Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Defensive Backs On Board
The Terps need multiple safeties and cornerbacks in the 2015 class, and they wound up with two more June 24. Read on ... :
Silas Kelly, S, South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.): A local safety from Carroll County, Kelly picked up a Maryland scholarship following a standout June 24 camp. A teammate of current Terps' pledge Brian Plummer, Kelly's commitment to UMD was imminent following the offer. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder was practically gushing when head coach Randy Edsall pulled him into his office, eager to be the next cog in the DMV-to-UMD movement.
Kelly, who came into Maryland's June 24 camp with just a couple I-AA offers, impressed defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, as well as Edsall, with his footwork, athleticism and size. Then, after touring the campus with his recruiter, John Dunn, Kelly and his parents had a long sit-down with the head honcho.
Needless to say, the Kellys liked what they heard.
"When [Edsall] said 'scholarship' I was speechless. I was so honored and so blessed, all I could say was 'Thank you' over and over again," Kelly said. "To get that kind of interest and that kind of an offer, from a Big Ten school, from the hometown school, it meant a whole lot. Coach Edsall is a great guy, it's a great program, and it's great academics. I love Maryland right now."
If the offer itself wasn't enough, Kelly also has a sister who currently attends school in College Park, Md. Add in the academic benefits, the Big Ten affiliation and its location near, and this was a no-brainer pop.
Oh, and his teammate had already jumped on Kelly seconds after he heard about the offer.
"When Brian found out I had gotten the offer, man, he was pushing me to commit. He was like, 'You need to come here right now (laughs),'" Kelly said. "He loves Maryland and he's a real good friend of mine. He was telling me how great the coaches are and he was saying how he was telling them to offer me. And when they finally did, man, that was a great feeling. I'm feeling real good about Maryland."
Now, can Kelly play?
Well, he possesses the size and instincts to compete at the Big Ten level. We'll find out if he has the speed and athleticism to complement it. Either way, Kelly is still very raw in terms of fundamentals (hip turns, breaks, switching onto receivers, etc.) so it's going to take awhile before he's ready to take the field.
But here's a key question to consider: Is he tough enough to hang with Ohio State, Michigan State and others? Kelly didn't show a ton of physicality on tape, and it's not like he's competing against the creme de creme of Maryland high school football, so he has to prove he can bring it at the next level. (ARTICLE).
Tyrone Hill, CB, Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.): Shortly after Kelly jumped on the Pride bandwagon, the Garden State product Hill did as well. Hill declared Maryland his No. 1 school a couple weeks ago, although we didn't anticipate him ending his recruitment so soon. But evidently the maternal pull held weight, his mother's words resonating with the Bosco product, leading him to choose UMD over hometown Rutgers.
"Honestly, Maryland was the best situation for me. The academics, and how the coaches are about the academics, there's no other [staff] like it," Hill said."My mom loved the school, and so did I. There's no better fit ... It's the best situation for me.... I'm ready to be a Terp."
The Jersey corner had other scholarships from Pitt, RU, Navy, Army and more, but he had favored UMD ever since Randy Edsall extended the offer back in March. Hill then visited College Park during the spring, lauding the campus, the staff, the facilities and more. He spoke highly of defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, along with the rest of the coaches. He liked how Maryland was close to Washington, D.C., and he had much to say about Under Armour and the new facilities too. Ultimately, though, it was the academics that separated UMD from his other suitors.
So, what does he bring to the table?
Hill (6-0, 185 pounds) can play both press and zone equally well. He has very good instincts, anticipates passes/routes, and breaks quickly. He's fluid in his movements, but also aggressive on shorter patterns. Hill backpedals well, doesn't cross up his feet and has the ability to stick to receivers' inside hips. On top of that, he uses his size and strength to bump wideouts off the line and gain position.
At the same time, he doesn't have standout straight-line quickness and recovery speed. His hips can be stiff when turning and running, making him susceptible to plays up top. He has a hard time sticking with elite receivers downfield. Also, Hill has to be more consistent with his footwork and fundamentals, while also developing more initial burst in order to undercut routes more effectively.
But while he might not be a four-star corner, landing Hill was key for several reasons. First of all, its gets the Terps back into New Jersey, a state loaded with talent. Secondly, Hill plays at a national powerhouse in Bosco and has numerous friends on the roster, both in this year's class and in the 2017 crop. He also has connections throughout Jersey. So Hill's commitment could potentially help Maryland garner some traction at a school that churns out recruits like a factory. (ARTICLE).
News From Terps 7-on-7 Camp
Maryland may have had more talent on-hand at its annual 7-on-7 camp June 20 than all the previous one-days combined. Local high school powers like DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.), Woodson (D.C.), St. John’s, (D.C.), Eastern Christian (Elkton, Md.), Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) and Gonzaga (D.C.) were in attendance, in addition to Landon (Bethesda, Md.), Bullis (Potomac, Md.), Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.) and more. There were also teams from Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and even Texas in attendance.
Naturally, there was plenty of news percolating through what with numerous blue-chip Terps' targets participating. First and foremost, the receiver/cornerback Trevon Diggs chimed in, reiterating his July 4 commitment intentions. We’ve forecast the Avalon product to Maryland on said date, and Diggs did little to deny his Terps’ interest at the 7-on-7.
