Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
DMV Day Roundup
More than 30 of Maryland and D.C.’s crème de crème ventured over to College Park, Md., Feb. 13 to familiarize themselves with head coach D.J. Durkin and his staff. The Terps’ coaches, who are prioritizing the local recruits, have offers out to around 15-18 preeminent DMV talents, with more firmly on the radar.
Some of the more prominent names who attended “DMV Day” included St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) quarterback Kasim Hill, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) running back Anthony McFarland, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.) running back Tayon Fleet-Davis, Pallotti (Laurel, Md.) receiver Cameron Sullivan-Brown, DeMatha tackle Marcus Minor, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) center Johnny Jordan, DeMatha defensive end Chase Young, St. John’s defensive end Tyree Johnson, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) defensive end/tackle Lawtez Rogers, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) defensive end Josh Paschal, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.) defensive tackle Victor Dimukeje, Good Counsel outside linebacker Ayinde Eley, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) outside linebacker Tyshon Fogg, and Archbishop Carroll (Washington, D.C.) cornerback Deon Jones. Additionally, Concord (Wilmington, Del.) four-star inside linebacker Avery Roberts made his way to College Park too.
Plus, recruits such as outside linebacker Keisean Wilson (North Point/Waldorf, Md.), defensive tackle Jaylen Twyman (Woodson/Washington, D.C.) and tight end Braden Atkinson (Boys’ Latin) were also on campus. None of the trio currently hold UMD scholarships, but could procure one after further evaluation.
The three notable no-shows were four-star Lackey (Indian Head, Md.) outside linebacker Nate Proctor, five-star McDonough (Owings Mills, Md.) offensive tackle Jordan McNair and three-star Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) inside linebacker Marcus Bowman, who was a potential “pop” candidate. The trio all had valid excuses for their respective absences, however, and each should be on campus this offseason.
Without further ado, here’s the rundown from those who were in College Park:
-- Starting at quarterback, Kasim Hill, the Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) transfer, told Scout’s Brian Dohn he and his father had productive sitdowns with both offensive coordinator Walt Bell and D.J. Durkin. The four-star said he and Bell connected, the pair in the beginning stages of developing a relationship.
Hill seemed to like Bell’s personality, his spread offense and the coach’s plans for the signal caller in said offense. Furthermore, Hill appreciated Durkin’s emphasis on acquiring DMV talent and constructing a championship contender with local recruits. Hill also said both he and his father liked Durkin’s broad message in regards to building a program.
DMV-to-UMD interests Hill too, the quarterback enjoying his interactions with his friends and various other locals on campus Feb. 13.
The St. John’s signal caller’s in the infant stages of his recruiting, however. Hill has many options to consider and explore, with a Syracuse trip on tap for Feb. 20. Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Northwestern, Mississippi State, Penn State, Wake Forest, Iowa and Boston College are all involved, Hill trekking through Ann Arbor, Mich.; Evanston, Ill.; and State College, Pa., on numerous occasions. The quarterback said he’s been in contact with coaches from PSU, Maryland, Wake, Northwestern and Syracuse most frequently.
You can read more about Hill HERE.
-- The DMV’s No. 1 recruit, running back Anthony McFarland, has Maryland entrenched following his trek through Maryland. A regular on campus, McFarland had already met several of UMD’s new coaches, but he received a different feel altogether Feb. 13.
“There’s a new vibe at Maryland now. It’s just different from how it was before with the old staff,” McFarland said. “Maryland is definitely a school I’m considering now.”
Not that McFarland wasn’t thinking about the Terps before. He did have a strong relationship with ex-UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley, but D.J. Durkin’s staff, collectively, has McFarland thinking turtles.
The DeMatha back/slot absolutely enjoyed sitting down with running backs coach Anthony Tucker, McFarland speaking to the coach’s detailed approach. The five-star also related well to offensive coordinator Walt Bell, whose system and style readily appealed. And D.J. Durkin, whom McFarland had met before, earned plenty of praise for his energy and winning mentality.
The sense moving forward is McFarland will be keeping Maryland among his top-five contenders, which, really, is where the Terps have sat for some time. Even before the Durkin takeover, the primetime athlete liked being on campus; representing his home state; and potentially joining his four teammates-turned-Terps in College Park.
But Durkin, Tucker, Bell and area-recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim will have to go toe-to-toe with Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State and many others for McFarland’s services. The Stags’ star isn’t about to pop early, so this recruitment’s going to ebb and flow all the way until next winter.
For out part, we’re leery of Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide.
-- Maryland’s staff may have an even better shot at landing Tayon Fleet-Davis, a 6-foot, 215-pound three-star back, who might eventually move to linebacker. Fleet-Davis admitted he’d been waiting … and waiting … and waiting for the hometown offer, and when it finally materialized Feb. 16, the excitement in his voice was evident. He called it an offer “I was looking for” and said the Terps would “definitely” be on his mind throughout the process.
Not only has Fleet-Davis visited College Park multiple times the last couple years, establishing a connection with ex-UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley, but he’d heard loads about Maryland from former teammate Keiron Howard, who is now a UMD defensive tackle.
Then, on Feb. 13, Fleet-Davis had an opportunity to interact with the new Terps’ regime. Following the stay, it’s safe to say the Potomac back is riding high with D.J. Durkin’s crew.
“This new staff at Maryland, I really like them,” said Fleet-Davis, who possesses offers from NC State, WVU, Rutgers and Iowa too. “Coach Durkin, he brings more energy to the table, and so do all the coaches there now. It’s a young staff, and I can relate to them better. They’re all cool, man.
“And I was talking to Coach Durkin about his plans, and I really like those a lot too. You know, I saw that 30-for-30 ESPN thing on Miami, and how everyone from Florida went there back in the day and turned [the Hurricanes] into a winner. And that’s what Coach Durkin is trying to do at Maryland. It’s definitely a great thought…. I’m definitely going to be considering Maryland.”
Yes, the Terps have more than a puncher’s chance here, but it’s not like Maryland is the only program Fleet-Davis has under consideration. He’s trekked through NC State and WVU on multiple occasions, singing the praises of each, and Rutgers and Iowa -- both are in line for visits -- are in the game too. If more suitors inevitably materialize, Fleet-Davis will also give those schools a harder look.
“It’s a long journey,” Fleet-Davis said. “I’m just going with the flow, for real.”
You can read more about Fleet-Davis HERE.
-- Four-star receiver Cameron Sullivan-Brown had given some thought to ending his recruitment earlier than anticipated, but, with his college options ever increasing, elected against it Feb. 13. Regardless, Maryland’s coaches have the inside track, and could secure the local’s services later during the spring/summer.
Sullivan-Brown raved about the new UMD regime, noting his positive interactions with D.J. Durkin; Walt Bell; receivers’ coach Chris Beatty; and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. He genuinely believes in their message that Maryland could “be like Miami in the ‘80s” if the DMV recruits stick around for college.
“I just really think the new staff at Maryland, and what they’re trying to do with keeping the local guys home, it’s great. My experience there with the coaches was great. It’s just a way-more upbeat environment and better vibe at Maryland now than it was with the old coaches,” Sullivan-Brown said. “It just impresses me more and more every time I go up there. I like the environment there.”
Sullivan-Brown personally seems to be buying into DMV-to-UMD, while he’s intrigued by the $150 million facility upgrade; the school itself; and the campus’ close proximity to home. Not to mention Sullivan-Brown loved the fan atmosphere at the Terps-Wisconsin hoops game Feb. 13.
Granted, the Pallotti prospect will explore Temple (visited Feb. 17), WVU, UVA, Duke, Wisconsin and possibly other suitors that will crop up in the future. But the Maryland staff has every reason to be encouraged by their chances at landing Sullivan-Brown.
