Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
McNair On Board
The Maryland mojo is humming in full force now. A day after the four-star tackle Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.) told Scout’s Brian Dohn he wanted to visit Ohio State and return to Penn State, he popped to Maryland while at the spring game April 16. Taken by the hometown movement and the new vibe in College Park, Md., the 6-foot-5, 305-pounder went up with the intention of committing, and did so before the scrimmage even began.
While McNair’s pledge came earlier than anticipated, the outcome wasn’t shocking at all. McNair had been trending towards UMD ever since he visited in February for a coach meeting and then returned for a March spring practice. He raved about UMD-area recruiter Mike London and his personable demeanor; offensive line coach Dave Borbely’s no-nonsense style; and offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s system. Moreover, McNair loved the energetic atmosphere head coach D.J. Durkin has been creating in College Park, as well as the headman’s firm belief that Maryland can become a modern-day Miami -- a national contender built on a bedrock of locals.
Add in the upcoming facility upgrades, the dorm room/weight room renovations and the school’s standout academics, and McNair couldn’t turn down the hometown school. To boot, his parents liked everything the Terps are about and are comfortable sending their son to College Park.
Now that McNair’s on board, expect him to begin recruiting some of his DMV friends to UMD, specifically fellow offensive lineman Marcus Minor (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.). As with Cam Spence’s (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) Maryland pledge, McNair’s pop should resonate with touted local prospects.
As far as his game is concerned, McNair’s an athletic left tackle with nimble feet and terrific quickness. He excels in pass protection, getting a good initial punch, deftly sliding with the edge rusher and guiding said rusher past the quarterback. He anchors well and shows the ability to readjust to various rush moves with his flexibility.
When run blocking, McNair has an above-average get-off, coming off low and hard. He has a potent strike and shows the ability to knock his man off the ball. McNair’s also athletic enough and tough enough to push to the second level and finish off his blocks. He’s able to pull around end and execute blocks out in space too.
For McNair to improve, he mainly needs to gain strength and continue building up his body. One issue he has now is he doesn’t always have consistent power. In other words, bigger, stronger defenders can overwhelm him. He also has to a better job staying on his block and driving his man off the ball. Finally, McNair must display consistent technique as sometimes his footwork and kick-step get out of whack.
Note: A few days after committing, McNair snagged an Alabama offer. He’s likely to procure more SEC looks in the coming months as well. The McDonogh tackle was obviously excited about the Tide scholarship (we doubt it’s committable), but he’s a firm UMD pledge moving forward. You never know what can happen in the recruiting game, however, so we’ll be tracking McNair to make sure he sticks with his hometown school through Signing Day.
You can hear more from McNair HERE.
You can hear what his coach said HERE.
Despite a perceived social media snafu, the Josh Kaindoh (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.)-to-Maryland projections are still holding strong. Evidently the Baltimore native came close to committing to UMD following an impromptu, under-the-radar College Park return, but he elected to hold off.
Several days later, he released a top-four favorites list April 20 that included Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan, leaving the hometown school off altogether. But our contacts have suggested the omission was a smokescreen of sorts, intimating Kaindoh's situation has not changed. The five-star end hasn’t granted interviews of late, so we can’t gauge exactly what he’s thinking, but all indications are Kaindoh’s mind’s on the turtles.
Now, we are always leery of Notre Dame. It’s obvious Kaindoh’s April 16 trip to South Bend, Ind., gave him some pause, the Irish’s football tradition and renowned academic reputation resonating. And, remember, Kaindoh had been forecast to UND for almost a year before UMD head coach D.J. Durkin and his crew made a charge.
Sure, staffs from Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are coming hard after the five-star too, with Kaindoh taking in the Wolverines in early April and the Nittany Lions March 29. But it would be a surprise if the IMG product chose one of the latter three over Maryland or Notre Dame.
So, why the Terps over the Irish?
