Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Diggs Delays Decision
Tell me you didn't see this coming.
As of this writing, the Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.) corner intended to push back his July 4 college decision date in order to mull over his remaining options. Which doesn't come as a surprise in the slightest.
Remember, Diggs wanted to visit the likes of LSU, Georgia, Alabama and Auburn in June before an Independence Day pop, but the furthest he journeyed last month was the Maryland-D.C. border. Thus, his relatives and older brother Stefon Diggs advised him to wait a bit until he was absolutely sure of his choice.
Now, we're not cuing the collective groan yet, Terps' aficionados. Maryland remains in a solid spot with the younger Diggs, especially with his good friend, Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), pushing UMD (both Diggs and Haskins said their proposed "package deal" is still on) and recruiter Mike Locksley also on him. It's just going to take more time to bring the Gaithersburg native in -- as it did with the last Diggs Maryland pursued.
But now the question is, How long will Trevon Diggs wait before announcing? Will he delay all the way until February like his older brother?
Maybe, though he might not have that luxury. Alabama, which may be sitting atop Diggs' leaderboard for the time being, probably won't have any openings by next winter. For that matter, neither will LSU or some of the Avalon corner's foremost SEC suitors. (Quite honestly, Maryland might not have room either, as absurd as that sounds. The Terps already have three corners on board and could pick up a fourth during the next couple months).
Given the above, look for Diggs to attempt a couple July or August trips, and then possibly schedule an official visit or two before declaring his intentions. His recruitment is bound to ebb and flow, so we'll be following the bouncing ball as it moves along.
Again, we still like UMD's position, but we're dealing with a teenage recruit here, so nothing is assured.
Motley On Board
We expected Woodson (Washington, D.C.) cornerback Parnell Motley to be a Terp at some point, though we weren’t sure it would be at the Big Show. But when I asked the D.C. defensive back when he might make up his mind outside Gossett Team House June 27, he casually commented, “Oh, I don’t know, we’ll see what happens after I talk to Coach [Randy] Edsall.”
Cue the #MarylandPride bat signal with a turtle emoji, which just so happened to crop up on social media some 20 minutes later. Motley’s pop gave the Terps three cornerbacks in the 2016 class, with one more spot remaining for Trevon Diggs (or another rated corner) if he wants in.
“I was just ready… The environment, the new facilities and great players are coming here,” said Motley, who was all smiles June 27 and plans to enroll early at Maryland. “I kind of had a feeling [coming into the camp] I was going to commit. It’s what’s the best fit for my family; now they can come see me play … and it’s a chance to be part of the Movement.”
Motley had a longstanding rapport with area recruiter Mike Locksley, who convinced the D.C. product to stick around for college. Although, really, it didn’t take much coaxing considering Motley’s family, particularly his mother, wanted him nearby. On top of that, Motley hadn’t taken any offseason visits, so College Park, Md., was the only locale he was truly familiar with.
So once Motley learned he had a committable Terps offer (many of his listed offers were not committable; we believe he had firm scholarships from Rutgers, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, Temple, UVA, Wake Forest and possibly Oklahoma and Georgia), it was only a matter of time before he popped.
Now UMD fans want to know, How long before Motley and the Terps bring aboard his Woodson teammate, running back Abdul Adams? The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Adams pledged to Michigan State April 24, but the sense is he won’t be a Spartan for long.
Recall, Adams wanted to commit to Maryland a month or so ago, but a precarious academic situation prevented him from doing so. Apparently said situation has been ironed out, however, and now his flip to UMD seems imminent. (Plus the MSU staff, which has been landing rated recruits right and left, seems to be content to let Adams walk.) The fact Adams’ good friend and teammate is now heading to College Park is icing on the cake, so to speak.
“I can’t push [Adams] towards a decision,” Motley said, smiling wryly, “but I think he’ll flip.”
We’ll address Adams’ situation further in a future Shell. In the meantime, let’s look at what Motley brings to the table.
A 6-1, 170 pounder, Motley lines up at both receiver and corner for Woodson, but will be a defensive back for Maryland. He plays both press and zone, displaying a never-back-down, in-your face style. Motley likes to get physical at the line, bumping receivers off their routes and using his hands to gain inside position. He’s also an aggressive ball-hawk, high-pointing the ball and using his length and vertical to out-leap/out-muscle receivers. It follows that Motley is not afraid to stick his nose in there and make an open-field tackle, whether taking on wideouts or burly running backs.
It’s obvious Motley has been playing the position for a long time, because he’s instinctual and anticipates well. He has fairly deft footwork, a smooth backpedal and sound fundamentals, so you’ll rarely see him caught out of position.
But while Motley said he runs a 4.41 40-yard dash, he doesn’t necessarily play at that speed. He can be hesitant at times, costing him valuable steps in coverage. Thus, he tends to be a slit-second late undercutting routes or switching on or off receivers.
