Dorian Etheridge may go to school at Capital High in Charleston, W.Va., but he’s actually from the Northern Virginia area originally. Which means the 6-foot-3, 210-pounder lived practically in the University of Maryland’s backyard.
And it just so happens that Etheridge’s most recent scholarship offer came from one of the programs he grew up watching live.
“I’ve always liked Maryland as a school,” said Etheridge, who previously held verbals from Va Tech, WVU, Charlotte and Marshall before the Terps’ staff anted up Feb. 18. “One of my former coaches growing up used to live like right near College Park (Md.), and I used to go to games there all the time. I just always liked the environment there and had a good time there.
“I mean, the atmosphere was great, and I loved everything about it to be honest. The stadium, the fans, the area, the campus – it was all great. So it’s an awesome opportunity to now be able to play there.”
The Terps’ coaches only recently began contacting Etheridge, however. He said UMD linebackers coach Matt Barnes began following and direct messaging him on Twitter just a couple days before extending the verbal.
Even so, Etheridge said the two have hit it off.
“Coach Barnes was sending me DMs [direct messages] and said he liked my film and how they needed me,” Etheridge said. “Then we got to talking, and he’s just full of energy. Every time I’ve talked to him he’s positive and never down. If you don’t have coaches that are positive, you’re not going to be positive as a player, and you’re not going to execute. So I really liked that about him.
“And when I called him up, he told me the plan they have in place for building the defense. It sounded really good, and he said he just needs players like me to fill it out and make it happen.”
So what, exactly, is that plan Barnes spoke of?
“Well, Coach Barnes said it’s an attacking defense, and they want to get after it,” Etheridge said. “He said they want guys who attack, run and just go 100 percent. He said if you do that, more often than not you’re going to win the game. And I told him that’s the kind of player I am and I loved the idea.”
After the two finished conversing, Etheridge said Barnes implored the recruit to visit College Park for a meeting with headman D.J. Durkin and the rest of the staff. Etheridge is unsure exactly when he’ll be able to trek over to Maryland, but “I want to get there for sure.”
In the meantime, Etheridge is taking his first 2016 visits to Va Tech and Pittsburgh Feb. 27 and 28, respectively. He has nothing else set in stone after that, however.
A program Etheridge has been to multiple times in the past and figures to see again, though, is West Virginia.
“West Virginia is always going to be up there for me, but it’s not a guarantee I definitely go there,” Etheridge said. “I do like it there, and it is the hometown school, but it’s not a lock that I’m going there. I’m keeping my options open.”
The Capital product said all of his major offerees are “pretty equal” right now. That said, he acknowledged there were a few programs that would vault up the leaderboard should they ante up.
“There are some schools like Ohio State and Notre Dame that I really like. They’ve both been talking to me some,” Etheridge said. “But schools like that, they’re not going to offer until after camp season. So we’ll see.”
In addition to UND and OSU, Etheridge is receiving interest from Pitt and UNC. The Panthers could offer once the linebacker visits Feb. 28.
“I was thinking I was going to take a couple visits and then commit before my senior season,” Etheridge said. “But now I’m not so sure. If I commit too early, you kind of cut off ties with a lot of schools, and I want to keep the communication lines open. I’d like to take official visits and all that, so now I think I’m going to wait things out.”