TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Robinson On Board

No, the Terps didn’t add another recruit to their 2016 class this week, but the hiring of Cory Robinson could potentially net them several coveted prospects down the road. The Baltimore native and former assistant at Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.), St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) has established connections throughout the region, with ties to local recruits; coaches; and trainers. He’s the founder and CEO of the Next Level Nation group, an organization that’s helped develop plenty of Division I talents since its inception a half-decade ago.

Robinson’s addition could pay immediate dividends. He’s known elite defensive end/outside linebacker Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy) for years, the four-star recruit following Robinson to Calvert Hall, St. Frances and then IMG. The two have a longstanding, father-son-like rapport, so we could easily see the Clemson pledge Smith flipping to Maryland down the road. (It was trending in that direction anyway after Smith visited College Park, Md., three times in June and let a couple current UMD commits know he was thinking long and hard about flipping. He also suggested to Scout's Brian Dohn at The Opening that he "missed home.").

Smith isn’t the only IMG target Robinson has been linked to. He also knows four-star class of 2017 defensive end Cam Spence quite well, another prime Maryland recruit. Spence attended Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) his first two years, but transferred to IMG during the offseason.

Another elite ’17 talent, Calvert Hall’s Tyshon Fogg, is a Robinson find too. The four-star linebacker doesn’t hold a Maryland offer yet, but he’s being pursued by the likes of Michigan State, Rutgers, Stanford, Syracuse, Clemson and others. The Terps could very well become involved now that Robinson’s on board.

And those are just three of the more prominent prospects Robinson has ties to. We expect him to hit the trail hard and heavy, building relationships and making inroads with recruits throughout the DMV. In the future, we could envision Maryland legitimately cropping up on more top-level recruits’ leaderboards (as opposed to the lip service some of them are giving UMD now).

Time will tell how long Robinson stays at UMD since he is ambitious and will undoubtedly seek to move up the ranks. But for the duration he’s in College Park, he should be a boon to the Terps’ recruiting efforts.

Edwards On Board

With Naseir Upshur (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.), Noah Turner (Carmel Catholic/Mundelein, Ill.), possibly Jay Rose (Southington, Conn.) and others all trending away from Maryland, the Terps’ chances of landing a solid 2016 tight end look rather bleak. But head coach Randy Edsall made a savvy move July 13, bringing in freshman North Carolina transfer Avery Edwards to fill the void.

The former class of 2014 Ravenscroft (Raleigh, N.C.) three-star recruit was set to enroll at UNC last year, but was charged with larceny before arriving in Chapel Hill, N.C. Although the charges were dropped, Edwards never made it to campus, instead heading to IMG Academy for a year.

But Edsall, who knew Edwards from when the Terps were recruiting him at Ravenscroft, recently invited the wayward 6-5, 230-pounder up for a visit, giving him another chance at a college career. Edsall presumably fully vetted the Carolina tight end, deeming with Maryland worthy.

“I am confident he has learned from past experiences and will be a great teammate as he makes a seamless transition to the University of Maryland,” Edsall said. “Avery has a relentless work ethic and strong desire to succeed both on and off the field.”

Shortly after checking out College Park, Edwards singed on with UMD and will be in the fold for fall camp. The versatile, athletic specimen has four years of eligibility remaining and should provide an immediate boost to a tight end core light on experience and production.

Moreover, Edwards’ transfer likely precludes the Terps from having to add a class of 2016 tight end. The staff probably won’t “reach” for a developmental project, so unless someone with Upshur-like status wants in, Edsall can probably allocate the tight-end scholarship to another position of need. (It remains to be seen whether the Terps would even accept Jay Rose if he somehow came around to Maryland).

Some Rumblings On Top Terps Targets

Abdul Adams, RB, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): I was able to touch base with local running back and current Michigan State pledge Abdul Adams this week. The teammate of UMD commit Parnell Motley, Adams is projected to flip to Maryland at some point, although it might take longer than originally anticipated.

