Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Recruits Trek Through College Park
The Terps had a number of key visitors foray through College Park, Md., March 4-6, from DMV mainstays to out-of-state targets.
Robert Martin, OT, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): The Terps offered Martin back on Feb. 13, and three weeks later he was down at Maryland for his second look at College Park. He was previously at UMD last year, the tackle lauding the campus; Under Armour; and the school’s location near Washington, D.C. This time, though, Martin and his father were treated to the D.J. Durkin regime.
“I absolutely loved it down there,” said Martin, who also claims offers from Penn State, Kentucky, BC, Rutgers, Duke, Nebraska and Temple. “I love the coaches’ plans for the future, I really liked [offensive line coach Dave] Borbely, and I love the new facilities they’re building. Maryland looks like a program that’s coming up.”
Martin spent the majority of his stay with Maryland’s Jersey recruiter, Matt Barnes. The St. Joseph’s product seems to be relating well to Barnes, who stays in touch about once a week. Martin also praised head coach D.J. Durkin for his overarching message about “how everything is starting new,” and Borbely for his style and demeanor.
“Coach Borbely seems like a great coach, and I like how he cares about the little things that added together will help you a lot,” Martin said. “And he’s a yeller too, and I love that in an O-line coach. [Borbely] was telling me what I was good at and what I could work on, and I liked that. He’s very straightforward and cares about you as a player.”
The Garden State product made sure to talk up the facility upgrades and the academics too.
Afterwards, Martin said he’d “definitely” be returning to College Park for a spring practice. He also mentioned the Terps would “probably” reside among his upcoming top-five favorites list, which will be released in May.
The other prime suitors figure to be Penn State and Rutgers, both of which he’s seen before and will be revisiting this March. Kentucky also seems to have his eye, although Martin’s yet to take in the Wildcats’ program. West Virginia and Va Tech could get looks too with the Mountaineers and Hokies in the game as of March 9.
Regardless, there’s a ways to go before Martin comes to any definitive conclusions. He insists he’ll be embarking on multiple officials, which means he won’t be choosing a college until after his senior season at the earliest.
We do think the Terps will make the initial cut, but the vibe is they may not be as high on the totem poll as Penn State or hometown Rutgers. And it’s entirely possible, as Martin continues adding offers, an SEC or Big Ten bigwig vaults all of the aforementioned programs.
You can read more about Martin HERE.
Marcus Minor, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Since we just wrote about Minor a couple weeks ago, we didn’t conduct a full interview with him post-Maryland visit March 5. That said, we did exchange texts, the four-star guard letting on that he had “a real good time” meeting with head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and offensive line coach Dave Borbely. He said his parents joined him on the visit and readily took to the staff during extended sitdowns as well. Minor also said he learned more about the academics, specifically the journalism program, which is one of the primary reasons he’s considering Maryland.
Moreover, the DeMatha guard is keen on DMV-to-UMD, staying home for college and potentially helping Maryland become a power program built on local recruits. He’s not going to be affected by his teammates turned Terps, but the UMD coaches have done well with Minor nonetheless.
Look for him to return to College Park several times this offseason, including for a spring practice and potentially the spring game.
But Minor’s not naming leaders or offering up any overt statements. He’s content to travel around, check out his growing list of suitors and make a measured decision sometime next winter.
Minor recently landed offers from Penn State, TAMU and South Carolina, all of which are now in play. Additionally, he’s looking hard at Va Tech, UNC, Miami and maybe UVA.
P.J. Mustipher, OT, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) (2018): The sophomore tackle Mustipher, whose older brother, Sam, suits up for Notre Dame, met head coach D.J. Durkin and the new Maryland staff for the first time March 5. The 6-5, 275-pounder didn’t return calls post-visit, but it’s always a positive development when local five-stars are on campus. UMD-area recruiter Mike London, who stopped by McDonogh earlier this year, is recruiting Mustipher, and it’s likely offensive line coach Dave Borbely will be in contact as well.
Mustipher previously had an affinity for Maryland when former-UMD interim Mike Locksley was at the helm. And, really, he’s spoken highly of the Terps ever since ex-headman Randy Edsall offered him as a freshman. Durkin’s ascension should only improve the Terps’ chances at landing the five-star tackle in a couple years.
But Mustipher has been trending towards his brother’s school, UND, for quite some time. The Irish staff hasn’t offered yet, but it’s inevitable they will down the road. Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan and Michigan State are counted as primary contenders too, with the Nittany Lions perhaps running second for Mustipher’s services.
Victor Dimukeje, DL, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): Following his latest trip to College Park, we elevated Dimukeje to “hot” on the hot board. The 6-1, 245-pounder is about as high on the Terps as one can be without pulling the trigger. The Nigerian native has a terrific rapport with most of the defensive staff, and loves the area; campus; the school’s academic prowess; and the upcoming facility upgrades. Dimukeje’s mother is just as smitten with UMD, the defensive tackle letting on his mom would love for him to stay close to home for college.
