Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Hall On Board
So the Ohio-to-Maryland trend continues.
An under-the-radar tackle, Alex Hall (Louisville, Ohio) claimed an out-of-the-blue Maryland offer during the evaluation period and subsequently visited College Park, Md., with his family May 28. Hall, who held no other verbals (interest from MAC programs), ended up committing before he left campus, giving head coach Randy Edsall his word after a six-hour stay. Hall, however, will apparently be greyshirting and won't be joining the program until enrolling in January 2017, meaning he'd be part of the '17 class (assuming the greyshirt holds; it's conceivable Hall could earn a scholarship later this year).
Evidently he was fully on-board with that line of thinking, as Hall had naught but effusive praise for Maryland. He said the campus, the atmosphere, the coaching staff, the academics, the Under Armour connection and future facility upgrades all caught his eye.
But it was area recruiter Greg Studrawa who seemingly sold Hall and his folks on UMD. Hall couldn't say enough about how well Studrawa treated the family and his personality in general, in addition to his overall approach. Hall lauded Studrawa’s reputation and coaching methods, saying he could easily see himself learning under Maryland’s offensive line coach.
“I love that guy, I love his personality,” Hall said. “I really think he’s going to help me develop, and I couldn’t think of anyone who could help me more then him. I’ve heard so many great things about him and what he’s been able to do at LSU and at Maryland now. He really likes to focus on the individual and helps each player in his own way. The way he trains you, he gets it down and makes sure you understand what’s going on. And he also makes sure you’re getting done in the classroom and the weight room, so he cares about getting everything out of you. He’s a great guy, but when it comes down to getting things done, he’s business.”
Head coach Randy Edsall impressed the Halls too, especially with his emphasis on academics. Hall said the headman's spiel is "something you just don't hear anywhere else." Moreover, Hall appreciated how much Edsall cares about his players, mentioning the coach's comment that "he has his own family and then his football family."
The education at Maryland played a major factor in Hall's decision as well. It's part of the reason he chose to end his recruitment now rather than wait to see what other offers could materialize. He said even if football doesn't work out, he knows he'd get a great degree (he wants to major in biology) from College Park.
Hall also said he wouldn’t mind playing his college ball on the East Coast, noting how Maryland isn’t that burdensome of a drive from Ohio. The new indoor facilities, the proximity to Washington, D.C., and the benefits of Under Armour only added to the appeal. And, of course, it certainly helped that Maryland was Hall's only firm offer.
Now, about Hall's game. Well, he's another project O-lineman for Studrawa to mold, for sure.
He doesn't look overly physical and he's not especially powerful at the point of attack, thus why he'll be greyshirting. Hall even admitted he has to get stronger and hit the weights in earnest in order to hang in the Big Ten. In addition, Hall has to shore up his technique, making sure he maintains leverage, takes the proper steps in pass protection, and stays more consistent with his hand placement. He also needs to come off the ball lower, harder and faster.
There are tools to work with, though, namely Hall's athleticism. He seems to move well for a lineman, pulling out in space and getting to the second level. He's relatively quick and seems to readjust well to edge-rushers and fast-twitch defensive linemen. Plus Hall is 6-6, 275-pounds, so the size alone is intriguing.
Let's see how much he develops over the next year. (ARTICLE).
Garman On Board
The Terps added Oklahoma State quarterback transfer Daxx Garman May 29. A big-armed fifth-year senior who will be eligible immediately, Garman fills an obvious need for Maryland. You can read our analysis of Garman and his impact HERE.
TT Spring Tour: DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)
The spring evaluation period ends May 30, and my last stop before June one-day camp season was to local power DeMatha. Here’s what we learned:
Tino Ellis, WR: Maryland’s No. 1 receiver target tends to tense up when words like “leaders” or “standouts” are thrown at him, but it’s pretty clear UMD and Virginia Tech are foremost in his mind. Even as new schools emerge, and more visits are planned, Ellis has been steadfast on the Terps and Hokies for months now.
Ellis once again reiterated the strong relationship he has with area recruiter Mike Locksley, along with his familiarity in College Park, Md., as two of the reasons Maryland is in prime position. He said the DMV-to-UMD movement -- spearheaded by Terps’ pledge Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) -- is ringing true, with Haskins and teammates-turned-Maryland commits D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison pushing the hometown school.
Tech, meanwhile, has pulled even with Maryland, according to Ellis. He said the family atmosphere in Blacksburg, Va., and how the coaches have treated he and his parents sits well. Ellis has a great relationship with the Hokies’ staff too, dating back to his sophomore year.
