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.

Local Games Of Note

With the Terps in fall camp and high school teams in two-a-day mode, there hasn’t been too much new recruiting news of late. So, in anticipation of the 2015 campaign, let’s take a look at some Friday night lights action fans from the 410, 443, 301, 202 and 240 can check out this fall. Namely, games featuring prominent DMV Terps’ pledges and targets.

Bullis (Potomac, Md.)

Names To Know: QB Dwayne Haskins (committed), DB Damani Neal (class of 2017 target)

Games To See:

Sept. 5 @ Mount St. Joe’s (Baltimore, Md.), 1 p.m.: This is a tough road test against a well-coached MIAA squad for the Maryland quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins. I actually watched Mount St. Joe’s take on Bullis last year, and the Gaels pulled off the upset, doing their best to limit the big-armed quarterback. We’ll see if Haskins can return the favor this time around.

Sept. 25 vs. Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.), 7 p.m.: A must-see for UMD aficionados, featuring Haskins versus prime Terps’ cornerback target Trevon Diggs. You can be sure the swashbuckling, gunslinging, risk-taking Haskins will test Diggs at least a few times during this Friday night affair. In fact, Terps’ fans might learn more about Diggs’ cornerback abilities than Haskins’ penchant for leading an offense. We’ve seen Diggs play receiver before, but we want to see how he fares defensively against Bullis’ wideout/corner Patrick Johnson (Wisconsin), who could be lined up across from him.

Nov. 7 @ Landon (Bethesda, Md.), 2:30 p.m.: OK, so there’s a Maryland game this day too, but if you’re not in College Park, Md., be sure to see Haskins compete against another top UMD defensive target: linebacker Keith Simms. It will be entertaining to witness the exchange if the edge rusher Simms knifes into the backfield and takes down a potential future teammate in Haskins. Plus, since Bullis can throw so many different looks at opposing defenses, it’s an ideal matchup for those scouting Simms. Can he scrape off blocks? Can he drop back into coverage and pick up a tight end? Can he change direction? Can he set the edge? Can he bull-rush and get to the quarterback?

Nov. 13 @ Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.), 6:30 p.m.: Georgetown Prep is typically one of the better teams in the IAC, the Little Hoyas known for their solid defensive play. This will be one of the best games to gauge Haskins’ progress since the beginning of the year. It’s the last matchup of the regular season, and the signal caller will be throwing against a rugged bunch that features defensive end Chinedu Udeogu, a potential UMD offeree.

DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)

Names To Know: RB LoLo Harrison (committed), WR Tino Ellis (committed), Slot D.J. Turner (committed), OG Terrance Davis (top UMD target), ATH Anthony McFarland (class of 2017 target), DE Chase Young (class of 2017 target), OG Marcus Minor (class of 2017 target), DL Austin Fontaine (class of 2018 target)

Games To See:

Aug. 29 vs. Central Miami (Miami, Fla.), 12 p.m.: The Stags’ quest for a No. 1 national ranking begins against this Sunshine State stalwart. It’s a stiff early test for DeMatha, and offers Maryland fans a chance to watch many future Terps compete against the crème de crème. Who’s going to step up on the big stage? Pay particular attention to the line play, gauging how well Terrance Davis and Marcus Minor hold up on one side, and how much penetration Chase Young can gain on the other. It’ll also be interesting to see how McFarland’s, Ellis’ and Turner’s speed compares to the much-ballyhooed “Florida speed.” Also, will Harrison, who thrives by picking holes behind a zone-blocking scheme, be able to squirt through the gaps and explode upfield?

Sept. 5 @ American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.), 7 p.m.: Another Florida mainstay on the docket, and this time DeMatha has to trek down to the area known as “The Muck.” This will be an even more significant battle than the season-opener against Central Miami, truly testing the Stags’ mettle. Obviously most UMD aficionados won’t be journeying down to Florida, but the game may be televised or streamed on-line. If so, watch how touted stars like Terrance Davis, Anthony McFarland, Tino Ellis, D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison acquit themselves against a stout Heritage defense. Again, I want to see how well McFarland, Ellis and Turner run with the boys who grew up chasing rabbits through sugarcane fields.