Moreover, Motley displays some hip stiffness, which can be a problem when transitioning or tracking downfield. He’s OK when sitting back in a zone, keeping his man in front of him, but has some difficulties flipping and running with elite wideouts on deep routes.
You can see Motley’s commitment video HERE. And you can see what his coach had to say about him HERE.
Butler On Board
About 12 hours after Motley committed to Maryland, another local defensive back, safety Devin Butler, followed suit. The Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) quarterback-turned-DB added a UMD offer at a June 24 camp, Butler suggesting his pledge was forthcoming. Butler expected to wait a week or so before popping, but when Motley committed, the Douglass product admitted it sped up the process a bit.
“I didn’t think other guys would commit so soon. I was slacking man," Butler said. "I should’ve committed the moment I got the offer (laughs). I almost missed the boat. Thank goodness there was still room (laughs).
“I was thinking about how Maryland was the first school there for me when I got to Douglass, how they showed me so much love at the camp I went to, I thought of the class coming in with me, and I thought of my mom. I couldn’t let the opportunity go.”
Butler’s verbal gave Maryland six defensive backs and three safeties in the 2016 class, with maybe room for one more safety if, say, a Traveon Redd (Magna Vista/Ridgeway, Va.); an Aaron Hansford (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.); or a Tony Butler (St. Edward/Lakewood, Ohio) eventually want in. None of the latter three are projected to Maryland, but Redd visited College Park for the first time a couple weeks ago; Tony Butler is planning a UMD official visit; and Hansford is a local prospect area recruiter Mike Locksley remains in contact with.
As for Devin Butler, the only surprise was it took him three days after picking up the scholarship to commit. Not only was Maryland his first major Division I offer (he also had Toledo), but Butler truly valued playing in front of friends and family. He wasn’t so much infatuated with DMV-to-UMD as he was giving his mother, whom he’s very close to, a chance to see him play.
“My mom more than anyone wanted me at Maryland. She hates to miss a game; she’s never missed one of my games in her life," Butler said.
The Douglass recruit went on to praise his recruiter, Mike Locksley, for honoring his word that a Maryland offer would materialize should Butler keep his grades up. Butler said he’s known Locksley since his freshman year, the prospect appreciating the consistent communication the two have had since then.
Although Butler would have loved to continue playing quarterback at the next level (Toledo offered him as a quarterback), the hometown pull and the relationships he’d built were too strong to turn down.
That's all well and good, but can Butler make the transition from gunslinger to centerfielder?
Well, Butler has size (6-3, 190) and a boatload of athleticism, both of which should translate to the next level. He moves well, can cover ground quickly, has the burst to jump routes, and enough pure speed to recover. His years playing quarterback would seem to aid him too, especially when anticipating patterns and reading receivers.
But there’s a long way to go before Butler’s deemed ready for big-time college ball. He has to prove he can quickly get in and out of breaks, transition smoothly, and pick up receivers crossing his face. He has to hone his footwork, loosen up his hips and refine his ball skills. Butler has to be able to read and react without second guessing himself, while establishing communication/understanding with his fellow defensive backs.
Mostly, though, Butler has to add strength, bulk and power, as right now he’s all arms and legs. Fact is, Butler’s spent his entire high school career under center, so can he even tackle? And, if so, is he willing to take on a 230-pound running back who breaks into the second level?
We’ll find out more this fall when Butler’s slotted to play some defense for Douglass.
You can read Butler’s commitment story HERE. You can read what his coach had to say about him HERE.
The Big Show Breakdown
Despite a deluge that caused flooding throughout the state, Maryland’s second Big Show camp June 27 went well, even though the athletes were relegated to Cole Field House rather than Byrd Stadium. More than 70 rated recruits showed out for the Terps’ staff, coming from locales such as Connecticut; Alabama; Michigan; Ohio; Georgia; New York; New Jersey; Massachusetts; Virginia; Pennsylvania; and, of course, Maryland and D.C.
We couldn’t identify every prospect in attendance, but some of the notable class of 2016 recruits who caught our eye outside Gossett Team House were: LB David Reese (Farmington, Mich.); DE Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.); DE Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.); CB Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.); LB Ali’I Niumatalolo (Broadneck/Annapolis, Md.); TE Noah Barnes (Auburn, Ala.); committed CB Parnell Motley (Woodson/Washington, D.C.); committed QB Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.); WR Zack Hawkins (Bullis); S Mike Collins (Paint Branch/Burtonsville, Md.); committed RB Lorenzo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.); committed DE Joey Fisher (Clear Spring, Md.); and committed OT Michael Clark (Downingtown East/Exeter, Pa.).
The underclassmen, though, were the event’s headliners. Which was to be expected what with Maryland already securing 15 senior commits and its focus shifting to the 2017 and ’18 crops.
