Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
The Dwayne Haskins Impact
We’re not going to break down Dwayne Haskins’ (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) commitment to Maryland after going through a full analysis in last week’s Shell, although he did make some interesting comments after his ceremony at Bullis May 15. You can watch the video of his announcement/commitment HERE, and see what his coach had to say about him HERE. Meanwhile you can read about the pledge HERE, HERE, and HERE.
While we’ve delved into the “Haskins Development” plenty of times, it is worth commenting once more on the quarterback’s potential impact on this recruiting class. Haskins, the recruiter’s, personal list of targets include (from his press conference): cornerback Robbie Robinson (Phoebus/Hampton, Va.), cornerback Greg Ross (Potomac, Oxon Hill, Md.), linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), safety Aaron Hansford (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), tackle Jauan Williams (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), guard Richard Merritt (Carroll), defensive end Shane Simmons (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), receiver Tino Ellis (DeMatha), guard Terrance Davis (DeMatha), defensive tackle Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.), receiver Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), defensive tackle Rashan Gary (Paramus Catholic/Paramus, N.J.), tight end Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.), running back Kareem Walker (DePaul Catholic/Wayne, N.J.), tight end Jacob Mathis (Berkley Prep/Tampa, Fla.), guard Jonhcarolo Valentin (Imhotep), tackle Josh Ball (Stafford/Fredericksburg, Va.), Kyle Taylor (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), Elijah Johnson (DeMatha) and cornerback Patrice Rene (Episcopal/Alexandria, Va.).
Obviously the Terps can’t take 20 more class of 2016 pledges with 10 already on board, and many names on that list are a bit farfetched, regardless of how much pull Haskins may have. That said, Maryland does have momentum and some real recruiting mojo working, so there’s a chance the Terps can pull in their share of the above.
Let’s take a look at the situations of each:
Keith Simms, LB: We wrote about Simms last week, letting you know that Maryland and Stanford seemed to be the frontrunners ahead of Duke and UNC. Haskins’ decision probably won’t affect Simms all that much, though it may not matter. The Terps have been firmly on Simms’ mind since well before Haskins popped.
Simms, who has a terrific rapport with Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt, has continually harped on UMD’s academics; proximity to his home; comfort level on campus; coaching staff; and the opportunity to represent his state as primary reasons Maryland resides among his foremost suitors. Look for Simms to visit UMD in the next week or two so he can delve into the educational aspects of the universities.
Simms will undoubtedly explore a few more programs this summer like the Tar Heels’, Devils’ and possibly BC’s, Wisconsin’s, Iowa’s and Illinois’, but we don’t see those schools leapfrogging UMD and Stanford.
The question is, Where exactly does Simms stand on the Cardinal, and vice versa? Well, the Landon backer did say he and his father would attempt to fly back out to Palo Alto, Calif., for a second look this summer, so we’ll know more after that.
If the Terps can weather that storm -- and our gut is they very well could since we’re not completely sure just how much Stanford really covets Simms -- it’s a strong possibility Simms winds up in College Park.
Hot Board Temperature: Warm/Hot
Tino Ellis, WR: Ellis, naturally, was ecstatic when Haskins committed to Maryland, although the receiver’s situation hasn’t wavered much in the wake of said pop. The DeMatha wideout knew Haskins was practically a Terp months prior, so he’d thought the situation through previously.
Ellis still could be on board with UMD at some point this summer, either by late July or August, depending on when he opts to end his numerous intended visits. He’ll be checking out Virginia Tech and Rutgers again shortly, with yet another foray to College Park also in the works. Ellis is thinking about tripping to Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kentucky and Ohio State too, the latter for a one-day camp.
We doubt Ellis will see/camp at all of those places, however. His primary focus seems to be on UMD, Va Tech and maybe Rutgers, and now that DMV-to-UMD is being realized, we think the Terps will ring true. With UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley, his teammates (D.J. Turner, LoLo Harrison) and now Haskins in Ellis’ ear, it may be only a matter of time before he pops.
That said, we’re not going to write off Virginia Tech quite yet. The Hokies obviously hold water with Ellis and are making this situation interesting, to say the least.
Hot Board Temperature: Hot
Terrance Davis, OG: Davis should be following his teammates LoLo Harrison, D.J. Turner and maybe Tino Ellis to College Park as well. It’s just going to take him some time to come around to the hometown school. Davis is all about Michigan (and so is his mom), and for the moment the Wolverines are out in front for his services.
But Davis isn’t about to pop to head coach Jim Harbaugh anytime soon, insisting he’ll go through the process and take official visits later this fall/winter. In the meantime, some schools the DeMatha guard could be visiting this summer include Alabama, Florida State, Florida, Georgia, Arkansas and Tennessee. He’ll probably take an official visit to UCLA too, provided the Bruins have spots open when the time comes. (Davis released a top 10 list that included Alabama, FSU, Georgia, UT, UCLA, UMD, PSU, Michigan and Va Tech).
