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
Another week, another update from the Bullis triggerman. Haskins, all smiles after winning the MVP at The Opening D.C. in Clifton, Va., April 19, didn’t vary much from last week’s comments, when he took in Maryland’s spring game.
Haskins once again discussed The Movement, saying how “a lot of guys [locals] are talking about it” and “it’s a real possibility.” He called College Park, Md., a “great place,” noting how he and head coach Randy Edsall are “really close,” while he’s taken to recruiter Mike Locksley and his offense as well. Haskins also appreciates how the Terps have made him a priority, choosing not to pursue any other quarterbacks.
Haskins has already visited Maryland multiple times in the last couple months, and it’s likely he’ll return at least once more before announcing his commitment in late May/early June.
The other players involved with Haskins have all been previously discussed: Notre Dame, Florida, Rutgers and Virginia Tech. Haskins will return to hometown Rutgers April 24, trek down to Virginia Tech for a second time April 25, and then fly out to Notre Dame and Florida at some point in May.
The Scarlet Knights hold sentimental appeal and give him a chance to play with his Jersey friends; the Gators offer an opportunity to start early in the SEC; the Irish’s tradition and offensive system stands out; and Tech’s experienced quarterbacks’ coach has Haskins’ attention.
Two more comments of note:
1. Haskins said it wasn’t that important for him to start right away in college. He said he’d welcome the opportunity to compete with other quarterbacks. (This would seem to bode well for Notre Dame.)
2. Haskins said he wasn’t overly concerned with gathering a following before he pops. Although he is recruiting his friends to join him in college, Haskins said, “I don’t really need a following. They’ll come if they really want to be with me.” (INTERVIEW).
TT Spring Tour: Clear Spring (Md.)/Fisher On Board
That didn’t take long.
A little more than 24 hours after securing a Maryland offer April 21, Joey Fisher committed to the Terps late April 22. The 6-4, 250-pound defensive end was practically off the grid prior to said verbal, first because he suits up for a tiny school in Western Maryland and secondly because he didn’t play a single down last year. Fisher suffered a torn labrum late during his sophomore season, and thanks to a delayed surgical procedure, missed the entire 2014 campaign.
Thus, he received little recruiting attention and no firm offers heading into the spring evaluation period. But apparently Maryland area recruiter and defensive line coach Chad Wilt liked what he saw when he watched Fisher work out April 20, and a day later Randy Edsall gave his blessing too, putting the scholarship on the table.
Fisher, who visited College Park back in March and raved about it, said he was at a loss for words when Wilt let him know about the offer. The Clear Spring recruit considered committing on the spot, but decided he’d rather wait until returning to campus with his parents sometime in May.
So much for that.
After messaging Wilt April 22, Fisher decided he didn’t need to go back down to College Park to give Edsall his word. He talked to his parents late that evening, spoke to Edsall on the phone and opted to pop.
The chance to play at the Division I level for the hometown school (he grew up in Prince George’s County) was probably enough to convince Fisher, but the edge rusher also readily took to the Terps’ staff; the players; the campus; and the facilities.
So, really, his commitment was a mere formality.
Now, can he play? Well, obviously Wilt and Co. think he can. It’s a tough call since he doesn’t have any junior film, but his sophomore tape suggested this 5-technique has some upside to him.
He’s quick off the ball, has nimble feet, uses his hands well and actively disengages. Fisher shows solid lateral agility, is a good wrap-up tackler and also allows little leaky yardage.
True, Fisher didn’t play against the best competition Maryland had to offer, and it’s obvious he has to get stronger; play with better leverage; vary his rush moves; hone his technique; and continue bulking up, but there are tools to work with here.
I trekked up to Clear Spring April 23 to get Fisher on camera. You can view the interview here: INTERVIEW.
My article on Fisher's offer and impending commitment can be read here: ARTICLE.
The Opening D.C.
The Opening D.C. April 19 at Centreville High School (Clifton, Va.) featured more than 200 Division I recruits, including a number of prime Terps targets. It was impossible to speak to every prospect with a hint of UMD interest, but here’s what I was able to take away from the event:
Dwayne Haskins, QB, Bullis (Potomac, Md.): See above.
Trevon Diggs, CB/WR, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): Just a few days after telling me he was all set to commit in late May or early June, the Avalon athlete Diggs decided to push his decision date all the way until January. At first blush that sounds like a head scratcher, but Diggs realized he couldn’t take all of his intended trips before his pre-summer announcement. Moreover, after Sept. 1 he’s allowed to turn some of those visits into officials, which he’ll undoubtedly take advantage of.
Diggs, who was unable to see Auburn April 18 as he would’ve liked, wants to check out the Eagles, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgia and LSU, among others that may crop up between now and then.
As far as where his recruitment stands right now, Diggs is maintaining Alabama as his leader. He showed up in a Tide hat April 19, and continued to talk up Tuscaloosa, Ala., after two campus forays this offseason.
