The Terps already have two running backs in their 2016 class in LoLo Harrison (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) and Jake Funk (Damascus, Md.), but the current roster is bereft of depth. Therefore, UMD head coach D.J. Durkin will attempt to add one more back this year, with Tyrek Tisdale (Oak Ridge/Orlando, Fla.) perhaps the No. 1 target. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Tisdale will officially visit College Park, Md., Jan. 29, giving the Terps the final word.
“Maryland is a real good school, it’s good academics and it’s a school I’m becoming more familiar with,” said Tisdale, whose only other January official is to UMass Jan. 22. “I think with the staff they’re putting together they’re going to compete for a Big Ten championship soon. I really like what they have going on there. They look like a good school, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to go up for a visit and see what they’re all about.”
Tisdale first spoke to head coach D.J. Durkin right after Christmas, the Maryland headman extending the scholarship offer then. But the three-star runner has known UMD assistant Scott Shafer for several months, from when the coach was at Syracuse. Tisdale has also spoken to Terps’ assistant Mike London and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, who also had a rapport with Tisdale at Syracuse.
“With Maryland I’m very comfortable with their new staff. Coach Shafer was recruiting me at Syracuse and we already had a pretty good relationship, and I just spoke to Coach Beatty too. They’re both really good coaches,” Tisdale said. “Coach Durkin, when we talked I could tell he’s a really passionate coach and he’s working to turn things around. So I like the staff they’re putting together there, and I liked how when they talked to me it wasn’t just about football. They’re making it a point to get to know me personally, and I like that.”
Maybe so, but football has filled out the crux of their conversations. Tisdale said he’s aware Maryland’s in need of running backs, so the chance to shine early during his career makes UMD an appealing option.
“The [Maryland staff] told me to be ready to play when I come in. They don’t think I need to redshirt. They said I could see the field as a freshman, and to come in and be a leader. So that’s the main thing I really liked about Maryland,” Tisdale said. “But one thing is they’re actually talking to me about running back, slot or safety. It depends how I do in camp what position I play, but most likely it’ll be running back.”
Tisdale said he watched “a little” of the Terps when he was younger, but hasn’t paid too much attention to UMD recently. But while he might not be overly familiar with the program or its history yet, he’s well aware of who Maryland is recruiting. Namely, his fellow Floridians who will be joining him on his Jan. 29 official visit.
“It’s supposed to be me, K.J. Sails (East Bay/Gibsonton, Fla.), Nate Craig-Myers (Tampa Catholic/Tampa, Fla.) and Jayvaugh Myers (Pasco/Dade City, Fla.) -- we’re all supposed to take that visit together,” Tisdale said. “Me and K.J., we were actually together over the New Year’s weekend and we were like, ‘We can all take that visit together, see how it goes, and see how we might fit together as teammates at Maryland.’ It definitely helps going up with other people. So we’ll see what happens after that.”
But Tisdale didn’t want to give the Terps an outright edge just yet. He said UMass, which has been after him for much longer than Maryland, remains firmly on the brain.
“UMass is a good school too. They want me at running back, and Coach Walker and Coach Costello said I’m a playmaker and feel like I can make big plays and help turn the program around,” Tisdale said. “Even though they’re an independent, they still play great competition. It doesn’t really make a difference with the conferences, Big Ten or independent. Both UMass and Maryland play good teams and have good schedules.”
At one time, Tisdale had a multitude of suitors throughout the Big Ten, ACC, Big 12 and even the SEC. In fact, at one time the running back was committed to Florida before reneging on his pledge Oct. 5, 2015.
But since going back on the open market, Tisdale’s seen his options dwindle.
“All the other schools recruiting me kind of filled up their spots. I took an official to Oregon State [in September], but they filled up their spots, and then Syracuse, they were on me, but they got a new staff,” Tisdale said. “So it’s down to UMass and Maryland. I feel very comfortable with the schools I’m choosing between.”
Expect Tisdale to announce his future destination on Signing Day.
“The plan is to let everyone know where I’m going to school in February,” Tisdale said. “I’ll make the announcement at my school and let everyone know then.”
Tisdale is coming off a 1,100-yard, 14-touchdown season, to go along with 15 receptions out of the slot. He said he did not play defense his senior year.