The vibe is Rutgers may be third in the running, while Wisconsin, Nebraska, Wake Forest, Kentucky and possibly Miami (no offer yet) and Tennessee (no offer yet) are currently on the outside looking in. However, Ellis will give each of the latter programs a chance to make up ground as he’s planning June/July trips to Nebraska (“definitely getting out there,” he said), Wisconsin, Wake, RU and Va Tech. The Hurricanes could receive a visit should they offer as well.
Ellis is also leaving open the possibility for SEC suitors and Big Ten mainstay Ohio State to join the fray should summer scholarships materialize.
But we don’t expect Ellis to pull a Tyler Green and pop to Ohio State (or a program of that ilk) following an on-the-spot offer. The sense is he’s going to choose a school that’s been with him from the jump, either UMD, Va Tech or maybe Rutgers.
It’s a tough call between Terps and Hokies, but we’ll stick with our original projection (Maryland) until our sources indicate otherwise.
Expect Ellis to make a July 31 decision. And, yes, he brought up the R.J. Bentley’s announcement destination once again. (INTERVIEW).
Terrance Davis, OG: Davis didn’t have too much new to report since our last update, although he did comment on Dwayne Haskins’ commitment to Maryland. Davis called the Bullis quarterback “a good friend,” and said he works out with Haskins every Sunday, the latter pumping up the hometown movement. The DeMatha guard isn’t going to merely follow the gunslinger to College Park, but it’s obvious the Terps are on Davis’ mind.
While Davis insisted there’s no pressure to stick around for college, he did say “you can’t deny the interest,” the hometown love is “definitely there,” and the Terps “will be there until the end.” He said both area recruiter Mike Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall have been contacting him constantly as well, and Davis plans to see both coaches again on campus in the next couple weeks. And not only will Davis be trekking back to UMD for the fourth this time this spring, but he’s planning to go with Haskins and several other Terps targets/pledges.
But Davis, as we’ve stated over and over again, has no intentions of ending his recruitment anytime soon. There are plenty of schools on his mind, headlined by Michigan; Alabama; Florida; Florida State; Georgia and UCLA.
He’s in the process of scheduling three or four June visits and two more in July, with Bama, FSU, UGA (for Dawg Night in July) and Florida all on his radar. Then, once the fall hits, Davis wants to take in the Michigan-Michigan State showdown, the UCLA-USC bout and a game at Alabama.
The DeMatha lineman also said the three programs that would surely receive official visits were UCLA, Bama and Michigan, with two more to be named (he said UMD probably wouldn’t be one of them since he’s been in College Park so much).
Davis is on track to make a December decision, and we don’t expect it to be any earlier.
We still think the Terps are in excellent shape for the DeMatha product.
Other Notes From the Davis Interview: Davis said he’s not concerned with won-loss records this fall … Davis said he’ll be paying attention to offensive line coaches during the season … Davis said he’s not worried about early playing time and is well aware most freshmen linemen end up redshirting … Davis said he knows some of his main suitors may fill up their allotted guard slots before he’s ready to commit, but “the schools that really want me” will save a spot for him (this bodes well for UMD purposes). (INTERVIEW).
Elijah Johnson, OG: Talk about a tough read. Not even Johnson’s coaches gave any indication into which way he’s leaning heading into the summer months. Johnson remains wide open in the recruiting process and is still evaluating all his offers. When pressed, Johnson did mention Maryland, Rutgers and Pittsburgh as three schools pushing the hardest for him, but then quickly added “all the schools” that have offered are staying in touch.
We do know Johnson has the Terps among his leading contenders, however (and maybe even the leader if you can glean anything from his body language). Johnson and his father were highly impressed with UMD following their spring visit to College Park, the academic-athletic balance hitting home.
During our latest interview, Johnson talked up the facility upgrades, the business program, the rapport he has with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and the chance to represent his home state. Of course, he mentioned the Movement too, saying how D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison always hype the Terps and want him on board.
“[Maryland is] definitely going to be one of my top contenders,” Johnson said.
But Johnson added this comment later on: “I want to give everyone [that has offered] a chance.”
Meaning he has to take numerous visits before ending his recruitment. Johnson has seen UMD, Pitt, Rutgers and WVU, but he wants to check out Boston College, Illinois, Indiana and UVA this June. Johnson said each of the latter four programs (all recent offerees) have made inroads, and the DeMatha guard wants to honor the coaches’ efforts by visiting their respective campuses.
We don’t think Johnson will make it to all those locales before announcing his decision, though. There’s a sense Jonson could be ready to pick a school by late June or July, and if that holds true, he’ll probably choose between Maryland, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Boston College.
Given that lineup, we’ll give the hometown school the edge, but that’s just an initial gut read.
More Notes From The Johnson Interview: Johnson said he has no conference preference … Johnson said he wants to major in business or programming and finding a school with a solid major in either/both is essential … Johnson said he’d be inclined to end his recruitment earlier if spots begin to fill. (INTERVIEW).