Some of the more notable rising juniors and sophomores were: DE Camaron Spence (IMG Academy); DE Jordan Williams (Cox/Fredericksburg, Va.); CB Lamont Wade (Clairton, Pa.); DE Joshua Kaindoh (Mt. Carmel/Essex, Md.); DE Ethan Wiederkehr (Storeham-Wading/Storeham, N.Y.); DE Yetur Matos (Chancellor/Chancellorsville, Va.); QB Jason Brown (Chancellor); ATH Anthony McFarland (DeMatha); LB Jordan Anthony (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.); DE Joshua Paschal (Good Counsel); WR Brandon Sebastian (Cheshire Academy/West Haven, Conn.); OC Stefan Touani (Oxon Hill, Md.); RB Mylique McGriff (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.); WR Delante Hellams (DeMatha); WR DeMarcco Hellams (DeMatha) (2019); LB Ben Mason (Newtown, Conn.); and others.
Class Of 2016 Big Show News
Let’s start with the rising seniors.
First and foremost, there was the cornerback Motley, whose commitment June 27 is detailed above. But besides the D.C. local, the most intriguing senior on campus had to be the Michigan linebacker pledge David Reese.
Reese, who originally popped to Louisville back in March before flipping to Michigan, is actually considering a second decommitment. The vibe is UM head coach Jim Harbaugh, with 23 commits already in tow, isn’t that infatuated with the three-star Reese and may be content to let him explore other options.
With that in mind, Reese attended Notre Dame’s Irish Invasion camp in hopes of landing a UND verbal, but it never came to fruition -- and we’re not sure it ever will.
So, after South Bend, Ind., Reese flew East to College Park for the Big Show. The Terps offered the Farmington product several months ago, and apparently he remained in contact with area recruiter Lyndon Johnson even after popping to Michigan. Moreover, two Maryland commits, Dwayne Haskins and Jeffery Pooler (Chaminade Julienne/Dayton, Ohio), had been in his ear about checking out UMD.
The consensus following the Big Show and a subsequent overnight stay with Terps' linebacker Avery Thompson? Reese has Maryland under firm consideration and could be a flip candidate down the road.
The MIKE backer thoroughly enjoyed himself at the camp, praising the coaches; the facility upgrades; the school’s academics; and more. He mentioned his relationship with Haskins and Pooler too, noting how he was looking forward to spending the night with the former and several current Terps like Adam McLean. Reese ended up staying with the linebacker Thompson, who showed him a good time, while he also had a “really good talk” with Randy Edsall.
But don’t pencil Reese into UMD’s 2016 class yet. He does have other options and will be revisiting Michigan August 2, perhaps to shore up his pledge. Reese may also check out Louisville in mid-July, although that’s not set in stone.
Either way, we think the Terps reside among his top two or three suitors, but how close they are to landing Reese remains to be seen.
Reese should have his college destination finalized by mid-August. (INTERVIEW). … (ARTICLE).
Next up after Reese was the Baltimore City native Shaq Smith, who transferred from St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) to IMG Academy a few months ago. Smith, as we’ve mentioned the last two Shells, has been on campus about five times in the last three weeks, a clear indication he’s giving the hometown school a long, hard look.
Smith is currently committed to Clemson, but he could also be a Terps’ flip candidate thanks to overtures from Haskins; other DMV-to-UMD pledges; and Maryland recruiter Mike Locksley. The five-star edge rusher didn’t grant a full interview at the Big Show, but I did touch base with him, Smith admitting he had the Movement on the brain. On top of that, Haskins told me he thought Maryland had a good shot at pulling Smith in.
Once again, stay tuned.
While we think the Terps have a chance to turn Reese and Smith, we’re not so sure about the Ohio State commit Terrell Hall. Yes, Hall took to Twitter during and after the Big Show to hype up UMD, but it elicited a mere eye-roll on this end.
Hall is on board with Urban Meyer’s program and will be back in Columbus, Ohio, this July for yet another visit. The St. John’s end has been actively recruiting his teammate, safety Aaron Hansford, to Ohio State, and we don’t expect that to stop because Hall happened to attend the Big Show.
Fourth on that 2016 list is Trevon Diggs, whose situation we discussed above. Diggs wasn't available for an interview at the camp, but even if he was, it wouldn't have amounted to much. After all, five days post-Big Show he opted to delay his Independence Day announcement to an undisclosed date.
As for the local linebacker Ali’I Niumatalolo, well, it doesn’t sound like he’ll be receiving a coveted Maryland offer anytime soon. Niumatalolo told us on camera the staff had to “look at the numbers” from the Big Show, which is coach speak for, “Sorry, kid, we have to see what’s up with our other targets.”
Niumatalolo looks the part of a classic MIKE, but he might lack the speed and athleticism Randy Edsall is looking for from a 4-3 middle linebacker. That said, perhaps if a David Reese and a Tymar Sutton (McKeesport, Pa.) fall by the wayside, Edsall will extend the scholarship.
Niumatalolo has firm offers from Uconn and Boise State, with BYU, Utah and Utah State also monitoring him. We could see him winding up at Boise should Maryland choose not to pursue. (INTERVIEW).