The younger brother of former Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs talked up DMV-to-UMD, said good friend Dwayne Haskins’ commitment to the Terps still resonated, and mentioned how College Park, Md., “just feels like home.” He sounded especially eager to be the next cog in the Movement, helping Haskins, D.J. Turner, LoLo Harrison and Co. recruit even more elite talents to Maryland.
Furthermore, Diggs mentioned both his mother and Stefon Diggs were on-board with his imminent decision, suggesting (as we wrote last week) any hard feelings towards the local program had been alleviated.
But Diggs -- who is being recruited as both a receiver and cornerback, but acknowledged his long-term spot may be on defense -- said he will take in LSU, Miami, Auburn and maybe Georgia prior to Independence Day. But we don’t expect any of those trips (he might get to one or two of them, but not all) to alter his thinking, each visit being merely “part of the process.” (ARTICLE).
Another UMD receiver target, Tino Ellis, was on-hand as well, and the DeMatha star gave off practically the same pro-Terps vibe as Diggs. Virginia Tech is taking a formidable run at the Stags’ wideout, but Ellis seems to have Maryland on the brain.
Before and after the 7-on-7, Ellis had a chance to chat with the Maryland staff once again, including a sit-down with head coach Randy Edsall. The headman and area recruiter Mike Locksley have a close connection with Ellis that extends back to his freshman year. Plus the coaches’ brand-building, stay-home, high-academic message is hitting home with both Ellis and his family. Moreover, UMD pledges Haskins, Keandre Jones and D.J. Turner were in Ellis’ ear throughout the 7-on-7, as they routinely had been prior to June 20.
Ellis will return to College Park once more with his family this July before announcing his destination July 31, either at DeMatha or the popular College Park restaurant Bentley’s.
The Hokies will get one final crack at wooing Ellis too, but the Terps currently hold the upper-hand. (Ellis is publically keeping Wisconsin, Nebraska, WVU, Wake Forest and Rutgers in play, but this is a two-team race between Maryland and Virginia Tech). (ARTICLE).
Ellis’ DeMatha teammate, receiver Kellon Taylor, is a new name to know. He had a monster 7-on-7 performance and caught the eye of the Terps’ coaches. Edsall hasn’t offered yet, but it sounds like he’s going to be monitoring the 6-4, 195-pounder. (Given his size and body type, Taylor is the kind of receiver who could eventually develop into a tight end, a definite position of need for Maryland).
Taylor, who also plays basketball at DeMatha, has a high affinity for UMD. He wants to be part of the hometown movement and join his teammates D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison in College Park. Should a scholarship materialize, Taylor very well could pop to the Terps on the spot. If not, well, he does have offers from Temple, Rhode Island and Western Michigan to consider. (ARTICLE).
Speaking of potential tight end targets, remember the name Mark Ebo, a teammate of Keith Simms’ at Landon. Ebo, who was injured June 20 and didn’t participate, is 6-3, 215-pounds and said he’s heard from coaches at Maryland, UVA, Iowa and PSU.
He doesn’t have any offers yet, but given his size and athleticism, Ebo could be one of those “late flyer” offerees next winter. If the Terps need a tight end and haven’t secured one by, say, December, maybe they look at Ebo, who would likely commit without much coaxing. (ARTICLE).
While on the subject of Landon recruits, Keith Simms was back on campus for the third time -- and the umpteenth time overall -- June 20, giving off even more positive Maryland vibes.
We recapped Simms’ recent UMD excursions last week, but here’s a brief recap:
Simms trekked to College Park June 14 and left raving about area recruiter Chad Wilt and defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski. He also had lunch with Dwayne Haskins, the quarterback pledge putting on the hard sell. Then, three days later, Simms was on campus again, this time for a two-hour chat with Randy Edsall and a 1.5-hour session with a business professor. Both Simms and his mother couldn’t say enough about the Terps’ headman, the school’s academic reputation and the opportunities UMD would provide the Landon backer.
Finally, on June 20, Simms balled out in front of the Maryland staff, which once again had a chance to convey their message after the 7-on-7. Haskins, Turner, Jones and others were also all over Simms, coming up to him at various points throughout the day.
Simms isn’t ready to pop yet, but the Terps are certainly trending. Now we’ll see if they can weather the likes of Oregon, a school the Hyattsville native is visiting in July and planning an official to in September.
Simms will also be checking out Duke and UNC this month, with trips to Va Tech, BC and Michigan State possibly in the works. (Curiously, Simms didn’t mention MSU, a presumed prime contender, during his latest interview. Perhaps the Spartans’ staff has backed off a bit, which would obviously be good news for Maryland).
The Landon recruit would like to have his future destination determined by the fall, after officials to Oregon, Maryland and maybe one or two others. (ARTICLE).
While we knew Diggs, Ellis and Simms held UMD in high esteem, we weren’t so sure Parnell Motley still did. Our D.C. sources told us a couple weeks back the Woodson (D.C.) cornerback wasn’t that infatuated with staying home and could be Michigan State-bound before long.
But apparently circumstances have changed. The Spartans, with several imminent cornerback poppers, may have backed off of Motley. Meanwhile, the Woodson two-way star said flat-out he remained high on Maryland thanks to DMV-to-UMD, Haskins’ overtures, and the chance to play in front of friends and family.
Motley is set to revisit College Park in August and should be taking an official visit to UMD too. He is also considering offers from Rutgers, Miami, Georgia, WVU and Michigan State -- if the Spartans will take him.
