Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
As The Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) Wheel Continues to Turn
For the second time in a week, the Bullis four-star quarterback was in College Park, Md., this time taking in the spring game April 11. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Haskins said this most recent experience was slightly different than past visits, mainly because he was able to see quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley work with his triggermen, and how said triggermen responded.
Haskins also said it was good to compare last year’s offensive system to the one he witnessed April 11, noting variations and adjustments made (read: less read option with no C.J. Brown). It’s safe to say the Maryland offense will eventually be tailored to Haskins’ West Coast/spread style, but he had to be encouraged by the lack of zone-read calls (Haskins despises running with the football).
While the quarterback did pay close attention to the game, he was spotted chatting up several class of 2015 Maryland signees too. Namely ringleader Adam McLean, who has been in the ear of most elite class of 2016 DMV talents. Haskins said McLean was indeed urging him to join head coach Randy Edsall’s program, thus becoming the bulwark behind the DMV-to-UMD movement.
Following his latest stay, Haskins, who also spoke to many of the Terps’ coaches once again, said Maryland remains firmly in play for his services. He realizes he’d potentially become the face of UMD football, while also having an opportunity to play soon after arriving on campus.
But before Haskins pops, he still wants to entertain at least four more suitors. After attending a combine April 18, he plans to be at Rutgers’ spring game April 25. Then, in May, he’ll take return visits to Alabama, Florida and Notre Dame.
Haskins hasn’t officially announced a leaderboard yet, but it’s fairly obvious the Terps, Tide, Gators, Irish and Scarlet Knights are the top five contenders. He likes Bama because of head coach Nick Saban’s cache and the fact it’s a perennial winner; the Gators because he’d have a chance to play early during his career given the roster’s dearth of quarterback depth; the Irish because of the coaches, education and tradition; and the Scarlet Knights because of the staff and the fact it’s his original hometown school.
If we had to venture a guess, this is probably another Terps-Tide showdown (aka Isaiah Prince Part II), but this time Maryland should prevail.
Either way, expect Haskins to choose his destination in late May or early June. He suggested on Twitter he’d be committing June 1, along with good friend Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), but we’ll see if that actually comes to fruition.
Regardless of the date, though, it does sound like Haskins and Diggs will follow through with their intentions of attending the same college. Many “package deals” tend to fall apart, but the DMV pair seem intent on making it work.
Which, it would seem, is good news for Terps aficionados. Imagine, pulling in an elite quarterback and Stefon Diggs’ younger brother on the same day.
Spring Game Visitors
A number of recruits and Terps targets took in Maryland’s spring game April 11, headlined by quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.); defensive tackle Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.); offensive tackle Terek Zingale (Nordonia/Macedonia, Ohio); cornerback Tyrone Hill (Don Bosco/Oradell, N.J.); receiver Aaron Mathews (Clairton, Pa.); safety Khaleke Hudson (McKeesport, Pa.); offensive tackle Eddy Fish (Lawrence Academy/Groton, Mass.); and linebacker Tymar Sutton (McKeesport). In addition, UMD pledges Brian Plummer (South Carroll/Sykesville, Md.) and Michael Clark (Downingtown East/Exton, Pa.), along with many class of 2015 signees, were in attendance.
Here’s what we learned:
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Bullis: See above.
Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman: Jordan always has a good time when he’s in College Park, and April 11 was no different. Especially so on this occasion since it was Jordan’s first time staying overnight at Maryland. The Gilman defensive tackle, along with his parents, arrived on campus the day before the spring game, giving the family a chance to delve into UMD’s journalism program.
Jordan, an affable personality and people person who wants to translate those traits into a sports-broadcasting career, is intent on majoring in communications. Thus, he’s highly interested in Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, one of the most renowned colleges of its sort in the country. After speaking to several professors and learning about the curriculum, Jordan called the experience “really cool,” while noting how his parents were impressed as well.
The Gilman product then described his overnight stay, mentioning how current Terps Nnamdi Egbuaba and Brandon Ross answered the questions he had about the program. Meanwhile, 2015 signee Adam McLean gave him the lowdown on the coaching staff.
“[McLean] told some things about the recruiting process that really opened my eyes,” Jordan said. “[McLean] was saying how there’s a big difference between coaches who tell you what you want to hear and coaches who tell you what you need. He said the coaches at Maryland, they really tell you what you need to hear. So that’s something I really listened to and appreciated. What Adam was saying, it was real.”
