Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) corner Tariq Castro-Fields had a second consecutive day off from school Jan. 26 thanks to the snowstorm Jonas. And the 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior took advantage by catching a few extra hours of shut eye.
That is, until his phone started buzzing and his head coach’s name popped up on the caller ID.
“I literally just woke up and out of nowhere my coach calls me and tells me I got an offer from Maryland,” Castro-Fields said. “I was like, ‘What?’ (laughs). But I was really happy about it. It was really a blessing, and a really big offer. Of the three offers I have, this one meant the most, because it’s the hometown school and DMV-to-UMD is so big.”
Castro-Fields previously secured early verbals from Rutgers, Marshall and FCS suitor Towson. He didn’t want to place one suitor over another so soon, but admitted he was seeking a hometown look.
“Most definitely, it’s definitely in my head to stay home for college,” Castro-Fields said. “Just the chance to play in front of my family and friends, and with all the local guys talking about Maryland, it’s something I’m definitely thinking about. I know the DeMatha [Hyattsville, Md.] kids going there, and I’ve played against a lot of kids going there from the area.
“But I am only a junior, so I do have to take some visits and see what I like.”
Speaking of visits, Castro-Fields has seen College Park, Md., before. He attended the spring game last year, and has been in the stadium formerly known as Byrd for WCAC high school playoff games.
“I’ve been up there, and I liked the stadium and I liked some of the facilities I saw. It’s a nice place,” Castro-Fields said. “But I haven’t been up there for an actual [Terps’] game or gotten a tour yet, although I’m sure that’s coming. I plan to be up there for a junior day.”
The Riverdale product said the previous UMD staff didn’t actively recruit him. But he’s received an entirely different vibe from headman D.J. Durkin and assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Both coaches have been through Riverdale Baptist and made it known they’ll be involved at the Upper Marlboro school.
“It’s different over at Maryland now with Coach Durkin and Coach Aazaar there,” Castro-Fields said. “I’ve messaged Coach Aazaar before, and he’s just a real down-to-earth guy. You can connect with him easily, and he gets us kids. It’s like he’s part of our generation the way he talks to us. And he’s coached local guys like Jalen Tabor, so it’s like he’s a DB guru. He’s a great coach.”
As aforementioned, Castro-Fields should have a chance to meet the UMD staff in person during a junior day. He’s also looking to get out to Rutgers and Wake for the Scarlet Knights’ and Deacons’ prospect events.
Castro-Fields has already forayed through RU, Penn State and Michigan State for games.
“I’ve liked every school I’ve seen so far,” Castro-Fields said. “Right now, every offer I get and every school I have a chance to see is a blessing.”
Castro-Fields mainly played safety and receiver in 2016, recording five interceptions on defense and eight touchdowns on offense. Next year, however, he said he’ll likely move to corner, which is his projected college position.