Givens Talks Up UMD, Lands Offer

The Terps played host to a rising star from Mechanicsville, Va., March 9, and this junior safety/corner hybrid couldn’t have asked for a better first experience in College Park, Md.

The Terps played host to a rising star from Mechanicsville, Va., March 9, and this junior safety/corner hybrid couldn’t have asked for a better first experience in College Park, Md. Following a team lifting session at his high school, Atlee defensive back J.J. Givens made the drive north with one of his assistant coaches, and following their stay, the recruit had an offer in toe.

“The Maryland offer was great. Coach [Randy] Edsall offered me right there on campus,” the 6-foot-2, 170-pound Givens said. “We sat down, we talked a little football, talked a little about Maryland, talked a little about myself, and then Coach Edsall said he wanted to extend the scholarship. I had a feeling it was coming, but I had this huge smile on my face. It just meant a whole lot to me, because I know the type of character and the type of person they want at Maryland.

“Coach Edsall was saying how they just don’t hand offers out there – they want a certain type of student-athlete. So it meant a lot, because they’re so serious about who they give offers out to. They don’t given them to just anybody. I mean, that really makes you feel good to get an offer like that.”

The reason Givens had an inkling Edsall was going to offer was because the Atlee safety/corner had had consistent contact with Terps area recruiter Chad Wilt for more than three months. Givens said he and Wilt had been having some “real good” exchanges online and via text, leading Givens to set up a College Park visit as soon as possible.

“Coach Wilt is definitely one of my favorite college coaches in the recruiting process so far,” Givens said. “He’s been to my school like twice in the last few months, but I couldn’t really have a one-on-one conversation in person with him then. So I really was looking forward to getting up to the school and talking to him.

“And that’s what I did [March 9]. I spent like the whole time on campus just talking to Coach Wilt about school, football, everything. He’s just a real honest, real genuine, real cool guy. I like him a whole lot and really want to continue building the relationship with him.”

Givens didn’t just spend the whole time chatting up Wilt and Edsall. He missed Maryland’s 8:30 a.m. practice, but he did have a chance to tour the campus and see the new facility plans.

“I thought the campus was beautiful, and the facilities are going to be great there,” Givens said. “They’re building the new practice facility, and that should be completed by the spring of my freshman year. Oh my gosh, that’s amazing – great. Maryland’s doing some real big things.”

The Virginia product said he “definitely wants to get back up [to UMD]” again in the near future. He said he’d like to take in a practice and see a game during the fall as well.

“Just seeing what Maryland is doing as a program, and knowing the kind of people they have there, I’m definitely going to be looking at them,” Givens said. “I can definitely tell, after one year in the Big Ten, that they’re moving in the direction with the pieces there. I could definitely see myself playing in that program.”

Givens was effusive in his Terps praise, but he acknowledged he’s claiming no favorites anytime soon. He also holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, West Virginia, Indiana and Arizona State, among others, while more programs throughout the Big Ten, ACC and SEC are monitoring him.

“Everyone is on an even playing field right now, honestly,” said Givens, who has visited UMD, Wake Forest, Va Tech and N.C. State. “I don’t really have any leaders or anything; I’m considering all my options. I mean, I really liked my Wake visit because of the business school there, and Maryland was really nice too. Tech, that’s the hometown school and that’s a great program. So, really, no leaders right now. I’ve got to see some more schools this offseason.”

The Atlee product isn’t sure where he’s visiting next, but Michigan, Michigan State, WVU, UVA and others are on his radar.

“The main factors when I’m looking at these schools, outside of academics, is the player-coach relationship,” Givens said. “That and just finding a program where everyone wants to be successful and there’s no individualism -- just everyone buying into the team concept. That’s the main thing.”

Givens doesn’t have an exact timetable for selecting his college destination, though he said he’d ideally like to have a decision made before his senior year. At the same time, he acknowledged he might need to take official visits as well.

“So we’ll have to see how it plays out,” Givens said. “I can’t honestly say what I’m going to wind up doing right now.”

Givens is coming off a junior season where he recorded more that 60 tackles and four interceptions. He rotated between both safety and corner and said most college programs see him as a hybrid.

“I don’t really have a preference for corner or safety,” Givens said. “Just put me back there [in the defensive backfield] and I’ll make plays for you (laughs).”

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