Jordan, who interacted with half the UMD staff April 10-11, lauded the coaches’ honesty and straightforward recruiting pitch. The Bowie, Md., native offered up high praise for D-line coach Chad Wilt and his teaching methods, recruiter Mike Locksley for his consistent overtures, and Randy Edsall for his advice and candor. Moreover, Jordan reiterated how much his parents have taken to the staff as well.
The Gilman prospect also talked up the facility upgrades, the weight room improvements, and the team itself during the actual spring game.
Following his two-day stay, we’re inclined to believe Maryland remains among Jordan’s top three suitors, and may actually sit No. 1. Penn State, which he’s set to see again at some point this spring, is also in play, as is Virginia Tech, which he’ll trek to April 25.
Jordan insists that Michigan State, North Carolina, WVU, Rutgers and Pittsburgh are on the brain too, and we do believe some of those could become prime players if he follows through with intended visits this summer. But the vibe is UMD may hold the edge, with the Hokies and Nittany Lions right there as well.
Look for Jordan to release a public top 10 leaderboard in May before paring the list down in June/July. He will ultimately decide on his future destination in August. (ARTICLE).
Terek Zingale, OT, Nordonia: This 6-6, 300-pound tackle took the six-hour drive down from Ohio April 11, just days after receiving a formal Maryland scholarship. Zingale had been in touch with Terps’ area recruiter Greg Studrawa for a few weeks, and when the latter suggested he check out UMD, which had offered, instead of Purdue, which hadn’t, well, the Nordonia product opted for the bird in hand.
So he and his family took in College Park, touring the campus; meeting a few academic advisors; checking out the facilities; chatting up the coaches; and, naturally, watching the spring game.
Zingale certainly enjoyed all of the above, but he said the one aspect that stood out was the staff’s emphasis on education. An honors student who wants to major in engineering, Zingale and his family were particularly impressed with Maryland’s program, and how Edsall places academic concerns before football ones.
After leaving campus, Zingale said, “Maryland is at the top right now. I’m pretty set on Maryland; it just felt like home.”
He didn’t want to commit just yet, however. Shortly after Maryland offered, he received another Big Ten verbal from Illinois and told the Illini staff he would be visiting Champaign, Ill., later this spring. Zingale did admit it would be difficult for Illinois to top Maryland, but he at least wants to see what the school’s about.
Our gut? Unless Zingale has a standout trip to Champaign, or if his recruiting profile explodes during the evaluation period, we think the Terps are in a very good spot. He could be on board with Randy Edsall’s program by late April or May. (ARTICLE).
Tyrone Hill, CB, Don Bosco: The Jersey native with a Terps offer returned to College Park for a second time April 11, and he left calling Maryland his top school. Hill, who also holds an Army verbal, said his relationship with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski; his comfort level on campus; the facilities/upgrades; and the chance to play Big Ten ball all resonated with him.
Hill will take in Army April 18, but Maryland has his firm attention for the time being.
Why do I say “for the time being?” Because Hill doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to pop. He’s content to go through the process, see what suitors arise during the spring live period, and perhaps even wait until his senior film is evaluated before popping.
Now, in all likelihood Hill is going to be caught in a numbers crunch, “forcing” him to commit earlier than intended, but we get the sense he’s pining for a bigwig scholarship. We’re not so sure the Penn States or the Michigan States of the world will actually pursue, but that seems to be where Hill’s mind is, despite his pro-Maryland comments.
That doesn’t mean Hill is feigning his Terps interest. Quite the contrary. We do think he likes UMD a good deal, but it’s just not a program he’s ready to commit to right away. (ARTICLE).
Eddy Fish, OL, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.): Fish visited Maryland for a spring practice back in March, and he enjoyed himself so much he came back two weeks later for the spring game. The 6-6-, 290-pounder said his second trip to College Park only helped solidify the strong feelings he already harbored for UMD.
Not only was he intently watching the Red and White squads go at it, honing in on the offensive linemen, but Fish loved reconnecting with the coaches and his former teammate at Lawrence Academy, Abner Logan. Fish said Logan let him know Maryland was a great school and a place he felt comfortable at, the conversation putting the lineman’s mind at ease.
“I’m thrilled with how [April 11] went, and I just can’t say enough about Maryland and the program there,” said Fish, who holds one offer from Temple. “It just reassured what I already thought about the school. Great school, great program, great people and a whole lot of pride. All of that came back to me [April 11], and it was just great to be out there.”
Fish lacks a firm Maryland verbal, but indications are one could materialize in the not-to-distant future (after all, Randy Edsall did follow him on Twitter). The Massachusetts tackle said line coach Greg Studrawa and area recruiter Keith Dudzinski have both suggested he’s offer-worthy, with the former set to watch Fish work out during the evaluation period.