There’s plenty of time for this recruitment to ebb and flow, but just know Motley is back in play for Maryland.
It’s worth noting that, should Motley indeed wind up a Terp, his teammate, Michigan State pledge Abdul Adams, could follow. The running back Adams popped to MSU over UMD and a few others during the spring, but area recruiter Mike Locksley hasn’t stopped pursuing (which makes sense considering Maryland needs a running back).
Adams will be back at Maryland for the Big Show camp June 27, and could take an official visit to College Park as well. Keep his name in mind for the future.
Moving to the 2017 class, local cornerback Coby Davis (Maret/Washington, D.C.) put on a show on both sides of the ball June 20. He did so well, in fact, he had Randy Edsall, defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins and other Maryland staffers intently watching his games.
Davis didn’t land a UMD scholarship following the 7-on-7, but we expect one to come about in time. He’s an honors student (the Ivys are after him) with a boatload of athleticism and solid size (6-0, 170), so it would make sense for Edsall to dip back into safety Sean Davis’ old stomping grounds.
Coby Davis’ recruiting is just getting started, but he does like the hometown school at first blush. We’ll know more about his interest if/when the Terps jump on him. (ARTICLE).
While Davis didn’t pick up a Maryland offer June 20, Oxon Hill (Md.) class of 2018 cornerback Daniel George did. This 6-2, 195-pounder has initial verbals from Iowa, BC, UVA, Va Tech, WVU and UMD, with many more elites monitoring him.
He might be three years away from signing a letter of intent, but George told us June 20 he likes the Terps since he grew up just miles from College Park. He knows about the Movement too, and is someone who could potentially be drawn in by DMV-to-UMD should its momentum continue.
It aids Maryland’s chances that he’s being recruited by Mike Locksley, who will undoubtedly stay on George throughout. (ARTICLE).
Also, keep track of Wilson (D.C.) class of 2017 quarterback Steve Williams’ progress this year. He carved up defenses during the 7-on-7, and he looks the part at 6-1, 185-pounds. Williams is flying under the radar thus far, but he’ll probably get a few Division I looks before it’s all said and done.
Note: Class of 2017 wide receiver Christian Greaves (Einstein/Kensington, Md.) attended Maryland's June 24 one-day and did very well. He's a 5-11, 170-pound slot with an explosive first step and standout straight-line speed. He's a name to remember for next year's class.
News From The June 22 One-Day
Following its 7-on-7 event, Maryland hosted some talented out-of-state recruits for a one-day June 22. The group’s headliners included four prospects from Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.): multi-offer cornerback Wayne Davis, safety Keyvone Bruton, lineman Michael Carney and class of 2017 lineman Darnell Ewell.
Of those, Davis already held a Terps offer -- and those from about 20 other programs (he said Edsall offered after the June 22 camp, but he had previously claimed a Maryland verbal months before). But before camping at UMD, Davis announced a top-three leaderboard of Ohio State, Va Tech and Michigan June 18, so it would seem unlikely that Maryland would be able to make inroads with him.
That said, Davis did tell us he enjoyed his College Park experience and has been in touch with area recruiter Chad Wilt for some time now. He’s even considering returning for another visit later this summer.
Moreover, the sense is OSU’s and Michigan’s feelings towards Davis may not be mutual, so there’s a chance a Maryland, or one of the corner’s other suitors, could get involved. Hometown Va Tech, however, will be tough to supplant.
The safety Bruton, meanwhile, has verbals from Va Tech, Duke, Wake Forest, UMass, ODU and Navy. Terps’ recruiter Chad Wilt has had some contact with him, but we’re not sure how much of a push Edsall will make. Maryland is looking for safeties, though, so it’s conceivable the coaches could revisit Bruton down the road.
If the Terps do pursue, Bruton said he’d place them among his principal contenders. But, either way, he’d be no lock to wind up in College Park, as Bruton told me the Hokies have his ear. He’s also looking forward to visiting longtime offerees Wake and Duke this summer, both seemingly holding an edge over Maryland for the time being. (ARTICLE.
The offensive guard Carney has been hearing from the Terps and Wilt, but we’re not so sure an offer will crop up. The staff may be focused on other guard targets at this time, and there are some questions surrounding Carney’s game.
But Carney is an emerging 6-4, 320-pounder with claimed verbals from Auburn UVA, NC State, ODU and Rutgers. He said PSU, UMD and Va Tech were monitoring him and could ante up in time.
At the moment, Carney has no standouts and isn’t close to making a college decision. He could very well secure even more offers once his senior film is evaluated.
Again, we don’t foresee the Terps pushing hard here, but perhaps if Carney shows out this fall they’ll make a move.
Last but certainly not least is the 2017 defensive tackle Darnell Ewell (6-3, 285). Easily the most impressive of the Lake Taylor recruits, Ewell has about 15 offers to date, including one from Maryland. Clemson, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, Tennessee, UVA, Va Tech, Georgia Tech, UNC, Penn State, Pitt and others are also in play.
Ewell said he had a good time at Maryland and readily took to the defensive line coach Wilt, but this guy’s going to be a tough pull for sure. The Big Ten bigwigs have his eye right now, and there are bound to be some SEC institutions to consider.
