TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Running Down The Hot Board

For the second straight Shell, we’re running down the Terps’ recruiting board, updating the status of the UMD staff’s remaining targets, starting from Jan. 22 through Jan. 29.

Quarterbacks

Tyrrell Pigrome, QB, Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Ala.): The Maryland staff is in position to land the Alabama quarterback Pigrome, who is set to officially visit College Park, Md., Jan. 29. Not only will the Terps get the last word, but the coaches have been pushing harder than any of Pigrome’s other power-five suitors.

Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell trekked through Clay-Chalkville in mid-January, while head coach D.J. Durkin has been out to see him as well. Bell has been pursuing Pigrome since the coach was at Arkansas State, and the coordinator hasn’t halted the charge at UMD. Pigrome already knows he’d be a fit in Bell’s spread offense, and, more importantly, that the Terps want him to play quarterback in said offense.

The latter fact should give Maryland a leg up on Pigrome’s other chief contender, Virginia Tech. The Hokies’ head coach, Justin Fuente, wants Pigrome as a slot receiver/athlete type rather a signal caller, but the Alabama native’s preference is throw passes in college -- not catch them.

Even so, Pigrome does have Hokies’ affinity and embarked on a midweek Blacksburg, Va., official Jan. 27-29. Pigrome has a very good relationship with the Tech staff, and potentially could be persuaded slot is his best college position.

But he obviously did not commit as of this writing, leaving Maryland with the final say. We’ll see if Durkin’s and Walt Bell’s words can trump those of Justin Fuente and Co.

Our take? We’ve heard various rumblings, and it sounds like Pigrome is truly torn. It may come down to a coin flip, although we’ll give Maryland the edge since the Terps do have the advantage of the last official.

Note: Pigrome was supposed to officially visit Rutgers Jan. 24-26, but the Scarlet Knights’ staff backed off. RU’s coaches have other signal caller higher on their board, preferring Tylin Oden (Spring Hill/Columbia, Tenn.), who popped to Rutgers Jan. 27, and Lindsey Scott (discussed below) to Pigrome.

Temperature Reading: HOT

Lindsey Scott, QB, Zachary (La.): Talk about a 180 from last week. After the Maryland quarterback target Scott landed a hometown LSU offer, most simply assumed he’d pop to the Tigers during his Jan. 29 official. Now, that’s still a possibility if Scott truly wants to be in Baton Rouge, La., but we’ve heard headman Les Miles might not push for a pop.

Remember, LSU has a limited number of scholarships this year, so Miles may not be as willing to go hard after a borderliner when numerous nationally-touted recruits remain on the Tigers’ board. Yes, it’s true LSU does not have a quarterback in this class, but the Tigers do have six enrolled in the program, so it’s not an absolute necessity they add one this time around.

With that in mind, the Terps could be positioned to pounce. The dual-threat Scott officially visited both College Park and Piscataway, N.J., last week, placing Maryland and Rutgers on an even plane. But we’re encouraged by Maryland’s position given the impression head coach D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell and the rest of the staff made on Scott and his father, Lindsey Scott Sr. Moreover, RU’s staff pulled in quarterback Tylin Oden Jan. 27, and now the Scarlet Knights aren’t as inclined to pursue Scott in earnest.

Before embarking on his College Park official, Bell went in-home with Scott shortly after the January open period began. Then, a few days later, Durkin and several other offensive assistants all journeyed down to Baton Rouge too, stressing the team’s need for a gunslinger.

When Scott finally made it to UMD, the coaches put on the full-court press once again. They showed the Zachary prospect how he’d fit Bell’s scheme, explained how his skill-set was conducive to the up-tempo spread, and let the quarterback know he could start early during his career.

Now, we wouldn’t be floored if Scott opted for LSU, but the signs are encouraging enough for UMD.

Temperature Reading: HOT

Chase Fourcade, QB, Rummel (Metairie, La.): Joining Lindsey Scott in College Park Jan. 22 was another Louisiana native, Fourcade. Of the two visitors, we assumed it would be the Rummel product who would be on the verge of popping to Maryland -- not the Zachary one.

But while Fourcade talked up his Terps’ trip and knows he'd be a great fit in offensive coordinator Walt Bell's offense, he also admitted Maryland was a bit too far from home. Even though UMD represents his lone power-five offer, Fourcade surmised he might be more comfortable at hometown Nicholls State, the school he’s currently committed to, than a program a couple thousand miles away. (Some speculated the reason Fourcade didn’t pop was the Maryland staff preferred Lindsey Scott and Tyrrell Pigrome to the Rummel recruit. But Fourcade insisted the UMD coaches pushed for him to commit while on campus.)

For now, Fourcade is pleased with his Nicholls State commitment, his Jan. 15 official visit cementing him in. He’ll also be trekking through Louisiana-Monroe Jan. 29, although he'll probably stick with the school he's been committed to since the summer.

You can read more about Fourcade HERE.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Ramar Williams, QB, McNamara (Forestville, Md.): The local quarterback Williams is in a holding pattern as Signing Day approaches. He’s reportedly visited Army and a couple of his I-AA suitors, but is waiting on that Maryland offer.

If it’s presented, Williams has indicated he’d hop on it. He wants the opportunity to play for his hometown school, throw to his friends from the DMV heading to Maryland, and show what he can do in the FBS.

But Williams may be on the outside looking in if the Terps’ staff secures its priorities, Tyrrell Pigrome and Lindsey Scott.

Temperature Reading: COOL

Running Backs

LoLo Harrison, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Harrison is firmly committed to Maryland and should be signing Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Jake Funk, RB, Damascus (Md.): Funk has enrolled at Maryland and will be participating in spring ball.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Laderrien Wilson, RB, Osceola (Kissimmee, Fla.): Wilson popped to Maryland Jan. 17 and cancelled his remaining two official visits. He will be signing with UMD Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Receivers

Tyrek Tisdale, Slot/S, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.): The three-star athlete Tisdale officially visited UMass Jan. 22, and though he had a great time taking in the Minutemen, he left without committing. Tisdale intends to follow through with that final trip to Maryland Jan. 29, the Terps’ staff poised to reel the receiver/runner/safety in.

Tisdale played mainly running back at Oak Ridge, but with UMD having three 2016 backs in tow, the Orlando native projects as a slot or safety in College Park. In fact, Durkin went in-home with Tisdale Jan. 21 and again Jan. 27, letting the back know exactly where he stood with UMD.

Indeed, Tisdale has heard consistently from Durkin and area recruiter Scott Shafer, who formed a bond with the back when the coach was at Syracuse, taking to both coaches’ enthusiasm. The runner’s well aware the Terps are in need of playmakers too, and the prospects of balling out right away in the Big Ten has Tisdale’s attention.

Unless Tisdale receives less-than-positive feedback after arriving in College Park, he should be opting for Maryland shortly after this visit. Tisdale intends to announce on Signing Day, but don’t be surprised if he lets the staff know he’s coming before leaving UMD.

