are in the game too. He will either stay in-state for college, or perhaps venture up to Oklahoma.
Neither Johnson nor Diesch have been added to our hot board.
Before the Feb. 23 O-line Offer Binge…
Maryland’s staff also handed out offers to offensive linemen Darius Harper (Springfield, Ohio) and Luke Fortner (Sylvania Northview/Sylvania, Ohio), with the latter chiming in.
The Maryland verbal was Fortner’s sixth to date, and the second from a power-conference program, joining Kentucky. Fortner said the UMD scholarship came “out of nowhere,” but he was honored nonetheless.
He is scheduling a trip to College Park, Md., during his spring break and is eager to meet the staff, namely new area Terps recruiter Lyndon Johnson. Maryland’s location near Washington, D.C., its notable academics, its Under Armour affiliation and it’s inclusion in the Big Ten are all reasons Fortner wants to visit.
But we’ll see if said trip actually comes to fruition. Kentucky is a personal favorite and considered a leader after Fortner visited the Wildcats for a second time Feb. 21. Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois would also become prime contenders should those programs offer.
On top of that, Fortner doesn’t plan to select a college destination until after his senior season, meaning his recruitment will undoubtedly ebb and flow.
We’ll give the Terps a better chance at pulling in Fortner should he follow through with his College Park visit. (ARTICLE).
Harper didn’t return phone calls, but after talking to our Ohio analysts, it’s unlikely he’ll wind up in College Park. The 6-8, 260-pounder may only have three top-level offers from UMD, Pitt and Illinois, but the Big Ten bluebloods will probably ante up in time. Harper is hoping Ohio State comes through, and also has his eyes on Michigan State, Wisconsin and others of that ilk.
The Springfield product is stating no early leaders, but the smart money is on him winding up at a Midwest program.
Harper, however, has been in touch with area recruiter Greg Studrawa, so we’ll see if the Terps can secure a College Park visit at some point this spring or summer.
More Offensive Line Notes
As Terps fans feared, one of Maryland’s offensive line priorities has seen his recruitment reach the pinnacle of college football. Episcopal (Jacksonville, Fla.) guard Andrew Boselli just recently picked up Florida State and LSU offers and is probably on the verge of landing Georgia as well. And if more southern powers enter the picture, well, it’s going to be difficult for UMD to pry him out of the Sunshine State.
Making the picture more bleak is Boselli cancelled his trip to College Park Feb. 28, the second time he's backed out of an intended UMD visit. He has kept the Terps under consideration what with his longstanding relationship with area recruiter Keenan McCardell and head coach Randy Edsall, but it's looking less and less likely he'll be keeping Maryland in play throughout the process.
Instead of taking in UMD, Boselli will participate in the open regionals, and is then set to see LSU, Penn State and Missouri, in addition to FSU. He said he's rescheduling his trip to College Park, but even if he does, we're not going to forecast him to Maryland. We'll leave him on the hot board as "cold" for now.
A second Terps O-line offeree, Will Fries (Cranford, N.J.), had to be axed from the hot board, however. He spoke positively about Maryland following his January offer, but the 6-6, 265-pounder is now saying UVA, Penn State, Duke, Clemson, Northwestern, BC and Rutgers are recruiting him the hardest.
Fries was just in Charlottesville, Va., last week and readily took to the Wahoos, while he’s eager to see CU and Northwestern next. He has mentioned little about the Terps in several recent interviews.
Feb. 28 Junior Day Visitors
Most of the known DMV recruits attended the Feb. 21 junior day and the Feb. 24 Terps-Wisconsin basketball game, so we haven’t been able to unearth too many notable names for the Feb. 28 junior day. That said, there are a few to monitor:
Eric Kumah, WR, Forest Park (Woodbridge, Va.): Kumah claims a Terps offer, and we just updated his status last week. He recently began building a relationship with new Northern Virginia Terps recruiter Keenan McCardell, while he praised both of his previous trips to College Park, lauding the atmosphere and the staff.
But when pressed further, Kumah admitted Maryland may be sitting behind several of his other suitors. Virginia Tech is the clear favorite, and Virginia might be running second for his services. Kumah is also high on Clemson, whose staff has been in touch but hasn’t offered yet, as well as NC State, a school he saw Feb. 21.
