Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
New Offers Out
The Maryland staff is casting a wide net, offering recruits from coast to coast. Already, the Terps under head coach D.J. Durkin have extended over 80 verbals to 2017 prospects, a number that will likely approach triple digits before the spring. Here are the most recent offers out, from Signing Day through Feb. 11:
D.J. Mack, QB, Norview (Norfolk, Va.): This dual-threat quarterback landed his Maryland offer on Signing Day, with Terps’-area recruiter Chris Beatty extending the verbal. Mack said he was “really excited” about the scholarship, because UMD’s offensive system mirror’s Norview’s to an extent and would allow the signal caller to take full advantage of his running and throwing prowess.
The Virginia product wasn’t privy to Maryland’s inner workings, nor has he been on campus before, but he plans to trek to College Park, Md., for the spring game April 16. Mack said he’s looking forward to meeting the UMD staff in person, and in the meantime establishing a relationship with Beatty. The gunslinger said the fact Beatty is from Virginia and easily relates to kids makes him an appealing recruiter.
Mack also counts scholarships from UVA and Va Tech, with UNC; Wake Forest; and others showing interest. He’s been to Tech and UNC thus far and intends to hit a bunch of regional programs this offseason.
Mack, who has no early leaders at this point, mentioned location isn’t a major factor for him. He isn’t inclined to stay in state if a better opportunity presents itself elsewhere.
But we won’t have an idea where Mack truly stands until his profile is fully realized and he begins venturing out. At first blush, however, this sounds encouraging for Maryland purposes. Mack, who is listed “warm” on the hot board, should be a Terps’ priority throughout the process.
You can read more about Mack HERE.
Daulton Hyatt, QB, Etowah (Attalla, Ala.): Breaking the mold of the dual-threat offerees, the 6-4, 182-pound pro-style Hyatt added a Maryland offer Feb. 3. Hyatt, who literally just transferred to Etowah High, was thrilled with his latest verbal, which he received from UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell. Hyatt said he’d known Bell from when the coach was at Arkansas State and was glad to reestablish communication.
If he has time this spring, Hyatt would like to fly out to College Park for a longer look at the Terps. He’s already seen many programs in and around Alabama, in addition to Vandy; NC State; and UNC.
It’s conceivable Hyatt keeps UMD under consideration, but we’ll see what happens as his offer list continues to expand. Right now, Louisville, Miami, Syracuse, Southern Miss, Troy, WVU, Vandy and Wake have verbals out, but the SEC has a close eye on the Etowah product. And many of the conference’s upper-tier are about the enter the fray. If Ole Miss, Auburn, Mississippi State and maybe even Alabama become involved, this recruitment will get increasingly difficult for UMD purposes.
Lindell Stone, QB, Woodberry Forest (Woodberry, Va.): The Terps’ new staff threw its name into the hat for the four-star Stone, a pro-style quarterback with a steadily increasing offer list. Already programs such as Wisconsin, WVU, Pitt, Purdue, Ole Miss, Indiana, UCLA, UVA, Wake, Cincinnati and now Maryland are on the signal caller, with schools such as Stanford; Michigan State; Texas; TAMU; Texas Tech; Oklahoma and others keeping an eye out.
Stone is originally from Texas, and he’s let on previously he’d love to earn a Lone Star State look. The SEC also holds weight with Stone; the 6-1, 210 pounder should have more than an Ole Miss scholarship before it’s all said and done.
Stone had shown interest in Maryland previously, and he visited College Park once last spring. The four-star complimented the former Maryland staff, as well as the campus and surrounding area. But now Stone’s in the process of establishing a relationship with the new UMD coaches. Stone knew Terps’ assistants Chris Beatty and Mike London from when the two coached at UVA, although he’s yet to meet offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
If Stone returns to Maryland this offseason -- he’s reneged on a couple intended visits in the past -- we’ll take his pro-UMD comments seriously. Until then, however, it sounds like he’s focused elsewhere.
Bo Melton, RB, Cedar Creek (Egg Harbor City, N.J.): Maryland became the ninth offer for the soon-to-be-four-star Melton Feb. 10, the Terps joining Michigan; Ohio State; Kentucky; Penn State; Rutgers; and others. Melton’s coach let the recruit know that UMD’s running backs coach, Anthony Tucker, had evaluated him and wanted to extend the scholarship. The Cedar Creek prospect expressed some interest in the Terps, although it’s cursory until he forms a bond with the staff and visits College Park.
The 6-0, 180-pounder holds hometown RU in high regard and will be at the Scarlet Knights’ junior day Feb. 13. Obviously Big Ten powers Michigan and Ohio State are considered prime contenders too since the Wolverines and Buckeyes represent Melton’s two most significant verbals to date. Melton will be visiting Columbus, Ohio, and Ann Arbor, Mich., in addition to State College, Pa., and more in the coming months.
Let’s see if Tucker can convince Melton to stop by College Park, perhaps for the April 16 spring game.
Jayden Comma, WR, Roswell (Ga.): The 6-2 receiver Comma earned his first FBS scholarship courtesy of Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell Feb. 10. The Roswell staff tipped off Bell, who regularly tapped into Georgia when the coach was at Arkansas State and UNC, prompting the coach to jump on the future multi-offer wideout.