Mostly, though, it’s the coaches that have Dimukeje thinking turtles.
“I just got more time with the coaches [March 6], and I’m really liking Maryland,” Dimukeje said.. “They showed even more love, and it was great to ask questions and interact with them a whole lot. I had a good time interacting with Coach [D.J.] Durkin, Coach [Mike] London and the rest of them. It was just great. I just love it up there.
“Maryland is honestly at the top right now for me. I love the coaches there. I really feel like I could do well under them. All I have to say is that I had another great time at Maryland, and it’s an understatement. I love it up there.”
Dimukeje hinted he might pop during his next visit to Maryland, which will be later this month or in April for a spring practice. He did say he’d like to check out Temple (no offer) and Miami (no offer) before ending his recruitment, but we’ll see if he actually makes it to either locale.
Dimukeje has already seen Rutgers, Pitt, Toledo and UMD, the lineman admitting the Terps held the edge over the former three.
Unless something goes awry, Dimukeje could very be a Maryland commit before the spring is out.
You can read more about Dimukeje HERE.
Note: Dimukeje has had a recent string of offers that might give him pause, the Boys’ Latin tackle anticipating more significant suitors might begin trickling in during the evaluation period. So far, however, Maryland, Rutgers and Iowa State remain his three major verbals, with others coming from ODU; Albany; Central Michigan; UPenn; Rhode Island; Harvard; Brown; Toledo; Yale and Robert Morris.
Tyree Johnson, DE, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): We’re starting to feel quite optimistic about the Terps’ chances with the three-star edge rusher Johnson -- more confident then we ever did for his senior edge-rushing teammate, Terrell Hall (Alabama).
On March 6, Johnson returned to Maryland for the third time in three weeks and second time in three days. He said afterwards the hometown school was sitting pretty.
“I love being up at Maryland, and it was a great time up there. I love the energy the coaches bring there; I like their intensity a lot,” Johnson said. “And Maryland just feels like home. It’s a great feel up there and I’m really liking Maryland right now.
“Maryland is pretty high for me. I definitely like it there and I’m definitely getting back for a spring practice.”
During Johnson’s March 4 foray through College Park, the recruit said he had a good time “joking around” with defensive line coach Mike London and the other coaches. He extolled the atmosphere at the basketball game he took in that night too, talking up the UMD students.
Forty-eight hours later, Johnson drove back to Maryland for positional meetings, another chat with head coach D.J. Durkin, and some facility sightings. The defensive end spoke to the headman, London, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, readily taking to each staffer’s intensity and passion. Johnson said he and Abdul-Rahim have a great relationship, while he appreciates all that London’s imparted as well, specifically pointing to the different hand techniques the coach described.
The three-star, who mentioned the player dorms caught his eye this time around, also said his parents have thoroughly enjoyed their time at Maryland. Johnson suggested they were high on the Terps for many of the same reasons he is.
But Johnson is not ready to pop just yet. He wants to take in multiple schools this spring and summer, with TAMU; Syracuse; Rutgers; Ole Miss; and Tennessee the priorities.
The key comment I picked up on, though, was when Johnson said he might be selecting his destination this summer rather than in the fall. When I pressed him on the matter, he admitted he’d seen a fair number of schools already – Maryland, PSU, Pitt, Wake and Temple -- and could be ready to end the process sooner rather than later.
We’ll see if that holds true, but if Johnson, who is publically claiming no leaders, pops sans official visits, the Terps could be positioned to secure his services.
You can read more about Johnson HERE.
Louis Acceus, OLB, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): The second St. Joseph Regional recruit to check out College Park March 6 was the three-star Acceus, who the Terps offered back in January. The 6-1, 190-pounder, along with his confidant and older brother, left their first UMD visit raving about the Terps.
“I thought it was just amazing; a great experience,” Acceus said. “And my brother didn’t want to leave Maryland, honestly He loved everything about it too.
“Maryland is definitely up there. They’re probably No. 1 right now.”
Yes, those were rather exceptional comments, although don’t get too excited just yet. Acceus will go through the process, take multiple trips, and then embark on officials before deciding on his future destination after his senior season.
That said, the Terps are indeed in a very good spot, even as Acceus’ offer list keeps expanding (Va Tech, BC, Pitt, Michigan State, Wisconsin, WVU, Nebraska, Rutgers, Miami and Temple have all anted up). Acceus has a strong rapport with position coach and UMD-area recruiter Matt Barnes, the two exchanging messages on an every-other-day basis. The backer went so far as to call his relationship with Barnes “brother like.” Then, during the March 6 visit, Acceus lauded Barnes’ energy and teaching methods.
Acceus had similar comments for head coach D.J. Durkin, calling him energetic and approachable. Furthermore, Acceus couldn’t say enough about the school’s academics (these in particular struck a chord), pending renovations, the redone locker room and the Under Armour connection. Speaking of UA, Acceus loved how the Terps had a red No. 2 jersey laid out for him, a personal touch that hit home.
