The Terps are hot on the trail of St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) defensive end Tyree Johnson, and the 6-foot-3, 245-pound three-star was back in College Park, Md., for the fourth time this offseason March 31.
Johnson had previously toured the campus, viewed the upcoming facility upgrades, sat through position meetings, went over the school’s academics and even brought his parents to campus. But this time around he had a chance to watch Maryland practice.
“There’s not too much more Maryland can show me now. It feels like I’ve been up there so much,” laughed Johnson, who holds from the likes of UMD, BC, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, TAMU, UNC, Miami, Pitt, Purdue, Syracuse, Rutgers, Temple, Tennessee, Va Tech and Wake Forest. “But this time I got to see them practice, and it was a great practice. The coaches really got after it with the players and I loved the intensity up there.”
Johnson said he keyed in on the UMD defensive line in particular. He watched how line coach Mike London interacted with his players and how said players responded.
“Coach London, you can just tell he’s a great coach and knows what he’s doing. He’s so experienced and brings so much to the table,” Johnson said. “He gets right in there and shows guys different techniques and moves and really knows how to help guys. His resume speaks for itself. I feel like I could learn and develop a lot under him.
“And the defense in general was really great, just getting after it. I liked the way they played, just firing off the ball and flying around.”
After the workout, Johnson spoke to London, head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and linebackers coach Matt Barnes. He’s been in touch with each of them, although he exchanges messages most frequently with Abdul-Rahim.
“We were just having normal conversations, just chilling,” said Johnson, who was joined on campus March 31 by Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.) corner Fofie Bazzie and IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) defensive tackle Cam Spence. “It’s just real cool with the Maryland staff now. They’re normal guys. Me and Coach Aazaar, we go way back. We’ve known each other since before I got to high school. So it’s a great relationship with him.
“And Coach Durkin, he was just asking where I was at in my recruitment and telling me how important it was for me to stay home. It was the same message as before, and I told him I believe in what he’s doing, but I have to take it one step at a time. I said I have to take a couple more visits before I commit, but I like Maryland a lot.”
Indeed he does. Johnson said as of now the Terps sit atop his leaderboard.
“They are the top school,” Johnson said. “Maryland is No. 1. I do have to take a couple more visits, and some other schools can work up the list, and there may be new offers that come in that can get in there. So things can be adjusted, but I really like Maryland right now.”
Some of the other programs at the forefront of Johnson’s mind are UNC, Ole Miss, Tennessee, TAMU and Miami.
Thus far, Johnson has visited Pitt, PSU, Wake, Rutgers and Maryland. He’s heading back to RU April 2, followed by TAMU April 9 and UT April 16. Then, in the summer, he wants to hit Ole Miss and Miami. Johnson will likely return to College Park as well since it’s so close.
“Maybe later in the summer I’m going to be ready to make my [college] decision,” Johnson said. “I just have to take a few more visits just to be sure about things. But I’m thinking by the summer I should be ready.”