Temperature Reading: HOT

Trevon Diggs, WR, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): The Alabama commit Diggs was supposed to officially visit Maryland Jan. 22, but he demurred -- snowstorm or no snowstorm. But while we're sure the official never occurred, it was widely reported that Diggs did take an unofficial visit that day instead, having a productive sitdown with the staff. However, Diggs said at the International Bowl practice earlier this week that meeting never took place either. 

Now, we have it on pretty good authority that Diggs did in fact sit down with head coach D.J. Durkin and the rest of the Maryland staff Jan. 22. We also have it on good authority that the meeting was productive and "went well."

But perhaps Diggs didn't want it known he was back in College Park so as not to upset Bama or start the rumor mill swirling. Indeed, Diggs told our Scout colleagues Jan. 28 that he was 100 percent ready to roll with the Tide and wouldn't be entertaining other suitors. He said he did consider Maryland and possibly LSU at one point, but had no intentions of backing out of his original pledge, despite rumors that Diggs may be wavering since head coach Nick Saban might move him to corner rather than his preferred wideout spot.

The Terps' staff did its best here with Durkin, receivers' coach Chris Beatty and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim staying on the local wideout and making some hay with Diggs’ family. The coaches stopped by Avalon in mid-January as well.

But unless Diggs is playing games with the media again as he prepares for a Signing Day flip, it sounds like he's sticking with Bama.

Note: Regardless of which program Diggs chooses, he may have to attend prep school for a year anyway.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Dredrick Snelson, WR, Flanagan (Pembrook Pines, Fla.): With Miami’s staff failing to offer and Snelson likely backing out of his Minnesota pledge, the Under Armour All-American Snelson is basically down to Maryland; UCF; and Penn State. Of those latter three, in-state UCF could now have the inside track. Snelson officially visited the Knights Jan. 15 and returned for an unofficial Jan. 22, the receiver and his parents taking a liking to the hometown program. UCF’s up-tempo offense, its close proximity to Pembrook Pines and the opportunity to shine right away all ring true with the four-star.

The Nittany Lions’ staff, which is set to host Snelson Jan. 29, was thought to have other targets higher on their board. But head coach James Franklin went in-home with Snelson Jan. 28 and reportedly let the receiver know he had a spot in State College, Pa.

Maryland’s coaches, meanwhile, do covet Snelson (they stopped by Flanagan twice since the January open period began), but the wideout never made it to College Park. He reneged on two intended College Park official visits, Jan. 22 and Jan. 29, choosing to stay in Florida last weekend and electing to see Happy Valley this weekend.

Barring a last-minute change, the tealeaves are reading “UCF” or possibly “PSU.”

Temperature Reading: COOL

Greg Dortch, Slot, Highland Springs (Va.): The slot receiver Dortch embarked on a Jan. 22 official visit to Wake Forest, the school he pledged to back in July. Afterwards, Dortch declared his recruitment “done,” letting on the Deacons’ coaches had sealed him in. The Wake staff has been consistently pursuing Dortch for more than half-a-year, and that bond was too strong to break. On top of that, Dortch fell in love with the small-school environment and campus, while he formed a strong bond with several current Deacons and incoming recruits.

Before heading to Winston Salem, N.C., Dortch did say he would consider visiting Maryland Jan. 29 at the behest of UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty. Beatty went after Dortch when the coach was at UVA, so the two had an established rapport. The receivers’ coach’s player-development reputation and offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense piqued Dortch’s interest as well.

But even if Dortch did visit College Park, he said it would take a lot to flip him from Wake. Now, though, the Terps’ staff won’t have the chance to win him over at all.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Kee Whetzel, WR/OLB, Countryside (Clearwater, Fla.): The Maryland staff has had an offer out to Whetzel since early December, the receiver/linebacker taking a liking to head coach D.J. Durkin’s pitch regarding early playing time. Plus, Whetzel didn’t have any other Big Ten offers and wanted the chance to play at the highest levels of college football.

But in-state UCF made a charge, and Whetzel reneged on an intended Jan. 22 College Park official visit. Instead, he stayed in warm, sunny Florida and took in the Knights, calling them the favorites for his services. The UCF staff, which went in-home with Whetzel earlier, has made the versatile athlete a priority, the Countryside product feeling the hometown love.

Even so, Whetzel said he would still be contemplating visiting Maryland Jan. 29. But this time he opted for Oregon State after the Beavers’ coaches went in-home with him Jan. 26.

So this recruitment has gone from Whetzel learning towards UMD to a UCF-Oregon State battle. It is what it is.

Note: Speculation on this end is the UMD coaches backed off their pursuit. Although Whetzel’s listed as a receiver, the Terps’ staff could have preferred him at outside linebacker, a position where the coaches had higher-rated targets on their board.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): The Maryland receiver pledge Ellis was supposed to officially visit College Park Jan. 22, but he had to sit for the SATs last weekend. Thus, he moved the trip to Jan. 29. Ellis said he’s “100 percent committed” to the Terps and, assuming he earned the necessary SAT scores, should be ready to sign Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

D.J. Turner, Slot, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Turner chose not to take an official visit to Syracuse Jan. 22. He is entrenched with the Terps and will be signing with UMD Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Tight Ends

Noah Barnes, TE, Auburn (Ala.): Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin wrapped up the Jan. 22-24 official visit weekend by pulling in a third recruit. In an expected move, the 6-5, 230-pound Barnes flipped his commitment from Memphis to Maryland before leaving College Park.

“Obviously Maryland was the offer I always wanted. I had a feeling I was going to commit going in, but I just wanted to be sure,” said Barnes, who originally committed to Memphis back in September but began to waver after much of the Tigers’ staff, including headman Justin Fuente, left for Virginia tech. “So when I got up to Maryland, I knew that’s where I wanted to be. Memphis set the bar really high and I had a great visit there too [Jan. 15], but Maryland just felt like home. I’m honored to be a Terp.”

Barnes probably would’ve committed to UMD before taking his official -- after all, he’d already visited UMD once before for the June 27, 2015, Big Show and said Maryland “was like my favorite school growing up” --  but he wanted to meet Durkin and Co. first. Afterwards, Barnes and his parents, who accompanied him on the official, couldn’t say enough about the headman; tight ends coach Pete Lembo; offensive coordinator Walt Bell; and the rest.

Barnes knew Bell from when the coach was at Arkansas State, the tight end characterizing his relationship with the offensive coordinator as “great.” The Auburn recruit offered up even higher praise for Lembo, Barnes dubbing the coach “very intelligent” and “knowledgeable.”

Barnes easily connected with his player host, Avery Edwards, and the various linemen he met too. He said he fit in well and had a great time hanging out on campus and at the hotel.

The tight end also talked up UMD’s Big Ten and Under Armour affiliations, as well as the university’s academics. Barnes tentatively wants to study medicine, and believes Maryland’s various science programs will help him achieve that goal.

As far as his game is concerned, Barnes projects as an in-line tight end in a two-tight set. He did play some H-back and slot in high school, so he could potentially fill those roles at Maryland too.

