Maryland secured a commitment from four-star DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) guard Terrance Davis Jan. 2, and we spoke to his head coach, Elijah Brooks, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-2, 310-pounder. Our question-and-answer session with Brooks can be read below:
Terrapin Times: Coach, I saw Terrance play his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, and I watched him take strides each and every year. How did he progress from last year to this year?
Elijah Brooks: Terrance had a tremendous senior campaign. He was dominant up front all year long for us. He led an offensive line that averaged over 350 yards per game on the ground. He really improved his physicality and his punch at the point of attack from his junior to his senior year. He brought a lot more confidence to the table too, as well as consistency.
TT: Were there any other technical areas he improved in? What does he bring to the table in that respect, and what are some things he needs to work on to get ready for Big Ten ball?
EB: He has tremendous feet, and he’s very intelligent as a player and really understands the game. He understands how to use his hands, how to punch, how to readjust. But things he needs to work on are keeping his body lean and being in shape against quicker defenders. He also has to be able to move his feet better in pass pro. And just the natural progression and growth as a lineman moving from high school to college, that will be an adjustment for him.
TT: Just from knowing Terrance for several years now, he seems like a very affable kid, but also someone the other guys look up to. Is that sort of the presence he has around his teammates?
EB: Oh absolutely. His personality is one of a kind. He’s not really a follower; he’s definitely going to do his own thing at his own pace. But the one thing is a lot of guys respect him and look up to him. He’s someone you want in your locker room, and he’s been phenomenal to coach the last four years.
TT: Was there anything he said in the locker room or before a big game or maybe during the championship that made you say, OK, this kid gets it?
EB: The thing about linemen is they don’t say much, but anytime we were in close games, championship games, big games, Terrance would come up to us during timeouts and say, ‘Run the ball behind me.’ And that made our job as coaches easier, because we trusted in Terrance to do the job. When it was crunch time and we needed a play, he let us know where to run the ball. That’s the greatest compliment I can give Terrance.
TT: Coach, Terrance must flip that switch when he gets between the white lines. Whenever I talk to him he’s always laughing and has a smile on his face.
EB: Oh, he absolutely does [flip the switch]. He’s a good-natured kid, but when it’s time to get after it and compete, he knows how to let it go. He’s the kind of kid you want in your program. He has that balance between having that on-the-field mean streak and that off-the-field approachable demeanor.
TT: Just projecting to the next level Coach, I know he plays tackle for DeMatha, but do you feel guard is his best spot in college?
EB: Oh yeah. It’s good to know he has that versatility to jump out and play tackle if need be, but he definitely projects as a guard. His frame and style in the run game, I feel like he can really set the tone inside at the next level.
TT: Coach, what kind of potential do you think Terrance has at the next level?
EB: Terrance can be as good as he wants to be. He wants to be at a program that’s going to push him and has coaches that will get the most out of him. So without a doubt he can be all-conference, even All-American. He just has to bring it and be ready to work.
TT: Were you surprised by his college decision? Or did you see it coming?
EB: You know, Terrance had been talking about Michigan and Maryland for awhile now. I think most believed he would end up at one of those two schools. I think the last few weeks, after he met with Coach [D.J.] Durkin from Maryland and those [coaches] over there, he really felt comfortable around that staff. I think once he went on his official visit there, Terrance kind of had an idea he wanted to go there.
But just the chance to be close to home, play for his home state, have his family and friends around, those are things Terrance liked about the University of Maryland.
TT: Coach, three of your guys -- Tino Ellis, LoLo Harrison and D.J. Turner -- have been committed to Maryland for awhile. And I know all three were on Terrance for months now. Did their recruiting pitches rub off, and did any of it make you laugh?
EB: Well, you know, it’s fun to be around. Especially when we won our championship and all these Big Ten schools were coming in to recruit Terrance. And [Ellis, Turner and Harrison] were jabbing at the coaches like, ‘Hey, everybody here is going to Maryland (laughs).’ So it was fun to hear the state pride and all the pro-Maryland comments around here from guys in our program. I think that’s great for the University of Maryland to have those guys recruiting like that.
TT: So now four guys from DeMatha heading to Maryland in one class. A couple years ago, we were asking you why no one from DeMatha had gone to UMD since Kenny Tate. Did you think this would be possible?
EB: Man, you know, it’s great for the area, great for Maryland and great for DeMatha. It’s the way things should be. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with Terrance, but I’m glad things are shaping up with the DeMatha-Maryland pipeline, getting back to where it was years ago.
TT: I’m sure some of the younger Stags have noticed that too, seeing Terrance, Tino Ellis, D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison all heading to Maryland from DeMatha?
EB: Oh, they definitely have. Those guys all know each other and talk to each other. To see [Ellis, Davis, Turner and Harrison] go to Maryland, it’s definitely caught a lot of attentions around here. It definitely helps Maryland’s chances with guys like Chase [Young], Anthony [McFarland] and those guys. We’ll see how the future goes.
TT: Coach, I know Coach D.J. Durkin at Maryland and Coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim have been through DeMatha. What do you think of Coach Durkin and the staff he’s putting together?
EB: In my brief interactions with Coach Durkin, I think he’s an energetic, passionate coach, and he’s putting together a staff that’s well-respected throughout football. Coach Aazaar, Coach [Mike] London, Coach [Scott] Shafer – those guys have been doing it awhile and definitely bring experience to the table. I think they’re going to do very well and put the pieces together over there.
TT: Do you think Coach Durkin and Coach Aazaar can lock down the DMV like [ex-UMD coach] Coach [Mike] Locksley aspired to do?
EB: You know, that’s a tall task. Only time will tell. Coach Locksley was one of the best. I think the [new staff is] going to have to continue to work at it, but if they continue getting guys from the area like they have this year, they have a chance to be successful recruiting here.