And if said offer comes to fruition, it might not be long before Fish pops. He already called UMD his No. 1 choice, saying it would be a “real possibility” he could commit on the spot.
“I could definitely see myself there, whether that’s in the spring or later in the summer or fall. I’m about as high as can be on the school right now,” Fish said. “I just think Maryland is a great fit and I love everything about it. It’s already a great program, but I think it could be something special. I mean, I think Maryland can compete on a national level.”
Other programs in contact with Fish include Miami and Virginia, both of which he’d like to visit before making any sort of college decision. Boston College, Syracuse, Purdue, Wake Forest, UCF, Umass, UConn and Maryland and Temple have also expressed interest.
Expect Fish to select his school sometime this spring or summer, provided he has committable offers. (ARTICLE).
Tymar Sutton & Khaleke Hudson, McKeesport: The four-star Hudson, a top Terps target, didn’t grant a full interview following his Maryland visit, but he did text in a few comments, while his teammate, Sutton, chimed in.
Evidently the safety Hudson did have a good time on campus, talking up the facility upgrades and the coaching staff. Area recruiter Greg Studrawa had already been contact, and April 11 head coach Randy Edsall and defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski made their in-person pitches too.
According to Sutton, “Khaleke said he loved it there and he definitely wants to give [the Terps] more attention.”
Maybe so, but Hudson also has 20 other schools after him and seems to be favoring in-state Penn State and Pittsburgh, with the Nittany Lions holding the edge. It may only be a matter of time before he pledges to PSU.
Sutton himself doesn’t hold a Maryland offer yet, but it’s possible the Terps will make a run later this spring. Like Hudson, the linebacker Sutton has been in touch with Studrawa, who let the recruit know the staff thought he could play at the Big Ten level.
If Sutton, who the Terps project as an inside linebacker, does land a UMD scholarship, we do think he’d consider Maryland -- to some extent. He did have plenty of positive comments in regards to the staff, the weight room/player dorms, the Under Armour gear and the Maryland defense, but he also admitted West Virginia is the clear front-runner.
Sutton has held a WVU verbal for several months now, and he’s since visited Morgantown, W.Va., on multiple occasions. His longstanding relationship with the Mountaineers’ staff and affinity for the school and its fanbase may be too much for UMD -- or any other potential suitor -- to overcome should they pursue. (ARTICLE).
Aaron Mathews, WR, Clairton (Pa.): Mathews is relatively difficult to get ahold of, and all we were able to glean after his initial Maryland visit was he had a good time connecting with the coaches and touring the facilities. The four-star Mathews reportedly has UMD among his top four suitors, along with BC, Pitt and WVU, but other than that, it’s tough to tell where he’s at.
We’re told hometown Pitt may be the frontrunner, however, which makes sense considering he’s seen the Panthers’ campus several times. Mathews has also visited WVU and PSU, while he should be journeying to BC shortly.
But until we can speak to Mathews extensively, it’s all just speculation at this point. If we had to guess, though, the Clairton product probably will end up a Panther, unless his profile expands to include the country’s elites (see: Ohio State, Michigan).
TT Spring Tour: Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.)
Just as I’ve done the last several years, I will be driving around to local high schools in order to catch up with Terps targets and potential UMD targets during the spring evaluation period (and into the summer months as well). This year, I chose to begin the tour at Avalon since cornerback/receiver Trevon Diggs hadn’t been responding to media inquiries (other than in-person interviews) the last couple months.
So, after sitting down with Diggs April 15, the first day of the spring evaluation period, here’s what we learned:
1. Diggs is continuing to claim Alabama as his leader. He’s visited Tuscaloosa, Ala., twice and loved everything about head coach Nick Saban’s program.
2. He has visits to Auburn (April 18), Tennessee, FSU, Georgia, LSU and UCLA on his radar.
3. Diggs was at Maryland for a junior day and a basketball game back in February, but actually took another trip to campus in late March/early April, which went un-reported. He said he was able to “just catch up with the coaches again.”
4. Diggs has been to UMD so many times he really didn’t have anything enlightening to say about the program or the staff. The vibe is the Terps have done all they can to recruit him, while Diggs has seen everything he needs to in College Park.
5. Diggs is maintaining a close relationship with UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley.
6. On the DMV Movement: “It sounds good, but in reality you have to look at other things. It takes time to win championships and build a program. But it sounds good.” Translation: Diggs hardly came off as a true DMV-to-UMD proponent.
7. Diggs confirmed he and Dwayne Haskins are a package deal. They are currently working to nail down a date (likely June 1) and a venue.