Niumatalolo is hardly the only local rising senior who didn’t add a hometown offer at the Big Show. Both Haskins’ teammate, receiver Zack Hawkins, and Paint Branch safety Mike Collins went in confident they’d catch the coaches’ eyes. But both are currently caught in a numbers crunch what with the Terps filling up their wideout and safety spots.
Hawkins has an outside shot at picking up a hometown scholarship down the road should UMD targets like Tino Ellis (DeMatha), Evan Fairs (Foster/Richmond, Texas) and Aaron Mathews (Clairton, Pa.) all head elsewhere, but Collins is probably out of luck. Once Devin Butler popped, giving UMD three safety commits, it makes it highly unlikely the Terps’ staff will take on another “project” defensive back in the tweener Collins.
Note: A big tight end from Alabama, Noah Barnes, passed the eyeball test June 27, although he doesn't project to wind up with a Maryland offer. Barnes had nothing but positive comments for UMD and has some ties to the Terps, but thus far he's only drawn scholarships from I-AA programs and Memphis.
Class of 2017, 2018 and 2019 Big Show News
From what we could tell, the Terps handed out about four new offers June 27, including three on the defensive line. Yetur Matos, Ethan Wiederkehr and Jordan Williams all impressed D-line coach Chad Wilt and Co., while class of 2019 receiver (that’s right, he’s not even in high school yet) Demarcco Hellans balled out in front of wideout coach Keenan McCardell.
Of that quartet, Williams was by far the most effusive in his praise. The rising junior edge rusher had no offers coming into the Big Show, so when Randy Edsall anted up, the Virginia prospect was rendered speechless. Williams heaped effusive praise on both Wilt and Edsall, as well as the rest of the staff. He spoke highly of the facilities, the upgrades, College Park itself, the school’s location and Maryland’s academics.
Williams, who was actually at UMD’s lineman challenge June 20 too, said the Terps will remain at or near the forefront of his mind moving forward, regardless of how much his recruiting profile expands.
We’ll see if that holds in the months ahead. (ARTICLE).
Another newbie on the recruiting trail, Wiederkehr, landed his second verbal from UMD June 27. The 6-5, 260-pounder held one previous offer from Rutgers following the Scarlet Knights’ camp, and evidently he showed the same kind of athleticism and upside at the Big Show.
A New York native who tripped down to Maryland with his father, Wiederkehr said he was “really excited’ about his second scholarship. Both he and his father took to the UMD staff (in particular Chad Wilt and area recruiter Keith Dudzinski), while lauding the area and campus too. Wiederkehr then said his family would be returning to UMD in short order to learn more about the program’s inner workings and academics, the latter sure to hit home considering the recruit is an honors student.
Wiederkehr has no leaders, however, and seems intent on adding big-name suitors to his list, so we’ll take a wait-and-see approach on him. Either way, getting in the game before the bigwigs become involved gives Maryland a puncher’s chance heading forward. (ARTICLE).
The third defensive line product to nab an offer, Matos, also commented on Maryland. But, of the three, his interview rang of lip service. Matos talked up the UMD coaches, calling them “very impressive,” and said he also liked the facilities and various aesthetics, but it was obvious he had other suitors on his mind.
The Chancellor edge rusher came in with offers from Va Tech, Penn State, Duke, Clemson, WVU, UVA and more, and he’d already seen the Blue Devils; Tigers; Cavaliers; and Nittany Lions. We got the distinct feeling he favored schools like CU, PSU and Duke, with his eye on big-name Big Ten, SEC and ACC programs yet to ante up. It will be interesting to see what kind of traction Maryland area recruiter Chad Wilt can gain here. (ARTICLE).
Last but not least, the rising ninth grader Hellams.
Talk about a well-built 13-year-old. This in-bound DeMatha athlete must be working out with the current Stags, because his long, muscle-bound frame resembles a rising junior. No wonder McCardell and Edsall opted to jump on him so soon.
We did speak to Hellams to get an initial impression, and, naturally, he was shocked to land a college scholarship before reaching high school. Now, we’re not in the business of projecting eighth graders, but Hellams already has plenty of connections to College Park (area recruiter Mike Locksley knows about him; he has future teammates heading to Maryland; he grew up watching the Terps play). He’s bound to garner attention from the nation’s elite in the years ahead, so it’s probably a good move for Edsall to grab his attention early.
Several of the other underclassmen Big Show campers had Maryland offers prior to the event. Foremost among them, Clairton (Pa.) cornerback Lamont Wade, a four-star with 20 verbals in tow, including those from Ohio State; Penn State; UCLA; Nebraska; Auburn and others of that ilk. But while Wade may be a longshot to wind up in College Park, the UMD coaches are certainly giving him their due diligence.
Wade had naught but praise for Maryland, noting the facility upgrades; his relationship with area recruiter Greg Studrawa and Co.; the school’s standout academics; its location and more. He liked working with defensive backs coach Darrell Perkins, interacting with the other recruits (including Dwayne Haskins), and chatting with Edsall too.
