TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Under Armour All-American Practice Notes

There are eight recruits with legitimate Terps’ ties participating in the Under Armour All-American Game Jan. 2, including a quartet of pledges. Wide receiver Tino Ellis (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), linebacker KeAndre Jones (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), lineman Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.) and the Bullis quarterback (Potomac, Md.) are the current commits in the game, while the Maryland staff has a bead on lineman Terrance Davis (DeMatha); receiver Dredrick Snelson (Flanagan/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); defensive end Terrell Hall (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.); and outside linebacker Aaron Hansford (St. John’s).  Here’s a rundown of the recruiting notes gathered during practice week:

-- Four-star guard Terrance Davis didn’t deviate from his comments the last couple weeks. The DeMatha product is keeping Maryland and Michigan 50-50, with Florida third in the pecking order.

But while Davis can prove a difficult read, his body language rarely betraying him, the overwhelming sense is the DeMatha guard will be a Terp by Jan. 2. We’ve spoken to numerous contacts to gain insight, from high school coaches to friends to parents to other media members. The consensus? While it’s clear Davis has an affinity for Michigan, Maryland’s been trending for a couple weeks.

Davis officially visited College Park, Md., Dec. 11 and readily connected with head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and the other new coaches. Durkin has made several in-person overtures to Davis and his family, the recruit noting the headman’s energy and passion. Realize that Davis has not met new UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell, nor does he know who UMD’s line coach will be, but that won’t affect the prospect’s decision Jan. 2.

Maybe more importantly than the staff, Davis loves the idea of playing for his hometown school and joining teammates-turned-Terps LoLo Harrison; Tino Ellis; and D.J. Turner in College Park. He’s also extremely comfortable on campus after his multiple trips for games; junior days; high school tournaments; and random visits.

But the Wolverines, which Davis officially visited in November, had been the oft-stated No. 1. From head coach Jim Harbaugh to recruiter Tim Drevno to the rest of the offensive staff, Davis ate up their pitch. Plus, Davis was in awe of the Big House, the program’s tradition and the Ann Arbor, Mich., atmosphere. The four-star spoke highly of UM’s educational benefits too, while his mother is a devout Michigan supporter.

That’s all well and good, but Davis can only choose one of the two, and it sounds like he’s leaning towards Maryland. Further aiding the Terps’ chances is the fact Harbaugh may not be quite as fond of Davis as the DeMatha guard is of the Wolverines. The UM headman is taking just one more offensive lineman, and our Michigan contacts have said time and again the preference is for a tackle rather than a guard. The Wolverines are currently targeting four-star tackle Jean Delance (North Mesquite/Mesquite, Texas) -- who is also committing at the UA game Jan. 2 -- and word is it’s a dogfight between Michigan and LSU.

Regardless, Davis should fall into the Terps’ lap Jan. 2.

-- The most important recruit on the above list is obviously the Bullis quarterback, who finally opened up after a prolonged silent spell. The four-star gunslinger let on  he’s basically back in the “research phase” with a month to go until Signing Day. He’s still committed to Maryland, but is in the process of building a relationship and learning about the new staff, along with coaches at his other suitors.

The New Jersey native has spoken and met with Terps’ headman D.J. Durkin, taking a liking to the new head honcho’s enthusiasm and energy. But the Bullis product hasn’t talked to offensive coordinator Walt Bell yet, causing some concern on this end. That said, the four star is aware of the former Arkansas State staffer’s style, the recruit believing he’d fit well into Bell’s up-tempo, wide-open spread.

However, the Bullis prospect also mentioned scheme isn’t quite as important as his own personal development. In other words, he’s looking for the program that’s going to prepare him to play on Sundays. Thus, the signal caller is willing to entertain other suitors, gauging their coaches and the ships they’re running.

