It may be a dead recruiting period, but the Terps are on a roll with four-star All-American guards. For the second time in the last few weeks, a touted DMV lineman announced he’d be sticking around town for college and joining head coach D.J. Durkin’s program.
In front of a live television audience Jan. 2 at the Under Armour All-American Game, DeMatha’s (Hyattsville, Md.) Terrance Davis pulled on a Maryland hat, effectively joining fellow All-American guard Richard Merritt (Carroll/Washington, D.C.) and three other Under Armour participants currently pledged to the hometown school.
Davis, the sixth-ranked guard in the nation per Scout.com, is the third recruit who committed under the Durkin regime, preceded by Merritt and Australian punter Wade Lees.
“Coach Durkin has huge, huge plans for Maryland and wants to build a winning program early. He has a lot of positive ideas about changing the mentality of the team,” said the 6-foot-2, 310-pound Davis, who also considered Michigan and Florida. “He’s very energetic, very passionate and he’s bringing life into the program.
“Coming in, with [Maryland] on the decline and bringing the program back up to glory in your home state, that’s a great opportunity for me.”
Davis met UMD’s new headman for the first time Dec. 4, 2015, the two engaging in a productive 45-minute sitdown. Then, a week later, Davis, along with several current Terps’ commits -- including two of the DeMatha guard’s teammates, LoLo Harrison and D.J. Turner -- took his College Park, Md., official visit.
It was those two trips that sold Davis on Durkin and the staff he was assembling. At the time, the new assistants included D.C.-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and defensive line coach Mike London.
“The energy is definitely what hit me about Coach Durkin,” said Davis, who was considered a heavy Michigan lean up until his last couple treks through College Park. “He’s really fiery; the fire and energy were legit. That was very impressive to me and caught my eye. And I knew Coach Durkin a little bit when he was at Michigan, and I know all the [Wolverines’] defensive [recruits] really liked him. I know he’s a great, great defensive mind.
“I still want to find out who the O-line coach is going to be, but Coach Aazaar, I’ve known him for a long time. He’s been telling me I can do everything I want to at Maryland and don’t have to go to Alabama [Abdul-Rahim’s former employer] to get it done. He’s saying I can do great things here and help get Maryland to the top. Then I liked coach London; I really liked his presence and what he’s about. And Coach Shaffer, he’s known me for a longtime and was looking at me for years up at Syracuse. It’s really a great staff coming in.”
Apparently Davis’ mother, who has her son’s ear, readily took to the staff as well. She joined Davis on the official visit and had a long discussion with Durkin about Maryland’s direction.
“My mom really enjoyed meeting the coaches and learning what Maryland will be about moving forward,” Davis said. “She does really like Michigan, but she likes Maryland a lot too. She likes Coach Durkin a lot, she likes his character, and she believes he’s going to turn the program around. They have a great plan to develop me at Maryland.”
Davis had even more compliments for Durkin -- namely his recruiting strategy. Like ex-interim coach Mike Locksley, Durkin is emphasizing the DMV, reaching out to numerous D.C.-area high school coaches and prospects. Durkin apparently told Davis he wants the program’s foundation to consist of nearby talents.
“[Durkin] said getting the local guys at Maryland is his priority. He was saying, ‘If you [DMV] guys start this class off, the program is going to promote itself and Maryland could be a machine,’” Davis said. “[Durkin] is really adamant about all the local guys staying home and just kept preaching that. He does want to add a couple out-of-state guys, but said this area is No. 1. He wants to make sure all the committed guys stay and just keep going after [uncommitted] DMV guys like myself. He said we’re the base of the program.”
But Durkin and the coaching staff were only part of Davis’ concern. More importantly, he viewed Maryland as an opportunity to contribute early during his career -- a distinct possibility given the Terps’ need for depth along both lines. Plus it’s a chance to play alongside the guys he’s competed with since youth ball.
Indeed, LoLo Harrison, who is Davis’ cousin and has known him since kindergarten, D.J. Turner, and Tino Ellis have been hyping the hometown school for months. Davis didn’t commit to UMD just because his teammates were heading there, but he did heed their words.
“Those guys always talked about Maryland; they stayed on me, asking me when I was going to join in,” said Davis, who has played alongside Turner and Harrison since their youth-league days with Mike Anderson's Grassroots program. “They were just like, ‘Just come join the family, you don’t have to go far to realize your dreams. You can accomplish everything you want to here.’ They were just saying something special is going on at Maryland.”
Outside of the football-related reasons he pledged to Maryland, there was Davis’ obvious familiarity with College Park. He lives just minutes from campus and liked the idea of having friends and family close by. And since Davis had been at Maryland more times than he could remember, foraying through for games; junior days; and random visits; it’s a school where he developed an inherent comfort level.
The fact UMD is a renowned academic institution didn’t hurt, either.
“Maryland is like a second home for me. I’m always up there, and always welcome there,” Davis said. “My mom and dad can see me play there, and all the people I grew up with are around there.
“It’s a great education too, and there are a lot of opportunities there outside of football. Actually I liked how Coach [Durkin] said he’s going to work to get us job opportunities, and how he hopes to develop us on and off the field.”
Even so, there were questions whether Davis would continue to view Maryland in a positive light after Mike Locksley’s imminent departure became reality. Davis, like most local prospects Locksley recruited, held out hope the ex-offensive coordinator would remain at UMD.
“It’s a bonus if Coach Locksley were there. He recruited me for a long time and he was a great person to talk to. He’s known me since before I even got to high school,” Davis said. “But he wasn’t the main reason I was looking at Maryland. The hometown, the chance for my family to see me play, the opportunities outside of football -- those are some of the main reasons I was high on Maryland.”
There is still a month to go before Davis signs a National Letter of Intent, but he’s effectively shut down his recruitment, canceling intended trips to Georgia; Florida; and Alabama (he officially visited Michigan in November). Thus, the four-star is ready to begin the next stage of his career in College Park.
“I think Maryland has a chance to be a championship contender,” Davis said. “I think you can accomplish big things at Maryland, and it’s a chance to be apart of something special.”
Note: Terrapin Times scouted Terrance Davis several times during his senior season. Our take on his game can be found HERE.