Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football recruiting roundup.
Terps Host Trio Of Local Elites March 19
The Terps were on spring break last week, but that didn’t stop head coach D.J. Durkin and his staff from hosting three primetime local targets March 19. Four-star quarterback Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and four-star defensive end Chase Young (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) both returned to College Park, Md., for a second sitdown with the coaches, while four-star offensive tackle Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) made it up for the first time since Durkin’s ascension. Young, for his part, was actually on campus twice last week, heading back to Maryland March 24.
-- The 6-foot-5, 285-pound McNair, who brought his parents along March 19, couldn’t say enough about the new regime. He praised Durkin and offensive line coach Dave Borbely in particular, while noting his previous rapport with UMD-area recruiter Mike London.
“I like the new staff. It’s a lot of new energy going through there, and it’s just a different vibe then before,” said McNair, who holds offers from UMD, Ohio State, Penn State, Ole Miss, Auburn, Duke, Illinois, Rutgers, BC, Miami, Michigan, MSU, UNC, Tennessee, Va Tech, WVU and Wisconsin. “I really like those guys. I like how everyone thinks the same way, and how everyone is on the same page. They all have an idea about how to build a winner at Maryland. It’s like, ‘Why go somewhere else when everything you need is right up the road, and you can accomplish your goals right here?’ So that was something that stayed with me.
“Coach Borbely, I really like that guy. I know what he’s done at UVA and in the past, and he’s a great coach. I feel like I can learn a lot from him. He puts a lot of work in with his guys and really develops them. He was straight with me and told me what I did well and what I need to work on. I really appreciated that. [Strength] coach [Rick] Court, he's awesome too. He gets after it and can really develop guys.
“And Coach Durkin, I like him too. He’s really enthusiastic about what he does, and he really believes in it. I love his energy. I feel like I could play for someone like him.”
McNair also lauded the facility upgrades, the school’s standout academics -- he noted the internship opportunities and Maryland’s kinesiology program -- and College Park’s location near Washington, D.C. He said his parents readily took to the hometown school as well and “would love” for the McDonogh tackle to stay local.
Afterwards, McNair declared Maryland one of his foremost suitors and said he would be returning for practices this spring and games this fall.
But the Terps aren’t in the clear quite yet. Penn State, Ohio State and Auburn are all on McNair’s mind too, each in line for summer trips. McNair has visited Happy Valley on several occasions and Columbus, Ohio, once before, and both programs seemingly have a bead -- perhaps sitting even with UMD.
Let’s see if the Terps’ coaches can stave off the Nittany Lions’ and Buckeyes’ charges before McNair opts for one of the above quartet in August. Our gut? We think Durkin and Co. have the mojo to pull this off before it’s all said and done.
You can read more about McNair HERE.
-- We didn’t conduct a full interview with the edge rusher Young, for one because the Hyattsville product just spoke to Scout’s Jacquie Franciulli a day before visiting College Park, and, two, the recruit’s not selecting a college anytime soon. That said, I did exchange messages with Young, and he let on he and his parents had a “really great time” at Maryland March 19. Then, following the March 24 trip, which Young attended with teammates-turned-Terps LoLo Harrison and D.J. Turner, the edge rusher said he “loved” the spring practice.
Young, who has trekked through College Park on several occasions this offseason, said his family enjoyed meeting head coach D.J. Durkin, defensive line coach Mike London and the other UMD coaches. The DeMatha product is impressed by their teaching methods, enthusiasm and “how they get after it.”
The DeMatha end also likes the new vibe in College Park, Durkin’s emphasis on keeping locals around town, and the chance to build the hometown school into a perennial contender.
Expect Young to be back on campus numerous times this summer and fall. But, as aforementioned, the four-star is nowhere close to choosing his future destination. He’ll be taking numerous trips this summer, so we won’t have a true idea where Young stands until later during the fall.
Alabama’s staff, with both headman Nick Saban and ex-Terps’ offensive coordinator Mike Locksley after him, has Young’s ear, as does Ohio State assistant Larry Johnson. Meanwhile, Florida, Miami, USC and UCLA are some of the other programs Young should be checking out in the coming months.
The feeling on this end is the Terps will reside at or near the top of Young’s leaderboard throughout the process. But we’re not ready to predict exactly where Maryland will wind up on said leaderboard.
-- As for the quarterback Kasim Hill, the 6-2, 195-pound dual-threat did not respond to inquiries this week. That said, we contacted a few of our sources and learned the hometown school is rising up the radar for the local gunslinger. Hill, we’re told, is feeling the love from the new UMD staff and believes he could seamlessly transition into offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s up-tempo spread. Furthermore, Hill previously mentioned he had regard for head coach D.J. Durkin’s pitch about staying local and representing his home state in college.
Hill is also entertaining offers from Penn State, Northwestern, Wake Forest and Syracuse. He’s developed a rapport with coaches from each, while he’s trekked through PSU several times and Cuse back in February.