The two universities the Potomac resident is considering checking out in January are LSU and Texas A&M. (For what it’s worth, the four-star’s cousin, Kevin Tolliver, attends LSU). The Bullis quarterback hasn’t set those trips in stone yet, but it’s an indication he and his family will continue searching around until right around Signing Day.

The recruit broached Florida and  Ohio State as two possible landing spots too. He officially visited both before the closed recruiting period, but for reasons discussed at length last week -- the Gators have filled up their quarterback spots, and the Buckeyes backed off -- we don’t believe he’ll wind up in either Gainesville, Fla., or Columbus, Ohio.

Our gut? Well, on one hand this does sound fairly similar to the Parnell Motley (Washington, D.C.) situation: The prospect’s not quite on the Maryland bandwagon, but is riding right alongside of it. If a better opportunity crops up, he could veer off in another direction. If not, then he’ll jump right back on that bandwagon. (Motley, of course, veered off to Oklahoma).

But we could also see the quarterback coming back around to the Terps after he sits down with Durkin, Bell and the Maryland administration in January. Right now, per NCAA rules, the UMD staff can’t meet with the prospect face-to-face. So in the meantime he’s putting all his cards on the table, unwilling to make any definitive statements until closer to Signing Day.

Stay tuned.

-- The outside linebacker Aaron Hansford finally conducted interviews this week, letting on the six institutions sitting atop his leaderboard. The St. John’s product listed UCLA, Oregon, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Michigan State and the hometown school, Maryland, as the standouts, with the Bruins and Ducks perhaps holding an edge.

In most cases, East Coast natives shy away from attending college 3,000 miles away, but it’s clear Hansford isn’t concerned about distance.

Hansford officially visited Eugene, Ore., and loved the vibe surrounding the entire school. He talked up the defensive scheme and style of play as well.

Next up, the St. John’s recruit will hit Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 15, Hansford eager to see one of his longtime favorites first-hand. Interestingly, Hansford mentioned the Bruins are recruiting him as a receiver, one of the principal reasons UCLA ranks so high for him.

Beyond those two Pac-12 mainstays, Hansford had plenty to say about Oklahoma, which is vying for a national title. The Sooners will likely be graced with Hansford’s presence Jan. 22, the recruit excited about playing in OU’s defense.

He had similar comments about Michigan State, which Hansford officially visited back in September. It’s debatable whether the Spartans are pushing for the D.C. prospect, but Hansford has certainly taken to the coaches, whom he has a buddy-buddy relationship with. The feeling here is MSU could reside anywhere from first to fourth on Hansford’s list.

North Carolina has Hansford’s eye mainly because of the Tar Heels’ success this year. He’s been in touch with the staff and said he’ll either take a Chapel Hill, N.C., official Jan. 22 (in lieu of Oklahoma) or drive down for an unofficial at some point. Many think UNC could be a darkhorse candidate what with Hansford’s insistence on finding some way to see Chapel Hill -- even if his family has to take a midweek trip on their own dime.

As for Maryland, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and head coach D.J. Durkin did well to jump up Hansford’s totem poll. Previously, Hansford didn’t even give the local program so much as a passing glance. But thanks to Abdul-Rahim’s overtures, followed by a productive College Park unofficial visit Dec. 12, the recruit believes UMD is “moving in the right direction.”

Granted, Hansford didn’t sound overly enthused about joining the Terps, but at least they’re in the conversation leading up to Signing Day. We’ll see if Abdul-Rahim can make one last-gasp effort, convincing the St. John’s prospect to at least return for a follow up.

-- Hansford’s teammate, four-star edge rusher Terrell Hall, may be a little more apt to listen to Maryland’s pitch. Hall openly admitted the Terps, with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim running point, were making a hard charge and had his attention. The D.C. recruit likes the fact he can contribute right away at UMD and potentially become a face of the defense.

But Hall also noted that he wants to see what other recruits D.J. Durkin is able to lure in before elevating the Terps on the leaderboard. If Durkin can coax out commitments from a couple of these touted four-star Florida and Alabama natives, maybe he’ll have a better shot with Hall.