We’ll be checking to see if Wade makes it back for a game during the fall, an indicator UMD has at least a chance with him. (INTERVIEW).
The Terps are going to be hard pressed to land Wade, but they may have a better shot at pulling in DMV athlete Anthony McFarland. A potential five-star recruit and the No. 1 class of 2017 prospect in the D.C.-Maryland corridor, McFarland has an offer list approaching 30.
Recall, during our spring interview with McFarland he curiously hadn’t been hearing as much from UMD and recruiter Mike Locksley as he would’ve liked.
Two months later, his stance has changed. The diminutive speedster, who projects as a receiver in college, said Locksley and Edsall have stepped up the pursuit, with yet another positive round of interactions June 27.
McFarland said he had “a great time” communicating with the staff and recruits alike. He talked up DMV-to-UMD; how LoLo Harrison and Dwayne Haskins were both singing Maryland’s praises; and how the Terps could do “really big things” with all the local talent banding together in College Park. McFarland also commented on the benefits of the new facility upgrades, mentioning the recruiting uptick UMD should see as a result.
Locksley and the staff will undoubtedly have to do battle with Alabama, Ohio State, and numerous other SEC contenders, but Maryland seems to have McFarland’s ear. Let’s see if the Terps can maintain the momentum as the Movement gains steam.
Another local with Maryland on the mind is former Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) defensive end Camaron Spence. Spence, who transferred to IMG Academy, may have UMD among his top two contenders, along with Penn State.
Even though he’ll be in Florida next year, Spence remains in close contact with his Baltimore/D.C. buddies, namely Haskins and Adam McLean. Meanwhile, this summer alone, Spence has been in College Park multiple times, giving recruiter Mike Locksley; Randy Edsall; and defensive line coach Chad Wilt a chance to make their mark.
Spence, however, is also feeling the pull from State College, Pa., in addition to several SEC suitors. But we think the Terps have a solid shot if DMV-to-UMD is fully realized this year, and Locksley remains in touch even with Spence at IMG.
Another nearby defensive end with a Maryland offer, Josh Kaindoh, may be more Nittany Lions than Terrapins at this point, however. Kaindoh certainly enjoyed the Big Show and said his stay on campus improved UMD’s chances with him, but the Terps have a tough road to haul.
Penn State has left a deep impression, Kaindoh stating time and again the Nittany Lions are his No. 1. Both Ohio State and Alabama are in play too, and that pair will surely be joined by about 30 other major suitors.
The key in Kaindoh’s case, as far as Terps’ purposes are concerned, is he’s an academic-oriented, thoughtful recruit who tends to value qualities like education; coach-player relationships; and the like over aesthetics. Edsall and Co. will have to sell Maryland’s degree hard, while area recruiter Keith Dudzinski must continue pursuing in earnest. Kaindoh has said time and again he’s very comfortable with Dudzinski, so perhaps the Terps can stay in the game as the emerging edge rusher’s recruitment explodes.
Good Counsel’s Jordan Anthony, meanwhile, continues to hold the Terps in high regard. This multi-offer linebacker has been in College Park numerous times during the last year, singing the praises of area recruiter Mike Locksley; DMV-to-UMD; and the chance to play near friends and family.
Current GC Terps pledges like Keandre Jones and Travon Stott didn’t even attend the Big Show, but that didn’t dampen Anthony’s day. The Falcons’ star still had a great experience working with outside linebackers coach Lyndon Johnson and defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski. He said he enjoyed competing with other talented prospects and conversing with Randy Edsall as well.
Anthony isn’t naming favorites, but UMD figures to be a principal contender throughout. Other programs involved include Clemson (the Tigers are on him heavy), Auburn (the Eagles are on him too), PSU, UNC, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, Michigan and Iowa.
Joining his teammate Anthony was Josh Paschal, the Good Counsel defensive end. The two Falcons' stars are good friends and perform at many of the same camps, take many of the same visits, and claim many of the same offers. So, it was no surprise that Paschal offered up similar sentiments to Anthony when discussing the Big Show.
Paschal, like Anthony, is keeping his options open, but the Terps have left their mark early. Expect both Good Counsel recruits to return to College Park yet again later this July for a more personal meeting with Randy Edsall, Mike Locksley and other assistants. (ARTICLE).
An offensive lineman who could be closing on his first offer from Maryland is Oxon Hill’s (Md.) Stefan Touani. A strapping 6-2, 300-pound center, Touani said he performed well at the Big Show and drew all kinds of praise from coach Greg Studrawa. Following the camp, he said the staff hinted an offer could crop up at some point this fall, after evaluating some junior film.
If so, we’d expect the Terps to be in prime position for Touani’s services. A DMV-to-UMD supporter who grew up minutes from College Park, he already has an affinity for the hometown school. He’s been on campus for games, has attended various UMD events, and knows area recruiter Mike Locksley too. Plus Touani’s head coach, Craig Jefferies, is a Maryland supporter who has sent recruits the Terps’ way in the past.