Afterwards, Acceus said he’d be returning to College Park for a spring practice or the spring game, which is always a positive sign.
Acceus isn’t sure where he’s headed next, but said he’d like to hit Michigan State; Miami; UNC (offered March 9); and NC State. He’s only seen UMD, Rutgers and BC thus far, with the Terps and Eagles grabbing his attention.
The Jersey prospect is also hoping for a Penn State offer after speaking to the Nittany Lions’ area recruiter. Coaches from South Carolina have been in touch too.
You can read more about Acceus HERE.
Nathan Proctor, LB, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): The four-star Proctor reneged on “DMV Day” Feb. 13, the linebacker yet to meet the new Maryland regime. March 4 was his first opportunity to do so, Proctor having a chance to sit down with head coach D.J. Durkin, linebackers coach Matt Barnes, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and area-recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
The Lackey product didn’t chime in post-visit (he doesn’t speak to the media much), but his presence on campus was certainly a positive for UMD purposes. It could simply be his reserved personality, but Proctor hadn’t exactly been oozing enthusiasm when asked about DMV-to-UMD and building the hometown school into a power. So perhaps this March 4 stay helped change his tune a bit.
We do know that Proctor’s developed a rapport with Abdul-Rahim, the recruit noting how easily the defensive backs coach relates to high school kids. As long as Abdul-Rahim keeps hammering away, the Terps should stay in the game for the four-star.
Proctor, though, is in no rush to commit. He has more than 20 offers to consider and explore, including Penn State, a school he visited Feb. 27 and has been to a couple times before. The Nittany Lions seems to be resonating with the linebacker following his latest State College, Pa., stay.
Miami, Ole Miss, Va Tech, Florida, Georgia, UNC, Cal and Notre Dame are also on Proctor’s mind. The Southern Maryland native would like to see as many of those schools as possible this summer, with a trek through SEC country a must.
Exree Loe, CB, Greater Johnstown (Johnstown, Pa.): We had an inkling the Pittsburgh commit Loe would begin to explore other college campuses. After all, the 5-11, 175-pound three star popped to the Panthers way back in August 2015, before he began procuring offers and interest from other suitors. Since then, he’s added Boston College, Iowa State, Rutgers and, in early February, Maryland.
Less than a month after pulling the Terps’ verbal, Loe was in College Park March 5.
But evidently the trip was much to do about nothing -- at least for now.
“One of my DB coaches, he trains guys like Deon Jones [Carroll/Washington, D.C.], and he’s from the D.C. area,” Loe explained to me. “So he was holding a workout on Maryland’s practice field, so that’s why I was there. I didn’t really get to see the school or talk to the coaches or anything.”
So, does that mean Loe doesn’t have much interest in visiting for real in the future?
“Well, I’m not really thinking about them right now,” Loe admitted. “I mean, I do talk to Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] and he’s cool, but I’m not really thinking about other places. I’m committed to Pitt.”
Maybe so, but Loe did legitimately visit Rutgers in early February. The corner has family in New Jersey, which is one of the primary reasons he stopped by. But head coach Chris Ash also left a distinct impression, convincing Loe to maybe return to Piscataway, N.J., down the line.
However, the Johnstown product said any trip he embarks on this spring, summer or fall would be to Pitt and Pitt alone. He acknowledged he could take a couple officials after his senior year, but has no idea what programs he’d like to see (or procure offers from).
We’ll keep Loe on the hot board just in case, but for the time being it doesn’t sound there will be much movement.
Miles Corpening, CB, Northwestern (Rock Hill, S.C.) (2016): This senior recruit actually took an official visit to Maryland March 4-5, Corpening attempting to cull out a power-five offer a month after Signing Day. The South Carolina native, who holds one offer from Army, said he’d heard from UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim in late February, the assistant letting on he liked the corner’s game. Abdul-Rahim didn’t offer Corpening, but showed enough interest where the recruit elected to see College Park firsthand.
“I had a great conversation with the new Maryland staff, and they wanted to se me in person and build a relationship with me. So I went up there and just really liked the campus, the vibe and the coaches and players,” Corpening said. “Coach Aazaar is a great guy and really knows his stuff. I was watching some film and going over some Xs and Os with him, and I feel like I could learn a lot from him.
“He said the intention is to offer me and the staff would like to bring me in. But he also said no promises. So we’ll see what happens.”
And, if that offer materializes, Corpening didn’t hesitate when asked what he’d do.
“I’d choose Maryland if they did offer,” he said. “I’m very interested in them.”
The only other official Corpening’s taken has been to Kennesaw State. He has no other planned trips, although it’s possible he’ll embark on another visit or two if there’s interest.
If no offers crop up, Corpening said he’d likely go the junior college or prep route.
