TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.

Notes On Top Terps Offensive Targets

D.J. Mack, QB, Norview (Norfolk, Va.): When the Terps offered the dual-threat Mack Feb. 3, the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder showed plenty of interest in UMD. He immediately connected with Maryland’s Virginia-area recruiter, Chris Beatty; liked the sound of offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s up-tempo spread; and called the Terps a “program on the rise.”

More than a month later, Mack remains intrigued.

“Maryland is still a school that’s up there for me,” Mack said. “From what I’ve seen looking them up, they’re a solid program that’s on the rise with the new staff. They look like they’re building depth and bringing in some good recruits. I love the Under Armour gear and the uniforms too (laughs).

“But they have that high-powered offense now with Coach Bell there, and they like to spread the ball around. That fits my style; I run a spread now in high school.”

But other than the above comments, I didn’t get much of a pro-Terps’ vibe.

Mack landed a scholarship from West Virginia while in Morgantown, W.Va., March 13, promptly calling the Mountaineers his “biggest offer.” He said the staff, offensive system and atmosphere all resonated, and he’d be returning for WVU’s spring game.

But West Virginia isn’t even Maryland’s greatest threat. That would be North Carolina, whose staff hasn’t offered yet but could once Mack returns to Chapel Hill, N.C., this April.

Mack dropped hint after hint that UNC would be his ultimate college destination should the scholarship be presented. He said a Heels’ offer was “the one I’m working towards” and later had a long, pregnant pause when I asked if North Carolina would then become his leader post-verbal.

Besides UNC, WVU and UMD, Mack is also giving Va Tech -- another school he’s been through more than once -- a look, although he’s waiting to see if the Hokies’ new staff offers him as a quarterback rather than as an athlete. Wake Forest, NC State and maybe UVA are in line for spring trips too.

Our gut? Well, if the hot board is any indication, we moved Mack from “warm” to “cool” earlier this week.

You can read more about Mack HERE.

Taylor Powell, QB, Fayetteville (Ark.): The Terps are still alive for the Arkansas quarterback Powell. Yes, the gunslinger did visit Alabama last weekend, but he left sans offer, letting on Tide head coach Nick Saban wanted to watch him throw before anteing up.

Now, if Saban does like what he sees later during the evaluation period, well, Powell’s probably Tuscaloosa, Ala., bound. The Fayetteville product waxed hyperbole about the Bama brand after his visit, all but admitting he’d pop there if allowed to do so.

But if Saban looks elsewhere, it leaves the door open for schools like Wake Forest, Maryland and others.

One of those “others” figured to be Arkansas. The Razorbacks employ Powell’s father, and all signs pointed towards Arkansas eventually jumping on the local quarterback. But the Razorbacks just landed quarterback Daulton Hyatt (Etowah/Attalla, Ala.) (discussed below), likely precluding Powell from joining the hometown school.

That’s one less obstacle for the Terps’ staff to deal with, but, first, assistant Walt Bell -- who offered Powell back when the coach was at Arkansas State -- needs to get the signal caller out to College Park. Powell previously told us he liked Bell personally, as well as his offensive system, and sought to see UMD as soon as possible.

But we’ll see if such a trip ever materializes, despite Powell’s insistence to the contrary.

“Maryland’s still involved,” Powell told me this week. “I’m still trying to get out there, but nothing’s scheduled yet.”

On this end, we’re somewhat skeptical, especially considering Powell was on the East Coast last month and opted to head to UNC and Wake in lieu of UMD. For the time being, it sounds like the Deacons may have an early edge over offerees like Vandy, Illinois, Purdue, Washington State, Memphis, San Diego State and Maryland, although the recent Commodores offer has him eager to check out Nashville, Tenn.

But, in all honestly, the program we’re monitoring is Alabama.

Leroy Henley, WR, Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): The teammate of Terps’ signees Elisha and Elijah Daniels, Henley is keeping the Terps in play despite overtures from the country’s cream of the crop. The 6-2, 175-pound three-star told us a couple months ago he had heard all about UMD from the Daniels brothers and wanted to see the school firsthand.

