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
Aren’t we glad this is finally over?
If you’re reading this after 3 p.m. May 15, you already know Dwayne Haskins is (probably) on board with Maryland. If you’re reading this before 3, well, you’re in for a treat later this afternoon.
Almost five months after we originally thought he’d be committing, the four-star quarterback has opted to end his recruitment during an after-school ceremony at Bullis. We’ve hashed and rehashed Haskins’ “situation,” along with the impact of his pledge, more times than I care to remember, but here’s the Cliff Notes version once more:
1. Haskins, a New Jersey native who transferred to Bullis before his freshman year, started as a sophomore and emerged on recruiting radars in April 2014. He received his initial two offers from Arizona State and SMU, followed weeks later by Nebraska and Utah.
2. After his standout performance at the May 2014 Elite 11 in Washington, D.C., Haskins’ offer total rose to about a dozen, with Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Clemson and more entering the fray.
3. Haskins declared Ohio State his “dream school,” mentioning how he’d love to follow in the footsteps of Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor, Braxton Miller and the like.
4. By early June, Haskins claimed more than 20 offers, finally receiving one from nearby Maryland, a school he’d visited a couple times already.
5. Haskins, though, talked up OSU, Notre Dame, Arizona, USC, Arizona State, UCLA, Stanford, Michigan, Texas, Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU, Rutgers and Penn State. He insisted Maryland would remain on his mind given his relationship with quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley and the fact UMD was close to home, but he was privately skeptical because he figured Locksley's son, quarterback Kai Locksley (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), would be heading to College Park, Md. Haskins' tone quickly changed, however, when Kai Locksley popped to Florida State.
6. By the time November rolled around, Haskins shining on the field as a junior, he had more than 30 verbal offers; had taken numerous visits (including seeing four games at UMD); and hinted he’d be ending his recruitment early in order to “gather a following.”
7. We projected Haskins to wind up in College Park right around this time, our Bullis sources letting us know it was a matter of when, not if, he popped to UMD.
8. The main reason Haskins wanted to join Maryland, as opposed to some of his more renowned suitors, was because it offered him a chance to be the face of a program; secure a following of elite DMV talents; start early during his career; and build the local school into a potential Big Ten title contender.
9. Haskins was originally supposed to commit right around the New Year, but he opted against it just so he could check out a few more of his primary offers. He intended to visit Maryland, Oklahoma, UND, OSU, PSU, Texas, RU, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State and others in the coming months.
10. Haskins did indeed see the likes of Florida, Notre Dame, Rutgers, Ohio State and a couple others, but he dropped plenty of pro-Terps hints following back-to-back College Park visits in February. He attended a Maryland junior day Feb. 22 and returned two days later for the Maryland-Wisconsin hoops game, talking up the staff; facility upgrades; the DMV-to-UMD movement and more.
11. By March, Haskins had begun to narrow his focus (even if he didn’t say so publically), mentioning Maryland, Notre Dame, Florida, Rutgers, Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and LSU as his primary contenders. Some schools had already landed elite class of 2016 gunslingers, so they dropped out of the running.
12. Later during the month, with more quarterbacks committing in earnest, Haskins pared down his possible destinations once again. He eliminated his aforementioned dream school, OSU, and would instead look at Maryland, hometown Rutgers, Notre Dame and Florida, the latter emerging following a standout visit to Gainesville, Fla.
13. Haskins visited South Bend, Ind., for a second time, talking up the Irish and their offense. Meanwhile, he spent more than one weekend in Piscataway, N.J., leading some to believe Rutgers would be his ultimate destination. In fact, our RU sources all but conceded Haskins would be popping to the Scarlet Knights May 3, following an overnight stay.
14. Our own sources never wavered, insisting -- as they had the last five or so months -- Haskins was Maryland bound.
15. Haskins finally committed (about to commit) to Maryland May 15.
16. Haskins’ commitment should be the driving force behind the much-hyped DMV-to-UMD movement. But some recruits we originally believed would be part of the Movement probably won’t end up in College Park. Those include: OL Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), DE Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), TE Devante Brooks (St. John’s), WR Marcus Simms (Sherwood/Sandy Spring, Md.), S Aaron Hansford (St. John’s), DE Shane Simmons (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) and a couple others.
