One of Maryland's primary defensive back targets was back in College Park, Md., for the first time since February April 9. Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) corner Tariq Castro-Fields took in a UMD scrimmage and talked to numerous coaches during his latest foray through the hometown school.
“I’ve been up to Maryland so many times, not much was different for me. But this time my mother came with me, and that was her first time seeing Maryland,” said Castro-Fields, who holds offers from the likes of UMD, PSU, Marshall, UNC, Pitt, Rutgers, Temple and WVU. “And her first time, she loved it up there. She saw the facilities and met the coaches, and she loved it. She’s very comfortable with me at Maryland, and I obviously like Maryland a lot too.”
While Castro-Fields has been in College Park a bunch, he’d yet to see the Terps in helmet and pads. He was supposed to take in a spring practice two times prior, but reneged on his intended visits.
“This was my first practice, the first scrimmage I’ve seen, and it was great,” Castro-Fields said. “I was watching the DBs, and I loved the way they play. Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], he gets after it with those guys, and they respond. It was a great experience, seeing those guys in action and watching Coach Aazaar.”
Speaking of Abdul-Rahim, the Riverdale product has been in contact with his area recruiter for several months now. Castro-Fields has a deep rapport with UMD’s secondary coach and counts him as one of his favorite recruiters.
“Coach Aazaar is awesome. I’ve known him for a long time now. He’s one of my favorites,” Castro-Fields said. “He was saying the same things, how I have a chance to play early, how they need me there, how I can have a big impact on the [DMV-to-UMD] movement – things like that. I liked how he went over my Hudl film and showed me what he liked and areas I could improve. He’s very real with you and I think he’s a great coach. I feel like he can get me to another level as a corner.”
Castro-Fields mentioned that he shook most of the Maryland coaches’ hands post scrimmage. Then, he and his mother sat down with D.J. Durkin.
“Coach Durkin really impressed my mom. She loved him,” Castro-Fields said. “She thinks he’s a great role model and things like that. She loves how real and genuine he is. I already knew that about him, but I’m glad my mom feels the same way. We both really like him a lot.”
The Upper Marlboro native mentioned he had a chance to learn about UMD’s academics, the facility plans and the upgraded dorms. He’d seen the video of the $150 million indoor fields/tunnel before, but he’d yet to see where the football players were housed until April 9.
“The dorms are like apartments. They’re great. I loved them,” Castro-Fields said. “And the academics, I saw all the buildings and met the professors, and it’s a real strong academic school. I really liked that. Then the dorms, they’re awesome. Most times you have to share a bathroom, but at Maryland you have your own room and bathroom. It’s great. That’s big for me.”
Following his latest jaunt, Castro-Fields called Maryland his No. 1 – just as he’s done in the past.
“They’re still at the top of my list,” he said. “They’re way up there, for sure. They check all the boxes off. Early playing time, hometown feel, new facilities, coach relationships and life after football – Maryland has it all. They’re really high for me.”
If that weren’t enough, Castro-Fields witnessed the commitments of two local prospects. Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and Ayinde Eley (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.) both pledged to Maryland while in College Park April 9.
“That was big. Real big,” Castro-Fields said. “That have their quarterback and they have a top linebacker. That shows how strong this class can be and how big it can be. It’s huge. They’re building something big at Maryland.”
Castro-Fields insists he’s not ready to end his recruitment anytime soon, however. He said he has no firm leaderboard and isn’t ready to name early standouts until he takes a few more visits. So far, the Riverdale prospect has trekked through UMD, Syracuse and Penn State, while he’s looking to see PSU again; UNC; WVU; Temple and Pitt.
“And it’s going to be a big evaluation period for me,” Castro-Fields said. “You never know who’s going to offer then, so I’m keeping an open mind.”
Castro-Fields said he has “no idea” when he’d like to commit. He said it could be this summer, or after his senior season.
“I can’t give you a definite answer,” he said. “I have to sit down with my parents and talk about it. It could be at any time, but I just can’t say for sure.”