The St. John’s recruit said he wants to see how Durkin rounds out his staff as well. He’d like to know exactly how the Terps plan to use him (outside linebacker or defensive end), the scheme and his role in said scheme.

But even if Maryland answers all those questions, the Terps may still be on the outside looking in. Florida State and Alabama are trending in a major way, Hall’s official to Tallahassee, Fla., ringing true. The edge rusher couldn’t say enough about the Noles’ staff, current players, campus life and the vibe around the program.

But Bama may have FSU topped in the end. Hall will be officially visiting Tuscaloosa, Ala., Jan. 22, his third time on campus since the summer. Despite Kirby Smart’s -- Hall’s ex-area recruiter -- departure for Georgia, Hall has the Tide sitting pretty. He lauded head coach Nick Saban, the Bama tradition and the coaches’ player development. The feeling is that Jan. 22 official could vault the Tide to the top.

Ole Miss, which will receive final dibs Jan. 29, is lurking too. Hall said the Rebels’ staff’s potent push has him intrigued.

Meanwhile, Florida, which the four-star already officially visited, remains in the running, along with UCLA. Hall mentioned that he and Hansford discussed checking out the Bruins together Jan. 15, but we don’t expect the defensive end to wind up on the West Coast.

The consensus? Hall chooses Alabama in February, with Florida State a shot to pull off the upset.

-- The Maryland linebacker pledge KeAndre Jones is sticking to the “100 percent” committed line. Jones said he’s spoken to both head coach D.J. Durkin and recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on multiple occasions, trusting in their message. He had extensive talks with both, in addition to defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and line coach Mike London, during his Dec. 11 College Park official visit, each staffer leaving Jones impressed.

Moreover, Jones liked that Durkin is a defensive-minded coach who can help develop the backer throughout the four-star’s College Park tenure. Jones also mentioned that Durkin would keep him at his desired linebacker spot as opposed to safety, which some programs are suggesting. Add it all up, Jones surmised, and there’s no reason to renege on his pledge.

But realize that Ohio State is hanging around a bit. Jones hinted he could officially visit Columbus, Ohio, this January, although he added it would take “a lot” to flip him.

Our gut feeling is Jones will sign with the Terps, but we’re always leery of Buckeyes’ head coach Urban Meyer on the recruiting trail.

Note: Florida is somewhat in play too, but the Gators don’t pose as great a threat to UMD as Ohio State does.

-- The four-star receiver Dredrick Snelson told us last week he would be officially visiting UCF Jan. 15, Maryland Jan. 22 and maybe Miami Jan. 29. A few days later, though, the 6-foot, 180-pounder subbed out the school formerly known as “The U” in favor of Wisconsin. Evidently the Badgers, whom Snelson didn’t even mention as a possibility in our previous interview, have made a late surge and will receive last dibs.

But the Terps remain in a solid spot, and may even hold the edge for Snelson’s services. The Flanagan receiver realizes he can contribute early at Maryland, had a rapport with head coach D.J. Durkin when the latter was at Michigan, and likes the fact UMD’s in the Big Ten.

Most importantly, Snelson’s two good friends and fellow Minnesota pledges, Elijah and Elisha Daniels (Cardinal Gibbons/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), could potentially woo him to Maryland if the twins flip to the Terps. (The brothers are officially visiting College Park Jan. 22 and seem to be favoring UMD). Snelson, who could be decommitting from the Gophers shortly, isn’t totally sold on following the Danielses to college, but the brothers’ presence would undoubtedly help the Terps’ chances.

UCF is technically in the running, but the Knights are probably a distant third. This is likely a Terps-Badgers race, and while we like Maryland’s position, we won’t have a true feel until closer to Signing Day. Let’s see what Snelson’s thinking after these upcoming officials.