If nothing else, it’s a name to keep in mind this fall.
Another local lineman to watch is DeMatha’s Marcus Minor, who we’ve reported on a few times this offseason. Minor has offers from Va Tech, Temple and ECU, but is actively seeking the hometown look. He’s said time and again how much he’d love to be part of the Movement, play close to home, and join D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison in College Park. Mostly, though, he likes Maryland’s journalism program since Minor wants to be a broadcaster.
We figured Minor would be an offer candidate at the Big Show, but the verbal didn’t come to fruition, which likely indicates the staff needs to see more film. Expect Edsall to ante up in time, however. Minor isn’t a massive offensive tackle, but he’s a solid 6-4, 285-pound guard who resembles teammate Terrance Davis.
Another under-the-radar Marylander to monitor is McDonogh’s McGriff. A 5-9 bowling ball running back, McGriff received positive feedback from UMD assistant Terry Richardson at the Big Show. He isn’t sure if or when a Maryland offer will come, but McGriff has made no bones about his desire for a hometown offer.
McGriff has heard all about Maryland from his former McDonogh-teammates-turned-Terps like Ellis McKennie and Josh Woods. He said he wants to establish the same kind of relationship with Keith Dudzinski as the aforementioned two had with their UMD area recruiter.
McGriff also said he likes the atmosphere inside Byrd Stadium, would love for his family to see his home games, and thinks highly of UMD’s academics too.
We’ll see if the Terps eventually make a move.
Moving out of state, we expected class of 2017 quarterback Lindell Stone (Woodberry Forest/Woodberry, Va.) at the Big Show, but instead a little-known gunslinger from Chancellor High (Chancellorsville, Va.) came up instead.
Well, bring on Jason Brown, a 6-3, 205-pounder who we heard was spraying the ball around like a Dwayne Haskins incarnate. Brown caught the eye of Edsall, quarterbacks coach Mike Locksley and the rest of the staff, and it’s safe to say he’s firmly on their radar now.
After the camp, Brown said schools such as WVU, Wake Forest, Va Tech, PSU and UMD were showing interest. He also mentioned how he’d love to add a Terps offer as he readily enjoyed working with Locksley; checking out Maryland’s facilities; and interacting with the rest of the staff. So much so that Brown will be returning to College Park for a game this fall.
Let’s see if the Terps offer after evaluating some of Brown’s junior film. (ARTICLE).
One final class of 2017 player of note was Cheshire Academy’s (West Haven, Conn.) Brandon Sebastian. This 6-1, 170-pounder came in with little fanfare, but said he’s heard from UMD area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, along with other nearby assistants (Uconn, BC, Syracuse, etc.).
Sebastian loved the Big Show and his stay in College Park, mentioning how he’d like to return for a game at some point. But we’ll have to see how hard the Terps pursue. Sebastian didn’t do enough June 27 to garner an offer and may have to show some standout junior film to generate more attention.
Another rising star junior, Ben Mason, made his way down to College Park from Connecticut as well. The class of 2017 MIKE said he learned a lot from Keith Dudzinski, while he also liked checking out the campus and facilities. Mason apparently has a connection to UMD too: He knows senior hoops star Jake Layman from his days as a camp counselor back in Massachusetts.
Maryland didn’t offer Mason, but the staff is intrigued, to say the least. The Connecticut prospect has early verbals from Uconn, Duke and BC right now, and we wouldn’t be shocked to see Edsall ante up when Mason returns to College Park for a game this fall. (ARTICLE).
Various Non-Big Show Related Linemen Notes
Carlos Basham, DE, Northside (Roanoke, Va.): I wrote about Basham picking up a Maryland offer a couple week ago, and now the 6-4, 240-pounder has the Terps among his four finalists heading into a July 6 decision date. Basham visited Maryland last year for a game and a camp, but hasn't returned since. He did say he valued the Terps for their education, his relationship with UMD recruiter Darrell Perkins, and the fact College Park isn't too far from home, but Maryland probably isn't at the top of the leaderboard.
Wake Forest, which Basham visited in May, is considered the frontrunner. The Deacons have been after him for a long while, the coaches; academics; and small-school atmosphere leaving quite an impression. Cincinnati, another longtime suitor, also has Basham's attention after visiting the Queen City in mid-June. Pittsburgh, meanwhile, is a school Basham recently camped at, the Panthers resonating thanks to their staff; program; and the fact "they play where the Steelers play."
Maryland could very well be among Basham's two or three favorites, but the smart money is on the Deacons. (ARTICLE).
Ellison Jordan, DL, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): At this point last week, we still felt Maryland had the upper-hand in the four-star tackle’s recruitment, in position to snag a pop by August. Turns out Jordan had other plans, delivering a gut punch of sorts June 26.