But the sense on this end is the Terps are inching ahead of the latter programs, including the Nittany Lions. From what we’ve heard, Hill and his family like the direction Durkin’s taking his program.
Hill is listed “warm” on the hot board for now, but his status could escalate quickly.
Note: We reported last week Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) outside linebacker/defensive end Marcus Bowman was supposed to be in College Park March 19 as well, but he informed us he wasn’t able to attend due to a school function. Bowman, who has the Terps under prime consideration, said he planned to visit March 26 instead.
The local edge rusher has been in contact with UMD recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim but has yet to meet the new staff firsthand. He’s eager to see the coaches in action, and learn what Durkin has in store for the program.
Bowman will also be visiting offerees like NC State, Syracuse, Temple and maybe Iowa later this summer. He doesn’t want to name clear leaders until he treks through each locale.
The Douglass product could potentially choose a school before his senior season, although for now he’s content to wait the process out. He’d like to see what suitors materialize after his senior tape is evaluated, and then embark on officials.
Artur Sitkowski, QB, Old Bridge (Madawan, N.J.): Sitkowski added a Maryland offer last June from the former regime, and D.J. Durkin's crew reaffirmed it this winter. The Jersey quarterback visited UMD for the first time last October and then returned again March 24 with his father. Following the foray, Sitkowski said he had a "great" time connecting with the new staff and meeting the offensive coaches.
The 6-4, 205-pounder, who holds verbals from UMD, BC, Rutgers and Temple, has plenty of early UMD affinity. He likes the fact College Park isn't too far from home and feels comfortable on campus. Furthermore, he's a fan of offensive coordinator Walt Bell's spread and believes he could thrive in his system. It only helps UMD's chances that Sitkowski's father is feeling the Maryland vibe too.
“I think the [staff] is awesome and I think Maryland is awesome," said Sitkowski, who has been in close contact with UMD-area recruiter Matt Barnes. "My dad and I had a really great time there. The practice was up-tempo, everyone was flying around, the offense was great, and the visit itself was great. It was amazing all-around.
"Coach Bell really has a passion for the game, and he was flying around out there with the rest of the offense. He was really pushing them hard and getting after it. Then after the practice we were talking, and I just really like him. He likes me as a person and a quarterback, and said Maryland would be a great fit for me and he’d love to have me. My high school has an up-tempo spread-option, so I know I’d fit in well with [Bell’s] style.
“But just knowing how he’s progressed quarterbacks, his background, where he’s come from, his system, it’s great. He’s been there, done that, and I feel like I would be a great fit there. I feel like I could learn a lot from him. Then Coach Durkin, he has a great resume too. That guy has been around the block, and I feel like he knows how to build a program. He has great energy and passion, and he’s going to get Maryland on track.”
But we'll see what Sitkowski's thinking later in the game. He stopped short of declaring UMD an early "leader," making sure to point out positives at hometown Rutgers and Syracuse after visits to both. Sitkowski's also receiving interest from UNC and Pitt, each holding appeal.
It should be noted that the Garden State gunslinger may have an even higher upside than Jersey's other prime 2018 quarterback, Allan Walters (discussed below), and figures to have numerous Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and SEC schools after him in short order. Several of them are already interested and could extend verbals once he visits or attends a summer camp.
You can read more about Sitkowski HERE.
Jaelyn Duncan, OT, Northern (Owings, Md.) (2018): This 6-6, 297-pound sophomore tackle immediately opened eyes when he showed up at Maryland’s practice March 22. Afterwards, I touch base with his high school coach, Darren DeMeiro, to learn more about Duncan.
Per the Northern headman, Duncan doesn’t have any firm offers yet, but should secure his fair share during camp season once college coaches evaluate him in person. DeMeiro said his budding tackle is every bit of 6-6 and possesses superior athleticism, strength and footwork.
“Maryland was very excited to have Jaelyn on campus,” DeMeiro said. “He’ll be attending a camp there and a few others, and after that the offers should start to come in. Once of school offers, the others should jump in too.”
As with a couple other young local linemen, we wouldn’t be shocked if UMD offensive line coach Dave Borbely offered well before the June 16 summer camp. Look for the Terps to make the first move and begin establishing inroads with Duncan.
“I would definitely look at Maryland if they offered me,” said Duncan, who is receiving interest from UNC, Penn State, Temple and UMD. “I want to stay home for college. I don’t want to go too far away.”
The March 22 trip was actually Duncan’s first look at UMD. He thoroughly enjoyed the workout, Borbely’s teaching methods and meeting the offensive line coach afterwards. Duncan also liked Gossett Team House and the pending facility upgrades.
Expect him to return to campus several times the next couple years.
You can read more about Duncan HERE.