During our abbreviated conversation, Adams attempted to remain coy about his situation, giving the politically correct answers. The Woodson runner said he’s firmly on board with MSU, has a great relationship with the staff and plans to officially visit East Lansing, Mich., this fall.

But when pushed a bit, Adams allowed Motley’s Maryland pop “meant something to him,” while he’s been hearing from Terps’ quarterback pledge Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) quite a lot too. He’s also remained in touch with Terps’ area recruiter Mike Locksley, who has been harping on The Movement and encouraging Adams to visit. And, indeed, Adams said he’s considering trekking over to College Park, either officially or unofficially, to give the hometown school another look.

Now, the Washington, D.C., recruit might not flip as soon as he returns to Maryland, but our Woodson sources have indicated Adams is still on track to be a Terp.

We’ll let you know if the situation changes.

Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): In last week’s Shell we continued projecting Ellis to Maryland, but acknowledged Virginia Tech was “almost even” with the Terps.

Well, maybe not so much anymore.

If our sources are correct, Ellis has UMD well out in front of the Hokies and should be popping to head coach Randy Edsall July 31. Ellis won’t publically declare a leader in order to add suspense to his late-July announcement, but, from all we’re hearing, he’ll be the next cog in DMV-to-UMD.

And, really, Ellis’ recent actions lend credence to that line of thinking anyway. The DeMatha wideout has visited College Park a couple times in the last month, including once with his family, which has readily taken to the Maryland staff.

Ellis has also constantly been in contact with UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley and Terps’ pledges Dwayne Haskins, D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison. Each of them, along with other Maryland coaches like Edsall and receivers’ coach Keenan McCardell, have Ellis “feeling” Maryland.

But perhaps the most significant indicator is the four-star receiver has yet to embark on an intended return trip through Blacksburg, Va. In fact, Ellis told me he won't be journeying back to Tech at all prior to July 31.

Regardless, the tealeaves read “Maryland” heading down the homestretch.

Rashad Wheeler, DT, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Frequent Shell readers know by now the Terps may be on the outside looking in for the defensive tackle target Wheeler. I received an update on the Pittsburgh product this week, and it sounds like he’ll be popping to Pitt August 10.

After Penn State, Wheeler’s original favorite, filled up its defensive tackle spots, the recruit immediately turned his attention to his No. 2: the Panthers. The hometown school has long rung true with him, Wheeler visiting campus numerous times and forming a strong bond with the new staff. Wheeler believes in head coach Pat Narduzzi and knows several current Panthers as well.

The Terps have made this recruitment interesting, however. Area recruiter Greg Studrawa has consistently stayed in touch, and Wheeler couldn’t say enough about his spring visit to College Park. He’s had UMD pledges Dwayne Haskins and Jeff Pooler (Chaminade Julienne/Dayton, Ohio) in his ear via Twitter too, the two harping on The Movement and how much Wheeler would love playing at Maryland.

There’s a chance Wheeler may return to College Park one more time in early August -- giving Terps’ aficionados some hope heading into the tackle’s August 10 decision date -- but at this point his only scheduled trip is to West Virginia July 25.

The Mountaineers don’t figure to have a dog in this fight, though, and probably won’t jump the Panthers or even the Terps. In any event, unless an unexpected circumstance arises (i.e. Pitt suddenly lands two four-star defensive tackles), Wheeler is probably Pittsburgh bound.

Tony Butler, S, St. Edward’s (Lakewood, Ohio): Last week we mentioned Butler’s situation was rather fluid after decommitting from Pittsburgh January 3. Yes, he placed Maryland among his four foremost contenders -- along with Michigan, Arizona State and Rutgers -- but noted how offers from either Clemson, Michigan State or Ohio State could alter his thinking.

Well, Butler added that coveted Tigers offer July 14, promptly placing CU under prime consideration. Butler didn’t publically shuffle his leaderboard, but the feeling is Clemson now resides near the top of that favorites list.