Kumah will trek to WVU and Tennessee in March, before hitting Kentucky in April. All three have offers out to the Woodbridge product, and Kumah will surely give each primary consideration.
In other words, the Terps have ground to make up.
Look for Kumah to make a summer college decision.
Sulaiman Kamara, DT, Hermitage (Va.): Kamara is one of the most significant recruits who will be attending UMD’s second junior day. He had had contact with ex-Terps area recruiter Lyndon Johnson, and is now beginning to develop a rapport with new NoVa presence Keenan McCardell, expressing initial interest in the program.
But Kamara is admittedly focused on the programs that already have offers out to him. Penn State, Virginia, UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and ECU are on his radar, with the Nittany Lions perhaps in the driver’s seat.
Kamara is also pining for offers from Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan State and Michigan, all of which he wants to visit. Kamara could be in State College, Pa., shortly after taking in UMD, though he doesn’t have any other scheduled trips after that.
We’ll see what kind of traction UMD can gain following his Feb. 28 stay in College Park.
Isaiah Wright, WR, Kingswood-Oxford (West Hartford, Conn.): Wright has offers from Boston College, Rutgers, Syracuse, Uconn and Umass, and has had contact with Terps area recruiter Keith Dudzinski as well. He’s a talented 6-2, 220-pounder and would seem to fit the mold of some other wideouts the Maryland staff has offered. Considering that, it wouldn’t surprise us if he earned a Terps scholarship Feb. 28.
Wright, though, may have his eyes set elsewhere even if Randy Edsall does ante up. BC and RU have his attention for the time being, but he’s hoping for Florida and Ohio State looks (both staffs have had contact with him.)
Kolton Huber, WR, St. Peter’s Prep (Jersey City, N.J.): Huber holds an offer from Syracuse, and hometown Rutgers is interested too. He’s probably not someone the Terps will pursue in earnest at this point.
Will Eason, CB, Southlake Christian (Huntersville, N.C.): After Eason informed me he would be attending the Terps’ junior day, I immediately inquired about his teammate, four-star running back Robert Washington. Eason said Washington wouldn’t be coming to UMD with him, which is a bummer for Terps fans. From the look of things, Washington may be out of the Terps’ grasp unless he schedules an out-of-the-blue trip north in March. Washington said during a recent interview that TCU, Syracuse and North Carolina are three prime contenders, along with Alabama, Penn State and Michigan. We moved him to "cold" on the hot board.
Eason, for his part, has an offer from Akron and does not figure into Maryland’s plans right now.
New Offers Out
Besides the offensive line verbals discussed above, the Terps gave scholarships out to a few other recruits this week.
-- On the defensive side of the trenches, Randy Edsall extended three offers to D-linemen as well this week: Christian Colon (Independence/Charlotte, N.C.), Jake Saunders (Loveland, Ohio) and Rashad Wheeler (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh, Pa.).
Of the trio, Wheeler may be the most realistic option for Maryland purposes. The 6-4, 235-pounder previously held offers from UVA, BC, Wake, Toledo, Pitt, Temple and ODU, but said UMD is an intriguing option for him. Wheeler just got in touch with UMD area recruiter Greg Studrawa, and the Pittsburgh product immediately took to him. Maryland's Under Armour connection and the school's academics have caught Wheeler's eye as well. He is eager to visit College Park for the first time in March or April, and wants a chance to tour the school and meet the staff.
But while Wheeler finds the Terps appealing, he has been hearing from many of the nation's elite, and schools such as Penn State, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and others could be on the verge of offering. In-state Pitt holds plenty of weight for the time being, as do BC and Wake. But if the Nittany Lions and Spartans pull the trigger, they'd immediately vault to the top of his favorites list. (ARTICLE).
-- Colon, meanwhile, has an expanding offer list that’s grown well past double-digits. Notre Dame, N.C. State, UNC, Vandy, WVU, Wake, BC, South Carolina and others have all anted up, in addition to Maryland.
Colon has expressed plenty of interest in playing for his hometown school, and many believe he’ll wind up a Tar Heel. He has not been included on the hot board.
-- And the Ohio tackle Saunders hasn’t seen his recruitment skyrocket just yet, but it’s bound to happen. All the Big Ten bigwigs know about him, and Ohio State could very well offer in time. Wisconsin already has thrown its hat in the ring, along with BC, Pitt, Northwestern, Illinois, Cincinnati, Wake and others.