I put a few feelers out there to see if Bama head coach Nick Saban would really keep Diggs’ offer on the table until January, and the consensus was he would. Even though there are some questions surrounding Diggs’ game, his length, speed, athleticism and upside are enough to keep him on most boards throughout the recruiting process.
If the Tide rolls on without Diggs, though, he still has plenty of attractive suitors. Penn State has long been a staple, while Florida, Auburn, Clemson, Georgia and Miami have been mentioned in conjunction with Diggs before. LSU could be another potential player as Diggs said he's thinking about visiting Louisiana this summer.
And then there’s Maryland, which we still think has a shot to bring in Stefon Diggs’ younger brother. (In fact, the Terps may have an even great chance now, since some of the Avalon product’s current favorites could have their spots filled by next January.)
Despite what he says in interviews, Diggs has much love for the hometown school, his relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall remaining strong. At The Opening D.C., for example, he was spotted throwing up a Maryland “M” in a photo with UMD pledge D.J. Turner (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) and Dwayne Haskins.
Diggs may just be flat out tired of talking about the Terps, which is why he’s sounded rather aloof when discussing them these days. So, best bet is just to let the process play out, allow Diggs to soak in college football’s royalty, and then see if Locksley and Co., can close this deal in January.
And don’t forget -- Diggs intends to attend the same college as his good friend Haskins (though we’re naturally skeptical of all package deals these days). The quarterback, as aforementioned, plans to choose his destination in late May/early June, so perhaps, if Haskins follows through with a Maryland pledge, it will get Diggs’ mind back on DMV-to-UMD as well.
Maybe sooner rather than later.
Greg Ross, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Speaking of odd situations to wrap your head around… Greg Ross caused quite a commotion among us media members April 19 when he told three different reporters three different stories.
To start the day, Ross said North Carolina was his No. 1 choice, followed in no particular order by Maryland, WVU, Va Tech and Wisconsin. Later on, in another conversation, the Potomac corner intimated he had no leaders, placing each of the aforementioned five on an even plane.
Finally, following the camp, Ross told me on camera Maryland, and not North Carolina, actually held the upper-hand. And that was all before Ross took to Twitter that very same night to release a public top five, in order, of UNC, Wisconsin, Va Tech, Maryland and WVU.
So, what are we to make of that? Well, at least he stayed consistent with the five contenders. But, beyond that, all we can go off of is what we’ve heard from Ross’ coaches and other sources.
Personally, I got the vibe Ross had the Terps on the brain, with my contacts corroborating those feelings. Even so, it’s strange Ross then came out and placed the Tar Heels atop his list -- unless he was trying to throw everyone off (certainly a possibility).
We’ll go with UMD on this one, followed closely by UNC and Wisconsin, but nothing would shock us at this point.
It does help Maryland’s chances that Ross and his family will be visiting College Park one more time, likely at some point next week. He has no other scheduled trips beyond the latter one.
Ross is set to announce his choice May 2, so you won’t have to wait long for this saga’s conclusion. (INTERVIEW).
Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): We’ve spoken to Davis quite frequently, and we still feel the Terps are in position to pounce by the time the DeMatha prospect is ready to pledge. This despite Davis declaring Michigan as his leader, lauding new head coach Jim Harbaugh and the Big House following an April jaunt to Ann Arbor, Mich.
Whenever Davis is asked about recruiting, he almost always mentions the Terps as one of his foremost suitors, saying, “They always will be very high on my list.” The fact College Park is close to home; the chance to build the local school into a Big Ten stalwart; the opportunity to spur DMV-to-UMD; and his relationship with Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley (“Two great guys, great recruiters. I probably have the best relationship with them,” Davis said) all resonate.
Plus it was rather telling when Davis laughed after I brought up his cousin, Maryland commit Lorenzo Harrison, the big guard commenting that, “Lo doesn’t like me talking about any other college [except Maryland].”
Davis, though, will undoubtedly be pumping up other schools following an extended summer tour, but we fully expect him to have Terps on the brain come next December.
At the same time, we do think the Wolverines will be involved throughout too, securing an official visit following his senior season. The DeMatha lineman will also be checking out Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Georgia and Tennessee this summer -- with an official to UCLA likely after Sept. 1 -- and some of those teams figure to become prime contenders too.
Indeed, Davis said the Bruins, Tide, Seminoles and Vols are some of his most ardent pursuers, so we’ll have to see what he’s thinking following trips to each. (INTERVIEW).
Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): We thought we knew the deal with Tino Ellis by now, but apparently he’s started to waver a bit post-April 19 discussion. The four-star receiver is standing by the main four standouts -- Maryland, Rutgers, Virginia Tech, West Virginia -- for the time being, but the list is subject to change in the months ahead. Evidently the Stags’ receiver is hearing more and more from Miami, Tennessee and Ohio State, all of which could enter the Ellis sweepstakes should they offer.