Anthony McFarland, ATH (2017): Of all the recruits I saw live and in pads last fall, McFarland topped the charts -- and his offer list bears that out. A dynamic running back/slot, this 5-foot-8, 185-pounder with 4.3 40-yard dash speed now holds verbals from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, FSU, Georgia, UMD, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Baylor, Ohio State, Penn State, Auburn, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Rutgers, Vandy, West Virginia and more.
Maryland wasn’t the first school to identify McFarland as a scholarship-worthy athlete, but the Terps did jump on the DeMatha talent before he “blew up,” offering him last spring. McFarland said he hasn’t heard too much from UMD and area recruiter Mike Locksley of late, but he knows Maryland’s offensive coordinator from his treks through DeMatha.
McFarland is also keen on the Movement -- noting D.J. Turner’s, LoLo Harrison’s and Dwayne Haskins’ pro-Terps comments -- is familiar with the school from having been on campus numerous times, and likes the idea of representing his home state. He said Maryland would “definitely” be among his five favorites as he wads through the recruiting waters.
But it’s clear McFarland is seeing stars at the moment. Georgia has his attention following a visit to Athens, Ga., while elite SEC programs like Alabama, Auburn and the like have caught his eye as well. Ohio State, Michigan and the Big Ten bigwigs are on the brain too.
It’s safe to say McFarland’s recruitment is going to ebb and flow all the way until the 2017 All-American games. Maryland will have a better shot at landing him if DMV-to-UMD gains major steam, the team shows more progress in the Big Ten, and those new facilities come to fruition. (INTERVIEW).
Chase Young, DE (2017): Coming off a 22-sack season at St. Vincent Pallotti (Laurel, Md.), Young transferred to DeMatha shortly after the New Year. He’s slotted to start at defensive end this year, and while he’s yet to prove himself in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference, he has generated early college interest. Young added his first two offers from ECU and NC State during the evaluation period, while Maryland, UVA and regional programs are keeping tabs. He plans to visit both the Wolfpack and Pirates this summer.
Terps area recruiter Mike Locksley has initiated contact, and the rising junior edge rusher is eager to build a relationship with him. The Stags’ end said teammates D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison have told him a good bit about UMD, their words “definitely” having influence. Young, who lives in Upper Marlboro, Md., said he likes the hometown movement and would immediately place UMD near the top of his leaderboard should the staff ante up.
The process is just beginning, however, and Young will have many options by this time next year. He’s looking for SEC stalwarts like Alabama and Florida to get involved, and he counts Oregon as a dream school.
We’ll monitor Young’s status moving forward; we expect him to land a Maryland offer either this summer or during the fall.
Marcus Minor, OG (2017): Minor earned his initial offer from ECU during the evaluation period, but it’s probably the first of many. He said Va Tech, Maryland, Boston College and more are talking to his coaches, and we expect numerous regional programs to extend verbals either this summer or during the fall.
The offer Minor is looking for, though, is from the school right down the street. He said he grew up a Terps fan and would love the opportunity to play in College Park. Minor has been in Byrd Stadium for a game, lauding the atmosphere, while he’s learned about the staff and environment from his teammates. Moreover, Minor said he wants to be a sports commentator, so Maryland’s renowned journalism program makes the local university even more attractive.
Minor is just getting started with recruiting, however, so we’re not making any premature predictions here, but it sounds like UMD would be in solid position should it ante up.
We’ll know more about Minor’s status after he takes some summer visits, with Va Tech, UMD and possibly more on the docket.
Notes: Defensive end Shane Simmons, a Penn State pledge, smirked when asked about DMV-to-UMD and the Dwayne Haskins commitment. He said the quarterback addition was “really big” for Maryland, acknowledged Haskins has been in his ear about the Terps, and how UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley remains in touch too. But Simmons insisted he’s a firm Nittany Lions pledge. We’ll see if he remains true to his word down the line.
Also, three more class of 2017 Stags to monitor are quarterback Beau English, center Victor Oluwatimi and receiver Delante Hellams. None of the trio hold offers yet, but each should secure some Division I verbals following the summer/fall. We’re not positive the Terps will look at English, while Oluwatimi is a bit undersized (6-1, 280), but Hellams definitely passes the eyeball test. He’s a solidly built 6-2, 185 pounds, and resembles Tino Ellis at this time last year.
Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): See above.
Elijah Johnson, OG, DeMatha: See above.
Alex Hall, OT, Louisville (Ohio): See above.
