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.

Reports From DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)

The nation’s No. 5 team trounced No. 2 Miami Central (Miami, Fla.), 38-14, Aug. 29 in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score indicates. DeMatha, entering the season-opening bout with a chip on its shoulder, certainly made its case for a No. 1 ranking and could very well claim the top spot if it runs the table.

Of course, we were less concerned with the game’s outcome and more focused on how the individual Terps’ targets performed. After watching the game and then reviewing the film, I was able to fully evaluate six DeMatha recruits, while taking note of a few others as well. Here were the top 10 Stags’ players, from my vantage point, Aug. 29:

1.     Shane Simmons, DE (2016): I didn’t conduct a full evaluation of Simmons since he’s a firm Penn State pledge and unlikely to flip, but you’d have to be blind not to take note of him against Miami Central. When scouting, I always ask myself, “Would I notice the recruit if I wasn’t honing in on him? Does he command my attention?” Well, I wasn’t planning on watching Simmons all that closely, but he absolutely did force my eye. The edge rusher annihilated the Miami Central offensive linemen, busting through double-teams and practically living in the backfield. His speed, at-the-snap explosiveness, power and various rush moves were too much to handle. Simmons disappeared at times last year, but he looked like a man with bad, bad intentions during the opener. Notable play: Facing a double-team, Simmons fired off the ball, pushed the tackle back with a potent strike, beat the guard to the inside, and then knifed into the backfield for a sack.

2.     Anthony McFarland, ATH (2017): The junior didn’t put up huge numbers against Miami Central, but he was easily one of the most talented players on the field. The 5-foot-8, 190-pounder’s upside, given his track-star speed, underlying power, and uncanny athleticism, is tremendous. He should have an immediate impact regardless of where he chooses to attend college. Notable play: McFarland took a wide receiver screen, broke an initial tackle, juked past two Miami Central defenders, bee-lined to the sideline, turned upfield, and proceeded to run by a cornerback and safety for a 30-yard gain.

3.     Terrance Davis, OG (2016): Offensive linemen can get lost in the fray, but after keying on Davis all game, I could tell why he claims offers from some of the nation’s most renowned programs. Davis is stout, strong and potent at the point of attack. He’s also athletic enough to block out in space and readjust to quick-twitch edge rushers. Davis has to improve his conditioning and keep building up his body, but he looks the part of a multi-year starter at guard. Notable play: Davis identified a blitzing linebacker coming off the edge, shifted his weight, gained extension, neutralized the rusher, and guided him past the quarterback.

4.     Chase Young, DE (2017): Based off his numbers (seven tackles, three sacks, four tackles for loss), Young could make a case to be at the top of this list. And, indeed, he is a freak athlete with loads of potential. He’s fast, physical and can make plays up and down the line. Young’s a high-motor thumper, someone who finishes plays and scraps through the whistle. But Young is still raw fundamentally and needs to gain strength; there were times during the game where he was pushed off the ball or failed to gain leverage. Notable play: Young bull-rsushed an offensive tackle, thrust his long arms under the lineman’s pads, beat him to the inside, and forced the quarterback to make a quick throw. But then Young -- realizing he wouldn’t be able to reach the signal caller before the pass -- stopped his pursuit, leaped up, and tipped the pass to cause an incompletion. 

5.     Robbie Robinson, CB (2016): Maryland stopped its pursuit of the Phoebus (Hampton, Va.) transfer Robinson, but maybe it shouldn’t have. The Arizona State pledge looked every bit the part of an impact-Division I corner against Miami Central, locking down his man in press coverage. Robinson was physical at the line, showed exemplary footwork, maintained inside position, and displayed the speed/acceleration needed to hang with his man down the field. Robinson may be undersized, but he has some Will Likely in him (read: he’s a competitor who doesn’t back down). Notable play: Lined up in press, Robinson threw a route-altering jam; stuck to the receiver’s hip; and blanketed him throughout the pattern. The Miami Central quarterback was forced to throw the ball away.