-- Like KeAndre Jones, the UMD receiver pledge Tino Ellis insisted he was “100 percent Maryland” as well. But Ellis, unlike his teammates D.J. Turner, LoLo Harrison and Terrance Davis, did not officially visit College Park Dec. 11, leading some to speculate the four-star was wavering. But Ellis said he’s excited about head coach D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense, and the program itself.

Ellis had a close rapport with former UMD coach Randy Edsall and ex-interim Mike Locksley, but the recruit said the coach wasn’t the primary reason he selected the hometown school. The DeMatha receiver repeated how he’s “all about the institution” and what it stands for.

Ellis will be trekking to UMD for an in-person meeting with Bell, Durkin and Co. after the New Year, presumably to delve deeper into his role and learn more about the team’s direction moving forward. It should be the only trip Ellis takes before signing on the dotted line, meaning no last-second forays through Blacksburg, Va.

During interviews, Ellis is consistently asked about Virginia Tech, a school he had a strong affinity for. (A cousin and former teammate are current Hokies, and he’s known the staff for more than two years). But after each inquiry, Ellis -- who has been hearing from Tech, Tennessee and Notre Dame -- has shot down any Tech rumors, to the point where he’s become adamant and sometimes defensive when the subject is broached.

Given the above, we’re fairly certain Ellis will be a Terp. Typically we abide by the “when there’s smoke, there’s fire” rule, but Ellis has done his best to quash that fire leading up to Signing Day.

-- Richard Merritt, meanwhile, who just committed to UMD Dec. 19, reaffirmed his status in Orlando. The 6-5, 340-pounder said he’s on board with D.J. Durkin and recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the latter directly responsible for luring Merritt to College Park. (Abdul-Rahim coached the four-star guard for two years in high school).

Merritt has shut down his recruitment and will be taking his lone official visit to Maryland in January.

Three More Players Of Note From The Under Armour Practices

Nate Craig-Myers, WR, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.): The name Nate Craig-Myers cropped back up in Maryland circles last week, but we dismissed it without much thought. After all, the five-star wideout’s original Terps’ interest came courtesy of ex-interim coach Mike Locksley, who made a charge for the Sunshine State elite earlier in the fall. But with Locksley gone, the sense was any chance Maryland had of even entertaining Craig-Myers fell by the wayside.

Not so fast.

Craig-Myers told Scout’s Corey Bender at the Under Armour All-American practices UMD remained under consideration. The five-star said he’d been hearing from both Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin and assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who had a previous relationship with Craig-Myers when the defensive backs coach was at Alabama. What’s more, Craig-Myers wants to officially visit College Park later in 2016, with Jan. 22 the proposed target date.

But don’t get your hopes up yet, Terps’ fans. Maryland might be in the game, but they’re probably sitting fifth or sixth on his favorites list.

Craig-Myers called North Carolina his No. 1, citing his well-established relationship with the staff. Meanwhile, SEC programs Auburn and Ole Miss are in the thick of things, the former garnering an official visit Jan. 15 and the latter Jan. 29. South Carolina is also in the running for an OV, Craig-Myers considering journeying through Columbia, S.C., instead of College Park Jan. 22.

In-state mainstays Florida and Florida State won’t receive officials, but Craig-Myers is so familiar with both he doesn’t feel the need to trek through Gainesville and Tallahassee again. Both are at the forefront of the receiver’s mind, however.

With the above in mind, Maryland’s chances at landing Craig-Myers seem rather slim. Corey Bender believes the five-star will end up a Tar Heel, but all of those SEC suitors are positioned to pounce too.

Craig-Myers isn’t going above "cool" on the hot board unless he 1) takes that UMD official and 2) offers up some fairly telling pro-Terps’ comments.

Jayvaugn Myers, CB, Pasco (Dade City, Fla.): The half-brother of Nate Craig-Myers, Jayvaugn Myers' recruitment almost mirrors that of his semi-sibling. In fact, the two are planning on teaming up at the next level, Jayvaugn Myers and Nate Craig-Myers discussing their situations before presumably selecting the same school on Signing Day.