So now, in addition to returning to UMD, RU, Tech and WVU in the next couple months, Ellis also wants to see the Canes, Vols and Buckeyes. On top of that, the DeMatha recruit hinted he could be pushing back his intended July 31 commitment date, while an announcement at College Park hangout R.J. Bentley’s is “up in the air.”
Regardless of all the rigmarole, we do believe the Terps remain in a good spot. Not only has the DeMatha wideout visited UMD several times this offseason, most recently with his father, but he wants to come back so his mom can see College Park.
Ellis also noted the strong relationship he has with area recruiter Mike Locksley and Randy Edsall, mentioning how the coaches have stressed, “That I can have an impact right away [at Maryland].” Ellis went on to say he’s “definitely feeling the hometown movement” and that teammates-turned-Terps commits D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison are constantly in his ear.
One slightly bothersome comment Ellis made, however, was that Rutgers and Va Tech coaches were recruiting him the hardest. Ellis said the Scarlet Knights’ and Hokies’ potent push meant a good deal to him, leading us to believe the Baltimore native is still mulling his situation over (the introduction of Miami, Tennessee and OSU lends credence to that theory).
The DeMatha receiver was just in Piscataway, N.J., earlier in April, and it’s clear the trip vaulted Rutgers into contention. Meanwhile, Ellis, who visited Blacksburg, Va., back in February, has been talking up the Hokies for months, at one time declaring them his leader.
As things stand right now, we think it’ll be a tight race between Maryland, Rutgers, Va Tech and potentially Miami (we’ll see if Ohio State actually offers. If Urban Meyer antes up, watch out), but we are giving the Terps an edge. (INTERVIEW).
Devery Hamilton, OL, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): The Terps were seemingly losing ground for the Gilman two-way lineman Hamilton, but he suggested April 19 the hometown school is firmly in play. Hamilton divulged that while Stanford and Michigan may be the frontrunners, Maryland and Wisconsin can’t be discounted (and may even be tied with SU and UM).
Hamilton checked out Palo Alto, Calif., a couple weeks back, so it’s no shock he’s talking up the Cardinal. He previously said Stanford was his top school, and we do think that statement remains true.
But before Hamilton pops, he wants to see Michigan again, in addition to Wisconsin (no previous trip) and possibly Ohio State (no offer or previous trip).
Why no Maryland? The Baltimore recruit has been in College Park a number of times, so he doesn’t feel the need to return right away. That figures to change, however, at the urging of recruiter Mike Locksley, who stopped by Gilman this week. Hamilton said Locksley has stayed in consistent contact with him, and that relationship, along with Maryland being the hometown school and a solid academic institution, is keeping the Terps in the game.
We’re not inclined to elevate Hamilton above “warm” on the hot board with Stanford and Michigan involved, but this is a situation worth monitoring.
Aaron Hansford, S, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): So apparently Hansford isn’t about to be coaxed into a rushed college decision, which is good news for Maryland aficionados. The St. John’s safety/outside linebacker has been sitting on an Ohio State offer since late March, but he insists he won’t pop until he completes December officials.
Hansford remains in communication with the Buckeyes and is planning a return trip to Columbus, Ohio, in June, but Penn State, Duke and Michigan State are also pursuing him. The Nittany Lions are apparently right in the thick of things with former teammate Ayron Monroe on him. Hansford was just in State College, Pa., April 4 and should be heading back in June or July.
For the moment, the Terps are lurking on the fringes, maybe sitting fifth or sixth in the pecking order. That said, Hansford has regular exchanges with area recruiter Mike Locksley and Randy Edsall, and he does have plenty of positive comments about the Terps whenever he’s specifically asked about them. He hasn’t visited College Park in quite some time, which isn’t a particularly great sign for UMD purposes, but perhaps Locksley and Co. can convince him to drive over to campus this summer.
Let’s see how much traction the Terps can gain in the months ahead.
Richard Merritt, OG, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): The four-star Merritt isn’t picking his college until January or February, so his recruitment will undoubtedly change in the future, but for now it looks like Florida State, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Maryland and Tennessee are all in play. FSU is the current leader, and Merritt will be visiting Tallahassee this June, along with Miami and UF if he has time. Trips to Tennessee, Va Tech, Bama and Auburn are also likely this summer.
Merritt has seen College Park once this spring and should be returning when he has a free day. Terps area recruiter Mike Locksley, who is stopping by Carroll next week, has a strong relationship with Merritt and continues to make inroads. As we mentioned in previous Shells, the starry-eyed D.C. guard seems to be warming up to the possibility of staying home for college.