6.     Darryl Turner, Slot (2016): The Maryland commit Turner suffered a gruesome broken ankle after a 40-yard catch late during the first quarter, an injury that will require season-ending surgery. So, why is Turner so high on this list? Because during the 10-plus minutes I saw him play he was the second-best skill player on the field talent-wise -- and the most productive overall. Lined up on the outside, Turner’s speed; quickness; toughness; and instincts were superior to those of the Miami Central corners. Even before impressively hauling in that 40-yard bomb and going down in a heap, Turner had about four touches, generating positive yards after each. Turner’s a highly underrated talent, and, if he recovers in full, could have as much upside as Maryland’s other Stags’ receiver pledge, Tino Ellis. Notable play: Turner defeated an initial jam, quickly entered his route, flew down the sideline, gained a step on his man, and pulled in a 40-yard pass -- cradling it in even as the defender attempted to dislodge the ball.

7.     Lorenzo Harrison, RB (2016): Simply put, the Terps’ pledge Harrison is just a solid running back. He’s not going to rip off 80-yard runs, and there will be times he gets caught dancing in the backfield, but typically he gets the job done. Harrison’s vision, awareness, toughness, cut-back ability and initial burst were all on display Aug. 29, the 5-8 DeMatha back doing his part to move the chains. Notable play: After a wayward Miami Central punt, Harrison shot forward; snatched the bouncing ball out of the air; and accelerated through the opposition’s cover team for a 30-yard return.

8.    Tino Ellis, WR (2016): The Maryland commit Ellis would typically rank higher on this list, but he uncharacteristically dropped a couple passes Aug. 29. Even so, I liked what I saw in terms of Ellis’ speed (he routinely had his man beaten down the sideline); route running (refined, on-point); physicality (he defeated jams well and did a good job blocking); and competitiveness (he fought for position on downfield throws and won battles in the air, even if he failed to reel the passes in). Notable play: A long glider who can cover ground in a hurry, Ellis’ wheels were on full display after he scooped up the ball following a blocked field goal and raced 80 yards to pay dirt.

9.    Kellon Taylor, WR (2016): Taylor actually had a more productive day than Ellis and arguably Harrison, but we’re placing him just behind those two since he’s a little less advanced in terms of route running; footwork; and strength. Even so, Taylor’s got some upside to him with his height (6-5) and speed. He was a mismatch pitted against a smaller Miami Central defender, DeMatha taking advantage by feeding the big man the ball down the seam and on the outside. Taylor’s only 195 pounds, but he might be worth a flyer as a developmental tight end if he’s willing to bulk up to 230 or so. Notable play: With DeMatha in the red zone, Taylor ran a fly down the sideline, burst by a defender and hauled in a 20-yard touchdown pass overtop the cornerback.

10   Austin Fontaine, DT (2018): For a sophomore starting on a national stage, Fontaine held his own up front. The 6-4, 295-pounder, who already holds multiple FBS offers, gained penetration; collapsed the pocket; sometimes commanded a double team; and actively corralled runners in the gaps. Fontaine has to work on his fundamentals (i.e. leverage, hand placement), but there’s no doubt he’ll have his pick of college programs. Notable play: Fontaine burst off the ball low and hard, thrust his arms up, pushed the guard back, disengaged, and stalemated a running back in the hole.

Others Of Note: QB Beau English (2017), RB Khory Spruill (2017), OG Marcus Minor (2017), WR DeMarcco Hellams (2019), OL Andrew Allmond (2019). . . English did well managing the game and made a few nice throws too . . . Spruill had a touchdown run and showed some burst, acceleration and hard running . . . Minor didn’t have his best game, but wasn’t embarrassed either. He has upside with his size and physical tools . . . Hellams and Allmond are included here because they’re two names to keep in mind for the future. These two freshman should be nationally-rated recruits in a year or two (Hellams holds a Maryland offer and Allmond is 6-6, 295 pounds, and looks like a senior). 

Recruiting News From DeMatha

In addition to scouting the Stags, I was able to speak to several of them too. I conducted full interviews with Terrance Davis, Chase Young, Anthony McFarland and LoLo Harrison, while I touched base with Shane Simmons; Robbie Robinson; and Kellon Taylor.

The offensive guard Davis didn’t say much we didn’t already know. Fact is, little is going to change until he completes his four upcoming official visits to Michigan (Nov. 27), Georgia (Dec. 11), Alabama (Jan. 8) and UCLA (Jan. 15). He’s still considering where to take his final visit, but hinted it could be Florida or maybe Maryland.