Expectedly, Jayvaugn Myers is taking officials to Auburn Jan. 15 and Ole Miss Jan. 29, with the Jan. 22 date open for now. The contenders for that last weekend date? The same as Craig-Myers: North Carolina, South Carolina and Maryland.

Sunshine State stalwarts Florida, the school Myers originally committed to, and Florida State are involved as well, but the cornerback won't be officially visiting either. Myers is unlikely to reconsider UF, although FSU has more than a puncher's chance given the recruit's familiarity with the Noles. 

If Nate Craig-Myers is destined for Chapel Hill, Jayvaugn Myers could very well follow him there. But the defensive back seems to be favoring Auburn and Ole Miss, mentioning the former school's coaches have been "on me the hardest." Either of those upcoming SEC officials could sway both Myers and Craig-Myers.

Although South Carolina entered the game late, the Gamecocks have Myers' ear too. If he elects to officially visit there Jan. 22, our Scout colleagues wouln't be shocked if Myers and his half-brother head to Columbia for college.

Maryland, of course, is in this thanks to defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Myers called his relationship with the UMD assistant "cool," the coach's comments (read: he's selling immediate playing time) leading the recruit to contemplate a trek to College Park. 

If Myers and Craig-Myers decide to check out UMD Jan. 22, maybe the Terps can pull off the stunner. But most close to the situation believe the pair are heading to North Carolina, Auburn, Ole Miss or hometown FSU.

Jauan Williams, OT, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): When we interviewed Williams earlier in December, the four-star All-American said that Maryland was back on the brain what with UMD’s hiring of Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Williams met with the former Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.) head coach first-hand and said the opportunity to play for a recognized D.C. guy interested him.

At the time, though, we didn’t give Williams’ comments much credence. It was clear the Terps had other targets higher on the wish list. And even if Williams’ upside (he’s 6-7 with long arms) intrigued head coach D.J. Durkin, the four-star’s other issues may have prevented the UMD headman from pursuing in earnest.

But this week we confirmed the Terps are forming contingency plans in case the staff doesn’t land its other tackle targets (see: Javon Kinlaw, Grayson Stover, etc.). Williams is evidently one of the prospects Durkin and Co. will keep in mind as Signing Day nears.

But Williams would be no lock to wind up in College Park. There are a number of top-level programs that have the Carroll product’s attention, headlined Williams’ stated leader, Florida State, which he officially visited Dec. 11. Following the trip, Williams talked up the atmosphere; coaching staff; and the other D.C.-area players he knows in Tallahassee.

In January, Williams is thinking about officially visiting LSU (he has a close relationship with several assistants) , Florida (he likes the campus vibe), Nebraska (the staff has been in touch recently) and Oklahoma (he has a rapport with the offensive line coach).

At this time, though, it’s unclear what staffs are willing to take him. Again, there are concerns that may preclude Williams from attending a four-year college right away. He’s someone a coach may “take” and then place at a JUCO of their liking. Then, two years down the road, they’ll hope to reap the rewards.

Various Recruiting Notes

Jeawon Taylor, S, Park Crossing (Montgomery, Ala.): When the Terps -- with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim acting as point man -- offered Taylor Dec. 16, I wrote the four-star wouldn’t truly enter onto our radars unless he scheduled a College Park official visit. After all, Taylor committed to Florida back in August and hadn’t wavered since then, talking up UF-area recruiter Geoff Collins; the Gainesville atmosphere; and the Gators’ rise up the ranks.

But it turns out Abdul-Rahim worked his Bama connections and has Taylor’s ear. The Park Crossing product will be officially visiting UMD Jan. 22, along with an array of other recruits. Taylor knew Abdul-Rahim when the coach was in Tuscaloosa, and is inclined to consider the assistant’s pitch now that he’s in College Park. The safety understands he’d have an opportunity to play early and often at Maryland, which is one of the main reasons he wants to check out the school.

