Many of the Maryland coaches are on vacation before fall camp begins Aug. 10, but the Terps’ defensive coordinator, Keith Dudzinski, remained in College Park, Md., to host one of his main class of 2017 recruits Aug. 3. Four-star Lawrence Academy running back A.J. Dillon, along with his family, journeyed down from Groton, Mass., for a second look at UMD before season preparation begins in earnest.
“I have a lot of interest in Maryland right now,” said the 6-foot-1, 230-pound Dillon, who holds offers from UMD, UVA, Uconn, Boston College, Syracuse, Temple and others. “The last time I was there was back in March for a spring practice with my teammate [Eddy Fish], and we got to see a spring practice and many of the football facilities. But this time we didn’t spend as much time looking at the football parts; it was more about touring the campus and learning about the academics.
“I really loved it. It was really nice, and I really like I there. It will definitely be in my top five if I had to list schools right now.”
Dillon met the majority of UMD’s staff during his March foray, but Aug. 3 he spent most of his stay with Dudzinski. He said Maryland’s Massachusetts area-recruiter showed them around campus, explained head coach Randy Edsall’s emphasis on academics and answered questions Dillon had about the school in general.
“Coach Dudzinski is great to be around. I’m not really allowed to talk to him yet, but the couple times I’ve been on campus I really enjoyed talking to him,” Dillon said. “He’s very personable and easy to talk to. I enjoyed going around with him and listening to what he had to say. I’m looking forward to getting to know him more and continuing to develop our relationship.”
One of the primary reasons Dillon visited Aug. 3 was to learn about Maryland’s highly regarded communications program. The running back said he spoke to an academic advisor, who gave him plenty of insight.
“I’m pretty sure I want to get into communications, and Maryland’s program is top-notch,” Dillon said. “There’s so many opportunities for internships there with it being right outside of D.C. and near Baltimore, and just the program in general is great overall. My mom is a teacher, so education is very important to me; I’m not allowed to go to a school where I won’t get a great degree (laughs).”
While he didn’t spend much time looking at the facilities and delving into athletics Aug. 3, Terps’ football does have his attention. Dillon complimented the upcoming upgrades, noting how the new indoor fields and improved weight room/dorms make UMD an attractive destination. He also spoke highly of Maryland’s current recruiting class, and believes the Terps will make some noise in the Big Ten sooner rather than later.
“Maryland football is in a good spot right now. They’re newer to the Big Ten, but what I saw the first year, and the guys they have coming in, I think they’re going to be very competitive,” Dillon said. “I think Maryland is a program on the rise, for sure. I actually spoke to a couple players [Aug. 3], and I met Wes [Brown]. He was telling me how much he likes it there and thinks I’d be a great fit in Maryland’s backfield. It seems like everyone I meet there is just excited about where [the Terps] are going.”
Maryland, though, was just the first stop on Dillon’s mid-Atlantic tour. Aug. 4 he took in both Duke and UNC, and a day later he’s heading to Wake Forest.
Dillon had already seen UMass, UMD, BC, Syracuse, Temple, UVA, Michigan State (no offer yet), Notre Dame (no offer yet), Penn State (no offer yet), Uconn and others.
“Virginia, Notre Dame, Penn State, Maryland, BC – those schools have caught my eye so far,” Dillon said. “Those are the schools that have been recruiting me the hardest, I have relationships with and I’m starting to think deeply about. I don’t have favorites yet, but those are some of the places I’m looking closer at.”
Following his Carolina trips, Dillon will begin camp at Lawrence Academy. He has personal goals set at 2,500 yards, 30 touchdowns and a 10 yards-per-carry average.
“I’m setting impossible goals,” laughed Dillon. “I’m setting the bar high. But I think I can have a big year this year. I’m a balanced runner, not just a big back. I’ve seen bigger backs who can’t run, and smaller, receiver-like backs who can’t take a hit. I’m in the middle; I can grind out those yards for you, but I have some speed too. My 40-time, I’m working on that, but it doesn’t really show my game speed.”
4-Star RB Dillon Rates Latest Terps Trip High
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