There’s a chance Marcus Simms could flip from West Virginia down the road if the Terps push for him, while we’re keeping Shane Simmons on the hot board for now, although he remains a firm Penn State pledge. Aaron Hansford is still uncommitted and keeping an open mind, but he seems infatuated with Ohio State and/or Penn State.
17. Those local recruits who could/should be following Haskins to College Park include: WR Tino Ellis (DeMatha), CB Parnell Motley (Woodson/Washington, D.C.), OG Terrance Davis (DeMatha), DT Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), OLB Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), CB/WR Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.) and CB Greg Ross (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.).
Of the above, we feel most confident about the Terps’ chances with Ellis, Motley, Davis, Jordan and Simms. Ross has grown a bit mercurial of late, while the jury remains out on Trevon Diggs.
18. Those DMV talents on the fence, who might eventually come around to UMD, are: OG Richard Merritt (Carroll), OG Elijah Johnson (DeMatha), LB Kyle Taylor (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), OL/DL Devery Hamilton (Gilman) and possibly OG Stephen Spanellis (Gilman) should the Terps want him.
Trevon Diggs could also be lumped into this category as he continues tol seriously consider Alabama and other bigwigs, despite supposedly being a “package deal” with his good friend Haskins.
19. The above recruits join current locals KeAndre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), Travon Stott (Good Counsel), Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha), D.J. Turner (DeMatha), Brian Plummer (South Carroll/Sykesville, Md.) and Joey Fisher (Clear Spring, Md.) as prospects who were on-board before Haskins even pledged.
20. Haskins’ commitment could spur pro-hometown feelings among class of 2017 (and maybe even 2018) targets -- players like OT Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.), CB Deon Jones (Carroll), LB Joshua Paschal (Good Counsel), LB Jordan Anthony (Good Counsel), LB Josh Kaindoh (Mt. Carmel/Essex, Md.), CB Damani Neal (Bullis) and maybe even one of the top ’17 talents in the nation, RB/ATH Anthony McFarland (DeMatha).
21. Several out-of-state recruits Haskins knows could be swayed as well, although we’re not forecasting these recruits to UMD just yet. TE Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.), WR Jalen Elliott (Lloyd C. Bird/Chesterfield, Va.) and CB Tyrone Hill (Don Bosco/Ramsey, N.J.) are three Terps targets who maintain contact with Haskins.
22. Expect future prospects to reference Dwayne Haskins’ name down the line, much like today’s targets bring up Stefon Diggs. There have been numerous occasions when I’ve interviewed Maryland offerees from Texas or Florida, who knew nothing about the program except, “Stefon Diggs goes there, so that’s pretty cool.” Haskins could very well be “The Guy” recruits constantly mention in years to come.
For those wondering what kind of impact Haskins will have on the field, here was my scouting report on the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder after watching him play last fall:
Poise. Dwayne Haskins shows impeccable poise for a junior quarterback, coolly standing in the pocket and delivering strikes, deftly sliding up to avoid an incoming rush end, and improvising when a play breaks down. He has a swagger to him, and it’s quite clear watching his body language -- and that of his teammates -- that he owns the huddle. It’s Haskins’ show, and everyone on the Bullis side seems to know it … and they trust him to get the job done. Physical attributes can be evaluated on film, but what impressed me the most about Haskins was how he led the offense and commanded attention.
And, yes, he has plenty of tools. Physically, Haskins is maybe a shade under 6-3, 185 pounds, so height isn’t going to be an issue for him at the next level. Operating primarily out of the shotgun, Haskins showed the rare ability to run an up-tempo spread, something not seen often at the high school level. He executed play-action, looked off receivers, pump-faked to get a safety to bite, and even scrambled to buy time for his wideouts to come open. On one particularly impressive play, he sensed the cornerback would bite and redirected his receiver mid-play, sending him on a go-route for a long gain.
Fundamentally, Haskins’ feet rarely cross when dropping back, and he shifts well in the pocket, demonstrating he can sidestep defenders or step up. Haskins’ field awareness and football IQ are advanced for a quarterback his age, evidenced by his ability to feel/sense pressure (in other words, he has that inherent internal clock all good quarterbacks need to succeed).