With Penn State adding a defensive line commit seemingly every couple days, Jordan snapped up one of the remaining spots before he missed the train. He cited his relationship with other PSU pledges (namely DeMatha’s Shane Simmons, who is from Jordan’s hometown); the school’s academics (he cited how PSU graduates 89 percent of its African American students); the campus (he liked the feel of State College); his rapport with the staff (he loves head coach James Franklin); and the fact the Nittany Lions need defensive tackles as the primary reasons he chose PSU over Maryland and Virginia Tech.
Currently, Jordan is all Nittany Lions and doesn’t project as a “flipper” anytime soon. But we’re not ready to write him off yet. There are still plenty of folks in Jordan’s party who would love to see him at Maryland, leading us to leave him “cool” on the hot board.
If DMV-to-UMD continues in earnest, and some other factors fall into place, we could see Jordan begin to waver down the road. You can be sure his Maryland recruiter, Mike Locksley, will continue to push as well. Needless to say, it’ll be interesting to see what happens come winter.
Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): A notable no-show at the Big Show, we’re not quite as confident Davis will be a Terp as before. Now, don’t take that to mean Davis isn’t coming to Maryland; he could very well wind up attending college in College Park. It’s just that he’s still not ready to completely buy into DMV-to-UMD like some of his teammates.
Michigan has long been at the forefront of Davis’ mind, and he’s told Wolverines’ reporters UM is his clear No. 1. We were aware of this, of course, but were pretty sure UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley, along with Stags-turned-Terps LoLo Harrison (Davis’ cousin) and D.J. Turner, could convince him otherwise.
But now we’re hearing UM head coach Jim Harbaugh’s pitch is hitting home with the entire Davis clan, making the situation more precarious. We’ll see if that’s still the case, however, if Harbaugh tires of waiting for Davis (he’s not picking a school until December) and lands another star guard or two in the meantime.
Honestly, though, there were bound to be some twists and turns here. No prospect with a winter announcement has a “smooth” recruitment.
So, no need to panic yet, Terps’ fans. Let’s let the process play out, and wake me up in December.
Rashad Wheeler, DT, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.): With Penn State now having defensive line commits from Ellison Jordan, Shane Simmons, Daniel Joseph (Lake Forest Academy/Lake Forest, Ill.) and Christian Colon (Independence/Charlotte, N.C.), will the Nittany Lions still accept a pledge from Wheeler, a prime Terps’ target? Well, according to our PSU guys, they might. Penn State is in need of D-line depth, so there could still be room for Wheeler if he wants in.
And it does seem like Wheeler envisions himself as a Nittany Lion. In fact, he told Scout last week he was prepared to move up his intended college decision date -- a la Ellison Jordan -- if it meant the difference between securing a spot and missing the boat. Now, instead of committing in August, it sounds as if the Pittsburgh product is prepared to pop in July.
It doesn’t take a tea-leaf reader to see where this one’s headed. Yes, the Terps and area recruiter Greg Studrawa are still involved, residing among Wheeler’s top three, but he’s not shifting his college announcement in order to pick Maryland.
If PSU won’t accept Wheeler, though, hometown Pittsburgh is probably running second, with Maryland in third. We’re leaving Wheeler on the hot board, but we haven’t felt confident about him since he failed to take three College Park return trips (two June one-days, plus the Big Show).
Tight End Notes
Naseir Upshur, TE, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): The four-star tight end released his eight leaders June 26, and the Terps made the cut. But they probably sit at or near the bottom of a group that also includes Michigan, Alabama, Arizona State, South Carolina, Temple, Florida State and USC.
The Wolverines, which had Upshur up to Ann Arbor, Mich., last weekend, are the far-and-away frontrunners. Head coach Jim Harbaugh has made deep inroads with Upshur and his family, and if the tight end doesn’t wind up at UM, it’ll be an upset.
Upshur is set to visit Alabama next, and the Tide could be sitting second in the pecking order, followed by FSU and South Carolina.
Other than listing Maryland on Twitter, Upshur hasn’t said mentioned the Terps much in quite some time. He hasn’t been on campus since last fall, reneging on numerous trips to College Park.
Upshur remains on the hot board, but he could be removed at any time.
Jay Rose, TE, Southington (Conn.): We’re growing skeptical that Rose, another Maryland tight end target, will ever make it down to College Park. He was supposed to visit in March for a junior day, then in April for a spring practice, then in May for a random campus visit, and then in June for a one-day.
Thus far, no dice.
In the meantime, Rose has taken two trips to Syracuse and Wisconsin, which both have offers out. Of those, Rose may be favoring nearby 'Cuse, the Orange’s staff; facilities; campus; and location standing out.
But he is also keeping hometown Uconn, another school he’s trekked to on multiple occasions, in mind since the Huskies will allow him to play quarterback. Rose would love to sit under center at the next level, and Uconn is one of the only major suitors that would allow him to do so. It follows that Boston College, which is also considering Rose at quarterback, remains in the game too (UMD definitely wants Rose at tight end).