But Taylor will also be visiting Georgia Jan. 15 and Florida Jan. 29, giving the school he’s currently committed to last dibs. Per our Alabama sources, the consensus is Taylor will stay with UF, firming up his pledge following the official.

To have a shot at Taylor, Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin may have to convince the recruit to commit before leaving College Park Jan. 24.

Trevon Diggs, WR, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): The Terps remain alive in the Trevon Diggs sweepstakes, mainly because of the four-star’s affinity for UMD recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Remember, Abdul-Rahim ardently pursued Diggs while the defensive backs coach was at Alabama the last two seasons, developing a close rapport. On top of that, the D.C. native Abdul-Rahim has known Diggs and his family for several years, working with both Trevon and his older brother, Stefon, on several occasions when the two were younger.

But Diggs popped to Alabama with the status of his former Maryland recruiter, Mike Locksley, uncertain. And now that it’s all bust assured the ex-UMD offensive coordinator is out, the Avalon receiver probably won’t be flipping.

Diggs officially visited Tuscaloosa before the dead period, hashed things out with head coach Nick Saban, and believes he’ll have a chance to show off his skills at Bama. Unless Saban reneges late in the game, suggesting Diggs “look elsewhere,” the four-star is projected to sign with the Tide.

Diggs hasn’t completely ruled out an official visit to Maryland, however, which is why he remains on the hot board. We’re just not counting on it at this point.

Adam McLean, DT: In our previous interview with the wayward defensive tackle McLean, he let us know he was “good to go” academically and should be reenrolling at Maryland in January. Then, on Dec. 27, the former four-star All-American tweeted out that he’d received his admissions letter and was ready for a College Park return. We later confirmed McLean did indeed earn the necessary ACT scores and required GPA to qualify.

Though he wavered at times and officially visited Auburn, McLean never decommitted from Maryland. He’s fully on board with head coach D.J. Durkin and his defensive staff.

McLean, who will be on campus for the spring semester, should have an opportunity to contribute as soon as next fall. His presence will be a welcome addition to a depth-stricken defensive line.

D.J. Turner, Slot, DeMatha: By now we've all heard the rumors regarding the Terps' pledge's commitment status. Even our own Keith Cavanaugh suggested on the board the dynamic slot D.J. Turner could venture out to another locale or two before Signing Day -- if something goes awry with the Bullis quarterback.

We'll know soon enough what's up with the four-star signal caller, but I don't foresee Turner heading anywhere besides College Park. Turner himself isn't going to let on if he's wavering or not (he said he's "all Terps," for what it's worth), but those close to him (coaches and parents) have told me, "D.J. isn't going anywhere." They said Turner is perfectly content with head coach D.J. Durking and the direction he's taking Maryland.

Also, realize Turner currently has no other scholarships on the table. He's coming off a major injury, and it's unlikely one of the nation's upper-tier programs would throw him a lifeline this late in the game. 

Could the situation change after the dead period ends Jan. 14? It's recruiting, so you never say never. But we'll keep forecasting Turner to Maryland unless we hear otherwise.

Kellon Taylor, WR, DeMatha: A popular local receiver who is coming off a standout senior campaign, Taylor had drawn a couple power-five looks this offseason. The Terps, with ex-interim coach Mike Locksley at the helm, were inclined to give the 6-5 wideout a closer gander as well, perhaps extending a scholarship at some point this winter. UMD probably could’ve locked Taylor in too, the DeMatha senior expressing a desire to represent the DMV and play alongside his teammates-turned-Terps.

But now it doesn’t sound like Taylor’s going to be catching passes in College Park. New UMD coach D.J. Durkin hasn’t been willing move on the receiver, preferring other targets (Nate Craig-Myers, Xavier Lane, Trevon Diggs, Benaiah Franklin, Dredrick Snelson, Kee Whetzel) over the DeMatha product.