Mackenzie Nworah, OG, Manvel (Texas): Last week we reported this emerging Lone Star State guard would be trekking north to Maryland with his mother, and the pair did indeed visit College Park, Md., May 23. Nworah, who has family in Columbia, Md., was seeing his relatives anyway, so he took the opportunity to stop by one of his most ardent college suitors on the way.
Nworah called his initial visit “better than I expected,” lauding the campus; its location near Washington, D.C.; the facility upgrades; the Under Armour gear; and, most significantly, the academics. The Texas product wants to be a physical therapist, so he spent a good portion of the trip delving into UMD’s program, which left him impressed.
Nworah also talked up area recruiter Keenan McCardell, who met he and his mother and took them around campus. McCardell had stopped by Manvel twice this spring, so recruit and coach were already familiar with one another, and the two only strengthened that rapport after the May 23 trip.
“I spent most of my time with Coach McCardell [May 23], and he was great. We have a great relationship and he was really impressive,” Nworah said. “My mom loved him, and I already had a relationship with him. It was great.”
While this sounds encouraging for Maryland, Nworah said there’s plenty of programs he has to check out before making any kind of college decision. Missouri, which he’ll see June 11, seems to be a primary contender. Nworah will also be checking out Oklahoma State, Kansas State, SMU, Illinois, Indiana, LA Tech and more.
Nworah is expected to select his future destination in August. We’re keeping him “cool” on the hot board for now as we have to see if the Terps can maintain position following these upcoming trips. (ARTICLE).
Zach Bycznski, OC, Berea (Ohio): We let you know about Bycznski’s Terps’ offer in early/mid-May, and since then the Berea prospect has had the opportunity to research the school. He told me Maryland’s academic reputation, the staff’s emphasis on the latter, O-line coach Greg Studrawa’s ability to produce quality linemen, and UMD’s Big Ten affiliation stand out.
Bycznski, who counts Maryland as a major contender, is set to visit College Park for the first time June 16. If the trip goes well -- and we expect it will -- Bycznski will likely place Maryland right among (maybe even ahead of) his three favorites, along with Minnesota and Illinois.
Bycznski has seen the Illini and Gophers before, so, naturally, they’ve caught his eye, the lineman praising the environments; coaches; and academics at each locale. But we think the Terps have a real shot here (should they have room to accept his pledge) given head coach Randy Edsall’s education-first initiative.
Bycznski is the type of recruit who would turn down a high-Division I offer from a so-so academic school in order to play at an Ivy program, so that alone could vault the Terps up the leaderboard.
Bycznski should be making his college decision later this summer. Stay tuned.
Christian Colon, DT, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.): Colon raised a few eyebrows when he placed Maryland among his top six suitors, along with North Carolina, Penn State, Pitt, Syracuse and UCLA. The three-star tackle said the fact College Park is located between his family in New York and Carolina served as a “plus,” while he also felt he could play early at UMD.
After checking with our Carolina-area colleagues, however, we got the feeling Maryland was probably at or near the bottom of that top six (it was sort of telling when he called the Terps’ scheme a “3-4,” not realizing they’d switched to a “4-3”). We were told Penn State and UNC were the clear No. 1 and No. 2 options, with Pitt likely sitting in the third spot.
It should also be noted that Colon’s leaderboard is fluid, and there’s a possibility programs such as Auburn and Bama could pursue, which would alter the defensive tackle’s thinking.
Look for Colon to select his school on Independence’s senior night, Nov. 6. He has not been added to the hot board.
Eddy Fish, OG, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.): Recall, Fish thought head coach Randy Edsall would be offering him following a second offseason visit to College Park, but the verbal hasn’t materialized yet (he probably would’ve popped on the spot had the scholarship been presented). Instead, Fish has been told -- by the Terps’ and many other staffs -- he’ll have to show out in camp before securing major offers.
Which Fish plans to do during June. First, he’ll hit Pitt’s one-day May 31, followed by Boston College June 7, Wake June 10, UVA June 13, Maryland June 20 and Syracuse June 24. Currently, Fish holds one verbal from Temple, but he’s not overly interested in the Owls. He’s looking for a high-academic institution that also competes in a major conference, so he’s pegged the Panthers, Eagles, Deacons, Terps, Wahoos and Orange as realistic possibilities.
We could see Fish ending up at any of the above schools, or possibly a lower-level program if he fails to land an offer this June. The Terps’ staff could conceivably pursue, but the sense is they may currently have their sights set elsewhere.
UMD already has four (technically three with Alex Hall's greyshirt) O-line commits and is targeting guards like Terrance Davis (DeMatha), Elijah Johnson (DeMatha), Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), Mackenzie Nworah (Manvel, Texas), Zach Bycznski (Berea, Ohio) and Zach Adams (Riverband/Fredericksburg, Va.), in addition to tackles Devery Hamilton (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.) and Chandler Reeves (Eagles Landing Christian/McDonough, Ga.). Look for the staff to possibly take one more tackle and two more guards this year.