The Wolverines remain the team to beat, Davis confirming head coach Jim Harbaugh’s program sits atop his personal leaderboard. It’s unclear which school sits second in the running (probably Georgia or Alabama), but we still believe the Terps have a decent shot to win the local product over by the time he’s ready to announce his destination next winter.

Davis will be back in College Park for a couple UMD games this fall, so regardless if he elects to officially visit or not, the coaches will have access to him. (For our part, we think he very well could take a Maryland OV. Area recruiter Mike Locksley typically finds a way to get the coveted local guys in for officials, even when they suggest otherwise. Recall, Damian Prince, Isaiah Prince, Jalen Tabor, Derwin Gray, etc., all said they didn’t need to see more of Maryland. All ended up officially visiting anyway). Moreover, Davis noted how his teammates-turned-Terps  -- Tino Ellis, LoLo Harrison and D.J. Turner -- have been hyping Maryland “every day,” doing their part to win the big man over. We’ll see if their efforts pay off down the line.

You can check out our interview and scouting report on Davis HERE. 

With the junior Young,  it does seem like he has genuine Maryland interest. He noted his relationship with area recruiter Mike Locksley, talked up the hometown movement, mentioned how he had a great time on campus earlier this summer, and said he was looking forward to attending a Byrd Stadium game or two this year.

But Young is no Maryland lock. The Terps did well to jump on him before he blew up, but his profile will undoubtedly keep growing once his junior film is evaluated. Expect the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten and ACC stalwarts all to come calling (Florida State, Oklahoma and Nebraska already have) -- with Alabama potentially holding prime appeal.

You can check out our interview and scouting report on Young HERE.

The athlete McFarland is in a similar position to his classmate Young -- except he already had his pick of college football’s behemoths. McFarland has been talking up Georgia and Alabama for months, those two continuing to resonate. But the rest of the SEC, along with the Big Ten, ACC and Big 12 elites, are also in hot pursuit. Realizing he has many options to explore, McFarland doesn’t want name any set-in-stone favorites at this time. He probably won’t begin to identify front-runners until next spring or summer, before dragging the recruiting process out well into his senior season.

We do believe the Terps will reside among his top-five contenders before it’s all said and done, however. Area recruiter Mike Locksley has done well here, while McFarland’s recent College Park campus visits have turned him on to DMV-to-UMD. The electric running back/receiver also mentioned how he’s listening to Tino Ellis’, D.J. Turner’s and LoLo Harrison’s words, believing UMD could turn the corner with all the local talent jumping on the Pride bandwagon.

You can check out our interview and scouting report on McFarland HERE. 

As for Harrison, the senior back didn’t have too much new to report. He basically broke down where his game stands now, and what he’s looking to accomplish the rest of the season.

One recruiting nugget: Harrison said he was on Young and McFarland “hard,” mentioning how both 2017 talents had Maryland firmly on the brain. Harrison also said he’s continuing to recruit his cousin, Terrance Davis, although the running back admitted there’s not much more he can say to the DeMatha guard.

You can check out our interview and scouting report on Harrison HERE.

Other Recruiting Notes: Shane Simmons is all Penn State. He’s not going anywhere barring a major 180 . . . Robbie Robinson is all Arizona State. He’s not going anywhere barring a major 180 . . . Kellon Taylor has football and basketball offers from Towson, and football offers from Temple; Western Michigan; and Rhode Island. The Terps have not been in touch recently, but we’ll see if that changes if  they think he could develop into a tight end.

Various Terps Recruiting Notes

Grayson Stover, OT, Hudson (Fla.): There wasn’t much earth-shattering news out of the Florida tackle Stover, except he did finalize the date for his Maryland official visit. The 6-6, 290-pounder will be in College Park Nov. 7 for the Terps’ game against Wisconsin, and there’s a chance he could commit while on campus.

Stover declared UMD his No. 1 last month, noting how it would take “a lot” for other contenders to jump the Terps. Remember, he visited College Park with his parents during the summer and couldn’t say enough about the academics (he wants to major in communications); head coach Randy Edsall’s values; the campus; and the program itself. Stover has been in close contact with UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley as well, with the Terps’ offensive coordinator trekking down to Florida a couple times to visit Hudson High.