Maybe if  Durkin misses on a few of the aforementioned recruits he’ll contemplate pursuing Taylor, although the Stags’ star might be a bit perturbed at the lack of local love by this point. Taylor holds Temple, Toledo and other MAC scholarships and could be inclined to head to a program that’s coveted him for months.

Eric Burrell, S, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Burrell earned his late Terps' offer in mid-December, but at the time we said it was merely a "courtesy" scholarship to appease a local power program. Turns out Burrell saw it the same way. The three-star safety publicly said he was excited by the hometown scholarship, but he never seriously mulled the Terps over.

First and foremost, he had already committed to Wisconsin, a university that wanted him from the jump. Secondly, the Terps had basically ignored Burrell for months, and even a new staff couldn't dispel that distaste. Thirdly, the new UMD coaches did not even recognize Burrell as a top target unless other safety targets headed elsewhere, a fact the McDonogh recruit sensed.

Thus, Burrell let us know that, after discussing the situation with his family, he would not be officially visiting College Park. He'll stick with the Badgers, which have wanted him all along.

New Offers Out

Javon Kinlaw, OL, Goose Creek (S.C.): Three days after the Army All-American Kinlaw committed to South Carolina, the two-way lineman announced Maryland had offered and he’d be officially visiting College Park.

Kinlaw, who lived in Washington, D.C., for three years, actually attended Friendship Collegiate Academy at the same time ex-FCA headman and current UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim presided over the program. Kinlaw went as far as to call Abdul-Rahim a father figure. The Goose Creek prospect noted how the coach supported the entire Kinlaw family during the lineman’s year on Minnesota Avenue. Evidently that player-coach relationship was so strong that Kinlaw’s mind is now on Maryland.

“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 don’t get too excited just yet, Terps’ fans. Word is Kinlaw, who chose the Gamecocks over Florida, Alabama and Louisville, is a firm USC pledge. The four-star received his very first scholarship from the in-state school before his sophomore year even began, and the Gamecocks’ coaches have stayed on him since then. Despite overtures from the nation’s elites, he remained true to South Carolina and ended up committing to new head coach Will Muschamp Dec. 23. Kinlaw will be officially visiting USC at some point in January, giving Muschamp and Co. a chance to lock the lineman in.

But if/when the Terps get the four-star on campus, well, you never know what can happen.

Note: There are some concerns surrounding Kinlaw’s academic situation. It is a possibility he ends up having to attend junior college, although that’s not certain yet.

You can read more about Kinlaw HERE.

Qwuantrezz Knight, S, West Gadsden (Greenville, Fla.): We hinted at this “offer” last week, and after digging deeper it sounds like it’s not quite a committable scholarship. . . yet. While the 6-0, 190-pound safety has been in touch with UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim via text and Twitter, he’s not a “priority prospect” right now. If some of Maryland’s other defensive back targets fall off, though, Knight could get a longer look.

The West Gadsden product is currently committed to Eastern Michigan, but holds no other offers. He doesn’t show elite speed or athleticism on film, so his lack of attention isn’t all that surprising.

Either way, the Terps’ staff is intrigued enough and could have Knight up for a January official. To which the safety would be highly receptive. Knight said he’d “definitely” trek up to College Park if/when the official offer is presented.

"I think Maryland is a good program," Knight said. "They're rebuilding right now and have a new staff, so I think it would be a good opportunity for me to play early at a Big Ten school."

TTDave’s Updated Rankings List

Per request, here are the updated star rankings for the Maryland class of 2016 commitments/targets that I have scouted.

A brief explanation:

Two-star (**): A possible “reach” recruit. May have more success at the FCS level.

Three-star (***): An FBS prospect who projects as a role player. Has the potential to make an impact several years down the line, either as an occasional-starter or as a rotational contributor.

Three-and-a-half star (*** 1/2 ): A solid FBS prospect who projects as a starter in a year or two. A multi-year impact player.