You can read more about Sullivan-Brown HERE.
-- Four-star DeMatha tackle Marcus Minor tends to be rather tight-lipped in regards to his recruitment, careful not to sound too high or too low on any one program. In some ways, he’s the opposite of many recruits, who wax hyperbole following a visit to any random university. On this end, it’s refreshing to hear Minor’s comments, because he’ll give honest assessments and doesn’t force us to decipher his words.
Basically, the DeMatha product let us know he’s still in the evaluation stages. So. he won’t make any outlandish comments until he’s fully vetted his suitors. Of which Minor has many, including Duke; Miami; UNC; Pitt; Va Tech; UVA; Wake; WVU; BC; Syracuse; and Maryland.
This offseason, Minor’s been able to see UMD, UVA, Va Tech and UNC, with Wake and Duke coming up. The tackle said he’s not ready to put one visit, or one program for that matter, ahead of another until those trips are completed.
That said, we do believe Maryland will be in the running throughout the process. And it’s not because the Terps just signed four of his former teammates, a factor Minor insisted wouldn’t play much into his own decision.
Rather, UMD’s academics and well-regarded journalism program hold weight since Minor’s pursuing a broadcasting career. The DeMatha standout also feels like he’s a priority for D.J. Durkin and line coach Dave Borbely, both coaches expressing how “they need someone like me to step in and how much they want me.”
“It made me feel good,” Minor said. “[Durkin and Borbely] showed me how it would feel to be a Terp.”
Look for Minor to return to College Park in the next month or so for another one-on-one with Durkin. The local lineman’s parents will likely join him, giving the entire family more insight into the program.
You can read more about Minor HERE.
-- The offensive center Johnny Jordan had never trekked through campus before, so Feb. 13 was his first opportunity to do so. He called the campus “very nice,” the new facility upgrades “amazing,” and said he liked the weight-room renovations too. He also took to the Maryland fans, lauding the energy inside Xfinity Center Feb. 13.
But the DMV’s No. 1 center saved his highest praise for offensive line coach Dave Borbely. Jordan met Borbely last year at a UVA junior day, so the two were already familiar with each other. The Gonzaga product commended Borbely for his O-line development, attention to detail and his attitude in general. Moreover, Jordan appreciated D.J. Durkin’s comments regarding the DMV and his strategy for locking down the area.
“I believe in what Coach Durkin’s got going on there,” Jordan said.
But Jordan insisted he’s taking his time with the recruiting process. He has scholarships on the table from UNC, Kentucky, Syracuse, Memphis and Maryland, with more bound to enter the fray. The D.C. native would like to visit each of the aforementioned offerees, in addition to locales like Pitt and Boston College.
Our read? We’re not sure Jordan was as high on Maryland as some of the other DMV recruits in attendance. While we do believe Jordan holds UMD in esteem, his words rang of lip service just a bit. If Pitt, Penn State or a few national programs come calling, Jordan could be swayed to leave the D.C. area.
You can read more about Jordan HERE.
-- The DMV’s premier linebacker, Tyshon Fogg, hadn’t been in College Park since last summer, but he already had a semi-rapport with D.J. Durkin’s regime. The 6-2, 220-pounder knew Durkin and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes from when the pair were at Michigan, and defensive coordinator Scott Shafer from when the latter was at Syracuse.
Fogg said it was “pretty cool” seeing those familiar faces at Maryland, while the backer was “very impressed” with the number of former head coaches Durkin had brought on. The Calvert Hall product respected Durkin’s resume and defensive mentality, along with Barnes’ demeanor. Additionally, Fogg praised the upcoming indoor facilities, strength coach Rick Court’s energy and the “electrifying” Maryland fans.
That’s all well and good, but then came this kicker of a statement:
“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.”
In other words, the UMD coaches have to hope a few things break their way to pull Fogg in. First and foremost, Stanford, the prohibitive favorite, has to fall through. Fogg is visiting Palo Alto, Calif., April 2 and hinted he could commit on campus or shortly thereafter. Secondly, the Terps’ staff probably has to weather North Carolina, another stated frontrunner that Fogg’s visiting Feb. 20. And thirdly, Maryland’s coaches have to build enough momentum to convince Fogg UMD’s a better option than hometown Rutgers and potentially others like Michigan State and Clemson.
It’s a tall task, for sure, but it’s not like Fogg doesn’t have Terps’ affinity. There’s a possibility Durkin can swing the momentum in UMD’s favor if the coach keeps hammering away.
You can read more about Fogg HERE.
-- There’s a ways to go before Good Counsel’s Ayinde Eley selects a school, but UMD’s D.J. Durkin and Matt Barnes have done their part thus far. After sitting down with both Feb. 13, Eley said he had “instant connections” with each coach.
“Coach Barnes, his style is he likes downhill, aggressive linebackers who can also run. That’s what he stressed throughout – sideline-to-sideline guys who can hit,” Eley said. “He said that’s what you’ve got to do to play for him, and we had an instant connection over that. That’s how I play; I like how [Barnes] coaches and his style.
“With Coach Durkin, it was the same thing. It was just an instant relationship and connection. … I think he’s a great coach who is going to push us to reach our maximum potential. And that’s what I like; that’s what I want. I want to be pushed.”
On top of that, Eley dubbed Maryland a “great place to be,” noting the campus and the facility upgrades. He’s enthusiastic about the hometown movement, the strength program and also UMD football’s general direction.
Eley, though, said he has no clear leaders at this time. He’s content to wad through his numerous offerees, collecting verbals and taking visits throughout the winter; spring; summer; and next fall. Currently, West Virginia seems to hold weight (he’s visited three times), along with North Carolina (Feb. 20 visit); PSU (Feb. 27 visit); Va Tech; and Kentucky.
You can read more about Eley HERE.
-- The lone non-DMV recruit in College Park was the four-star Delaware inside backer Avery Roberts, who the Terps have been after since ex-UMD-area recruiter Keenan McCardell gained some steam more than a year ago. (Roberts’ younger brother, 2018 running back Grahm Roberts, who figures to procure FBS looks soon enough, was on campus Feb. 13 too). Since McCardell’s departure, new Maryland-area recruiter Matt Barnes has initiated contact. Barnes has been in touch with Roberts via Twitter and a couple phone conversations.
At Barnes’ behest, Roberts decided to take the 1.5-hour drive from Delaware to College Park Feb. 13, the four-star’s third time on campus. Roberts may not be a DMV recruit per se, but he could feel the energy and excitement emanating out of Maryland, courtesy of the coaches. The Wilmington native called the new Terps’ staff “different” from the prior regime, Roberts connecting with D.J. Durkin and Barnes.
The 6-1, 215-pounder offered up praise for the facility upgrades and the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center for the UMD-Wisconsin basketball game as well. Both Roberts’ father and uncle, who accompanied the boys on the trip, enjoyed themselves too, lauding the staff and the school’s proximity to home.
“The [coaches’] fire and energy, it’s different than how it was before. The atmosphere is different at Maryland from when I was up there with the old staff,” Robert said. “Maryland is rising. They’re definitely a school I’m considering.”
We’ll see if he’s singing the same tune in the months ahead. Penn State, which has hosted Roberts several times and will do so again Feb. 27, has a bead on him and probably leads. Stanford may be 3,000 miles from home, but the Cardinal are firmly in play. Nebraska, which Roberts visited last year, has his eye, as do Oklahoma and Clemson.
Roberts, though, has no intention of ending his recruitment until next winter. He wants to go through the entire official visit process, which means his situation is bound to change.
You can read more about Roberts HERE.
