The Maryland coaches handed out yet another Virginia offer in early February, although this time it wasn't UMD's area recruiters, Mike London and Chris Beatty, who did the duties. Rather, it was linebackers' coach Matt Barnes who extended the offer to Lloyd C. Bird's (Chesterfield, Va.) Rayshard Ashby, a 5-foot-11, 220-pound junior middle linebacker with previous offers from Va Tech; ECU; and JMU.
"Coach Barnes is a good coach and he was good to talk to. I liked him, and it was great to get the offer from him," Ashby said. "Coach Barnes was saying he watched my film and was fired up about me. He said the entire staff liked my game, actually, and how they were all excited about me. He said it's a defensive-minded staff there now, and how they're looking to build the defense back up and compete with the best in the Big Ten. [Barnes] said he and the other coaches thought I could be a key piece for them, and I really appreciated that."
Ashby said his second power-five offer was an "honor" and that he'd be looking deeper into Maryland moving forward. He said he looked forward to establishing a rapport with Barnes and visiting College Park, Md., to meet the other coaches.
"I was very excited about the Maryland offer. Every offer is exciting for me, but Maryland was a good one for me," Ashby said. "I liked talking to the coaches, and I like how it's a defensive-minded staff, because I think I could really develop there and learn a lot. So now I have to get up there, see the campus, check out the atmosphere and talk to the coaches to learn more. I'm excited to see the school."
Unlike many of Maryland's other recent offerees, Ashby has actually been to Maryland before. Ashby, who knew ex-UMD coach Lyndon Johnson, said he attended the Terps-USF game last year.
"I liked the stadium up there and I thought it was a cool atmosphere," Ashby said. "But I really didn't get a chance to walk around campus or anything like that. That's why I have to get up there to learn more about Maryland."
Some of the other campuses Ashby has visited include Tech's, ECU's and Wake's. Of those, he said the hometown Hokies caught his eye initially.
"All the schools I've seen had good things to offer," Ashby said. "But of the ones I've seen I did like Tech a little bit. I really enjoyed my visit there."
Ashby's unsure which schools he'll be trekking to next, other than Maryland and Temple. He said he'll likely visit whichever programs extend offers, withing reason (read: driving distance).
The linebacker has been in touch with coaches from various other programs, although it's unclear which ones are close to offering. Ashby said he's not looking for one verbal in particular, however, calling all scholarships "an honor."
"Mainly, though, I'm looking for a school with a good environment, a good fan base, good academics and just seeing how the coaches interact with the players," Ashby said. "Those are the most important things for me."
Ashby is coming off a season where he recorded 130 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 14.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and a recovery.
"I'm always around the ball and have a knack for finding the ball, I'm a sideline-to-sideline guy, and I'm a good tackler," Ashby said. "But I need to work on just getting faster and getting better in coverage."