Comma, naturally, was ecstatic. The Georgian hadn’t spoken to Bell, but he already knew all about his spread offense, the Roswell player mentioning it would be an ideal system to showcase his skills. Comma also said since his family is originally from Ohio he’s privy to Big Ten ball and would love to compete in that conference. And, like most out-of-state recruits with little prior knowledge of UMD, Comma counted Under Armour as a positive too.
“I love the Big Ten,” Comma said. “So I’d love the chance to play in that conference, for a team up north, and now Maryland is giving me that opportunity. It sounds like it could be a fit for me.”
Thanks to Bell’s early inroads, we’ll list Comma as “warm” on the hot board. But let’s see how Comma’s recruiting develops before forecasting the wideout to College Park, which the prospect will be visiting this spring.
Only Presbyterian and Mercer have anted up so far, but ACC and more Big Ten programs should be entering the fray shortly. Georgia Tech, a school Comma trekked to a couple weeks ago, could be next to offer, along with Wake Forest.
You can read more about Comma HERE.
Bruce Judson, QB/Slot, Cocoa (Fla.): The Terps offered Judson on Super Bowl Sunday, joining about 20 other programs who have tossed verbals out to the elite four-star dual-threat. Judson only stands 5-9, so most of his major looks are for slot receiver, although a program like Maryland, with its spread offense, could probably try him behind center.
Judson, though, knows his best opportunity at realizing his NFL dreams is at receiver, which is his preferred position. But regardless of his future spot, the guy’s going to be one tough pull. Judson already has his eyes on in-state mainstay Florida, while LSU; Ohio State; South Carolina; and other schools throughout the SEC are on the brain too.
Maybe if UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty keeps hammering away and Maryland puts together a solid 2016 campaign the Terps can work into the conversation.
Trey Blount, WR, Pace Academy (Powder Spring, Ga.): Blount added a UMD offer Feb. 11, his 13th to date. He knows UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell and believes he'd fit well into his spread offense. Blount also said he may visit College Park at some point.
But Blount has everyone and their brother after him. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Notre Dame sit at the forefront of his mind, and it's probable he'll wind up at an SEC suitor (or UND). We'll list him on the hot board for now, but don't envision him winding up at Maryland.
Taariq Johnson, WR, Buena Park (Calif.): UMD’s California-area recruiter, Anthony Tucker, issued a couple left-coast offers last week, including one to this four-star receiver. But Johnson has pretty much all the Pac-12 powers on him, in addition to a smattering of looks from the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12.
Johnson did express some initial Maryland interest following the verbal, so we did include him on the hot board. But it’s never easy attracting recruits from three time zones away, especially when the in-state powers are in pursuit.
Joseph Lewis, WR, Hawkins (Los Angeles, Calif.): Another one of UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker’s California verbals went out to this four-star receiver. But Joseph Lewis is even more highly-regarded than Taariq Johnson. Lewis has hometown USC after him in earnest, and the Trojans are considered the frontrunners. Notre Dame, Oklahoma and the other Cali programs have Lewis’ attention too.
Lewis has not been included on the Maryland hot board yet -- and won’t be unless he flies East to College Park.
Jalen Hall, WR, Hawkins (Los Angeles, Calif.) (2018): The sophomore teammate of Joseph Lewis added a Maryland offer Feb. 5 too. Like Lewis, Hall holds verbals from all the Pac-12 elites, plus those from Notre Dame; Ole Miss; Tennessee; Baylor and more. His recruitment pretty much mirrors that of Lewis, with Hall counting the Trojans as an early standout.
Alexander Marshall, TE, Andover (Mass.): The Terps’ coaches have handed out a couple 2017 tight end offers, but Marshall might end up being their most realistic option given the 6-7, 230-pounder’s built-in affinity for the school. True, Marshall’s recruitment has exploded this winter, but when UMD assistant Pete Lembo offered Feb. 9, the tight end raved to the point of overstatement.
“[Lembo] was saying how things are really going in the right direction at Maryland, and he wants me to be apart of it. And I told him I agreed,” said Marshall, a former UNC lacrosse commit. “I think Maryland is a great school and a great program.
“I remember [during a previous trip to UMD] I felt like it could be a perfect fit for me at the time, just from an educational perspective. And now, it looks like they have a great football program too, and on top of that it’s only a $45 flight back home to Massachusetts. So it really does look like an ideal fit.”
The above is only part of the transcript. Marshall went on to commend Lembo’s personality, head coach D.J. Durkin’s energy, and Walt Bell’s offense, calling the latter “perfect” for the tight end’s style.
The Andover prospect then pointed out how he’d previously been recruited by UMD lacrosse coach John Tillman, who had the then-ninth grader down to College Park for a visit. Marshall described how much he liked the surrounding area, namely Washington, D.C., and the business opportunities it presented.
But don’t get overly hyped just yet, UMD aficionados. Marshall’s one of those “love every school” recruits, and in fact he insisted he had no clear leaders. Which means his recruitment is bound to ebb and flow, ebb and flow, ebb and flow.
So far, Nebraska, Pitt, Rutgers, South Carolina, Kentucky, NC State, Wake Forest and UConn are all in play. But Marshall’s about to add Clemson, Notre Dame, Florida, Michigan, Michigan State, UNC, FSU, Penn State, Georgia, Va Tech, UVA, Texas and more to that list. The tight end even hinted some of those potential SEC scholarships could hold significant weight.
You can read more about Marshall HERE.