-- One of the most renowned recruits on campus Feb. 13, DeMatha defensive end Chase Young, continues to favor (to an extent) the hometown school at winter’s midway point. The 6-5, 225-pound four-star has bonded with D.J. Durkin, defensive line coach Mike London and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, speaking extensively to the former two Feb. 13.
Young raved about London’s coaching experience and attitude, and eagerly took to Durkin’s passion, energy and message. As with many of the other prospects at Maryland, Durkin’s “DMV + UMD = National Title” formula struck a chord.
Young may have offers from everyone and their brother, but Durkin’s overtures have him thinking long and hard about staying home. The edge rusher knows he could potentially accomplish his foremost goals in College Park, while helping to build the hometown program into a contender.
But Young’s not about to end his recruitment anytime soon. USC, which anted up Feb. 9, is firmly on his radar, the DeMatha product in the process of scheduling a West Coast flight. Furthermore, Ohio State, Tennessee, Clemson, Va Tech, Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia and Miami are all potentially in line for visits.
-- It might not have come across in the article, but emerging edge rusher Tyree Johnson was arguably the most effusive in his Maryland praise post Feb. 13. It was evident the UMD coaches had hit home with the 6-3, 220-pounder, who ate up their overtures and thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them and the other DMV recruits.
Johnson lauded Durkin for his “fired up” demeanor, London for his attention to detail, and Abdul-Rahim for being relatable. The St. John’s edge rusher connected with Rick Court too, the strength coach’s thorough body-building system resonating.
Johnson, who had never toured College Park before, talked up the campus; the facilities; the Under Armour gear; and the fans at the Feb. 13 basketball game too.
“Oh yeah, Maryland’s still pretty high for me, no doubt,” laughed Johnson. “I just had a great visit there [Feb. 13], and I’m looking forward to getting back up there, probably later this month. I just want to get back there again. I like it a lot over at Maryland right now.”
Johnson, though, won’t be popping anytime soon. In fact, he’ll probably drag his recruitment out until next February, meaning his recruitment is bound to ebb and flow.
Yes, Johnson’s pro-Terps’ comments were encouraging, but we’re leery of his growing offer list and upcoming visits. TAMU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Va Tech, Pitt (Feb. 27 visit) and Wake (Feb. 20 visit) have all anted up, and more suitors are about to pile in.
Let’s see if Durkin, Abdul-Rahim and London can keep the D.C. native’s mind on Maryland throughout.
You can read more about Johnson HERE.
-- The defensive end/tackle Lawtez Rogers has been forecast to Maryland since last year, when then-UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley jumped on him before any other FBS program. The situation’s changed slightly with a new staff in place, but it sounds like D.J. Durkin’s crew has Rogers’ ear too.
During his initial interactions with the new Maryland staff Feb. 13, the 6-4, 245-pound Rogers was rather long-winded in his copious descriptions of the UMD coaches. The Roosevelt product broke down exactly why and how he thought Mike London was a terrific defensive line coach, Rick Court could develop him into an NFL-read body, and D.J. Durkin could turn the program around. He even described his mother’s reaction, mentioning that she loved Durkin and was fully on-board with her son sticking around town.
“If you’ve ever been to one of my games, my mom’s the loudest person in the stands,” laughed Rogers. “She’s a huge supporter of mine and wants to be at all my games.”
Rogers also commented on the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center, the new indoor facility and the upgraded weight room. He said he’s comfortable on campus and wouldn’t mind staying home for college.
“I really like Maryland right now. It’s a school I’m definitely thinking about,” said Rogers, who holds one other offer from ODU. “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.”
Indeed, the fact Rogers hasn’t visited any other campuses is what’s keeping him from popping. Recall, the last Roosevelt product Maryland’s coaches pursued, Isaiah Prince, didn’t venture out until later on too, which is why the now-Ohio State tackle praised the Terps for so long before other suitors opened his eyes post-visits.
So while we like UMD’s position, monitor how Rogers’ profile grows in the coming months -- and what schools he’s able to see.
You can read more about Rogers HERE.
-- Of all the recruits who took in Maryland Feb. 13, the defensive tackle Victor Dimukeje might have been the closest to committing before leaving campus. The staff’s personalities, their overarching message, the idea of DMV-to-UMD, the campus itself and the Maryland fans all seemed to catch the Boys’ Latin prospect’s fancy.
Dimukeje had extensive conversations with D.J. Durkin and position coach Mike London, who both let the defensive tackle know he was a priority. The Nigerian native loved how London showed Dimukeje how he could excel in UMD’s defense, and how Durkin couldn’t say enough about the budding star’s film.
Dimukeje even acknowledged he was “feeling the hometown pull” after talking to the other local recruits Feb. 13.
“[The recruits] were talking, and if all of us came together and stayed home, I think we could win a real big bowl game at Maryland in a couple years. It’s getting real up there at Maryland,” Diumkeje said. “I love the changes being made at Maryland … I love it there. I don’t like naming a No. 1 school, but Maryland is definitely up there.”
For the time being, the Terps are Dimukeje’s only power-five option, so it’s no surprise they have his attention. But before signing on with the in-state school, Dimukeje would like to evaluate other potential suitors. He’ll be heading to Rutgers and Pitt, two programs whose staffs have been in touch, the next couple weekends.
But provided Dimukeje doesn’t procure scholarships from the nation’s elites and grow starry-eyed, this sounds promising for UMD purposes. Dimukeje could be a Terp before the summer’s out.
You can read more about Dimukeje HERE.
-- Another Good Counsel prospect, defensive end Josh Paschal, called his Feb. 13 Terps’ trip “eye opening.” Paschal had a close relationship with ex-UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley, but the efforts of Mike London; Aazaar Abdul-Rahim; and D.J. Durkin have the former Maryland regime trumped.
“I’ve always liked Maryland and I had a connection to the old staff, but this visit boosted things up,” said Paschal, who visited UMD for the first time since the fall. “I definitely like the message at Maryland now with the new staff. This was my first time meeting them all, and the intensity is what really hit me. They have this mindset where they’re going win, and they’re going to win not just one national title, but many national titles. They’re very confident and just so intense.
“Also, I really like the experience on the staff with three former head coaches being there. It’s pretty obvious Maryland has things moving in the right direction.”
Paschal, echoing some of the other recruits in attendance, perked up when Durkin described how Maryland could be like Miami in the 1980s, the Hurricanes constructing championship squads with primarily Florida recruits.
The Good Counsel end spoke highly of London and strength coach Rick Court too. Paschal said he’s known the former from when the defensive line coach was at UVA, the edge rusher praising London’s detailed instructions and overall resume. Meanwhile, Court’s ability to develop NFL-ready specimens resonated with Paschal.
The Falcons’ three-star also pointed to Durkin’s academic-oriented message as something that struck him.
“[Durkin] said if his son were going to college, he’d make sure he was going to a school with a great degree, and he wants the same for us,” Paschal said.
Durkin may have “boosted things up” for Paschal, but the edge rusher has other suitors he’s considering too. Paschal doesn’t have a firm leaderboard yet, although he acknowledged programs like Clemson (March 5 visit); Kentucky; and Ohio State (former teammate and ex-Terps’ commit KeAndre Jones is going there), in addition to Maryland, have “jumped out a bit.”
You can read more about Paschal HERE.
-- The area’s No. 1 cornerback, Deon Jones, was at Maryland for the first time since the fall Feb. 13. Jones, who was joined by his head coach and mentor, finally had the opportunity to delve deeper into the Terps’ program and its new regime. He praised D.J. Durkin’s future plans, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s coaching style and demeanor, and Rick Court’s structured player-development system.
“That was my first time meeting the new staff at Maryland, and I really enjoyed all of them,” Jones said. “It was a lot of fun up there, seeing all the DMV kids, and then just seeing how the coaches showed a lot of love. What I really liked is that the coaches weren’t just showing me love or the main guys, but they were talking to everyone there, which you don’t always see.