Davis, though, has always held the Terps in high regard, citing area recruiter Mike Locksley; cousin LoLo Harrison’s pro-UMD comments; the fact UMD is close to home; and his inherent comfort on campus. We think he’ll take a couple officials next December, Maryland being one of them, and then possibly announce for the Terps around Signing Day.
Of course, who knows what can happen between now and then? So we’ll have to monitor the situation in the months ahead.
Hot Board Temperature: Hot
Ellison Jordan, DT: Jordan is another local recruit who won’t be swayed by Haskins’ decision, although the Bullis quarterback’s pitch may not be needed. Jordan, as we’ve noted many times over, has been high on the Terps since his freshman year, and his affinity has only grown since then.
He’s comfortable on campus, loves the journalism program, has a rapport with practically the entire staff, is all about DMV-to-UMD, and has visited countless times. Jordan said recruiter Mike Locksley, defensive line coach Chad Wilt and head coach Randy Edsall have his mind on Maryland, while he’s been in touch with not only Haskins, but Maryland signee Adam McLean and other Terps recruits.
But Jordan isn’t someone the Terps can simply count on coming. Locksley has to keep pushing, because Jordan is giving Penn State and Va Tech a hard look. Rutgers, Michigan State and UNC are also somewhat involved, the Spartans figuring to make a run once Jordan visits this summer.
Jordan should be revisiting the Hokies, Nittany Lions, Scarlet Knights, Spartans and Terps this June/July. We still have him forecast to Maryland, but it’s just going to take a persistent effort to haul him in.
The Gilman plugger would like to have his college chosen by August, but he acknowledged he could go through the official visit process if he’s not ready before the season. (INTERVIEW).
Hot Board Temperature: Hot
Trevon Diggs, WR/CB, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): Well, that was certainly a near-180-degree turn. A week prior, Trevon Diggs was hyping Alabama, LSU, Florida, Penn State, Auburn, Tennessee and others of that ilk. But in the immediate aftermath of Haskins’ pledge, he was all about the proposed “package deal” again.
Now, was Diggs a little caught up in the hoopla surrounding his good friend Haskins’ announcement for Maryland? Probably. But we do think Stefon Diggs’ younger brother has the Terps on the brain.
Trevon Diggs said now that he knows where “his quarterback” is going, he could very well be joining him in College Park. In fact, Diggs practically called Maryland his new No. 1 following the Haskins pledge.
But we’ll see if Diggs is feeling UMD in the coming months, following his trek through SEC country. Although he’s currently high on Maryland, Diggs also said he wants to take his official visits and won’t be selecting a school until next fall/winter. Which means there’s plenty of time for the Tide and others to perhaps jump back to the top of his leaderboard.
The Terps are trending, though, and if recruiter Mike Locksley and Haskins keep harping on the Movement, we could definitely see him winding up at Maryland. We’re just not ready to elevate him to “hot” on the hot board yet. (INTERVIEW).
Hot Board Temperature: Warm
Richard Merritt, OG: It will be interesting to see what direction Merritt’s recruitment heads moving forward. When we last spoke to him, he said Haskins’ commitment wouldn’t really impact him. Merritt also sounded so-so about the Movement, a concept he liked and thought was pretty cool, but not something to get giddy over.
That said, we don’t expect Maryland area recruiter Mike Locksley, along with Haskins, to stop pitching the hometown program. Merritt does know plenty about the Terps, has visited several times this offseason and has a strong rapport with Locksley, so there’s a chance he comes back around to UMD.
And, really, all the Terps need to do is stay in the conversation since Merritt isn’t choosing his school until December. Then, when it gets down to crunch time, we’ll see if Locksley and Co. can put the pressure on, convincing Merritt to sign up for DMV-to-UMD.
In the meantime, Merritt will be checking out places like Alabama, Auburn, FSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Georgia, Clemson and others. He’s long envisioned himself at a power program, and it wouldn’t surprise at all if he opted for an SEC or top-tier Big Ten school (provided they accept his pledge).
Hot Board Temperature: Cool
Naseir Upshur, TE: Haskins and the four-star tight end Upshur have had plenty of conversations since the two met last summer. They consider each other friends, and we do think the Bullis product’s pledge has Upshur’s attention.
The Imhotep recruit -- who placed Maryland among his top 13 suitors earlier -- already liked the Terps some thanks to area recruiter John Dunn’s efforts and the tight end’s previous visits to College Park. Upshur and Dunn exchange messages via Twitter multiple times each week, while Haskins, who speaks regularly to the Philly prospect, has upped the pursuit of late too.
But we’re not about to project Upshur to College Park just yet. Haskins is hardly the only recruit/recruiter in his ear, and the vibe is Upshur is focused on other programs. Miami has long been a favorite; Michigan, USC, Temple and Oregon are also after him hard. Others involved include Alabama, Michigan State, Arizona State, South Carolina and Penn State.
We’d like the Terps’ chances better if Upshur didn’t renege on two intended offseason visits to College Park. Unless he returns for a trip/game in the months ahead -- he said he wants to visit, but we’ll see -- we’re not elevating him above “cool” on the hot board.
