Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Good Counsel, Gilman, Bullis Reports
I was able to attend two high school games last week, starting with the Good Counsel (Olney, Md.)–Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) affair Sept. 4, followed by Bullis (Potomac, Md.)–Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) the next day.
At Good Counsel, a 36-29 overtime victory for Gilman, I was able to fully evaluate Terps’ pledge KeAndre Jones, along with Maryland targets like class of 2017 Falcons’ defensive end Josh Paschal and senior Greyhounds’ defensive tackle Ellison Jordan. In addition, I gauged Gilman junior quarterback Kasim Hill, senior tackle Devery Hamilton, senior guard Stephen Spanellis, senior running back Dorian Maddox, senior running back Antonio Dupree and sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent; as well as Good Counsel senior defensive end Izon Pulley, junior linebacker Ayinde Eley and junior running back Mohammed Ibrahim.
Then, at Mount St. Joe’s, a game the Gaels won 35-21, I intently watched Maryland quarterback commit Dwayne Haskins and junior safety Damani Neal. I also took a look at Bullis’ senior outside linebacker, Cameron Brown, a Penn State pledge.
Here are the top 10 performers, from my vantage point, during the two bouts:
1. Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman (2016): Simply put, Jordan is a force in the trenches. He may only be 6-feet, but he effects almost every single play with his relentless, physical style. Jordan has an extremely rapid release, a potent initial punch and uncanny athleticism for his size. He has the power to defeat double teams, the athleticism to pursue up and down the line, and the quickness to knife into the backfield and maneuver through traffic. Notable play: Showing off his advanced rush moves, Jordan exploded off the line; stunted inside; spun around backside; caught the offensive lineman flat-footed; bee-lined into the backfield; and plowed the quarterback over for a sack.
2. KeAndre Jones, LB, Good Counsel (2016): The Maryland commit Jones did not disappoint, recording a game-high 13 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and four tackles for loss Sept. 4. A fierce competitor who brings it every play, Jones was all over the field, defending sideline-to-sideline. He was fast, athletic, fluid, nimble and powerful. Jones showed he could cover in space, hang in the gaps, set the edge, and take down runners both in the backfield and from behind. Notable play: Gaining a great initial jump, Jones, lined up at middle linebacker, read a screen pass; took a tight angle as he shot towards the edge; quickly cut upfield; jumped the route; and tipped the ball away.
3. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Bullis (2016): If not for a few end-of-game errors/mental mistakes, Haskins probably would have been first or second on this list. The Maryland pledge is one cool customer, ably executing Bullis’ spread; picking apart the defense; and leading the Bulldogs on prolonged drives. Haskins has a rifle right arm, on-point accuracy and above-average field awareness too. Not to mention he has advanced technique/fundamentals for a high school gunslinger. Notable play: Operating out of the shotgun, Haskins sold a play-action fake; looked off his first read; and then fired a bullet between two defenders down the center of the field. The pass went for 44 yards and set up Bullis’ first touchdown.
4. Devery Hamilton, OT, Gilman (2016): Like Haskins, the Michigan commit Hamilton also made a case for being first or second on this list. Showing vast improvement from last season, Hamilton owned the line of scrimmage against Good Counsel, practically eliminating the Falcons’ pass rush. He was powerful at the point of attack, routinely drove his man off the ball, while allowing zero pressures in pass protection. Hamilton showed both the athleticism to block out in space and the ability to readjust to edge rushers/blitzing linebackers. Notable play: With Good Counsel showing blitz, Hamilton stalemated the defensive end at the point of attack and then picked up the slashing linebacker, who was firing through the B-gap. Hamilton pushed the backer out of the play, allowing his quarterback to easily side-step the rush and scan the defense.
5. Stephen Spanellis, OG, Gilman (2016): Spanellis had almost as good of a game Sept. 4 as his linemate Hamilton. The Virginia pledge got off the ball well, showed plenty of initial power and flashed the athleticism to pull down the line. Spanellis isn’t as advanced in pass pro as Hamilton, but he’s a potent drive blocker and can finish at the second level. Notable play: With Gilman running a counter to the outside, Spanellis fired out of his stance; sprinted down the line; picked up a linebacker; and knocked him back, giving the back a sizable hole to shoot through.
