Allan Walters (Paramus Catholic/Paramus, N.J.) isn’t the only Jersey sophomore quarterback Maryland is pursuing. Old Bridge (Matawan, N.J.) gunslinger Artur Sitkowski has held a UMD verbal for even longer than the four-star Walters, and the former was actually in College Park, Md., for the second time March 24. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Sitkowski holds early offers from UMD, Rutgers, Boston College and Temple, with the Terps resonating initially.
“I’ve been to Maryland before, but this was my first time meeting the new staff,” Sitkowski said. “I think the [staff] is awesome and I think Maryland is awesome. 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.”
Sitkowski, who took in College Park for the first time last October following an offer from then-head coach Randy Edsall, said the highlight of the trip was his meetings with new headman D.J. Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell. He’d exchanged messages with both prior to March 24, but got a completely different vibe following the firsthand sitdown.
“Coach Bell really has a passion for the game, and he was flying around out there with the rest of the offense,” Sitkowski said. “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 at places like Michigan and Stanford, 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.”
Sitkowski had high praise for Bell and Durkin, but the Maryland coach he’s most familiar with is Matt Barnes. The UMD linebackers’ coach is the Jersey-area recruiter, and he’s been in touch with the budding signal caller for more than a month now.
“Coach Barnes and I have a pretty good relationship. It was good to meet him in person [March 24],” Sitkowski said. “We’ve been talking on a weekly basis, just checking up and things like that. He’s a real cool guy and I like him a lot.”
Following the practice, Sitkowski and his father toured the campus, football facilities and saw the video of the new upgrades. The Matawan native couldn’t say enough about New Cole and the renovated player dorms.
“The dorms are the best in the country. They’re state of the art, like a hotel,” laughed Sitkowski. “The campus is beautiful too. There’s so many kids everywhere and it just seems everyone is excited about the football program. Then the $150 million facilities, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of those? I mean, they’re amazing.”
Sitkowski went on to praise UMD strength coach Rick Court and his player development program.
The Jersey prospect also mentioned that his father had a great time in College Park.
“My dad said he liked Maryland a lot and really enjoyed it. He loved it,” Sitkowski said. “They’re probably one of my top schools right now, definitely. I’m definitely getting back there.”
The Terps aren’t the only program on Sitkowski’s mind, however. He’s also been to Syracuse, Rutgers and Penn State, all three holding appeal. Meanwhile, he’s receiving interest from UNC and Pitt and would like to procure offers from both.
The Old Bridge prospect will be at Rutgers coming up, followed by camps at the likes of UNC, Boston College and UMD. He might even take a few more visits in-between.
“I want to go through the process since this is a really big decision for me,” Sitkowski said. “I have to talk things over with my family and coaches and then take some more visits. I probably won’t decide on a school until right before my senior year.”
Sitkowski is coming off a season where he threw for 1,500 yards and 18 touchdowns against four interceptions. He completed 55 percent of his passes.