Coming down from Jersey at the behest of UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, safety/receiver Kolton Huber (St. Peter’s Prep/Jersey City, N.J.) emerged from Terps’ camp feeling great about his performance. So much so that the hinted a Maryland offer could come to fruition in short order.
“Coach Dudzinski has had close contact with me the last couple months, and both he and Coach Perkins liked what I did [June 22]…. they’re sitting down with Coach Edsall to see where they’ll go from here,” Huber said. “[Dudzinski] said they might take three or four safeties, so I feel like there’s a good chance I’ll get the offer.”
If Huber, who is primarily a receiver but said UMD wants him as a safety, lands the scholarship, he’d promptly put the Terps among his top two or three leaders. The St. Peter’s Prep athlete has now been in College Park twice and couldn’t say enough about the staff (Darrell Perkins and Keith Dudzinski, namely), atmosphere and academics.
Huber, though, does hold offers from Syracuse, Uconn, Buffalo and Kansas, with the Orange having an edge. The Jersey recruit has visited SU a couple times and has a terrific rapport with the staff.
So unless Dudzinski and Co. make a charge soon, Huber could very well end up attending college in New York. (ARTICLE).
One other intriguing senior who caught our eye was Simon Gratz (Philadelphia, Pa.) defensive tackle Charly Timite, who passes the eyeball test at 6-3, 260 pounds. But Timite did not earn a camp offer June 22, and our colleagues who have seen him play suggest he may be more of a Division I-AA recruit (thus, why he has no major offers).
We’ll keep Timite’s name in mind as he’s had communication with UMD area recruiter John Dunn, but we’re not expecting him to pick up the Maryland verbal.
Two of the most impressive prospects June 22 actually reside in the 2018 class. Both quarterback Artur Sitkowski (Old Bridge/Matawan, N.J.) and cornerback Derik Allen (Lassiter/Marietta, Ga.) showed plenty of potential and upside, each emerging with offers following the camp.
Sitkowski (6-4, 205) figures to be a national name in short order. So far he’s attended two camps at RU and UMD, adding scholarships from both. Expect more of the same as his recruitment moves along.
Allen, meanwhile, is already a known name. The 6-1, 185-pounder may only be a rising sophomore, but Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky, PSU, Louisville and now Maryland have all thrown their names into the hat.
It goes without saying the Terps will have a difficult road to haul with both Sitkowski and Allen, but it was probably smart to get in the game early.
Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): On June 22, the four-star defensive tackle and No. 1 Maryland line target Ellison Jordan announced a not-so-unexpected leaderboard of UMD, PSU and Va Tech. We’ve written and interviewed Jordan so many times we’d basically insinuated it would come down to the Terps, Nittany Lions and Hokies before it was all said and done. The Gilman fireplug has trekked to each of the above trio multiple times, routinely speaking highly of their respective staffs; campuses; educational benefits; and locations.
What’s new, though, is Jordan hinted his college decision could come sooner rather than later. Previously, Jordan said he wanted to visit numerous campuses this summer and perhaps announce his commitment later during the fall, following official visits. The earliest he would pop, Jordan suggested, was August, right before his senior season.
But, currently, the sense is Jordan could have his mind made up by late July. As aforementioned, he’s seen each of his final three contenders on numerous occasions, thus there’s really no need to delay an impending pop. He will return to UMD at least once more, followed by PSU July 18 and Va Tech July 25 before announcing.
Frequent readers of the hot board know Jordan has been listed as “hot” for months on end. And there’s a reason for that: We still like the Terps’ chances.
Recruiter Mike Locksley, defensive line coach Chad Wilt and head coach Randy Edsall have all left an impression, as has the DMV-to-UMD movement. Jordan insists he won’t commit to Maryland just because Dwayne Haskins and Co. are heading to College Park, but there’s no doubt his friends-turned-Terps-pledges are on him hard and heavy. On top of that, Jordan loves Maryland’s journalism program, the fact it’s right down the street from his Bowie, Md., home, and that his parents can attend all his Byrd Stadium games.
Granted, PSU and Va Tech are firmly in play; Jordan’s affinity for both isn’t mere lip service. With the Nittany Lions, the gameday atmosphere; the school’s tradition; and head coach James Franklin’s overtures have Jordan’s attention. With Tech, the coaching stability; the staff’s relationship with him; and the business program hold appeal.
We don’t believe the Gilman recruit has completely made up his mind yet, but we’re sticking with our gut: Jordan to UMD.
James Jennette, DE, Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.): We’d all but written Jennette off after he listed Kansas State as his No. 1 choice, followed by Missouri should it have offered. He told Scout’s Derek Young last month he’d seen all he needed to from the Wildcats, and the only way they’d be leapfrogged is if the Tigers extended a scholarship following a June camp.
But said Mizzou one-day has come and gone, and no offer materialized. On top of that, the K-State staff backed off Jennette in recent weeks, because, according to the recruit, “they filled up my spot.”
Which leaves Maryland as his most attractive destination.
Jennette claimed a Terps verbal a few months back, saying he’d been in touch with area recruiter Darrell Perkins and was in the process of learning about College Park. He didn’t immediately say he’d be visiting, nor did he sound overly enthused about the verbal, although there was enough intrigue to research the school.
But this week Jennette told Young his UMD scholarship was looking awfully good. Jennette said he and his mother would be flying East later this summer for their first look at Maryland, with a decision to come shortly thereafter.
So, that means Jennette is bound to be a Terp, right?