Since Merritt’s nowhere close to committing, it doesn’t matter exactly where the Terps sit in the pecking order right now, just so long as they’re in the picture. And we believe if DMV-to-UMD starts gaining momentum, with a number of elite locals jump on board between now and January, Merritt could very well join them in College Park.
Kyle Taylor, LB, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): The linebacker from nearby Gonzaga isn’t wont for media attention, and he’s just as reserved in person. Taylor, who pulled a Maryland offer at the beginning of March, didn’t offer too much insight into his recruitment, although the vibe is he’s not exactly focused on UMD (or vice versa).
Taylor has said all the right things about the Terps, mentioning The Movement and the chance to represent his hometown school, but it sounds like Virginia Tech, Iowa and possibly Wisconsin lead at this time. The only visit Taylor’s taken this offseason was to Blacksburg, and the Hokies may be standing out following the trip. Iowa -- where Taylor’s brother, Myles, attends -- and Wisconsin will be recipients of Midwest summer jaunts.
It’s certainly conceivable Taylor could check out nearby College Park as well, but we just don’t get the sense there’s a ton of mutual interest. Maybe the situation will change after Maryland area recruiter Mike Locksley treks through Gonzaga this spring.
No matter where the Terps stand, there should be time for other suitors to work into the mix. Since he’s taken just the one trip, Taylor’s recruitment remains in the infant stages. He’s claiming no standouts and said he has no timetable for selecting a school.
Darryl Turner, Slot, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Turner won receiver MVP at The Opening D.C., continuing to prove he measures up against elite competition. More importantly, though, Turner reassured us he is, and will remain, a firm Maryland pledge -- regardless of what staffs ante up between now and Signing Day. We’ll never declare any commitment a “sure thing” since the Jared Cohen situation a few years ago, but Turner sounds like he’s locked in.
Turner, along with teammate LoLo Harrison, have been actively recruiting Terrance Davis, Tino Ellis and other area recruits to Maryland, the two pledges proving to be major proponents of DMV-to-UMD. (INTERVIEW).
Keandre Jones, LB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Like Turner, Jones is on board with Randy Edsall’s program with no intentions of reopening his recruitment. Jones had the chance to see Ohio State and Michigan earlier this offseason, but reneged because, “I’m a Terp.” When I asked Jones if anything could cause him to back away from his pledge, he smiled and said, “I’m a Terp, I’m a Terp, I’m a Terp.”
Jones is in the process of recruiting several of his younger teammates to Maryland, namely top 2017 talents Jordan Anthony and Joshua Paschal. Both Anthony and Paschal hold Terps offers and have UMD on their minds early. (INTERVIEW).
Joseph Goff, DT, Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.): This Terps’ defensive tackle offeree never came across as being all that enthused about Maryland, even after receiving the verbal and subsequently visiting March 28. Typically, after tripping to campus, prospects will say something like, “Oh they’re right up there,” or, “They’re definitely under consideration.” But Goff said Maryland “might” be in his top five, behind the likes of Wake Forest; Vanderbilt; Navy; and Virginia Tech.
I kept Goff on the hot board for a few weeks, figuring the Terps would at least be able to jump Wake, Navy and possibly Vandy in the pecking order, but no dice. After speaking to Goff at The Opening D.C., he reiterated that Tech, Navy and Wake were firmly on the brain, with his fourth standout now being North Carolina.
Goff also said he had no plans to return to College Park this summer or fall.
We removed him from the hot board.
Josh Ball, OT, Stafford (Fredericksburg, Va.): It was about time to remove this longtime Maryland offensive line target from the hot board too. Ball hadn’t been giving UMD more than cursory mention in interviews recently, and it’s pretty clear he’s focused on other suitors.
True, he remains in contact with Maryland offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and said the Terps were among the teams pushing the hardest for him. But reality is he hasn’t been on campus since the winter and hasn’t indicated he’d be returning this spring/summer either.
Ball just picked up an FSU offer, and it sounds like it could’ve been a game-changer. He was noticeably excited about the chance to play for the ACC power, and now intends to see Tallahassee in June or July.
Penn State is another Ball favorite, while in-state UVA, which the tackle just trekked to, continues to hold weight, as do Virginia Tech and West Virginia. The latter was considered a front-runner at one time, and Ball will give the Mountaineers another chance to leave an impression when he re-visits Morgantown, W.Va., April 25.
Look for Ball to choose his college destination in July or August.
Eric Burrell, S, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Maryland has yet to make a move on the local safety Burrell, and at this point we don’t see it happening. Maybe UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski will push for an offer during the evaluation period, but it might be too little too late.
Burrell’s recruitment has been humming right along sans Terps scholarship, and he now has Nebraska, Duke, Pitt, UVA, Va Tech, Wisconsin, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Iowa, UConn and BC in play. The McDonogh prospect visited the Blue Devils and Deacons recently, and talked up both programs following each trip. Duke, in particular, is making a concerted effort with Burrell, and the safety is apparently listening.