Rose, who is currently on vacation, said he remains in touch with Maryland area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, and still wants to see UMD and a few other colleges sometime in July. But we’ll believe it when we see it.
More News & Notes
Note that until July 12 it is a dead recruiting period. That means recruits cannot trek to campus until mid-July, so don’t expect any visitor news to crop up until at least the middle of the month.
Traveon Redd, S, Magna Vista (Ridgeway, Va.): We reported on Redd in last week’s Shell, letting readers know the Virginia safety had visited Maryland, had been communicating with recruiter Darrell Perkins, and was seriously considering attending school in College Park. Then this week Scout’s Michael Clark caught up with Redd again, offering more insight into the 5-11, 185-pounder.
Redd initially told Clark he thought it was “cool” that Under Armour founder Kevin Plank went to Maryland, the recruit immediately taking to the gear and jerseys. But besides the aesthetics, Redd said he enjoyed connecting with Perkins -- who showed him around campus -- and head coach Randy Edsall as well. Redd had a one-on-one sit-down with the headman, Edsall letting the safety know he could potentially contribute early during his career.
“He’s cool and laid back and I enjoyed talking to him,” Redd said of Edsall.
But, as I wrote last week, the sense is Vandy and Wake may lead Maryland for the time being. The Commodores and Deacons have been after Redd for much longer than the Terps, and both staffs remain in constant contact. Additionally, Redd is trekking to Vanderbilt July 24, just a week before he’s scheduled to choose his college destination. That very well could be an indicator of where Redd’s mind is at.
We’ll see if Perkins and Maryland can close the gap between now and the end of July. (We do believe the Terps will accept Redd’s pledge if he wants in, even though they now have three safety pledges).
Donald Stewart, WR, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.): I removed Stewart from the hot board months ago, but I did mention him as a possible Big Show attendee last week. Stewart, however, never made it down to College Park, meaning the Terps are all but out of the running for the elite Jersey product. Stewart visited Vanderbilt instead last weekend, while he has trips to Rutgers, Northwestern and UConn coming up.
Stewart added a major offer from Stanford in late June following a Palo Alto, Calif., camp, and it sounds like the Cardinal are now the team to beat. Michigan is also receiving plenty of consideration.
Ayinde Eley, WR/LB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) (2017): Scout's Jacquie Franciulli caught up with the rising junior Eley at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp in D.C., and it sounds like the powerhouse Falcons have yet another elite 2017 prospect to monitor. In addition to linebacker Jordan Anthony and edge rusher Joshua Paschal, who both hold Maryland offers, the 6-4, 200-pound Eley has also seen his stock rise considerably.
Eley claims verbals from Va Tech, Iowa, Temple, UNC and Syracuse, and said UMD and Clemson are showing interest. The Hokies seem to hold appeal at this point, but Eley knows all about the school 30 minutes from his home thanks to GC-turned-Terps pledges KeAndre Jones and Travon Stott.
We expect the Terps to offer before long, perhaps once Eley forays over to College Park later this summer.
Off The Board
Isaiah Wright, WR, Kingswood Oxford (West Hartford, Conn.): In a somewhat surprising development, Terps' receiver target Isaiah Wright ended his recruitment July 1, popping to Rutgers nine days after attending the Scarlet Knights' camp (maybe not so surprising what with RU filling up its receiver spots). Wright and his mother had a College Park visit set up for July, followed by Ohio State, the Connecticut receiver insisting he wouldn't be choosing his destination until seeing the Terps and Buckeyes.
In last week's Shell, we let readers know Wright was warming up to Maryland, mainly due to the school's academic reputation. His mother was reportedly pushing UMD for the latter reason, and Wright was seemingly eager to check out Maryland first-hand. He'd also had consistent contact with Terps' area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, Wright calling the defensive coordinator "a really cool guy to talk to."
But, at the same time, Wright had been hinting Rutgers was the team to beat. He'd visited Piscataway, N.J., multiple times this offseason, forming close bonds with the staff and other recruits. And once he returned to RU June 22, Wright hitting it off with the Scarlet Knights' offensive coordinator and several current players, it was likely a matter of if, not when, he opted into Kyle Flood's program -- regardless of whether or not he took a College Park jaunt.
Jacob Morgenstern, LB, St. Luke’s (New Canaan, Conn.): I forgot to report this last week, but Maryland linebacker target Jake Morgenstern popped to Duke June 26, only a couple days after visiting Maryland. He’s the second Connecticut backer to commit to the Blue Devils almost immediately after tripping to College Park, joining Koby Quansah (Kingswood Oxford).
Morgenstern had UMD among his five favorite suitors, but it was obvious Duke and Northwestern were one-two in the pecking order. The St. Luke’s backer visited Durham, N.C., June 19, and evidently that trip, coupled with Duke’s renowned academic reputation, sold him on the Blue Devils.
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