Stover will embark on his first official to Vanderbilt Sept. 12, and the Commodores are probably second in the pecking order. The Sunshine State product is high on Vandy since it’s an SEC school and boasts standout academics. But the fact he’ll be checking out other locales after Nashville, Tenn., doesn’t bode well for the Commodores.

There is a possibility Stover could take in Indiana or another suitor after his Terps’ trip, but we don’t see the Hoosiers or others supplanting Maryland. So unless he has a change of heart, we’ll continue projecting Stover to UMD.

Travon Stott, CB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): For the second year in a row, the cornerback Stott suffered a season-ending injury. This time, during preseason camp, the Maryland commit tore his Achilles in a non-contact drill.

Afterwards, Stott acknowledged his disappointment, but said he’ll begin the rehabilitation process immediately so he can begin preparing for college ball. In fact, Stott is attempting to graduate Good Counsel early so he can jumpstart his Terps’ career and continue rehabbing on campus.

More importantly, Stott said the Terps’ staff is fully behind him in the wake of the injury. The Falcons’ corner noted how the coaches are eager to get him in the program and begin working with him.  (There was never a doubt head coach Randy Edsall would honor Stott’s scholarship. If the Terps cut ties with a recruit from Good Counsel, they’d risk losing numerous prospects in the future -- not to mention current Falcons’ pledge KeAndre Jones.)

That’s all well and good, but this has to be disconcerting for Maryland and its fans. There were already questions surrounding Stott’s game when he committed, and now he won’t have played a meaningful snap since last September. Needless to say, Stott has much to prove once he arrives in College Park.

Robert Washington, RB, Mount Island Charter (Mount Holly, N.C.): Talk about an, ahem, interesting situation. The four-star running back Washington is basically swimming in red flags after news surfaced Aug. 30 he was no longer committed to Syracuse, a school he pledged to back in April.

I spoke to Washington, a one-time Terps target, shortly after word leaked. Here are the main talking points and reasons the Terps will probably not renew their interest in the talented back: 

1.     Washington said he had a “trust issue” with a Syracuse coach, causing him to decommit. The running back gave a detailed explanation about a family situation that had arisen, and how an Orange assistant didn’t adhere to Washington’s instructions regarding said situation. Red flag: Precarious parental conditions are reason enough for some programs to back off.

2.     Washington said he told the SU staff he wasn’t coming “a couple months ago.” Which means he’s been on the open market since mid-summer, but has yet to contact any other schools or staffs. Red flag: No contact at all? Huh?

3.     The reasons Washington gave for not contacting other schools were a confiscated cell phone and an inactive Twitter account. Red flag: He didn’t realize the importance of attempting to reach out someway, somehow?

4.     Washington said he’s not even sure what programs he wants to explore, despite having been decommitted since June or July. Red flag: Seriously?

5.     Washington will reportedly not be playing football at Mount Island Charter at all in 2015, meaning scouts won’t be able to gauge his senior film. Red flag: This an indication there’s more going on here than Washington let on. No coach contact? No football? Very fishy.

Add it all up, and there’s probably too many questions marks for some schools to pursue.  The Terps are looking for a second 2016 running back, but they’ll probably concentrate their efforts on flipping Michigan State pledge Abdul Adams (Hillside/Durham, N.C.). For what it’s worth, we’re still hearing Maryland has a solid shot at bringing the Washington, D.C., native Adams in.

James Jennette, OLB, Hazelwood West (Hazelwood, Mo.): I was keeping this one-time Terps target on the hot board just in case Maryland happened to miss on its other linebacker targets, but, regardless of how things shake out, it doesn’t sound like UMD will reengage Jennette. I briefly touched base with the Missouri product, who is currently committed to Ball State, this week, and he said Terps’ area recruiter Darrell Perkins was no longer in touch. Jennette has some red flags surrounding him too, which probably precluded the Terps from going after him in earnest.