Michael Dwumfour, DT, DePaul Catholic (Wayne, N.J.): Scout’s Brian Dohn caught up with this defensive tackle earlier, and let us know Terps’ area recruiter Keith Dudzinski had been in touch. Apparently Dwumfour visited College Park earlier in the offseason and has been hearing from the staff at least once a week since then.
The Jersey tackle hinted that an offer may be coming, but also said the Maryland staff may need to evaluate him further (both in camp and academically). Dwumfour went on to say he was “unsure” whether he’d be trekking back down to College Park, and, at this point, we’re not inclined to place him on our radar. There may be some issues that prevent UMD from pursuing in earnest.
Dwumfour does claim offers from BC, UMass, Temple, Wake, FAU and Army, while Pittsburgh could be on the verge. He’s set to visit the Eagles, Deacons and Minutemen this summer.
Dwumfour would ideally like to commit before his senior season. We’ll see if the Terps make a more potent push this June.
James Jennette, DE, Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.): It could be a short-lived stay on the hot board for the recent Maryland offeree Jenette. When I spoke to him earlier in May, following his UMD verbal, Jennette said he was in the process of learning about UMD, developing a rapport with recruiter Darnell Perkins, and scheduling a College Park visit.
Well, Jennette just gave another interview to one of our Scout analysts this week and barely mentioned the Terps at all. In fact, he said the only intended visit he planned to take this June was to Missouri for a one-day camp. After that, Jennette said, he'd be close to making his college decision.
Which basically means he'll be choosing between the campuses he has seen this offseason: Kansas State's, Purdue's and Missouri's (no offer yet). Jennette called K-State his favorite after I interviewed him, and that's probably where he'll wind up unless Mizzou pulls through with a camp scholarship. Either way, it doesn't sound like he'll be heading to College Park.
We'll keep him on the hot board for now, but he could be punted at any time.
Noah Burks, LB, Carmel (Ind.): May 29 is a big day for the Terps’ staff with Maryland playing host to one its principal linebacker targets, Burks, who will be visiting for the first time.
Remember, Burks said he is basically deciding between UMD and Wisconsin, with the Badgers holding a decided edge for the moment. Burks tripped to Madison, Wisc., earlier in May, noting how it would be tough to top Wisconsin.
But the Terps will presumably get last dibs, so area recruiter Chad Wilt and Co. are going to have more than a puncher’s chance to sway the Midwest backer. Their best bet, though, may be to push for a pop before Burks leaves College Park. (Burks personally said he’s going to take a week or two following his Maryland visit to weigh the pros and cons of both UMD and Wisconsin, but that’s always subject to change.)
Right now, we know Wilt is the driving force behind this recruitment. The Terps’ defensive line coach visited Carmel twice this year, as well as last spring, and has an established relationship with Burks. A personable, relatable coach, he has the linebacker considering Maryland over offers from Minnesota, Illinois, Boston College and others.
We also know UMD’s Big Ten affiliation, facility upgrades, Under Armour connection and more have Burks’ attention. It helps that Terps’ pledges like Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), Jeff Pooler (Chaminade Julienne/Dayton, Ohio) and others are in his ear.
Unless another primetime suitor comes calling in the next couple of weeks, we should know Burks’ destination by the first or second week in June. We’re inclined to predict a Wisconsin pop following our last Burks interview, but it’s a tough call prior to his College Park trip.
Again, this weekend will more than likely make the difference; we’ll see if the Terps’ coaches can close.
Jacob Morgenstern, LB, St. Luke’s (New Canaan, Conn.): I caught up with the UMD offeree Morgenstern this week, and the 6-4, 210-pounder let me know he’d be visiting Maryland for the first time June 22. Morgenstern said he’s had consistent communication with Terps’ area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, noting how UMD’s defensive coordinator stopped by St. Luke’s “a couple times” this spring. Morgenstern is intrigued by Maryland’s academics, primarily, in addition to the fact it’s a Big Ten program and could be on the rise. He also has family in the Old Line State, as well as friends who attended UMD and are pushing the university. Morgenstern went on to say Maryland is on his shortlist, and has a shot to unseat the two at the top: Duke and BC.
Indeed, the Blue Devils and Eagles are resonating due to the standout academics and his relationship with the respective staffs. Duke, which Morgenstern will be seeing June 19-20, holds the edge for the moment, but BC, a school he’s already visited a couple times, is close behind.
Morgenstern also said Wisconsin (June 15 visit), Vandy (June 17 visit), Pitt (June 14 visit) and UVA (June 21 visit) were in play, in addition to Maryland (June 22 visit). Stanford is also a possibility should the coaches choose to offer (“that’s a school I’m keeping in the back of my mind,” Morgenstern said).