Cam Spence, DT, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): We’ve had the Terps trending for the four-star Spence for months now, but our latest interview all but cemented his status. The former Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) standout, along with his father, had an initial sitdwon with the new UMD coaches March 22, and afterwards Spence’s comments bordered on hyperbole. A snippet from his extended pro-Maryland dialogue:
“I loved it. I felt like home as soon as I got on campus,” said Spence, who claims offers from UMD, TAMU, Ohio State, Penn State, Florida, Michigan State, Auburn, LSU, FSU, Mississippi State, NC State, West Virginia and Syracuse. “I’ve been there many times before, so most of what I saw was the same, but meeting Coach [Mike] London and Coach [D.J.] Durkin, I mean, I just felt the new energy in the building. These are different types of coaches at Maryland now, and I know they’re going to turn things around.
“So right now, Maryland’s really high up for me. Just meeting everybody [March 22], they’re my No. 1 option right now to be honest.”
Spence counted his meeting with London as the trip’s highlight, extolling the defensive line coach’s demeanor; knowledge; and generosity. The recruit and his father appreciated how London kept the focus on Spence as a person, rather than as a football player.
The four-star heaped praise on Durkin as well, the headman delivering a powerful message Spence said is going to stay with him.
“Coach Durkin was saying I’m much needed there and they want me there. He said it only takes one of us recruits to pull the trigger and commit to Maryland, and the rest will follow,” Spence said. “[Durkin] said this is my home, this where I’m from and what better place to be than here. He was describing how I could walk out on the field here every day and be proud I’m representing my hometown school, and how that makes you want to give more, play for more. Then after that he showed me and my dad this ESPN ’30 for 30’ clip of Miami in the 1980s and how all the guys from around there went to [Coral Gables, Fla.] and built them into a power.
“So that really just stood out to me and meant a lot. It really made me think a lot about Maryland.”
Spence complimented Maryland’s academic reputation and educational values as well. He said the opportunities the university presents after football “meant a lot.” Moreover, the IMG product talked up the facility upgrades and made sure to mention his personal connection to UMD. Evidently the four-star’s late uncle, Larry Stewart, was a Terps’ alum, and Spence is seeking to follow in the former All-American tackle’s footsteps.
But while Spence has the hometown school resonating, he isn’t ready to end his recruitment just yet. He said he’s content to go through the process, take a couple official visits and announce his destination sometime later during the fall or winter.
Two programs he’s seen before, Ohio State and Penn State, are standing out too, along with Florida, which Spence wants to trip through this summer. Meanwhile, Spence visited recent offeree TAMU March 25, and should be at UNC later during the month. He’s also looking to check out Miami at some point.
That’s all well and good, but Spence is sitting “hot” on the hot board for a reason. We’ll continue projecting him to Maryland until we hear otherwise.
You can read more about Spence HERE.
Rayshard Ashby, LB, Lloyd C. Bird (Chesterfield, Va.): OK, so Ashby visited March 20, a Sunday, but that’s technically the start of the week, so we’ll count him as a “weekday visitor.” At any rate, the 5-11, 215-pound MIKE, along with his family and two teammates, had the opportunity to meet the new UMD regime during their extended stay in College Park. Ashby was not able to see a spring practice, but that didn’t seem to bother the Virginia backer.
“It just looks like they’re going in the right direction and everything they’re doing there just seems right,” said Ashby, who holds offers from UMD, Va Tech, WVU, Syracuse, ECU, Marshall and JMU. “I like Maryland a lot right now. They’re right there at the top for me, along with Va Tech.
“The coaches at Maryland were showing the love. I was with Coach [Matt] Barnes a lot, and I really like him. We’ve been in touch for awhile now since he’s the one who recruits me. He’s a great person and a great coach from what I can tell… And in Maryland’s scheme, they attack and fly around to the football, and that’s my style. I feel like I’d fit in well there.”
Barnes is anchoring this recruitment, but Ashby had plenty of compliments for the rest of the staff too. In addition to UMD’s linebackers’ coach, Ashby said he spoke to head coach D.J. Durkin, defensive line coach Mike London, defensive coordinator Scott Shafer and strength coach Rick Court. The Lloyd C. Bird product and his parents extolled the coaches’ hospitality and eagerness, each staffer letting Ashby know how much they coveted his services.
Ashby had similar comments in regards to Maryland’s campus, facility upgrades and player-dorm renovations. In fact, he called the dorms “mini condos” and New Cole “state of the art.”
Afterwards, Ashby, who actually attended a UMD game last fall, said he “definitely” would be returning for a spring practice to gauge Barnes’ -- and the rest of the coaches’ -- style. But College Park isn’t the only campus the MIKE’s returning to this spring. He’ll also be back at Va Tech, which, as aforementioned, sits alongside UMD atop the totem poll. The hometown school has been in hot pursuit and has Ashby thinking long and hard about staying in-state for college.
Marshall is also in play and in line for a visit, but the Thundering Herd are probably running third in the pecking order. So, unless Ashby procures another major offer this spring, it’s looking like a Terps-Tech battle.
Our gut is the local program holds the edge, but it’s too close to call at this juncture. Stay tuned.
You can read more about Ashby HERE.