“So I would say it’s a different vibe at Maryland, definitely, and I can honestly say I think the Movement is for real this time. I know the old coaches talked about [the hometown movement], but it’s just a different environment at Maryland now, and I really like it. … At first, I wasn’t really vibing with the old staff, but the new staff, it’s opened my eyes.”
The Carroll prospect also touched on the renovated weight-room, the indoor practice fields and the campus vibe in general. He counted all three as distinct positives, each helping the UMD staff’s chances at securing his services.
Jones, however, does have Clemson lurking -- and perhaps sitting atop his leaderboard. The Tigers, whose staff offered Jones before any other program, have long been a favorite for the four-star. He was just in Death Valley yet again in early February, calling the trip “a priority.”
The other schools on Jones’ mind are Florida, Florida State and Michigan State. The D.C. native said he wants to return to UF and FSU, both of which he visited last summer, at some point this offseason.
But it’s fairly clear Clemson and Maryland are first and foremost in the corner’s mind. Now, let’s see if Durkin and his staff can sell the four-star on the hometown movement before it’s all said and done.
Note: Jones acknowledged he would more than likely be graduating Carroll early. Thus, he’ll probably be ending his recruitment in late November or early December.
You can read more about Jones HERE.
-- We thought the corner Tariq Castro-Fields had a chance to commit during the Feb. 13 visit, but he declined, mentioning that his expanding offer list -- Pitt, Syracuse, Marshall, Toledo and Rutgers are after him -- has him pumping the breaks a bit. Even so, Castro-Fields is particularly taken by the Terps and the hometown movement. He spoke to his developing rapport with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and D.J. Durkin, the “DMV vibe,” the new facilities, and the direction the program’s heading.
Castro Fields called Abdul-Rahim “very detailed” and a “great coach,” while he extolled Durkin’s energy and how “he really wants me there.” The Riverdale Baptist prospect also lauded the Under Armour jerseys, the atmosphere at the hoops game, the upgraded weight room and more.
Next up, he’s visiting PSU for the second time, and could hit Rutgers; Pitt; Syracuse and some of his other suitors after that. But the Terps are in a very good spot.
“There’s a lot of schools coming at me now. I can’t even tell you who’s going to offer next,” said Castro-Fields, who has been in College Park twice since Durkin’s ascension. “But I do like Maryland a lot. There’s some special things going on there with the DMV movement and guys wanting to stay home. A lot of the recruits [Feb. 13] were talking about it.”
You can read more about Castro-Fields HERE.
-- A couple of the non-offer recruits chimed in after the Feb. 13 DMV Day as well. Of those on campus, we’re particularly encouraged about Keisean Wilson’s chances of landing a hometown scholarship. The 6-2, 220-pounder holds early offers from some lower-level Division I programs, but seems poised to reach the power-five plateau during the spring-evaluation period.
If the Terps ante up, expect the North Point prospect to give the local university plenty of consideration. He’s enthusiastic about representing his home state and the idea of staying home college, which would give his family a chance to see him play.
Furthermore, Wilson raved about his Feb. 13 stay in College Park. He admitted it’s “just a different atmosphere” in College Park, and “the [coaches] want to start something special.” Wilson easily connected with linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, and had compliments for Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim too.
“I just like the Maryland coaches overall, and just their message,” Wilson said. “It does feel like home there, and it’s a great place to be.”
You can read more about Wilson HERE.
-- Another emerging DMV recruit who could procure a Maryland offer is the tight end Braden Atkinson. A former Johns Hopkins lacrosse commit, Atkinson's been focused on football since transferring to Boys’ Latin and has the eye of numerous FBS institutions. UMD, Wake Forest (April 2 visit), Syracuse, Pitt (Feb. 28 visit), Rutgers and Tennessee (March visit) are some of the programs whose coaches have been in touch via social media.
Atkinson initiated contact with the Terps’ staff Feb. 13, his first chat with tight ends coach Pete Lembo and Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry. The Boys’ Latin product couldn’t say enough about either staffer, Atkinson mentioning how both Lembo and Berry “knew who I was” upon arrival and welcomed the prospect in like he was a five-star target. Atkinson then raved about the soon-to-be constructed indoor facility, strength coach Rick Court’s connection with the players, and the fact 55 Terps have turned pro the last five years.
And then there’s that whole DMV movement thing, which Atkinson would love to be apart of.
“I hope so, to be completely honest,” Atkinson said of a potential UMD offer. “Maryland would be one of my top choices. I don’t know if I’d commit on the spot, but I’d be considering them a lot. Just because of the coaches in general, and how strong and heavy they were about the DMV and winning a championship with DMV guys -- it was a very powerful message for me.”
You can read more about Atkinson HERE.
-- A local defensive tackle, Jaylen Twyman, claimed an offer from the previous Maryland staff, although we confirmed it wasn’t of the committable variety. Now, Twyman’s waiting to see if D.J. Durkin takes a flyer on him.
“I’m just seeing what happens now. It’s a humbling process,” Twyman said.
If Durkin pushes, there’s a strong possibility Twyman winds up in College Park. He’s all about the hometown movement and wants to suit up in front of family and friends.
Twyman had a rapport with ex-UMD-area recruiter Mike Locksley, but the local plugger has already moved on to new-D.C. presence Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Plus, the Woodson tackle instantly bonded with the other Maryland staffers like D.J. Durkin and Mike London Feb. 13.
“I love the new staff. They’re great,” Twyman said. “They’re really down to earth and I like talking to them.”
New Offers Out
Another week, another long list of offers coming out of College Park:
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): See above in the “DMV Day” section.
Javon Leake, RB, Page (Greensboro, N.C.): Maryland’s staff approved an offer for Leake, a 6-1, 195-pounder, Feb. 16, the all-purpose back’s sixth to date. Leake had been hearing from UMD’s Walt Bell via Twitter, and is now in the process of getting to know the offensive coordinator on a more personal level. Leake didn’t know much about the Terps prior to the verbal, but it’s conceivable Bell could cull a visit out of him during the spring.
The latter might be a moral victory of sorts, however. Leake may only have had a half-dozen offers, but hometown North Carolina is one of them -- and the Page product likes what he’s seen in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Greensboro native was back at UNC Feb. 17 for the UNC-Duke hoops game, and left campus singing the Tar Heels’ praises.
South Carolina and Tennessee have also offered, and Clemson is reportedly close. Leake will undoubtedly land even more SEC scholarships later during the spring, sending his recruiting skyrocketing.
He won’t be added to the hot board unless he follows through with a Maryland trip.
Asa Martin, RB, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (2018): The Terps and assistant Chris Beatty entered the game for this sophomore stud, who recently transferred to IMG from a school in Decatur, Ala. Maryland was only Martin’s fourth offer to date --joining Baylor, Ole Miss and WVU -- but this back’s going to have his pick of schools in short order.
Since he’s a 2018 recruit, Martin has no clear favorites, but if the two Alabama SEC mainstays come calling with Roll Tide and War Eagle overtures, well, they’d likely become the favorites.
Sean Nelson, WR, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.): The Maryland staff became the first power-five suitor for the Georgia receiver Nelson, a 6-2, 180-pounder with prior offers from Western Kentucky and Arkansas State (he added Illinois and Troy Feb. 16). Interestingly enough, UMD assistant Mike London, the defensive line coach, informed Nelson of the Terps’ scholarship Feb. 13. We figured Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell, who has ties in Georgia, or receivers’ coach Chris Beatty would be the primary recruiter here, but evidently London has a connection in the Peach State.