6. Damani Neal, S, Bullis (2017): Neal has to iron out a few issues in coverage, but his upside is evident given his speed, athleticism and size. He can defend sideline-to-sideline, takes tight closing angles, and readily produces in space and behind the line. Neal’s a hard hitter too, delivering several pops Sept. 5, including two in the backfield. (Neal will be a safety in college, but he gets extra points for catching 12 passes against Mount St. Joe’s). Notable play: On an outside run, Neal, playing deep centerfield, sprung forward; fended off a block; lowered his base; and drove through the runner, dropping him for a three-yard loss.
7. Taron Vincent, DT, Gilman (2018): The son of former NFL Pro Bowler Troy Vincent, Taron Vincent is only a sophomore, but has multiple FBS offers (including Maryland). And it’s easy to see why. He benefits a bit from playing next to Ellison Jordan, who commands double teams, but Vincent’s a rising star with his initial power; backfield-busting strength/moves; and quickness. Vincent displays advanced lateral agility for his size, as well as the deftness/strength needed to corral backs in the gaps. Notable play: Vincent came off the ball low and hard, pushed the offensive guard into the pocket, and forced the quarterback to scramble. The Gilman tackle then disengaged and made a bee-line for the signal caller, forcing a throw-away.
8. Kasim Hill, QB, Gilman (2017): Hill has to work out some kinks in his throwing motion (he can be mechanical), and he’s not always accurate, but he’s a heady player and a true athlete. The Gilman gunslinger has an above-average arm, to go along with solid quickness; make-you-miss moves; and underlying strength. In the right scheme, Hill could be a successful dual-threat at the next level. Notable play: Hill faked a counter to his running back, rolled out to his right, pump-faked to freeze a pursuing linebacker, and then sped by him for a long gain.
9. Mohammed Ibrahim, RB, Good Counsel (2017): Ibrahim holds several Division I offers (UMD isn’t on him yet), and we could see why given his speed, vision and short-area quickness. Ibrahim is small, and he’s not a track-star burner, but he’s quick through the holes; has some shake to him; and possesses the necessary burst to break through the second level. Notable play: Taking a handoff on a simple belly play, Ibrahim popped through a small window; cut to the outside; gained momentum; and accelerated past the linebackers for a long gain down the sideline.
10. Cameron Brown, OLB, Bullis (2016): Both Brown and Good Counsel’s defensive end, Izon Pulley, were vying for this final spot, but I gave Brown the edge for upside’s sake. The PSU commit needs strength/power to hang near the line in college, but he’s extremely athletic and quick. Brown moves well laterally, running sideline-to-sideline to track down backs in space. Plus he’s a pretty shore-handed tight ended, nabbing multiple passes down the field Sept. 5. Notable play: Lined up at SAM backer, Brown flowed to his right in pursuit of a pitch play across the field. When the runner cut up, Brown accelerated; closed quickly; and dropped the back in his tracks -- just over the line of scrimmage.
Notable Omissions: You might notice that I did not include multi-offer talents like defensive end Josh Paschal, linebacker Ayinde Eley, defensive end Izon Pulley, running back Antonio Dupree or running back Dorian Maddox. Fact is, neither Paschal nor Eley did much against Gilman, the former neutralized throughout and the latter struggling to disengage from blocks. Pulley showed some flashes and could’ve earned the No. 10 spot above, but he had some trouble attacking the gaps. Meanwhile, Dupree and Maddox were OK, but neither displayed outstanding speed or moves.
Recruiting Notes From Good Counsel, Gilman and Bullis
In addition to scouting reports, I conducted full interviews with KeAndre Jones, Dwayne Haskins and Josh Paschal, while I briefly interacted with Ellison Jordan and Damani Neal. I also conducted a video interview with injured UMD cornerback pledge Travon Stott, which you can watch HERE.
The two Terps’ pledges, Jones and Haskins, both had rather interesting comments. Yes, they mostly spoke about their developing games and the season, but each discussed who they’re recruiting as well.