Michigan remains the team to beat, however, the Ohio native readily taking to Jim Harbaugh’s program following a July 15 trek to Ann Arbor, Mich. He’s not quite ready to pop to UM, insisting he’ll follow through with official visits this fall, but his commitment there might be a mere formality (unless Michigan fills up its safety slots).

Maryland was supposed to received one of those officials, but in Butler's latest interview with Scout, he didn't even mention the Terps. He said Michigan, Clemson. Arizona State, Minnesota and Rutgers were in the mix, although the locales could very well change if Butler keeps picking up scholarships from ACC and Big Ten elites.

At any rate, we’re not projecting Butler to wind up a Terp, especially after he failed to list them as a contender earlier this week.

Richard Merritt, OG, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): We've pretty much written Merritt off as far as Terps purposes are concerned, but we're keeping him on the board in case there's a late change of heart (or a late charge made by area recruiter Mike Locksley). The chances of that happening, though, are becoming less and less likely.

Merritt just visited his presumed No. 1, Florida State, last week and left raving about the Seminoles. He all but declared them the team to beat, citing the campus vibe; his relationship with his FSU recruiter and O-line coach; and the strength of the program itself.

Merritt also checked out Florida while in the Sunshine State, and next up he's hitting UNC and NC State, followed by Michigan and Michigan State. He has no intentions of trekking back over to Maryland.

The D.C. guard also has several official visits in mind, including FSU, UCLA, Wisconsin and Alabama. The sense is he's Florida State's to lose.

Needless to say, we could remove him from the hot board at any time.

A Couple Class Of 2017 Notes

Lawtez Rogers, DE, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): I’ve been meaning to write about the emerging defensive end Rogers, and finally found some time this week. This 6-4, 245-pounder snagged his first offer from Maryland back during the spring, and then attended the June 27 Big Show a month later.

Rogers, the former teammate of class of 2015 Terps’ target Isaiah Prince (Ohio State), is just beginning the recruiting process, but Maryland has left an early impression. That UMD deemed him offer worthy before any other program rang true, along with the fact Maryland is down the street from his Greenbelt home. Rogers didn’t have too many thoughts on DMV-to-UMD, but said it’s “pretty cool” locals he knows like Devin Butler (Douglass/Forestville, Md.) will be playing at UMD.

The Roosevelt prospect hasn’t been able to visit College Park for a full-scale tour yet, but he saw enough at the Big Show to catch his eye. He talked up the Maryland staff (he’s in the process of getting to know area recruiter Mike Locksley), the coaches’ interactions with him during the camp, the facilities, Under Armour and more.

Right now, the Terps look to be in solid position for Rogers, but we can’t project him to Maryland until his recruiting profile is fully realized. Moreover, he hasn’t visited or camped anywhere other than College Park, so he has no comparisons. (Rogers probably would’ve added a couple more offers had he been able to attend one-days during June).

Rogers may not venture out until the winter, following his junior campaign, so we probably won’t know where he stands until 2016. We are aware, however, that Rutgers, WVU, Iowa, Penn State, NC State, Va Tech and more are tracking him, so he figures to add some options with solid 2015 film. (ARTICLE).

Jack Coan, QB, Sayville (West Sayville, N.Y.): The Terps hosted four-star quarterback Jack Coan July 14, the 6-3, 190-pounder’s first visit to College Park for football purposes. Coan actually trekked to UMD once before back during the winter when Maryland lacrosse coach John Tillman was recruiting him, but he ended up pledging to Notre Dame instead. But Coan, who decommitted from UND during the spring, is all-football now and is considering Randy Edsall’s program rather than Tillman’s.

The Sayville product thoroughly enjoyed his July 14 stay, praising the staff; campus; and facilities. He said the coaches highlighted the visit, namely area recruiter Keith Dudzinski, who escorted Coan and his father around College Park.

