The Maryland staff hit the road during the second week of the January open period, and one of offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s initial stops was the Peach State. Bell trekked through some of his more familiar Georgia stomping grounds during his one-day stay, including Milton High (Alpharetta, Ga.), where he’d identified a rising-star defensive back.
“Coach Bell, he recruited me when he was at Arkansas State and offered me there. And then he came in [Jan. 19] and offered me for Maryland,” said 6-foot, 180-pounder Troy Simon, a 2017 recruit. “I was really excited about the offer, because it’s one of my favorite schools and I’ve always watched their players and followed their coaches on Twitter. I previously had an offer from Maryland when the old staff was there and Coach [Lyndon] Johnson saw me at a spring practice. So I was really glad to get an offer from the new Maryland staff.”
Simon said he’s known Bell for more than a year now. The Georgia corner said the ex-Arkansas State offensive coordinator stopped by Milton “three or four times” to meet with the coaches; take in practices; and the like.
“Coach Bell is one of my favorite recruiters,” said Simon, who also holds offers from Wake Forest, Illinois, Arkansas State and Middle Tennessee. “He’s a younger recruiter and he has this ‘walk and talk’ to him that’s really cool. He gives you a firm handshake, looks you in the eye, and is just really likeable and cool.”
While Simon has an affinity for Bell, he’s also taken to Maryland. Even though he lives in the South, Simon said he’s tuned in to his share of Terps’ games.
“I’ve never been up there before, but I watched them on TV a bunch,” Simon said. “The Under Armour uniforms, that’s what really caught my eye. Those are really awesome. And I really like some of their players there too, and I like that they’re in the Big Ten. I like schools in the Big Ten and ACC.”
Simon admitted he doesn’t know much about UMD beyond the basics, however. Which is why he plans to trek up to College Park, Md., multiple times to learn more.
“I’m definitely getting up soon, for a junior day and a spring practice,” Simon said. “Maryland is going to be a favorite for me, so I definitely want to see what it’s like.”
Besides UMD, Simon said he’s planning on checking out Wake Forest Feb. 28, UNC Jan. 31 and Illinois at some point in February. He said North Carolina’s staff has been showing interest and could offer soon. Cal coaches have also been through Milton and might ante up as well.
“I’m not necessarily looking for any offers in particular,” Simon said. “I just want to play football, play for great coaches and live in a city I feel comfortable with.”
The Milton product is coming off a junior campaign where he recorded around 60 tackles, three interceptions and 10 breakups. He played safety, corner and dime back last year.
“How it worked was I would guard the other team’s best athlete. I’m a cover-corner, a lockdown guy,” Simon said. “But I need to work on almost everything. I wouldn’t say I’m dominating in any area yet. I still have to get way better.”