Florida quarterback Augie DeBiase and his father, Mark, arrived in Washington, D.C., after a brief stay in Starkville, Miss., at 2 a.m. March 31, giving the pair a mere four hours of downtime before they were due in College Park, Md.
And despite sleep deprivation and rings around their eyes, the Jacksonville, Fla., natives thoroughly enjoyed their first trip to the University of Maryland.
“I’m a little tired, I’m not going to lie, but I had a great day [March 31]. We made it to Maryland by 6:30 a.m. for the quarterback meeting and spent the whole rest of the day touring around, meeting the coaches and just experiencing the school,” said the 6-foot-1, 220-pound DeBiase, a pro-style quarterback with offers from Indiana and Virginia Tech. “I really like Maryland, absolutely, and my dad was very impressed as well. It’s probably the nicest campus I’ve seen, and I can tell it’s a great program there. The coaches treated us well, and we just had a great, great time.”
Of course, this was no impromptu trip. DeBiase may not have a Terps offer, but he has been in touch with UMD offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley.
The Florida gunslinger, who is currently being homeschooled after leaving Fletcher High (Neptune Beach, Fla.), said his quarterbacks coach, Joe Dickinson, has known Locksley for years. Evidently Dickinson sent Locksley DeBiase’s film, which immediately caught the college coach’s attention.
“Coach Locksley really liked my tape, and he invited me up for a practice to get a taste of the team, how the offense runs and the university,” DeBiase said. “He wanted me to get to know the university better, which I did [March 31]. I got there for the quarterbacks meeting, saw the practice, made some small-talk with Coach Locksley, and after the practice I toured the school. Then we finished up in the meeting room, watched some highlights, and then we got back on the plane and headed back to Jacksonville. It was a nice visit and I learned a lot about Maryland.”
DeBiase said, in particular, the facility upgrades and academics caught his eye, in addition to the aforementioned campus. He also noted how he has plenty of family in New Jersey, which is where his father is originally from, meaning a large portion of the DeBiase clan would be just two hours from College Park.
“The new facilities they’re building are really exciting. They’re going to be done in the spring of 2017, and if I enrolled [at UMD], they would be ready by the spring of my freshman year,” DeBiase said. “It would be great to be able to use those facilities. They look beautiful, and they’re very important for Maryland in the future.
“And one thing I really liked is how there’s a specific wing in one of the new buildings just for the new entrepreneurship major. It’s something funded by the guy who invented Under Armour [Kevin Plank], which is really cool. Maryland has great academics, and I’m really, really interested in that major for entrepreneurs; not many colleges have that.”
DeBiase also enjoyed watching the Terps practice. He said he liked how Locksley handled the offense and believes he’d fit well into UMD’s system.
“I really like Coach Locksley and how he’s hard on his players. I think I’d benefit greatly from learning under him,” DeBiase said. “I do my best when someone is on me, is on my butt, and holds me to high standards. So I feel like Coach Locksley demands a lot out of his quarterbacks and could really help me.”
Of course, DeBiase would need an offer for that to happen. Right now, he’s unsure where the Terps stand with him, but he believes a scholarship could materialize later this spring.
“I had a good talk with Coach Locksley before I left campus. He told me he watched my film, really liked it and I’m definitely one of the guys he’s going to be recruiting,” DeBiase said. “He’s saying he’s coming down in mid-May to watch me throw, so I feel like if I throw like I’m capable of, [the Terps] will offer me. [Locksley] hasn’t said anything specific yet about an offer, but he is very interested and I feel like I’m the type of guy he’s looking for. So if I perform like I know I can, I could see myself getting that offer.”
Should said scholarship actually come to fruition, DeBiase said he’d “definitely” consider accepting it.
“To get an offer from Maryland would be an extreme honor,” he said. “I already have one Big Ten offer from Indiana, and it would be a great honor to have a second from Maryland.”
Maryland’s top quarterback target, though, is Dwayne Haskins, a local four-star from Bullis (Potomac, Md.). DeBiase said Haskins’ name did come up in his conversation with Locksley, the Florida triggerman unsure whether or not an offer is contingent on Haskins’ decision.
“Right now, Coach Locksley was telling me they’ve only offered one other quarterback, Dwayne Haskins. He didn’t say specifically whether they’re looking to take one or two quarterbacks, but I do know they only have one other offer out,” DeBiase said. “If they do take two quarterbacks, I mean, I’d still consider going to Maryland. I’m a competitor, and I do my best when the game is on the line and the pressure is on. So if I were given an opportunity to go in and compete for a spot, then I’d definitely consider it. But it all depends. Right now I don’t know if they only want one or two guys [in the 2016 class].”
Maryland is hardly the only school on DeBiase’s radar, however. Both Va Tech and Indiana are firmly in play, the Jacksonville product calling both “great places to play football.”
“But I have no leaders right now,” said DeBiase, who has been hearing from Auburn recently. “I’m just going through the process and working hard to make as many opportunities as possible.”
So far this offseason DeBiase and his father have seen UMD, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Mississippi State. Prior to this year, he visited Miami, Florida, FSU, Georgia, Ole Miss, Auburn, UNC, Alabama and Va Tech.
Next up is a trip to Florida for its spring game April 11. After that, he’ll take in Auburn, Indiana and Oklahoma State.
“In a perfect world I’d like to commit before I take a snap my senior season,” said DeBiase, who is finalizing where he’ll attend high school next fall. “But it all depends on what happens recruiting-wise with these colleges and offers.”
DeBiase, who suffered a separated shoulder that limited him to seven games last year, is coming off a season where he threw for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns against five interceptions. He also had three rushing scores.
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