New Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has been making the local rounds, but Dec. 9 he ventured out to meet with a few of the Terps’ foremost out-of-state targets. In addition to stopping by IMG Academy (Bradenton/Fla.) to see four-star defensive end Rahshaun Smith and three-star corner Khalil Ladler, both of whom officially visited UMD Dec. 4, Durkin trekked through Hudson (Fla.) for a sit-down with tackle Grayson Stover.
“I wasn’t sure what was going on with Maryland, so I really appreciated Coach Durkin coming down to introduce himself,” Stover said. “It was a great meeting, and it always means a lot when the head coach comes to personally see you. He said he didn’t want to just call me and let me know he still wanted me; he wanted to tell me in person. So that meant a lot, just seeing him here and knowing there’s still a spot for me at Maryland.”
Stover had a rapport with ex-Maryland interim coach Mike Locksley, and when the recruit heard of Locksley’s likely departure he figured he’d have to look at other suitors. He wasn’t sure what the Terps’ plans were or if the new staff would even pursue him.
“But Coach Durkin came down and explained exactly what he wants to do at Maryland,” Stover said. “I liked everything he had to say. Now, I’m still waiting to see what happens with the rest of the staff, like who the offensive coordinator and line coach will be, but what he’s saying fit the bill. Maryland is definitely a school I’m still considering now.”
The tackle went on to explain Durkin’s recruiting pitch. Stover said the new Terps’ headman “loved” his senior film and believes he’d be a natural fit in the program.
“Coach Durkin said he wants to have a very aggressive team, but also one that’s close-knit and will play hard for him,” Stover said. “He said he’s looking for the type of player who is intense, but also has good character and work-ethic. He said I was the kind of guy he needed and he’d love to have me there.”
Evidently Durkin’s words were enough for Stover to begin the process of rescheduling a Maryland official visit. He thought about cancelling the intended January College Park, Md., trip after Locksley’s ouster, but now will indeed trip up one weekend in January.
“Maryland’s still a great school, it’s in the Big Ten and it’s a place I liked a lot when I visited in the summer,” said Stover, who admitted UMD is no longer sitting No. 1 on his leaderboard. “It’s a great campus, there’s lots of opportunities up there around D.C. and I think they’re moving in the right direction. But I just have to see. I have to get up there on an official and find out more about [Durkin’s plans].”
There are four other contenders vying for Stover’s services: Indiana, Vanderbilt, Illinois and USF. Stover has already officially visited IU and Vandy, and will see Champaign, Ill., Dec. 11 before the dead period. Stover plans to check out USF in January.
“I’m looking forward to the Illinois visit. The coaches there have been recruiting me hard, and I really want to get up there and see what they’re about,” Stover said. “I was actually supposed to go to Illinois before, but I had to wait until the coaching situation was finalized. Now that it is, I’m excited. It’s Big Ten football, and that’s a conference I’d love to play in.
“And Indiana and Vanderbilt, their coaches are both still on me hard. They’re both among my top schools. Vandy is a great school academically and it’s in the SEC. And Indiana, they’re doing a good job there and they had some impressive rushing stats and offensive line stats this year. Plus I really like Coach [Greg] Frey.
“USF, that’s a hometown school I’ve been to a bunch of times for visits and games. They’re on me hard, and I like them a lot. I want to check them out too.”
Stover would like to make his commitment shortly after his January officials. Obviously, he is no longer planning to enroll early.
“More than likely I’ll commit right around Signing Day,” Stover said. “I just have to take these last couple officials and see what happens. No leaders right now; I’m just waiting to see what happens with the visits.”