The Maryland staff is attempting to add another pass rusher to its 2016 class before Signing Day, and head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. have identified an under-the-radar defensive end/outside linebacker type in Delray Beach, Fla. Atlantic High senior Dion Goldbourne has been playing football for all of one year, but his upside has begun to attract interest as Feb. 3 nears.
Maryland was his most recent offer, while the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder has also pulled in NC State; Toledo; and FIU, and is nearing one from Kansas State.
“Dion is an underrated player,” said Atlantic’s head coach, T.J. Jackson. “Dion was a basketball player all through high school, and this is his first time playing football, so that’s why people haven’t really noticed him. But he has tremendous potential, and whatever school he decides to go to, he’s going to bring a lot to the table.
“Now, he’s going to have to get in the weight room to build up a football body, but he’s athletic; fluid; he has a fast first step; he’s smart; and he understands the game. He had a great season for us, and definitely did some great things coming off the edge. His first-step quickness is one thing that really stood out.”
Evidently it stood out to the Terps’ staff too. Maryland defensive coordinator Scott Shafer trekked through Atlantic in mid-January, letting Jackson and Goldbourne know UMD coveted his services. Afterwards, Goldbourne promptly set up an official visit for Jan. 29. It will be his first time in College Park, Md.
“We’re coming up for a visit on the 29th. We haven’t been on the campus yet, but just have looked at the website, the players they have and the games they played so far,” said Goldbourne’s uncle, Mike Harvey. “I mean, Dion loves to play football, so anywhere where he gets the opportunity to play he’s going to look at that [school]. At this point, we first need to go to the campus, check out the coaches and see what he thinks. It’s kind of a premature question to ask what he likes about the school, because he hasn’t seen it. But Maryland is giving him an opportunity, and we’ll go up and check it out.”
Jackson basically reiterated those comments, noting that Goldbourne was in the “research phase.” But Jackson did say that he believes Maryland is a “great program” and would be a good fit for his budding defensive end.
“Coach Shafer told us some great things about Maryland and the direction they’re moving. He was impressive,” Jackson said. “And I’m actually buddies with the defensive backs coach there, Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], and I know Coach Durkin from when he was at Michigan. He recruited one of our kids to Michigan last year, so I know him from that. So we know the Maryland coaches and have some connections.
“I believe Dion has some family up there too. I believe he has cousins up there.”
While Maryland would seemingly be Goldbourne’s only opportunity to take a visit before Signing Day, Harvey said that’s not necessarily the case. Evidently the family is looking into checking out NC State, Kansas State and possibly others after Feb. 3.
“At this point, we’re just not sure yet,” Harvey said. “We’re not sure if Dion is going to sign on Signing Day or wait it out. We have to see how it goes.”
Goldbourne and his uncle embarked on their first official to FIU Jan. 15. Harvey said the trip went well and Goldbourne has the hometown suitor under consideration.
As far as where he fits at the next level, Jackson said Goldbourne could fill a variety of defensive roles.
“Depending on the scheme of the defense, Dion can be a standup defensive end or an outside linebacker. He’s a versatile player,” Jackson said. “If he continues to work and develop, he has a ton of potential at the next level.”