8. Diggs wouldn’t claim any true standouts other than Bama and possibly Penn State (a school he recently visited), but said he and Haskins would be looking at Maryland, Auburn, Alabama and FSU.
9. Expect Diggs to take some, but not all, of his intended visits. He’ll likely announce his destination in late May or June 1.
10. Look for other DMV recruits and friends of Diggs and Haskins to either follow, or highly consider following, the pair to the college of their choosing. Those prospects include Tino Ellis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.), Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), Terrance Davis (DeMatha) and others.
Conclusion: Diggs didn’t sound like someone who would opt for Maryland all on his own, seemingly smitten by Bama and programs of that ilk.
But, we do think Diggs could come back around to the Terps if/when Dwayne Haskins assures him he’s College Park bound (provided Haskins remains on track to commit to UMD). In other words, Maryland’s best hope to land Diggs is if that package deal does indeed come to fruition. (INTERVIEW).
More Names To Know
Avalon head coach Tyree Spinner does well recruiting Montgomery County, and he typically has at least one high-Division I recruit every year. Besides Diggs, two more class of 2016 prospects to monitor this spring/summer are Joseph Maddox, a 6-3, 185-pound cornerback/receiver, and Isaiah Taylor, a 6-2, 230-pound middle linebacker. Both have impressive frames and games, and should procure offers once camp season hits.
The recruit to watch in the 2017 class is Isaiah Robinson, who has turned heads during combine season. A 6-3, 180-pound quarterback, Robinson has a big arm, above-average wheels and plenty of upside. We’re eager to see how he develops this fall.
More News & Notes
Noah Burks, ILB, Carmel (Ind.): Just a couple days after this Terps linebacker target told us he had no visits scheduled other than a College Park trip in May, he went ahead and set up a Wisconsin junket for April 19. The Badgers have not offered yet, but the staff has upped the interest and could very well extend a verbal upon Burks’ arrival.
Obviously, an offer of that magnitude could complicate things for UMD purposes. While Burks probably wouldn’t immediately place Wisconsin ahead of Maryland in the pecking order, the scholarship could signal he’s in for a windfall of Big Ten attention.
If the Badgers throw their names into the hat, we could envision a scenario where Burks scores offers from the likes of Notre Dame, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Vanderbilt and others.
For the moment, though, Burks is still high on UMD, and we’re inclined to leave him as “hot” on the hot board (or perhaps “very warm”). The Terps, as we detailed last week, are his favorite school given his relationship with area recruiter Chad Wilt, and the staff’s overarching message and straightforward approach. Burks is still eager to visit College Park for the first time in May, excited to see the campus and meet the coaches in person.
But, again, Burks does not intend to commit until forging through the official visit process, so there’s a ways to go before we can forecast him to Maryland. The Terps will undoubtedly have to fend off more than the likes of Indiana and Illinois, and possibly Wisconsin, for his services.
Devery Hamilton, OL/DL, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): We expect Maryland and Gilman recruiter Mike Locksley to make another potent push for Hamilton during this evaluation period, but from the look of things, it might not be enough. Hamilton, who is being recruited for both sides of the ball, is primarily focused on some of the country’s elite programs, namely Michigan, Stanford and Ohio State.
We promptly dropped Hamilton from “warm” to “cool” on the hot board following his Cardinal offer, and it turns out rightfully so. The Gilman lineman visited Palo Alto, Calif., with another DMV prospect recently, Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), and returned calling Stanford “my top school.” Much like Simms, who is also considered a heavy Cardinal lean, Hamilton couldn’t say enough about The Farm; the school’s renowned academics; and the staff.
It might only be a matter of time before Hamilton pops to Stanford, but before he does, he has several other visits lined up. Hamilton plans to return to Michigan in short order, and while he’s in the area he’ll likely check out OSU as well. Northwestern and possibly LSU are also on the radar.
Of the above, the Wolverines and Buckeyes are considered the primary players for his services, trailing only the Cardinal.
Now, Hamilton still has love for the hometown school (good relationship with Locksley, likes the school’s academics, opportunity to play close to his family), but barring some Locksley magic, we’re not forecasting him for College Park.
Look for Hamilton to choose his college destination later this summer.
Jauan Williams, OL, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): Once a primary DMV-to-UMD target, we get the distinct sense both Williams and the Terps are no longer connecting. Williams said the Maryland staff and recruiter Mike Locksley had not had much contact recently, nor has he been invited up to campus.
In fact, Williams hasn’t been in College Park since the fall, and has no plans of returning anytime soon. He is cognizant of The Movement that’s taken hold in the D.C. area, but Williams just isn’t as “hyped” about it as some other locals.