Hot Board Temperature: Cool
Greg Ross, CB: We do believe Ross will eventually come around to the Terps, especially with DMV-to-UMD in full swing and Haskins in his ear, but the Potomac corner is seeing stars for now. Nebraska, Clemson and Miami were three of his most recent offers -- each has his attention -- and Notre Dame has also been showing increased interest.
This weekend Ross will resume his visit schedule, trekking to the presumed favorite, North Carolina, May 23 for another look at the Tar Heels. He is not expected to commit while in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to his coach, but UNC is definitely resonating for the time being.
Ross doesn’t have any other trips scheduled after North Carolina, but his coach said he is setting up jaunts to Clemson, Wisconsin, Miami, Nebraska and Notre Dame. (He likely won’t make it out to all those locales). The Potomac product is supposed to revisit Maryland as well, but apparently the Rosses are still in the process of scheduling a date when they all can make the drive over.
Remember, back in April, following his initial offseason foray through UMD, Ross was supposed to return with his parents so they could see the school. Both Ross and his coaches hinted a Terps’ pop could come to fruition shortly thereafter.
But with several new offers in tow, those plans have been placed on hold. Now, Ross probably won’t be announcing his college decision until late summer.
Let’s see if the Terps, with the aid of area recruiter Mike Locksley and Haskins’ overtures, can work back into Ross’ graces in the weeks ahead.
Hot Board Temperature: Warm
Elijah Johnson, OT, DeMatha: Johnson, who recently added offers from Indiana and UVA, is a rather difficult read. On one hand, he’s all about DMV-to-UMD, joining his teammates in College Park and representing the hometown school. On the other hand, he insists no suitors stand out to him, and he’ll be checking out the likes of West Virginia, Boston College, Rutgers and others who may emerge.
Terps’ area recruiter Mike Locksley has been on Johnson, however, while a recent trek through College Park cast an even more positive light on the university. Perhaps with the Movement gaining steam, Johnson will jump on the bandwagon before the slots are filled (the Terps already have three O-line pledges), but he just doesn’t seem to be in any rush to pick a school.
At the same time, it wouldn’t totally shock us if Johnson pulled a Will McClain and opted to pop out of the blue. It’s just hard to tell at this point.
Hot Board Temperature: Warm
Kyle Taylor, LB: Taylor is in a similar boat to Johnson, although even more vague about his recruitment. The Gonzaga linebacker certainly likes Maryland, and he texted in that Haskins’ pledge was “big,” but he’s given no indication in the way of leaders or clear standouts.
Taylor also doesn’t grant many interviews, so until we can get him in person or on the phone, we’re not sure what schools he’ll be checking out this summer. Iowa, where his brother attends, will be one trip, for sure, and he’ll probably also see Wisconsin, Va Tech and Boston College.
Maryland will assuredly get a look, but how close of one remains to be seen. We’re not even positive whether or not the Terps’ coaches are making a potent push, even if Haskins said he’ll personally be doing so.
We’ll attempt to reach out to Taylor in the near future.
Hot Board Temperature: Warm/Cool
Josh Ball, OT: Maryland seemed to be fading for the four-star tackle Ball, although he does bring the Terps up from time to time. Ball didn’t really have much to say about Haskins’ commitment, other than it was a great pickup for UMD, but he does have affinity for Maryland offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and the program in general.
The Terps could be among Ball’s top seven or eight suitors, but they may not reside with the likes of WVU, FSU, Penn State, Wisconsin and South Carolina. The Seminoles probably have the upper-hand for the time being, while WVU has been a longtime favorite.
Ball would like to go through the official visit process, so his recruitment is bound to ebb and flow between now and then. But we’re going to leave him off the hot board unless he makes a definitive pro-Terps statement.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Aaron Hansford, S, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): We updated Hansford’s status just a couple weeks ago, specifically asking what he thought about Haskins and the Movement. Admittedly, he didn’t seem overly keen on it, suggesting the quarterback’s decision, or any other recruit’s for that matter, had no bearing on him.
Hansford has been forecast to Ohio State since the winter, and the Buckeyes remain the favorites, with Penn State running a close second. The only reason we’re keeping him on the hot board is because Hansford has an open mind and won’t be choosing a college destination until after taking official visits.
Maybe, just maybe, UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley and other locals can at least convince Hansford to give the Terps a longer look.
Hot Board Temperature: Cool
Shane Simmons, DE: The subject of message board banter following his weekend tweets, Simmons is someone we’re “hiding” on the hot board. It’s possible -- not probable, but possible -- the DeMatha end could eventually flip to Maryland down the road, given the hometown pressure and the fact upwards of four Stags could be heading to College Park, along with Haskins, who has been recruiting Simmons in earnest. Terps’ recruiter Mike Locksley has done his due diligence as well, making sure Simmons knows there’s still a place for him at UMD should he want in.
But even in the wake of the Bullis quarterback’s pledge, which Simmons couldn’t help but take note of, he’s not about to back out of his Penn State pledge. Simmons insists he’ll be a Nittany Lion next February, and said he’s in good standing with head coach James Franklin and Co.