Rutgers and Wisconsin are also firmly on Burrell’s radar, and he’s planning trips to Piscataway and Madison, Wisc., this summer. Nebraska, which just offered, might enter the mix for a visit as well.
Burrell did say his recruitment could change, so there’s a chance more programs could become involved. We’ll see what develops later this spring, but for now we’re inclined to remove him from the hot board.
Sulaiman Kamara, DT, Hermitage (Richmond, Va.): We’ve mentioned Kamara, who checked out a Terps junior day, on several occasions, and it just doesn’t seem like Maryland is all that interested. Kamara suggested previously that defensive line coach Chad Wilt liked his game and a UMD verbal would be forthcoming, but in the month-plus since, the Hermitage plugger hasn’t heard a peep.
There may be time for Maryland to get involved if they deem Kamara offer-worth during the evaluation period, but currently the Virginia lineman is looking elsewhere.
Wake Forest is making a serious run and is Kamara’s most ardent pursuer, while Duke is in the thick of things as well. It wouldn’t surprise us if he popped to one of those two schools before the summer’s out.
Abdul Adams, RB, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): Adams believes Maryland has offered, and the D.C. product said the Terps are still in the game for his services. He continues to talk up the hometown movement, said he’s had conversations with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and likes the idea of playing his college ball close to home.
But we’re led to believe the UMD staff has not extended the scholarship to this point, and probably won’t do so in time to land Adams (if the Terps even want him). The Woodson back has Michigan State far out front, and he’s set to drop by Ann Arbor April 24. Should the Spartans accept his pledge, he could very well pop to MSU while on campus.
Oklahoma, Kentucky, Indiana and Iowa are also involved with Adams if Michigan State falls through. (ARTICLE).
Jauan Williams, OT, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): I mentioned last week that Jauan Williams and Maryland were no longer seeing eye to eye, and after speaking to Williams at The Opening D.C., I confirmed that suspicion. Williams admitted he no longer has much, if any, contact with the Terps. He has not visited campus since the fall and has no plans to in the future.
Tennessee has his attention following a trip to Knoxville, Tenn., while Alabama, Ohio State and Florida are on his mind too.
Williams has been removed from the hot board.
Shane Simmons, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): I briefly spoke to this longtime Penn State commit April 19, and Simmons reaffirmed he was “100 percent” on board with the Nittany Lions. Simmons said he still hears from other schools, including UMD, from time to time, but he has no intentions of flipping. We’ll see if that holds up all the way until Signing Day.
Class of 2017 Terps Target News
I was able to catch up with four local class of 2017 Maryland targets at The Opening D.C.:
Jordan Anthony, OLB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): This emerging outside linebacker/safety holds offers from Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky and UMD. He said he “definitely “ has Maryland in play since he has teammates heading to College Park, likes the entire idea of The Movement, and his relationship with the staff following visits to Maryland.
Clemson, which Anthony wants to see this summer, is another school that’s caught his eye, while he’s hoping to secure a Michigan offer. Anthony has also seen Kentucky and liked what he saw in Lexington. (INTERVIEW).
Joshua Paschal, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Paschal has offers from Ohio State, Maryland, Clemson and Kentucky. Like his teammate, Anthony, Paschal had plenty of praise for the hometown school, mentioning the chance to play in front of family; DMV-to-UMD; and more.
But Paschal also said that Ohio State has his attention following a visit, intimating the Buckeyes currently lead for his services. Kentucky, which also left an impression after Paschal saw Lexington, and Clemson are firmly in play too. (INTERVIEW).
Nathan Proctor, OLB, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): Proctor actually does not hold a Maryland offer to this point, but he figures to secure one in short order. If/when the Terps throw their name into the hat, they’ll be joining Georgia, Miami, Illinois, Pitt, Rutgers, Toledo, Temple and others that are already involved.
Proctor hasn’t really delved into the recruiting process yet, so it was hard to get a real read on him, although he did say Georgia was a “dream” offer and is hoping to secure Alabama, FSU and Auburn scholarships.
Proctor has been in College Park before, but he hasn’t been in touch with the staff much, if at all. He also didn’t have too much to say about UMD in general, nor did he know much about the program.
The Terps haven’t always pursued Southern Maryland’s best prospects for various reasons, so we’ll see how much of a push the staff makes here. (ARTICLE).
Jordan McNair, OT, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): The four-star McNair is about to blow up. He now claims verbals from Maryland, Ohio State and Penn State, and more of that ilk will undoubtedly be streaming in this spring and summer.
McNair, who has visited College Park a couple times this offseason, has much love for UMD, however. The Terps were the first to offer, and the staff did well to jump on him as a freshman. McNair already has a relationship with Maryland area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, and the two figure to remain in touch throughout the recruiting process.