Since then, he’s had consistent contact with Terps’ receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, who has done enough to coax Henley up to College Park. Indeed, earlier this week Henley reported Maryland was on track for a visit either later this spring or during the summer. He said Beatty’s player development reputation, offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread offense and the Danielses pitch have him intrigued.

But while a UMD trip could vault the Terps up the totem poll, we’re not sure it will be enough to trump some of Henley’s assumed favorites. Henley won’t publically declare leaders until the summer, but his recent comments lend us to believe Michigan, West Virginia and in-state Miami hold the edge.

The Wolverines’ and Mountaineers’ coaches have been on him hard, and Henley will grace both programs with visits this spring. Henley’s also been thoroughly impressed with hometown Miami, the new staff grabbing his attention.

There’s a ways to go in this recruitment, however. Let’s see where Henley stands later during the summer, when his initial leaderboard will be released.

Jordan McNair, OT, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): The borderline five-star tackle Jordan will be making up for a missed “DMV Day” Feb. 13 by gracing Maryland with his presence March 19. McNair has been in every-day contact with either UMD-area recruiter Mike London or offensive line coach Dave Borbely, both coaches stressing how much they want/need the big tackle.

The March 19 visit date will not only be another chance for the Terps’ staff to make its pitch, but it will give McNair and his parents, who should be joining him, a better idea of what head coach D.J. Durkin’s program is about. McNair is aware of UMD’s upcoming facility upgrades, the academics and the school’s aesthetic qualities, but he’s yet to hear Durkin’s message about turning Maryland “into the Miami of the 1980s.”

Either way, McNair has the Terps sitting pretty, and the hometown school should remain in solid position throughout the process. But the McDonogh product isn’t going to simply drop his other suitors and pop to Maryland.

Penn State resides alongside UMD atop the totem poll thanks to line coach Matt Limegrover’s overtures and McNair’s standout visits to Happy Valley. Ohio State is in the thick of things too what with the tackle’s strong rapport with assistant Larry Johnson. And Auburn’s a primary contender now that ex-PSU O-line coach Herb Hand is in War Eagle territory.

Meanwhile, McNair recently picked up offers from Nebraska, Miami, WVU and Ole Miss, each of which have given the Owings Mills native pause. The 6-5, 285-pounder has expressed interest in taking a southern swing this summer through the Sunshine State and SEC country.

Look for McNair’s recruitment to ebb and flow all the way through his senior season.

Mekhi Becton, OT, Highland Spring (Richmond, Va.): We mentioned after the emerging tackle Becton landed his Terps offer Feb. 22 the Terps could have a chance to gain his ear -- even though he figured to blow up on the recruiting trail. At the time, Becton liked what he’d heard from UMD line coach Dave Borbely and said he wanted to see the school firsthand since it wasn’t too far from home.

Granted, many recruits intend to visit and never do, but Becton still has every intention of following through. Earlier this week, Becton said he -- along with teammate Rell Coley, a Maryland safety offeree we’ve reported on -- would be trekking up to College Park during spring break March 26. The 6-6, 300-pounder already has UMD near the top of his unstated initial leaderboard, so this visit will give the Terps’ staff an opportunity to solidify its status.

Realize, however, that Becton is quite impressionable and given to overstatement. He just returned from UVA, for example, and afterwards declared the Wahoos his No. 1 suitor.

Could Becton wind up at Virginia? Sure, it’s possible since it’s the hometown school. But with Michigan State and WVU involved, and Michigan; FSU; UNC; Va Tech; Missouri; and potentially more SEC schools and Notre Dame interested, his opinion could easily change. Thus, it’s too soon to make any definitive claims until Becton’s recruiting profile is fully realized.

But first thing’s first for Maryland purposes: Secure the campus visit and convince Becton to return later during the fall.

Note: The aforementioned Rell Coley has the Terps up top early in the game. He holds offers from UMD, Cincinnati and Appalachian State and has the Terps No. 1 among the trio.

News On Top Terps Defensive Targets

Chase Young, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Scout’s Jacquie Franciulli, who now covers the University of Florida, caught up with the four-star edge rusher Young after he received a UF offer earlier this week. The DMV recruit told Franciulli he didn’t know much about the Gators yet, but “definitely” wanted to visit Gainesville.

