Maryland secured its second class of 2017 commitment April 3, when Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, Md.) cornerback Fofie Bazzie let head coach D.J. Durkin know of his intentions. Afterwards, we spoke to Bazzie’s coach, John Kelly, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-1, 180-pound three-star.
Our question-and-answer session with Kelly is below:
Terrapin Times: So Coach, QO has sent a number of guys Maryland’s way over the years, and Fofie’s the second one under you watch, along with Adam [McLean]. Thoughts on Fofie?
John Kelly: I’m definitely happy for Fofie. He’s a good one. A great guy, and you can tell his potential as far as what kind of player he can be down the road. He’s got a very, very high ceiling. And he’s a hard worker; he does a great job in the weight room. He works on and off the field.
But like I said, I’m just happy for him, because this is something he’s wanted for a long time and it’s good to see it come to fruition.
TT: So was Maryland sort of a dream school for Fofie? Like when they offered did you have a feeling that would be his destination?
JK: I would say his recruitment definitely picked up in January, and I guess Iowa State was the first [FBS] school to offer him. And then Maryland was the next big school to offer. When [the Terps] offered, it just kind of fit everything he was looking for in a college. It’s close to home, a high level of football, a school he was familiar with and we’ve already got a guy down there [McLean]. So, you know, it was a good fit.
TT: You know, Fofie went on for like 15 minutes about Maryland, but I just realized he never mentioned McLean (laughs). Did those two talk at all? Did Adam come back to QO and say anything about Maryland?
JK: You know, I’m sure they talked. I don’t know necessarily to what extent, but they definitely did talk about Maryland.
TT: And like I said, Fofie went on and on about Maryland. He couldn’t say enough about the staff with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], Coach Durkin and Coach [Chris] Beatty. What do you think of those guys and what they’re doing at Maryland now?
JK: I think they’re doing a great job so far. They bring a lot of energy on the field, in recruiting and to the program. It’s going to pay dividends for them, the way it pays dividends on the field. They’re doing a great job recruiting the area, and from what I can tell a great job recruiting the kids.
TT: Have Coach Beatty, Coach Aazaar, have they been through QO to meet with you guys?
JK: They’ve talked to me on the phone, but haven’t really been through yet. It’s not really recruiting season yet, so they can’t do too much. Once April 15 hits, I’m sure they’ll be up here a bunch.
TT: Can you give us a little scouting report on Fofie? What’s he bring to the table?
JK: Yeah, he’s a very long, athletic corner, but he’s also a guy where he can be a safety too. He can do both. If he’s a safety, he has the cover skills and can run like corner, but he also has the physicality of a safety. He’s not one of those guys that’s 5-8 that can run, but maybe aren’t as physical. He can do both. And we didn’t move him to corner until like Week 4 last year. He was playing safety for us the first four weeks. So he definitely showed he could play both spots.
But he’s physical, he can cover, he’s long, he’s fluid, he has really good hips and he has very good ball skills. I think he had six picks last year.
TT: I know he can play receiver too. What do you think about him there? I know some schools even offered him as a receiver/athlete type.
JK: Yeah, he’s going to play a lot for us on offense this year. He’s a Division I football player, so he’s going both ways. He’s good with the ball in his hands, so we’re definitely going to get him a lot of touches offensively too.
But in college, I don’t know. That’s for the coaches to evaluate. We’ll see how it works out for him. I think right now he’s probably more comfortable on the defensive side of the ball, but I think he’s going to have a good year offensively too.
TT: What are some things Fofie has to work on to be ready for Big Ten ball?
JK: I think the biggest thing is to be able to play 100 percent all the time at game speed. At corner, if there’s a lapse on one play, it’s a touchdown. You have to be geared in on game speed every single play, so getting him to do that on a consistent basis is one focal point.
And there’s always technical things you can get better at, but the main thing is just making sure he’s ready to go each down.
TT: Why do you think some of the larger FBS schools didn’t offer Fofie? What were the reservations?
JK: He had about seven offers, and I think that list would’ve continued to grow. We’re not even in the spring recruiting period yet, you know? I don’t know what the list would’ve looked like in May or June. I know there’s a bunch of other FBS schools that like him a lot.
But, like I said, we didn’t move him to corner until Game 4, but his highlight film is still pretty good. Either way, Maryland’s a good fit for him. I think he’s going to do well there.
TT: What’s Fofie like in the locker room and around his teammates?
JK: He’s the type of guy who’s just always trying to get better. He takes criticism well, pushes himself and pushes his teammates. That’s key to succeeding at the next level; it’s very, very important. He’s a leader in that respect.
TT: And what’s Fofie like off the field? What’s he like in school and away from the gridiron?
JK: For the most part he’s an easy-going guy and has a good sense of humor. He can be serious, but for the most part he’s easy to get along with and people like him. He’s a good kid; very high-character.