To boot, he excels at selling the play-action fake, identifying mismatches and hitting his receiver downfield. But he does some of his best work on designed roll-outs, where he’s developed a knack for spraying short-range bullets, allowing his wideouts to make a play after the catch.
And when a play breaks down, Haskins doesn’t panic. He has enough athleticism and speed to pick up yards with his feet, but it’s obvious he prefers to hang in there, buy time and find an open wideout rather than scramble for a few yards. He’s also big enough to shrug off would-be tacklers before identifying open receivers who settle into holes.
As for his arm, Haskins has above average strength and can make most throws, including out routes and post corners, which require quite a bit of zip to complete. Haskins has a repeatable, three-quarters-to-over-the-top release, and he consistently follows through. This helps his accuracy and timing, which are advanced for a junior triggerman.
His motion is smooth and he throws a very catchable ball. His passes travel in tight spirals, but he puts enough touch on them to ensure his receivers have a chance to make a play. Haskins can dial up the fastball when threading a pass deep over the middle, but he’s able to take a few miles off when tossing screens and shorter routes. In fact, it’s those short-area patterns where he excels, putting the ball on the numbers or leading his man so they can rack up yards after the catch.
For Haskins to take his game up another notch, he has to continue working on his progressions and reads. Like many young quarterbacks, he can latch onto his initial hot read without looking off defenders, something he can get away with in high school but perhaps not at the FBS level. And because he does roll-out a good amount, he’s only reading about half the field, making it easier for him to find open wideouts.
But in college, with more complicated coverage schemes and more instinctive defensive backs, he’ll have to see the entire field. Haskins also has a tendency to throw off his back foot (or even give a little hop) in the face of pressure, and we’d like to see him consistently step up instead.
Also, while Haskins does get the ball out fairly quickly, once in awhile he drops his elbow and throws sidearm. (In fairness, some of that is improvisation when he’s trying to fit the ball through a window.) When he’s throwing deep, he can be a bit methodical as well, his release becoming a little elongated.
Speaking of deep balls, Haskins must continue strengthening his arm as his longer throws weren’t quite as crisp as his short-to-intermediate passes. While his down-the-seam tosses looked like frozen ropes, cutting through the wind, his downfield bombs had a bit too much air under them and tended to flutter.
Jeff Pooler, DT, Chaminade Julienne (Dayton, Ohio): Maryland could very well have its second popper of the day after Dwayne Haskins. Provided Pooler doesn't back out, he should be committing to the Terps May 15 following his football practice.
Pooler told me May 14 that Maryland was by far and away his No. 1 suitor, and he was ready to end the process early so he could focus on his team and training. The Terps offered the 6-4, 275-pounder back in April, and since then the staff has made consistent overtures. Area recruiter Greg Studrawa has visited Chaminade twice, while Randy Edsall and defensive line coach Chad Wilt have been in close contact as well. Pooler called the coaches "great, great guys," noting their straightforward approach and persistent efforts.
Pooler also has family in and around Baltimore, so he called Maryland a "second home" of sorts. He hasn't seen the program in-depth yet, but he's been on campus before and is familiar with the school.
Furthermore, Pooler lauded UMD's academics (high graduation rates, good jobs after college), Under Armour connection and the fact it's in the Big Ten, the conference he dreamed of playing in growing up.
He also said he'd been in touch with both Dwayne Haskins and another Terps target from Ohio, Tommy Carnifax (Howland/Warren, Ohio), who just visited College Park. Evidently Carnifax told Pooler he "loved" the school, giving him the lowdown on the program's inner-workings. Apparently that was all Pooler needed to hear to convince him Edsall's program is on the up-and-up. (Pooler also commented on Carnifax, saying his fellow defensive lineman was "very high" on Maryland too, although Northwestern was heavily involved as well).
Pooler, who plans to visit College Park this month, also had offers from UConn, Western Michigan, Toledo, Air Force, Ohio, and others. But he said UMD clearly stood above the rest.
Barring a snag (and Pooler did say he could change his mind and hold off on a commitment after sleeping on it), we should see the bat signal go off May 15.