“But I’m confident something will come up,” Corpening said. “Signing Day came and I didn’t have the offers I was hoping for, so I figured I’d wait and see if something opened up. I’m pretty positive I’ll get what I’m looking for.”
Various Recruiting News
Taylor Powell, QB, Fayetteville (Ark.): We’re starting to get a bit skeptical in regards to the Arkansas quarterback Powell, who UMD’s Walt Bell offered back in January. Powell conducted an interview with Scout earlier this week and said he received an invitation from Alabama head coach Nick Saban to attend practice March 12. It’s unclear whether or not an offer will be presented, but, if so, it would surely be a game-changer. Powell told us before he was seeking a Tide look, first and foremost.
There’s another reason we’re a bit leery Powell will make it to College Park for a visit. Per the Scout interview, the Fayetteville product and his father were on the East Coast in February, but instead of heading up to UMD they stopped by Wake Forest and UNC instead. The Heels’ staff didn’t offer Powell, but the Wake coaches have, and now the quarterback has taken a liking to Winston Salem, N.C.
Third of all, Powell’s dad is on the medical staff at Arkansas. The Razorbacks’ coaches haven’t offered yet, but when the inevitable scholarship is presented, well, we could easily see Powell winding up at the hometown school, where his father is employed.
Let’s see if Bell can keep the Terps in the game and cull out a summer visit. Powell has known Bell since the coach was at Arkansas State, the Howl the first program to offer the quarterback. The gunslinger is privy to Bell’s system and likes the now-Maryland offensive coordinator personally, so it’s conceivable the Terps could make a charge if Powell’s recruitment doesn’t blow up too much.
Deon Jackson, RB/Slot, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.): This Georgia recruit by way of Florida pulled a Maryland verbal Feb. 24, the Terps the 6-0, 190-pounder’s initial power-five offer. Since then, though, Jackson’s seen his recruiting take off, landing scholarships from BC; WVU; Rutgers; and Oregon State, while top-tier SEC and ACC staffs have had contact.
But he’s maintained his interest in UMD nonetheless.
“I’m going to Maryland April 16 for their spring game,” he told me earlier this week. “That’s a school I definitely want to get to.”
When Maryland Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry informed Jackson of his UMD look, the running back/slot was thrilled. Not only was it his first significant suitor, but he had keen interest in offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread; the Terps’ Under Armour connections; and the $150 million facility upgrades.
He’d never journeyed up to College Park before, but said he and his mother would be trekking through as soon as possible. Apparently, April 16 will be the date, so let’s see what kind of inroads running backs coach Anthony Tucker; headman D.J. Durkin; area-recruiter Mike London; and Bell can make on the Pace Academy product.
Now, realize Jackson will be wadding through the process and visiting numerous campuses before making any definitive claims. He was just at Auburn March 10 and should be hearing about an Eagles’ offer soon. Jackson will then be at Tennessee March 12, the Vols’ coaches encouraging a visit and dangling a potential verbal.
He doesn’t have any other trips set after Maryland’s April 16, but a trek through Morgantown, W.Va., is a distinct possibility now that he has a WVU offer. Meanwhile, Jackson’s already seen Georgia Tech, Georgia and UNC, and would love to procure scholarships from all three. (It’s worth noting that Jackson grew up a Gators fan and wants a Florida offer too).
Note: The Terps’ staff is attempting to coax four-star receiver Trey Blount, Jackson’s teammate, up for an April 16 visit as well. Blount landed a UMD offer back in early February and has been in contact with offensive coordinator Walt Bell.
But Blount has offers galore and programs like Alabama, Oregon, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Georgia in mind. Blount visited UGA and UT recently, with Notre Dame coming up.
We’ll see if Blount joins Jackson in College Park next month before adding him to the hot board. Either way, he’s going to be a difficult pull for the UMD staff.
John Lovett, RB, Cherokee (Marlton, N.J.): This Maryland running back target landed his second power-five offer from Rutgers after visiting Piscataway. Following the verbal, the 6-1, 190-pounder dubbed RU his new No. 1 in an interview with Scout’s Brian Dohn. Lovett described the Scarlet Knights’ staff as “loyal,” talked up the direction the program’s heading, and also spoke to the school’s academics.
But Lovett remains high on the Terps, with UMD Director of Recruiting offering the Jersey back in late February. Lovett knew Berry from the coach’s days at RU, and the two renewed their relationship at Maryland. The Cherokee product has also been in touch with running backs coach Anthony Tucker since the initial verbal.
Lovett even trekked down to College Park last month in order to see the campus, facility upgrades and to meet the staff. Unfortunately for the recruit, Berry was the only coach present that day, so now the power back wants to return for a spring practice later this month.
Lovett, who was recently at Syracuse (no offer yet), wants to see PSU; BC; Pitt; and Va Tech as well.