And, really, the Terps should be able to land their No. 1 linebacker target. Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.) is taking his Maryland official visit Dec. 4 with many of the Terps’ commits (plus four-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith), which is practically a dead giveaway. Simms has been trending towards Maryland all summer, and the fact he’ll be taking his last official with the likes of Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.); LoLo Harrison; D.J. Turner and the rest of the Pride bunch certainly suggests a Maryland pop.

As for the Oregon foray Simms has scheduled in September, well, that might just be a chance to check out Eugene, Ore., on the Ducks’ dime. 

DeJuan Ellis, QB, O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) (2018): We noted the class of 2018 quarterback Ellis back in June, when he landed his first offer from Maryland. Ellis had attended a 7-on-7 camp in College Park, impressing the Terps’ staff with his arm, athleticism and playmaking ability.

We didn’t speak to Ellis at the time, but Scout’s Michael Clark caught up with him earlier this week. The dual-threat sophomore spoke highly of both area-recruiter Keenan McCardell and offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, along with the Maryland program in general.

“It definitely felt good [to get the offer] and it means a lot,” Ellis told Clark. “It’s my hometown school and I really like Maryland. The coaches are nice and it’s just exciting. The team works very hard and you can tell they really want to win.”

Granted, it’s still very early in Ellis’ recruitment, but the groundwork has been laid. The Virginia quarterback should have a number of Division I suitors by this time next year, so the Terps did well to enter the fray before anyone else. 

Floodgates Open For 2017 Recruits

When midnight struck Sept. 1, it meant college coaches could begin directly contacting their class of 2017 targets. Like every other program in college football, the Terps’ assistants started firing off texts and direct messages, hitting up recruits from the DMV to the left coast.

In the grand scheme of things, the initial flurry doesn’t play much into a recruit’s decision. These guys are being bombarded, and many of crème de crème can’t remember half the assistants who sent them notes. That said, Sept. 1 does give some insight into who the Terps’ staff values and will be pursuing moving forward.

Now, obviously we didn’t hear back from all the recruits we contacted, and there are undoubtedly others we don’t know about who Maryland is after. But here are some of the names Randy Edsall, Mike Locksley, Chad Wilt, Keenan McCardell, Greg Studrawa, Keith Dudzinski, John Dunn, Darrell Perkins, Terry Richardson and Lyndon Johnson will be in touch with in the months ahead:

QB Jack Coan, Sayville (N.Y.)

QB Kevin Knox, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.)

ATH Anthony McFarland, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)

RB B.J. Daniels, Melbourne (Fla.)

WR Isaiah Robertson, Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.)

WR Tarik Black, Cheshire Academy (Cheshire, Conn.)

WR Tahj Capehart, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.)

OG Ryan Solt, James Coughlin (Wilkes Barre, Pa.)

OT C.J. Thorpe, Central Catholic (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

OT Jordan McNair, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.)

OT Isaiah Wilson, Poly Prep (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

DE Chase Young, DeMatha

DE Joshua Paschal, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)

DE Joshua Kaindoh, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

DE Ethan Wiederkehr, Shoreham-Wading River (Shoreham, N.Y.)

DE Jordan Williams, Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.)

DE Yetur Matos, Chancellor (Fredericksburg, Va.)

DE Donovan Jeter, Beaver Falls (Pa.)

DE Lawtez Rogers, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.)

DE Elijah Conliffe, Hampton (Va.)

DL Cam Spence, IMG Academy

DL Eric Crosby, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.)

DL Darnell Ewell, Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.)

LB Tyshon Fogg, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.)

LB Avery Roberts, Concord (Wilmington, Del.)

LB Breon Dixon, Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.)

LB Ellis Brooks, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.)

LB Jordan Anthony, IMG Academy

LB Blake Gallagher, St. Sebastian’s Country Day (Needham, Mass.)

LB Dylan Rivers, Sherando (Stephens City, Va.)

LB David Adams, Central Catholic

DB Damani Neal, Bullis (Potomac, Md.)

DB Derrek Pitts, South Charleston (Charleston, W.Va.)

DB Deon Jones, Carroll (Washington, D.C.)

DB Lamont Wade, Clairton (Pa.)

Many of the above are national names, who assistants from around the nation hit minutes after midnight Sept. 1. In all likelihood, UMD may only have a realistic shot at a couple out-of-state targets, with a better chance at landing some of the DMV recruits -- especially if the hometown movement continues gaining momentum.