But we weren’t so much concerned with the Florida portion of the article. Rather, the comment that raised and eyebrow was where Young said the schools recruiting him the hardest were Maryland, Alabama and Ohio State -- with UMD the first program out of the edge rusher’s mouth. This falls in line with what Young has been telling us, and it’s even more encouraging (for Terps’ purposes) that he’s intimating the same to national reporters.

Young went on to say he’s keen on the idea of turning Maryland into a championship contender with the DMV as its foundation. He also said he has a developing relationship with UMD defensive line coach Mike London and is looking to build upon it in the months ahead.

Young has trekked through College Park several times this offseason, and we anticipate he’ll be returning this spring; summer; and fall. But London, head coach D.J. Durkin and Terps’ area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim will have to keep working for this one.

The defending champs, Alabama, are after Young in earnest, backed by both headman Nick Saban and the Tides’ new offensive analyst, Mike Locksley. (You knew this name would resurface, Terps’ fans. Apparently Young's already initiated contact with him). And Ohio State, which Young will be visiting next, is firmly in play too thanks to head coach Urban Meyer’s and area recruiter Larry Johnson’s overtures.

In addition to return trips to UMD and OSU, along with an initial foray through Florida, Young should be trekking through Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Miami; USC; and UCLA this offseason.

The DeMatha product will then begin scheduling fall game-day trips, followed by officials. He won’t be ending his recruitment until the winter.

Cam Spence, DL, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The four-star defensive tackle Spence said several weeks ago he would be visiting College Park during his spring break, and March 14 he reaffirmed those intentions. The Baltimore native and former Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) stud announced via Twitter he’d be at Maryland March 22 for his first meeting with the new UMD regime.

This is a significant development for the Terps, who have been trending for Spence since before the New Year. Even as his recruiting profile has grown, the DMV defender has continued to talk up the hometown movement and representing his home state at the next level. Plus, Spence has been in contact with multiple Maryland coaches, from Mike London to Scott Shafer to Chris Beatty to headman D.J. Durkin. Although Spence hasn’t had formal meetings with the UMD staffers, he has taken a liking to their enthusiasm and overall message during online/phone conversations.

We’re continuing to forecast Spence to the Terps, but Penn State and Ohio State do figure to make things somewhat difficult. Spence has been in State College, Pa., on a couple prior occasions and may have the Nittany Lions sitting almost even with Maryland. The Buckeyes will probably be right there too once Spence returns to Columbus, Ohio, later during the summer.

Meanwhile, LSU and Auburn offered in February, and both programs could also make potent pushes. And Florida and Miami, which have been granted greater exposure to Spence since the recruit now resides in the Sunshine State, might work their way into the conversation if the schools’ respective coaches ante up.

Marcus Bowman, OLB/DE, Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Maryland has more than 20 offers out to 2017 DMV recruits, and almost all of them have taken at least one winter College Park visit to meet the new staff. The lone straggler? Marcus Bowman, a primary outside linebacker/defensive end target who added a UMD offer Feb. 3. The 6-3, 230-pounder, who was supposed to trek through Maryland for “DMV Day,” will finally have a chance to sit down with head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. March 19. (Of course, Bowman has been on campus several times before, although it was under the Randy Edsall and the brief Mike Locksley regimes.)

“It’s been a minute since I’ve been up there, so I’m looking forward to it,” Bowman said. “I’ve been talking to Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] and I’m real interested in [Maryland]. … I’d been thinking about Maryland a lot when Coach Locksley was at Maryland, and now that I have the offer from the new staff I’m thinking about them even more.”

The Douglass product said he likes the area and facilities, and is keen on the idea of DMV-to-UMD.  Most importantly, however, is Bowman is particularly close to his family and would love for them to see him play Saturdays during the fall.

But Bowman is inclined to explore some of his other suitors. He hasn’t been able to see any schools this offseason, so it makes sense he’d like to compare Maryland against offerees like NC State; Syracuse; Temple; and potentially Iowa.

Given that, we’re not expecting a pop March 19, but it’s a chance for the Terps’ staff to solidify its standing with the local linebacker.