Oct. 3 @ St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), 2 p.m.: There’s a Terps-Michigan game that night, but before heading over to College Park, stop off in D.C. for this WCAC showdown. DeMatha should handle St. John’s, but it’s worth seeing for the Terrell Hall-Terrance Davis war up front. DeMatha’s offensive line is probably the best the four-star edge rusher Hall will face all year, so we’ll see how he performs when the pads come on and the stakes are raised. This game should also reveal how far St. John’s safety/outside linebacker Aaron Hansford has come since last season.

Oct. 24 @ Carroll (Washington, D.C.), 2 p.m.: In all likelihood, this will be a blowout, but it’s worth paying attention in order to gauge the Carroll prospects. We’ll be able to see how effective offensive tackle Jauan Williams and guard Richard Merritt (still on Maryland’s board) are against the best defensive front they’ll see this season. Also, it’s an opportunity to watch elite cornerback and class of 2017 UMD target Deon Jones in action against Tino Ellis and the Stags’ wideout corps.

Nov. 6 vs. Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), 7 p.m.: A must-see heavyweight bout between two of the state’s best. This year, DeMatha-Good Counsel has even more Maryland appeal, because there will be five (and possibly more) future Terps pitted against one another. On the Stags’ side, you have offensive stars Tino Ellis, D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison going toe-to-toe with Falcons-turned-future-Terps-defenders Keandre Jones and Tavon Stott. Who wins between the receiver Ellis and the cornerback Stott? Will KeAndre Jones be able to stymie Harrison and/or cover Turner? And those are just the obvious Maryland-related storylines. Also check out how Good Counsel class of 2017 star defensive end and UMD offeree Joshua Paschal fares against Terrance Davis and the DeMatha O-Line.

Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)

Names To Know: LB KeAndre Jones (committed), CB Tavon Stott (committed), DE Josh Paschal (class of 2017 target)

Games To See:

Sept. 4 vs. Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), 7 p.m.: This is the marquee in-state matchup of Week 1, two private school powers going at it. Gilman loves to run the football, so UMD aficionados will witness Jones’ tackling prowess and his ability to fend off linemen. The cornerback Stott, meanwhile, should be tested by Gilman quarterback Kasim Hill, who has established himself as a Division I recruit. We’re also interested to see how Josh Paschal performs against the Baltimore school’s fearsome line, featuring Division-I products Devery Hamilton (Michigan) and Stephen Spanellis (UVA). In addition, be sure to note Greyhounds’ defensive tackle Ellison Jordan. Arguably the No. 1 class of 2016 recruit in Maryland, the Penn State pledge has been known to dominate up and down the line. He’s still a primary UMD focus, so it’s worth watching him work up front (more than likely, he’ll force your attention).

Sept. 25 @ St. John’s (Washington, D.C.), 7 p.m.: Who’s the more effective tackler, Terrell Hall or KeAndre Jones? Who has the better cover skills, Aaron Hansford or Tavon Stott? And when Hansford’s playing receiver, can Stott lock him up? Good Counsel probably wins the game, but it’ll be intriguing to see who triumphs in the individual battles.

Oct. 23 vs. Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.), 7 p.m.: Gonzaga lost a glut of talent and probably won’t be quite as potent this year, but the Eagles always play their WCAC foes tough. If nothing else, it’s a solid late-season game to see how far Jones and Stott have come from the season’s outset.

Nov. 6 @ DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), 7 p.m.: See above.

South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.)

Names To Know: OL Brian Plummer (committed), S Silas Kelly (committed)

Games To See:

Sept. 11 vs. North Harford (Pylesville, Md.), 7 p.m.: The competition isn’t terrific in Carroll County, but North Harford is a steady team from Harford County that’s made several playoff runs the last few years. Thus, this is one of the best opportunities to gauge Terps’ commits Plummer and Kelly. Pay attention to Plummer’s footwork and quickness off the ball, plus Kelly’s drops; initial burst; and range (we know he can tackle, but can he cover?).