“All the coaches were great guys, and I can tell they’re passionate about their program,” Coan said. “I really liked everyone I met. I can’t point to one thing they said that stood out; it was just they were really great guys and great to be around.

“Coach Dud, he’s a cool guy and he was taking me around campus, showing me all the different places like where you eat; the academic buildings; and the dorms. It was all pretty cool. I really liked it.”

Coan went on to praise New Cole, the school’s academics and the program in general.

The New York recruit should be returning to UMD at some point, though the Terps are going to have a tough road to haul. Coan has a growing offer list that now includes Michigan, Miami, Syracuse and Rutgers, while the likes of Stanford, Penn State, Notre Dame and more are keeping close tabs.

Coan recently checked out the Wolverines and Scarlet Knights, talking up each, and next he’s set to see UCF (July 24) and Stanford (July 31). He’s not claiming any leaders at this point, but the vibe is if Notre Dame or Stanford get involved he’ll end up at one of those two high-academic, football-rich programs. (ARTICLE).

Ellis Brooks, LB, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.): One of UMD’s Virginia-area recruiters, Chad Wilt, has gained plenty of traction at high schools throughout the 757 and the central part of the state. Benedictine High in the Richmond area is a main Wilt stopping point, and in the 2017 class he’s already established a rapport with elite linebacker Ellis Brooks.

The four-star backer, who picked up a Maryland offer during the spring, has known Wilt since last year, and on July 14 Brooks was finally able to trek up to College Park with his mother and father. The Benedictine prospect couldn’t say enough about Wilt and their developing rapport, mentioning how “real” and “cool” he was during the visit. Brooks also spoke highly of head coach Randy Edsall, defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski and the rest of the staff.

“I talked to pretty much everybody when I went down there,” Brooks said. “Coach Wilt was just telling me how much he likes me as a player and a person. He likes my family too, and he said I have the whole package. He asked how school is going, things like that. We have a great relationship, and [Wilt] is a pretty cool guy. He’s fun to talk to.

“And Coach Edsall was pretty impressive too. He seems like he has set goals, and I like that in a person. He also has a drive in him that you want to see in a head coach. He seemed like he really cared about his players too. He’s a great guy.”

Besides the staff, Brooks said the facility upgrades, the Under Armour gear, the stadium and the campus in general all resonated. He likes how Maryland is a high-academic institution and how the coaches stress competency in the classroom as well.

So, at least early on, the Terps are off to a good start with Brooks. But this is a high-profile four-star out of Virginia, so it’s going to take some effort to lure him to College Park.

Va Tech, UNC, NC State, Wake and Duke, along with UMD, have offered. Meanwhile, Penn State, UVA, Rutgers, WVU and others are showing interest. If Brooks starts landing elite Big Ten, ACC and SEC verbals, he might be out of the Terps’ grasp. (ARTICLE.

More News & Notes

Nick Eubanks, TE, American Heritage (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): I didn’t think I’d be mentioning Eubanks’ name again after noting his Maryland offer several months back. After all, the 6-5, 220-pounder is a borderline four-star tight end with offers from institutions throughout the SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big Ten. But apparently the Terps made somewhat of an impression, sneaking onto Eubanks’ top-10 favorites list.

Of course, Maryland is more than likely near the bottom of said list. Eubanks is primarily focused on Alabama and Georgia, while he’s considering USC, Michigan, Texas, Auburn, Oregon, Louisville and Miami as well. In all likelihood, the Florida product will wind up with the Tide as his older brother plays basketball in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Devin White, LB, North Webster (Springhill, La.): The Terps extended an offer to the four-star senior White July 15, but they’re probably too late to make much noise here. The 6-0, 260-pound MIKE just released his top 10 list a week ago, and it included: Alabama, Arkansas, LSU, Ole Miss, Georgia, Florida State, Auburn, Texas A&M, Miami and UCLA. In-state LSU is considered the front-runner, while Bama, Ole Miss and Arkansas are also heavily involved.

We did not place White on the hot board.

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