March 26 Visitor Notes
Josh Kaindoh, DE, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The five-star defensive end and former Mt. Carmel (Essex, Md.) star is on spring break and will be at Maryland for the first time since the summer after his freshman year. Kaindoh has had contact with multiple Maryland staffers, including head coach D.J. Durkin; area recruiter Chris Beatty; area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim; defensive coordinator Scott Shafer; and defensive line coach Mike London. But he hasn’t met them in person, so March 26 will be his initial opportunity to do so.
Kaindoh realizes he’s a priority for the new Terps’ coaches and told us before he appreciated their efforts. The vibe is he’ll give the hometown school a hard look, sensing the positive changes Durkin’s instilling.
The Terps have stiff competition for Kaindoh’s services, though. Michigan State’s staff has made a statement of late and seems to be trending. Kaindoh hadn’t mentioned the Spartans before, but now he wants to trek through East Lansing, Mich.
In addition, there’s Penn State, which has been a staple for more than a year now. Kaindoh’s remained in communication with the PSU staff and wants to return to State College shortly, perhaps later during his spring break.
Ohio State, whose coaches have been making a charge, is a primetime destination as well, the Essex native excited to see Columbus. Notre Dame could also work its way to the forefront of Kaindoh’s mind after he visits South Bend, Ind. (Our colleagues believe UND could lead for the five-star’s services, but we’ve heard otherwise).
There are plenty more programs attempting to gain inroads, but in our estimation Kaindoh’s going to wind up at one of the five previously mentioned schools (UMD, PSU, OSU, MSU or UND). Let’s see what kind of ground the Terps can gain following his foray through College Park.
Dorian Etheridge, LB, Capital (Charleston, W.Va.): We wrote about Etheridge in this space last week, letting readers know the northern Virginia native planned to visit Maryland March 26. Earlier this week, the three-star confirmed those intentions, saying he was eager to meet linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes and the rest of the UMD staff.
Etheridge, whom the Terps offered in February, said he’s had frequent communication with Barnes, the backer taking to the coach’s personality. The backer also believes he’d be a great fit in Maryland’s attacking defense. Plus, the Capital prospect attended Terps’ games growing up and has a built-in affinity for the program.
But while Etheridge lists Maryland as a main contender, there’s a couple other programs resonating too. Etheridge was in Morgantown, W.Va., earlier in March and has the Mountaineers sitting pretty. Virginia Tech, another school he’s trekked through more than once, is near the front of his mind as well.
And if Ohio State, UNC or Duke, all of which have been in touch, ante up, each would promptly enter the conversation for Etheridge’s services. The backer is seeking a Buckeyes’ offer, in particular, and could camp in Columbus in an attempt to secure it.
Brailyn Franklin, OLB, Battlefield (Haymarket, Va.): One of Maryland’s Virginia-area recruiter’s, Chris Beatty, offered Franklin March 11, and the 6-3, 215-pound Texas native was all set to check out College Park March 21. But Franklin said he had transportation issues, precluding him from attending the spring practice. Instead, he intends to retry for March 26 if time allows.
“I’m trying my hardest to get out this week,” Franklin said. “If not this week, then next, because I’m trying to see Maryland big time.”
Indeed, Franklin told us previously the Terps were one of his early frontrunners, along with hometown Va Tech, which represented his first offer. Franklin was ecstatic when he heard from Beatty March 11, in part because UMD represented his first Big Ten look, but also because he took note of Maryland while growing up in Texas.
“I used to watch Vernon Davis. He was one of my favorite tight ends to watch,” Franklin said before. “Then recently I watched Stefon Diggs and he’s one of my favorite players of any position. 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).”
But while this sounds encouraging, we’re not ready to elevate Franklin on the hot board just yet. Va Tech is likely No. 1 in the pecking order, and the Battlefield prospect also said he’s seeking offers from TCU; UNC; and FSU.
He plans to return to Blacksburg following his College Park jaunt, but has no other scheduled visits after that. That doesn’t necessarily mean Franklin will be deciding between one of those two programs, however. He’ll take the process slowly, collecting offers and embarking on visits during the fall before ideally selecting a school following his senior season.
Marcus Bowman, LB, Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Discussed in the “Trio of Local Elites” section above.
Fofie Bazzie, CB, Quince Orchard (North Potomac, Md.): The Quince Orchard product Bazzie added a Maryland offer during his College Park jaunt March 2, and was back six days later for his first spring practice experience. Now, he’s set to return for a second workout March 26, allowing him to reunite with UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, Bazzie’s position coach and area recruiter.
“I’ve known him since my freshman year when he was at Friendship [Collegiate in Washington, D.C.]. I played against one of his DBs, Jalen Tabor, and knew him from that. And then I saw that video they did of him years ago, and it just showed me what kind of man he is,” Bazzie said before. “I know he wants his players to succeed and be great, so I feel like he’d be great to play under.”
Bazzie, who immediately dubbed Maryland a prime contender for his services following the March 2 offer, also talked up the “new vibe” in College Park; the upgraded facilities; and the idea of DMV-to-UMD.