Nov. 6 vs. Westminster (Md.), 7 p.m.: The regular season finale pits South Carroll against the most prolific squad in Carroll County. Besides the North Harford game, there’s no better test for Plummer and Kelly than this. Especially for Kelly, who will have to defend against a high-flying spread offense that loves to put the ball in the air (atypical in Carroll County). Westminster also features a couple large, physical linemen, so Plummer could have his hands full as well.

Clear Spring

Names To Know: DE Joey Fisher (committed)

Games To See:

Oct. 3 vs. Northern (Accident, Md.), 7 p.m.: There’s really not a standout, must-see matchup on Clear Spring’s schedule, which isn’t surprising considering it’s a class 1A school that competes in a county (Washington) not known for producing elite talents. The most potent team Joey Fisher and his teammates may face, however, is Northern, which advanced to the playoffs last year. Clear Spring’s season-opener Sept. 5 against St. James could be interesting as well. Regardless of who Fisher’s competing against, though, we want to see how well he comes off the ball; whether he varies his rush moves; his ability to scrape down the line; his ability to defend in space; and his footwork and technique. Fisher, who broke his collarbone last season, hasn’t played in a year, so the jury’s out on how far he’s come since 2013.

Landon (Bethesda, Md.)

Names To Know: LB Keith Simms (primary UMD target)

Games To See:

Sept. 25 @ Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.), 7:30 p.m.: This out-of-conference confrontation figures to be a defensive struggle between two tough-minded teams. Terps fans will want to see how well Keith Simms holds up, notably if he’s able to make plays in traffic and fend off blocks. Simms had a tendency to wear down at times last year, so this game should show if he’s improved in that regard. Also, the Riverdale side features a pair of D-I corners in Sir Patrick Scott and Zeke McPhearson, both worth noting.

Oct. 31 Georgetown Prep, 1 p.m.: Landon doesn’t have many eye-popping games until the latter part of the season. Georgetown Prep, as aforementioned, always gives its IAC foes fits, so this should be a good one to take in. I attended the Landon-Prep game last season, and the linebacker Simms did not look particularly great in that matchup. We’ll see how far he’s come as a linebacker and pass rusher this time around.

Nov. 7 vs. Bullis, 2:30 p.m.: See above.

Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.)

Names To Know: S Devin Butler (committed)

Games To See:

Sept. 4 @ Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.), 7 p.m.: Douglass faces its toughest foes right off the bat. No, Wise isn’t known for its aerial attack, but it will still be a solid initial test for Terps’ safety pledge Devin Butler. More than likely, Butler will be lining up in the box, giving Maryland fans a true idea how well this converted quarterback can tackle. In three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Prince George’s County, the wimpy tacklers are always exposed, so we’ll get a clear idea if Butler can hang.

Sept. 11 @ Riverdale Baptist, 7 p.m.: The lone private school on Douglass’ schedule, Riverdale figures to give the Eagles some problems. The Crusaders can throw the football too, meaning Butler’s cover skills should be on display. We want to see how the safety performs against the likes of Zeke McPhearson and Sir Patrick Scott, two corners who double as receivers. Can Butler actively break down in space? Can he offer over-the-top help? Can he close? Can he smoothly change direction? Many of those questions should be answered during this matchup.

Sept. 25 @ Gwynn Park (Brandywine, Md.): After the first two weeks, Douglass has just one more truly intriguing game the rest of the regular season. The Eagles-Yellow Jackets showdown is a well-known rivalry in Prince George’s County, the two class 2A standouts trading punches year after year. Butler may not spend much time dropping back in this sure-to-be-rugged battle, but he'll certainly have to prove his physicality/tackling ability is up to snuff.

H.D. Woodson (Washington, D.C.)