More than likely, the DeMatha product will end up in State College, Pa., but we’ll continue monitoring his situation.
Hot Board Temperature: Cool/Cold
Patrice Rene, CB: The Terps made some inroads with Rene, with former UMD area recruiter Lyndon Johnson previously and more recently with new Northern Virginia area recruiter Keenan McCardell. Rene and his teammates even visited College Park this offseason, the cornerback talking up the campus; the staff; the defense; and the academics.
But we removed Rene from the hot board awhile ago. His recruitment has blown up, and Ohio State is the clear favorite. The Buckeyes have made Rene a priority, and it may only be a mere formality before he pops to Urban Meyer. Moreover, the Canadian native would like to play closer to home in college, and OSU, or one of the other Big Ten schools up north, certainly offer him that chance.
Haskins’ decision is not expected to have much impact on Rene.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Johncarlo Valentin, OG: The Terps haven’t even offered Valentin, the teammate of Naseir Upshur, yet, so that alone probably rules him out. Valentin currently holds verbals from Arizona State, Pitt, Michigan, Rutgers, Purdue, Wake, Va Tech and others.
He doesn’t have any favorites (although Michigan seems to hold some weight), so there’s an opportunity for other programs to join the fray, but we haven’t heard of any Terps involvement.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Robbie Robinson, CB: We wrote about Robinson last week, removing him from the hot board days prior. And despite Haskins’ commitment and recruiting pitch, we’re not inclined to place Robinson back on our radar either. The Virginia athlete is reportedly leaning towards accepting his Stanford offer, with Duke and the in-state schools also in play.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Jauan Williams, OT: Williams’ situation has been discussed at length. Just because Haskins broached his name him in a presser doesn’t mean the Terps are going to jump back on the Carroll tackle again. Williams is likely bound for Tennessee or a Florida program; not Maryland.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Rashan Gary, DT: Wow. The No. 1 recruit in the country in College Park? Now that’s what you call swagger.
So, you’re telling me there’s a chance? Go ahead, dream a little big Terps fans.
(Spoiler alert: He’s probably going to Alabama or Ohio State).
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Kareem Walker, RB: Maybe even more of a longshot than Gary. Walker is a solid Ohio State pledge, and seemingly the only way he’d decommit is if an SEC bigwig proved more enticing.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Jacob Mathis, TE: The four-star Florida tight end has everyone and their brother after him. The Sunshine State elites have his eye, as do OSU, Stanford and several other SEC schools.
Haskins, who met Mathis when he was down in Florida, has been in touch with the tight end and does have him at least thinking about UMD. But unless we hear something more definitive, we’re not putting Mathis on the hot board.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
The Jeff Pooler Impact
Just as we did with Haskins, we detailed Jeffrey Pooler’s (Chaminade Julienne/Dayton, Ohio) imminent commitment in this space last week, the 6-4, 275-pounder all but conceding he’d be a Terp May 15 or 16.
Pooler did indeed follow through a day after Haskins jumped into the fray, calling Maryland a “second home to me,” while making sure to mention the four-star gunslinger’s impact on him as well.
You can read Pooler’s commitment article HERE. And you can read what his coach had to say about him HERE.
Of course, Pooler doesn’t have the same cache as the Bullis quarterback does, but he’s actively been hyping the Terps and the Movement. His words may or may not resonate in the DMV, but they very well could in his native Ohio/Midwest.
We’re not so sure these guys will heed Pooler’s words either, but here’s who Pooler said he’s targeting:
Tommy Carnifax, DE, Howland (Warren, Ohio): Recall, Pooler is good friends with this primetime Terps target from Greg Studrawa’s recruiting area. Apparently Carnifax’s pro-Terps testimony following his initial visit to College Park in early May was enough to convince Pooler he’d be just fine at Maryland, despite not seeing the school in-depth yet (Pooler had been on campus before when he and his Baltimore-area relatives drove through last year).
Now, Pooler is trying to return the favor, getting Carnifax on board with the Movement too. When I specifically asked the Chaminade Julienne product about Carnifax’s situation, Pooler said, “don’t worry about Tommy, I’ll make sure he’s a Terp.” He said Carnifax “absolutely loved” Maryland, and the two had already discussed playing next to each other on UMD’s defensive line.
But when I pushed Pooler further, he did admit Northwestern, which Carnifax saw for the first time May 18, could “complicate things.” Then, when I personally spoke to Carnifax, the vibe was the Wildcats held the upper-hand, their combination of academics, football and location holding prime appeal. Plus, Carnifax already has an established rapport with Northwestern’s staff, as well as a former teammate currently playing at the Chicago school.
Then, following his May 18 visit, the Howland end called the Wildcats his leader, hinting it was only a matter of time before he popped (he considered committing while on campus).
Maryland is probably sitting a close second, but, as we’ve said many times in this space, there’s no reward for second place. We do think the Terps have a chance to change Carnifax’s mind thanks to Studrawa’s, and now Pooler’s, efforts, but it won’t be easy sledding.