Gabe Houy, OT, Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Maryland offensive line coach Dave Borbely got into the “offer act” Feb. 10, dipping into Western Pennsylvania and offering this Pittsburgh product. The 6-6, 250-pound Houy held early verbals from Pitt and Toledo, with UMD representing his second FBS scholarship.
Naturally, Houy was thankful and said he appreciated Borbely’s sentiments. Houy said he had a brief conversation with the offensive line coach, who commended the tackle for his length; quicks; and punch.
But Houy admitted he didn’t know much about Maryland and would have to visit before commenting further. About the only knowledge he has of the Terps is they’re Big Ten affiliated (a plus) and have “awesome uninforms” (another plus).
Currently, hometown Pitt may have Houy’s attention. He’s been to the Panthers’ junior day, talking up head coach Pat Narduzzi and Co.; the facilities; the academics; and the vibe surrounding the program. Houy also said the idea of sticking around town for college was “definitely something I’m thinking about.”
Next up, Houy’s heading to Toledo Feb. 13 and Wake Forest Feb. 21. After that, he wants to hit Penn State, Iowa State and Maryland.
Although Pitt could be an frontrunner, Houy said he’ll have to explore multiple campuses before he can begin parsing out leaders. In all likelihood, Houy will have numerous FBS verbals to consider, visit and vet.
You can read more about Houy HERE.
Robert Martin, OT, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): Maryland became the latest suitor for rising-star tackle Rob Martin, who previously claimed verbals from Kentucky; BC; NC State; Rutgers; Wake; Pitt; and Temple. The 6-5, 265-pounder had been hearing from UMD-area recruiter Matt Barnes since January, which is when the assistant offered Martin’s teammate, linebacker Louis Acceus, another top Terps’ target. And after UMD’s line coach, Dave Borbely, evaluated Martin’s film, the formal offer was presented Feb. 11.
"I loved it, and [Maryland] was a cool place to be. And when [Barnes] said he was offering me I was like, ‘Wow.’ I didn’t know what to say. I was just pumped. Just pumped. [Barnes] was pumped too. We were both pumped," Martin said. “I think we were both kind of humbled too, just about the whole thing.
"[Borbely] was a cool guy too. I felt like we had a little bit of a connection going on. We were talking abut Under Armour and the brand. And then we just talked about how I could help the team, and how he loved my game. It was very humbling. I can’t wait to talk to him again and meet him.”
With the verbal in tow, Martin’s in the process of finalizing his next visit to College Park. He said the university’s conference affiliation (Big Ten), location (not far from home, near D.C.) and style all stood out, so he wants to meet the coaches firsthand.
Maryland will be just one stop on Martin’s offseason tour, however. He’ll be at Rutgers Feb. 13, and would like to hit Kentucky; BC; Pitt; PSU; NC State; and Wake as well.
Martin’s already visited RU a few times, the hometown school holding appeal. Penn State is one offer he's hoping for, along with Clemson and other from the SEC.
But the St. Joe’s product is relatively open and claims no leaders. He’ll wait to see several campuses, and what suitors come calling, before making any definitive statements.
You can read more about Martin HERE.
Tank Jenkins, OT, Park Crossing (Montgomery, Ala.) (2018): Maryland assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim knows Montgomery and Park Crossing High quite well from having coached in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the last two years. He became the latest coach to hand a verbal to this 6-4, 315-pound sophomore, who already has the SEC all over him. Alabama and Auburn are the early favorites, with FSU, Georgia, UF, LSU and others of that ilk all involved.
It would probably be a moral victory of sorts if Abdul-Rahim could get Jenkins out to College Park for a visit.
Victor Dimukeje, DT, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): This under-the-radar 6-1, 250-pound plugger picked up his first power-five offer from Maryland Feb. 2. UMD-area recruiter Mike London informed Dimukeje of the verbal, rendering the recruit speechless. Dimukeje also said London called him “one of the best D-linemen in the country,” which the local product didn’t know how to respond to either. Naturally, Dimukeje lauded London, the recruit eager to establish a rapport with the defensive line coach.
In addition to London, Dimukeje has met UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and spoken to head coach D.J. Durkin. Clearly, the Terps’ staff is placing a priority on Dimukeje early.
Prior to the Maryland offer, Dimukeje held one other verbal from Toledo and had interest from numerous FBS programs, but the hometown school likely leads for his services. The Boys’ Latin prospect said the chance to play close to family held water, while Maryland’s academics stood out as well (he’s an honors student who places major emphasis on education). Dimukeje, who will be in College Park Feb. 13, also took to Maryland’s campus when he last visited.
Besides UMD, Dimukeje said he’ll be trekking to Penn State, Duke, Wake Forest and UVA, among others, this offseason. He said he’d love to add offers from all four since each have notable academic reputations.
You can read more about Dimukeje HERE.
Marcus Bowman, LB, Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Yet another Signing Day offer, Bowman heard about his UMD verbal from head coach D.J. Durkin himself. Bowman previously had a rapport with the former Maryland regime, but called Durkin a “good guy” and appreciated the hometown look. Bowman especially liked Durkin’s evaluation of the linebacker’s game, the headman noting the Douglass product’s aggressiveness and “attack mode” mentality.
Moreover, Bowman has been to Maryland a couple times, talking up the campus and facilities. But he said the opportunity to play in front of family and friends held the most appeal.
“I’ve seen they’ve brought a lot of local guys in so that makes [UMD] stand out,” Bowman said. “And it’s the hometown school and my family wouldn’t have to drive far to see me play. That’s important to me too, that my family sees my games.”