Names To Know: CB Parnell Motley (committed)

Games To See:

Sept. 11 @ Coatesville (Pa.), 7 p.m.: Woodson will trek up to current Terps’ linebacker Tyler Burke’s alma mater for perhaps its toughest matchup. Coatesville is a perennially potent and deep squad, and should be once again this year. If Maryland fans can make it up I-83, they’ll get a chance to see Parnell Motley against a balanced offensive attack featuring plenty of weapons, including Division I quarterback Jordan Young. Can Motley stick with standout wideout Arnold Hammond, Coatesville’s No. 1 receiving threat? Can he tackle out on the edge?

Sept. 18 @ Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.), 7 p.m.: One of D.C.’s best versus one of the MIAA’s best. Motley will have to bring his A-game as Calvert Hall typically boasts its share of disciplined, athletic playmakers who can take advantage of unprepared foes. Calvert Hall’s quarterback can toss it around a little, and we’d like to see Motley line up in press and show what he can do when the ball’s thrown his way. Motley has some questions surrounding his drops and breaks, so this will be a good early-season dry-run for him. Moreover, it’s a chance to watch class of 2017 UMD offer Tyshon Fogg, who starts at linebacker for CHC.

Oct 2 @ Dunbar (Washington, D.C.) & Oct 31 vs. Dunbar, 6 p.m.: The home-and-home matchup against inner-city rival Dunbar will be a dogfight. Woodson should emerge with victories, but, when these two teams play, you have to be tough-minded and ready to go. The two October games are more opportunities to see what Motley’s made of, both as a tackler and pass defender.

Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.)

Names To Know: CB Trevon Diggs (top UMD target)

Games To See:

Sept. 25 @ Bullis, 7 p.m.: See above.

Oct. 17 @ Riverdale Baptist, TBA: As I mentioned above, Riverdale is always competitive and features several high-caliber receivers/corners in Sir Patrick Scott and Zeke McPhearson. It’s worth the price of admission to watch the Penn State pledge McPhearson go at it with Trevon Diggs on the outside. More than anything, we’re interested to see how Diggs holds up defensively against the speedy Riverdale products. Scott and McPhearson might be the toughest receivers Diggs will line up across from all season.

Nov. 7 @ Calvert Hall, 7 p.m.: The Cardinals have more depth and will probably win this matchup. But that’s of little concern to Terps’ aficionados. The question here is, How will Diggs fare against CHC’s playmaking wideouts? And how will the Avalon product deal when defending the edge against the Cardinals’ speedy, physical backs? Diggs has been showing out in shorts and a T-shirt all summer, but games like this will reveal what he can do when it counts.

Other Games Of Note

Nov. 7 McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) vs. Gilman, 3 p.m.: Not only is this another opportunity to see Gilman’s Ellison Jordan (not to mention rising-star class of 2018 defensive tackles Taron Vincent and Evan Gregory), but it’s the toughest matchup for McDonogh’s elite class of 2017 offensive tackle, Jordan McNair, who the Terps are after. McNair is a borderline five-star recruit; he’ll have a chance to prove he’s worthy of such a ranking here.

Oct. 17 Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) vs. Wise, 2 p.m.: There are plenty of intriguing games on Roosevelt’s schedule, but any time the Pumas are playing you know it’s going to be a doozy. This is a great chance to scout the Raiders’ emerging class of 2017 defensive end (and Terps’ offeree) Lawtez Rogers.

Oct. 16 Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.) @ Coatesville, 7 p.m.: If you’re so inclined to take a drive north, check out Terps’ offensive tackle pledge Michael Clark for this particular bout. Coatesville always has a physical, athletic front, so we should know more about Clark’s blindside blocking after this one.

Oct. 16, Cedar Cliff (Camp Hill, Pa.) vs. Bishop McDevitt (Harrisburg, Pa.), 7 p.m.: Clark might be the more intriguing prospect, but this is an even better overall matchup than the Downingtown-Coatesville affair. UMD safety pledge Mike Viti of Cedar Cliff will be squaring off against a team that finished 14-1 a year ago. Viti should be active throughout, both in the box and in coverage, giving onlookers a clear picture of what he’s capable of. Remember, Viti earned his UMD offer based off a camp performance, but there are numerous questions about his prowess in pads. He’ll have an opportunity to prove himself here.

