It’s 7-on-7 season for high school football skill players, which means large contingents of potential recruits will be traversing the country for various tournaments and events. As an aside, these traveling squads often stop off at nearby universities, giving the prospects some exposure to potential college suitors.
Maryland was the recipient of such a visit Feb. 27, when Next Level Greats, a 7-on-7 team from New Jersey, brought 50-plus recruits to College Park, Md. One of those 50 happened to be 2017 running back Jon Lovett (Cherokee/Marlton, N.J.), a 6-foot-1, 190-pounder who held early offers from Monmouth and Old Dominion
“I was just down at Maryland with my 7-on-7 team, and then a day later my coach texted me that the Terps wanted to offer me,” Lovett said. “I was shocked to be honest; I didn’t expect it. But I was really excited. Maryland is a great school, and I’ve always had interest in Maryland. It’s nice uniforms, a nice new staff, nice facilities. Everything about Maryland is pretty cool.”
Lovett’s Feb. 27 foray through UMD was his first time on campus. He and his teammates didn’t have a chance to trek through the grounds, but they did see the stadium; check out the upgraded locker room and weight room; and meet Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry.
“Coach Berry was telling us everything about the program -- how it runs, how it works with your school work and how everyone has a tutor, and what the coaches expect,” Lovett said. “I loved what he was saying about the academic part, how important that is there. The fact all the student-athletes have tutors and they stress academics, that sounded excellent to me.
“And I like how they’re changing everything up there with the facilities. Coach Berry showed us a video of the upgrades, and it’s mind-blowing with the new indoor fields; the tunnel; the new weight room; and just everything. Maryland’s going to be looking real nice.”
The Jersey back did not meet position coach Anthony Tucker or head coach D.J. Durkin while in College Park, but he’s exchanged messages with each via Twitter. He said Tucker began contacting him just recently, piquing Lovett’s interest.
“Coach Tucker, I know he talks to my coach a lot to keep tabs on me, and my coach tells me some things he’s said. And when I’ve messaged him, he mainly just tells me to keep my grades up and to get my SATs in order,” Lovett said. “We’re just starting to get to know one another, but he seems like a cool guy. Hopefully I’ll get to meet him when I go back down there.”
Indeed, Lovett will be back in College Park for a more personal meeting with the staff. He said this time he’ll be bringing his family so they can get a look at his first power-five suitor.
“We’ll be back at Maryland for sure,” Lovett said. “Right now Maryland is my top option. It’s a Big ten school, and that’s one of the toughest conferences in college football. I’d love to play in the Big Ten. I’m very open to Maryland.”
Besides UMD, Lovett is receiving interest from Syracuse, Rutgers, Va Tech, Delaware and Fordham. He said he’d love to procure an offer from hometown RU, while he counts Ohio State as a “dream school.”
Lovett has visited Maryland, Rutgers and Syracuse thus far, and should be checking out Va Tech soon.
“Of the schools I’ve seen so far, I liked Maryland and Rutgers,” Lovett said. “Those are the two standing out to me right now.”
The Cherokee product isn’t sure exactly how long he wants to drag his recruitment out, but hinted he’d like to take it into his senior year so he can have his film evaluated. Lovett said much would depend on what offers he lands this spring and what trips he’s able to take.
Lovett is coming off a season where he rushed for a county-high 1,307 yards and 14 touchdowns, averaging 7.3 yards per carry in the process. He also plays safety and linebacker for Cherokee, but said all his college looks to this point are for running back.