Now, can he play? Well, he's a project of sorts in that his technique needs work, he needs to play with better leverage, and he has to become more consistent with his hands and footwork. He also has to continue adding pop and power, while developing his rush moves, in order to hold up at the next level.
But Pooler does disengage well, shows solid initial burst, can pursue laterally, and looks to have a nose for the ball. He's athletic and versatile too, meaning he can play up and down the line. Pooler's a bit raw, but there's upside here.
TT Spring Tour: Landon (Bethesda, Md.)
I mentioned that outside linebacker Keith Simms was back in play for Maryland last week, and this week I stopped by Landon to chat with him in person. Simms, who many considered to be a heavy Stanford lean following his visit to Palo Alto, Calif., said that’s not necessarily the case. The Landon product insisted he’s keeping an open mind and has many of his suitors firmly in play.
First and foremost, the Maryland Terrapins, the first school out of Simms’ mouth when asked which programs “immediately popped into his head.” Simms said UMD has, and always will be, one of his favorites since it’s the hometown school; his parents can easily see him play; he knows plenty of recruits already heading to College Park; is “all about” the DMV-to-UMD movement; has “one of the strongest relationships” with the staff and area recruiter Chad Wilt (Simms noted how Wilt stopped by Landon twice this spring); the strong academics; and the impending facility upgrades.
Simms went on to say he’ll be visiting Maryland in the next week or two in order to learn more about the business program, a clear sign he has the Terps sitting pretty.
But Stanford could still prove troublesome for UMD purposes. Simms, who said he “loved” his visit to SU, mentioned one of the primary reasons he didn’t commit to the Cardinal was because his father didn’t accompany him out west. Simms said he’d like to potentially return to Palo Alto this summer so his dad can see the school firsthand. If so, well, then Simms might just wind up a Cardinal (if the staff accepts his pledge, which isn’t a guarantee).
The other primary players for Simms’ services are UNC and Duke, both of which he plans to revisit in the coming months. He’d also like to check out BC, Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, with a potential official visit to Oregon in the works.
Given the above, it would seem like Simms is nowhere near narrowing his focus. But the Landon backer is actually one of the easier “reads” out there.
The vibe on this end is Stanford and Maryland are the clear top two, with the Terps potentially edging into the lead. Not only have our sources corroborated that intuition, but Simms himself was quick to list the Terps first when specifically asked about staff relationships and potential standouts.
Look for Simms to make a late-summer decision, although he acknowledged there’s a possibility he could take official visits during the fall.
Other Notes From the Simms Interview:
1. He said Dwayne Haskins’ decision wouldn’t affect him all that much.
2. He’s not too worried about programs filling up their linebacker slots.
3. Simms said academics and earning a “meaningful degree” was the primary factor in his recruitment.
4. He said his parents have remained neutral and aren’t pushing him towards any particular school.
TT Spring Tour: McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.)
I continued my spring tour this week at McDonogh, where Maryland has an established pipeline. The Terps probably don’t have too much interest in class of 2016 safety Eric Burrell at this point, so I primarily wanted to chat with already-establish 2017 tackle Jordan McNair, who UMD offered as a freshman.
But while on campus I found out about yet another stud Eagles’ lineman, class of 2018 defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher, the brother of former Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and current Notre Dame offensive tackle Sam Mustipher.
Here’s what I learned:
Jordan McNair, OT: McNair’s recruiting profile has exploded since pulling a Terps’ scholarship following his freshman season. After securing a recent offer from Virginia Tech, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder now holds verbals from UMD, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Va Tech, Illinois, Boston College, Michigan and Penn State. He’ll undoubtedly secure even more this offseason and into his junior campaign.
For now, McNair is keeping an open mind and won’t name any leaders, but he hinted the Big Ten powers already have his eye. Penn State, a favorite of the McNair family, holds appeal early on after a couple trips to State College, Pa., while Michigan and Ohio State are on the brain too. McNair will likely visit both Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Mich., this summer.
