Maryland has had an offer out to Howland (Warren, Ohio) defensive end Tommy Carnifax since April 20, and less than two weeks later the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder visited College Park, Md., for the first time. Both Carnifax and his father made the 5.5-hour drive May 3, stayed overnight at a D.C.-area hotel, and then ventured over to the University of Maryland the next morning before leaving campus mid-afternoon.
“Maryland was way better than I expected,” said Carnifax, who also holds offers from Northwestern, Kentucky, Toledo, Cincinnati, Temple and numerous other MAC schools. “Going there, I didn’t think the stadium was going to be that big and I didn’t think it would be as impressive as it was. But it really was a great place and I felt very comfortable there. The coaches, the academics, the new facilities they’re building, the campus, it was great. Me and my dad both really liked it.”
Carnifax said he already knew about Maryland’s academic reputation and coaching staff (he’s heard plenty from UMD area recruiter Greg Studrawa) heading in, so what really caught his eye May 4 was the campus and player dorms. He called the team’s off-campus housing “really, really nice,” while he dubbed the College Park grounds “beautiful.”
“Just the look of the place, very impressive,” Carnifax said. “I love how the stadium is right there on campus and how the basketball arena is right there too. And we saw drawings of the new practice fields and tunnels, and that’s going to be state of the art. They’re doing some exciting things down at Maryland.”
While touring the campus, Carnifax and his father had a chance to check out the business school. The Ohio product wants to major in that field, so he made sure to chat up a business professor and speak to an academic advisor.
“Maryland has one of the best public schools out there and they’re business school is top 20 in the nation,” said Carnifax, an honors student who is enrolled in several advanced placement courses. “I was really interested in learning more about that, and I found it to be really interesting when I was talking to the professor. I also like how Coach [Randy] Edsall makes sure all his players are on track with their classes and grades, so I know if I went to Maryland I’d have plenty of support for my major.”
Naturally, Carnifax and Co. spent a good portion of their College Park stay speaking to the staff. The Howland prospect said he spent a half hour talking to Edsall, preceded by Studrawa, defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski, defensive line coach Chad Wilt and the Terps’ strength coach.
“Coach Edsall sat down with me and my dad, and we both really liked him. He seemed really since and not like he was trying to be a salesman,” Carnifax said. “And the rest of the coaches, what stood out to me was how enthusiastic they all are about their jobs. They really care about their players and they really get into it.
“Like Coach Wilt, I loved his mentality and energy. We were just sitting down watching film and he was all into it. And Coach Stud, I’ve known him for a few weeks now; we talk online all the time and he came up to my school. He’s a great personality, a really cool guy and we have a great relationship.”
Carnifax said Wilt has him slotted for the “Bandit” role on Maryland’s line. The edge rusher explained that he’d be a hybrid type who can play the five-technique or stand up and rush the passer from an outside linebacker spot.
“It’s a very versatile role and I love that. A lot of NFL teams use that ‘bandit’ position,” Carnifax said. “It’s something I’d definitely be interested in doing.”
Carnifax also mentioned the 5.5-hour trip “wasn’t bad” and that he wouldn’t mind playing on the East Coast at all.
“A lot of the bigger schools that have offered me are about five, six hours away, so [distance] really isn’t playing into my decision,” Carnifax said. “I honestly don’t care about location.”
Next up for Carnifax is a visit to Northwestern May 18. That is expected to be his last trip before he chooses his college destination a week or two later.
He has already seen Kentucky and Toledo, placing each among his four leaders.
“I’m excited to see Northwestern. I know it’s one of the top academic schools out there and very good coaches, so we’ll see what it’s like out there,” said Carnifax, who insists UMD, UK, Toledo and Northwestern are on an even plane. “Then after that I’ll sit down and evaluate all four schools and make a decision.”
Carnifax said he’ll choose the program that offers the best balance between football and academics.
“And Maryland definitely has that,” Carnifax said. “They did great in the Big Ten last year and they’re moving up. And I know they have great academics. So, like I said, I was very impressed. We’ll see what happens.”
Carnifax is coming off a junior campaign where he recorded 57 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, five sacks and a forced fumble.
Carnifax Raves About Maryland Visit
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