At the same time, the Terps will have to fend off the Big Ten bigwigs. The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions both have McNair’s ear, and the McDonogh product plans to check out both this summer (he’s seen PSU once before).
More Observations From The Opening D.C.
-- Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) 2016 cornerback Damon Hayes, who has an impressive 6-2, 190-pound frame, won defensive back MVP honors April 19. I actually wrote about Hayes a few months back after he transferred into Wise, and touched base again following The Opening D.C.
Hayes said he didn’t have any offers yet and was just starting to hear from college coaches. We’re not sure whether or not Maryland will make a run, but perhaps area recruiter Mike Locksley will take note of him this spring. He’s a name to pay attention to this camp season.
-- Dunbar (Baltimore, Md.) 2016 receiver Daelun Darien is going to blow up on the recruiting trail. He’s flown under the radar thus far, but his frame alone (6-4, 195 pounds) will ensure he secures a number of Division I offers. Rutgers has already anted up, while Pitt, WVU, Tennessee, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Clemson and others have taken notice.
Darien and his coach said Maryland hasn’t become involved yet, however, and we’re not sure the Terps will actually pursue for various reasons (read between the lines here, folks).
-- Linganore (Frederick, Md.) 2016 running back Dante Butler is quite a talent, much like his older brother, Philip Butler, who the Terps tracked a couple years back but chose not to offer due to NCAA Clearinghouse issues. Dante Butler, meanwhile, may have some issues that preclude Maryland’s staff from pursuing as well.
So far Butler has no firm offers, and he may have to prep a year before trying his hand at a four-year college.
More News & Notes
Noah Burks, LB, Carmel (Ind.): We let you know this Terps’ linebacker target had set up an impromptu visit to Wisconsin last week, and apparently it was worth the trip north. At the very end of his stay in Madison, Burks pulled in a coveted Badgers offer, prompting him to name Wisconsin his new No. 1, supplanting Maryland.
Even so, we’re not ready to write the Terps -- previously Burks’ top school, ahead of Indiana, Illinois and several MAC programs -- off yet. Burks still seems to be keeping an open mind and is scheduled to visit College Park for the first time May 29. Moreover, UMD area recruiter Chad Wilt, who has a terrific rapport with Burks, was just in Carmel during this evaluation period, keeping the linebacker’s mind on Maryland.
But we’ll know more about where Burks stands later this spring. It’s conceivable other Big Ten programs (Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, etc.) could jump into the fray shortly, and, if so, the Carmel product could be singing a different tune altogether by mid-May.
Koby Quansah, LB, Kingswood Regional (West Hartford, Conn.): Despite a strong effort from UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, who should be making his way through West Hartford, Conn., this spring, and a standout visit to College Park last month, the Terps look to be on the outside looking in for Quansah.
The four-star linebacker recently discussed his situation with a couple Scout reporters, failing to mention Maryland as a primary contender. Even when asked about his most recent trips, he forgot about UMD, recalling instead North Carolina, Boston College, Duke and Rutgers.
Quansah currently has the Blue Devils atop his leaderboard, though that’s subject to change. Michigan, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin and Boston College have his eye among his other suitors, while he’s pining for a Stanford verbal. If the Cardinal offer – and it sounds like they will once Quansah visits – the Connecticut product could very well pop while in Palo Alto.
But Quansah does want to take official visits, so his recruitment is bound to ebb and flow. Either way, we’re not forecasting him to Maryland at the moment. We’ll leave him on the hot board as “cool” for now.
Donald Stewart, WR, Paramus (N.J.): It’s been more than two months since Stewart said he’d be visiting College Park, and it still hasn’t come to fruition. Nor does the Jersey receiver sound like he’ll be following through moving forward, which is why we’ve removed him from the hot board.
Stewart, who has been in touch with UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, had ample opportunities to drive down to Maryland, but instead chose to see Syracuse, UVA, Va Tech, Duke, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Rutgers, Stanford and California.
Stewart also conducted a couple interviews this week after landing a Michigan offer, and not once did he mention the Terps as a primary contender. Our guess is Stewart will probably focus on the Wolverines, a program he’s set to see in May, along with Northwestern, Duke, Rutgers and Syracuse, among others that may emerge. The Don Bosco wideout is hearing from Ohio State and Notre Dame too, both of which he’ll be checking out in late April/early May.
Chandler Reeves, OT, Eagle’s Landing Christian (McDonough, Ga.): The Terps have been trying to get this Georgia offeree on campus for a couple months now, but so far the 6-6, 260-pounder has been unable to trip north. Reeves’ most recent target date was April 24, but he let me know earlier this week he was reneging on that intended visit.
I didn’t get the sense Reeves was blowing Maryland off, however. He said he still exchanges messages regularly with UMD area recruiter Lyndon Johnson, and the two actually spoke April 21 to set up a summer trip to College Park. Reeves said he “definitely” still has interest in checking out the school and should have time to drive up once school is out.
