When Cedar Cliff (Pa.) safety Mike Viti took a seat across from Maryland head coach Randy Edsall following a one-day camp June 14, he had no idea what to expect. The 6-foot-1.5, 185-pounder thought he had performed well during the six-hours of drill work and 7-on-7 action, but he wasn’t sure he’d done enough to actually garner a scholarship offer.
“I was just in shock. I actually didn’t talk to Coach Edsall much, if at all, until after the camp when my parents and I walked into his office in Gossett,” said Viti, who has no other firm offers. “And we were talking for a little bit, and after awhile he was like, ‘Well, we think you’d be a great fit at Maryland, we think you can help us win a Big Ten championship and we’d like to offer you a scholarship.’ And, I’ll tell you, I was just in awe, and my parents were shocked too.
“[My parents] kind of looked at me, and I could tell we were on the same page. They asked me if I wanted to take some time to think about [making a decision], but I was like, ‘No, I want to commit.’ I thanked Coach Edsall and told him I was ready to be a Terp. He just smiled at me and he was pretty excited. And I’m so excited right now too; I’m still in shock.”
Indeed, it was a whirlwind day for the Keystone State product. He entered the camp just looking to prove himself, showing off the skills he’d developed with the highly-respected PrimeXample defensive back group, which trains outside of D.C. Viti said he ran a respectable 4.59 40-yard dash, but did his best work under the watchful eye of defensive backs coach Darnell Perkins.
“I just went out there, competed, and tried to do my best. At PrimeXample, they have phenomenal teaching methods and they really develop their guys, so I owe a lot to them,” Viti said. “I think I did really well in the drill work, and Coach Perkins said he loved how I competed and got after it. He seems like a great coach, and he was working with me throughout the day. I think he’s going to help me a lot just in terms of my development.
“Then after the camp, I guess Coach Perkins gave Coach Edsall his report, and everything went from there. I did my thing, I got the offer and then I committed (laughs).”
Interestingly, Viti said he’d only been in touch with his UMD area recruiter, John Dunn, for a couple days, the two having a brief exchange over Twitter. Viti said Dunn was aware he was visiting College Park, Md., with his teammates, but didn’t insinuate much beyond that.
“Coach Dunn came up to my school in the spring, but it wasn’t anything major. Then like a week ago he followed me on Twitter, and a few days after that he sent me a message, but that’s about it,” Viti said. “He said he knew I was with PrimeXample, and I know my coaches tell the Maryland staff about their guys. I know my coaches were telling [the Terps’ coaches about] me, so I think they had an idea about what I could do, but as far as me having contact with [Maryland], it wasn’t much until [June 14].”
Even though Viti was shocked by the developments June 14, he didn’t exactly make an on-the-spot decision. He said he told his parents beforehand how much he’d love to go to Maryland.
Evidently he was at the Big Show Camp in June 2014 and immediately took to the staff, area and atmosphere during that particular trip. Then, during the season, Viti watched numerous Terps games on TV, becoming even more of a fan of the program.
“I knew from the start Maryland would be a great fit. First of all, I know [current Terps’ safety] Sean Davis from PrimeXample, so I already had some Terps connections from working out with him. Then I really liked the coaching staff when I worked with them at the Big Show camp, and I just love the attitude around the whole program,” said Viti, who wants to major in environmental biology. “I love that Maryland is in the Big Ten, and I love how it’s not far from home, and I love how it’s great academics too. I actually didn’t know a lot about the education before [June 14], but when Coach Edsall told me about how good of a school Maryland is, well, it just seemed like the perfect fit.”
Viti believes he’ll fit well into Maryland’s secondary too. He’s aware former defensive coordinator Brian Stewart is no longer there, but is eager to learn from Perkins and new DC Ketih Dudzinski.
“I watched Maryland a lot last year, and their safeties are awesome. I know Sean already, and he’s great, and I think the rest of their secondary is great too,” Viti said. “I can’t wait to get there and show what I can do. [Maryland] wants me at free safety, and I think my coverage is good, my footwork is good, and my form is good too just from all the work I put in at PrimeXample.
“And I can roll down, I can play some outside linebacker, and I can play corner in a pinch too. I love to hit people, so that helps. But I still have a lot of work to do, just getting in the weight room and getting bigger, stronger and faster. I have to work on every aspect of my game to be ready for the Big Ten.”
The Camp Hill prospect has yet to tour the campus, but did have a chance to see Byrd Stadium and the football facilities June 14. He plans to return to College Park June 19 or 20 for a deeper look at his future college home.
“I saw the new facility plans, and those will be ready in 2017,” Viti said. “They’re going to be phenomenal. Maryland is going to have some of the best facilities in the country; I’m really excited about that.”
The Pennsylvania product had planned to check out some facilities at other campuses as well, but he’s cancelled all future camp dates. He said there were several programs showing interest in him that might have anted up, but insisted he’s more than satisfied with the Terps.
Viti said Pitt was on him following its one-day, while Boston College, Marshall, Wake Forest, Army, ODU and several Patriot League schools had contacted him. But for whatever reason none of them chose to offer.
“Actually I was kind of surprised I didn’t have any other offers, because I’ve done well at these camps, I’ve timed well and had good measurables,” Viti said. “But it’s OK, because [June 14] Maryland came through and the hard work all paid off. I couldn’t be happier.”
Viti began putting in that work at seven years old, when he first started the gridiron game in the rec leagues. He began as a running back and safety before becoming a quarterback and safety during junior high. When Viti reached high school, though, he switched to receiver and safety, promptly starting at the latter spot on Camp Hill’s varsity his freshman year.
“So I’ve been playing safety pretty much my whole life,” said Viti, who also plays basketball. “I’ve put a lot of work into the position and gotten a lot of good instruction, so now I’m just looking forward to developing even more at Maryland. Go Terps.”
Viti Shocked By Terps Offer, Commits On Spot
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