A number of current class of 2016 Maryland pledges made their way to College Park, Md., Aug. 8 for a small get-together, but joining them on campus were several uncommitted UMD targets as well. The names included four-star defensive end Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), three-star safety/linebacker Aaron Hansford, four-star guard Terrance Davis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), four-star class of 2017 running back Anthony McFarland (DeMatha) and three-star linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.).
Of that talented quintet, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound Simms has been the most effusive in his hometown praise, Maryland presumably residing among his foremost two contenders. Aug. 8 was yet another opportunity for the outside backer to connect with the staff and interact with various other Terps recruits.
“It was a real good time; I always enjoy myself at Maryland and this was just another opportunity to get together with the coaches and talk to some other recruits,” said Simms, who is considering UMD, Oregon,, Duke and UNC. “I had a lot of fun just talking to everyone; I have very good relationships up at Maryland. And, actually, I’m going back up there this week to see a practice. I don’t start practice [at Landon] until the 17th, so I think I’m going back to Maryland again to see how the defense looks.”
Simms, who has been in College Park about five or six times this offseason, said he spent most of his stay talking to head coach Randy Edsall and area recruiter Chad Wilt.
“For me, it was a real good talk with Coach Wilt and Coach Edsall again. A lot of guys are trying to secure a spot at Maryland, and they basically assured me that, despite me taking a lot of time, they’re still going to have a spot for me. That was really reassuring,” Simms said. “Coach Edsall, we were talking about the season, life in general, and he was basically just telling me he had my best interests in mind on and off the field. I have a really good relationship with him, and I feel like he has Maryland moving in the right direction.
“And Coach Wilt, we have a great bond and he’s definitely one of my favorite coaches to talk to. I’ve known him for a long time now, and we can pretty much talk about anything. He was just telling me [Aug. 8] that he’s got my back and how he’d love for me to join the program.”
Of course, the get-together exposed Simms to much pro-Terps banter from the current commits in attendance. Simms said he personally spoke to quarterback Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.), running back LoLo Harrison (DeMatha), slot D.J. Turner (DeMatha) and Haskins’ father.
“Definitely it was good to talk to all those guys and just hear what they had to say about Maryland. Besides Dwayne, I don’t play against any of those other guys, so it was good to start to build a bond with guys who might be my future teammates,” Simms said. “I was talking to Dwayne and his father a good bit too, and they were saying how now is the time to join the movement. They were saying how the program is really looking up, and they need me on board too. So, yeah, they were all pushing for me to commit and all.”
Which is a possibility in time. Simms isn’t prepared to list leaders yet, but it’s clear he has the hometown school at the forefront of his mind.
“Maryland is always at the top of my list; nothing has changed. I’m still not doing leaders, but Maryland is definitely up there,” Simms said. “The relationships I have there, the academics, the guys they’re bringing in, the movement, the fact it’s close to home so my parents can see me play, that all makes Maryland stand out.”
But Simms does want to trek through one of his other primary contenders before ending his recruitment. He was supposed to officially visit Oregon Oct. 9, but said he’s moving up the date to sometime in September.
Simms may also take one other official to Duke or North Carolina, but neither is a definite. His Maryland official, meanwhile, is scheduled for December.
“The plan is to take one or maybe two officials max in addition to Maryland in December, and then commit sometime around mid-season,” said Simms, who mentioned the Ducks, Terps, Blue Devils, Tar Heels and Cal Bears remained in contact the most. “I just want to make sure I take the Oregon official before I decide. I know Coach Edsall doesn’t like guys taking visits after they commit, so I definitely want to see Oregon and find out what they’re about.”
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