Carnifax, who trekked to Wisconsin May 19, is also considering the Badgers, although he’s not quite as high on them, because the staff views him as a tight end. The Howland edge rusher may also check out Duke should the Blue Devils extend an offer.
We’ll see what transpires in the near future. Carnifax plans to commit by mid- to late-June.
Hot Board Temperature: Warm
Noah Burks, LB, Carmel (Ind.): Burks, a Pooler (and UMD) priority, previously said he’d be visiting College Park for the first time May 23, but he let me know this week the date’s been pushed back to May 29. Which isn’t a slight on the Terps at all. In fact, Burks has UMD running a close second to Wisconsin for his services, with the potential to leapfrog the Badgers following a standout trip.
The Carmel product, who holds offers from Maryland, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Boston College and others, said he’s in constant contact with Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt, who visited his high school twice during the evaluation period. Burks said Wilt is probably “like the No. 1 or No. 2 coach” he exchanges messages with, the linebacker lauding his personality and pitch.
Burks also spoke highly of the facility upgrades, the Under Armour connection, the fact Maryland is in the Big Ten and more. And even though he’s not a DMV talent, Burks spent plenty of time talking up the Movement.
He said not only did Pooler and Dwayne Haskins message him via Twitter, but so did Terps’ pledges Michael Clark, Terek Zingale and 2015 signee Quarvez Boulware. Burks said all of them “were saying how they want to turn Maryland into a Big Ten championship contender and how they need me to help them do that.”
Evidently Burks is heeding their words, because he’s highly considering attending college in College Park. Now, it’s up to the staff to seal the deal, elevating Maryland ahead of Wisconsin.
The Badgers figure to be difficult to beat as Burks couldn’t say enough about his visit to Madison, Wisc., and the coaches. He praised their system, blue-collar mentality and the fact they want him at outside linebacker, which is his high school position (UMD wants him at inside backer).
We’ll know more about Burks’s situation following his Terps trip. Since he’s not really considering any other programs besides UMD’s and Wisconsin’s, he should be making his college decision shortly after May 29 , perhaps sometime in early- to mid-June. (ARTICLE).
Hot Board Temperature: Warm/Hot
Tony Butler, CB, St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio): Another active member of the Twitteratti, Pooler said he and Butler have been going back and forth since May 16.
And Pooler isn’t the only Terps’ advocate either.
Evidently Butler has been in touch with the Maryland staff ever since pulling (pun intended) an offer March 25. That, combined with Pooler’s overtures and Dwayne Haskins’ commitment, have him thinking about Maryland.
It should be noted that Butler pledged to Pittsburgh on March 21 and publically insists he’ll be a Panther on Signing Day. But we’re not so sure that’ll be the case following the uptick in interest he’s received during the evaluation period.
Four days after Butler popped, the Terps anted up, followed by Temple, Michigan and Minnesota. Even Ohio State has been keeping close tabs and could throw its name into the ring too.
The vibe right now is Michigan may be in a strong position to flip Butler, along with OSU should it extend the scholarship. Butler is expected to visit both locales this summer, Ann Arbor for a tour and Columbus for a camp. It wouldn’t shock if he committed to either the Wolverines or Buckeyes when he’s on campus.
There’s also a chance, however, that Butler treks down to College Park, giving the Terps a look. If so, well, maybe the Movement, which seems to be gaining steam in the Midwest, will have Butler’s mind focused on turtles.
But we’re not ready to place Butler on the hot board. At least, not with the Wolverines and potentially Buckeyes after him.
It’s a name to keep in mind moving forward, though.
Hot Board Temperature: N/A
Zingale On Board
About 12 hours after Jeff Pooler committed to Maryland, fellow Ohio native Terek Zingale (Nordonia/Macedonia, Ohio) followed suit -- and for many of the same reasons. Zingale already had the Terps sitting No. 1 following an April trip to College Park, but when Haskins popped, it pushed him over the edge.
The 6-6, 300-pounder also had offers from Illinois, Syracuse, Minnesota, Toledo and others, and he was originally going to wait for a Michigan State look, but said he “couldn’t turn down” the opportunity to join the Movement.
“When Dwayne committed to Maryland, that was an eye-opener. In my eyes, he was the No. 2 quarterback in the country, so why wouldn’t you want to go where he’s going? And what he was saying about the school, man, I couldn’t turn that down,” Zingale said. “He was telling me about he academics there, which is a huge thing for me, and how there are so many connections right by D.C.. The new facilities, we were talking about those too, and those are so cool. So cool. And all the Under Armour connections, there’s just so many advantages at Maryland. How would you not want to play there?”
Zingale went on to rave about the staff, the Under Armour connection, the upgraded facilities, the educational emphasis and more. Maryland’s engineering program, in particular, caught his eye. But Terps’ area recruiter Greg Studrawa received the most praise, Zingale praising him for his personable approach and personality. Zingale said of all the coaches he’s dealt with, he liked Studrawa best.