“Coach London said the Maryland coaches liked how I went up and got the ball, they loved my film, and they thought I could help the program,” Nelson said. “And I liked Coach London a lot too just from talking to him. He’s a cool guy and easy to talk to. I want to get to know him more in the future.”
Apparently London’s words rang true, because Nelson’s in the process of scheduling a College Park visit. The wideout said he’d “definitely” be taking in a spring practice in March, while the April 16 spring game isn’t out of the question either.
If Nelson makes it to Maryland, and depending on how much his recruiting profile grows, London could be positioned to eventually reel the Langston Hughes product in. Nelson seemed genuinely excited about UMD, eager to learn about the program and meet the coaches firsthand.
You can read more about Nelson HERE.
Jahmin Muse, WR, Elizabeth (N.J.): This three-star Jersey athlete had been hearing from Maryland’s Jersey recruiter, Matt Barnes, who pulled the trigger on an offer Feb. 16. The 6-2, 190-pound Muse held Rutgers and BC verbals before Barnes threw Maryland’s name into the hat, but the Elizabeth native said his latest look was an eye-opener.
Barnes called UMD one of his favorite schools even before pulling the offer, so he was excited when it finally came through. He’d been to the Old Line State before and had taken a liking to the area, dubbing it “a great place to live.” Muse also said Maryland’s close proximity to home was a plus, in addition to its Big Ten affiliation; Under Armour connection; and the fact Terps’ alum Stefon Diggs attended the university.
Muse has not actually visited College Park, but should be down during the spring. He said he’s looking forward to meeting Barnes, and the rest of Maryland’s staff, in person.
Muse has been in Piscataway, N.J., on multiple occasions, however, and relishes the idea of staying home for college. He’s no lock to wind up at Rutgers, but the local program does have his ear.
Temple, meanwhile, is home to Muse’s cousin, who plays quarterback for the Owls. Muse has been in Philly numerous times too and counts the Owls as a favorite too.
Some of the schools that could become involved include Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan and more. Muse said he’s seeking offers from the Nittany Lions and Badgers, in particular.
For now, we’re listing Muse “cool” on the hot board until his recruiting profile is fully realized. But UMD could escalate once Muse visits College Park and builds that bond with Barnes.
You can read more about Muse HERE.
Hamsah Nasirildeen, WR, Concord (N.C.): We spoke to the 6-4, 200-pound Nasirildeen a day after he picked up a Maryland offer Feb. 13, figuring he’d be ecstatic since it was his very first FBS look. But although Nasirildeen said he was excited, it was a rather tempered enthusiasm. The Concord product admitted his UMD knowledge was limited to its conference affiliation (Big Ten) and Under Armour connection. He acknowledging he didn’t really know the staff well either, his brief conversations with Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty coming via Twitter.
But despite his tone, Nasirildeen does apparently want to check out College Park this offseason.
“You won’t know [if you like the school or not] unless you go up and try it out,” Nasirildeen said.
We’re somewhat skeptical he’ll make it up, though. Just hours after landing a Maryland offer, Nasirildeen picked up an SEC suitor, South Carolina, while at the Gamecocks’ junior day. Maybe it was because he’d just been on campus, but the Carolina native seemed a bit more hyped about USC than UMD.
Nasirildeen also added a Penn State verbal, which grabbed his attention too.
It should be noted that Nasirildeen’s father played at North Carolina, which could become the favorites should the Heels’ staff offer (they probably will once he visits Feb. 20). The receiver said he wouldn’t pop to UNC on the spot, but speculation suggests it would only be a matter of time.
This is recruiting, though, so strange occurrences are commonplace. Perhaps Beatty and Bell can gain some traction in the months ahead.
You can read more about Nasirildeen HERE.
Exree Loe, WR, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, Pa.): The receiver Loe committed to Pittsburgh in August 2015, but he’s slowly but surely gaining steam on the recruiting trail. The UMD staff approved an offer Feb. 15, while Loe previously had added offers from Iowa State and Rutgers. West Virginia, Penn State and others are sniffing around too.
Loe has had communication with a couple Maryland coaches via Twitter, learning receivers’ coach Chris Beatty wanted to offer him on Presidents’ Day. The Greater Johnstown product was honored by the look, but for now Loe remains a hard Pitt commit, inclined to attend the hometown school.
It’s entirely possible Loe explores other options down the line, however. We’ll keep his name in mind, but it’s probably not worth monitoring all that closely unless he actually does visit College Park.
Germane Crowell, WR, Carver (Winston Salem, N.C.): The Maryland coaches offered one of the top athletes in North Carolina Feb. 12. Crowell, a 6-3, 180-pounder, had Duke; ECU; Kentucky; NC State; Wake Forest; Va Tech; and UVA prior to UMD, but he’ll have more options soon enough.
Crowell was just at Duke for a junior day, the Blue Devils’ academics; facilities; coaches; and players holding appeal. But UVA could have the inside track early, because Crowell’s father played there. Crowell has forayed through Charlottesville, Va., on several occasions, has taken to the staff, and is keen on the idea of following in his father’s footsteps.
As for Maryland, Crowell’s had contact with UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and offensive coordinator Walt Bell, who has ties all over North Carolina. Crowell told Scout’s Mike Clark he liked Beatty a good deal and planned on visiting at some point. But unless Crowell follows through on a College Park trip, we’re not so sure he’ll be considering the Terps.
Jalen Browder, WR, East Pauding (Dallas, Ga.): The Terps became the second FBS offer for the multi-sport athlete Browder, joining Illinois (and Colorado State) in the early going. Following the verbal from UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, Browder said he’d be trekking north to College Park this spring.
Browder has family in Chicago and grew up watching Big Ten football, so the fact UMD’s a B1G program holds appeal. He also said he’s watched the Terps’ hoops squad this year, because one of his favorite college basketball players, Rasheed Sulaimon, suits up for Maryland. (Not surprisingly, he likes the Under Armour uniforms too, which seems to be the main selling point to out-of-state recruits).
But we’re a bit skeptical about this one. The vibe on this end is Browder might not make it to Maryland anytime soon. More than likely he’s going to be visiting schools in and around Georgia, especially if those programs ante up. Which they should in time, Browder noting Wake Forest; South Carolina; and NC State were interested.
We’re listing Browder on the hot board as “cool” for now until he actually shows his face in College Park.
You can read more about Browder HERE.
James Robinson, WR, Lakeland (Fla.): The five-star wideout Robinson picked up an offer from UMD’s Chris Beatty Feb. 16, giving him around 30-plus to date. Robinson has close ties to the Clemson staff, our analysts projecting him to the Tigers early on. He holds hometown Florida in high regard too, with Alabama; Florida State; Auburn; Baylor; Oklahoma; USC; Ohio State; Tennessee; Miami; Mississippi State; Texas Tech; and LSU also in pursuit.
If nothing else, these scattershot offers throughout Florida should get recruits at least thinking about Maryland.
Jeremiah Holloman, WR, Newtown (Covington, Ga.): Holloman added his Maryland offer Feb. 17 after hearing from offensive coordinator Walt Bell. The 6-3, 195-pounder hadn’t spoken to Bell personally yet, but the two have had communication on social media.
We’ll see what kind of noise Bell can make here, but we’re not ready to place Holloman on the hot board quite yet. Ole Miss and Mississippi State, two schools the Georgia native recently visited, both could lead for the time being. The Rebels, in particular, seem to have hit home. Additionally, Holloman is hoping Tennessee antes up, the Vols piquing his interest too.
Holloman, who decommitted from Michigan earlier in February, counts offers from programs throughout the Big Ten and ACC, and should be garnering more SEC looks in time.