The feeling here is while the Terps remain in the thick of things, Lovett may focus his attention elsewhere as he keeps adding offers. But we’ll see what he’s thinking following his second foray through College Park.
Terrell Jana, WR, Woodberry Forest (Va.): The Terps offered Jana back on Feb. 7, becoming the first power-five suitor to do so. Jana finally added his second verbal in late February when he trekked over to UVA. Jana, who is from Canada and played his first two years at Thomas More High in British Columbia, has been to Virginia a couple times now and had been seeking the offer. Now that he has it, Jana said headman Bronco Mendenhall and the ‘Hoos have his attention.
But so does Maryland. Jana has yet to visit College Park as he intended, but he does want to see the school at some point this spring. Jana’s had communication with UMD-area recruiter Mike London, who the receiver knew when the coach was at UVA. The Woodberry Forest product likes London personally, and wants to meet him and the rest of the staff.
Jana, who also has offers from Nevada, Ohio, ODU and Rice, said the fact UMD’s a Big Ten program; has terrific academics; and has developed the likes of Stefon Diggs holds prime appeal.
It’s important to note that location is not a factor for Jana since his family’s in British Columbia and he’s lived in multiple locales from the West Coast to the East Coast.
Michael Harley, WR, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): One of our Scout colleagues touched base with the Maryland receiver offeree Harley this week, and it sounds like the Terps’ staff has some work to do. Harley said of all the programs in pursuit, he speaks to coaches from Miami, WVU, Utah and Wisconsin the most. The Fort Lauderdale native then said he wanted to officially visit Wisconsin, WVU and Utah during the fall.
The Aquinas prospect did not mention UMD or receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, which was somewhat surprising considering Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has prioritized Florida -- and specifically powerhouse programs like Aquinas. We know for a fact Beatty has had contact with several Aquinas targets, but apparently his message hasn’t hit home with Harley at this juncture.
Considering this is recruiting, though, that could change in short order. Beatty does have the ear of two of Harley’s teammates, so it’s entirely possible he gains the wideout’s after another conversation or two.
For now, we’re listing Harley “cool” on the hot board.
Hezekiah Grimsley, WR, Lafayette (Williamsburg, Va.): This Terps’ receiver target landed a coveted Virginia Tech offer earlier this week, and it sounds like the Hokies are the team to beat. Grimsley has been a Tech fan since he was little, and the chance to continue his career in Blacksburg, Va., might be too much to pass up. The wideout’s already developed a strong rapport with Tech’s receivers’ coach and is intrigued by head coach Justin Fuente’s system.
That said, Grimsley going to give his other suitors their due diligence. The Terps became the second power-five suitor for the Virginia native back on Feb. 22, and the recruit still wants to trek through College Park this spring. He’s been in touch with both UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and area recruiter Mike London -- Grimsley didn’t know either coach when they were at UVA -- and likes what he’s heard about the Maryland offense and Under Armour affiliation.
Grimsley is also taking a look at Syracuse, which hasn’t offered yet but should once he treks through New York. The Lafayette product has taken a liking to Pitt (no offer yet) too after visiting the Panthers last month.
The sense here is that programs like Maryland, Pitt, Syracuse and others of that ilk will be in play for the Williamsburg native’s services. But for Grimsley to end up in, say, College Park, the staff may have to knock it out of the park to trump Va Tech.
Cody Bowes, OG, Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.): Maryland assistant Chris Beatty offered Bowes, along with his two Aquinas teammates, Jan. 27 during the coach’s trek through the Sunshine State. At the time, recall, Bowes; receiver Josh Palmer; and receiver Mike Harley (discussed above) were all ecstatic about the Terps’ look and wanted to visit College Park pronto.
“This summer, me, Mike and Josh are definitely getting up to Maryland for a visit,” Bowes said previously. “I’m going to see Maryland for sure. Like I said, it was a pretty big offer for me and I like Coach Beatty.”
At the time, we were somewhat skeptical such a trip would come to fruition since it was so early in the process and all three figured to procure their share of elite looks. But while Bowes indeed landed more verbals, apparently the Terps continue to trend.
The four-star guard caught up with Scout’s Corey Bender this week at The Opening and told him UMD resided among his foremost three suitors, along with Ohio State and Tennessee.
Bowes said Beatty and the Terps’ coaches were constantly in touch, urging him and his teammates to check out College Park. The Aquinas lineman also said he likes how the UMD staff is stressing that he can play anywhere up front thanks to Bowes’ athleticism and versatility (other offerees want him primarily for guard). Bowes concluded by telling Bender Maryland remained a school he wanted to see this summer.
Of course, Beatty and Co. will be going toe-to-toe with some bigwigs. Ohio State’s staff is making a hard push as well, the Buckeyes the first school out of Bowes’ mouth (it’s doubtful OSU would accept Bowes’ pledge at this juncture, however). And Tennessee’s coaches have also made a charge, Bowes believing he “fits the profile” of a Vols’ lineman.