Not so fast.
When digging deeper, it makes no sense that Kansas State pulled his scholarship due to a lack of D-line spots. The Wildcats have a total of three 2016 commits, and none on the defensive line. To me, that indicates the K-State staff grew leery of Jennette and opted to back off (and obviously the Missouri staff felt the same way).
And if Jennette can’t get into hometown Kansas State, well, the likelihood of him winning over Maryland’s Randy Edsall is slim. Now, is it possible Jennette could visit campus and convince UMD’s headman to accept his pledge? Sure, but we’re not banking on it just yet.
We moved Jennette to “warm” on the hot board since he did declare the Terps his leader, but it’s a tentative “warm.”
Rashad Wheeler, DT, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.): One of Maryland’s primary defensive line targets was supposed to revisit College Park this month, but Wheeler has yet to make it back down from Pittsburgh. He won’t be at the June 27 Big Show camp, and said more than likely his UMD foray wouldn't materialize until late July or perhaps August (if at all).
In the meantime, Wheeler is heading back to Penn State yet again July 15, and though he said he won’t commit on campus, we wouldn’t be shocked if he did. Wheeler has favored the Nittany Lions for months, and now that PSU has three D-line commits on board, it could prompt the Central Catholic product to snap up a spot before it’s filled (if it hasn't been already).
If Wheeler reneges, he said he’ll be heading to West Virginia in late July, with another visit to hometown Pitt shortly thereafter. WVU is probably not a primary contender, but the Panthers are right up there with PSU among Wheeler’s top two suitors.
As for the Terps, area recruiter Greg Studrawa has stayed on Wheeler, as has UMD pledge Dwayne Haskins. Wheeler said he’s listening to their respective pitches and is keeping UMD at the forefront of his mind. But after several failed visit attempts and no firm future date set, he may only be doing so publically.
Rahshaun Smith, DE/LB, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The five-star defensive end/linebacker from Baltimore City, who transferred to IMG Academy from St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) a few months back, has been in College Park at least three times in the last couple weeks. We’ve spotted him riding around in the coaches’ golf carts, chatting with several Terps’ staffers, and bantering with UMD pledges like Dwayne Haskins, D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison.
What are we to make of that? Honestly, it’s tough to say considering Smith elected not to be interviewed when I approached him. But realize that Smith did have UMD among his five finalists when he chose Clemson back in April. He also considered Oklahoma, Notre Dame and Florida.
Given that, we’d think there must be some genuine Terps interest. But we’ve heard from our sources Smith isn’t exactly considering flipping to Maryland anytime soon. There would have to be plenty of string pulling from UMD recruiter Mike Locksley to convince the Baltimore edge rusher to matriculate back to his hometown school.
But you never know in recruiting. We’ll see what happens leading up to Signing Day.
Various News & Notes
Jacob Morgenstern, LB, St. Luke’s (New Canaan, Conn.): Morgenstern’s seventh stop in a 10-day span was to College Park June 24, his first time on campus. The Maryland linebacker target said he had a long discussion with head coach Randy Edsall, linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson, area recruiter Keith Dudzinski and others, saying UMD’s headman harped primarily on academics; while Dudzinski showed him around campus; and Johnson answered any questions he had. Morgenstern said: “It’s obvious the Maryland coaches know a lot and are really driven … I think I could learn a lot from them.”
The Connecticut hybrid has a tight rapport with Dudzinski, who not only recruits Morgenstern but would be his coordinator as well. Morgenstern believes he’d thrive in Dudzinski’s defensive scheme, fitting in as either an outside linebacker or possibly a strong safety. Morgenstern also spoke highly of Maryland’s academics, facilities and the upgrades, calling New Cole and underground tunnel plans “really cool” and “awesome.”
The backer praised Maryland’s location near D.C. too, and noted that having an uncle who lives near College Park is an added bonus.
Following the visit, the sense is UMD resides among Morgenstern’s foremost three to five suitors. Remember, the College Park jaunt was just one point on a long, arduous road trip, so other contenders like Duke, Vandy, UVA, Northwestern, Pitt and Wisconsin had a chance to impress him as well. Boston College, which Morgenstern saw June 25, was his final stop.
Of those recent forays, Morgenstern pointed to Duke, UVA, Vandy, BC and Northwestern, in addition to UMD, as programs that have caught his eye. The academics at each are obviously strong, and though Morgenstern didn’t want to list a leader, the vibe is Northwestern, Duke and BC may lead.
Look for Morgenstern to pick his college in the next few weeks. (ARTICLE).
Isaiah Wright, WR, Kingswood Oxford (West Hartford, Conn.): The Terps will likely take two more receivers in this year’s class, and one of those spots is reserved for Tino Ellis. There are a number of candidates vying for that second slot, including Evan Fairs (Foster/Richmond, Texas) -- who said he’s visiting UMD July 18 or July 25 -- Aaron Mathews (Clairton, Pa.) and possibly the previously mentioned Kellon Taylor (DeMatha). But Isaiah Wright could very well end up snagging that opening if what we’ve been told holds true.
Wright landed a Terps offer a couple weeks back and had a potpourri of pro-UMD comments. He’s already exchanged many messages with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, while he mentioned the academics; Big Ten affiliation; and Maryland’s penchant for producing receivers as primary reasons he’s highly considering the Terps.