But Maryland remains right in the thick of things for the sophomore stud. Terps’ area recruiter Keith Dudzinski has a developed relationship with him, as does offensive line coach Greg Studrawa. McNair has also been in College Park several times for games and other events, most recently a February junior day. He said he’s comfortable on campus and likes the idea of possibly representing his hometown school.
Plus it can’t hurt that teammates-turned-Terps like Ellis McKennie and Josh Woods are major proponents of the hometown school. McNair, in fact, sported an evident grin when I brought those two up, inquiring into their pro-UMD overtures and how that effected the Eagles’ 2017 talent.
McNair isn’t choosing a college until next summer, at the earliest, so there’s a ways to go here. We’ll see what kind of traction Dudzinski and Co. can gain moving forward. (INTERVIEW).
P.J. Mustipher, DT: Mustipher quietly added his first offer from Maryland last fall, and since then he’s picked up two more from Penn State and Tennessee -- quite impressive for a freshman. Mustipher, much like his older brother Sam, will undoubtedly have his pick of schools before it’s all said and done.
And because of his older sibling, Mustipher has gotten a head start on recruiting, delving into the process before even arriving at McDonogh. He’s visited schools like Notre Dame, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State and UMD with Sam Mustipher, allowing the youngster to take in some of the most renowned powers in college football.
Naturally, Mustipher said programs such as OSU, Michigan and UND caught his eye given their tradition, but don’t read anything into that yet. In his own words, the young defensive tackle has no idea where his recruitment is heading at this stage.
But, for what it’s worth, Mustipher does have plenty of early affinity for the Terps.
For a 2018 recruit, Mustipher knew quite a bit about what’s going on in College Park, from the facility upgrades; to the incoming recruits; to the coaching staff. He said the new indoor fields and tunnel, in particular, could help make UMD a prime destination for the crème de crème, while he lauded some of the talent the Terps have already attracted. Mustipher went on to talk up DMV-to-UMD, area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, the campus and more.
It’s way too early to start prognosticating about a 2018 recruit, but Mustipher’s comments had to be encouraging for UMD fans. See what he had to say HERE).
Jeff Pooler, DT, Chaminade Julienne (Dayton, Ohio): See above.
Rashad Wheeler, DT, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.): We’ve written about Wheeler, a prime Terps’ defensive line target, numerous times, but this week we received a slightly different take on his situation.
Wheeler has had Penn State, Maryland and Pittsburgh among his foremost suitors for close to a month now, but previously we thought the in-state Nittany Lions were the far-and-away frontrunners, with the Panthers and Terps battling for the second spot. In fact, Wheeler’s pro-PSU comments were so effusive we didn’t even elevate him above “cool” on the hot board, despite his affinity for UMD.
And, honestly, that’s still the case.
But now there’s a caveat.
Scout’s Brian Dohn pointed out the Nittany Lions may not be as keen on Wheeler as the recruit is on them. So there’s a chance, even if Wheeler wanted to pop, James Franklin and Co. wouldn’t be ready to accept his pledge.
“They didn’t push for a commitment,” Wheeler told Dohn after last weekend’s trip to State College, Pa. “They want me to take my time and make a decision.”
A look at PSU’s recruiting board bears this theory out. So far the Nittany Lions have one defensive line commit in Shane Simmons (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), but have offers out to some 30 other primetime, nationally-rated D-line prospects. It’s possible the Nittany Lions’ staff feels they’re in in position for other able-bodied ends and tackles they covet more than Wheeler.
Moreover, Wheeler doesn’t seem to be in any rush to choose his college destination, meaning Penn State could very well fill up its spots before the Central Catholic product is ready to decide later this summer (likely late July or August).
So, if the above scenario comes to fruition, where does that leave Maryland?
Well, it’s tough to say whether Wheeler favors hometown Pitt or UMD at the moment.
Remember, Wheeler visited College Park earlier this spring and left with the Terps firmly entrenched among his top suitors. He raved about the coaching staff -- namely defensive line coach Chad Wilt and area recruiter Greg Studrawa -- loved the campus and feels head coach Randy Edsall has Maryland moving in the right direction. He’s aware he can contribute early during his career at Maryland, while the academics have his attention as well.
Wheeler also said he’d like to return to College Park at some point. Should he choose to do so, it would further lend credence to his comments.
