Spain Park (Birmingham, Ala.) safety Perry Young hemmed and hawed all week over taking an official visit to Maryland, a school that just offered him Jan. 17. After all, the 5-foot-11, 194-pounder had already flipped his commitment once and had been a firm Cincinnati pledge since early December. But Young, who had been recruited by Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell when the coach was at Arkansas State, ultimately decided to check College Park, Md., out Jan. 29-31.
And he’s glad he did.
“It was awesome, just awesome. There were so many great things at Maryland,” Young said. “I really bonded with all the players real well. Most of the recruits were from the South like me, so I really bonded with them well. And all the coaches were awesome too. Everyone there was just awesome, and it was just a great feeling at Maryland.”
Indeed, Young pointed to the instant rapport he formed with the players and staff members as the visit’s highlight. He said everyone from headman D.J. Durkin on down treated him right, while he thoroughly enjoyed player-host Darnell Savage and the other current Terps.
“Coach Durkin is an inspirational guy, and he’s going to change that program around. Last season was tough for Maryland, but him coming in with that positive attitude, you can just tell he’s going to get things done there.
“Coach [Scott] Schafer, he was great too. He’s a great defensive mind and just real energetic. I loved him. Coach Bell, I’ve known him for awhile now, and he’s just another awesome guy. I appreciate how he came out to see me, and he was the one that actually got me interested in Maryland.
“But, literally, just hanging out with all the players was the best part. All the laughter and bonding, it was my first time meeting them and we were just bonding so well. You don’t see that every day. I mean, I met these guys for like 30 minutes and already I felt like I knew them so well. I was with [Darnell] Savage a lot, and he’s just a cool, laid back guy who was easy to talk to. Like I said, as soon as I met him it was like he already knew me like a brother.”
Young saved some of his most ardent praise for defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. The Alabama safety broke down his position meeting with Abdul-Rahim, Young detailing how he’d fit into Maryland’s scheme and what the coach thought of his game.
“Coach Aazaar is real, man. The way he talks to you, his tone, it’s like he’s a player too,” said Young, who projects as a strong safety (in the box) at Maryland. “In the recruiting process everyone treats you nicely, but it was so real with him. He told us exactly where we stood. He said I’m not the longest or biggest, but I cover ground; hustle every play; and I always fight. They put a big emphasis on that, how I ball out from the first quarter to the fourth quarter and how my motor’s always going full force.”
The Spain Park product also said the academics, the campus and its location near Washington, D.C., appealed as well. He enjoyed going out in the nation’s capital and eating dinner at STK Steakhouse.
“The academic portion was awesome, because they have five tutors and they’re getting another one too. So that shows the good support Maryland has for the athletes there, so I enjoyed talking to them about that,” Young said. “And the campus was beautiful, and it’s right in-between Baltimore and D.C. I saw the Washington Monument driving in and that was real cool.
"[The coaches] showed us the new facilities too, and they’re going to be done in the spring of 2017. Those look real, real sweet. It was awesome seeing what they’re building there.”
Young’s mother accompanied him on the trip East. Evidently she liked Maryland a good amount too.
“She was excited about Maryland and really liked the coaches and academics,” Young said. “But she also said it’s my decision, because it’s my future.”
So, what’s Young thinking now? Is he sticking with Cincinnati? Or is a flip in order?
“I honestly do not know. It’s just going to hard,” laughed Young. “I said before Maryland was really going to have to show me something to get me to [flip], and they definitely showed out. But I don’t know. I think I should have my mind made up by [Feb. 1]. I just need a day to think about it.
“So I’m sure the Cincinnati coaches are going to be calling me any minute, so I’ll talk to them and keep them updated. And I’m sure Maryland will call me back too. But I’ll sit down with my family here and make what I think is the best decision for me.”