Tre Higgins, WR, Oak Ridge (Tenn.): This five-star receiver added a Maryland offer Feb. 18, the Terps joining numerous SEC; Big 12; ACC; and other Big Ten suitors for his services. Higgins, a former Tennessee pledge, seemingly picks up another offer by the day and should have 50-plus by the time it’s all said and done.
Right now, Clemson has a bead on him, but SEC powers like Alabama are in the game too. Higgins is also keeping hometown Tennessee under consideration and could recommit to the Vols down the road.
Higgins has not been included on the hot board.
Greg Johnson, WR/S, Hawkins (Los Angles, Calif.): The Terps have several offers out to the powerhouse Los Angeles high school Hawkins, Johnson being the latest. This four-star athlete added his UMD scholarship Feb. 18, joining the likes of every Pac-12 program; Notre Dame; several Big Ten suitors; and more.
The 5-10, 185-pounder is wide open for the time being, but it would be a surprise if he didn’t opt for a USC, a Cal, an Arizona or another Pac-12 mainstay.
Johnson has not been included on the hot board.
Brian Hightower, WR, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (2018): The Terps threw their names into the hat for this future five-star receiver Feb. 13. Of course, the 6-3, 195-pound sophomore already has his pick of schools, procuring verbals from power programs around the country.
Alabama has grabbed Hightower’s attention early, but he’ll have plenty of options to consider. Auburn, Nebraska, Cal, UCLA, UNC, Tennessee, Washington, WVU, Arizona State and others are all involved.
The early projection? Hightower’s SEC bound.
Evidence Njoku, TE, Cedar Grove (N.J.): The Terps’ coaches offered this Jersey flex tight end Feb. 12, Njoku’s then-first FBS verbal to date. He’s the younger brother of current Miami tight end David Njoku and should have plenty of scholarships to consider before it’s all said and done. In fact, a couple days after the Maryland staff anted up, Miami; Tennessee; Rutgers; Temple; ODU and Georgia joined the fray. So the UMD coaches did well to enter the game early.
“I was extremely excited to get Maryland,” said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Njoku. “Maryland is a beautiful state in general, and it’s close to home, it’s a good spot for my family to see me play, and it sounds like a great program. It was really exciting for me to get my first Big Ten offer too. That’s a great conference and one I’d love to play in.”
Njoku had been hearing from UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, although offensive coordinator Walt Bell officially extended the verbal. The Jersey prospect offered up high praise for both, exalting Bell’s spread offense and how well the tight end would fit in, along with Beatty’s charisma and personal touch.
Njoku has never been in College Park before, but should be down later this offseason, with the April 16 spring game as the target date. He said Maryland was “definitely” a school he wanted to check out.
UMD, Miami, Tennessee, Georgia and hometown RU -- Njoku attended RU’s junior day Feb. 13 and has lots of love for the hometown school -- won’t be the only contenders, however. Tennessee, PSU, Pitt, Arizona, UVA, UCLA and USC have all had contact with Njoku. And now that the Canes have joined the fray, well, that’s a potential game-change since it’s an opportunity for Njoku to reunite with his older brother.
You can read more about Njoku HERE.
Tommy Christ, OT, Dominion (Sterling, Va.): The rising-star two-way tackle Christ, who Maryland wants on offense, has numerous power-five offers on the table, but the Terps are in solid position early. Both UMD’s Northern Virginia area recruiter, Mike London, and offensive coordinator Walt Bell have made inroads, Christ taking a keen liking to both. He praised London, who Christ knew when the coach was at UVA, for his coaching reputation and Bell for his energy and offense.
On top of that, Christ, who lives 40 minutes from College Park, has visited the school three times and was just at Maryland in late January.
“Maryland is right near my home, everyone around me is a big Maryland fan, and it’s just a great school. It was an awesome offer,” said Christ, who has been in College Park three times. “I was up at Maryland the week before Signing Day, and I loved it. I love the new staff, the new facilities they’re building look amazing, the campus is beautiful and I loved the stadium too. It’s a great vibe there, and I like it a lot. I could definitely see myself going there.”
Christ also holds offers from Pitt, Vandy, WVU, UVA, NC State, Wake Forest, BC and Rutgers. He’s visited the Wolfpack, Wahoos, Mountaineers and also Virginia Tech, which hasn’t anted up yet. If the Hokies’ staff comes through, though, it could shift Christ’s priorities. His older brother, Matt, plays for Va Tech, and Tommy Christ admitted the Hokies were a dream school of sorts. (Christ said he wouldn’t commit to Tech on the spot, but we’re led to believe the Hokies would probably become the favorites).
You can read more about Christ HERE.
Jordan Tucker, OT, Roswell (Ga.): The Maryland staff offered Tucker’s teammate, receiver Jayden Comma, earlier in February; they extended the verbal to the 6-6, 325-pounder Feb. 15. But while Comma was thrilled with his Maryland scholarship, his first of the FBS variety, Tucker’s going to be harder to coax north.
The Georgia tackle has begun to blow up, and he does hold a South Carolina offer, dubbing the Gamecock’s his early leader. Time will tell whether or not Tucker winds up a Gamecock, but it’s obvious he has his eyes on the SEC.
Louisville, which Tucker visited Feb. 6, also holds some water, but the Roswell product will have a myriad of powers in tow by the spring. More than likely, he’ll be heading to a southern elite.
We’ll place Tucker on the hot board as “cool,” though, because he did express some interest in visiting College Park with Comma. But we’re just not banking on him singing with Maryland unless some other options fall through.
Kevin Jarvis, OT, Maine South (Park Ridge, Ill.): Maryland’s Illinois-area recruiter Scott Shafer, with an approval from O-line coach Dave Borbely, offered the four-star Jarvis Feb. 15. The 6-5, 300-pound Jarvis has been steadily adding scholarships this winter and now claims verbals from Maryland; Tennessee; Arkansas; Illinois, Rutgers, Syracuse; and various MAC programs.
Arkansas, which Jarvis recently trekked to, has made an initial impression, although Jarvis has no favorites right now. Most analysts believe he will opt for a Midwest program, however.
Jarvis is “cool” on the hot board since he is keeping an open mind. But unless he schedules a College Park visit, he’s probably bound for elsewhere.
Curtis Dunlap, OG, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (2018): If the surname “Dunlap” rings a bell, it should. This elite sophomore’s older brother, Carlos, terrorized opposing quarterbacks at Florida and now suits up for the Cincinnati Bengals. In all likelihood, Curtis Dunlap’s going to follow in his sibling’s footsteps and wind up in Gainesville, Fla. If not, the Gators’ legacy will be headed to another SEC or Sunshine State powerhouse.
Maryland became the 15th school to offer Dunlap Feb. 15.
Breyon Gaddy, DT, Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.): Gaddy has his pick of schools, and Maryland become one of his more recent suitors, the Terps throwing their names into the hat Feb. 12. Terps’-area recruiter Chris Beatty, who trekked through Bishop Sullivan Catholic in January, had been in communication with Gaddy via social media, while the recruit’s getting to know UMD defensive line coach Mike London too.
The Maryland duo has their work cut out for them, though. Gaddy’s particularly taken to Florida State right now, and also has Clemson; Notre Dame; and Alabama on the brain. Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, Va Tech and UVA are involved as well.
We didn’t include Gaddy on the hot board, but maybe Beatty and Co. can coax out a College Park visit down the line.
DeAndre Johnson, DE, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): Maryland assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim let the Miami Southridge staff know the Terps wanted to offer this emerging defensive end Feb. 15. Johnson hasn’t personally had much contact with Abdul-Rahim, but the Floridian is intrigued by the Maryland program and wants to learn more. The 6-2, 220-pounder would like to explore locales outside of the Sunshine State, and the Terps, who have loads of connections in Florida, could present an interesting opportunity.
