It didn’t take long for Maryland’s staff to get back to work after the Christmas holiday. On Dec. 26, Terps’ defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim extended an offer to four-star offensive tackle Javon Kinlaw (Goose Creek, S.C.), a 6-foot-6, 275-pound Army All-American.
Kinlaw committed to South Carolina Dec. 23, but said he will “definitely” officially visit College Park, Md., in January. The Goose Creek product lived in Washington, D.C., for three years and actually played under Abdul-Rahim for a season when the latter coached at Friendship Collegiate Academy,
“The Maryland offer meant a lot to me,” said Kinlaw, who chose USC over Alabama, Florida and Louisville. “When Coach Rahim got to Maryland, I wasn’t sure he’d contact me, but when he did I was really excited. He knows me about as well as my own mother.
“Honestly, I look at Coach Rahim like he’s my dad. When I was in D.C. and me and my brother were down and out and needed help, Coach Rahim was there for us. It was just me, my brother and my mom, and we didn’t have much. Coach Rahim really helped us and made sure we were alright. It was only one year I played for him, but for that one year, we got real, real close.”
Kinlaw did not stay in contact with Abdul-Rahim that often during the coach’s two-year stint at Alabama. But the hiatus didn’t faze Kinlaw one bit.
“Coach Rahim is my man, and it was great to hear from him again,” Kinlaw said. “When we talk, it goes a lot deeper than football or recruiting. He’s like a life coach, and he truly looks out for his guys.”
Kinlaw admitted, however, that he knows “very little” about the Maryland program. He’s aware the Terps compete in the Big Ten, but beyond that he did not watch the Terps on television, nor was he aware of the recent head coaching change until Abdul-Rahim brought it to his attention.
“But Maryland has a chance, definitely, because Coach Rahim is there,” said Kinlaw, who is in the process of finalizing an exact January visit date. “As long as Coach Rahim is there, then that’s a school I want to take a look at. And it’s because there are very few people that you can truly trust out there, and I know Coach Rahim is one of the few. I know he’ll lead me in the right direction.”
But Kinlaw isn’t about to drop South Carolina and simply flip to UMD. He said he’s “pretty firm” in his pledge and will be taking his second -- and only other – official to Columbia, S.C., after the New Year.
“South Carolina was my first offer in the 10th grade and they’ve been on me forever,” Kinlaw said. “Plus it’s only an hour away from home. I talked to Coach [Will] Muschamp, and he talks like he knows what he’s doing. He’s a very good communicator, and when we spoke I appreciated how he talked about both football and life. I’m going to officially visit there too, and me and Coach Muschamp are talking about a good date to come up.”
Kinlaw is a South Carolina native and only moved to D.C. for three years (seventh grade through his freshman year of high school) due to a family situation. After a year at FCA, though, he moved back home and has been at Goose Creek ever since.
“It’s been a journey for me, lots of ups and downs,” Kinlaw said. “But I’m blessed to be in the position I’m in, and I’m blessed to be going to the Army All-American game. I leave on [Jan. 3] and I’m real excited to get down there and showcase what I can do.”
Kinlaw started at both offensive tackle and defensive end for Goose Creek, although he said he’ll be playing defense at the Army game. He also said most college programs, including South Carolina, are recruiting him for defense. Maryland, though, is looking at Kinlaw for offense.
"Maryland didn't really discuss the position with me, but Coach Rahim hinted it could be offense," Kinlaw said. "And to me it doesn't really matter. I like playing both sides."