Nate Proctor, LB, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): We made note of the four-star’s Maryland visit in last week’s Shell, but since Proctor didn’t return my calls it was difficult to gauge how it went. Well, Scout’s Brian Dohn was able to jump through a few hoops for us, procuring the Proctor interview and subsequent story.

"I thought they were very passionate about what they do," Proctor said of his first meeting with headman D.J. Durkin and Co. "They are more passionate than old staff was to me. The actually show interest in the kids and stuff like that."

Proctor went on to say he’s in close contact with his UMD recruiter, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, while he’s known Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry from the coach’s days at Rutgers. The Lackey product said the Maryland staff has made him a priority and wants him on campus as often as possible.

The Terps are only one program on Proctor’s mind, however. He also visited Penn State recently and couldn’t say enough about head coach James Franklin. Moreover, Proctor’s looking to return to UNC, which should be counted as a foremost contender, and he wants to visit Va Tech as well.

Florida, Miami, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Cal and potentially Oregon also have offers out. It’s unclear which of the above are pushing for Proctor, but we expect the four-star to entertain the SEC nonetheless.

Needless to say, Proctor’s going to take a deliberate approach to his recruitment. He should be taking multiple official visits before selecting a destination next winter.

For our part, we think the Terps reside among Proctor’s foremost suitors, although they’re probably not at the top of the list quite yet. But recruiting’s a marathon, so let’s see if Abdul-Rahim can eventually gain the linebacker’s attention.

Dorian Etheridge, LB, Capital (Charleston, W.Va.): The linebacker was one of several Terps’ targets who headed to West Virginia March 13 for an impromptu junior day. Of those who attended, we were most interested in what Etheridge had to say about his hometown school, considering the Charleston resident stated previously WVU would “always be one of my top” suitors.

Fortunately for Maryland, Etheridge didn’t pop while in Morgantown, W.Va., and has no intention of doing so anytime soon. While WVU is ringing true for the Capital linebacker, Etheridge is content to let the process play out and explore as many programs as possible before committing in August.

And one of those schools in line for an upcoming trip is UMD. Etheridge, who is from northern Virginia and developed Maryland affinity after attending games in then-Byrd Stadium, said he couldn’t wait to meet the new UMD staff March 26. He has been in frequent contact with Maryland linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, the recruit readily taking to the assistant’s energy. Furthermore, Etheridge is excited about the Terps’ attacking-style defense and believes he’d be a great fit in coordinator Scott Shafer’s scheme.

We’ll see what kind of impression head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. can leave on the three-star backer, because Etheridge has many contenders on the brain. In addition to WVU and UMD, Va Tech, another school Etheridge grew up in the shadows of, has his ear following a Blacksburg, Va., trip. Pitt is also in play after Etheridge took in the Panthers’ program Feb. 26.

Meanwhile, Etheridge will be trekking down to South Carolina March 19 in hopes of landing a Gamecocks’ verbal. He’s also hearing from UNC, Duke and a couple others, and is hoping for an Ohio State look.

Etheridge is currently listed “warm” on the hot board.

George Hunter, S, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): I touched base with the Florida safety Hunter earlier this week to gauge his status after declaring Maryland his “definite” future destination in mid-February. Hunter told me he still hasn’t been able to schedule a College Park trip, but remains as high as ever on UMD.

“Yes, definitely,” said Hunter, who also holds offers from Western Michigan and Toledo. “Maryland is my No. 1, and I still want to commit there when I can get up. I’ve been talking to Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], and I’m just trying to find a time when I can visit soon. Maybe in April.”

Recall, the Atlantic product literally dropped his phone when Abdul-Rahim offered him Feb. 18. Hunter had heard all about Maryland from former-teammates-turned-Terps Antwaine Richardson (Hunter’s good friend) and Dion Goldbourne, the 2017 safety seeking a UMD scholarship since the two seniors singed. Hunter spoke to Richardson extensively about the ins and outs of the Terps’ program, and apparently the Maryland signee let on how much he loved the College Park vibe.

 “I just like Maryland a lot,” Hunter said. “I just have to get up there and make it [a commitment] happen.”