But, at the same time, Pittsburgh is right there too with new coach Pat Narduzzi’s pitch clearly resonating. Wheeler has visited Pitt more than any other school, and he’s extremely comfortable around the program.
There’s also a chance other suitors could emerge down the line. He’s visiting Wake Forest, another offeree, in June, and it’s possible the Deacons could make inroads following the trip. Virginia is also somewhat involved, with schools like Va Tech and maybe a couple Big Ten powers lurking.
James Jennette, DE, Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.): Maryland offered this emerging hybrid end May 12 after area recruiter Darnell Perkins trekked through the school. Jennette only had one other notable offer from Kansas State, so he was excited to get the Terps verbal. The 6-3, 215 pounder said he’s in the process of learning about Maryland, developing a relationship with Perkins and scheduling a College Park visit this summer.
But, after our conversation, I felt like Jennette was giving UMD the lip-service routine. He might change his tune if he does in fact make it east, but the initial vibe was this guy is focused elsewhere. Namely, on some major Big 12 suitors in and around his Missouri home.
Jennette even admitted that, of the offers he has right now, Kansas State stands out some, while he’ll be attending numerous camps this summer in an attempt to procure more looks from the likes of Mizzou, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Purdue and Oklahoma State.
Depending on what offers come in and what visits he’s able to take, Jennette should have his college decision made by August. We’ll see if Perkins and Co. can make some inroads before then. (ARTICLE).
Zach Bycznski, OC, Berea (Ohio): Terps' Ohio recruiter Greg Studrawa has been after Bycznski since early April, stopping by Berea three times to get a look at this 6-4, 295-pound center. On May 12, the Terps extended the offer, and Bycznski said he was "ecstatic" about it. He's in the process of learning about UMD, but he said Studrawa has left a favorable impression with his energy, personality and resume. Bycznski also noted Maryland's academics (the primary factor in his recruitment) and Big Ten affiliation as two of the main reasons he and his father will be visiting College Park this summer.
Bycznski, who played just one game last year due to a torn ACL, does have other suitors in play, however, and isn't naming leaders. Minnesota and Illinois, two other Big Ten offerees, have his attention, while he's open to any new schools that may emerge (Northwestern and Syracuse being two of them).
So far he's visited Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern, Syracuse, WVU, Toledo, Indiana and several other MAC programs. Bycznski is taking the rest of May off from trips and then will resume once the summer hits, intending to see UMD and numerous East Coast institutions.
Ideally, he'd like to be committed by August so he can focus on his senior season.
Currently, it's tough to make a call on Bycznski since he's in the "research phase," giving little indication into which programs he was learning towards. That said, it's clear the Big Ten schools are on the mind, specifically those with standout academics.
Given that, we think the Terps have a solid shot at bringing Bycznski in. But we won't know for sure until later this summer when his visits are complete and his offer list is fully realized. (ARTICLE).
Terek Zingale, OT, Nordonia (Macedonia, Ohio): Zingale didn’t return calls for an interview request, but he did let me know he picked up offers from Cincinnati, Syracuse and Marshall, to go along with earlier verbals from UMD, Toledo, Illinois, Akron and Ohio.
Zingale was supposed to visit Illinois this week and then decide on a college shortly thereafter, but he suggested those plans have been put on hold. He’s in the process of rescheduling the Illini trip, while he’s thinking about tripping to Cuse and Cincinnati too.
The Ohio tackle should still be making a spring/early summer college decision, but it looks like the Terps, the presumed No. 1, have some competition for his services. Even so, we like Maryland’s chances for now.
We can’t say exactly where Zingale stands until he answers his phone, but we do know UMD area recruiter Greg Studrawa has been through his school and remains in contact. Zingale, remember, visited College Park for the spring game April 11 and practically called the Terps the team to beat afterwards.
We’ll see if Maryland can maintain its position as Zingale gains more suitors.
Michael Clark, OT, Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.): As expected, this Terps’ pledge has seen an uptick in interest during the evaluation period. Already possessing offers from South Carolina, Wake and WVU, he added a significant verbal from North Carolina May 12. Meanwhile, schools such as Pitt, Rutgers, Penn State and more are sniffing around.