Morgenstern wants to choose his destination by August, well aware spots will fill if he waits until the fall.
Right now, we think it’ll be tough to beat Duke and Boston College (unless both fill up their linebacker spots), but Maryland does have that final visit June 22. We’ll see what Morgenstern is thinking after that. (ARTICLE).
Keith Simms, LB, Landon (Bethesda, Md.): There are some new developments to report with one of Maryland’s most coveted linebacker targets. First of all, Simms received an Oregon offer recently, promptly placing the Ducks in the conversation with his other main contenders. Simms is now considering flying out to Eugene, Ore., this summer, and, if so, we could very well see him winding up a Duck.
The next bit of news is that Simms finalized a couple upcoming visit dates, including his return to Maryland. He, and perhaps his family too, will be in College Park June 12 for a closer look at the school’s academics. Simms has already seen most of what Maryland has to offer, but since education is of the utmost importance, he wants to make sure he’ll be comfortable in UMD’s business school.
Then, after trekking to Maryland, Simms plans to visit Virginia Tech June 13 since the Hokies have been making a push of late. Later in the month, he’ll attempt to see Duke, Wisconsin, Michigan State and possibly BC. The Blue Devils and Badgers have been after Simms for awhile, and each holds appeal, but the Spartans entered the mix just this week. The late offer doesn’t seem to concern Simms, who said he’s eager to see what East Lansing, Mich., is all about.
The last nugget to note is that Stanford, once considered the far-and-away favorite, may be fading from consideration -- and not because Simms isn’t interested (he and his father are still thinking about a flight back to Palo Alto, Calif.). Simms has to meet the Cardinal’s stringent academic requirements and said he may not have the courses to do so. That’s a situation worth monitoring, and it could potentially work in Maryland’s favor.
Given the above, we think Oregon, Maryland, Michigan State, Duke and Wisconsin -- with Stanford as the wildcard -- are in the running. To top the Ducks, Badgers and Spartans, the Terps have to bank on Simms valuing area recruiter Chad Wilt’s longstanding relationship with him, the university’s academic reputation, and the chance to represent at the hometown school.
Can Maryland pull it off? Sure, but it's too soon to make a definitive call.
Elias Reynolds, LB, Poly Prep (Brooklyn, N.Y.): While some recruits have set up their June visit schedules, Reynolds remains in a holding pattern. When we touched base with the UMD linebacker target earlier this week, he said he still intended to trek to College Park, but does not have a date in mind. Reynolds said he and area recruiter Keith Dudzinski maintain contact, and Maryland remains an intriguing option for him, but he offered little hints into where the Terps stood in the pecking order.
The feeling, however, is Rutgers and Syracuse are the teams to beat as both staffs have been making potent pushes. Reynolds has tripped to both Piscataway, N.J. and Syracuse, N.Y., and couldn’t say enough about the Orange and Scarlet Knights afterwards. Wake Forest, another offeree, is also on him heavy, while UVA would become a chief suitor should the Wahoos pursue (they very well could if/when Reynolds visits this June).
Reynolds is also hoping a Big Ten power like Wisconsin, Michigan or Ohio State becomes involved. He may consider camping at some or all this June in order to cull out an offer or two.
The Poly Prep product has no intentions of ending his recruitment anytime soon. He said he wants to go through the process, see what scholarships he can procure this summer, and maybe even wait until his senior film is evaluated before picking a school.
Our gut is Reynolds ends up at SU or RU unless the Cuse and Scarlet Knights fill up their linebacker slots. Maryland will have a much better shot at securing his services should the latter occur and the Michigans and OSUs of the world lay off.
We’ll see what Reynolds is thinking if/when he follows through with his College Park trip.
Tight End/Receiver News
Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha: See above.
Noah Turner, TE, Carmel Catholic (Mundelein, Ill.): The Terps remain in the thick of things for the three-star tight end, but we’ve been getting some less-than-positive vibes of late.
First and foremost, Turner just called North Carolina his leader in a recent interview, which was a bit discouraging for UMD purposes since he visited College Park right after he trekked to Chapel Hill.
Secondly, Turner keeps hoping some major Midwest suitors will enter the mix. He was pining for a Michigan State verbal following a visit to East Lansing, but the Spartans chose to go in a different direction (the staff took another tight end instead). Undeterred, Turner is now planning to camp at the Sound Mind Sound Body event in Detroit, Mich., this June, which will have coaches from Michigan, Ohio State, MSU and others in attendance. If the Buckeyes or Wolverines extend verbals, Turner’s recruitment could end right then and there.