With Zingale on board, it gives Maryland three offensive tackle pledges in the 2016 class, joining Michael Clark (Downingtown East/Exton, Pa.) and Brian Plummer (South Carroll/Sykesville, Md.). Zingale may not be quite as good as Clark, but he has the potential to become the best of the bunch given his physicality and inherent mean streak.
There are times when Zingale gets downright nasty, finishing off blocks and punishing his man at the point of attack. He goes hard through the whistle, latching onto opposing defenders and bullying them throughout, sometimes 10 or so yards downfield. Zingale also has active hands, a potent punch, a quick first step and solid athleticism for a big man. He shows the ability to readjust to edge rushers, anchoring them past the quarterback, while he can pull out in space too.
Granted, Zingale does have to come off the ball lower, consistently gaining leverage and dropping his pad level. Moreover, his technique can lapse from time to time, especially his footwork and hand placement in pass protection.
So, basically, Zingale is refining his game, but once he masters the little things he may have a fairly high ceiling. (ARTICLE).
TT Spring Tour: Super 22 Banquet At Michael’s 8th Avenue (Glen Burnie, Md.)
Every year, the Baltimore Touchdown Club hosts its Super 22 Banquet, honoring the top recruits in the Baltimore area. Among said prospects were several Terps targets, who I was able to catch up with at the event:
Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): See the Dwayne Haskins section above.
Devery Hamilton, OT, Gilman: Hamilton didn’t report much that we hadn’t heard him say before. Yes, he respects the Movement. Yes, Dwayne Haskins has contacted him. Yes, he likes Maryland for its academics, coaching staff and its proximity to home. And yes, he has a rapport with recruiter Mike Locksley.
But, for the moment, Hamilton continues to favor Stanford and Michigan, his oft-stated No. 1 and No. 2 suitors, respectively. Hamilton has visited both Palo Alto, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich., and couldn’t say enough about the Cardinal and Wolverines. The coaches, the educational benefits, the big-time football, and the prestige of those two institutions have his attention for sure.
Hamilton -- who said Stanford, Michigan, Maryland, Wisconsin and Illinois are pushing the hardest for him -- is also taking a close look at Ohio State and Wisconsin. Both the Buckeyes and Badgers have offered, and the Gilman tackle is scheduled to trip to each this summer.
The vibe on this end is Maryland is probably running third for Hamilton’s services, and it could potentially drop to fourth or fifth behind OSU and Wisconsin following the recruit’s treks to Columbus, Ohio, and Madison, Wisc.
Don’t misunderstand, Hamilton does have much respect for the Terps. But he just doesn’t seem to be as keen on DMV-to-UMD as other recruits, despite saying Maryland is “definitely an option for me” and is “moving in the right direction.”
Maybe that changes in the weeks ahead if/when he returns to College Park. We’ll see what kind of inroads Locksley, head coach Randy Edsall and Haskins’ army of Maryland pledges can make.
Hamilton will likely select his school later this summer, perhaps in July or August.
Note: Hamilton said he’s primarily being recruited as an offensive tackle now. He previously said he could play either defensive end or offensive tackle in college. (INTERVIEW).
Stephen Spanellis, OT/OG, Gilman: We’ve written about Spanellis numerous times in this space, noting how he does hold a Maryland offer but never projected as someone who would wind up in College Park. For one, Spanellis personally seemed focused on other suitors, and, two, we had the inkling the Terps weren’t making a potent push.
Spanellis has limited media interactions, however, so much of the above came from our Gilman sources. I finally caught up with him at the Super 22 banquet, however, and turns out those sources pretty much hit the nail on the head.
Spanellis, who has about 17 verbals, hinted that schools such as Boston College, Wake Forest and Northwestern may be standing out. He’s also hoping Stanford antes up when he visits this summer.
The Gilman product did say he’s been in touch with UMD recruiter Mike Locksley via Twitter, while noting how fond he is of the Movement and DMV-to-UMD. He went on to mention that Maryland is still in play and is a school he’ll keep in mind moving forward.
But even as Spanellis offered up some hometown lip service, he also said the last time he saw College Park was Spring 2014. He’s reneged on a couple offseason UMD visits this year, and isn’t positive he’ll be trekking over during the summer either. That fact alone sort of proves Spanellis and the Terps may not be happening.
We expect Spanellis to wind up an Eagle, Wildcat or Deacon unless there’s a sudden change of heart. He could end his recruitment at any time. (INTERVIEW).
Ali’I Niumatalolo, LB, Broadneck (Annapolis, Md.): The Terps have been closely monitoring Niumatalolo, with area recruiter John Dunn stopping by Broadneck twice during the evaluation period. UMD hasn’t anted up yet, but Niumatalolo said it may only be a matter of semantics. The Broadneck backer said both Dunn and Maryland defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski would have offered him already, but head coach Randy Edsall wanted to meet him in person first.
Expect the latter to occur during a June one-day camp, when Niumatalolo plans to visit College Park. If Edsall does indeed present the offer at that time, Niumatalolo would immediately place the Terps at, or near, the top of his personal leaderboard. He probably wouldn’t commit on the spot, but Maryland would become the proverbial “team to beat.”