Four-star (****): A high-impact, high-upside recruit who should contribute soon after arriving on campus. A multi-year starter with all-conference potential.

Four-and-a-half star (**** 1/2): An immediate FBS contributor who has multi-year all-conference potential. Has a clear path to the NFL.

Five-star (*****): A face-of-the-program type. A franchise changer. Someone who could eventually enter the school’s Hall of Fame and be an early-round draft pick provided they realize their inherent talents.

Maryland’s 2016 Commitments

Bullis Quarterback, QB, (Potomac, Md.): **** 

LoLo Harrison, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): *** ½ 

Jake Funk, RB, Damascus (Md.): *** 

Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha: *** ½ 

D.J. Turner, Slot, DeMatha: *** ½ 

Michael Clark, OT, Downingtown East (Exton, Pa.): *** 

Brian Plummer, OT, South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.): ** 

Richard Merritt, OG, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): *** ½

Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha: ****

Joey Fisher, DL, Clear Spring (Md.): **

KeAndre Jones, LB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): **** 

Travon Stott, CB, Good Counsel: N/A

Class of 2016 Maryland Targets

Trevon Diggs, WR, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): **** 

Jauan Williams, OL, Carroll: *** ½

Keith Simms, LB, Landon (Bethesda, Md.): **** 

Terrell Hall, DE, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): **** ½ 

Eric Burrell, S, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): ***

Class of 2016 Numerical Maryland/D.C. State Rankings

1.     Ellison Jordan, DT, Gilman

2.     Shane Simmons, DE, DeMatha

3.     Terrell Hall, DE, St. John’s

4.     KeAndre Jones, LB, Good Counsel

5.     Bullis Quarterback, QB, Bullis

6.     Keith Simms, LB, Landon

7.     Devery Hamilton, OT, Gilman

8.     Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha

9.     Steven Smothers, Slot, Franklin (Reisterstown, Md.)

10. Trevon Diggs, WR, Avalon

11. D.J. Turner, Slot, DeMatha

12. Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha

13. Aaron Hansford, OLB, St. John’s

14. LoLo Harrison, RB, DeMatha

15. Robbie Robinson, CB, DeMatha

16. Richard Merritt, OG, Carroll

17. Jauan Williams, OT, Carroll

Fu18. Parnell Motley, CB, Woodson (Washington, D.C.)

19. Myles Wolfolk, CB, Wise

20. Jake Funk, RB, Damascus

221. Greg Ross, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.)

22. Cameron Brown, LB, Bullis

23. Zeke McPhearson, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)

24. Stephen Spanellis, OG, Gilman

25. Sir Patrick Scott, CB, Riverdale Baptist

26. Kareem Felder, CB, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.)

27. Marcus Simms, WR, Sherwood (Sandy Spring, Md.)

28. Devante Brooks, TE, St. John’s

29. Patrick Johnson, CB, Bullis

30. Izon Pulley, OLB, Good Counsel

Various Notes On Rankings

-- The best senior I saw live this year was Gilman’s (Baltimore, Md.) Ellison Jordan, but due to his physical stature (read: short arms) I could not rate him as a 4.5-star. Jordan, firmly committed to Penn State, is no longer considered a legitimate UMD target.

-- The only two 2016 prospects I rated 4.5 stars were Terrell Hall and Shane Simmons, but that is based more on potential than pure production. Both flashed tremendous upside and could be dominant college players, but, at times, both disappeared when I watched them play. I might call them “boom or bust” types at the next level.

-- The best overall recruit I watched, regardless of class year, was DeMatha junior Anthony McFarland.

-- The best Maryland commit I watched this year was KeAndre Jones.

-- The prospect who made the greatest leap from last year to this season was Landon’s Keith Simms. Wise’s (Upper Marlboro, Md.) Myles Wolfolk was a close second.

-- In the numerical rankings, pretty much every recruit from No. 18-30 is interchangeable. Each is right around a three-star level.

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