We get the sense this recruitment could quickly escalate in Maryland’s favor, but Bowman insisted he’ll be giving his other suitors -- and potential suitors -- a chance. Bowman also holds verbals from Iowa, NC State and Temple, with Penn State; Purdue; Ohio State; and Wake Forest interested. He’s yet to visit any other schools besides UMD, and until he does, he didn’t want to name a definitive leader.
But we’ll see what happens after Bowman visits College Park Feb. 13.
You can read more about Bowman HERE.
Ayinde Eley, LB, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Eley claimed close to double-digit offers from the likes of Michigan State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Va Tech, UNC, WVU, Iowa, Nebraska and Kentucky, so it was only a matter of time before the Maryland staff anted up Feb. 3. The 6-5, 205-pound Eley understood it was a new regime in College Park and it took the coaches time to evaluate him, so the recruit didn’t fault the hometown school for the late look.
“It was a great honor to get an offer from the hometown school, and a great program like Maryland,” said the 6-foot-5, 205-pound Eley. “It was an honor and a blessing, and Maryland is a great school. I’m definitely going to consider them throughout the process.”
Thus far, Eley has heard from both head coach D.J. Durkin and UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. He’s looking forward to remaining in contact with both, while venturing over to campus Feb. 13 for a personal sitdown. Eley has been in College Park a could times before, and said each time he forays through “I get a better feel for it.” The Good Counsel recruit likes the prospects of staying home for college too.
But it’s way too soon to prognosticate how this situation will turn out. Eley hasn’t seen the majority of his suitors -- he’s visited UMD, Va Tech, WVU and Kentucky – and wants to trek through more before forming an opinion. We should have a better idea what Eley is thinking after that.
You can read more about Eley HERE.
Rayshard Ashby, LB, Lloyd C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.): Maryland linebackers coach Matt Barnes let Ashby know the recruit had an offer from the Terps Feb. 5. It was the 5-11, 220-pound MIKE’s second power-five verbal to date, along with Va Tech.
“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.”
Ashby has been in College Park once before. He attended the USF-UMD game last year and offered up praise for then-Byrd Stadium and the atmosphere. Ashby didn’t have a chance to walk around campus, though, and obviously the staff that was in place isn’t around any longer.
“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,” Ashby said.
But while Maryland’s resonating initially, Ashby may be favoring the hometown Hokies early. He thoroughly enjoyed his trek through Blacksburg, Va., and likes defensive coordinator Bud Foster and new coach Justin Fuente. That said, Ashby doesn’t have any clear leaders yet, making sure to speak highly of every program that’s offered him.
Thus far, Ashby’s been to UMD, Tech, ECU and Wake. He’ll hit Maryland, Marshall and Temple this offseason, along with any other schools whose coaches choose to ante up.
Ashby said he’s mainly concerned with a university’s campus feel, academics, game-day atmosphere and coach-player interactions.
You can read more about Ashby HERE.
Sterling Jones, LB, St. James (Montgomery, Ala.): Terps’ assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim dipped into his Alabama connections and offered this middle linebacker Feb. 6, the four-star’s eighth to date. Jones previously held verbals from Michigan, Vandy, Florida, Cincinnati, Auburn, Louisville and Kentucky. He has visited UM, Louisville, Auburn and a couple others, although Jones hasn’t claimed any favorites yet.
First thing’s first for Abdul-Rahim and Maryland: Getting Jones to check out College Park. We’ve listed him “cool” on the hot board for now.
Dylan Moses, LB, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): Maryland's staff gave the five-star Moses his 32nd offer to date Feb. 10. A Louisiana native, Moses has been forecast to LSU, although Bama and Florida State are making some noise. If Moses doesn't wind up at an SEC program or a Sunshine State power, it'll be an upset.
Moses, however, did say he'd think about visiting College Park, and if that comes to fruition D.J. Durkin and his assistants deserve a moral victory of sorts.
Terrell Jana, CB, Woodberry Forest (Woodberry, Va.): Maryland’s Virginia-area recruiter Mike London knew the cornerback Jana when the coach was at UVA, and he reestablished the connection Feb. 5. Jana said he certainly appreciated the offer, his first of the power-five variety, and wanted to visit UMD soon. He didn’t know much about the Terps other than the Under Armour connection, but counts London as someone he has a close connection with.
It should be noted that Jana’s from Canada and has no preference in terms of a university’s location. He is looking for a school with a standout science program, however.
Jana also holds scholarships from Ohio, Nevada and UVA (Feb. 8 offer), while Rutgers; Iowa State; and others could be anteing up shortly. Jana, who is open to all suitors, said there’s not one offer in particular he’s looking for. He should be visiting numerous locales this offseason, including a trek through College Park.
We like Maryland’s position early given his established rapport with London, but we’ll have a better grasp of Jana’s situation later during the spring.
You can read more about Jana HERE.
February 13 College Park Visitors
Maryland will hold its first major visit weekend Feb. 13 (when the Terps’ hoops team takes on Wisconsin), and elite recruits from throughout the DMV will be in attendance. Here’s a glance at the more prominent UMD targets who have confirmed they’ll be heading to College Park:
-- At quarterback, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) four-star Kasim Hill will be coming in for his first trip to Maryland in a year (he was at UMD’s February 2015 junior day). The local dual-threat knows several members of the UMD staff already like Mike London (recruited Hill at UVA), Scott Shafer (recruited Hill at Syracuse) and D.J. Durkin (met Hill at Michigan), but wants to gain more insight on the direction the hometown school’s heading.