And after three visits in less than a month, we’re getting the feeling Bazzie might be ready to commit sooner rather than later. He said he won’t be popping until later this summer or perhaps during the fall -- he wants to check out his other offers like Iowa State, Marshall and Temple -- but it wouldn’t completely shock us if head coach D.J. Durkin and Abdul-Rahim sealed the deal March 26.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Even as the local corner Castro-Fields’ recruitment rises, we continue to be encouraged by Maryland’s chances with him. Earlier this week, Castro-Fields told me he’s been busy, but “definitely” wanted to check out a Terps’ practice, with March 26 as the target (as of publication he was still on the fence about that exact date). The Riverdale product won’t be on spring break until April, and he’s currently running track, so he couldn’t say for sure whether or not he’d be able to trek up. But the fact he wants to return to UMD for the third or fourth time this offseason speaks volumes.
Castro-Fields is in consistent communication with Maryland-area recruiter and position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the two developing a strong rapport since December. The local recruit had a chance to meet Abdul-Rahim, and the rest of the new Terps’ regime, last month and came away thoroughly impressed with the changes in College Park. Moreover, Castro-Fields is still feeling the hometown pull, with both DMV-to-UMD and the desire to play in front of family and friends ringing true.
Granted, Castro-Fields is no longer inclined to end his recruitment anytime too soon. Not with a growing offer list that now includes Penn State, WVU, UNC, Pitt, Rutgers, Temple and undoubtedly more in short order (Miami, MSU, Wisconsin, NC State and more are interested). In particular, Castro-Fields seems to have his eye on PSU following a February State College, Pa., trip, as well as West Virginia.
But we like the Terps’ chances here as long as Castro-Fields keeps foraying through College Park and giving headman D.J. Durkin and Co. a chance to win him over. Regardless, we’re expecting the Riverdale product to be making a late-summer college decision.
More Recruiting Notes
Tommy DeVito, QB, Don Bosco (Ramsey, N.J.): The Maryland quarterback target DeVito is in the midst of a busy visit schedule. He’s already been to Rutgers, Syracuse and Boston College the last few weeks, and coming up the 6-2, 185-pounder is returning to Piscataway, N.J., March 26; Cuse March 31; visiting College Park for the first time April 9; and then taking an initial trip to Temple April 16.
The sense is the Orange, Scarlet Knights and Terps are DeVito’s top three contenders, each sitting fairly close in the pecking order. When we last reported on DeVito, it sounded like Syracuse might hold the edge following a standout New York trip and his immediate connection with headman Dino Babers, a former quarterback himself. But DeVito also had positive remarks for RU head coach Chris Ash and the program he’s developing, and UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell and his up-tempo spread offense.
In all likelihood, these next few trips will determine DeVito’s fate, each of his foremost suitors having an opportunity to separate itself. After his final trip to Temple, DeVito will probably end his recruitment sometime this spring or summer, choosing between SU, UMD and RU.
Our gut is DeVito winds up in New York or Piscataway, but he’s yet to take in College Park. Perhaps, after meeting head coach D.J. Durkin and delving deeper into the Terps’ program, the Maryland staff can win the gunslinger over.
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Fleet-Davis was previously in College Park Feb. 13 for “DMV Day,” procuring the hometown offer three days later, but he has yet to take in a team workout. The local back was supposed to be at the March 10 spring practice, but was unable to attend, so this week, with Potomac on spring break, Fleet-Davis intended to return. Unfortunately, a death in Fleet-Davis’ family precluded him from joining his teammates in College Park March 24, so now the three-star is targeting late March/early April for his next Maryland trip.
Regardless of when the visit actually occurs, it’s clear the Terps are one of Fleet-Davis’ favorite suitors. The Potomac product, who is being considered for running back and linebacker, remains in touch with Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the UMD Prince George’s County recruiter’s pitch hitting home. He also exchanges messages with linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes and running backs coach Anthony Tucker. Fleet-Davis said he relates well to UMD’s new coaches and likes the vibe they’re creating in College Park. Plus, he’s keen on the idea of staying home and helping the local university develop into a Big Ten power built on local prospects.
But Fleet-Davis is keeping a relatively open mind since he has several offerees coming after him, and more about to ante up (Penn State, UNC, Wake Forest, OSU and Tennessee are interested). Syracuse, the school he most recently tripped to, has his attention after meeting the Orange staff, while a trek through NC State opened Fleet-Davis’ eyes too. Iowa is also somewhat in play, although he’s yet to see the Hawkeyes firsthand.
For our part, we do believe Maryland’s coaches can gain the inside track. But the Oxon Hill native doesn’t sound like someone who’s ready to jump on the DMV-to-UMD bandwagon just yet. He’s one of those D.C.-corridor locals inclined to let his recruitment ebb and flow before popping sometime after his senior season. Sure, Fleet-Davis may not have that luxury if his options begin drying up, but for now that’s his intention.
Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): The five-star DeMatha runner was supposed to be back at Maryland March 24 for a look at a Terps’ spring practice. McFarland, however, wasn’t able to attend for whatever reason, but he should be in College Park later during April. The DeMatha back has already met head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. during a February foray through campus, but he wants to see the coaches in action too.
Word from our DeMatha sources suggests the five-star has the Terps among his top suitors. He loves the UMD coaches’ energy and the direction the program’s heading. McFarland’s also in close contact with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who, along with several other Maryland staffers, should keep the five-star’s mind on Maryland. Additionally, the pitch from his teammates-turned-Terps LoLo Harrison, D.J. Turner and Terrance Davis has McFarland thinking turtles.
But, like 2017 teammate Chase Young (discussed above), McFarland’s not going to pop anytime soon. He’ll be trekking through some of his principle contenders later this spring and summer, with possible visits to Alabama; Georgia; Clemson; Michigan; TAMU; Florida; Notre Dame and potentially more.
Mekhi Becton, OT, Highland Springs (Richmond, Va.): In this space last week we wrote the three-star Becton, along with his teammate, Rell Coley (discussed below), would be taking an initial Maryland visit March 26.
Pump the breaks just a bit.
Earlier this week, Becton told me he couldn’t drive up from Richmond on Easter Saturday. Instead, he’ll be on campus March 28, the day after Easter.
Regardless, Becton does seem intrigued by the UMD program. The Highland Springs tackle has been in regular communication with Maryland offensive line coach Dave Borbely, who extended the offer Feb. 22. Becton called UMD one of his more significant suitors upon receiving the verbal, and liked the fact College Park wasn’t too far from home.
But Becton’s blowing up on the recruiting trail, and recent interviews suggest he may ultimately focus his attention elsewhere. Hometown UVA has his eye for now following a Charlottesville, Va., visit, but Michigan State and WVU recently entered the game and have Becton’s attention. The tackle has also been hearing from Va Tech, UNC, FSU, Michigan, Notre Dame and others.
But let’s see what Becton’s thinking after he visits College Park. The Terps won’t have a shot at all unless they first get him on campus.
Gabe Houy, OT, Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.): Maryland's offensive line coach Dave Borbely offered the 6-6, 250-pound Houy back on Feb. 10, and two months later this Pittsburgh tackle will be making his initial College Park trip April 2. Houy has exchanged messages regularly with Borbely, and the recruit has taken a liking to the UMD assistant. The Upper St. Clair prospect likes Borbely personally and believes, based on the coach's resume, he could readily develop under his tutelage. Furthermore, Houy's intrigued by Maryland's Big Ten status (the conference he's seeking to play in) and Under Armour affiliation.
Houy, however, has held a hometown Pitt offer for even longer than UMD. He's trekked through the Panthers' campus several times and admitted head coach Pat Narduzzi's crew has his eye.
Plus, Houy will be at Louisville March 26, and if the Cardinals offer they could vault up the leaderboard as well. Penn State, which Houy saw in February, hasn't offered either, but would also become a threat for Houy's services if the Nittany Lions' coaches opt to ante up.
Look for Houy to select a school later during the summer. It sounds like hometown Pitt has the edge, but let's see what Borbely and Co. can swing April 2.
Tyshon Fogg, LB, Calvert Hall (Owings Mills, Md.): Scout’s Brian Dohn caught up with the four-star linebacker Fogg this week, and his report corroborated with my feelings towards the Calvert Hall product. When I interviewed Fogg last month, I didn’t get the sense the Jersey native was totally on-board with DMV-to-UMD and building hometown Maryland into a winner. Remember, Fogg told me he his heart was still in the Garden State and he didn’t necessarily consider himself part of said “movement.”
Fogg basically reiterated those comments to Dohn. The four-star said the two programs after him in earnest and at the forefront of his mind were Stanford and Rutgers, with the Cardinal the presumed leaders. Fogg, who places a high priority on academics, will be in Palo Alto, Calif., April 2-4, and word is if he’s comfortable being 3,000 miles from home he’ll pop. While in California, Fogg will also visit Berkley, with the Bears having a chance to rise on the radar.
Later during the spring, Fogg will return to Jersey for another look at Rutgers. Per Dohn, the Calvert Hall recruit has a “soft spot” for the Scarlet Knights and could seriously be pondering staying home for college.
Also under consideration are UNC, Duke and Wake Forest after Fogg embarked on a Tobacco Road trip last month.
Currently, we have Fogg listed “cool” on the hot board, and we’re not inclined to elevate his status unless UMD-area recruiter Mike London and linebackers coach Matt Barnes can gain some steam.
Breyon Gaddy, DT, Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.): The Terps offered the four-star recruit Gaddy, along with his brother, 2017 athlete Brandon Gaddy, back in February, the two siblings a proposed package deal. At the time, we were told the pair were likely heading to Clemson, Florida State or the SEC, although Scout’s Michael Clark did allow it was unclear if the country’s elites would be willing to accept both Gaddy brothers. If not, our Virginia-area analyst suggested, it could open the door for a program like Maryland down the road.