But it’s entirely possible Johnson -- who only holds offers from UMD, WVU, Temple, FAU and FIU to this point -- blows up on the recruiting trail. (He’s visiting Miami Feb. 20 and could add a Canes offer then). If so, as our Scout colleagues have predicted, they project him to wind up at an SEC power or a comparable institution.
It’s early, however, so maybe Abdul-Rahim can draw Johnson’s attention and convince him to at least visit College Park.
Robert Porcher, DE. Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): Maryland’s staff extended an offer to this budding 5-technique Feb. 18, his eighth offer to date. Others involved include Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, FAU, UMass, OSU, and others. But many programs throughout the SEC, ACC, and Big Ten are bound to get involved, including the country’s elites.
Porcher has no leaders or standouts for the time being, but is hoping the in-state mainstays (UF, FSU, Miami) enter the fray. Maryland’s Mike London and Chris Beatty are on Porcher, but we’re not sure he makes it north to College Park.
Antjuan Simmons, OLB, Pioneer (Ann Arbor, Mich.): The four-star linebacker Simmons has scholarships from every conference in the country, his latest Big Ten offer coming from Maryland Feb. 12. Simmons personally spoke to Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin, who knew the recruit when the coach was at Michigan.
That connection, though, might not be enough to lure Simmons east. He’s open in his recruitment, but has the Big Ten powers -- Michigan, MSU and Ohio State -- on the brain. Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Arizona, TAMU, Ole Miss, Tennessee and more are in play too.
Dorian Etheridge, OLB, Capital (Charleston, W.Va.): Etheridge only has a handful of offers thus far, but he’s going to blow up. This 6-3, 210-pounder has interest from programs from throughout the country.
The Terps’ Matt Barnes anted up Feb. 18, Maryland joining the likes of Va Tech; WVU; Marshall; and Charlotte. Etheridge is intrigued enough by UMD and College Park’s proximity to his home that he may check the program out. But hometown WVU has his eye, as does Va Tech. And as Etheride’s profile expands, national programs could grab his attention as well.
He’s been added to the hot board as “cool.”
Nick Smith, OLB, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): Smith picked up his seventh verbal from Maryland Feb. 18; others in play include Louisville; FAU; Cincinnati; Indiana; UNC; UMass; and ODU. The Terps’ staff, led by area recruiter Chris Beatty, have been in touch with Phillips, but let’s see how his profile develops before making any prognostications.
Phillips is a prime “blow-up” candidate, and could have his share of SEC looks in time. We’re not inclined ot place him on the hot board as anything more than “cool” unless he expresses interest in visiting College Park.
George Hunter, S, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): Atlantic High School has quickly become familiar stomping grounds for the Maryland staff. The Terps just signed a pair of 2016 recruits out of AHS, and now they’re targeting the safety Hunter.
The 6-1, 170-pounder only had FAU prior to the UMD verbal Feb. 18, so the Terps’ staff entered the game early. Hunter hasn’t commented on his first FBS look yet, but conventional thinking suggests he’s going to give Maryland its due. He’s heard about the Terps from Antwaine Richardson and Dion Goldbourne, obviously, and we expect Hunter up in College Park at some point.
At the same time, it’s early, so we’ll see how his recruiting transpires in the months ahead.
A.J. Lytton, S/CB/WR, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) (2018): The local sophomore Lytton, a 5-foot-11, 170-pounder who projects to be 6-1, became Maryland's latest offer Feb. 18. UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has known about Lytton since the coach assumed a job in College Park, and it was only a matter of time before he anted up. Lytton is one of the best DMV recruits in the 2018 class, already procuring offers from Wisconsin, Penn State and Syracuse prior to Maryland. He starred on both sides of the ball at Wise and could potentially play receiver in college, although the early projection is safety or corner.
We touched base with Lytton post-Terps' verbal, and he was thrilled with the hometown look. Lytton's been in College Park before, is keen on potentially staying home for college, and is familiar with many of the locals heading to UMD now. He's well aware of DMV-to-UMD and likes the fact Terps' head coach D.J. Durkin is emphasizing recruiting the nearby high schools.
Of course, Lytton is only a sophomore, and is going to have 20-plus offers to consider. He's keeping an open mind and will undoubtedly check out some of his other early offerees like Wisconsin, Syracuse and Penn State, which is where former Wise standout Marcus Allen is currently starting.
Isheem Young, S, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) (2018): The Terps’ staff entered the fray for this sophomore safety Feb. 13. Maryland coaches actively recruited Imhotep under the previous regime, securing receiver D.J. Moore in the process, and now-UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo will try his hand at the Philly power.
Young, however, is a surefire four-star talent, with offers already from UMD, PSU, UNC, Wisconsin, MSU, Pitt and Temple. He’ll have his pick of schools by this time next year, but the Terps should have a shot here. Imhotep usually comes down to College Park each spring, so Young, who has been at Maryland once before, should have his share of Terps’ exposure moving forward.
Mike Jones Jr., S/QB, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (2018): The sophomore Jones earned his Maryland offer Feb. 15, his ninth to date. But while the Terps’ staff is all over IMG, Jones Jr. will be one tough pull.
The soon-to-be five-star is originally from Tennessee and is favoring the Vols at this stage of the game. To boot, the rest of the SEC; Clemson; FSU and other national programs are attempting to gain inroads. If Jones Jr. doesn’t wind up in Knoxville, Tenn., it’s probably because Bama; Ole Miss; LSU; Florida; or Georgia swiped him away.
Ameer Speed, CB, Sandalwood (Jacksonville, Fla.): Terps’ assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim extended an offer Feb. 15 to this three-star corner, whose name behooves his game. The 6-2, 185-pound Speed indeed can fly, which is why he has an ever-growing offer list that now consists of UMD; Nebraska; WVU; Wake; UNC; Indiana; ECU; FAU; FIU; Georgia Southern; Duke, Toledo; Colorado; and others.
Speed was recently at North Carolina for his first offseason visit, and the Tar Heels have his attention initially. West Virginia is another prime player here, the Mountaineers jumping on Speed before any other FBS program.
The Sandalwood product wasn’t privy to the Maryland program post-offer, but maybe Abdul-Rahim can gain the corner’s ear later during the spring. We’ll list Speed as “cool” on the hot board for now.
Antwan Collier, CB, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): Maryland became the first FBS school to offer this 6-2, 185-pound defensive back. Collier is open in the recruiting process, but Maryland getting in there before any other major program has his attention.
We’ll attempt to interview the Miami native shortly. In the meantime, he has his eye on the nation’s elite’s, looking for scholarships from FSU; Clemson; UF; Miami; and others.
Collier is someone Terps’ fans should look for down the line. Right now, he’ll concentrate on the SEC, but if the country’s top conference doesn’t come calling he could revert back to a program like UMD.
Max Williams, CB, Junipero Serra (Gardena, Calif.) (2019): That’s right, the Terps offered a freshman. Williams is a future five-star stud, already securing verbals from FSU, BC and Louisville before UMD’s staff entered the game.
If nothing else, kudos to the Maryland coaches for identifying an elite talent this soon.
More Recruiting News
Daulton Hyatt, QB, Arab School (Ala.): We noted Hyatt’s Maryland offer and interest in the last Shell, but this week the three-star quarterback finally granted a full interview.
The 6-4, 182-pounder said he appreciated how Terps’ offensive coordinator Walt Bell spoke to him on Signing Day, which “showed me that Maryland really wanted me.” Hyatt, who’s looking forward to building a personal bond with Bell, went on to praise the coordinator’s spread offense.
The quarterback hasn’t been to UMD yet, but wants to trek east for his first College Park look later this offseason.