For now, Hill is wide open in his recruitment, although Penn State; Michigan; Northwestern; Michigan State; and Ohio State (no offer yet) could have his eye initially. He has forayed through each of the latter programs on multiple occasions. Notre Dame, should it offer, would also become a prime contender.
-- The No. 1 running back visiting College Park just so happens to be the No. 1 recruit in the entire DMV. DeMatha’s (Hyattsville, Md.) Anthony McFarland, who has his pick of schools, will be back at Maryland for the fifth or sixth time in the last several months. Indeed, the five-star’s a constant presence at Maryland and likes what he’s heard about the program from his multiple-teammates-turned-Terps. Moreover, he’s already established a connection with the new UMD staff, including D.J. Durkin and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
McFarland also has Alabama, FSU, Clemson, Notre Dame, Baylor, UGA and Penn State on his mind early. His recruitment will ebb and flow all throughout the next year.
-- At receiver, pay close attention to Pallotti’s (Laurel, Md.) Cameron Sullivan-Brown, who picked up an offer from Maryland’s old staff and still has one from Durkin’s crew. The future four-star has an ever-expanding scholarship list that now includes programs from throughout the Big Ten and ACC, but the local school is at the forefront of his mind. Sullivan-Brown has intimated he wants to stay home for college, represent his state and play alongside other DMV recruits. The wideout has also enjoyed the various UMD games he’s taken in and the atmosphere in College Park. (He was actually back on campus yet again two weekends ago.)
Sullivan-Brown could elect to let the process play out with more suitors coming at him, but there’s a chance he could end his recruitment Feb. 13 (or shortly thereafter). The 6-1, 170-pounder is on “pop watch” this weekend.
-- As for the big uglies up front, five-star tackle Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) will be back at UMD. Terps’ coaches in general have been after McNair since his freshman year, so the tackle’s had plenty of exposure to the College Park environment. He’s already initiated contact with the new UMD regime, McNair stopping by Maryland once since Durkin’s hiring. Meanwhile, Mike London’s personally been through McDonogh to exchange greetings.
Ohio State and Penn State, two oft-stated standouts, sit atop McNair’s early leaderboard as well, but Maryland should remain in the thick of things throughout.
-- On the line’s interior, DeMatha guard Marcus Minor is returning to UMD for the umpteenth time. The four-star is publically keeping an open mind about the recruiting process, but the Terps could be the team to beat. Minor’s lauded the hometown school whenever Maryland’s broached -- as much for its football program as for its renowned journalism school (he wants to be a sports broadcaster). Minor’s comfortable on campus, likes the idea of joining DMV-to-UMD and has a rapport with the current UMD regime.
Minor is also considering UNC, Va Tech (just recently visited), UVA (just recently visited), Miami, Duke, Pitt and WVU, among others. He may be apt to wait before committing, but early projections have him winding up a Terp.
-- The DMV’s foremost center recruit, Johnny Jordan (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), will be in attendance as well. Jordan finally picked up a Terps’ offer in late January, and was thrilled about it. He promptly connected with line coach Dave Borbely and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim via social media, while Jordan’s enjoyed his previous trips to College Park. Additionally, he’s keen on having his family and friends in attendance for home games.
Jordan isn’t a lock to wind up at UMD, though. North Carolina is on the mind early, and Pitt; Penn State (no offer yet); and Clemson (no offer yet) hold appeal too.
-- Moving over to the defensive side of the ball, four-star edge rusher Chase Young will be joining his DeMatha teammates in College Park Feb. 13. Young is practically in the same boat as Anthony McFarland: He’s a national name with offers galore. But, like McFarland, Young’s visited Maryland multiple times and has the hometown school among his top-five contenders.
Young’s teammates-turned-Terps have been pushing DMV-to-UMD, and plus the elite edge rusher likes the direction Maryland’s heading under D.J. Durkin. Furthermore, Young has had a chance to meet position coach Mike London, area-recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Durkin himself during a previous foray through College Park.
Young, though, will drag out his recruitment until next winter. Notre Dame, which he’s visiting later in February, is in contention, along with Bama; FSU; Ohio State; Miami; Georgia; Penn State; Tennessee; and others.
-- Another intriguing end/outside linebacker heading to Maryland is the emerging Tyree Johnson (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.). Johnson added a UMD offer Jan. 28 and called it “one I was looking for.” He’s journeyed through College Park on several occasions; has a budding rapport with Mike London and Maryland’s Director of Recruiting, Marcus Berry; and isn’t opposed to staying local for college.
Johnson also holds verbals from TAMU (this one Feb. 10 sent his recruitment skyrocketing), Tennessee, Kentucky, Rutgers, Temple and Va Tech; he’s bound to procure more as the offseason moves along. His recruitment is in its infant stages, so we won’t know where he truly stands until later. (On this end, we’re naturally skeptical about Maryland’s chances with St. John’s targets).
-- A third defensive lineman, Lawtez Rogers (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.), will be in College Park for the first time since the fall. The Roosevelt five-tech -- who projects as a three-tech in college -- still holds just one offer from Maryland, but the new UMD staff is honoring it.
And when it’s all said and done, Rogers should be returning the favor. Rogers wants to stick around town so his family can see him play, while he’s become comfortable on campus; around the area; and with the coaches (Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Marcus Berry have picked up where ex-UMD recruiter Mike Locksley left off).