With that in mind, Clark caught up with Breyon Gaddy earlier this week, and the East region’s No. 3 defensive tackle offered up high UMD praise.
“All the [Maryland] coaches on the new staff are good people and I can tell that they really focus on helping their players get better every day. I definitely plan on visiting sometime this spring,” Gaddy told Clark. "(Wide receivers) coach (Chris) Beatty is recruiting me. We're developing a relationship and I really like him. He seems like he's really cool and very energetic. He's been telling me that he wants me to visit."
Based on the above, it does sound like the brothers Gaddy will be trekking up to College Park, which could put the Terps in contention when the pair are ready to choose a school next fall/winter. But, reading between the lines here, Gaddy’s pro-Maryland comments do ring of lip service.
Consider: Later in the Clark article, the Bishop Sullivan tackle let on that Tennessee, a school the recruit and his sibling recently tripped to, held prime appeal, in addition to longtime favorite Clemson. Gaddy stopped short of calling the Vols and Tigers “leaders,” but previous interviews suggest otherwise.
Additionally, Virginia Tech and Florida State are two more programs in pursuit of both Breyon and Brandon Gaddy, with the hometown Hokies in position to pounce. And if coaches from Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Michigan or Georgia suggest they could take the pair, well, those schools would undoubtedly enter the conversation as well.
We’ll wait to place the Gaddy brothers on the hot board until they actually take in UMD.
Rell Coley, S, Highland Springs (Richmond, Va.): Coley, like his teammate Mekhi Becton (discussed above), was on the fence about visiting College Park March 26. He too will be on campus March 28, the day after Easter.
Coley has been eager to visit Maryland ever since landing his initial power-five offer from UMD assistant Mike London Feb. 22. The Highland Springs product, who knew London from when the coach was at UVA, said the Terps’ defensive line coach “keeps it real” and “is a great recruiter.” Furthermore, the fact UMD resides in the Big Ten and has Under Armour affiliation has Coley interested as well.
Since adding a Terps’ offer, however, Coley’s picked up Appalachian State and Cincinnati verbals. He’s yet to check out either program – or any other school for that matter – but would like to see the Bearcats at some point.
For our part, we’re not so sure Coley’s UMD offer is committable just yet. The Terps’ staff has a couple touted safeties on their board, and Coley’s probably not at the top of the list. That said, we could easily see the Richmond native becoming a priority given many of Maryland’s top targets are projected elsewhere.
New Offers Out
Allan Walters, QB, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.) (2018): Of all Maryland’s new offers this week, the sophomore quarterback Walters raised an eyebrow. Not because it was a questionable scholarship, but because Walters is someone we’ve had on our radars since before his freshman year at Paramus.
Why? Well, because two years ago we met the then-eighth grader at Maryland’s initial Big Show camp. At the time, we were wondering why a freshman from Jersey would show up at Maryland, but we later learned his father is from Silver Spring, Md., and apparently the Walterses are semi-regular Ole Line State visitors. So, thanks to that Maryland exposure, Walters developed an affinity for the Terps growing up. Thus, he jumped at the chance to show ex-head coach Randy Edsall he deserved an offer.
The Terps’ former staff didn’t deem him worthy right then, but D.J. Durkin’s crew handed Walters the UMD verbal March 21. Following the look, Walters couldn’t hide his elation, calling Maryland one of his early standouts. He’s excited to visit College Park yet again – he’s been on campus twice before – later during the spring or summer.
“I’ve been waiting for that offer for a few years now, ever since I camped there in eighth grade, “Walters said. “Coach [Walt] Bell was saying how Maryland is really high on me and thinks I’m one of the best 2018 quarterback in the country, so I was honored to hear that. That was my first time talking to him, and I really like him. Coach Bell really knows his stuff and is easy to connect with. And I know they put up a lot of points at [Bell’s former employer] Arkansas State, so that’s always a positive. I can’t wait to get down there to meet him and learn more about him.
“And Coach [D.J.] Durkin, I’ve actually known him for awhile now and we’re already comfortable with each other. He recruited me when he was at Michigan and actually offered me last summer. So I’ve talked to him at camps and on the phone a few times and we get along well. He’s outgoing, easy to talk to and just has a great mind for the game.”
Walters then said the fact his father is from the area helps the Terps’ chances “for sure.” He went on to laud the College Park campus, atmosphere and surround area, noting the academic opportunities around Washington, D.C.
However, Maryland isn’t the only school on Walters’ mind. During the last year or so, Walters has picked up offers from Alabama, Michigan, Rutgers, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, Vandy, Temple and Syracuse, with many more interested.
The sophomore gunslinger has been to hometown RU several times, Alabama, Michigan, Ole Miss, Kentucky and Maryland, in addition to PSU and Tennessee, which haven’t offered yet.
Of those, the vibe is Bama; UMD; Michigan; Ole Miss; Kentucky and hometown Rutgers are all firmly entrenched. In fact, the Paramus product is scheduled to return to each of the latter six coming up. He’ll also be taking initial trips to Mississippi State and Vandy.
