The Terps’ staff has been hosting plenty of primetime DMV targets the last month or so, but Feb. 27 they had one of their prime out-of-state priorities up for a visit. Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.) four-star receiver Tahj Capehart, along with his mother and father, trekked through College Park, Md., for the second time and first under the D.J. Durkin regime.
“I really enjoyed the visit overall. Just sitting down with the coaches, learning about the new offense they’re running, touring the campus, seeing the new facilities they’re building, and just seeing what the school is all about -- I really enjoyed it,” said Capehart, who claims offers from UMD, UVA, Va Tech, UNC, Tennessee, NC State, Georgia, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska, Arizona State, South Carolina, Texas Tech and Wisconsin. “My mom and dad, they really enjoyed the visit and liked the coaches too.”
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Capehart was previously at Maryland last fall for the UMD-Michigan game Oct. 3, 2015. The four-star liked the atmosphere inside then-Byrd Stadium, but the coaches he met that day are no longer around.
It’s safe to say Capehart has readily taken to the new staff post Feb. 27, 2016, trip.
“Sitting down with the coaches, that was a highlight. I talked to mostly every coach on staff. It was a lot of them, and they were all great guys,” Capehart said. “Coach [Walt] Bell, he told me about his history and how he ran the offense under [Larry] Fedora at UNC. He was saying how he’s the youngest offensive coordinator in the conference and just telling me his story. He’s a cool guy, and I think he’s running a great system there. I think it would fit me well.
“And Coach Durkin, he was telling me about the program in general and how it’s about to take off with the guys they have coming in. I think he has a good plan for building Maryland up.”
Of course, the staffer Capehart knows the most is receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, who would be the Ocean Lakes product’s position coach. Beatty, who has deep ties in the Virginia Beach area, actively recruited Capehart when the assistant was at UVA last year.
“Coach [Chris] Beatty, I’ve known him my whole high school career,” Capehart said. “We have a good relationship, and he’s stayed in touch with me now that he’s at Maryland. He’s coached some of the best receivers out there like Tavon Austin, Percy Harvin, Steadman Bailey. For me as a receiver, that’s a big plus; it’s definitely big for me.”
In addition to meeting the coaches, Capehart said he thoroughly enjoyed viewing the facility upgrades. He said he and his parents watched a video detailing the new indoor fields, the tunnel that’s being installed and the other athletic building renovations.
“It’s really looking good at Maryland. The virtual teal was real nice,” Capehart said. “The facilities look amazing. And the campus, we got to tour around, and it’s beautiful. Maryland is right around the nation’s capital too, so there’s a lot of opportunities there.”
The fact College Park is only a few hours from Virginia Beach held appeal as well.
“That’s a big thing, especially for my parents,” Capehart said. “They want to see me play, and they like taking drives out to see my games. So if I stayed closer to home [for college] it would definitely be easier for them to see me.”
So, following the trip, where does UMD sit for the four-star? Will the Terps make the cut for his upcoming top-eight favorites list, which he’ll release towards the end of spring?
“I really like Maryland,” said Capehart, who could return to College Park at some point. “But I have to take some more visit and then see where things stand after that. But I do like Maryland and I think it’s a very good school.”
Indeed, besides UMD, the only other campus Capehart’s seen this offseason is UNC’s. He saw the Tar Heels’ hoops team down Duke, 74-73, back on Feb. 17, Capehart talking up his stay in Chapel Hill, N.C.
Next up, Capehart is planning to see Virginia Tech, Penn State and several schools in the south. He has no firm dates scheduled as of yet, however.
“Right now, pretty much every school is even,” Capehart said. “I still how to figure things out, take some more visits and then talk to my parents. But I will be making like a top-eight list sometime in the beginning of the summer and then committing before my senior season.”
Capehart said the three primary factors in his recruitment would be his relationship with respective coaching staffs, how soon he can see the field and what his parents’ thoughts are.