Oak Ridge (Orlando, Fla.) athlete Tyrek Tisdale embarked on his final official visit to the University of Maryland Jan. 29, and now the three-star jack-of-all-trades is in the contemplation stage. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is down to two schools, Maryland and Massachusetts (Indiana is running third), and said his mind won’t be made up until the morning of Feb. 3.
“Everything is still pretty equal,” said Tisdale, who embarked on his UMass official Jan. 15. “I really don’t know which way to go, honestly. I’m picking between a couple very good schools, and honestly they’re very equal in terms of opportunity and educations.”
The Terps had the benefit of the last word, hosting Tisdale just days before Signing day. But while the Floridian said he had a great time in College Park, Md., he insisted UMD remains on an equal playing field with the Minutemen. He said he’s not so much concerned with conference affiliation (Big Ten for UMD, Independent for UMass) as he is opportunities on and off the field.
“Maryland it was a good visit. It was a good campus tour, good buildings, good education, good fans, good support. Everything was really good there,” said Tisdale, an ex-Florida pledge who decommitted back in October. “I really liked the coaches at Maryland. They were all together and were all in-tune with everything that’s going on at Maryland. They’re all about putting things in order at Maryland and have a clear vision, and that was very impressive. I liked that a lot.
“Coach [D.J.] Durkin has a vision to change the program around and knows what he’s doing. He sees what other people don’t see, and that’s what really struck me.”
The Oak Ridge product’s player-host was safety Joshua Woods. He said Woods and the rest of the Terps he met “were pretty cool.”
“They seemed like they were about business and not just about having fun. They talked a lot about education and being a hard worker, which I liked,” Tisdale said. “They were on their Ps and Qs and want to get that Big Ten championship."
Tisdale also commented on Maryland’s educational benefits and academic support, calling each “really big for me.” Almost as importantly, the Terps’ staff is offering Tisdale early playing time.
“They said if I do sign to be ready to play when I come in. They said I’m a good athlete, but I have a chance to be a great athlete with work,” Tisdale said. “Coach Durkin, Coach [Scott] Shafer, Coach [Aazaar Abdul] Rahim, they were all saying I have the ability, but they also were straight with me and told me some things to work on. I appreciated their honesty, and it shows they believe I can be even better. I like how they would push me there.”
Previously, Tisdale said the Maryland coaches wanted him at running back, and later on slot receiver. But after the official, the recruit said it’s all about safety.
“They want me as a safety, and I’m fine with defense,” said Tisdale, who insisted the Terps still have a spot for him despite having two safety pledges already in tow. “I actually started my whole football life on defense. I only actually played offense for three full years of my life. The rest was defense, so it’s nothing new to me. It doesn’t scare me at all. I’m ready to play defense, and deal with that kind of pressure. Pressure builds character, and I thrive on pressure.”
Tisdale also said that UMass now wants him on defense too, although their staff told him cornerback.
Speaking of the Minutemen, Tisdale called UMass, “a really nice area and a place with really nice people.” He lauded the coaches and their ardent pursuit as well.
“It’s going to be a hard decision,” Tisdale reiterated. “I’d probably say my deciding factor would be what school has the best opportunities after football and after my college life. But it’s a hard call right now. I honestly won’t know until [Feb. 3].”