The four-star backer Jones isn’t going to reach like Haskins, but he’s definitely in the ear of his teammates. Jones specifically said he’s after junior Josh Paschal, former Good Counsel junior linebacker Jordan Anthony (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.), senior defensive end Izon Pulley, junior running back Mohammed Ibrahim and junior linebacker Ayinde Eley. (Jones said he’s trying to lure Anthony back to Good Counsel for his senior year, for what that’s worth.)
Now, realize the Terps don’t have an offer out to the Miami commit Pulley, and it remains to be seen whether or not they’ll pursue Eley or Ibrahim. None of that trio lit the world on fire against Gilman, so we’ll have to see what Maryland’s staff is thinking later during the process.
If area recruiter Mike Locksley and Co. do choose to pursue, though, the Terps could be in position to land all three. Each, including Pulley, have plenty of pro-UMD affinity. They’ve been on campus multiple times and have readily taken to DMV-to-UMD.
Ibrahim holds offers from Kentucky, Iowa and Temple. Eley, meanwhile, has Iowa; MSU; UNC; Syracuse; Va Tech; and Temple (how many of those are committable is questionable).
You can see what Jones had to say (along with a full scouting report) HERE.
As for Haskins, he didn’t shy away from his main targets. Heck, Haskins has basically assumed the role of pseudo-recruiting coordinator, mentioning how he’s discusses specific prospects with UMD head coach Randy Edsall himself. Haskins has studied the Terps’ situation through and through, noting how they have 18 commitments and could take as many as seven more.
The guys he’s currently pursuing? Four-star defensive end Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), three-star linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.), four-star guard Terrance Davis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), four-star cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.), four-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy) and four-star running back Robert Washington (Mount Island Charter/Mount Holly, N.C.). Plus Haskins said he’s trying to convince Edsall to take another receiver in this class, while he’s in the ear of two elite DeMatha juniors, Chase Young and Anthony McFarland, too.
We’ve broken down the statuses of each of the above recruits numerous times, so no need to rehash in full. But frequent Shell readers know the Terps are hot on the rail of pretty much all the players Haskins pointed out.
As Terrapin Times readers know, Maryland is in prime position to land the linebacker Simms and the defensive end Smith. Simms could be UMD’s next popper; Smith is on track to be a Terp at the Under Armour All-American game this winter.
Diggs was supposedly trending towards Maryland, but we’ve heard conflicting reports of late. We’ll address him more in the section below.
Davis, who has Michigan atop his leaderboard (followed by Georgia and Alabama), placed Maryland among his foremost five suitors. He could come around to the Terps later this winter, but for now he’s starry-eyed. We won’t be feeling any definitive pro-Terps vibes until after he takes those four official visits to Tuscaloosa, Ala., (Jan. 8); Athens, Ga., (Dec. 11); Los Angeles, Calif., (Jan. 15); and Ann Arbor, Mich., (Nov. 27).
The defensive end Terrell Hall (he's officially visiting Florida this month) will more than likely wind up at Alabama, but he did admit the hometown movement is resonating, the edge rusher heeding Haskins’ words. If nothing else, Maryland has a puncher’s chance with the St. John’s product. Hall’s keeping an open mind for now, so we’ll see if UMD gains steam following a couple more local #MarylandPride poppers.
As for Washington, we detailed his situation last week, pointing out the red flags that may preclude the Terps from pursuing in earnest (read: precarious family situation, no contact with any college coaches, not playing football this year). There hasn’t been any Washington-to-UMD buzz of late, so unless we hear differently, we’re not predicting he’ll wind up in College Park. The Maryland staff may prefer Hillside (Durham, N.C.) three-star back Abdul Adams anyway, a Michigan State pledge UMD recruiter Mike Locksley is still actively pursuing.
The DeMatha youngins Young and McFarland, meanwhile, both have talked up the Terps, although there’s a long way to go in their respective recruitments. Young’s profile has exploded the last couple weeks, and he now holds offers from some of the country’s elites. Maryland is certainly on the brain, but it has loads of competition -- namely Alabama, Young’s presumed dream school.
