The DMV’s No. 1 linebacker recruit, Tyshon Fogg (Calvert Hall/Towson, Md.), was back at Maryland for the first time since last summer Feb. 13. The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder joined around 30 other local prospects for “DMV Day,” an opportunity for head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. to leave an initial impression on the area’s crème de crème.
“I mean, Maryland is pretty cool, especially with the new coaching staff,” said Fogg, who claims verbals from UMD, UNC, Stanford, Clemson, Duke, Kentucky, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Missouri and more. “The old staff was pretty cool too and I really liked them, but the new staff has a different feel to them. They’re really focused on winning, and they’ve assembled a lot of new coaches that should have them in position to compete in the Big Ten. Like, they have a lot guys on staff who used to be head coaches and know how to prepare the program to win and get better. So that was very attractive to me.”
Although Fogg hadn’t been in College Park, Md., in months, he knew several of the coaches from previous meetings. The Calvert Hall product said he’d met Durkin and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes when the two were at Michigan, while he’d interacted with defensive coordinator Scott Shafer when he was at Syracuse.
“I’m used to seeing these faces somewhere else, but now they’re all at Maryland, which is pretty cool,” Fogg said. “I remember meeting Coach Durkin and Coach Barnes at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp last year, when they came down from Michigan. And Coach Durkin actually stopped by Calvert Hall a month or so ago. It was good seeing all those guys again, and they’re all very good coaches.
“Coach Durkin is a defensive coach and has experience coaching linebackers, so that most definitely means a lot to me. That’s what I’m looking for in a head coach, someone that stresses defense and who can develop me. And Coach Barnes is my guy. [Feb. 13] was my first time really meeting him, but he’s a cool guy and we connected right away. He actually recruited a lot of guys from my hometown [New Jersey] , so I remember him from that.”
Fogg said Durkin’s, and his staff’s, overarching message was for the recruits to stay home and build a dynasty at Maryland. The four-star backer said it was a potent pitch with a powerful, emphatic delivery, although Fogg’s unsure exactly how he felt about it.
“Basically the Maryland coaches want to create a boundary around the state and keep everyone home. They talked about what we could all accomplish there if we banded together,” Fogg said. “And it’s something that I am thinking about. But I don’t feel as though Maryland is really my home like some other guys. I mean, it is my adopted home, and it is where I play football now, but I am a New Jersey guy at heart. New Jersey is really my hometown. But I am thinking about Maryland. I’m definitely looking at them.”
Some of the reasons Fogg will keep the Terps in play are the aforementioned bond he’s formed with the staff, the $150 million indoor facility, and the improved strength program.
“They’re building a lot of new stuff up at Maryland with the tunnel to the stadium and the indoor practice fields. It looks really cool and it should be ready by spring 2017,” Fogg said. “And the strength coach [Rick Court], I love his energy, how he’s getting guys jacked up, and his plans for developing players.
“And I liked the Maryland fans a lot too. I was at the [UMD-Wisconsin] basketball game, and it was an electrifying crowd. I’d never been in that type of atmosphere before, so that was really cool.”
Next up, Fogg will be touring through Carolina, taking in UNC; Duke; and Wake Forest Feb. 19-21. Then, on April 2, he’s flying west to see Stanford, the prohibitive favorite.
“Well, I don’t want to use the word ‘favorite’ yet,” Fogg said. “But you could say Stanford is one of the tops for me, definitely. And UNC is definitely standing out two. Those are the two schools I talk to the most right now. Everybody else is pretty much in the same boat, though.”