By that time, however, Maryland’s offensive tackle spots may be filled. The Terps are hot on the trail of Terek Zingale (Nordonia/Macedonia, Ohio) and possibly Eddy Fish (Lawrence Academy/Groton, Mass.), who is still hoping for a Maryland offer, and if both wind up popping to Randy Edsall it’s unlikely the headman would accept a Reeves pledge too.
It should also be noted that Reeves holds a California offer and visited Berkley earlier in April. He raved about the Bears’ program, and the sense is Cal could lead for his services -- if Reeves is comfortable playing so far from home.
Reeves, though, is in no rush to end his recruitment. He wants to see what staffs show interest during the evaluation period, and if nothing significant materializes (he’s looking for a hometown Georgia Tech offer), he’ll likely send out senior film to see what comes of that.
In the meantime, Reeves is in the process of scheduling a few summer visits.
If College Park is one of those visits, and Maryland has openings, the Terps would seem to have a solid shot at landing him. Let’s see what develops the next couple months.
Nik Urban, OG, South HS (Willoughby, Ohio): Urban, a Terps offeree, told us last week he hoped to visit College Park for the first time in May. Well, that’s no longer going to happen after he popped to Northwestern while in Evanston, Ill., April 19.
Which, honestly, wasn’t a surprise. Urban had publically stated that Northwestern and Duke were his No. 1 and No. 2 choices, mainly because of the universities’ renowned academics. But the Blue Devils evidently filled up their offensive line spots, meaning Urban’s offer was no longer on the table. Thus, with his hand forced a bit, Urban quickly accepted the Wildcats’ verbal before that option fell by the wayside as well.
Urban spoke highly of Maryland and area recruiter Greg Studrawa, but we never got the sense the Terps were any higher than third or fourth on the Ohio product’s favorites list.
Tyliek Raynor, RB, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): After touching base with Raynor earlier this week I chose to remove him from the hot board. He didn’t come right out and say it, but I got the sense UMD area recruiter John Dunn really hadn’t been in touch with him, and the Terps may not have even extended a firm offer. Maybe that’s part of the reason why Raynor chose not to visit College Park for a spring practice last month.
Raynor said Temple, a longstanding offeree, continues to hold his attention, while he’ll be checking out West Virginia this spring as well. The hometown Owls will probably be his destination before it’s all said and done.
Naseir Upshur, TE, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): A part of me doesn’t even want to acknowledge this, but news is news and I’m obligated to report it. The four-star Imhotep tight end and Terps target opted to release a top 13 list April 21, which, I suppose, is better than a top 20.
The list, in no order, reads like this: Alabama, Arizona State, FSU, Miami, Michigan State, Michigan, PSU, South Carolina, Maryland, Temple, USC, Rutgers and Wisconsin.
Maryland, as expected, did make the cut, though where UMD sits among 13 is anyone’s guess (probably somewhere in the middle). Upshur does seem to have genuine interest in the Terps given that he’s visited College Park several times, has stayed in communication with area recruiter John Dunn, and has heard constant pro-UMD overtures from teammate/Maryland signee D.J. Moore.
But the staff’s best chance of landing the tight end is to first pull in his friend, Dwayne Haskins, and then have the Bullis quarterback go to work on Upshur. Even then, it’s no guarantee the Imhotep recruit will wind up in College Park.
Miami is the frontrunner right now, while Alabama, Arizona State, Michigan and perhaps a couple others are in the thick of things. Upshur, however, does not plan to commit until after taking official visits, so there’s a long way to go in this recruitment.
New Offers Out
Zach Adams, OT, Riverbend (Fredericksburg, Va.): This 6-6, 320-pounder added a Maryland offer April 20, a day before area recruiter Chad Wilt trekked to Riverbend to watch him work out. Adams previously held offers from UVA and Air Force, so he was extremely appreciative when a Big Ten school like UMD anted up. (He landed his second Big Ten offer from Illinois a day later).
Adams hadn’t really been in touch with the Maryland coaches much, but he did visit College Park back in March, lauding the school; the facility upgrades; and the staff’s straightforward approach. Maryland’s strong academic reputation, coupled with Randy Edsall’s emphasis on the latter, appealed to him as well.
We do believe Adams, who plans to return to Maryland in June, will keep the Terps in mind throughout the recruiting process, but in-state Virginia is the team to beat. The Wahoos were the first program to offer Adams, which clearly resonated with him. Moreover, he’s been in Charlottesville, Va., on multiple occasions and likes the idea of representing his hometown school.
Other schools that could potentially enter the mix include Tennessee, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, NC State, West Virginia and Pittsburgh. Wilt and UMD will be making a run, however, so we’ll see how it plays out. (ARTICLE).