But Barnes isn’t exactly a burner, and he’s doesn’t possess Eric Ebron athleticism (the tight end Walt Bell reared at North Carolina). So don’t expect Barnes to be shooting down the seams or running deep crossing patterns a la Avery Edwards. He does seem to have reliable hands and above-average body control, however, so it’s conceivable, given his size, Barnes could become a valuable red-zone target.

But for Barnes to excel in his projected role, he does need to bulk up some and improve his down blocking. Especially if he’s going to be a blocking tight end, we’d like to see him generate more point-of-attack power, coming off the ball harder and lower.

You can read more about Barnes HERE.

You can hear what his coach had to say HERE

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Offensive Linemen

Jauan Williams, OT, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): Williams has now taken official visits to Florida State (Dec. 15), Texas A&M (Jan. 15) and LSU (Jan. 22), with a final foray to Oklahoma coming up Jan. 29.

The Tigers are going all-out for the Under Armour All-American, rolling out the red carpet during Williams’ stay in Baton Rouge, La., followed by head coach Les Miles’ in-home visit shortly thereafter. It’s possible Miles’ personal overtures may have jolted Williams’ attention.

The Sooners have been just as active in their pursuit, the coaches doing an in-home and in-school meeting with Williams and his family. Plus, Oklahoma’s staff has the benefit of hosting Williams for his final official.

And then there’s Florida State, the tackle’s stated No. 1. The Seminoles’ coaches apparently won Williams over during his December OV, the D.C. product talking up the Tallahassee, Fla., atmosphere and the staff’s pitch.

TAMU is in play too, although we’ve heard College Station, Texas, isn’t a likely landing spot.

As for the Terps, the staff made a play here with head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and others stopping through Carroll. Durkin and Co. have been pitching immediate playing time and representing the home state, and initially they did seem to have Williams’ ear. But the four-star tackle has yet to venture up to campus, leading us to believe he remains focused on his big-time national suitors.

We’ll leave Williams on the hot board since he tends to be mercurial, however. It’s always possible the Maryland staff can make one last-gasp effort and coaxes out a last-second unofficial visit.

A longshot? Sure. But stranger things have happened in recruiting.

Temperature Reading: COOL

Luke Campbell, OT, Olentangy (Lewis Center, Ohio): The Terps were supposed to host Campbell for an official Jan. 29, but, as anticipated, he won’t be making it to College Park. Campbell ended up popping to Michigan State, the school he visited Jan. 22, before leaving East Lansing, Mich.

When the Spartans’ staff tossed Campbell a late offer, it was only a matter of time before the Midwest native popped. Campbell called MSU a “dream offer” of sorts, so the only way he wouldn’t have pledged to the Spartans is if the coaches elected not to accept his commitment.

The Maryland staff did make a run, however, with headman D.J. Durkin and line coach Dave Borbely both visiting Olentangy. Plus, UMD assistant Pete Lembo knew Campbell well from when the coach was at Ball State, giving the Terps an “in.”

Considering the latter, Maryland may have had a shot if Campbell chose to visit. But that Michigan State scholarship threw a kink into the Terps’ coaches’ plans.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Terek Zingale, OT, Nordonia (Macedonia, Ohio): After more than a month with no communication, the big Ohio tackle Zingale finally got in touch with the new Maryland staff.

And now he’s back in the fold.

UMD offensive line coach Dave Borbely went up to Macedonia twice during January, and Zingale visited College Park Jan. 22, in effect solidifying his status. Zingale sat down with Borbely and head coach D.J. Durkin during the official visit, the two coaches letting the big tackle know he had a place at UMD.

Which makes sense, because many of the Terps’ coaches’ other tackle targets had fallen by the wayside. The only other tackle in UMD’s 2016 class is Brian Plummer (discussed below).

Zingale, for his part, admitted to being nervous about his status with UMD in the wake of ex-headman Randy Edsall’s departure. But after speaking to Borbely and meeting the rest of the staff, the Nordonia product is set to sign Feb. 3.

You can read more about Zingale HERE

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Brian Plummer, OT, South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.): Plummer remains in Maryland’s plans and will be officially visiting College Park Jan. 29. He should be signing with the Terps Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Terrance Davis, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Davis will be joining his DeMatha teammates-turned-Terps and signing with UMD Feb. 3. He’s all about head coach D.J. Durkin and the hometown movement.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Richard Merritt, OG, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): The Carroll four-star committed to Maryland Dec. 18 and has been steadfast on his pledge since then. Merritt will be signing with UMD Feb. 3.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Defensive Linemen

Dion Goldbourne, DE/OLB, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): The Terps are banking on this defensive end/outside linebacker’s upside potential eventually paying off. A lifelong basketball player, Goldbourne decided to take up the gridiron game during his senior season. And evidently he showed enough firing off the edge to attract several late suitors, including UMD; NC State; Kansas State; Toledo; and FIU.

Terps’ defensive coordinator Scott Shafer trekked down to Florida last week and offered the 6-4, 200-pound Goldbourne Jan. 23. Immediately thereafter, Goldbourne and his uncle, Mike Harvey, scheduled a Jan. 29 College Park official visit. Harvey said he and his nephew were in the process of researching the Terps, but Shafer had left enough of an impression on Goldbourne, as well as his coach, to coax out a visit.

Coach Shafer told us some great things about Maryland and the direction they’re moving. He was impressive,” Atlantic coach T.J. 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 coaches.

“I believe Dion has some family up there too. I believe he has cousins up there.”

Given the fact UMD would seemingly have the last word before Signing Day, one would assume the Terps’ staff could secure a commitment rather quickly. But Harvey said Goldbourne isn’t necessarily going to sign on Feb. 3. Due to the number of late offers the edge rusher’s accumulated, Harvey suggested the family could foray through NC State; Kansas State; and possible others next month.

The only official they’ve taken thus far is hometown FIU, which Harvey said “went well.” It is believed Florida International is running first or second for Goldbourne’s services.

“We just don’t know at this point,” Harvey said regarding post-Signing Day visits.

For our part, we do think head coach D.J. Durkin and his staff can -- and will -- cull out a commitment by Feb. 3.

Note: It aids the Maryland’s coaches’ chances that Goldourne’s teammate, Antwaine Richardson (discussed below), popped to UMD Jan. 26. Goldbourne and Richardson are close friends, and that relationship could push the Terps ahead of FIU on the totem poll.

You can read more about Goldbourne HERE

Temperature Reading: HOT

Terrell Hall, DE, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): The four-star Hall is in the home stretch, with an assumed top two of Alabama and Maryland, and Florida State and Ole Miss running third and fourth, respectively.

The Tide hosted Hall Jan. 22 and were close to securing a commitment before he left. The St. John’s end waxed hyperbole over headman Nick Saban’s program, talking up the Tide tradition; the atmosphere on campus; the current Bama players he hung out with; and the star-studded staff. The fact Bama just won a national title didn’t hurt the Tide’s chances, either.

Our colleagues who cover Alabama believe Hall may have told the Tide coaches he was “in,” but didn’t want to end his recruitment without dramatizing the situation a bit. Hall intends to head to Ole Miss Jan. 29, giving the Rebels’ staff an opportunity to sway him, and then hold an announcement ceremony on Signing Day.

