Nationally-renowned IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) is on Thanksgiving break, affording its players a chance to return home for the holidays. IMG has several Maryland residents on its roster, and Rahshaun Smith; Cam Spence; Josh Kaindoh; and Jordan Anthony are all back in the DMV until late November.
While each of the touted prospects will be spending time with friends and family, they’re also using their brief vacations to catch up with recruiting. The quartet ventured up to Penn State Nov. 21 for its game against Michigan, and then stopped by College Park, Md., Nov. 22 for another foray through Maryland.
“Mainly we were up at Maryland to see the DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)-Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) championship game [at Byrd Stadium], but somehow we ended up talking to [interim head coach] Mike Locksley in his office,” said the four-star linebacker Anthony, formerly of Good Counsel. “He was doing some work, and it was good to sit down with him and catch up. I talked to him for a little bit, and we were just talking about the coaching situation at Maryland and where things are heading. He’s still trying to get the head coaching job there, so we were talking about that.
“I hope he gets it, because that would do a lot for recruiting. A lot of guys in the DMV and a lot of guys down [at IMG] are looking at Maryland because of Coach Locksley, so hopefully he stays and gets the job.”
Locksley was one of the first coaches to initiate contact, and subsequently offer, the 6-foot-1, 215-pound Anthony. The former Falcons’ star has maintained contact with UMD’s headman since his sophomore year and counts Locksley among his favorite college assistants. Furthermore, Anthony’s visited College Park numerous times for camps, junior days and games.
“I love Maryland; you always have to keep the home school in the mix,” said Anthony, who claims offers from UMD, Clemson, PSU, Auburn, Ohio State, Iowa, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Nebraska, UNC, Syracuse and Va Tech. “The whole DMV movement is really cool, and I know a lot of guys going to Maryland. They have a lot of good recruits coming in, including my former teammate, KeAndre Jones. I’ve been up there a lot, and it would be cool to stay home and play at the hometown school with guys that I know.
“But, at the same time, I’m honestly waiting to see what goes down with the head coaching job. I want to see what direction the program is heading before I make any sort of decision about Maryland. I liked [ex- head coach] Randy Edsall and I like Coach Locksley, but I just have to see what happens there.”
Regardless of the Terps’ situation, Anthony will be exploring plenty of other locales. He recently added an offer from Ohio State, which the IMG product dubbed “huge,” and is in the process of scheduling an initial trip to Columbus, Ohio. Florida, UCLA, Oklahoma and Auburn are also on his radar, in addition to mainstays Penn State and Clemson.
“I went to see Penn State [Nov. 21], and two weekends ago I saw Clemson. I definitely had a great time at both. I liked the atmospheres and crowds at both schools,” Anthony said. “Clemson is rolling right now and is very impressive. I’ve been talking to Coach [Brent] Venables and I love what he’s doing with the defense at Clemson. And with Penn State, I like the plans Coach [Brent] Pry has for them too. I was watching the linebacker play at Penn State, and they were doing some real good things.”
Anthony doesn’t have any set-in-stone visits coming up, but will attempt to take in the Iron Bowl Nov. 27 at Auburn. This winter, he’s trying to check out Columbus, Gainesville, Fla., Norman, Okla., Los Angeles, Calif., and Ann Arbor, Mich.
“And I’ll definitely be back at Maryland too to see what’s going on there,” Anthony said. “I’m coming back home in December when school lets out, so I should be able to get up [to Maryland] soon, and hopefully they’re coaching situation will be straightened up by then.”
As for his season at IMG, Anthony said he actually did not have a chance to play linebacker this year. He spent almost the entirety of the 2015 campaign at running back.
“Next year I’ll be moving back to linebacker, but I had a great time and learned a lot as a running back,” Anthony said. “Footwork, field vision, hitting the holes – it was a really good experience playing running back and learning that position.
“But right now I’m still being recruited as a linebacker, and that’ll be my position in college. I’m going to be doing a lot this offseason to keep sharp. The weather’s nice in Florida, so I’ll be outside doing cone drills; working on my drops; and getting my footwork right for when I move back to linebacker.”