We’re not ready to put out a 2017 Maryland hot board yet, but here are the recruits we might list as “warm” for now:

ATH Anthony McFarland

RB B.J. Daniels

WR Isaiah Robertson

OG Ryan Solt

OT Jordan McNair

DE Chase Young

DE Josh Paschal

DE Josh Kaindoh

DE Ethan Wiederkehr

DE Jordan Williams

DE Lawtez Rogers

DL Cam Spence

LB Jordan Anthony

DB Derrek Pitts

Opening Game Visitors

The Sept. 5 season-opener against Richmond won’t draw in recruits like, say, the Oct. 3 Michigan bout, but a few notable names will be in attendance. Besides some current Terps’ commits, the linebacker Keith Simms is the main class of 2016 recruit to note.

As aforementioned (see the “James Jennette” section above), Simms and Maryland seem to be on the same page. The linebacker checked out College Park about six times the last couple months, all the while talking up the hometown movement and the coaching staff. Expect Simms on campus several times leading up to his Dec. 4 UMD official.

Also, look for 2017 targets like Ryan Solt, Josh Paschal, Jordan McNair and Ethan Wiederkehr at the game.

Solt, who holds one offer from the Terps, his father’s alma mater, is quite taken by the Terps. Maryland area recruiter Greg Studrawa and Co. have his ear, and as long as Penn State doesn’t come calling, we like UMD’s chances.

Wiederkehr, meanwhile, will be back in town for the first time since the June 27 Big Show. He too is high on UMD and likes the direction the program is heading. Wiederkehr is wide open in his recruitment and will explore his other options, but turtles are on the brain initially. 

McNair and Paschal are both nationally-touted talents and could be  difficult pulls. That said, McNair and Terps’ area recruiter Keith Dudzinski have a solid rapport. Plus the McDonogh-Maryland connection is a potent one what with several Eagles’ alums already in College Park. We think UMD -- which is battling PSU, OSU, FSU and others of that ilk for McNair’s services -- will remain in the thick of things throughout.

As for Paschal, he’s slowly but surely adding offers, but has always had an affinity for Maryland. Just like with McDonogh, the Terps have a pipeline of sorts to Good Counsel, giving UMD plenty of clout with Paschal. Terps’ area recruiter Mike Locksley has already been in close contact with the edge rusher, and we’re led to believe Paschal is heeding his words. Clemson is also heavily involved, and other prime suitors will emerge as well.

Where The Terps Stand Compared To Big Ten Foes

Frequent Shell readers and message board posters know I’m not one to pay much mind to rankings, stars, position ratings and the like. But even I have to admit the programs that churn out top-ranked recruiting classes typically reap the rewards.

Now, there’s a long way to go until Signing Day, and much can and will change between now and then. But on the eve of the season-opener, let’s take a look at how the Terps stack up compared to their Big Ten brethren.

As expected, the defending national champs, Ohio State, have the No. 1-ranked class in the country, boasting seven Scout Top 100 commits and 19 verbals overall. The Buckeyes are far out in front of the pack, more than 500 points up on the next-closest B1G squad.

Penn State is currently sitting second in the conference with 20 commits and four Top 100 pledges, while Michigan State is close behind with 20 recruits of their own -- though only one of the Top 100 variety. Michigan is about a four-star recruit or two away from hopping both the Nittany Lions and Spartans, however, boasting 23 verbals and a Top 100 talent.

Those four schools reside among the top-10 nationally and have all but cemented their spots in the conference pecking order (in terms of recruiting). But the rest of the Big Ten -- with a trio of bottom feeders not withstanding -- is sort of lumped together in the middle tier.

In order, Iowa (30th nationally), Nebraska, Rutgers, Northwestern, Minnesota, Maryland and Wisconsin (37th nationally) are all within a few points of one another, meaning a couple highly-touted recruits could easily vault a team like the Badgers to fifth in the conference. Illinois, Indiana and Purdue round out the Big Ten, but, realistically, only the Illini have a chance to move up.