McFarland, like Young, is a national name who has stated time and again Maryland would reside among his top three to five contenders. But he too has SEC mainstays ‘Bama and Georgia on the brain, with others creeping in.
You can see what Haskins had to say (as well as a scouting report) HERE.
The class of 2017 end Josh Paschal, who admittedly didn’t play particularly well Sept. 4, told me Maryland is one of the schools he’ll be taking a close look at. He wasn’t able to attend the Sept. 5 UMD-Richmond game as he intended, but said he should be back in Byrd later this fall (likely Oct. 3 for the Michigan bout). Paschal said he likes what teammates-turned-Terps Jones and Stott have told him about Maryland, in addition to area recruiter Mike Locksley’s overtures.
But Paschal isn’t one to gush over the hometown school like some other locals. He’s wide open and willing to explore his multitude of options, including Clemson (visited earlier); Kentucky (visited earlier); Ohio State (visited earlier); Va Tech and more. That said, we like the Terps’ chances given the Good Counsel-Maryland connection and the fact Locksley is his recruiter.
You can read more about Paschal (as well as a scouting report) HERE.
Last but assuredly not least, I briefly spoke to Ellison Jordan and Damani Neal.
The four-star senior defensive tackle Jordan, as expected, let me know he’s firmly committed to Penn State. At this point, Jordan’s not going to let on what’s lingering in the back of his mind. We know for a fact, however, he’s spoken to a couple current Maryland players and remains in contact with recruiter Mike Locksley.
But Jordan has nothing to gain by putting that out there. Especially right now, with his mind fully focused on leading Gilman to an MIAA title. We might start to hear some Jordan-to-UMD buzz after the 2015 campaign, perhaps when recruits like Rahshaun Smith (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) join DMV-to-UMD. Stay tuned.
The 2017 safety Neal, meanwhile, may be a tougher pull than Terps’ aficionados might anticipate. After all, he is Dwayne Haskins’ teammate, so he should be a Maryland lock, right? Well, not so fast. Neal is being very diplomatic and tactful about his recruitment, refusing to make a decision based on what others decide -- even his four-star quarterback.
Furthermore, the Bullis safety has visited Penn State multiple times, and may consider him a Nittany Lions’ lean. He was apparently close to committing during his last Happy Valley visit and could eventually wind up there before it’s all said and done. Stanford, Maryland, Northwestern and Kentucky are also in play, with the Cardinal positioned to pounce.
Neal had naught but positive comments about Maryland, but the Terps have some work to do. The Bullis product hasn’t been in College Park in quite awhile, so area recruiter Chad Wilt probably needs to get him on campus this fall for Maryland to have a chance.
You can read more about Neal HERE.
There were several intriguing recruits who made their way to College Park Sept. 5 for Maryland’s season-opener against Richmond, a 50-21 UMD victory. The two class of 2016 prospects of note were linebacker Keith Simms (Landon/Bethesda, Md.) and cornerback Trevon Diggs (Avalon/Gaithersburg, Md.). The 2017 names to know were guard Ryan Solt (James Coughlin/Wilkes Barre, Pa.), offensive tackle Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.), defensive end Lawtez Rogers (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.) and linebacker Avery Roberts (Concord/Wilmington, Del.).
I touched base with each of the above (save Diggs, who did not respond to inquiries) to gauge their thoughts on the game, and the Terps in general.
While Simms and Diggs served as headliners, quite honestly, they weren’t going to say much we didn’t already know (even if Diggs did respond). Their situations have been hashed out in this space more times than I care to remember.
Even so, here’s what we know after Sept. 5:
Simms texted in that the Maryland coaches once again had a lengthy conversation with him, the prospect noting how, “they always make me feel at home and like a top priority.” He reiterated that the staff is keeping a spot open for him, which Simms said he, “really respects.” The linebacker concluded by mentioning how Maryland’s a place he could easily see himself at, because he likes the direction the program is heading.
Simms will take an official visit to Oregon later this month, but, as I stated last week, we don’t expect the Ducks to supplant the Terps in the pecking order. (There’s also a slight chance Simms check out Duke or UNC again, but neither are thought to be major threats).