So, technically, the Terps are alive in the race. Hall had a standout official to College Park Jan. 15, the defensive end reconnecting with many of his DMV-friends-turned-Terps. Plus, the Maryland coaches were all preaching the hometown movement, the chance to shine for his state, and the opportunity to play early.

Moreover, UMD headman D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and defensive line coach Mike London have all been through St. John’s and Hall’s home. Needless to say, the staff has made it known how much they need, and want, the four-stay edge rusher.

Despite their efforts, however, the Maryland coaches might come up a tad short. For the moment, all signs are pointing to Tuscaloosa.

Temperature Reading: WARM

Aaron Thompson, DT, Dillard (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Thompson popped to Maryland Jan. 21, and said he was cancelling officials to Tennessee and South Carolina. But after hemming and hawing, and listening to overtures from the Gamecocks' coaches, Thompson elected to follow through with a Jan. 29 South Carolina official.

The defensive tackle remains committed to Maryland, but per our Florida analysts a flip could be in order. Thompson's always wanted to check out one of his SEC suitors, and even in the wake of his Maryland pop he admitted to possibly considering such a trip. UMD head coach D.J. Durkin and defensive coordinator Scott Shafer went in-home with Thompson to attempt to solidify the pledge, but evidently the recruit will trek through Columbia nonetheless.

Regardless of what Thompson decides, it's possible he may have to prep. There are some concerns here.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Linebackers

Tavante Beckett, LB, Indian River (Chesapeake, Va.): For the three-star linebacker Beckett, it all comes down to this final official visit to Virginia Tech Jan. 29. If Beckett, who has been committed to the Hokies since July, feels the love from new coach Justin Fuente, the backer could very well stick with Tech. We had heard previously Fuente may have had other targets in mind, but Va Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster went in-home with Beckett last week, an indication the three-star remains in the Hokies’ plans.

But Beckett is giving serious consideration to Maryland too, a program he officially visited Jan. 15. Beckett has had a budding rapport with UVA-turned-UMD coaches Chris Beatty and Mike London for a couple years now, while he readily connected with the rest of headman D.J. Durkin’s staff too, namely linebackers coach Matt Barnes.

The Indian River product knows there are plenty of holes in Maryland’s linebacking core as well, presenting an opportunity for early playing time. Beckett also quickly bonded with the other Terps’ players, calling College Park a “family atmosphere.” The campus, facility upgrades and the school’s location resonated too.

Right now, Beckett seems to be torn between Va Tech and Maryland, although the Hokies do get last dibs, which could push them over the edge. But we’ve heard from those close to Beckett he might be more inclined to flip rather than head to Blacksburg.

Our take? Don’t be shocked if Beckett’s a Terp on Signing Day.

Temperature Reading: WARM/HOT

Keith Simms, OLB, Landon (Bethesda, Md.): Simms did not embark on an official visit Jan. 22, and as of publication wasn’t heading anywhere Jan. 29, either. Which means his final official was to UNC Jan. 15, leaving the likes of Maryland; Ole Miss; and Cal on the outside looking in.

Simms had been wavering back and forth on the Terps of late, UMD residing near the forefront of his favorites list one moment and off it altogether the next. Based on what we’ve been able to glean this week, though, it sounds like the local university is out.

Maryland’s coaches did their diligence, however. Head coach D.J. Durkin went in-home with Simms Jan. 25, and the backer has said time and again he respects Durkin and what he’s about -- in particular noting his enthusiastic, aggressive approach. Besides Durkin, the Landon backer had met the majority of Maryland’s defensive staff, coordinator Scott Shafer; defensive line coach Mike London and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes doing their part to sell the program as well.

But Simms’ compliments ring of lip service now.

Oregon, which Simms had on the backburner, is now firmly on the brain again after the Ducks sent four staffers through the Landon product’s home. Simms has known the Oregon coaches for longer than most of his final contenders, so that inherent comfort level may outweigh his initial reservations over playing 3,000 miles from home. He officially visited Eugene, Ore., back in September.

Meanwhile, Simms is still looking hard at Virginia Tech, which he visited Dec. 15, with North Carolina sitting third. Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster has been after Simms for about two years, and that relationship could pay dividends on Signing Day.

Carolina has Simms’ attention too following his Chapel Hill, N.C., official, although the vibe is the trip didn’t vault the Heels to the head of the pack as originally surmised.

Now, realize Simms has shown a penchant for changing his mind. But, at the moment, it doesn’t sound like Durkin and Co. will be able to swing the local four-star.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Antoine Brooks, LB, DuVal (Lanham, Md.): Brooks is a stud local linebacker waiting to hear back from the Maryland staff in regards to a late offer/greyshirt opportunity. Terps’ area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has expressed interest and been through DuVal, so the backer is on the radar.

But Brooks, who we broached last week, is recovering from multiple fractures he suffered during a midseason game against rival Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.). The injuries, coupled with potential transcript issues, likely precluded Brooks from receiving top-tier offers, his only opportunities thus far coming from Buffalo and UMass (if those offers remain on the table).

Brooks was supposed to take a UMass official Jan. 22, but the snowstorm prevented him from doing so. He does not have any trips scheduled for Jan. 29.

The DMV linebacker/strong safety isn’t begging for a late hometown look, although he’d probably snap it up if it’s presented. If not, Brooks may be headed to prep school or JUCO to prove he’s fully recovered and ready to impact a power-five program.

Temperature Reading: WARM

Chase Pine, OLB, Lafayette (Williamsburg, Va.): We removed Pine from the hot board a few weeks back after the Pitt pledge officially visited the Panthers and declared his recruitment “over.” But that turned out to be a premature statement, as Pine ended up visiting Iowa State, and then said he was going to see Maryland Jan. 28-29 and Va Tech Jan. 30-31.

But the day before heading out to College Park, Pine spoke to the Pittsburgh staff, the Panthers putting the kibosh on the linebacker’s two intended officials. Pine decided he’d rather not risk his spot at Pitt, and thus opted not to take in UMD or Blacksburg.

The Maryland staff had pursued Pine before, the recruit considering a Jan. 22 or Jan. 29 official to UMD. But he was not priority No. 1 for the Terps, so the coaches didn’t really push (no in-school or in-home visits with him). That said, with several linebackers falling off Maryland’s board, the staff probably would have welcomed Pine in if he’d chosen to visit.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD.

Safeties

Qwuantrezz Knight, S, East Gadsden (Greenville, Fla.): The Terps’ staff wants to add another safety in the 2016 class, but several prospects who were supposed to be officially visiting College Park chose not to. Thus, UMD headman D.J. Durkin turned his attention back to this safety who we wrote about back in December.

For those who don’t remember, Knight actually claimed a Maryland offer when Terps’ assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim first came in contact with him. But it turned out the scholarship was not quite committable, as UMD’s coaches had numerous other targets prioritized.

Even so, Abdul-Rahim remained in contact with Knight via Twitter just in case, the recruit noting the defensive backs’ coach “called me like every day when he was able to.” So, when Durkin finally stopped by East Gadsden and extended the firm scholarship, Knight was all ears. He’d already established a bond with Abdul-Rahim, done his research on Maryland, and was eager to officially visit.