Other suitors with offers out include Kentucky, UNC, WVU, Wake, Pitt, NC State, Illinois and Syracuse.
Bowes isn’t choosing a destination until next winter, so his recruitment will inevitably ebb and flow. But if he does make it to Maryland this summer, the Terps’ coaches should have a puncher’s chance.
Eric Douglas, OT, Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.): We made note of Douglas’ Maryland offer Feb. 23, but chose not to include the budding three-star tackle on the hot board.
And for good reason. Douglas seemed to be favoring in-state UNC and South Carolina, with Clemson; Florida and other southern stalwarts on the brain.
On March 6, though, Douglas announced his top-seven favorites list -- and UMD did made the cut.
But we’re still not going to place him on the hot board.
Why not? Because Douglas hasn’t visited College Park, hasn’t indicated he’d be doing so in the near future, and hasn’t mentioned Maryland in interviews prior to this week. Plus, our Scout colleagues are continuing to forecast him to South Carolina (the favorite) or UNC (a close second). The other programs in prime contention are Clemson, UF and PSU, with NC State and UMD presumably on the outside looking in.
Douglas also said he’d be announcing his future destination April 8, so that doesn’t leave UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell with much time to work with.
Trajan Bandy, CB, Columbus (Miami, Fla.): Give the Maryland staff credit: They don’t cease pursuit even after a recruit pops to another school. The four-star Bandy committed to Oklahoma in February and told Scout’s John Garcia this week he remained a “hard” Sooners pledge. But, as four-stars who commit early are wont to do, Bandy’s not ready to completely shut down his recruitment.
The 5-10, 180-pounder has remained in contact with numerous college assistants, including those from Alabama; Auburn; Clemson; and Maryland. Remember, Bandy has known UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim since the prospect’s freshman year, when the corner trekked over to the coach’s former employer for a summer camp. Bandy and Abdul-Rahim immediately connected in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and have remained in touch via Twitter since then. When Abdul-Rahim offered Bandy at Maryland back in January, the four-star was ecstatic, saying he “definitely” wanted to trek up to College Park.
We’ll see if such a trip actually occurs, but it’s clear Abdul-Rahim still has Bandy’s ear. The defensive backs coach’s efforts at least warrant a Bandy hot board inclusion, although we’ll have to see how much steam Abdul-Rahim can create here. For our part, if Bandy does reopen his recruitment, we’d probably project him to Bama or Clemson.
New Offers Out
A.J. Davis, RB, Lakeland (Fla.): The four-star Davis had about 20 or so offers before the Terps’ staff anted up March 5. The 5-11, 190-pounder heard from Maryland running backs coach Anthony Tucker, although Davis didn’t comment on the scholarship.
At The Opening tryouts recently, Davis told reporters Oklahoma, South Carolina and WVU had his ear, but it’s early in the game and much could change. Clemson, Kentucky, Florida, FSU, Auburn, Louisville, LSU, Miami, UNC, Ohio State, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Va Tech are all involved.
We have not included Davis on the hot board.
Darrian Felix, RB, Fort Myers (Fla.): Terps’ running backs coach Anthony Tucker extended an offer to this Florida three-star March 10, the 18th suitor to do so. Felix has yet to comment on his latest offer, but based on our colleagues’ intel, we’re not going to place him on the hot board just yet.
Felix holds a hometown Miami offer, and the Hurricanes are ringing true initially. All the while, West Virginia, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, UCF, USF, FAU and several others have been in contact for quite awhile, attempting to get Felix on campus.
The consensus is Felix is going to wind up at one of the Sunshine State schools. If Tucker can convince the 5-11, 190-pounder to visit College Park, then we’ll add him to the hot board.
Caleb Chandler, OT, Jefferson (Ga.): The Terps’ coaches threw their names into the hat for the 6-5, 285-pound Chandler, who has seen his recruitment take off of late. The Georgia tackle now has offers from Mississippi State, Louisville, Minnesota, UCF, Maryland and a slew of MAC programs.
After securing the offer from UMD assistant Walt Bell March 5, Chandler said he would consider trekking north to College Park. He’ll likely hit a bunch of locales this summer, however, with Minnesota and Mississippi State on the docket for now.
Since Chandler’s keeping and open mind and does have the Terps under consideration, we’re listing him on the hot board as “cool.” But we’ll see if he actually makes it to Maryland before paying close attention to his recruitment. We’re skeptical such a scenario will occur if he keeps adding SEC offers.
Riley Locklear, OT, Spring Valley (Huntington, W.Va.): This borderline four-star picked up a Maryland offer from Terps’ O-line coach Dave Borbely March 9. While appreciative of the UMD verbal, Locklear may have his sights set elsewhere.
The West Virginia product with more than 20 offers to date and has already hinted at leaders, his main focus on the SEC; Florida State; and hometown WVU and Marshall.