Rogers won’t pop until he’s seen some other schools, but our initial tealeaf reading points to the Terps.
-- The fourth defensive end returning to Maryland is Good Counsel’s (Olney, Md.) Josh Paschal, whose Maryland offer has also been ensured by the new UMD regime. The 6-4, 255-pounder had previously spoken highly of the Terps, acknowledging the chance to represent his home state held weight. Paschal’s also taking a liking to the College Park vibe during the games he’s attended in then-Byrd Stadium. Now, the Good Counsel standout is in the process of forming a relationship with Mike London, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and the other Maryland staffers.
But Paschal isn’t currently forecast to UMD unless some of his other options fall off. Kentucky, which Paschal’s visited several times, leads for his services, which isn’t surprising considering his older brother played there. Meanwhile, Ohio State and Clemson do seem to have Paschal’s attention for the moment as well (provided those respective staffs continue to push).
-- The final defensive lineman who will be at Maryland Feb. 13, Victor Dimukeje (Boys’ Latin/Baltimore, Md.), is more of a plugger than an edge rusher. But the Baltimore product by way of Nigeria could be one heck of an interior force if he continues progressing.
The Terps’ coaches, banking on such a development, offered Dimukeje before any other power-five program -- and they have the 6-1, 250-pounder’s attention. Dimukeje already has a connection with Mike London, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and D.J. Durkin, each coach making a pitch. Furthermore, Diumukeje’s been to Maryland before, extolling the campus and game-day atmosphere. The university’s academics, namely its engineering program, will only help the Maryland staff’s chances at landing the Boys’ Latin recruit.
Dimukeje has also been hearing from Penn State, Ole Miss, Wake, Duke and UVA, and should secure verbals from some of those programs, in addition to others. He wants to venture out to some of those potential suitors, but the Terps have the upper-hand early.
-- Moving to the defense’s second level, linebacker Marcus Bowman (Douglass/Upper Marlboro, Md.) will be at UMD for the first time since the June 2015 Big Show camp. The 6-3, 220-pounder has been interested in the Terps since ex-UMD recruiter Mike Locksley first initiated contact, so Bowman was ecstatic when D.J. Durkin anted up. Bowman admitted the opportunity to line up in front of family and friends resonated. He also liked the campus and facilities during his previous trek through College Park.
Bowman -- who holds offers from UMD, NC State, Iowa and Temple -- said he wants to check out other schools before committing, but we think there’s a chance Durkin and Co. can coax out a pop Feb. 13. The Douglass prospect even hinted at such a scenario when we spoke to him.
-- While the Terps ‘ coaches just recently jumped on Bowman, Calvert Hall’s (Towson, Md.) Tyshon Fogg has been on the radar for quite some time. The four-star has about 20 offers to date, with the most prominent coming from Stanford; Clemson; Michigan State; Missouri; North Carolina; Maryland; Rutgers; and Duke.
Fogg’s always given his share of UMD compliments, but we’ve never sensed they were especially genuine. For one, the Calvert Hall recruit’s originally from New Jersey and has only been in the Old Line State for a couple years. Secondly, Fogg does not have a true affinity for DMV-to-UMD. On top of that, Fogg’s reneged on several intended forays through College Park in favor of other institutions.
But maybe Maryland’s current staff can gain some traction. Fogg has already heard from D.J. Durkin, UMD linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, and area recruiter Mike London, and Feb. 13 will be an opportunity for the coaches to establish a deeper rapport.
-- A second four-star backer, Nate Proctor (Lackey/Indian Head, Md.), hasn’t been at Maryland since last February. Proctor, remember, was overlooked by the UMD’s last regime, Lackey proving to be one of those “red flag” high schools. But new Terps’ assistants Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Mike London jumped on the local in early January. Proctor appreciated their respective overtures, the Southern Maryland native saying he understood this UMD staff would be handling recruiting differently than the previous group.
So, with a Terps’ offer in tow, the four-star said he’d definitely be considering Maryland moving forward. Proctor said he’s intrigued by the idea of staying home and suiting up with other DMV recruits who choose to remain local.
But Proctor has loads of scholarships to consider and visits to take. Penn State, UNC, Georgia and Va Tech -- all of which Proctor’s been to already -- are on the brain, in addition to offerees like Florida; Miami; and potentially more.
-- The last linebacker visitor will be Good Counsel’s Ayinde Eley, who picked up a Maryland verbal Feb. 5. The Terps joined Michigan State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Va Tech, UNC, WVU, Iowa, Nebraska and Kentucky in the race for the 6-5, 205-pounder’s services.
As aforementioned (see “New Offers Out” section above), Eley understood the “late look” and is looking forward to bonding with the new UMD staff. Eley’s been in College Park before, said he’s growing more comfortable with the school, and isn’t averse to staying home for college.
But Eley’s going to explore his options before ending his recruitment. We’ll have a better idea where he stands this summer, after the Good Counsel recruit’s seen some of his prominent Big Ten, ACC and SEC suitors.
Last but not least, the defensive backs, including one who could be on "pop watch."
-- Riverdale Baptist’s (Upper Marlboro, Md.) Tariq Castro-Fields landed a Maryland offer Jan. 26 and was absolutely buzzing about it. The 6-2, 180-pounder sought the chance to remain local for college, and UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim gave it to him.
“Most definitely, it’s definitely in my head to stay home for college,” Castro-Fields said before. “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.