Normally, we wouldn’t pay much mind to a 2018 recruit’s leaderboard, but Walters is intent on choosing a destination prior to his junior season. Which means these upcoming visits are of the utmost importance.
Let’s see if Durkin and Co. can knock it out of the park when the four-star treks through College Park later during the spring/early summer.
You can read more about Walters HERE.
Note: According to our Jersey colleagues, Walters might not be a “take” for the likes of Bama, Ole Miss or Michigan at this juncture. If not, it could open the door for the Terps to pounce. Stay tuned.
Devan Barrett, RB, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.): UMD’s Tampa-area recruiter, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, let the four-star Barrett know about his Terps’ offer March 19. It was Barrett’s 30th scholarship to date, Maryland joining pretty much every renowned program in the country in pursuit of the 6-1, 190-pounder.
Notre Dame is in a strong spot for Barrett and should be considered a leader. The four-star has connections to the Irish staff, which apparently could push the recruit to UND. Meanwhile, Florida and Kentucky have both made inroads, the hometown school on Barrett hard and the Wildcats’ coaches in close contact.
Alabama, FSU, South Carolina, Auburn, UNC, Missouri, Tennessee, PSU, Nebraska, Mississippi State, Va Tech, WVU and more have offers out as well.
Barrett has not been added to the hot board.
Jamire Calvin, WR, Cathedral (Los Angeles, Calif.): The Maryland staff has been handing out quite a few offers in California of late, with the three-star Calvin the latest to procure one. The 5-10, 175-pounder has had communication with UMD assistant Mike London, the Terps’ defensive line coach giving the receiver an offer March 21.
Following the verbal, Calvin suggested he might take the 3,000-mile flight east to check out some of his right-coast suitors. But, as we’ve mentioned in previous Shells, we’re naturally skeptical about Cali recruits heading to Maryland, mainly for logistical reasons. Fact is, it’s rare prospects end up trekking cross-country for college unless they’re JUCOs or their other prime options fell by the wayside.
At the very least, though, the glut of West Coast Maryland offers will spread the word about the Terps’ program. Perhaps, down the road, UMD can gain enough name recognition to begin resonating with Pacific products, much like Oregon and USC do with East Coast targets.
As for Calvin in particular, he holds a hometown Cal offer and is already being forecast to Berkley. That said, if USC eventually antes up, the Cathedral product could become a Trojan.
Calvin’s other offers include Nebraska, PSU, Tennessee, Memphis, Louisville, Hawaii, Northwestern, Oregon State, Utah, Vandy, Washington, Washington State, Utah State and BC.
He won’t be added to the hot board unless he makes it out to College Park.
Tony Gray, OT, Central Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, Ga.): The Under Armour All-American Gray added his 28th offer from Maryland March 21, with UMD offensive line coach Dave Borbely doing the honors. Gray, however, is probably going to wind up in the SEC or a national elite.
In-state Georgia has been after Gray for more than a year and has the inside track. But the Central Gwinnett product has a ton of appealing programs to consider and perhaps visit this offseason. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, MSU, Missouri, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, FSU, Clemson, UNC, Tennessee, South Carolina, PSU and more have offers out, with Gray inclined to check out the SEC mainstays.
Fred Hansard, DT, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.): The Terps’ staff extended an offer to the four-star Hansard March 21, but they might be too late to the ballgame. Hansard recently released a top-seven leaderboard of Rutgers, Penn State, Michigan, MSU, Tennessee, Ohio State and Florida and plans to announce between those contenders May 14, which is the defensive tackle’s birthday.
Per Scout’s Brian Dohn, Hansard may be leaning towards staying near Jersey for college, giving RU and PSU the upper-hand. Hansard has been in Piscataway several times and will be in Happy Valley shortly. The Hun School product would like to check out the other five programs in contention as well, but it’s doubtful he’ll see them all before decision day.
Needless to say, Hansard has not been placed on the hot board.
Alex King, OLB/DE, William Mason (Mason, Ohio): Maryland was the latest offer for the three-star Ohio defensive end King, UMD-area recruiter Dave Borbely extending the verbal March 18. King didn’t respond to inquiries seeking comment, but based off previous interviews he’s going to be a tough pull out of the Midwest.
King holds a Tennessee offer and has already declared the Vols his No. 1 suitor. He’ll be visiting UT later this spring to gain more insight into the program. Meanwhile, nearby Michigan State’s coaches have been in contact and could ante up once King makes it to East Lansing, Mich., in the next month or two. If so, King said the Spartans would reside alongside Tennessee atop his early favorites list.
Hometown Ohio State could conceivably become involved too. King will be camping in Columbus to try and cull out a Buckeyes’ verbal.
Other programs after King include Iowa State, Kentucky, Purdue, Indiana, Illinois, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, WVU and Rutgers. In all likelihood, King’s going to wind up at a Big Ten bigwig or an SEC program like UT.