But the kicker here came from our Scout analysts up north. Apparently Wright’s mother is pushing College Park, the school’s educational benefits and the staff’s emphasis on the latter ringing true. If Wright heeds his mother’s words, you might just see him pop to UMD in the near future. Wright and his mother are setting up a visit for either late June (he might be in attendance for the Big Show camp) or July.
For the moment, though, Wright seems to be favoring Rutgers. He was just in Piscataway, N.J., again for a camp and hinted the Scarlet Knights were an enticing option. Syracuse is another possibility, and Wisconsin, which Wright said he’ll be visiting in July, could emerge if the Badgers offer.
Look for Wright to make a late summer college selection.
The June 27 Big Show Camp
We haven’t heard of any five-star Florida prospects trekking to College Park this year for the second annual Big Show camp, but there should be some intriguing talents in attendance.
Many of the elite locals should be there, including: Bullis’ (Potomac, Md.) QB Dwayne Haskins; DeMatha’s WR Tino Ellis, WR D.J. Turner, RB LoLo Harrison, WR Kellon Taylor, and others; Woodson’s CB Parnell Motley and RB Abdul Adams; former St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) defensive end Rahshaun Smith; Landon’s LB Keith Simms; Good Counsel’s LB KeAndre Jones, DE Joshua Paschal (2017), LB Jordan Anthony (2017) and others; Maret’s CB Coby Davis (2017); Mt. Carmel’s (Essex, Md.) DE Josh Kaindoh (2017); Oxon Hill’s WR Daniel George (2018); Broadneck’s (Annapolis, Md.) LB Ali’I Niumatalolo; possibly Avalon’s CB/WR Trevon Diggs; and more.
Some of the more prominent out-of-state names are: OT Zach Adams (Riverbend/Fredericksburg, Va.); CB Lamont Wade (Clairton, Pa.) (2017); QB Lindell Stone (Woodberry Forest/Woodberry, Va.) (2017); WR Chris Pierce (Smithfield/Norfolk, Va.) (2017); RB Elijah Barnwell (Piscataway, N.J.) (2017); possibly WR Donald Stewart (Paramus Catholic/Paramus, N.J.); possibly WR Isaiah Wright (Kingswood Oxford/West Hartford, Conn.); OT Michael Clark (Downingtown East/Downingtown, Pa.); DL Joey Fisher (Clear Spring, Md.); and more.
The notable omissions who won’t be in attendance include Terps targets such as: WR Evan Fairs (Foster/Richmond, Texas); TE Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.); TE Jay Rose (Southington, Conn.); OG Terrance Davis (DeMatha); OG Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.); DL Rashad Wheeler (Central Catholic/Pittsburgh, Pa.); LB Tymar Sutton (McKeesport, Pa.); WR Aaron Mathews (Clairton); DE James Jennette (Hazelwood West/Hazelwood, Mo.); CB Greg Ross (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.); WR Grant Holloway (Grassfield/Chesapeake, Va.); S Aaron Hansford (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.); and several commits like Tyrone Hill, Silas Kelly, Brian Plummer, Mike Viti, Terek Zingale, Alex Hall (he was on campus June 20) and Travon Stott.
New Offers Out
Silas Kelly, S, South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.): See above.
Wayne Davis, CB, Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.):: See above in the June 22 Camp News section.
Artur Sitkowski, QB, Old Bridge (Matawan, N.J.) (2018):: See above in the June 22 Camp News section.
Derick Allen, CB, Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) (2017): See above in the June 22 Camp News section.
Daniel George, CB, Oxon Hill (Md.) (2018): See above in the Terps 7-on-7 Camp section.
Devin Butler, S, Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): A converted quarterback, the local athlete Butler (6-3,180 pounds) attended Maryland's camp June 24 at the request of area recruiter Mike Locksley. And after running a 4.47 40-yard dash and performing well in drills for defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, Butler snagged his first major Division I offer (he also had Toledo and Eastern Michigan).
Afterwards, Butler was ecstatic, saying it was an honor to receive a hometown offer, even though it wasn't for his desired college position (he only plays quarterback at Douglass). Butler couldn't say enough about Perkins' tutelage, and head coach Randy Edsall for extending the scholarship.
The chance for his mother to easily see his college games, the Movement, the campus and more are all resonating with Butler. About the only thing keeping him from committing is his questions about the track program, since he wants to run at the next level.
But we expect, after discussing the situation with his mother, Butler could very well be another cog in DMV-to-UMD. He said he's not ready to pop yet, but it could be soon.
“Honestly, the offer was special, coming from Maryland. I felt relieved, but also really good, because I really had to work for this offer,” Butler said. “I mean, I’m a quarterback; that’s all I’ve ever played. But I went out there as a raw safety and just worked my tail off. So to go out there with all those other safeties, and for me to be the one to get the offer, it was special – real special. I really can’t say enough about Maryland right now. I definitely am interested in them. I have to talk to my mom first and see what she thinks, but I’m definitely interested.”
It's clear Butler is an athlete. His speed, change-of-direction quickness and pure skills translate well to the next level. But the question is, Can he develop the finer points of the safety position in order to succeed in the Big Ten? Moreover, does he have the physicality and want-to to hang on defense in the rough-and-tumble conference? Time will tell... (ARTICLE).