We’re not going to include Saunders on the hot board unless he actually treks to College Park.
-- The Terps offered another running back recently too.
The teammate of Mackenzie Nworma, Texas back D’Vaughn Pennamon (Manvel, Texas), added a UMD scholarship Feb. 24. Pennamon previously held verbals from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Kansas, Louisville, SMU and others.
He’s another likely “blow up” candidate, who could vault out of the Terps’ stratosphere before the summer hits. Area recruiter Keenan McCardell might be able to get Maryland in the conversation, but it’s never easy going against the Big 12 elites.
-- Over in the Sunshine State, the Terps offered a pair of primetime athletes from Coconut Creek HS (Ft. Lauderdale/Fla.). Cornerback Malek Young has close to 30 offers to date, and has gone on record as saying Florida State is his dream school. He will likely end up a Seminole unless another SEC suitor, or possibly Ohio State, wins him over.
-- Young’s teammate, All-American receiver Binjimen Victor, has around 40 verbals to choose from. He hasn’t declared an early favorite like Young, but Victor will probably wind up at one of the many SEC powers pursuing him, including LSU, Florida, Alabama or Auburn.
-- The Terps began delving into the class of 2017 as well, handing out early verbals to Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) linebacker Jordan Anthony and athlete Joshua Paschal while on campus for the Feb. 21 junior day. The 6-1, 210-pound Anthony also has scholarships from Clemson, Iowa and Kentucky, while the 6-4, 250-pound Paschal claims Clemson, Kentucky and Ohio State.
I briefly spoke to both before this writing, and though each are considered national talents, Maryland is in a solid initial position. Both know plenty about the hometown movement, both have visited College Park multiple times, and both took note of teammate KeAndre Jones’ commitment to UMD.
Paschal and Anthony each bear watching down the line, and Terrapin Times will be tracking their developments this fall.
More News & Notes
-- A foremost Terps defensive line target updated his status this week, and we removed him from the hot board following it. Philadelphia Prep Charter (Philadelphia, Pa.) end Karamo Dioubate previously spoke highly of both UMD area recruiter John Dunn and defensive line coach Chad Wilt, but in his latest interview he said PSU, OSU, BC, Rutgers, Pitt, Miami and UVA were in contact the most.
Dioubate seems particularly high on Penn State and Ohio State, and the vibe is he’ll wind up at one of those two programs. He’s set to visit both in the coming weeks.
-- Meanwhile, a local cornerback who is on the radar but still searching for a Terps offer just picked up three more verbals last week. Bullis’ (Potomac, Md.) Patrick Johnson now has North Carolina, Indiana and Iowa to go along with Illinois, BC, Wisconsin, UVA, Rutgers and others.
While Johnson would love to land a hometown offer, we don’t foresee that happening unless he shines at camp. Barring that, Johnson will probably wind up at a school like Illinois or UNC, or possibly Virginia Tech, which could be on the verge of offering.
-- At the safety position, the Terps are targeting McKeesport (Pa.) defensive back Khaleke Hudson, who caught up with Scout analyst Brian Dohn this week. Hudson didn't go too much in-depth into his recruitment, but he did say he wanted to visit Maryland, Virginia Tech, Michigan, Boston College, Wake Forest and Syracuse this offseason.
First, though, this stud safety will be at Penn State Feb. 28, and many believe the Nittany Lions are the team to beat.
-- Another safety, Keyvone Bruton (Lake Taylor/Norfolk, Va.), had to be removed from the hot board altogether. Bruton had some contact with the Terps earlier, but he hasn't mentioned them at all during recent interviews. Plus our Virginia analysts pretty much have him pegged to Virginia Tech.
-- And, finally, I had to remove Fort Pierce Central (Fort Pierce, Fla.) linebacker Greg Simmons from the hot board. He committed to his dream school Miami Feb. 18, and while he still wants to take visits and potentially check out College Park, we doubt he’ll end up a Terp.
Maryland was down this road with a mercurial Sunshine State recruit last year in Deltron Sands, which obviously did not end well. Given that, we can’t foresee Randy Edsall playing that game again. Simmons may or may not stay committed to Miami, but don’t expect the Terps to jump on him unless they’re in desperate need of another linebacker late during the recruiting process.
TTDave's Inside The Shell
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