Thirdly, Turner has been hearing more and more from Notre Dame, hinting the Irish could be offering following a one-day camp. The Illinois tight end will participate in said camp in late June, and if the offer comes to fruition, Turner might just pop while in South Bend, Ind.
But Maryland’s staff is in close contact with Turner, and area recruiter Chad Wilt visited Mundelein twice this spring. Turner also thoroughly enjoyed his stay in College Park, suggesting the Terps were among his top two suitors afterwards.
Maryland remains in a solid spot, but unless Turner strikes out with the Big Ten elites, we’re not sure he’ll heading East for college.
Expect him to make a late summer or early fall college decision.
So, it Turner is truly fading for UMD, that means Jay Rose (Southington, Conn.) and Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.) are the realistic tight end options. Rose is scheduled to visit College Park for the first time later this summer and hasn’t hinted at any clear favorites of yet. We could very well see Maryland area recruiter Keith Dudzinski and Co. putting on the full-court press in the coming weeks.
The four-star Upshur, meanwhile, is keeping the Terps in play thanks to area recruiter John Dunn’s overtures and friend Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) pitch, but we’re not projecting him to UMD right now. New offeree Oregon, along with Michigan, Miami, Arizona State and a few others seem to be Upshur’s primary contenders.
Speaking of Haskins, he mentioned Berkeley Prep (Tampa, Fla.) tight end Jacob Mathis as someone he’d be pursuing, but that might be a little farfetched. Mathis is projected to wind up at a Florida power, perhaps Florida or Miami.
And don’t forget about St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) product Devante Brooks, who is a firm Tennessee pledge for now. We’ve pretty much written Brooks off, but you never know what can happen down the road.
Aaron Mathews, WR, Clairton (Pa.): Scout’s Brian Dohn touched base with this hard-to-get-ahold-of receiver from Pennsylvania. But apparently there wasn’t too much new to report from when we last updated Mathews’ status a month or so ago.
Mathews is maintaining a top-four favorites list of Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Maryland and Syracuse, with the Panthers holding a decided edge. Mathews has visited hometown Pitt numerous times and has a better relationship with the Panthers’ staff than any other. That fact alone will make it tough to pry him out of the area.
WVU, however, has Mathews’ attention as well since his friend, Mountaineers’ cornerback Dravon Henry, is in his ear. Mathews has seen Morgantown, W.Va., too and likes the atmosphere surrounding the program.
Maryland may be sitting third for the time being. Area recruiter Greg Studrawa has stayed in touch, while the staff in general resonated following the receiver’s jaunt through College Park. Mathews harped on UMD’s balance between academics and football, and how the coaches emphasize both equally.
Syracuse, meanwhile, is a school Mathews should be visiting this June. He’s in the process of learning more about the Orange.
There’s a chance other prominent suitors could come after him, but the vibe is Mathews will primarily focus on the four schools that have been on him the longest. Again, it’s going to be difficult to unseat the hometown favorite, but we’ll see what transpires as the summer moves along.
Mathews should be selecting a college before his senior year, though Dohn suggested official visits were not out of the question if the wideout needs to see more.
Grant Holloway, WR, Grassfield (Chesapeake, Va.): Another surprise recruit who placed Maryland on his leaderboard. This elite Virginia receiver, who has been in touch with UMD area recruiter Chad Wilt, listed the Terps among Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee, Penn State, Florida, NC State, Virginia Tech and Michigan.
After speaking to our Virginia-area analyst, though, it sounds like the Gators and Seminoles would immediately become the favorites should either offer (he’s expected to garner verbals from both). Currently, however, Va Tech is probably in the catbird’s seat, followed by Tennessee, Georgia and either Michigan or Penn State.
Holloway does plan to visit College Park this summer, so maybe the Terps can gain some traction. But we’re not going to bank on it; he’s not going on the hot board unless we hear of a drastic change in his recruitment.
Kofi Boateng, WR, Lamar (Arlington, Texas): Holloway wasn’t the only one to place Maryland on his top 10 list. The four-star Boateng has the Terps in the mix with Arizona State, Ole Miss, Kansas State, Cal, Texas Tech, Arkansas, Vandy, Washington and Wisconsin.
Boateng has gone on record as calling Ole Miss the leader, but evidently the Terps are in the game. Our Texas analyst said UMD might reside in Boateng’s top five, along with Ole Miss, Texas Tech, Arizona State and Wisconsin. Now, Maryland might be at the bottom of that list, but it’s still impressive work by area recruiter Keenan McCardell to keep UMD in the conversation.
McCardell has trekked through Lamar twice this spring, so perhaps he can convince Boateng to visit College Park too.