Various Terps Related Notes

Grayson Stover, OT, Hudson (Fla.): This Maryland tackle target and former Virginia commit scheduled his first official visit to Vanderbilt Sept. 12. Now, many believe the 6-6, 290-pounder is a Commodores’ lean, Stover raving about how the staff has made him priority No. 1; the school’s renowned education; and its SEC affiliation. But after checking in with Stover personally this week, he let me know that, in fact, Maryland led for his services (see his elevation to "hot" on the hot board).

The Florida product, who visited UMD unofficially in late July (he talked up the campus, education and coaching staff), should be returning to College Park this October (ideally the Michigan game) for an official visit. He even hinted a pop could come to fruition shortly after said trip. Stover may also check out Indiana, but that trip is not a definite.

The Terps have area recruiter Mike Locksley on Stover, and the school drew rave reviews during his last jaunt, so we do think Maryland might just have the inside track on this one -- especially since UMD will likely be the Sunshine State product's final official.

Stay tuned.

Chinedu Udeogu, DE, Georgetown Prep (North Bethesda, Md.): Last week, we let you know about this nearby edge rusher, who visited Maryland for the first time Aug. 14. Holding offers from Rutgers, Pitt, Cal, ECU and others, Udeogu checked out the local school in hopes of gaining some Terps’ attention too.

The feeling afterwards?

“We’re talking, they’re recruiting me, but I really don’t know if they’re going to offer,” Udeogu said.

In other words, the Prep product is likely a fallback option at this point. The Terps and area recruiter Chad Wilt hadn’t been in touch with Udeogu prior to the last week or so, the sense being UMD’s efforts are focused elsewhere.

Maryland has commits Joey Fisher (Clear Spring, Md.) and Jeffery Pooler (Dunbar/Dayton, Ohio) in tow, and are in position to eventually land defensive end Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.). Moreover, both four-star edge rusher Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and four-star tackle Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.) remain in play and firmly on Maryland’s radar as well.

But even if UMD’s defensive-line recruiting efforts go awry, the Terps may not be in position to land Udeogu anyway. The Chicago native is looking to wrap up his recruitment in early September, meaning if Maryland doesn’t make a move soon he’ll likely wind up at Cal or Rutgers, two programs Udeogu has visited and lauded.

If Wilt and Co. do choose to pursue, they’d probably have a solid shot at securing the local, although it wouldn’t be a guarantee. Yes, Udeogu did enjoy taking in Maryland’s practice, noting how he liked the pace; the 4-3 scheme; and the coaches. Plus he sees the benefits of staying home for college and playing in front of family and friends.

But Rutgers has been after Udeogu from the jump, while Cal (Udeogu’s brother lives in California, making it an easier transition) left quite an impression too.

We aren’t inclined to place Udeogu on the hot board unless we hear some definitive Maryland rumblings. (ARTICLE).

Jeff Pooler, DL, Dunbar (Dayton, Ohio): The Terps would probably give Chinedu Udeogu a closer look if they ended up losing commit Jeff Pooler. There have been some social-media rumblings of late suggesting the mercurial Pooler, who has admitted previously a major Big Ten verbal could alter his recruiting status, might consider an official visit to West Virginia or possibly other locales. But in the wake of said rumblings, the Ohio product insisted he’s firmly on board with UMD, out-right denying the reports.

Pooler personally told me his words were taken out of context and is “100 percent” committed to Maryland. The Ohio product is well aware of Randy Edsall’s no-visit-post-Terps’-pop policy and said the only official he’ll be taking is to College Park in December.

We’ll see if Pooler stands by his word; for now he sounds more ticked off than anything with folks questioning his status.

Devin Butler, S, Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): It seems I spent more time debunking rumors than reporting news this week. For the second time in a month, someone posted that Maryland pledge Devin Butler could be entertaining other suitors.