We’ll leave Williams on the hot board for now, but he could be removed at any time -- especially if the Terps land two more offensive tackle commitments from Terek Zingale and Eddy Fish.
As far as where Williams stands with other suitors, he’s focused on Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Auburn and Tennessee, all of which he’s visited. This summer, he wants to check out Michigan, Michigan State, Virginia and Virginia Tech, in addition to others that may crop up.
The D.C. lineman isn’t choosing his school until Signing Day, so there’s a ways to go, but it’s really not worth tracking him closely if you’re a UMD fan.
Mackenzie Nworah, OL, Manvel (Texas): We checked in with this Terps offeree earlier this week, and the emerging Texas guard is still scheduled to fly into College Park May 29 or sooner. Nworah continues to exchange messages with UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell, who plans to foray through Manvel in the coming weeks. The Lone Star State guard said Maryland’s academic reputation, Big Ten affiliation and need for beef up front has him intrigued, so he “definitely” wants to follow through with a trip.
That’s an encouraging sign for the Terps, but we’re not so sure Nworah will be this year’s Mbi Tanyi. Unlike Tanyi, who held Conference USA offers, Nworah is bound to blow up during the evaluation period.
Texas Tech, Purdue, Arizona State, Boston College and Missouri have all offered since UMD came through, with the Red Raiders holding plenty of juice. Nworah is scheduled to see Texas Tech in the next week or two, and it wouldn’t surprise us at all if he declared it a leader following said trip.
Elias Reynolds, LB, Poly Prep (Brooklyn, N.Y.): I briefly touched base with this 6-3, 230-pound Terps target, Reynolds letting me know he couldn’t be in College Park this week, but “definitely wanted to get down very soon.” Reynolds didn’t pinpoint an exact date, but said the trip would most likely occur in late April/early May.
Syracuse and Rutgers presumably lead for Reynolds, but the New York backer insists he’s keeping an open mind. He’s typically honest about how he views certain programs (for example, he just saw Boston College April 9, but admitted he wasn’t all that thrilled with the Eagles), and while the Terps might not be No. 1, he does have an affinity for the program.
UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, who is set to visit Reynolds’ school next week or the week after, has done well pitching the program, emphasizing its academics; internship opportunities; and the chance to play Big Ten ball.
We’ll see what kind of traction the Terps can gain following his initial trek through College Park.
Patrice Rene, CB, Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.): We kept the Canadian four-star Rene on the hot board for an extended period, but it’s about time to remove him, even though he visited College Park with his team for a spring practice. The standout defensive back, who is in touch with UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell, just isn’t feeling the Terps with the SEC coming after him, and other programs making distinct impressions.
Right now, Ohio State may lead for Rene’s services, while Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Duke, Vanderbilt, Penn State and Rutgers seem to be trending too. Moreover, Rene has no plans to return to College Park anytime soon, opting instead for a southern swing through SEC country this summer.
Greg Ross, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): In last week's Shell, we suggested that Ross, who visited Maryland April 9, would be returning to College Park with his family this week, with the intention of committing. Potomac head coach Ron Crump said Randy Edsall, Mike Locksley and Co. wanted to meet Ross' relatives as soon as possible, giving them the lowdown on UMD before securing a pop.
Well, apparently Ross and his folks are still trying to coordinate a return trip, perhaps for later in April. And when they do eventually make it to campus, we expect the bat signal to go off. Although Ross has several other prominent suitors in play (Wisconsin, WVU, Va Tech, UNC, Boston College, Iowa), the sense is he's Maryland's to lose.
New Offers Out
Lamont Wade, ATH, Clairton (Pa.): The Terps extended an offer to this elite class of 2017 two-way star. Maryland was already pursuing Wade’s teammate, receiver Aaron Mathews, so it makes sense they’re going after Clairton’s sophomore star too.
But Wade is going to be a much more difficult pull than even Mathews is. Ohio State and Penn State are both all over this guy, and the Buckeyes may be the early leader in the clubhouse. Wade has visited both Columbus, Ohio, and State College, Pa., and has readily taken to both Big Ten powers.
Note: Several other recruits reported Terps offers this week, including 2017 lineman C.J. Thorpe (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh, Pa.), 2016 linebacker Paddy Fisher (Katy, Texas), 2016 safety Chris Brown (Alief Elsik/Houston, Texas) and possibly more, but we reported on each in past Shells following Randy Edsall Twitter follows. We’ll offer up more information on Maryland’s most recent nationally-rated offerees -- if the staff makes deeper inroads.
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