“Of the three offers I have, this one meant the most, because it’s the hometown school and DMV-to-UMD is so big.”
The Terps’ staff must sense Castro-Fields’ hometown affinity, because Abdul-Rahim and D.J. Durkin have been pushing for a commitment, making it known how much they covet the Riverdale corner. Castro-Fields does have verbals from Temple; Pitt, Rutgers and Marshall, with others about to materialize, and would like to explore these options. We wouldn't be shocked if the Prince George’s County native popped while in College Park Feb. 13, but aren't counting on it.
-- Finally, there’s the four-star cornerback Deon Jones (Carroll/Washington, D.C.), the District’s No. 1 recruit. Jones is actually one of the most renowned defensive backs in the country (see his Scout profile for my evaluation of him) and won’t be an easy pull for Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and D.J. Durkin.
But the Terps’ coaches do have a shot here considering Jones has been a semi-regular in College Park, is keen on the hometown movement, and already considers Abdul-Rahim one of his favorite recruiters. Indeed, Abdul-Rahim’s D.C. connection and ability to relate to high schoolers rings true with Jones.
In the months ahead, though, the Terps’ defensive backs coach will have to go toe-to-toe with coaches from Clemson, Auburn, Florida, Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee and probably Alabama (no offer yet); Florida State (no offer yet); and more. Jones counts Clemson as an early-frontrunner, readily taking to the Death Valley vibe and staff.
More Recruiting Notes
Jordan Williams, DE, Cox (Virginia Beach, Va.): Maryland’s ex-Virginia recruiter, Chad Wilt, did well to identify Williams before he blew up. Wilt went after Williams hard during the defensive end’s sophomore year, prompting the recruit to visit College Park in October 2015. Subsequently, Williams couldn’t say enough about the Terps’ program, the now-former coaches and the campus.
Granted, UMD’s current regime has hopped on Williams as well, with Chris Beatty trekking through Cox during the January open period, but it’s become increasingly more difficult to lure him to Maryland.
Why? Well, Williams has become one of the hottest recruits on the East Coast, picking up offers right and left. Southern Cal and Va Tech were his most recent two, preceded by Clemson; Penn State; UNC; and Tennessee. Now, Williams is honing in on CU, PSU, Va Tech and UNC, and it’s possible he gives USC some consideration too.
Williams did text in that Maryland remains on the mind, but at this rate he may not be on the hot board for much longer.
Trajan Bandy, CB, Columbus (Miami, Fla.): Scout’s Corey Bender caught up with this four-star Terps’ cornerback target earlier this week, and Bandy reiterated his intentions to visit Maryland. Recall, we interviewed Bandy after UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim extended an offer back in December, and the corner raved about the look. Bandy knew Abdul-Rahim well when the coach was at Alabama, the recruit first meeting the now-Maryland defensive backs coach at a Tuscaloosa, Ala., summer camp. So, when Abdul-Rahim reached College Park, Bandy immediately took notice and said he wanted to check the Terps out.
But Abdul-Rahim’s got his work cut out for him. Bandy’s a 20-30 offer recruit and told Bender that Oklahoma currently led for his services.
“Oklahoma is the new leader for me. I will be visiting April 6," Bandy told Bender. "I've been researching the schools that are recruiting me, and I love their history and tradition. The coaches seem to be genuine and solid as well.
"They also have played corners of my size in the past, so I just can't wait to meet coach Stoops in April."
Auburn, Clemson, Bama, Tennessee and others throughout the SEC have Bandy’s attention too.
Damani Neal, S, Bullis (Potomac, Md.): One of the only DMV Terps’ offerees who won’t be on campus Feb. 13, the sense is Neal may not be a priority for the D.J. Durkin regime. Based on who the Maryland staff has extended verbals to thus far, the vibe is the coaches prefer longer defensive backs than the linebacker-lookalike Neal. Since Neal’s local, we expect recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim to maintain contact, but the coach may not push in earnest.
Also, Neal’s interest level in UMD could be waning somewhat too. It’s unclear whether the “Dwayne Haskins situation” played a role, but Neal may be more apt to take his game elsewhere. Penn State looks to be the favorite, with Rutgers; Stanford; Duke; Northwestern; Vanderbilt; UVA; and others in play.
Neal’s currently sitting “cool” on the hot board.
Tahj Capehart, WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.): The four-star receiver Capehart made his hot-board debut with a “warm” rating, mostly because our Virginia analysts let us know the wideout “was Chris Beatty’s boy.” Well, that may be true, and it’s possible UMD’s receivers’ coach will eventually break through with Capehart. But, for now, the four-star doesn’t seem to have his mind on Maryland.
Scout.com’s Mike Clark caught up with the four-star earlier this week, and the consensus was in-state Va Tech sits in the pole position. Capehart’s been impressed with new coach Justin Fuente and believes he’d fit well in the Hokies’ spread. The Ocean Lake standout is also feeling the hometown pull and could be inclined to remain in-state for college.
At the same time, it’s early in the process, and Capehart chose not to list any definite leaders. Georgia, UNC, Ohio State, Tennessee, Penn State, UVA, Nebraska, Miami, Texas Tech, Wisconsin, Arizona State and Maryland are all technically in play.
We’ve downgraded Capehart to “cool,” but that could change if/when he returns to College Park this spring.