Knight’s scheduled to be in College Park Jan. 29; he is on “commitment watch” as you read this.

“Well, you know the chances,” Knight said of a possible pop Jan. 31. “You know how it goes when you get a real big offer. Me and my family were very excited about it. I’ll take the visit and go from there. But I guess you could say there’s a very good chance I commit.”

True, the 6-0, 190-pound Knight has been committed to Eastern Michigan since November. But the Florida product admitted his first power-five scholarship had “opened his options.”

Stay tuned.

You can read more about Knight HERE

Temperature Reading: HOT

Perry Young, S, Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.): The safety Young has flipped his commitment once, and he could very well do so again following a final official visit to College Park Jan. 29. Young, a Cincinnati pledge since December, confirmed earlier this week he would indeed be following through with a Maryland trip after hearing from headman D.J. Durkin and recruiter Walt Bell.

Bell, recall, offered Young when the coach was at Arkansas State, and they renewed their relationship earlier in January shortly before Durkin anted up. The Terps’ offensive coordinator even journeyed through Spain Park to make an in-person pitch, which let Young know he was a coveted prospect.

Young’s rapport with Bell may be the primary reason the recruit’s visiting, but Maryland’s Big Ten affiliation; need for defensive backs; and Durkin’s reputation have his attention too.

While the tealeaves may suggest “Terps,” realize the Alabama native won’t simply flip from Cincinnati. Young officially visited Queen City Jan. 15 and holds the Bearcats in high regard. The safety said Maryland would have to knock his socks off to secure his services.

But, more often than not, when a lower Division I squad is pitted against a power-five program, and that power-five program has the last say,  well, the recruit opts for the larger stage. If that logic follows, Young could be a Terp by Signing Day.

Temperature Reading: WARM/HOT

J.J. Givens, S/CB, Atlee (Mechanicsville, Va.): Talk about a gut punch.

The three-star Givens, who had been forecast to Maryland since December, took his second official visit this month to Raleigh, N.C., Jan. 22 and popped three days after returning. It was a “what the heck?” development even for our colleagues who cover the Wolfpack, believing Givens’ Raleigh foray was merely a courtesy visit.

But NC State headman Dave Doeren’s in-home with Givens the week prior must have blown the safety away, while the staff as a whole must have put together one hard-hitting spiel during the recruit’s 48-hour campus stay.

Afterwards, Givens simply called the trip “eye-opening.”

Indeed.

Less than 72 hours later, Givens was a member of the Pack and cancelled his Jan. 29 College Park foray. That jaunt through Maryland was supposed to be the deal closer, the visit that propelled the Terps past Miami in the pecking order.

Fact is, Givens had been talking up the Terps since December, when secondary coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim first initiated contact. Since then, Givens had been in touch with a variety of Maryland staffers, from headman D.J. Durkin; to defensive coordinator Scott Shafer; to defensive line coach Mike London; to receivers’ coach Chris Beatty. Beatty and London knew Givens from when the coaches were at Virginia, and Shafer recruited the safety/corner when the now-assistant was Syracuse’s head coach.

Each of the above either stopped by Atlee or went in-home the last couple weeks, ensuring Givens’ UMD interest persisted.

On top of that, Givens loved the atmosphere in College Park (he visited twice last year); the school’s academics; and the opportunities the university presents after college. The chance to play soon after arriving on campus held weight as well.

In a tight battle with Maryland was presumably Miami. Givens’ Coral Gables, Fla., official Jan. 15 resonated in a major way, the Mechanicsville native lauding the new coaching staff; the Miami vibe; and the current Canes. Givens was so taken by the Hurricanes, a program he grew up watching, the safety/corner considered popping while on campus.

But Givens refrained from doing so, opening the door for the Wolfpack coaches to swoop in and steal the defensive back away.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

K’Von Wallace, S, Highland Springs (Va.): When Wallace’s teammate, Greg Dortch (discussed above), reneged on an intended Maryland official in favor of Wake Forest, it basically ended any chance the Terps had with the safety. Recall, the Cincinnati pledge Wallace and the Wake commit Dortch, who are both being recruited by UMD assistant Chris Beatty, had discussed checking out College Park together Jan. 29, suggesting both could flip shortly thereafter.

But Wallace said he’ll be following through with a Jan. 29 trip to Ohio State -- his stated dream school -- instead. The Buckeyes’ staff (along with Michigan State’s) tossed out a Jan. 26 offer, and it changed Wallace’s recruitment completely.

Wallace also took a Jan. 27-28 official to Clemson, another program under prime consideration. Although the Tigers were late to the game, the opportunity to play for the national-title runners up immediately grabbed Wallace’s attention.  

Needless to say, Wallace is not expected to sign with Cincinnati, the school he’s currently committed to.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Daniel Thomas, S, Lee School (Montgomery, Ala.): The blizzard Jonas not only ravaged much of the East Coast, but it probably ended any chance the Terps’ staff had of hosting the safety target Thomas. UMD was hanging by a thread anyway, although area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s consistent overtures had Thomas at least mulling over a midweek College Park trip.

When Jonas hit, however, the safety was unable to take an intended North Carolina trip Jan. 22. But rather than cancel that official, he simply pushed it back a few days, bumping the Terps from consideration.

Thomas left Chapel Hill, N.C., raving about the Tar Heels’ staff and environment. Hailing from the South, the Lee School product ate up the UNC vibe.

Next up is an official to Auburn Jan. 29, the Tigers having the benefit of that final trip. Thomas was thrilled when the Tigers’ coaches offered, and some analysts believe AU’s coaches could gain pole position following the visit.

For now, though, South Carolina probably sits No. 1. Thomas officially visited Columbia, S.C., Jan. 15 and considered committing while on campus. The Gamecocks’ new staff has pursued in earnest, Thomas readily taking to their message. The campus, the direction the program’s heading and the fact it’s an SEC school all hold principal appeal too.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Jeawon Taylor, S, Park Crossing (Montgomery, Ala.): Taylor was a longshot for Maryland anyway, but he was supposed to officially visit College Park Jan. 22, giving the UMD staff a glimmer of hope. The four-star Florida pledge did not make it in, however, which basically eliminated UMD from consideration. Terps’ area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who knew Taylor from when the coach was at Alabama, gained some traction, but it wasn’t enough to convince Taylor to venture out with a blizzard looming.

Even if the safety did trek through College Park, the likelihood of him winding up at Maryland was slim. The four-star has been focused on UF and Georgia for more than a month, visiting UGA Jan. 15 and UF Jan. 29. Both the Gators and Bulldogs have sent coaches through Taylor’s home in an attempt to garner the upper-hand. The feeling is Taylor will likely flip to UGA on Signing Day.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Cornerbacks

Elisha Daniels & Elijah Daniels, CB/S, Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): As expected, the Daniels brothers ended their recruitments sans Jan. 29 Syracuse visit and popped to Maryland Jan. 23. Elisha and Elijah Daniels, a proposed package deal who decommitted from Minnesota earlier in January, had been leaning towards UMD ever since head coach D.J. Durkin extended the offer in December. All it took to seal the deal was a College Park trip so the twins could meet the coaches and check out the campus.