But is Hunter a “take” for Maryland at this point? Well, the Terps do have some touted safety targets still on their board, but we don’t think head coach D.J. Durkin would turn down a prospect from a powerhouse Florida program -- especially one that just sent two 2016 recruits the coach’s way. So, if turtles continue to trend for Hunter, he’ll probably pop when he’s in College Park.

Antwan Collier, CB, Southridge (Miami, Fla.): When Maryland offered the corner/safety Collier Feb. 18, it represented his most significant offer to date, the Sunshine State product ranking the Terps ahead of Southern U; Southern Miss; and Illinois. UCF and ECU have offered since then, and while the hometown Knights have Collier’s attention, the Sunshine State prospect’s continued to sing the Terps’ praises.

The Southridge product, who actually counted Maryland as one of his “dream schools” (Florida, FSU and Clemson were the others), has had consistent communication with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the defensive backs coach making the recruit aware of Maryland’s attacking-style defense. Collier believes he could develop well under Abdul-Rahim and easily transition into UMD’s scheme. He likes that Maryland’s a Big Ten program and has solid academics too.

For now, Collier’s on track to visit College Park for the first time April 16, but we’re a bit leery he’ll make it up after his latest visit. Collier was in Gainesville, Fla., last weekend and absolutely raved about head coach Jim McElwain’s program.

Florida is one of Collier’s dream suitors, and word is if the scholarship’s presented he’ll pop on the spot. What are the chances McElwain antes up? Per our Florida colleagues, it’s better than 75 percent, which means Collier could be a Gator before April hits. 

New Offers Out

Jamal Speaks, RB, Ballou (Washington, D.C.) (2019): Speaks is only a freshman, but on March 11 he landed his initial power-five offer from the local university. The 6-0, 185-pounder figures to have 20-plus suitors in the next couple years, but he said that first one from Maryland hit home in a major way.

“Maryland is my dream school, for real,” Speaks said. “It’s my hometown school and I’m a Maryland guy. I’ve always wanted to play there, and I’ve pictured myself in those Under Armour jerseys running the ball there. When I got the offer, that’s the image I had, just picturing myself playing for Maryland.”

I asked Speaks what he would think if, say, Alabama offered in a year or two, and the D.C. back didn’t hesitate: “Man, Maryland is my school.”

Now, we’ll see if Speaks is singing the same tune if the SEC does indeed get involved, but, nevertheless, it was a savvy move by UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim to jump on the D.C. back early. It gives the Terps a legitimate chance to seal Speaks in and make deep inroads before the bigwigs come calling.

Speaks, who has been in College Park several times, hadn’t spoken to Abdul-Rahim yet, but plans to begin building a relationship with him shortly. The Ballou back will also be trekking up for his initial campus visit later this month.

Expect Speaks to be a constant present at Maryland the next few years.

Note: Speaks told me he will stay at Ballou, but typically the top D.C. recruits end up at H.D. Woodson, Carroll, St. John’s or Friendship Collegiate. We wouldn’t be shocked to see him transfer this summer or next.

You can read more about Speaks HERE.

Jeremiah Hawkins, WR, Buena Park (Calif.): The Terps and assistant Chris Beatty offered this three-star Californian March 11, joining a host of West Coast suitors. Hawkins has just begun developing a rapport with Beatty, and expectedly didn’t know too much about UMD. Even so, Hawkins gave the Terps some customary lip service, although we’re always dubious about left-coast recruits winding up in College Park.

In all likelihood, Hawkins will be bound for a locale closer to home. Arizona State, Cal, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado, Boise State, Washington and more have all anted up. Hawkins hasn’t claimed any definite leaders yet, but he does have strong relationships with staffs from NU and Dub-U.

He’s not going on the hot board unless he schedules an official visit to Maryland.

Kadeem Telfort, OT, Nordonia (Miami, Fla.): Maryland became the latest suitor for this massive Florida pledge March 13. However, Telfort popped to the Gators last June and has remained relatively steadfast ever since. He’s stayed in close contact with head coach Jim McElwain and his staff, trekking over to Gainesville, Fla., on multiple occasions.

Telfort is considering hometown Miami, though. He’s visited the Canes a couple times and speaks to their coaches often enough.