But after receiving the UNC scholarship, Clark sent in this text:
“I found out [May 12] I got the offer [from UNC], but I committed to Maryland and so that's where I want to go. I'm very thankful for the offer, but I believe Maryland will give me the best chance of being successful.”
Those are heartening words for Terps’ aficionados, especially since Clark should secure several more offers before he signs in February. He certainly sounds like he’s a rock-solid commitment.
Receiver/Tight End News
Evan Fairs, WR, Foster (Richmond, Texas): An under-the-radar wideout, Fairs pulled a Terps offer May 8, immediately calling them his No. 1 suitor. Fairs previously held verbals from New Mexico State, Texas San-Antonio and Sam Houston State, so obviously the Big Ten-affiliated Maryland scholarship caught his attention.
Fairs, though, said he’s just starting to develop a relationship with UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell, who actually knows the recruit’s father, Eric Fairs, from his NFL days. The Foster product is in the process of learning and researching the program and what Maryland has to offer.
But apparently Maryland had enough first-blush appeal that Fairs immediately started setting up a summer flight to College Park, likely in June or July. Since the wideout isn’t too familiar with UMD, said trip will go a long way into determining his true interest.
Either way, here’s one encouraging comment for UMD aficionados, who are skeptical about a Texas recruit heading east: “Honestly, I kind of want to get away from home for college,” Fairs said. “I’ve always wanted to see some place new. I’ve lived in Texas all my life and I kind of want to get out. So going to a place like Maryland, that wouldn’t bother me at all.”
But while Maryland is in a good spot currently, we’ll wait until his recruiting profile is fully realized before forecasting him to College Park. He said he wants to attend numerous camps this summer (Texas, LSU, Texas A&M) to see if he can catch the eye of other significant Division I programs.
We’ll know more about Fairs’ situation later this summer. (ARTICLE).
Parnell Motley, WR/CB, H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.): Motley (likely being recruited as a cornerback by Maryland) added a Terps offer to his growing list in early May, though at the time we weren't sure if it was legitimate or not. I tried multiple times to reach Motley, but we failed to connect. However, I was able to contact a reliable D.C. source who knows the program and its recruits well, the coach confirming the Maryland offer was indeed real.
After further inquiry, I was told that not only was the offer on the table, but Motley had Maryland among his top two or three suitors. The 6-1, 170 pounder has been in College Park multiple times, has a terrific rapport with area recruiter Mike Locksley and is keen on DMV-to-UMD too. Moreover, Motley apparently connected with Dwayne Haskins at The Opening D.C., the receiver and quarterback talking about forming a combination in college.
Later in the week, Motley finally responded to me via Twitter, saying he was "honored to have a Maryland offer," and the Terps are "definitley" one of his top schools. He didn't want to conduct a phone interview, but I felt strongly enough after the coach conversation to list Motley as "warm" on the hot board.
I'll wait until I speak to Motley personally before forming a strong opinion one way or the other, but it sounds like there's another local talent hot for the Terps. Stay tuned.
Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): I touched base with Ellis this week after the Stags’ wideout made a few recruiting-pertinent tweets. But there wasn’t much need for a full article, because, honestly, he didn’t say a ton we haven’t already reported.
Just as we noted after The Opening D.C., Ellis’ profile has elevated considerably, and he’s now looking at a number of programs outside of his original top five (Maryland, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, West Virginia, Wake Forest). The Deacons are no longer under firm consideration, while Ellis has since added new offerees Nebraska, Wisconsin and Kentucky to the schools he’s focusing on.
Ellis, who will revisit RU this month, is trying to see all three of the Badgers, Huskers and Wildcats, though it’s unlikely he’ll make it to each locale. He’s also attempting returns to UMD, Va Tech and possibly WVU.
On top of that, Ellis said Ohio State has ramped up the interest. The receiver suggested he might attend a Columbus one-day as he tries to procure a Buckeyes verbal. Michigan and Alabama are two more programs he could camp at, though neither is set in stone.
As for Ellis’ intended July 31 decision date, well, don’t bank on him keeping to that timeframe. It’s more likely he’ll end his recruitment in late August or September -- or later.