Elijah Conliffe, DE, Hampton (Va.): This Hampton Roads Terps’ target just picked up an offer from Tennessee, and our Virginia analyst Mike Clark informed it was “a really big one” for Conliffe. The three-star end is planning to attend a March junior day in Knoxville, Tenn., and could attend the spring game as well.
Conliffe doesn’t intend to end his recruitment anytime soon, but for the moment Tennessee leads. Regardless if he actually winds up in Knoxville, it seems like Conliffe’s infatuated with the SEC.
We’ll leave him on the hot board since UMD-area recruiters Chris Beatty and Mike London have sway in Hampton, but we’re not banking on Conliffe trekking north to College Park.
Nico Collins, WR, Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Ala.): Terps’ fans are holding onto a glimmer of hope with this borderline five-star receiver, the teammate of incoming Maryland quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome. But Collins, per an update with our Bama colleagues, probably won’t be heading out to College Park, despite area-recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s and Pigrome’s best efforts.
Collins just released a top six of Alabama, Clemson, Miami, Michigan, Ole Miss and Georgia, the wideout honing in on the country’s elites. In-state Bama, along with the other SEC schools, would seem to have the upper-hand.
It’s possible Collins’ situation will change, so we’ll leave him on the hot board as “cold” for now.
Off the Board
TyJuan Garbutt, DE, Riverbend (Fredericksburg, Va.): It’s a long, long way until Signing Day 2017, so there’s a chance the name “TyJuan Garbutt” resurfaces again down the line. But for now he’s off the hot board, the four-star defensive end popping to Virginia Tech while at a Hokies’ junior day Feb. 6. The 6-3, 225-pounder had been to Tech a few times previously, so he was already familiar with Blacksburg, Va. Plus, he’s been in touch with defensive coordinator Bud Foster for quite some time now, Garbutt believing he could excel in Tech’s versatile scheme.
The Terps’ staff, with Mike London and Chris Beatty running point, offered Garbutt back in January. The duo even went through Riverbend during the open recruiting period to reintroduce themselves.
Now, we do expect Maryland’s coaches to keep recruiting Garbutt in case the defensive end begins wavering on his pledge. For the time being, however, the Virginia native’s a hard Hokies’ commit.
Eric Crosby, DT, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.): Crosby was included on the initial hot board release after UMD’s Virginia area recruiters Chris Beatty and Mike London stopped by Ocean Lakes during the January open period. But after discussing the four-star tackle with our Scout colleagues, it seems like Crosby’s focused on in-state programs and schools down south.
Indeed, Crosby released a top five of Alabama, Clemson, Tennessee, Va Tech and NC State, although there are more SEC programs bound to get involved. The Ocean Lakes product was just at Tech’s junior day and has the hometown Hokies firmly in play.
We’ll revisit Crosby if Beatty and London can cull out some Terps’ interest, but it’s safe to take him off the hot board until further notice.
Isaiah Robertson, WR, Neuqua Valley (Naperville, Ill.): UMD assistant Scott Shafer does have some connections in Chicago, so we thought the Terps might target this four-star receiver, who ex-UMD-area recruiter Chad Wilt went after. But Robertson’s seen his recruiting profile to the point where he’s only talking up the nation’s foremost programs.
Robertson was recently in South Bend, Ind., for a junior day and raved about the Irish. Word is when Notre Dame’s coaches ante up, Robertson will snap the scholarship up.
Jarques McLellion, CB, American Heritage (Delray Beach, Fla.): The Terps have multiple recruiters in Florida, and in particular the Delray Beach area. Which is why McLellion was included on the hot board in the first place.
But the four-star corner has Michigan State and Kentucky out in front initially, mainly because he’s very close with the Wildcats’ staff and has several connections to the Spartans. Should Ohio State become involved, McLellion could very well wind up there as that’s his father’s alma mater.
Stanford Samuels, CB, Flanagan (Pembrook Pines, Fla.): Samuels attends the same school as 2016 Maryland target Dredrick Snelson (UCF). While in Pembrook Pines last year, UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim offered Samuels too, and the coach will surely maintain contact with the four-star in the months ahead.
But Samuels released an early leaderboard earlier this week, and it included Georgia, Michigan, Clemson and Florida State. That’s subject to change, obviously, but those entering and falling off the radar will likely be SEC suitors and in-state favorite Miami. Samuels is a longshot to wind up in College Park.
Ryan Solt, OG, James Coughlin (Wilkes Barre, Pa.): We were somewhat skeptical placing the Maryland legacy recruit Solt on the hot board to begin with. Although his father starred in College Park and Solt was thrilled when the former UMD regime anted up, it’s obvious new headman D.J. Durkin isn’t one for sentimentality.
When I touched base with Solt earlier this week he let on had not been in contact with the Maryland staff since Randy Edsall’s departure. In other words, Durkin’s probably looking in a different direction.
Ethan Wiederkehr, DE, Shoreham-Wading River (Shoreham, N.Y.): Wiederkehr is facing the same situation as Ryan Solt. Ex-UMD coach Randy Edsall offered the New York native last year, but Wiederkehr said he’s had no contact with D.J. Durkin and Co. Maryland’s Jersey/New York recruiter, Matt Barnes, did not stop by Shoreham-Wading River during the January open period, indicating the Terps’ coaches have other priorities in mind.
Sensing the writing’s on the wall, Wiederkehr’s inclined to look for college. UConn, Northwestern and Rutgers have offers out to him, with other Northeast and Midwest institutions monitoring his progress.