Locklear has been to FSU, labeling the ‘Noles a top contender afterwards, while Tennessee hit home following a visit too. Meanwhile, Locklear has plenty of connections to the Mountaineers and the Herd, the tackle tabbing both early standouts. Others Locklear’s broached include Miami, Penn State and South Carolina.
Most analysts believe Locklear is WVU bound. Either way, it’s going to be a tough haul for Borbely.
Rasheed Walker, OT, North Point (Waldorf, Md.) (2018): The sophomore tackle Walker visited Maryland March 3, and four days later he had his first verbal from the hometown Terps. The 6-5, 285-pounder waxed hyperbole about the local offer, relaying a rather dramatic story about how it came about (see the story linked below for more).
“I was just excited and blessed, and to get an offer from Maryland was big,” Walker said. “Being a DMV guy and to get the first offer from a school in the DMV, that’s big for me. That’s real big. Maryland’s a great school, and for them to be first makes me feel real good.”
Walker went on to commend UMD offensive line coach Dave Borbely, calling him a “real cool guy.” The North Point product spent extensive time with Borbely March 3 -- Borbely was the one who ultimately extended the offer -- and the recruit said he couldn’t wait to see the assistant in action at a spring practice.
Walker made sure to praise the rest of the Maryland coaches too, namely headman D.J. Durkin and the vibe he’s creating in College Park. The sophomore then extolled the campus, the facility upgrades and the atmosphere surrounding the program.
Look for Walker to return to Maryland several times this offseason, and again for a game or two during the fall. Although Walker’s keeping an open mind and will have double-digit offers by this time next year, the Terps are trending early. Borbely and Co. did well to ante up before the left tackle’s recruitment skyrockets.
You can read more about Walker HERE.
Christopher Whittaker, DE, Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.): Maryland became the latest offer for the emerging Florida defensive end Whittaker March 5. Whittaker heard from Maryland defensive line coach Mike London, although the recruit didn’t know a whole lot about the Terps. He intimated he could give UMD a look later this summer, but didn’t exactly sound overly enthused.
Fact is, Whittaker’s adding offers left and right, and now Kentucky; UNC; Southern Miss; Indiana; Illinois; NC State; Rutgers; Syracuse and UCF are in the game. Whittaker currently has no standouts, but if the Florida elites and power SEC programs get involved as expected, well, that’s probably where he’ll wind up.
We’ve listed Whittaker on the hot board, but his presence might be short lived.
J’Bril Glaze, DE, Jefferson (Tampa, Fla.): This budding Florida edge rusher seems to add an offer every couple days or so. UMD assistant Chris Beatty anted up March 5, the 10th coach to do so this offseason. Glaze previously claimed verbals from Kentucky, Arizona, Indiana, Iowa State, South Carolina, USF, Mississippi State, UCF and Western Michigan.
Currently, Glaze seems to be favoring UCF and Kentucky after visiting each, but it’s too soon to make a call. If the Floridas, Florida States and Miamis of the world come calling, it’ll change the situation.
As for Maryland, Glaze didn’t respond to inquiries regarding the Terps’ offer. Perhaps Beatty can gain some inroads in time, but unless we see Maryland crop up in interviews, Glaze isn’t going on the hot board.
Sherrod Greene, LB, Rocky Mount (N.C.): Maryland assistants Pete Lembo and Walt Bell have had communication with the three-star Greene, finally extending an offer March 9. Greene didn’t respond to inquiries seeking his thoughts on the Terps, but we’re not inclined to place him on the hot board right now anyway.
Greene has the two big Carolina mainstays after him, UNC and USC, and has his eyes on both. Greene has been in Chapel Hill, N.C., on multiple occasions, and he “definitely” wants to check out Columbia, S.C., now that he holds a Gamecocks’ verbal.
Meanwhile, NC State has left an impression too following a Raleigh, N.C., foray, while Virginia Tech remains in the thick of things.
Our Scout colleagues, however, believe Greene is going to wind up at North or South Carolina.
Amir Riep, CB, Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio): The Terps were the most recent suitor for the borderline five-star Riep, UMD assistant Dave Borbely offering the 6-0, 188-pounder March 9. We’re not sure how much traction Borbely’s going to gain, however.
Riep claimed more than 30 offers prior to Maryland’s and is already favoring a few elite programs. Nearby stalwarts Ohio State and Michigan State have a bead, and Notre Dame figures to be in that conversation as well after Riep visits South Bend, Ind., March 19.
Riep has not been added to the hot board.
New Walk-Ons On Board
The Terps aren’t finished adding to the 2016 class with official visitors trekking through College Park and walk-ons hopping on board. The latest preferred walk-ons to hop on with head coach D.J. Durkin’s program are South Carroll (Sykesville, Md.) linebacker/running back Steven Baca and former Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) safety Dmitri Lee, who join DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) defensive tackle Seun Oluwatimi, the latter declaring his intentions on Signing Day.