We’ve been told Kaindoh, like teammate Cam Spence, wants play near his family at the next level, a primary factor that’s driving the five-star towards Maryland. On top of that, head coach Durkin, UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and defensive line coach Mike London have made favorable impressions after three separate campus visits in March. Like many DMV recruits this year, Kaindoh senses the environment change under the Durkin regime. The upcoming facility upgrades, the university’s educational opportunities and DMV-to-UMD supposedly have Kaindoh thinking Maryland too.
It’s not entirely clear exactly when the former Mount Carmel (Essex, Md.) stud will announce his decision, but it figures to be soon.
Spring Game Visitors
There were more than 100 recruits in Maryland Stadium for the Terps’ spring game April 16. Here’s what the staff’s main targets had to say following the affair:
Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): The Terps’ coaches will have to battle for this near five-star all the way until next winter, but the UMD staff has certainly done its diligence. McFarland returned to Maryland for the fifth time this offseason April 16, and once again he left raving about the Terps.
“The spring game was good. It was high intensity, and you can definitely tell it’s a new attitude there now,” McFarland said at the Nike Opening outside of Washington, D.C., where he won an MVP award. “You can tell the team wants to win. D.J. Durkin, he’s a winner; he doesn’t know how to lose. You bring somebody in like that, it just makes you want to win more. … And Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], we talk like every day and have a great relationship.
“I think the DMV movement is in full effect. I definitely think about it every day, and it’s a reason Maryland is one of my top schools.”
McFarland then said the Terps were one of three programs he “definitely” wanted to officially visit down the road. The other two were Miami, which the DeMatha product just saw, and Alabama, a school McFarland’s trekking through soon.
It’s too early to make a definitive call, but it sounds like those three schools will be in the running throughout. For what it’s worth, McFarland said he had the “best relationship” with the Miami staff, while he called Bama headman Nick Saban “a God of college football.”
Typically, with a recruit of this stature, we’d say his recruitment’s going to ebb and flow all the way up until the Under Armour All-American game or Signing Day. But McFarland has stayed fairly consistent throughout, routinely talking up the hometown school; the Tide; and Miami coach Mark Richt. (McFarland had UGA sitting high on the totem poll before Richt left, but now that the coach is at Miami, the DeMatha recruit has switched allegiances to the Canes).
Some other players include Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina, which the runner’s hitting up this summer. A few more SEC or Florida institutions could work into the mix as well.
Personally, we’re encouraged about Maryland’s spot here, but we’re not ready to forecast McFarland to College Park yet. If the DeMatha back had to choose today, he might opt for Bama over UMD and Miami.
You can hear what McFarland had to say HERE.
Deon Jackson, RB, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.): Even as Jackson’s recruiting profile has expanded to include West Virginia, BC, Louisville, Wisconsin and Rutgers, he’s kept his first power-five suitor, Maryland, at the forefront of his mind. Thus, the Pace Academy prospect and his family took the opportunity to see College Park April 16, the three-star leaving impressed.
At first blush, Jackson loved the campus itself; the people he met while touring around; and the player dorms, saying he could easily see himself residing in CP the next four-plus years. He liked the soon-to-be-constructed facility upgrades, the Under Armour gear and various other aesthetics too. Jackson also spoke highly of Maryland’s up-tempo spread, noting how he could be a playmaker in offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s scheme.
But the Georgian saved his highest praise for the coaching staff, namely UMD-area recruiter Mike London and running backs coach Anthony Tucker.
“[London is] real cool, and I liked how he was genuine and friendly, and cool with my mom and brother,” Jackson said. “He talks about more than football, he talks about life after football ... I liked him a lot. He’s a pretty good recruiter and easy to like.
“And I liked Coach Tucker. He’s been talking with my family and he’s just very friendly. My mom brought up a point about how coaches act on the phone and another way when you meet them. But Tucker, he’s the same way, he’s real cool.”
Jackson’s comments were encouraging for Maryland purposes, but he wants to “take as many visits as possible” before forming any kind of leaderboard.