Off The Board
Greg Ross, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Well, so much for the cornerback Ross being swayed by the Movement. Ross ended up committing to his stated favorite, North Carolina, May 23 while on his second visit to Chapel Hill, N.C. He tripped there initially for a junior day, and when his parents joined him on the return May 23 -- subsequently giving their blessing -- it sealed the deal. The 6-0, 165-pounder called UNC his “dream school,” citing the relationship he has with the staff; the current recruits/players he knows; and the environment surrounding the school.
Ross chose the Heels over the Terps, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin, his aforementioned five leaders. Nebraska, Clemson, Kentucky and even Notre Dame (no offer yet) were making a late charge, but Ross opted for the bird in hand instead of exploring his growing options.
We thought UMD, at least, had burrowed in deep enough for Ross to give the hometown school another look this summer. After he tripped to College Park for a spring practice, he and area recruiter Mike Locksley talked about a soon-to-be-scheduled second visit with his mom and dad.
Ross was high enough on DMV-to-UMD and the school in general that our sources suggested he’d be committing to head coach Randy Edsall upon his return. But the Rosses never finalized a date, and, ultimately, the group foray never occurred.
Now, are we going to write Ross completely off? Well, we did remove him from the hot board, but we’ll see if his name resurfaces in Terps circles down the road. You can be sure both Locksley and Dwayne Haskins will be on him to reconsider his choice.
If not, UMD has other options it’s pursuing at cornerback. Woodson (Washington, D.C.) corner Parnell Motley is firmly in play and has UMD under heavy consideration, while offeree Tyrone Hill (Don Bosco/Ramsey, N.J.) is on the board as well (Hill originally had the Terps as his No. 1 suitor).
Meanwhile, you could see the Maryland staff pursue the likes of Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.) as a corner rather than a receiver, or possibly switch slot commit D.J. Turner (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) to cornerback if need be. Underrated Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.) corner Joe Joe Headen, who visited College Park earlier this spring, along with Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) cornerback Damon Hayes are possibilities too. (Four-star Patrice Rene from Episcopal in Virginia is on the board, but he’s considered a longshot for Maryland purposes).
Jesse Meyler, OG, Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.): The Terps conceivably had a shot at Meyler when they offered him in April, especially considering the Virginia product held offers from only Northwestern, Uconn, Pitt, Vandy, Wake, ODU and a few Ivies at the time. Moreover, Meyler said academics were his primary concern in college, so UMD head coach Randy Edsall’s education-first message figured to resonate.
But Meyler declared Wake and Northwestern his No. 1 and No. 2 standouts in early May, and reneged on an intended trip to UMD. Instead, he saw Duke, UNW, Wake, Vandy, UVA and Va Tech.
Meyler ended up popping to the Wildcats May 23.
More News & Notes
A few random notes:
This year’s Big Show camp will be June 27. We’re not sure there will be multiple five-star recruits in College Park like last year, but there should be a good number of elite targets in attendance.
Damon Hayes, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): I mentioned Hayes as a possible Terps’ cornerback offer above. After speaking to him this week, I learned the 6-2, 180-pounder has been in touch with UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley and plans to camp in College Park this June as he attempts to cull out a hometown scholarship. Hayes said Locksley and Co. are intrigued, but want to see him run, while also making sure his transcripts are in order (he has to raise his SAT score).
If he’s able to pull the Maryland verbal, the Terps would likely be in position to secure a pop. The chance to play near home and become another cog in the Movement intrigue Hayes, as does the Big Ten affiliation. Not to mention UMD would easily become his most significant offer.
Hayes currently has one scholarship from Old Dominion, with N.C. State about to ante up next. UMD, Temple, Purdue, Boston College, Rutgers and a few others of that ilk are giving him a look, most staffs requesting he camp before pulling the trigger.
Hayes will be attending one-days at Michigan, MSU, Ohio State, UMD, Iowa and Rutgers, while he’ll be visiting NC State and ODU. (ARTICLE).
Devon Paye, RB, Iowa Western C.C. (Council Bluffs, Iowa): Maryland high school football fans will remember Paye from his days at Hammond (Columbia, Md.), where he was a first-team all-state back. I personally remember watching the 6-0, 215-pound bulldozer run, thinking he could be another Montee Ball with his power-speed combination. But grade issues precluded Paye from securing committable scholarship offers, and he ended up going the JUCO route instead.
Paye, a class of 2015 recruit, ended up having a solid first season at Iowa Western, but dropped off his second year. Our JUCO analyst was able to touch base with Paye’s coaches this week to find out what the running back’s next move was (he had one offer from South Florida, but didn’t sign). Apparently he’s still looking around for another opportunity and hasn’t signed anywhere yet.
We thought Paye might be a late offer or walk-on candidate for UMD since the Terps’ staff is searching for running back depth, but no dice.
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