Specifically addressing the Terps, UMD sits 10th in the Big Ten but just 40 points behind Minnesota (or one three-star recruit); 75 points behind Northwestern (two three-star recruits or one four-star recruit); 119 points behind Rutgers (a four-star and three-star recruit); 144 points behind Nebraska (a four-star recruit and two three-star recruits); and 169 points behind Iowa (a couple four-star recruits).

The Hawkeyes may sit fifth for now, but they already have 23 pledges and are almost finished their 2016 class. Therefore, teams like NU (15 commits), RU (19 commits), Minnesota (15 commits), Maryland (18 commits) and Wisconsin (17 commits) are primed to hop them. The Huskers are positioned for numerous elite prospects, so they could end up fifth in February if they land their intended targets. Wisconsin also could sneak up the list as many of the Badgers’ foremost recruits are available as well.

Now, if Maryland pulls in four-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) as expected; adds four-star cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.) as expected; secures three-star linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.) as expected; and flips thee-star running back Abdul Adams (Hillside/Durham, N.C.) as expected; that would give the Terps about 300 more points. And if UMD then lands four-star guard Terrance Davis and can pull off an Ellison Jordan (Gilman/Baltimore, Md.) switcheroo, snagging the four-star defensive tackle from Penn State, that would give Randy Edsall about 500 more points. (Offensive tackle Grayson Stover is only a two-star recruit, so he won’t boost the rankings.)

Tabulate the above, and, if everything falls into place, UMD could push into the top-20 nationally and wind up  fifth or sixth in the Big Ten. That, Terps’ aficionados, ain’t bad at all.

New Offers Out

Tahj Capehart, WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.) (2017): The junior receiver from powerhouse Ocean Lakes has multiple verbals from the SEC, Big 12, ACC and Big Ten. Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Va Tech, UVA, Arizona State and now Maryland are some programs after him. Terps’ area recruiter Chad Wilt has been in touch, but it’s always difficult pulling prospects out of the 757.

Zachary Carter, DE, Hillsborough (Tampa, Fla.) (2017): A borderline five-star recruit with more than 20 offers to date. Carter has several SEC, ACC and Big 12 mainstays in pursuit and is likely to wind up at some southern school. In-state Florida has the upper-hand at the moment.

Elijah Conliffe, DE, Hampton (Va.) (2017): Conliffe has double-digit verbals from schools like UNC, Georgia, NC State, UVA, Wake and others. Perhaps UMD-area recruiter Chad Wilt can make inroads and have Conliffe up for a visit. At the same time, we’ve heard he’s infatuated with SEC schools like Alabama, and several of those powers could be ready to ante up.

Tylan Wallace, WR, South Hills (Fort Worth, Texas) (2017): A surefire blowup candidate, Wallace now claims offers from SMU, Oklahoma State, Vandy, Tulsa, Maryland, Houston and FIU. The Terps and area recruiter Keenan McCardell may have a chance to grab Wallace’s attention, but we’ll have to see what the likes of Texas, Oklahoma and others of that ilk do first. Truth be told, it’s tough to lure Lone Star State recruits when the Big 12 bigwigs come calling.

Breon Dixon, LB, Peachtree Ridge (Suwanee, Ga.) (2017): This standout Georgia recruit holds about 25 offers to date, with Alabama; Tennessee; Oklahoma; UNC; Penn State; Auburn; Mississippi State; Ole Miss; TCU; Florida and other on him before UMD even entered the fray. He’s forecast to an SEC mainstay.

Zack Kuntz, TE, Camp Hill (Pa.) (2018): Kuntz plays at Maryland commit Mike Viti’s school, but don’t expect this tight end to fly under the radar a la his teammate. A 6-7, 200-pounder, Kuntz holds three initial scholarships (Va Tech, WVU, UMD) and should have Penn State and Pitt in short order. PSU could be the frontrunner when the Nittany Lions ante up. 

Micah Parsons, DE, Central Dauphin (Harrisburg, Pa.) (2018): A potential five-star recruit, the sophomore Parsons has Penn State; Michigan; Rutgers; Maryland; Pitt; Temple and others in pursuit. It’s going to be rough sledding for the Terps and area recruiter Greg Studrawa moving forward (PSU has an early bead on him), but we’ll see if Parsons makes his way to College Park for a campus visit at some point.



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