Defensive tackle Adam McLean left the University of Maryland right before the fall semester began, an academic situation preventing the former Under Armour All-American from enrolling in College Park, Md. At the time, the 6-foot-2, 285-pounder vowed to return once he retook the ACTs and met NCAA requirements, but since then the four-star 2015 recruit hasn’t always remained consistent.
He took an official visit to Auburn and considered checking out other locales as well. Then, when the Terps hired D.J. Durkin as headman instead of promoting interim head coach Mike Locksley, McLean admitted to being “miffed.”
But less than a week after the Terps announced the Durkin hire, McLean’s back on board with UMD … and this time he’s not wavering.
“I’m shutting things down; I’m finished,” McLean said. “I went on the Auburn official when things were shaky with Maryland and I didn’t know who they were going to bring in. I was trying to protect myself and look out for my own best interest. I did it just to be sure, but you know, [former AU coach] Will Muschamp leaves for South Carolina, and that was that anyway (laughs).
“But, you know, D.J. Durkin, after I did my research, I’m like, ‘Why even look around? I want to play for this guy.’ So I’m staying with Maryland. That’s that.”
Durkin certainly didn’t take McLean for granted. Late last week hosted McLean and his parents in College Park Dec. 5 before trekking through the McLean household himself Dec. 7. In addition, Durkin hired former Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who knows McLean and the DMV well. Durkin also brought on former Syracuse coach Scott Shafer as his defensive coordinator and Mike London as his defensive line coach in two more moves McLean dubbed “really appealing.”
“I really am excited about what’s going on at Maryland,” McLean said. “They’re trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, and from what I can tell the puzzle is looking good. I’m really excited about Coach Rahim. He was my high school coach at one point, and it’s pretty neat that now I’ll get to play for him in college. We were catching up the other day, and he’s excited to be back.
“And I saw Coach Shafer is coming in too. I didn’t really know him at Syracuse because they didn’t really recruit me, but I read up on him and I’m really excited to get to know him. He sounds great. Coach London, I saw he was coming too. Maryland isn't messing around. I really like [former defensive line coach Chad] Wilt, but Coach London is a really good coach and a good guy too.
“And Coach Durkin, what can I say? He’s great. Between meeting him in person [Dec. 5] and then again for two hours in my home [Dec. 7], it was just a great meeting. I think my parents and I spent a good five hours total with him, and he really got a good feel for my family and who I was. Then we got a great idea of who he is, his character, his plans for me, and his vision for Maryland.”
McLean went further in-depth into his conversation with Durkin. The defensive lineman said he’s actually known Durkin since the latter was coaching at Florida, so their recent in-person meetings were a chance to reconnect.
“Coach Durkin, most of our conversations weren’t even about football. It was about how I could become a better football player, a better person and a better family man,” McLean said. “He values the same things I value and my parents value. So that was really good to hear.
“Also, he’s selling the chance to come in and start. He said he didn’t see why I couldn’t come in and play right away. He was really impressed with some of the things I naturally do well. He was explaining how a lot of defensive linemen, you have to correct bad habits like not keeping your back straight, but he said I’m good with that. So he likes what I can do and thinks I can get into the mix right away. Of course I’m going to be a little rusty coming off my injury [torn ACL], but he’s encouraged about me. That was really great to hear too.
“So now I’m straight. I’m good to go and ready to get back at it at Maryland.”
McLean said he’s spent his time away from College Park studying and working out twice a day. He said he’s retaken the ACT, should have the necessary scores, and will be ready for the spring semester.
“I’m good to go,” said McLean, who is home and not enrolled in a community college. “I’ve been in the books, and then training day and night. I’m doing a lot of positioning drills and lifting just so I’m ready physically when I get back to Maryland.”
That’s good news for Terps’ fans, but McLean wasn’t finished. He also discussed the situations surrounding several of his friends, including 2016 UMD commits Dwayne Haskins (Bullis/Potomac, Md.) and KeAndre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.). McLean also speaks regularly to 2016 uncommitted Maryland target Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.).
“There’s a lot of things going on and a lot of things people are saying. But I literally talk to Dwayne like an hour each night. I literally talk to KeAndre an hour each night. I literally talk to Merritt an hour each night. I mean, me, KeAndre and Dwayne will be on a three-way chat like every single night. Those two live right across the street from me,” McLean said. “And, I mean, Dwayne will do what’s best for him. He wants to know exactly what’s going to happen on the offensive side of the ball, and, frankly, Coach Durkin hasn’t hired an offensive coordinator yet. So he wants to know who that is first. For him, a quarterback, it’s tough not knowing, and he has to figure out what he really wants to do. But as soon as Maryland makes that hire, Dwayne will be fine.
“Me, Dwayne, KeAndre, we’re 100 percent on Maryland, and I think Rich [Merritt] is coming too. If you ask me, those two [Jones and Haskins] are staying. Now, if they want to take visits, sure, let them do it. People don’t understand the pressure recruits are under and all that goes into, so let them go on visits. But, again, if you ask me, those guys are staying. They know we can do big, big things at Maryland. We talk about it every day.”