Curtis Young, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (2017): We figured the Terps would be offering the local edge rusher Young after I met the 6-5, 220-pounder at DeMatha last month. A Pallotti (Laurel, Md.) transfer, Young certainly passed the eyeball test, to make no mention of his standout sophomore film.
Young picked up earlier verbals from ECU and NC State, and on June 23 added, in succession, PSU, UMD and Illinois. The Penn State offer admittedly caught his eye, with Young having just camped in State College last weekend. He said PSU pledge Shane Simmons let him know all about the Nittany Lions, and it sounds like Penn State is going to be a prime player moving forward.
But Young, despite having never visited Maryland, holds the hometown school in high regard as well. He said teammates-turned-Terps commits D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison have both been in his ear, hyping DMV-to-UMD; the UMD staff; and the school itself. Young mentioned he loved the idea of staying near home for college and continuing the new DeMatha-to-Maryland pipeline. He also said Maryland would “definitely” be among his foremost three suitors as he moves through the process.
Young will visit College Park later this summer to meet the coaches and to see the campus. In addition, he’ll return to PSU and take trips to NC State, ECU, Illinois and possibly UVA and Tennessee. (ARTICLE).
Austin Fontaine, DT, DeMatha (2018): Fontaine is 6-2, 280-pounds, so when I saw him at a recent workout, I mistook him for an upperclassman. This Stags’ rising sophomore is going to be a national name, and apparently Georgia, Penn State and now Maryland think so too.
The Terps offered Fontaine the same day as Chase Young, a positive development if Maryland wants to be in the running for the young Stags’ stud. Fontaine already has a built-in affinity for UMD (teammates heading to College Park, hometown school, has visited Maryland for a camp), and it will be interesting to see how his relationship with the program develops in the years ahead.
Traveon Redd, S, Magna Vista (Ridgeway, Va.): The Terps offered June 20, and one day later he visited College Park for the first time, praising the facilities and UMD’s academics. He has been in contact with defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, who has stayed in close touch with Redd for upwards of a month.
But, at the same time, a couple other top-notch educational institutions had been on Redd well before Maryland. Vanderbilt, which Redd ventured to this spring and will return to in July, is the clear front-runner; Wake Forest is also heavily involved.
Redd, who will graduate high school early, is set to announce his destination July 31, shortly after seeing the Commodores again July 24. Given that, we’re leaving him “cool” on the hot board unless we hear some definitive UMD interest in the very-near future.
DeJuan Ellis, QB, O'Connell (Arllngton, Va.) (2018): The Terps have been identifying talent and offering, regardless of year. They verbally offered a 2018 Jersey quarterback, Artur Sitkowski, following the 7-on-7, and on June 24 they jumped on the gunslinger Ellis. Now, Ellis plays quarterback for O'Connell, but this guy runs a 4.4 40-yard dash, which means he could potentially develop into a receiver or cornerback in time. Either way, his pure speed and athleticism is eye-opening, and it was smart for Randy Edsall to ante up early.
We'll see how his recruitment develops down the road, but Ellis was thrilled nearby UMD was the first to offer. We expect Maryland to be a prime player for Ellis' services in the years ahead.
Grayson Stover, OT, Hudson (Fla.): The Terps offered Stover June 19, joining the likes of Virginia, Indiana, Iowa State, Rutgers and others. Stover said he was intrigued by the UMD attention and would consider visiting College Park this summer. Stover said the fact it’s a Big Ten program and has solid academics stand out.
Virginia, though, may lead for the moment, Stover telling Scout’s Corey Bender he liked the Cavaliers “a lot” and will be visiting Charlottesville, Va., this July. But Iowa State has been on Stover long and hard, as have Indiana and RU.
Note, however, that Stover’s current standouts could very well change as his profile grows. He has no intentions of ending his recruiting before his senior season and would love to add some in-state Florida powers to his list.
Audie Omotosho, WR, Plano East (Plano, Texas): Maryland became the latest program to ante up for this Lone Star State receiver. Omotosho has garnered plenty of attention during camp season, seizing verbals from the likes of UCLA, Oklahoma, Minnesota and now Maryland. Colorado, Cal, Indiana, Arkansas, Purdue and others entered the fray during the evaluation period. Oklahoma State, SMU, Texas Tech, Iowa, Duke, Washington, Oklahoma State, Kansas and more offered prior to the offseason.
Omotosho hasn’t said much definitive in the way of leaders, but it sounds like he’s looking for a school with a standout business program, as well as a wide-open offense. We’ll see what UMD area recruiter Keenan McCardell can do here, but unless he visits College Park, we’re not placing Omotosho on the hot board.
Patrick Bethel, DE, Vero Beach (Fla.): Earlier in June, the four-star Bethel released a top-10 favorites list that consisted of Miami, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Clemson, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Auburn, Alabama and Virginia Tech.
We’re not expecting the Terps to suddenly vault to the forefront of his mind. No further comment needed.
Off The Board
Devery Hamilton, OL, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): As expected, Devery Hamilton committed to Michigan June 24. We knew it would be difficult for Maryland to jump ahead of Stanford and UM in the pecking order, but the Gilman tackle was supposed to give UMD one more shot to win him over.
Hamilton initially scheduled a final College Park campus visit June 20-21, saying he wanted to stay overnight with some current Terps to learn more about the program’s inner-workings. But Hamilton had to reschedule due to a “family situation” and said he’d be coming June 25-26 instead. Well, he ended up cancelling that jaunt too, this time letting me know he wouldn’t be returning to Maryland at all before announcing his college decision.