Not even the snowstorm could dampen the occasion.

“It was just a great feeling at Maryland, it felt like home and I loved the staff,” the cornerback Elisha Daniels said. “It really didn’t take me long to decide I wanted to come here. It felt like family and everyone was so genuine with me and my brother. … Coach [Scott] Shafer really opened my eyes talking about the atmosphere of the team and how he coaches; he reminded us of myself with how crazy he and passionate about football. Just the energy he has, and he’s about being aggressive and just brings a whole different type of attitude for the Maryland defense. He wants us to attack, get picks and just be an entertaining defense. 

“There’s just so much opportunity at Maryland, and everybody is just on board. Maryland is going to be a problem for teams in the coming years, I can promise you that.”

Said the safety Elijah Daniels: “Ever since I got the offer from Maryland, Coach Durkin, Coach [Chris] Beatty, Coach [Mike] London and Coach Rahim, I never really was recruited by one guy. Everyone was on us every day, calling us every day. Sometimes you have to go to the place where you’re wanted. We were listed at the top for them, and they made that known. … They want us to come there and make an impact early, and they’ve been saying that since Day One … And going up there, I fell in love with the place, even with the weather being bad.”

The two words the pair constantly repeated during my conversations with them were “energy” and “passion.” The Danielses themselves play the game like their hair’s on fire, so it was refreshing for them to find those same qualities in the Maryland staff. They mentioned that each staffer “gets after it,” both as coaches and on the recruiting trail.

Elijah Daniels specifically pointed to assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who delved deep into the Terps’ scheme and described how the brothers would be used. Apparently the defensive backs coach showed them film of UMD corner Will Likely, who the brothers idolized growing up (they attended Likely’s games at Glade Central in Belle Glade, Fla.).

In addition, the Daniels brothers spoke highly on their respective player hosts, Josh Woods and Darnell Savage. They noted how Woods and Savage described the changing attitude at UMD and the “new swagger” surrounding Maryland football. The twins bonded with the other recruits on campus too, calling them “great people, great players and very cool.”

Elisha and Elijah Daniels also enjoyed trying on the Under Armour jerseys, checking out the facilities, hanging out in the dorms and taking in the campus atmosphere. They even mentioned they had fun sledding and engaging in a snowball fight with Durkin.

“Add it all up and it was a win, win, win,” Elijah Daniels said.

Now, can these two play?

Yes, yes they can.

Elisha Daniels is one of those “swagger corners,” not quite in the same mold as Will Likely, but with that same type of mentality. He’s aggressive in press, actively face-guarding receivers at the line and riding them throughout the route. Elisha Daniels also possesses above-average footwork, change-of-direction speed and athleticism. He high-points the ball too, challenging receivers in the air and displaying a penchant for coming down with interceptions. Moreover, Elisha Daniels reads well, stemming from his days as a quarterback, and shows the ability to fire forward and undercut. He isn’t afraid to lay the wood, either.  

But Elisha Daniels hasn’t reached a “lockdown” level quite yet. He will let receivers get behind him once in awhile, a result of pressing up. And he does not possess the elite makeup speed necessary to catch up. Furthermore, Elisha Daniels has a little hip stiffness, which could hurt him when turning and running in the Big Ten. Mainly, though, he just needs to be more consistent, or there’s a possibility his devil-may-car style will burn him.

As for Elijah Daniels, the safety’s a thumper in the truest sense of the word. He excels at coming downhill and delivering reverberating hits, doing his best work in the box. Elijah Daniels scrapes well, seeks out contact and doesn’t shy away from violent collisions. He takes tight closing angles, wraps up properly and allows little leaky yardage as well.

In coverage, Elijah Daniels has deft enough feet to pick up receivers crossing his face, while he can ably change directions as well. He shows a smooth backpedal, fairly loose hips and solid open-field speed. Elijah Daniels is also active in the air and will rise up like he’s the intended receiver.

There are areas Elijah Daniels needs to work on, however. His transitions aren’t always fluid, especially when picking up receivers downfield. It follows that he has had some issues in deep coverage, occasionally letting wideouts beat him up top. Elijah Daniels does not have elite open-field or recovery speed either, so he’s probably not a great fit as a cover safety. He’ll likely have to operate as a pseudo-linebacker type to excel in the Big Ten.

You can read more about the Daniels brothers HERE

You can hear what Elisha Daniels had to say HERE

You can hear what Elijah Daniels had to say HERE

You can heard what their coach had to say HERE

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Antwaine Richardson, CB, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): Turns out Maryland’s head coach had something up his sleeve during the Terps’ first major official visitor weekend. Richardson, who decommitted from Michigan Jan. 21, took an impromptu official to College Park a day later at the behest of his ex-Wolverines’ recruiter, D.J. Durkin. Three days later, the 6-0, 170-pound Richardson was a Terp, becoming the fifth Floridian in Maryland’s 2016 class.

“D.J. Durkin was recruiting me at Michigan, and I was like, ‘That’s cool.’ He’s a cool coach, and my head coach knows him. [Durkin] was willing to welcome me into the Terp family,” Richardson explained. “He had one of the top defenses at Michigan, and I feel like he’s going to make me a better person and player.

“And the defensive coordinator, Coach [Scott] Shafer actually coached my receivers’ coach now, and the defensive backs coach [Aazaar Abdul-Rahim] actually knows my head coach too. So I was like, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ And then I was like, ‘I’m going to go ahead and commit and [enroll] early.’”

Obviously, Richardson had a great time in College Park. He not only had connections to each of the aforementioned coaches, but Richardson enjoyed hanging out with them. In fact, he said the highlight of his official was playing X-Box and Ping Pong with Durkin and the others.

The Atlantic High product also said the Maryland players “welcomed me in like family,” answering all his questions about the defense. Richardson liked the campus, the facilities and even the three feet of snow covering College Park too.

Richardson, who missed his senior season with a torn ACL, said the UMD staff did not mention a redshirt. Evidently they told him he, along with Maryland’s other incoming defensive backs, would have a chance to compete for playing time immediately, which hit home with Richardson.

“[Maryland] needs corners right away,” Richardson said. “Everyone is getting a chance to show they can start.”

As far as his game is concerned, Richardson is a pure-press corner who is aggressive in coverage. He has loose hips, deft feet and above-average short-area quickness. Richardson transitions well, shows the ability to undercut, and can turn and run with receivers downfield. He also has a knack for the big play, sticking his nose in piles to force fumbles or challenging receivers for jump balls.

But Richardson does have several areas in need of improvement. He admitted his backpedal and reads in zone coverage need honing, although those are easily correctable. What he’ll really need to hone in on is becoming quicker and more fluid when turning and tracking downfield. A long strider, he lacks elite wheels and makeup speed, so the corner must develop even more precise fundamentals to hang with top-level wideouts. Richardson must also bulk up as he’s rather lean right now.