Tommy Carnifax, DE, Howland (Warren, Ohio): One of the Terps’ Midwest-area recruiters, Greg Studrawa, who trekked through Ohio this week, let Carnifax know he had an offer from Maryland April 20. It was the Howland defensive end’s fourth to date, joining the likes of Kentucky, Cincinnati and Toledo.
Carnifax didn’t know much about UMD upon receiving the verbal, but the fact it’s a Big Ten school and will have upgraded facilities (Studrawa apparently informed him about those) were enough to intrigue him. Carnifax then told our Scout Midwest analyst he and his father were in the process of scheduling a College Park trip, saying he was eager to meet the coaches and check out the campus.
But we’ll see just how much traction Maryland can gain with this emerging defensive end. Kentucky seems to have his eye early on, while Northwestern and other staffs throughout the Big Ten are interested and could very well enter the fray this spring.
We’ll list Carnifax as “cool” on the hot board for now, just because it’s difficult to get a true read on him until he realizes his full complement of offers.
Joey Fisher, DE, Clear Spring (Md.): See “Fisher On Board” section above.
Alex Gellerstedt, OT, Dublin Coffman (Dublin, Ohio): The Terps offered this 6-7, 270-pound tackle April 21, though they’ll have to work to enter Gellerstedt’s upper tier. The rising star has an expanding list of suitors that now includes Kentucky, UNC, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Rutgers, Indiana, Maryland, Illinois, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh, with universities such as Duke, Michigan State and Ohio State keeping tabs. In fact, Gellerstedt could very well land a coveted MSU verbal when he visits East Lansing, Mich., April 25 for the Spartans’ spring game.
For now, Kentucky, which Gellerstedt visited back in February, is his stated No. 1, with North Carolina, another school he’s seen, in play as well. There’s a possibility Gellerstedt could visit College Park, but more thank likely he’s bound for a Midwest Big Ten program, or possibly Kentucky.
Troy Pride Jr., CB, Greer (S.C.): Pride is an interesting Terps offer, because he’s been committed to Virginia Tech since Feb. 20, but only had one other major Division I scholarship in North Carolina. Reports are that Pride is a firm Hokies pledge, though this is the type of recruit who sometimes backs out/is forced out for various reasons down the road.
The Terps have now thrown their names into the hat, which is smart, because maybe, just maybe, they’ll need another corner in January. And maybe, just maybe, they could snap Pride up should things fall through with Tech. Either way, it can’t hurt to extend the offer.
Isaiah Simmons, S, North HS (Olathe, Kans.): Simmons snagged a Maryland offer April 22 when Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt ventured through his school.
He now holds offers from Louisville, Arizona State, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, Kansas, Iowa State and UMD. The vibe is the in-state Jayhawks may be the team to beat, although he has plenty of interesting suitors to consider.
Simmons hasn’t scheduled any visits yet (he has seen Kansas multiple times), but some of the schools he’ll be looking at include Arkansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Notre Dame, FSU and others. He doesn’t seem like someone who will trek east for college.
TT Spring Tour: Mount Carmel (Essex, Md.)
After speaking to many of Maryland’s prime local 2016 targets at The Opening D.C., I decided to check in with a top 2017 talent from the Baltimore area. Joshua Kaindoh (Mt. Carmel/Essex, Md.) is a 6-6, 240-pound defensive end/outside linebacker who we’ve written about before, and on April 22 I met him in person to discuss his game; recruiting; the Terps and more. He currently holds offers from Maryland, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State, Georgia and Florida State, with a slew of others about to pile in.
A soft-spoken and humble sophomore, Kaindoh seemed almost embarrassed to be talking about himself. He’s well aware of his talent and what he can do on the football field, but admitted he prefers to let his on-field performances speak for him.
It follows he isn’t wont to discuss the offers he’s accrued, but it’s clear Kaindoh’s proud of what he’s accomplished thus far. His recruitment has already taken off in earnest, and Kaindoh admitted he was in awe speaking to the likes of Nick Saban, Jimbo Fisher and Urban Meyer.
So far, Kaindoh has only visited two schools, Maryland and Penn State, and said the Nittany Lions have begun to stand out. But he also noted how he’s only a sophomore and will be checking out programs throughout the SEC, Big Ten and ACC this summer.
As far as Maryland is concerned, Kaindoh has a rapport with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski. He said the Terps will remain in play “since it’s the hometown school” and because he has a better relationship with Maryland’s defensive coordinator than any other coach.
Kaindoh also said he enjoyed both his February junior day and April 11 spring game visits to College Park, talking up the facility upgrades; coaching staff; defensive system; Under Armour and more.
Kaindoh went on to talk about DMV-to-UMD, noting how if elite 2016 local talents pledge to Maryland, well, he just might follow suit.
The Mt. Carmel product won’t be an easy pull for Dudzinski and Co., but he’s a recruit worth monitoring the next couple years. (INTERVIEW).
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