Niumatalolo said the DMV-to-UMD movement and the chance to represent his home state would be an appealing option, especially in the wake of Dwayne Haskins’ commitment. Moreover, the son of Navy’s head coach has a great relationship with Dunn and would love to be part of Maryland’s defense..
If the Terps fall by the wayside, look for Niumatalolo to wind up at either Connecticut (his current favorite following a visit to Storrs, Conn.) or a West Coast program like Utah or BYU, which is where his brother, Va’a, currently plays.
Niumatalolo should be making a late-summer decision, if not earlier. (INTERVIEW).
TT Spring Tour: H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)
Parnell Motley, CB: Last week we let you know this D.C. product had the Terps under prime consideration, and this week I stopped by H.D. Woodson in order to speak to the top 2016 corner/receiver. Motley (6-1, 170), who claims about 25 verbals, holds a committable offer from UMD and said the hometown school is definitely resonating.
Motley said Maryland area recruiter Mike Locksley and he have a tight relationship, the coach stopping by Woodson a couple times during the evaluation period. The D.C. corner also knows Terps’ defensive backs coach Darnell Perkins, whom he met during a College Park campus visit back in April.
Motley, of course, was excited about the hometown movement too. He said with the talent in the area looking at the Terps, “we’re going to do something there. … With us coming in we can win a national championship there.” The use of the words “us” and “we” may have just been a Freudian slip, but it’s clear Motley sees UMD in a positive light.
Motley also spoke highly of the facility upgrades, namely the dorms and new indoor fields. He said the Terps caught his eye during the season as well, finishing above .500 and making a bowl game.
The D.C. corner went on to say the staffs from Maryland, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Kentucky, Georgia, Wake Forest and a couple others were pushing the hardest for him. Of those, he said MSU (Motley’s teammate, Abdul Adams, is committed there), UMD and Wake were possibly at the forefront due to his relationships with each. (Motley also mentioned LSU, but we don’t see the Tigers pushing for him.) Georgia could also work its way into the picture following a trip to Athens, Ga.
As far as visits are concerned, Motley has yet to trek anywhere other than College Park this offseason. But from June 10-12 he’s set to see Wake Forest, N.C. State and Georgia (he said Georgia Tech but meant Georgia), while from June 17-20 he’ll check out Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin. Motley should be returning to Maryland at some point, likely in late June or July.
We do think the Terps have more than a puncher’s chance with Motley, especially given his final statement that he “really likes how things are coming together” in College Park. But Locksley and Co. are going to have to fend off Michigan State and possibly Georgia, Wake and others that may emerge.
We’ll label him as “warm” on the hot board for now.
Look for Motley to make a late-summer college decision.(INTERVIEW).
More News & Notes
Mackenzie Nworah, OG, Manvel (Texas): The Terps will be hosting this emerging Texas guard May 23, the first of his many stops this offseason. Nworah, who has been in touch with UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell, has held a Maryland offer since February and has been pining to visit ever since. This weekend is a great opportunity for that trip as Nworah and his mother were already planning to see some of their relatives, who live in Columbia, Md.
Before heading to Columbia, the Nworahs will stop off in College Park to take a look at Randy Edsall’s football program. Nworah said despite his growing offer list, he still has heavy Terps interest because of the football-academic balance.
“To tell you the truth, there’s a lot to like about Maryland. It’s really good academics, a great business school and engineering school,” Nworah said. “Then I know they just moved from the ACC to the Big Ten not too long ago, and the Big Ten is a great conference. The team did well last year, going to a bowl game, and they’re bringing in some really good pieces. I feel like it’s a good balance of football and academics up there, which is what I’m looking for.”
Nworah also said he has a solid rapport with McCardell, who visited Manvel twice during the evaluation period, while he knows line coach Greg Studrawa as well.
He mentioned having family nearby also helps Maryland’s chances with him. He also said the distance between Texas and College Park wouldn’t factor into his decision.
But, as aforementioned, UMD is the first of many summer stops. Missouri sounds like a prime contender, and Nworah will visit the Tigers June 9. After that, he’ll be seeing Kansas State, Oklahoma State, SMU, Arizona State, LA Tech and possibly more.
He said staffs from all of the above programs have had consistent communication with him.
Nworah has no idea when he might make his college decision, saying it could come at any time. We’ll leave him as “cool” on the hot board for now since he still has plenty of institutions to see, but his status could elevate if the upcoming Maryland visit resonates late into summer. (ARTICLE).
Marcus Simms, WR, Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.): As soon as Dwayne Haskins committed to Maryland March 15, local recruitniks immediately broached the name Marcus Simms as a possible flip candidate. Which made perfect sense, considering the 6-0, 170-pound local chose West Virginia over runner-up UMD March 15. With the Terps gaining some DMV-to-UMD steam, some surmised, perhaps the mercurial Simms would reconsider his choice.
So, what’s the word?