Bell is going to have competition for Hyatt, though. The signal caller possesses offers from Louisville, Miami, Wake, Southern Miss, Vandy and Syracuse. Meanwhile, Missouri, Duke, West Virginia, Mississippi State and Ole Miss have had communication with Hyatt and could be offering soon.
Hyatt’s visited Bama, Ole Miss, Vandy and Mississippi State, and should be checking out Mizzou; Maryland; WVU; Louisville; Duke; and returning to Vanderbilt. He said the Commodores have his eye early due to their academics, and the Mountaineers stand out because of their offensive system.
If Hyatt makes it to College Park, however, Maryland’s coaches should have a puncher’s chance here. The Terps’ offense, coupled with Bell’s ardent pursuit, could keep UMD involved for quite some time.
You can read more about Hyatt HERE.
Jordan McNair, OT, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): The borderline five-star tackle McNair didn’t make DMV Day at Maryland, but he told Scout’s Brian Dohn this week he would be in College Park shortly to meet the new coaches. McNair said the UMD staff is one of the ones he speaks to the most, along with Ohio State and Tennessee. The McDonogh tackle discussed his budding relationship with Terps’-area recruiter Mike London and offensive line coach Dave Borbely, and how they contact him “every day.”
McNair, though, has been high on Penn State and Ohio State for quite awhile now too. The local product has a longstanding rapport with OSU-area recruiter Lyndon Johnson, and is beginning to form a bond with new PSU coach Matt Limegrover. Meanwhile, McNair recently added an offer from Auburn, where his former Penn State recruiter, Herb Hand, now resides. Naturally, McNair’s taken an interest in Auburn now as well.
Don’t expect the above programs to be the only ones involved with McNair in the months ahead. The DMV prospect isn’t choosing a his college destination until the winter, after all.
Taariq Johnson, WR, Buena Vista (Calif.): Last week in this space we informed of Johnson’s Maryland offer and Terps' interest. That said, we took Johnson’s comments with a grain of salt since he resides 3,000 miles from College Park and has about a dozen other options closer to home.
But Johnson gave off more pro-UMD vibes when our Scout colleague, Greg Biggins, interviewed the four-star. Johnson mentioned that he’d been in regular contact with Terps’ receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, the recruit taking a liking to the assistant. Moreover, Johnson had a prior interest in Maryland thanks to Stefon Diggs, who starred in College Park before moving on to the Minnesota Vikings. So, thanks to Beatty and Diggs, Johnson told Biggins he “definitely” wanted to visit Maryland.
Now, we’ll never discount Beatty on the recruiting trail, but don’t get your hopes up just yet. Johnson counts nearby Arizona as a leader, and said Nebraska’s on him hard too. Plus, the Buena Vista product has been hearing from, and will be visiting, the California powers. If USC or UCLA come calling in earnest, that could change Johnson’s thinking.
Jayden Comma, WR, Roswell (Ga.): We had an inkling the underrated receiver Comma, who picked up his initial FBS verbal from Maryland last week, would begin gaining steam on the recruiting trail. Since the Terps’ Walt Bell extended a verbal, Comma’s added Southern Miss and Illinois, with more on the way.
Comma remains interested in checking out College Park thanks to his prior rapport with Bell, who knew the Georgian when the coach was at Arkansas State, but the receiver figures to be a more difficult pull moving forward. After landing his most recent offers, Comma said he’s wide open and would be monitoring which programs entered the fray next.
If the hometown programs pursue, or coaches from the SEC, we’re skeptical Comma will actually foray through UMD.
Tahj Capehart, WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.): We expressed skepticism last week in regards to the four-star receiver Capehart, and this week even more-so. Scout’s Mike Clark caught up with the Virginia Beach product, who is being pursued by UMD’s Chris Beatty, and Capehart didn’t give Terps’ fans a whole lot of hope.
Capehart added his 20th offer from Nebraska Feb. 17, and gave the Huskers their props for their pro-style offense and player development. But the deflating comment was when he told Clark the schools whose coaches had been in contact the most were UVA, Va Tech, UNC, Penn State and Tennessee.
Capehart made no mention of Maryland, and his only upcoming visit is to hometown Va Tech, which may have the inside track.
Look for the Ocean Lakes product to release a top-five or top-seven leaderboard before the summer. At this rate, we’re not so sure the Terps make the cut.
Devon Hunter, S, Indian River (Chesapeake, Va.): Scout’s Mike Clark caught up with the five-star safety Hunter, who visited College Park back in January and subsequently dubbed UMD a prime contender. Expectedly, though, Hunter’s interest has waned a bit, despite Maryland-area recruiter Chris Beatty’s efforts.
Hunter was at Clemson’s junior day Feb. 13 and said it was “one of the best” visits he’s taken, which means something because the safety’s been all over the place. The feeling now is the Tigers have Hunter’s ear and could lead for his services.
But Hunter also tripped to UNC Feb. 17, should be at Florida Feb. 20 and plans to take in WVU Feb. 27. North Carolina, a university he’s been to on a couple occasions, ranks high on the totem poll, along with UF, another institution he’s taken multiple trips to. Meanwhile, frequent hosts Alabama and Va Tech could be running neck-and-neck with Clemson, the Tide for their national prowess and Tech because it’s the in-state favorite.
Trajan Bandy, CB, Columbus (Miami, Fla.): Last week, we let you know the four-star corner Bandy had Oklahoma sitting No. 1 in the pecking order. This week, the 5-10, 180-pounder released his initial top-10 list. In order, it reads: Oklahoma, Tennessee, Michigan, South Carolina, Maryland, Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, LSU and USC.
It’s a credit to UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim that the Terps cracked Bandy’s top five. Bandy and the Maryland defensive backs coach have known each other since the recruit’s ninth-grade year, the Florida product trekking to a summer camp at Alabama, which was Abdul-Rahim’s former employer. These days, the two have been in touch via social media fairly frequently, Bandy eager to visit College Park this spring.
But while Abdul-Rahim has Maryland in the game, he’ll have to keep working this one to leapfrog OU and others. Although Bandy has Clemson, Auburn and Bama sitting lower in the pecking order, the feeling is once the Tide and two Tigers’ staffs begin pursuing in earnest they’ll probably rise up the leaderboard. (Bandy acknowledged his list was subject to change).
Off The Board
Tre’ McKitty, TE, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The former Miami pledge McKitty was going to be a longshot anyway, but this week our Scout Florida analysts caught up with him -- and it doesn’t sound like the tight end has much Maryland interest. The four-star McKitty was just at a Florida junior day, talking up the Gators. He’s also added a couple SEC suitors, McKitty reportedly infatuated with the nation’s No. 1 conference and Florida State. UF, Auburn, Tennessee, FSU, Miami and others of that ilk are all in mind.
Trey Blount, WR, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.): Blount went on the hot board a week or so ago, and now the four star’s coming off. The Georgian updated his recruitment following a junior day visit to South Carolina, and word is he’s honing in on the SEC mainstays and Notre Dame. Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia and UND are the frontrunners.
Yetur Matos, DE, Chancellor (Fredericksburg, Va.): Maryland defensive line coach Mike London attempted to gain Matos’ attention, but to no avail, The five-star, who was in College Park for the Big Show June 27, has a tentative top five leaderboard of North Carolina; Penn State; Clemson; Cal; and Virginia Tech. He visited UNC recently, has been to Tech multiple times and is hitting PSU in late February.
Matos wants to select a school sometime this winter, and word is the Hokies or maybe the Nittany Lions are in the pole position.
Cordarrian Richardson, RB, Trezevant (Memphis, Tenn.): The Terps were never really involved with this near-five star running back, and this week Richardson basically said he’s only considering a handful of SEC schools and programs like Clemson and FSU. Alabama, Auburn, LSU, hometown Tennessee, in addition to the Tigers and Noles, are in play.