Maryland is clearly the team to beat here, and the sense is the Landon product could be on board with Randy Edsall’s program later during September or early October. He’s scheduled for his UMD official Dec. 4 -- which is when many of the other Terps’ commits and defensive end Rahshaun Smith will be on campus -- although Simms is expected to end his recruitment well before that. Regardless of the exact date, he’s on track to be the next cog in DMV-to-UMD.
As for the legacy Diggs, well, we’re growing a bit skeptical about the status of Stefon Diggs’ younger brother. Diggs didn’t chime in about his latest trip to College Park, but we’ve heard he might not be as keen on the Terps as originally anticipated.
Sure, UMD recruiter Mike Locksley and head coach Randy Edsall both have Diggs’ and his family’s ear. Sure, current Terps’ pledge Dwayne Haskins has done his part to lure his good friend. Sure, Diggs is well aware of the Movement and has called College Park a “second home.”
But we’re hearing more and more Diggs wants to play receiver in college, and, fact is, UMD is filled up at that position with Tino Ellis (DeMatha), Evan Fairs (Foster/Richmond, Texas) and D.J. Turner (DeMatha) on board. The Terps remain in the mix, but numbers and such will have to work out first before Diggs can jump on the Pride bandwagon.
Moreover, Alabama remains heavily involved with Diggs, and the Gaithersburg native wants to officially visit Miami; Va Tech; WVU; LSU; and Bama later this year. The sense, right now, is the Avalon recruit may opt for a star-studded program that will play him at receiver.
But there’s plenty of time for Diggs to come back around to Maryland. Terps’ fans just have to hope Locksley’s pitch and DMV-to-UMD eventually ring true.
Such are the ebbs and flows of recruiting.
No matter which direction this heads, Diggs will likely end his recruitment at the Under Armour All-American Game or around Signing Day.
Now, onto the 2017 recruits in attendance Sept. 5:
The offensive guard Solt and the defensive end Rogers both like the Terps early, while the tackle McNair has the local university firmly in play as well. The linebacker Roberts, meanwhile, spoke highly of UMD, but he has more than 30 offers to consider and could be Penn State’s to lose.
McNair, a five-star blindside blocker, said both he and his mother had a “great time” at the game Sept. 5, the tackle honing in on coach Greg Studrawa’s offensive line. The McDonogh product noted how the Terps played well and picked up the pace in the second half.
What’s encouraging for UMD fans, though, were McNair’s comments regarding his conversation with area recruiter Keith Dudzinski. McNair said he and Maryland’s defensive coordinator discussed academics, SATs and non-football/recruiting related topics, which is a sign the Owings Mills native is delving deeper into the Terps’ program. In other words, McNair is beyond the “cursory interest” stage and wants to learn about Maryland’s inner workings.
Expect McNair to return to College Park a couple more times before the 2015 campaign ends, giving him even more exposure to the local school.
Granted, McNair still has Penn State and Ohio State firmly in play -- he’ll be checking out both Columbus, Ohio, and State College, Pa., later this fall -- but we believe the Terps are right in the thick of things. Truth be told, the McDonogh-to-Maryland pipeline is a strong one, and, ultimately, it could pay dividends for UMD once again.
The offensive guard Solt, meanwhile, returned to College Park for the first time since landing his UMD offer June 14. The legacy recruit (son of former Terps’ lineman Ron Solt), along with his father and cousin, took in the Sept. 5 affair and called it “a really good time.” Afterwards, Solt lauded the Terps’ staff, namely area recruiter Greg Studrawa, whom the prospect called “an amazing coach” and “awesome to talk to.”
Solt then said he’d be returning for three more Maryland games this fall before offering up this nugget: “"I really like Maryland. I really like how they performed against Richmond, and I just really like the coaching staff. It's great academics, it's a Big Ten school and it's a great environment. … But looking at the offer I have and the interest I have, Maryland is definitely right up there at the top."
The Pennsylvania prospect will undoubtedly land a few more offers (he said Rutgers, Penn State and Northwestern all contacted him), but UMD looks to be in the driver’s seat for the time being.
It will be interesting to see what happens if the Nittany Lions pursue, however. Solt previously told me PSU was a dream school of sorts, and while he backed off that statement this time around, he admitted he’d be attending a couple State College events this fall.