Simms is definitely giving some thought to jumping back on the Pride bandwagon, although we’re not positive the interest is mutual. The Sherwood product said he wasn’t sure just how much the UMD staff still coveted him following his WVU pop. Perhaps, he suggested, the Terps’ coaches had other receiver targets they valued more, and maybe they’d be reluctant to accept his pledge.
That may be the case, but fact is Simms does not seem like someone who is completely sold on the Mountaineers, despite insisting he’s “100 percent committed (for now).” Simms said he’s been in touch with Haskins, who has the Sherwood wideout feeling the Movement and considering a College Park visit. Moreover, Simms has remained in contact with Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt and receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell.
“As of right now I have nothing planned, but I think I’ll get over to Maryland just to talk to the coaches again and see what’s up,” Simms said. “I have to play it by ear and see what happens. It’s going to be interesting.”
Turns out Maryland isn’t the only program Simms may be checking out this summer. He said Rutgers, another longtime contender, could get another look, along with Georgia. The Bulldogs haven’t offered, but Simms said a scholarship could materialize after he visits.
Simms may still wind up in West Virginia when it’s all said and done (he’s in constant communication with the staff and has made plans to enroll early there), but it’s a situation worth monitoring.
Do we think he’ll flip to Maryland?
We’re not banking on it, but stranger things have happened. (ARTICLE).
Jalen Elliott, WR, Lloyd C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.): The Terps, and most other programs, are fading fast for this primetime athlete from Virginia. Elliott landed a coveted Notre Dame offer May 18, and he admitted it was a game-changer. The 6-1, 180-pounder is a high-academic student-athlete, so UND’s combination of a standout education and a national football program hold plenty of weight. He’s keeping his options open for now, but it may only be a matter of time before he pledges to the Irish.
Elliott, recall, had naught but praise for Maryland following its offer in early April, citing the facility upgrades; his relationship with the staff (Chad Wilt and Keenan McCardell in particular); and the academics. Plus, he used to live in Upper Marlboro, Md., so he considers UMD his hometown school.
Since then, though, Elliot has added a number of intriguing options, with Notre Dame being the potential backbreaker.
We’ll leave Elliott as “cool” on the hot board for now, but he could be removed at any time.
Jay Rose, TE, Southington (Conn.): Wisconsin and Maryland have become rivals of sorts on the recruiting trail, and the latest prospect the two Big Ten programs will be vying for is the tight end Rose.
The Badgers just offered the 6-3, 220-pounder May 20, piquing Rose’s attention almost instantaneously. He told me following the offer he’d “definitely” be visiting Madison and now had the Badgers among his foremost suitors.
The other primary players in this recruitment are UMD (relationship with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, Big Ten affiliation, Under Armour connection), West Virginia and possibly PSU, which hasn’t offered yet. Rose would like to trek to College Park, Morgantown and State College, in addition to Madison, in the weeks ahead as he begins evaluating his main contenders.
Meanwhile, Rose could camp at Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State, three Big Ten powers he’s trying to catch the attention of.
It’s also possible Rose, who plays quarterback at Southington, could opt for the likes of Uconn, BC, Temple or UMass, all of which want him to sit under center. Rose said he didn't care which position he played at the next level, but we got the sense he might prefer quarterback.
Rose wants to make his college decision by August, although that’s not set in stone.
Lindell Stone, QB, Woodberry Forest (Woodberry, Va.) (2017): Terps' quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley stopped by Woodberry Forest to check out this four-star class of 2017 quarterback May 20. Maryland hasn't offered Stone yet, but he should be receiving a Terps' verbal at some point this offseason, if not before this Shell is released. Stone, who visited College Park earlier this spring, holds Maryland in high regard early. He said it would be a great opportunity to follow 2016 UMD quarterback pledge Dwayne Haskins to Maryland, talking up the Movement in the process. On top of that, Stone thoroughly enjoyed his initial stay on campus, lauding the staff (Darnell Perkins is his recruiter); facilities; academics and more.
But don't get too excited yet Terps fans -- at least not until Stone's full complement of offers is realized. He currently holds verbals from UCLA, UVA, Wake and Temple, with Clemson, Duke, Texas, Michigan State, Notre Dame, NC State, Michigan, Penn State, UNC, Stanford and others showing interest. He currently has his eye on in-state UVA, while he's hoping some Texas schools ante up since that's where he's originally from. Duke and Stanford also hold appeal due to their standout academics and solid football programs.
New Offers Out
Jean Delance, OT, North Mesquite (Mesquite, Texas): This coveted offensive tackle pulled a Maryland offer May 16. The 6-5, 281-pound four-star already held verbals from Texas A&M, Michigan, USC, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Alabama, LSU, TCU, Ohio State, Auburn and others. He is likely bound for a Lone Star State mainstay, or perhaps a Big 12 or SEC elite.
Ahmir Mitchell, WR, Cedar Creek (Egg Harbor City, N.J.): A top New Jersey talent, Mitchell has schools like Michigan, OSU, Notre Dame, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Rutgers, Michigan State, South Carolina, Penn State and Ole Miss on him. He’s probably going to the Irish, Buckeyes, Wolverines or maybe even the hometown Scarlet Knights.
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