And, for the second time, we squashed the scuttlebutt.

I spoke to both Butler and his head coach earlier this week. Here are the responses I received from each:

Butler: “Why do you keep asking me that [if I’m firmly committed to Maryland]? Where’s this stuff coming from? Don’t pay attention to that stuff. I’m a Terp.”

Coach J.C. Pinkney: “That’s all crap, man. Devin was just back up at Maryland last week. He’s totally good with them. He’s not going anywhere.”

So, there you have it.

New Offerees Chime In

I made note of Maryland’s many new class of 2017 offers in the last Shell, and earlier this week I touched base with a couple of the more “realistic” options. First, there was Melbourne, Fla., running back B.J. Daniels, a 6-1, 200-pounder who didn’t have a single offer despite playing in football-rich Florida and rushing for 1,500 yards and 14 scores in 2014.

The Terps, though, have known about Daniels since last year, running backs coach Terry Richardson hinting an offer would eventually materialize. Daniels called Richardson “my main guy,” and said the UMD assistant let him know, “I remind [Richardson] a lot of him back when he was in high school. He loves me and said he’d love for me to be at Maryland. I have a great relationship with him.”

Daniels went on to explain how he’s trekked through Maryland before and “loves” the DMV. He suggested he’d like to leave Florida for college and would have the Terps under prime consideration since they were his initial offer. Daniels is eager to visit College Park for the first time after his junior season.

Naturally, we’ll have to see how much Daniels’ profile expands before projecting him to Maryland, however. Miami, UF, FSU, Georgia, Georgia Tech, FAU, Auburn, Michigan State and others have all shown interest and could ante up in time. Daniels even hinted his current situation could change should the bigwigs get involved. (ARTICLE.)

Although the Terps weren’t the initial FBS offer for Nequa Valley (Naperville, Ill.) receiver Isaiah Robertson, they might actually have a better chance at landing the 6-2, 185-pound Illinois native than the Florida product Daniels. Robertson, who now has verbals from UMD, Illinois, Iowa and MAC programs, called the Maryland offer one he “was waiting for.”

An education-first recruit, he immediately took to UMD’s academic prowess and the opportunities the university provides during and after college. He then noted head coach Randy Edsall’s emphasis on classroom work as a primary reason he would be visiting College Park sometime during the spring.

Although Robertson didn’t know much about Maryland football yet, he was intrigued post-Edsall conversation. He learned about some of the touted recruits entering the program and how the Terps are primed to make noise in the Big Ten.

“So it definitely sounds like a school I’ll be interested in and want to learn more about,” Robertson said.

Robertson, however, will garner his share of top-level FBS offers. He has seen hometown Illinois three times already, the Illini holding water early. Miami, which Robertson camped at, would also become a prime contender if/when the Hurricanes enter the fray. Moreover, Robertson is seeking scholarships from elite academic and football institutions like Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State.

Like with Daniels, we won’t know the Nequa Valley prospect’s true feelings until after his profile is fully realized. But expect UMD-area recruiter Chad Wilt to put forth a potent effort in the months ahead, keeping the Terps in the game. (ARTICLE).

Off The Board

Naseir Upshur, TE, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): This was probably long overdue, but we finally took Upshur off the hot board this week after the four-star publically eliminated Maryland from consideration. Upshur told Scout’s Brian Dohn his final five suitors were Florida State, South Carolina, Arizona State, Michigan and Temple, with a decision coming in September.

Upshur is officially visiting ASU Sept. 18, and is lining up OVs to Michigan and FSU, two schools he recently checked out. The tight end will probably wind up a Seminole or Wolverine before it’s all said and done.

The Terps stayed in contention, somewhat, thanks to Upshur’s friendship with Dwayne Haskins. But even though both Haskins and UMD-area recruiter John Dunn stayed in contact, urging the Philly product to visit College Park this offseason, Upshur reneged. He’s long been starry-eyed and forecast to one of the nation’s elites.

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