Moreover, Solt will be going through the entire process of attending various other games and junior days, meaning his recruitment could ebb and flow during the next few months. We’ll know more about his situation later during the winter, with Solt possibly ready to choose his college destination next spring or summer.
You can read more about Solt HERE.
The defensive end Rogers may have an even better chance of winding up in College Park than Solt. Every time we’ve spoken to the Roosevelt product he’s been downright effusive in his Terps’ praise. Postgame Sept. 5 was no different.
“I mean, I just like being up there, honestly. It feels right being at Maryland,” Rogers said.
Rogers said he and defensive line coach Chad Wilt hit it off after the Richmond game, the Greenbelt native noting the assistant’s attitude and energy. The Roosevelt recruit spoke highly of the fans, the Byrd Stadium atmosphere, the campus and the Team House too.
Rogers is also hearing from UVA, Michigan State, Va Tech and Rutgers, and it’s likely he’ll pick up some other scholarships after his junior film is evaluated. But the Terps, with area recruiter Mike Locksley continuing to pursue, have the prospect’s ear, for sure.
“Like I said, I just love being up there. Maryland is my top school right now,” Rogers said. “I can definitely say they’re way up there right now.”
You can read more about Rogers HERE.
Finally, the linebacker Roberts also enjoyed his first game at the U of MD. The four-star backer had a chance to speak to position coach Lyndon Johnson, head coach Randy Edsall and defensive coordinator Keith Dudzinski, saying he liked all of their personalities. Roberts also talked up Gossett, the current Terps and the atmosphere inside Byrd Stadium.
But Roberts, who could make it back to College Park later this year, is going to be a tough pull. Penn State is all over this guy early, and Ohio State could jump up the leaderboard when the Buckeyes inevitably offer. Alabama, Stanford, Oregon, Oklahoma, Clemson and others are also in pursuit.
The Terps have a shot to make some inroads, but Roberts isn’t projected to wind up at Maryland at this point.
Various Terps Recruiting Notes
Abdul Adams, RB, Hillside (Durham, N.C.): Scout’s Michael Clark attended Hillside’s game last week, and afterwards he caught up with the Michigan State pledge Adams. The Woodson (Washington, D.C.) transfer told Clark he remains firmly committed to the Spartans, didn’t plan on visiting anymore schools, and would be taking his lone official to East Lansing, Mich., Sept. 12.
What are we to make of that? Is Adams blowing smoke, or is he indeed fully on board with the Spartans?
Well, Adams’ firm insistence, reiterated a couple times now, does give us pause. If he’s blowing smoke, he’s sure doing a good job of hiding it.
For now, we’re going to move Adams from “hot” to “warm” on the hot board as the situation seems more “complicated” than before. The Terps are still in the mix, but it could take more time -- closer to National Signing Day -- for him to come around to UMD.
And, at this point, Adams isn’t about to waver on his commitment anyway. He’s focused on sifting through a tricky family situation, while dealing with the rigors of his final high school season –- all in an unfamiliar atmosphere.
So, until the 2015 campaign ends, don’t expect to hear much from him. Maybe when Adams returns to D.C. this offseason they’ll be more Terps’ buzz.
Decavilon Reese, RB, Benedictine (Cleveland, Ohio) (2017): Scout’s Bill Greene sent us a story on this emerging running back earlier, and it’s a name we’re taking note of. Reese only has one offer from Toledo thus far, but, according to Greene, he’s a surefire Big Ten talent. Giving credence to that evaluation is the fact Reese has been hearing from Ohio State, Purdue, Alabama and Maryland.
What’s more, Reese said he’s, “going to Purdue, Maryland and Ohio State for sure,” which means Terps fans should expect him in College Park later this fall or for a winter junior day. If he does make it out, perhaps UMD could become a real player here. Stay tuned.
Eric Crosby, DT, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.) (2017): We wrote about Crosby’s Terps’ offer in a previous Shell, and this week Scout’s Mike Clark spoke to the big-time junior defensive tackle about it. Crosby said the offer “meant a lot,” noting how he likes that College Park is close to home. But Crosby admitted he didn’t know much about Maryland yet (never a great initial sign). He does plan to visit Oct. 3, however, when the Terps take on Michigan, so perhaps the staff can gain some momentum after that.