Telfort might also entertain the SEC elites if they come calling (LSU is on him already).But we don’t sense much movement here from a Maryland standpoint.

Telfort has not been added to the hot board.

Jackson Carman, OT, Fairfield (Ohio) (2018): Maryland offensive line coach Dave Borbely extended an offer to this sophomore five-star March 15, but the Terps might be a little too late to the party. The country’s crème de crème are all over the 2018 tackle -- and have been for quite some time.

Hometown Ohio State, which Carman’s visited multiple times, is the early favorite with multiple Buckeyes’ staffers in the recruit’s ear. Nearby Michigan and Michigan State have a shot too, as do Alabama and a couple other SEC programs.

Maryland’s going to need a standout 2017 campaign for Borbely to have much of a shot here.

Corey Bolds, DT, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.): The Terps offered the four-star Bolds March 11, the 22nd program to do so. There’s no doubt UMD linebackers coach Matt Barnes and D-line coach Mike London will do their best to have Bolds down to College Park, but that would be a victory in and of itself.

Bolds already has two clear frontrunners in Clemson and Michigan, the defensive tackle visiting each more than once. Coaches from both the Tigers and Wolverines have been pushing hard, staying in contact with the recruit and foraying though Paramus during the open period.

Meanwhile, Alabama, Rutgers, Georgia, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Ole Miss, UNC, Tennessee and Va Tech are all in pursuit. It’s conceivable Bolds could give some of his SEC offerees and other elite Big Ten suitors a look before committing, but, either way, he’s probably a long shot to wind up at Maryland.

Owen Carney, DE, Miami Central (Miami, Fla.): Carney pulled his Maryland offer March 11 courtesy of UMD defensive coordinator Scott Shafer. However, Shafer’s got a tough road to haul just to gain Carney’s ear.

The 6-4, 225-pounder has more than 20 offers to consider, with the SEC powers about the enter the picture. Hometown Miami has Carney’s eye initially, as does Kentucky. Carney also holds offers from Mississippi State, Cal, Duke, Kansas State, FIU, UCF, USF, Utah, Iowa State, Indiana, FAU, Purdue, Syracuse, Wake Forest and more.

Carney has only visited a few nearby programs thus far and should be venturing out later this spring. We’re not anticipating him making it to College Park, but we’ll see what kind of traction Shafer can gain here.

Guy Thomas, DE, Booker T. Washington (Miami, Fla.): The 6-3, 200-pound end/outside backer Thomas landed a Maryland offer March 12, UMD defensive line coach Mike London doing the honors. Thomas, though, seems to have his sights set on a few of his prior suitors.

The four-star recently called Nebraska and Louisville his top two schools, with the Huskers leaving a distinct impression. But that was before Alabama anted up. Thomas might not be a “take” for the Tide right now, but the recruit’s certainly interested.

In-state Miami is firmly in play too, Thomas visiting Coral Gables, Fla., more than once.

Thomas won’t be added to the hot board unless he takes a College Park jaunt.

Brailyn Franklin, LB, Battlefield (Haymarket, Va.): Maryland became the second major offer for the Texas transplant Franklin, joining Virginia Tech. Franklin briefly touched base with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty March 11, the linebacker calling the look “a blessing.” He’s scheduled to meet Beatty and the rest of the Maryland staff for the first time later in March, which will be Franklin’s first time in College Park.

“I’m interested in Maryland, because growing up I used to watch Vernon Davis. He was one of my favorite tight ends to watch. Then recently I watched Stefon Diggs and he’s one of my favorite players of any position, “ Franklin said. “So I got to watching Maryland from that. I know that when Stefon was a sophomore Maryland moved from the ACC to the Big Ten, and after that I was like, OK, that’s what’s up. That’s what’s up (laughs).”

He might have interest in UMD, but the Terps are trailing the nearby Hokies at this juncture. Franklin lauded his Blacksburg stay, praising the coaches; players; and the school itself. In fact, Franklin listed Tech as one of his five “dream offers,” along with TCU, UNC, FSU and Nebraska.

Franklin has not taken another trip besides the Hokies’ one, so we’ll see what he’s thinking once he begins traveling (and inevitably gaining more suitors). He said the main factors he’ll be considering are player-coach relationships, how well he bonds with the team itself, if a university has his intended major (psychology or architecture), and the overall feel of the institution.