Note: Richardson discussed his Atlantic High teammate, Dion Goldbourne (discussed above), who is officially visiting Maryland Jan. 29. Richardson wasn’t positive exactly what Goldbourne would decide, but hinted the defensive end could be influenced by the corner’s presence in College Park (the two are close friends). The latest UMD pledge said it was possible Goldbourne could pop during the upcoming official.

You can read more about Richardson HERE

You can hear what his coach had to say about him HERE

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Sir Patrick Scott, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): The former Michigan pledge Scott has been waiting … and waiting … and waiting for a Maryland offer to materialize. He wants the opportunity to suit up for his hometown program and play in front of family and friends.

But thus far, no dice.

The Terps’ staff, with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim running point, has been in contact and invited Scott up for a visit, but didn’t guarantee a firm scholarship would be presented (there could be transcript issues holding things up). And without that guarantee, Scott is more inclined to look in a different direction.

Scott did not take an official visit Jan. 22, but will be at Marshall Jan. 29. The Herd’s staff has given the corner a committable scholarship, and more than likely the Riverdale product will snap it up after his trip.

Pitt, West Virginia, Penn State and Wake Forest were also kicking the tires on Scott, although it’s unclear which programs pursued in earnest.

There’s a possibility, if the Terps’ staff misses on some of its other defensive back targets, the UMD coaches throw Scott a lifeline right before Signing Day. But the three-star may not be overly receptive at that point.

We’re not going to completely remove Scott from the hot board since he does have genuine Maryland affinity, but at this rate it doesn’t sound like the Riverdale recruit will be balling out in College Park.

Temperature Reading: COOL

Damon Hayes, CB, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.): The local corner Hayes has now taken officials to Boston College Jan. 15 and Wake Forest Jan. 22, and will head to Rutgers, the program he’s pledged to, Jan. 29. Although Hayes enjoyed his time in Chestnut Hill, Mass., and Winston Salem, N.C., the Scarlet Knights’ staff should be able to cement the corner in during this final trip.

The situation could change, however, if Maryland’s staff antes up. It’s no secret Hayes wants the opportunity to represent his hometown state and play in front of friends and family. But while Terps’ defensive backs’ coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has maintained contact and trekked through Wise, the coveted scholarship has yet to be presented. The Terps’ now have four 2016 defensive backs in tow, with maybe two more openings remaining. Right now, Hayes is probably on the outside looking in, but the UMD coaches could throw an offer out if they fail to reel in their projected targets officially visiting College Park Jan. 29.

By that time, though, it could be too late for UMD purposes. Hayes, sensing he would be Maryland’s backup option, could elect to sign with Rutgers, whose staff has stayed on him throughout.

Temperature Reading: COOL

K.J. Sails, CB, East Bay (Gibsonton, Fla.): After trending towards Maryland for almost a month thanks to consistent overtures from defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and visits from head coach D.J. Durkin and other UMD staff members, the cornerback Sails will porbably be popping to UNC Feb. 3. Sails officially visited North Carolina Jan. 22 (that’s when the corner was originally supposed to see UMD), hosted head coach Larry Fedora a couple days later, and then had Fedora and defensive coordinator Gene Chizik go in-home with him Jan. 28. The corner was supposed to visit College Park Jan. 29, giving the UMD staff last dibs, but he cancelled the trip two days beforehand.

The East Bay product said the chance to play for an emerging ACC stalwart grabbed his attention. Sails believes in Fedora -- he went in-home with Sails in mid-January as well -- bonded with the current Heels, and loved the atmosphere in and around Chapel Hill. The only surprise was that he left campus without committing, giving Terps’ aficionados a false hope.

Sails also has Cincinnati, which he officially visited Jan. 15, in play, although we don't foresee him choosing the Bearcats. Penn State, meanwhile, offered Sails Jan. 28, although the Nittany Lions are likely a little late to the game.

Temperature Reading: OFF THE BOARD

Travon Stott, CB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): The longtime UMD cornerback pledge will sign with Maryland Feb. 3. There has been no talk recently of head coach D.J. Durkin pulling his scholarship.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Special Teams

Wade Lees, P, Deakin College (Melbourne, Australia): The 27-year-old punter commit has enrolled at Maryland and will be ready for spring ball.

Temperature Reading: COMMITTED

Official Visitors

The list tends to change by the day, but as of this writing here is who we’ve heard will be in College Park Jan. 29-31.

Tyrrell Pigrome, QB, Clay-Chalkville (Montgomery, Ala.)

Tyrek Tisdale, RB, Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.)

Tino Ellis, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.)

Brian Plummer, OT, South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.)

Dion Goldbourne, DE, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.)

Qwuantrezz Knight, S, East Gadsden (Greenville, Fla.)

Perry Young, S, Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.)

Class Of 2017 Notes

Tariq Castro-Fields, DB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin continues to appease the local high school programs that were somewhat ignored under the previous regime. On Jan. 26, the headman approved an offer for the junior corner Castro-Fields, the first UMD verbal to go out to a Riverdale recruit in recent memory.

“The previous staff at Maryland didn’t really recruit our school,” Castro-Fields admitted. “But it’s a new vibe over there with Coach Durkin and Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim]. I was really happy about it. Of the three offers I have so far, this one meant the most because it’s the hometown school.”

It is safe to say UMD is resonating for the 6-2, 180-pounder. Castro-Fields said the DMV-to-UMD movement, the chance to shine in front of family, and the new Maryland staff’s demeanor have all hit home. The Upper Marlboro product noted how he promptly connected with Abdul-Rahim, Castro-Fields mentioning the defensive backs coach’s relatable personality and coaching prowess.

Rutgers and Marshall have also offered Castro-Fields, while he’s bound to garner several more power-five scholarships down the line. But provided the UMD staff keeps pushing, the Terps could have the inside track -- perhaps securing a commitment as soon as the first College Park junior day.

You can read more about Castro-Fields HERE

Tyree Johnson, DE, St. John's (Washington, D.C.): Maryland defensive line coach Mike London extended an offer to the local weak-side end Johnson Jan. 28, the 6-3, 220-pounder's fifth offer to date (Rutgers, Wake Forest, Va Tech and Temple are the others). Highly appreciative of the hometown look, Johnson called the verbal "one I was looking for."

"It's my hometown school, and it's always big when the hometown school wants you," said Johnson, who is good friends with senior Terps' target Terrell Hall (discussed above). "It'll have a big impact on me for sure."

Johnson has only been to College Park for a St. John's playoff game, so he's yet to see the campus or meet the coaches. But he does know UMD assistants Marcus Berry and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim from their previous gigs at Rutgers and Friendship Collegiate Academy (Washington, D.C.), respectively. Johnson called Berry a "really good man" and Abdul-Rahim "a really cool dude," the defensive end admitting he would've attended FCA had Abdul-Rahim remained at the D.C. charter.

Johnson, who plans to be at Maryland's February junior day, also said he's aware of London's reputation and is looking forward to hearing from him in the future. 

In addition to UMD, Johnson wants to check out UNC, Rutgers, Temple and Alabama -- the latter because he's heard plenty about the Tide from Terrell Hall. Johnson has already been to Penn State, RU and Temple.