Regardless if he visits or not, we’re not projecting Crosby to UMD. The borderline five-star has offers galore, and seems infatuated with the SEC and Big Ten elites (he was recently at Ohio State). Expect him to end up at a power program before it’s all said and done.
Luiji Vilain, DE, Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.) (2017): When touted Episcopal senior and Rutgers pledge Patrice Rene moved from his native Canada to Alexandria, Va., last year, he brought several of his talented underclassmen teammates with him. Most notably, now-junior defensive end Luiji Vilain, a 6-3, 230-pounder who projected as a surefire top-level talent. A year later, Vilain has offers from Penn State, RU, Wisconsin, Syracuse, South Florida, UVA and Minnesota. Programs like MSU, Notre Dame and Ohio State are bound to become involved sooner rather than later too.
The Terps, with Keenan McCardell leading the recruitment, have also initiated contact. Expect an offer to materialize in short order, and for Vilain to check out College Park at some point this fall/offseason.
No, Maryland hasn’t had much success at Episcopal recently (both Rene and defensive tackle offeree Joe Goff spurned the Terps this year), but the Terps won’t have a chance at Vilain if they don’t ante up. Maybe, with McCardell now recruiting Northern Virginia, UMD will at least be in the conversation.
New Offers Out
Kyle Bolden, OLB, Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) (2017): Of all the new offers the Terps handed out this week, Bolden might be the most likely to consider Maryland. Previously possessing verbals from Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Marshall and Toledo, the Terps represented Bolden’s most significant scholarship to date. The Cincinnati native, who is the cousin of Michigan linebacker Joe Bolden, said he was “very excited” about his most recent offer and would likely visit College Park for the first time this offseason.
Bolden said he’s been in touch with UMD-area recruiter Greg Studrawa since last year, and thinks the O-Line coach is “a great guy.” On top of that, the Colerain backer mentioned Studrawa knows his father (the Colerain coach) quite well too.
The fact UMD competes in the Big Ten and is an academically-oriented institution should also help the Terps’ chances with the rising star. But we won’t know how interested Bolden really is until his recruiting profile is fully realized. This is the type of recruit who could, in time, land scholarships from the Big Ten bigwigs like Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State.
Bolden said he’s not looking for any offers in particular, but he grew up watching the Wolverines and Buckeyes. We’d have to believe verbals from one of those two (or some renowned SEC, ACC or Big 12 schools) would certainly alter his thinking.
Either way, we’ll be monitoring Bolden moving forward. You can read more about him HERE.
Robert Hainsey, OT, IMG Academy (2017): The Terps became the latest school to ante up for the four-star Hainsey, joining Penn State; UNC; South Carolina; MSU; Michigan; Duke, Va Tech; WVU; Pitt; Tennessee, Boston College; and others. A native of Pennsylvania, the hometown Nittany Lions have the edge, but Hainsey is keeping an open mind and will explore many of his growing options.
Obviously, the Terps are hoping the Cory Robinson-IMG Academy connection pays off here. We’ll see if Hainsey eventually treks up to College Park at the behest of Maryland’s Director of Player Personnel. If so, perhaps Randy Edsall and Co. can generate some traction.
Matt Dotson, TE, Moeller (Cincinnati, Ohio) (2017): Dotson plays at an Ohio powerhouse, so it’s no surprise he has a glut of Big Ten offers. Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Purdue, in addition to SEC schools Kentucky and Tennessee, are after the 6-5, 225-pounder. The Terps threw their name in the hat too, so maybe area recruiter Greg Studrawa can convince Dotson to check out Maryland. More than likely, though, Dotson is going to wind up at OSU or maybe PSU.
Owen Pappoe, DE, Grayson (Loganville, Ga.) (2019): The freshman Pappoe is already a national name with verbals from Auburn, Cal, FSU, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, South Carolina, TCU, WVU, Miami, BC and now UMD. He’s projected to wind up at an SEC stalwart.