The Terps made a strong run with Mike Locksley and Randy Edsall spearheading the recruitment, preaching the hometown movement; the academic benefits; and the chance to play in front of family. They also had Hamilton out to campus numerous times for games, junior days, camps and the like, the prospect noting how comfortable he felt in the College Park atmosphere.
But Hamilton has favored the Cardinal and Wolverines ever since he added those offers and visited each of their respective campuses. Fact is, there’s not a college in America that can match Stanford’s education (and also has a top football program), while Michigan’s history, fanbase and especially new coach Jim Harbaugh’s energy rang true.
Hamilton opted for the latter. Moving on.
Elijah Johnson, OG, DeMatha: With Devery Hamilton off the board the day before, some figured the Terps would make one last ditch effort for the DeMatha guard before he declared his college intentions June 25. But we never felt Maryland’s staff truly coveted Johnson’s services, despite handing him a spring offer.
Granted, Johnson did have contact with area recruiter Mike Locksley, and he did visit College Park once this spring, but it was obvious Randy Edsall and Co. had other offensive linemen ranked ahead of the Stags’ guard.
Johnson, who originally favored Maryland in the wake of the offer, probably realized his standing with the Terps as the process moved along. A savvy recruit, he couldn’t help but notice UMD’s hot pursuit of other O-line targets like Hamilton and Terrance Davis, while he received lukewarm overtures.
So, instead of returning to Maryland for another visit with his family, the Johnsons drove up to Rutgers instead. The Scarlet Knights’ staff let Johnson know he was their No. 1 guard target, and apparently that’s all the trenchman needed to hear. A couple weeks later, he popped to RU at a school ceremony.
We’ll see where the Terps go from here. Maybe they identify a late-riser during the fall, or maybe they’ll stick with the four already committed linemen (Terek Zingale, Brian Plummer, Mike Clark, Alex Hall) plus Terrance Davis (should he commit down the road).
Koby Quansah, LB, Kingswood Oxford (West Hartford, Conn.): Talk about a quick turnaround. Following his second College Park campus visit June 19 -- this time with his mother -- Quansah told me he had no firm leaders and was content to “let the process play out.” He said the earliest he would commit would be August, though suggested official visits were a definite possibility.
But Quansah elected to end his recruitment several months early, popping to Duke in Durham, N.C., June 21. Quansah had visited the Blue Devils once before, back during the spring, raving about the school’s academic reputation and budding football program. But he didn’t give any indication he was ready to join Dave Cutcliffe’s program prior to the latest trip, so it’s possible the staff had the squeeze play on (Duke had one other linebacker commit; it’s unclear how many the coaches are willing to take in 2016).
More than likely, though, Quansah, who places premium value on education, couldn’t pass up the opportunity to earn a Duke degree. Once he and his mother saw the school, the Connecticut product probably figured, “Why wait?”
As far as the Terps are concerned, we’d written Quansah off until he took a surprise trip to Maryland June 19. Quansah offered up all kinds of Terps lip service, talking up his relationship with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski; the academic emphasis at UMD; how much he enjoyed being in College Park and around D.C.; and how he and fellow Connecticut native Andrew Isaacs hit it off. He went on to say Maryland was “going to be there for me,” noting the Terps were among his principal contenders.
So much for that.
Jalen Elliott, WR, L.C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.): Notre Dame’s annual Irish Invasion camp always tends to land the South Bend, Ind., school a recruit or four, and June 20 it claimed Elliott, a Maryland receiver target.
Now, Elliott had been fading from the Terps’ grasp ever since his profile expanded to include programs like Auburn, Georgia, Virginia Tech and UND, so this wasn’t exactly an upset. That said, UMD area recruiter Chad Wilt gained some traction here. Elliott grew up in Upper Marlboro, Md., a fan of the Terps and was quite familiar with the program before Wilt contacted him. Plus he had a terrific time during his spring visit to College Park, lauding the academics; its location near home; and the staff’s personality and drive.
But when the Irish offered Elliott shortly thereafter, the LC Bird athlete admitted Notre Dame had his supreme attention (he cited the tradition, academics, its national status and more). June 20 was his first opportunity to visit UND, and once Elliott saw South Bend first-hand, it was over.
Hometown Virginia Tech likely finished second for his services.
Eric Kumah, WR, Forest Park (Woodbridge, Va.): Kumah attempted to dramatize his recruitment by releasing a top 10 favorites list, followed by a top five and finally a top four on June 19. Maryland ended up making the last cut -- joining the likes of Va Tech, Miami and NC State -- which gave some non-Shell readers a glimmer of hope.
But, as we wrote last week, it’s been a “top one” with a bunch of also-rans for a few months now. Ever since Virginia Tech offered the local prospect last October he’s been forecast to Blacksburg, Va., so it came as no surprise when he popped to the Hokies June 19. Kumah had visited Tech multiple times, had a deep rapport with the staff and liked the fact that his family could easily see his games.
The Terps did give themselves a shot, however, with area recruiter Keenan McCardell leading the recruitment. Meanwhile, Kumah trekked to College Park on four occasions this offseason, expressing seemingly genuine interest.
But, honestly, this guy wasn’t going anywhere but Va Tech, which is why he hadn’t risen above “cool” on the hot board since early spring.
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