Do we still like Maryland’s chances? Sure, we think Ellis is keeping DMV-to-UMD on his mind, but it’s obvious Terps’ area recruiter Mike Locksley has to keep working on the DeMatha star.
Sean McKeon, TE, Shepherd Hill (Dudley, Mass.): Maryland’s top three tight end targets appear to be Naseir Upshur, Jay Rose (Southington, Conn.) and Noah Turner (Carmel Catholic/Mundelein, Ill.), but evidently the Terps’ staff is monitoring another intriguing option as well.
Scout’s Brian Dohn informed us that McKeon -- who holds offers from Syracuse, BC, Pitt, Uconn, Temple, ODU and UMass -- has been hearing from Maryland’s area recruiter, Keith Dudzinski. McKeon probably isn’t an “offer” guy right now, but he’ll be camping in College Park this June to try and cull out the scholarship.
Other one-days on the radar include PSU, Duke and Wake Forest, while he’ll be visiting Pitt and BC too.
Boston College may hold the early edge with McKeon, but that’s bound to change should he continue adding offers.
Finally Off The Hot Board
Robbie Robinson, CB, Phoebus (Hampton, Va.): We kept Robinson on the hot board for an extended period, mainly because he rarely grants interviews and it’s been a struggle to gain any insight into his situation. But earlier this week we heard from our Virginia-area contacts Robinson was leaning towards accepting his Stanford offer. Duke, Ohio State, Michigan State and possibly UVA are apparently firmly in play too. I was told Robinson was not really considering Maryland, despite area-recruiter Chad Wilt’s pitch.
Darius Harper, OT, Springfield (Ohio): The Terps offered Harper all the way back in February, and at the time he sounded keen on potentially visiting College Park. But Harper had gone relatively mum since then -- until just recently.
Based off an early-May interview with our Midwest analysts, Harper seems focused on Kentucky, with Illinois, West Virginia and maybe Cincinnati in the picture. Harper, who had Terps’ area recruiter Greg Studrawa on him, did not mention Maryland as a school he definitely wanted to see this summer.
Harper is also looking to play basketball in college, so if a smaller program offers him a chance to hit the hardwood and the gridiron, well, he might just take them up on that opportunity.
Sulaiman Kamara, DT, Hermitage (Richmond, Va.): Kamara seemed like a no-brainer offer after Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt trekked through Hermitage and the big defensive tackle reciprocated with a February junior day visit to College Park. But Kamara’s Maryland verbal never materialized, and, at this point, it doesn’t look like it ever will.
Even if the scholarship is eventually presented, Kamara’s mind is focused elsewhere. Penn State, his most recent offer, is a prime contender, while Wake Forest (the frontrunner) and Duke continue to pursue in earnest. Moreover, Kamara is beginning to hear from some SEC stalwarts and will camp at a couple southern schools this June.
Kamara does not have any plans to return to UMD, either for a visit or camp.
New Offers Out
James Jennette, DE, Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.): See above.
Zach Bycznski, OC, Berea (Ohio): See above.
Dalyn Wade-Perry, DT, Pope John XXIII (Englewood, N.J.): This class of 2017 defensive tackle already held verbals from Stanford, Alabama, Ohio State, Penn State UNC, Miami, UVA and others before the Terps anted up May 8. He is likely Stanford’s to lose, although it’s not out of the realm of possibilities he ends up at OSU, Bama or another elite either.
Walker Little, OT, Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas): Apparently Evan Fairs wasn’t the only prospect UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell spotted at Episcopal. The Terps offered this soon-to-be-phenom class of 2017 tackle May 8, joining the Texas Longhorns in the early going. Little is a surefire blow-up candidate and will secure his share of Big 12, SEC and other power-conference offers.
Matt Bockhorst, OG, St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio): From Maryland area recruiter Greg Studrawa’s territory, Bockhorst is a 2017 talent with offers from Vanderbilt, Cincinnati, Louisville, Boston College and now UMD. The Terps did well to identify him early, but there’s little doubt Bockhorst will have his pick of Big Ten suitors by this time next year. Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame and others all know about this guy, and could extend scholarships this summer.
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