Eleanor Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) defensive lineman Lawtez Rogers had formed a strong bond with the previous Maryland staff, which offered him his first full ride. He knew both ex-UMD area recruiter Mike Locksley and defensive line coach Chad Wilt quite well, the two having the 6-foot-4, 245-pound edge rusher thinking long and hard about joining the hometown school.
But neither assistant was retained by new UMD head coach D.J. Durkin, which left Rogers questioning the situation. He didn’t know Durkin or any of his new hires personally, so Rogers wasn’t sure he still had a Maryland offer.
The three-star’s concerns were appeased, however, when UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim let Rogers know he still had a committable offer. And any reservations Rogers had about the Durkin regime were summarily squashed following the Feb. 13 “DMV Day,” which the Roosevelt product attended. It was Rogers’ first trip back to College Park, Md., since attending a game during the fall.
“I just enjoyed myself the whole time I was at Maryland [Feb. 13]. I do have to get to know the staff better since this was my first time really meeting them, but they really made a good impression,” said Rogers, who recently added his second offer from Old Dominion. “There are some real cool guys on this new staff. I did know Coach Rahim from before since he’s like a known guy from the DMV. Everyone around here sort of knew him from when he was at Friendship [Collegiate Academy in Washington, D.C.]. So him being there and being someone I can relate to, that just makes things better.
“But the other coaches I met, I really liked them a lot too. Coach [Mike] London, the D-Line coach, he was a cool guy and he seems like a real good guy. He’s not really like a regular coach; he’s old school. He’s straightforward, direct and definitely knows what he’s talking about. We were watching film and he was demonstrating drills in the middle of the room. It was like I could see exactly what he meant and how he wanted things done, because he showed us right there. I could see how he could really help me as a player. Plus he was a head coach at Virginia and coached a lot of great D-linemen. He has a great resume.”
Rogers went on to praise Durkin as well. The Roosevelt lineman said both he and his mother had an extended chat with the headman, who won the pair over.
“Coach Durkin was really cool too. He was basically saying, ‘Why not come to Maryland?’” Rogers said. “He said Maryland would be a great fit, and how it’s a good education; all your friends and family can come and watch you play; and how you can accomplish everything you want to here at Maryland.
“My mom was all on-board with it. She’d love me to stay home. I mean, if you’ve ever seen one of our games, she’s the loudest person in the stands (laughs). She’s a huge supporter of mine and wants to be at all the games.
“And for me, staying home is something I’m definitely considering. What Coach Durkin said makes a lot of sense. It’s a good system there, I like the coaches and it’s a great vibe there.”
Rogers wasn’t finished extolling the staff. He had the opportunity to meet strength coach Rick Court too, and the recruit couldn’t say enough about the ex-Mississippi State staffer.
“Coach Court would put pictures of players when they first walked in the door, and then post updated photos each year they were there until they left college,” Rogers said. “You could see them steadily getting bigger and stronger. Like one guy is now playing for the Redskins and he led them in sacks this year. He was one of [Court’s] guys, and he came in a scrawny freshman. But by the time he left college, he was a big, muscular guy ready for the NFL. So that’s a major positive for me.”
The edge rusher, who could turn into a 3-technique at the next level, said he enjoyed taking in the Maryland basketball game Feb. 13 too. He called the student-section “very energetic” and “crazy.”
“I really like Maryland right now. It’s a school I’m definitely thinking about,” said Rogers, who has been hearing from Syracuse, Pitt, Wake Forest and even Stanford. “I’m not ready to commit yet, because I want to take some visits first. I haven’t seen anywhere else besides Maryland yet. But I do like Maryland, and it’s pretty high for me.”