The Terps’ staff tried their hand at Highland Springs (Va.) in last year’s class, but were unable to secure either Greg Dortch (Wake Forest) or K’Von Wilson (Clemson). Now, they’re after two more Highland Springs recruits, 2017 safety Rell Coley and offensive lineman Mekhi Becton. Both the 5-foot-10, 175-pound Coley and the 6-6, 300-pound Becton landed Maryland offers from UMD assistant Mike London Feb. 22.
Of the two, the safety Coley was particularly in awe. The under-the-radar recruit previously held verbals from Cincinnati and Marshall, so Maryland represented his first power-five look.
“I honestly didn’t know this would happen to me, that I’d have a chance to play major college football,” Coley said. “So it was exciting and surreal to get an offer from Maryland. It’s a school I’m definitely going to be considering throughout the process since it was my first big-time offer and it’s not too far away, either.”
Coley said he actually knew London from when the coach was at UVA. Evidently the Highland Springs product attended a Wahoos camp last year and had a chance to speak to London afterwards.
“We just connected right away when Coach London was at UVA,” Coley said. “He was saying some good words to me, and when he talks to you, it’s like he’s a father figure. There’s a lot of mutual respect there. He was telling me to stay on top of my grades, and how if I kept working the future was very bright for me.”
When Coley spoke to London Feb. 22, the recruit said the coach reiterated the message. Coley noted the two didn’t have a long conversation, but it hit home.
“Coach London, when he talks to you, he makes it about you,” Coley said. “It’s not about what he did or about why I had to come to Maryland. It was about me and how I could make the most of my abilities.”
Besides his relationship with London, Coley didn’t know too much about the Terps yet. He is aware it’s a Big Ten school and is connected with Under Armour.
“I’m going up there for a junior day to learn more, though,” sad Coley, who isn’t sure what other programs are interested in him besides UVA and does not have any offers he’s hoping for. “I have to speak to my mom about setting up a day, but Coach London was like, ‘Any day is a junior day for you, just pick a day and we’ll set it up.’ “So that’s what I’m going to do. More than likely me and Bec [Mekhi Becton] will head up there together. He likes Maryland a lot too.”
Coley has not taken any offseason visits yet, and until he does, he’s not ready to declare early leaders or anything of the sort. He has nothing planned as of yet, but figures to begin venturing out in short order. Marshall and Maryland are two destinations Coley wants to hit, in addition to the local schools (UVa and Va Tech) and various others.
Coley also mentioned that he’d like to finalize his recruitment sometime next winter, after his senior film is evaluated. That is subject to change, however, depending how his profile develops and what suitors actually emerge.
Coley is coming off a season where he recorded 78 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. He said all of his college looks thus far are for safety.