The 6-2, 215-pound Baca, who may start at running back but move to linebacker at UMD, is the second South Carroll prospect in UMD’s 2016 crop, with teammate Brian Plummer signing a Maryland Letter of Intent Feb. 3.
“It’s the hometown school, it’s a chance to represent my home state, and I just believe with Coach [D.J.] Durkin and his staff they’re taking things to another level. It’s an awesome opportunity,” said Baca, who didn’t have any firm offers. “It’s awesome academics, which is big for me too.
“And Brian is pretty excited about Maryland, and he was real happy for me when I said I was going there too. I’m excited to be playing with him again for the next four, five years.”
Baca had been in touch with UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo, although the recruit has yet to meet the tight ends coach -- or any other Maryland staffer for that matter. The South Carroll product hasn’t visited College Park since taking in a game last year, so he plans to trek down in short order.
Now, can he play?
I saw Baca in action this year since I was at South Carroll to scout Plummer and former Terps’ pledge Silas Kelly. I wasn’t honing in on Baca per se, but I do recall he had a few nice runs and proved tough to bring down. That said, Baca didn’t exactly command my attention or flash top-level speed or athleticism.
Maybe in three years Baca can develop into a short-yardage pile driver, or perhaps a situational linebacker. He should also have a role on special teams.
You can read more about Baca HERE.
The 5-8, 190-pound Lee was someone I watched several years ago at FCA. While Lee didn’t possess terrific size or speed, he always seemed to find the football -- both in coverage and in the box. Lee came up with interceptions, breakups, forced fumbles and sacks during his senior season at FCA in 2013.
The safety didn’t procure any major suitors, however, and thus he opted for Coastal Carolina, one of the only FCS programs to take a flyer on him. Lee redshirted his first season at Coastal, but didn’t see the field in 2015 either. Thus, he elected to transfer home, where he’ll come under the tutelage of his former high school coach, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
If nothing else, Lee should be a valuable practice squad contributor, with a chance to make some plays on special teams given his penchant for finding the football.
As for Oluwatimi, the 5-11, 297-pounder played well enough to secure offers from Toledo, Wofford and ODU, although he was deemed undersized for the power-five level. But rather than try his hand in the MAC or college football’s lower levels, he opted to join his teammates-turned-Terps in College Park. In fact, he announced his desire to attend Maryland Feb. 3, alongside Tino Ellis; Terrance Davis; LoLo Harrison; and D.J. Turner.
Oluwatimi reminds of former UMD plugger Andre Monroe in some ways -- not quite tall enough, but possessing plenty of leg drive and some pop at the point of attack. The DeMatha tackle’s extremities could limit him against Big Ten competition, and he didn’t always display the most consistent motor, but he’s probably worth a flyer as a walk-on.
It should also be noted that Oluwatimi’s brother, junior Victor Oluwatimi, is a 6-2, 285-pounder who should generate more interest on the trail. The Terps haven’t pursued yet, but it’s a name worth watching out for during the evaluation period.
Note: There’s a strong possibility Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) tight end John Connors will be the next local walk-on to jump on the hometown bandwagon. Connors, who stands 6-3, 220 pounds, procured interest from the FCS level but hasn’t signed with a school yet.
Off The Board
Germane Crowell, WR, Carver (Winston Salem, N.C.): The North Carolina receiver Crowell had had contact with UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, who offered the 6-3, 180-pounder in February. But Crowell didn’t have much to say about the Terps at the time, and since then his recruiting profile has expanded considerably.
A recent Florida offer has Crowell thinking Gators, the Carver product immediately scheduling a March 18 trip to Gainesville, Fla. UNC, Duke, Va Tech and a few other ACC/southern schools are in play too.
But the clear No. 1 has to be UVA. Why? Crowell’s a Virginia legacy and wants to follow in his father’s and uncle’s footsteps. If Crowell doesn’t wind up in Charlottesville, Va., it’s probably because some SEC elite lured him away.
Deandre Johnson, DE, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): The Terps offered this emerging defensive end before he blew up on the trail, but at the time Johnson didn’t have much to say about UMD. And, quite honestly, he still doesn’t.
During the last few weeks he’s added verbals from South Carolina, WVU and a couple others, with Clemson, Florida State and more SEC programs considering anteing up. The Gamecocks immediately grabbed Johnson’s attention, and the Miami native should be in Columbia in short order. Plus, he’s looking to trek through Clemson and FSU in an attempt to cull out Tigers’ and Noles’ verbals.
Johnson has not mentioned Maryland as a school he wanted to check out.
Darnell Ewell, DL, Lake Taylor (Norfolk, Va.): In reality, the only reason we kept the four-star Ewell on the hot board is because we hadn’t heard a peep out of him. But earlier this week we were told Ohio State probably sits out front, followed by some SEC suitors and maybe Clemson or Michigan.
Ewell has not broached Maryland, with UMD defensive line coach Mike London running point, in interviews.