At this rate, the Maryland staff might just offer the entire state of Florida.
On Jan. 7, the Terps dipped back into the Sunshine State yet again, although instead of handing out another defensive back offer, the UMD staff opted for a trenchman. Defensive end Keldric Preston (Robinson/Tampa, Fla.), a Wisconsin pledge since July 2015, earned his latest scholarships from Maryland and could entertain an official visit to College Park, Md.
“It was an honor to get that offer. Maryland is a great school and there’s a lot of similarities between Maryland and Wisconsin,” said Preston, who at one time claimed offers from UMD, Wisconsin, Miami, Louisville, Pitt, Penn State, Rutgers, FAU, FIU, USF, Boston College, Wake Forest and others. “It’s a Big Ten school, great academics, a lot of great coaches on staff … it’s a nice program. But it would take a lot to flip [from Wisconsin].”
Even so, Preston said he and his parents will discuss a possible Maryland official visit in short order. The 6-foot-4, 245-pounder has also been hearing from Tennessee, along with longtime offerees Miami and USF, but said the only official he’d consider taking would be to UMD.
“I’m never going to turn down and offer without looking into it, but right now Maryland is the only school I’d think about visiting,” Preston said. “I spoke to a few of the coaches at Maryland, and I definitely clicked with them. I talked to the D-line coach [Mike London], and he used to be the head coach at UVA. We definitely clicked.
“And Coach [Chris] Beatty, he was actually at Wisconsin a couple years ago, so there’s a tie there, although I didn’t know him at the time. But he’s a cool dude and you can definitely feel his energy. And Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], I messaged with him and he’s a really cool guy too. So there’s a lot of people on the Maryland staff that have been coming at me.”
The coach connection isn’t the only tie Preston has to UMD, however. His former teammate, Jahrvis Davenport, is currently on Maryland’s roster.
“Jahrvis was actually just down here over Christmas, and we talked about college and how it’s going at Maryland,” Preston said. “He said he loves it up there and said it’s a good place to be. I was asking him some questions, and he definitely said some great things about Maryland. So that was interesting to hear, and it’s cool that I have a teammate that’s going there.”
But, Preston reiterated, he’s not about to renege on his Wisconsin pledge just yet. Even though his lead Badgers’ recruiter, Dave Aranda, left the program for LSU, Preston said he believes in head coach Paul Chryst and what the Badgers are about. He officially visited Madison, Wisc., Dec. 11 and said that 48-hour stay helped solidify his status.
“Wisconsin is No. 1 on my list. I’m still strong on them. It will take a lot to change my decision,” Preston said. “The coaches would love to have me there, they said I can have an early impact and I believe I’d have a great future there. I love it up there and appreciate the love I’m shown there. I bought into what [the coaches] were saying and can’t wait to get up there.
“So as of right now, I’m 100 percent committed.”
Preston is coming off a season where he recorded 64 tackles, six sacks, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He said he’s being recruited as both an outside linebacker and defensive end, depending on the program’s scheme.
“Wisconsin runs a 3-4, so I’d play outside linebacker there,” Preston said. “But teams that play a 4-3 I’d be a defensive end. The position doesn’t really matter, just as long as I’m on the field making an impact.”