You can read more about Franklin HERE.

Malik Vann, LB, Fairfield (Ohio) (2018): Five-star tackle Jackson Carman (discussed above) wasn’t the only Fairfield product the Terps offered March 15. The UMD staff also extended a verbal to Carman’s teammate, four-star inside linebacker Malik Vann. Unlike Carman, though, this 6-3, 245-pounder only had three offers prior to the Terps’ -- Louisville, WVU and Cincinnati -- but that’s about to change in short order.

Ohio State should be anteing up once Vann camps in Columbus, Ohio, while Michigan; MSU; Wisconsin; Nebraska; and other Big Ten programs will probably come through as well. If the Buckeyes offer as expected, they should be considered the favorites, per our Ohio colleagues.

Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2018): Yes, this is the son of the former Pro Bowler for the Patriots, Eagles and Falcons. Samuel Jr., a sophomore at high school power St. Thomas Aquinas, added his 27th offer from Maryland March 16.Needless to say, UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has his work cut out for him.

Samuel Jr. is already favoring the nation's foremost programs, including Alabama, Ohio State and hometown FSU. Clemson, Georgia, Michigan, LSU, Miami, South Carolina, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Wisconsin, WVU and more all have anted up too and are attempting to gain traction. Most analysts believe Samuel Jr. is going to wind up at an in-state power, somewhere in the SEC or maybe OSU.

Off The Board

Daulton Hyatt, QB, Etowah (Attalla, Ala.): One of Maryland’s primary quarterback targets came off the board March 12 when Hyatt popped to Arkansas. The 6-4, 182-pounder visited the Razorbacks March 5, landing the offer while on campus. A week later, he elected to end his recruitment rather than peruse his other 15 suitors or wait for a hometown Alabama offer.

Simply put, Hyatt said he loved everything about Fayetteville during the visit, namely the Razorbacks’ offensive coaches and the atmosphere surrounding the program. He said Arkansas felt like home and he couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

Although the Terps have several quarterback targets on their board, Hyatt was a priority for them. Remember, UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell flew out on the first day of the open contact period to offer Hyatt and make an in-person pitch. Afterwards, Hyatt said Bell’s energy and urgency hit home, while the coach’s up-tempo spread had the quarterback thinking long and hard about trekking east to College Park. But Hyatt never made it out, and now he’s shutting down his recruitment.

Moving on.

Jonathan Sutherland, S, Episcopal (Alexandria, Va.): Since Sutherland’s a northern Virginia recruit and had Maryland staffers like Mike London and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on him, we figured he might give the Terps a look. But the four-star finally spoke to the media late last week and didn’t mention the Terps as a principle contender.

Rather, Sutherland seems focused on some other Big Ten suitors like Michigan -- he’ll have visited Ann Arbor, Mich., twice after returning later during the summer -- Nebraska and Wisconsin. North Carolina, a school he’s trekking through later this spring, has his too. Meanwhile, Sutherland just tripped through USC and UCLA during a West Coast stay, and it’s conceivable the Trojans and Bruins would become players should their coaches ante up.

Ameer Speed, CB, Sandalwood (Jacksonville, Fla.): We placed Speed on the hot board following his mid-February Maryland offer, which was his 10th to date. Since, then, though, Speed’s more than doubled his list, now claiming verbals from programs throughout the SEC, Big Ten and ACC.

Florida State was one of Speed’s more recent suitors, and the in-state power is under foremost consideration. Ole Miss, UNC, Tennessee, Nebraska, Cal, Duke and possibly more figure to be on the brain too.

Speed is publically keeping an open mind, but we’re not banking on him checking out College Park anytime soon.

Jaytlin Askew, CB, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.): The Maryland staff has been particularly active in Georgia this offseason, but it doesn’t sound like they have Askew’s attention at the moment. The multi-offer corner is reportedly thinking SEC or Florida State, with the Noles’ staff possibly positioned to land the four-star following a Tallahassee, Fla., visit.

Askew hasn’t broached the Terps in any of his interviews thus far. 

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