You can read more about Johnson HERE.

Tyjuan Garbutt, DE, Riverbend (Fredericksburg, Va.): Terps’ Virginia-area recruiter Chris Beatty tried his hand at a couple senior Riverbend prospects this year, and now he’s attempting to establish inroads with a 2017 talent. Four-star Tyjuan Garbutt, whose school Beatty stopped by earlier in January, added a Maryland offer Jan. 26, his 17th to date.

Garbutt knew Beatty when the coach was at UVA, and the defensive end will undoubtedly be in close contact with the receivers’ coach at Maryland. UMD defensive line coach Mike London will assuredly establish a rapport as well.

In-state Va Tech’s coaches have Garbutt’s ear initially, as do staffers from Penn State and West Virginia.

Daniel Wright, S, Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): The Maryland staff landed commitments from a pair of Cardinal Gibbons defensive backs Jan. 23 in Elisha and Elijah Daniels, and three days later head coach D.J. Durkin offered their junior teammate, Daniel Wright.

The Daniels brothers are solid players, but Wright is at a different level. He’s a 6-2, 175-pound borderline five-star with offers from programs throughout the SEC, ACC and Big Ten. In-state Florida State has a bead on him early, while Alabama; Florida; Georgia; LSU; Miami; Ohio State, Michigan; Auburn; MSU and others are in the game too.

It’s not going to be easy sledding for Durkin, defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty, but the Terps’ coaches have given themselves a chance after securing the Danielses. Already, the two twins have been chatting up Maryland to their fellow secondary mate.

Let’s see if the combined efforts eventually pay off for UMD.

Cody Bowes, OT, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): A “blow-up” candidate, the 6-4, 270-pound Bowes picked up a Maryland offer Jan. 27, giving him 15 thus far. Bowes also holds verbals from programs such as Syracuse, Illinois, Cincinnati, NC State, Ohio State, Tennessee, Iowa State, UNC and others.

But while Bowes acknowledged OSU and UT have his eye for the moment, he said the Maryland offer meant something to him too.

“I know it’s a really good opportunity at Maryland, and I’m definitely looking at them,” Bowes said. “I’ve been talking to Coach [Chris] Beatty for awhile on-line. He’s been telling me he’d love to have me up there, and he was saying how the staff finally had a chance to evaluate my junior film and wanted to offer me. He wants to keep building up that relationship, and I said I was looking forward to it.”

Bowes, who has trekked through UF, FSU Miami and UCF thus far, wants to see College Park this summer with his teammate, Mike Harley (discussed below). The big offensive tackle suggested he and Harley could potentially be a package deal.

You can read more about Bowes HERE

Joshua Palmer, WR, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Another Aquinas product who snagged a Terps’ offer Jan. 27, this 6-3, 190-pounder adding UMD to a list that includes Michigan; Syracuse; Illinois; and Temple. The Wolverines were Palmer’s very first scholarship and are counted as an early favorite, but the Maryland verbal has his attention too.

I was surprised by the offer because I hadn't really heard from Maryland, but I was very happy," said Palmer, a Canadian native who just transferred to Aquinas before his junior season. "I haven't looked too much into Maryland yet, but I really like what I've heard from some other players around here about the coaches and the program. 

"Coach Beatty stopped by and we shook hands. He seems like a really nice guy, although I couldn't really talk to him."

The only school Palmer’s visited thus far is Michigan, but he’ll be getting out to UMD; Illinois; and ‘Cuse this offseason.

You can read more about Palmer HERE

Michael Harley, WR, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): The Terps’ coaches extended yet another offer in Fort Lauderdale, this one going to an emerging receiver and teammate of Cody Bowes and Josh Palmer. On Jan. 27, Harley added his 16th verbal from UMD, which joins the likes of Mississippi State; NC State; Miami; South Carolina; WVU; Purdue; Cincinnati; Illinois; and others.

It’s very early in Harley’s recruitment, and he’s claiming no favorites, but, if nothing else, the offer shows Maryland’s staff is making a concerted effort to win over Sunshine State recruits. The UMD coaches have already reeled in five Floridians in 2016; that could very well pay off when recruiting the state’s elite 2017 talents. 

“I was excited when I got the offer [from UMD]. I’m really glad I have it, especially since it’s in the Big Ten,” Harley said. “Coach Beatty, he came by our school and talked to our coaches, and we’ve talked online a little bit. He was saying to keep up the good work, we’ll be in contact and he’s going to keep trying to get guys out of Florida. [Beatty] seems like a pretty cool guy.”

Harley has seen UMD, FSU, Miami and UCF, and will take visits to WVU, Indiana and return to Maryland.

Note: The Terps’ staff also offered future five-star 2018 Aquinas receiver Elijah Moore, who claims early verbals from UMD; Michigan State; WVU; Purdue; Syracuse; Kentucky; Cincinnati; and others.

You can read more about Harley HERE

Louis Acceus, OLB, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): The Maryland staff took a break from Florida, headman D.J. Durkin heading up to the Garden State to offer this rising-star linebacker. The 6-1, 190-pound Acceus claimed verbals from Temple, Michigan State, Indiana, Miami, Rutgers and Boston College, adding UMD on Jan. 28. 

“It was pretty exciting how [the offer] happened, actually,” Acceus said. “Coach Durkin stopped by my school earlier in the day to talk to my coaches, and they called me out of class to come down to the office. So I had a chance to shake his hand and meet Coach Durkin. Then when I got home, I got a message from the linebackers’ coach, Coach [Matt] Barnes. I called him and he told me I had the offer from Maryland.

“I was so excited I ran upstairs, told my mom, and gave her a big hug. It was a great offer to get.”

Acceus explained that he knew little of Maryland other than it was Stefon Diggs' alma mater, but he'll be trekking down to campus this spring to learn more. The backer also said he enjoyed speaking to Barnes, mentioning that UMD's linebackers' coach seemed "really down to earth."

Acceus has only visited Rutgers and Penn State so far, with the Nittany Lions holding early appeal. The St. Joe's prospect also said the Michigan State look "was big" for him, Acceus eager to check out East Lansing, Mich.

The Montvale native, however, insisted he's wide open in the recruiting process and open to all suitors. More than likely, however, he'll be attending a program not too far from his Jersey home.

You can read more about Acceus HERE.

Keshon Artis, LB, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) (2018): Terps' Virginia-area recruiter Chris Beatty gave this stud sophomore his very first offer Jan. 28. Artis is a 6-0, 200-pound middle linebacker who projects as a future four-star talent. We'll touch base with Artis soon to gauge his reaction, but the UMD staff did well to jump on him early before he inevitably blows up.

Devyn Ford, ATH, North Stafford (Stafford, Va.) (2019): This new Maryland staff isn't afraid to establish early inroads. UMD Virginia-area recruitr Chris Beatty offered this freshman back Jan. 28, which is how Beatty went about recruiting and developing relationships when he was at UVA and Wisconsin.

Ford will be a star at North Stafford, and now claims verbals from Maryland, Kentucky, Syracuse, UVA and NC State.


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