The Atlanta native isn’t sure where he’s headed next, but WVU; Louisville; and maybe Wisconsin are possibilities. He’s been to South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and some other nearby locales, although the Pace prospect’s yet to procure offers from those programs. If the SEC or some southern schools ante up this spring, however, Jackson may be inclined to attend school closer to home.
So, for the time being, it sounds like the Terps are in solid position, but we’ll see what the Pace Academy prospect’s thinking down the line before projecting him to College Park. We haven’t elevated him above “cool” on the hot board quite yet.
You can read more about Jackson HERE.
M.J. Jarrell, WR, Timber Creek (Orlando, Fla.): Talk about a rather unexpected development. Jarrell wasn’t even sure he would be visiting College Park as of a week-and-a-half ago, and now he has UMD trending in a major way. In fact, he almost committed while on campus April 16.
“They are the leader. I could really see myself playing there and playing early,” said Jarrell, who holds offers from UMD, South Carolina, Va Tech, Duke, FAU, Indiana and Iowa State. “I can’t even explain it. I’m just speechless. I could really see myself playing here. … I definitely will be committing shortly, I’d say in the next three weeks possibly. I just loved it. Everything was perfect [at Maryland]. It’s just a great fit.”
The 6-2, 183-pounder complimented offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s up-tempo spread and said it fit his style to a “T.” He also talked up UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty’s resume and personality, Jarrell noting how close of a rapport the two have developed the last month or so. The Timber Creek product then said headman D.J. Durkin was impressive during a private one-on-one conversation.
Furthermore, Jarrell called College Park “beautiful,” couldn’t say enough about the pending facility upgrades and loved the school’s academics. The different majors and various internship opportunities seemed to hit home. If that weren’t enough, Jarrell interacted with Terps’ quarterback commit Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), the dual-threat doing his best to lure the receiver to UMD. And it certainly doesn’t hurt Maryland’s chances that Jarrell’s mother, who joined him April 16, thoroughly enjoyed the experience too.
Jarrell did mention he wanted to see Va Tech and Duke, two of his other primary contenders, before committing, however. Plus, he added a South Carolina verbal April 21, which could give the receiver some pause.
But the sense right now is Jarrell could pop to Beatty and Co. before the summer -- if Jarrell is a “take” for the Terps. The Timber Creek prospect made one curious comment about how Durkin told him to “take his time” and “visit other places” during my interview with him. Typically, when coaches use phrases like “don’t rush into anything,” it indicates they’re not ready to accept a prospect’s commitment. But that’s probably not be the case in this instance; the feeling here is if Jarrell wants in, Durkin will scoop him up.
You can hear what Jarrell had to say HERE.
Jordan McNair (McDonogh/Owings Mills, Md.): See “McNair on Board” above.
Marcus Minor, OG, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): The DeMatha four-star is a difficult read, to say the least. Minor always has measured, even-keeled takes, balancing any sort of praise for a particular program with a caveat.
In regards to Maryland, it’s clear the hometown school’s on the brain after Minor took in the April 16 spring game:
“You know, every time I go up there I like it, and I really enjoyed the visit this time too,” said Minor, who holds offers from schools such as UMD, Auburn, Duke, TAMU, Miami, Louisville, BC, PSU, Rutgers, Pitt, UNC, Syracuse, WVU, Wake, Temple and others. “I haven’t made a top five or a leaderboard yet, but I can say Maryland is going to be right in there. I’m just taking my time with the process, but I really enjoy Maryland and the coaches there. Just talking to Coach [D.J.] Durkin, Coach [Dave] Borbely, some of my teammates going [to UMD] and hanging out with the other commits and recruits, it was a great experience up there.”
But, after that comment, Minor came right back with this statement, suggesting maybe he’s not quite as high on UMD as some other local recruits:
“I see what Maryland is doing with the stay-home situation. But when it comes to me, I’m going on my road. I’m not going to go to Maryland just because my friends are there.”
Our read is Minor probably has several main suitors sitting about even in the pecking order. Maryland is one of them, but so are Penn State; Miami; Auburn; TAMU; and Va Tech. He just returned from Coral Gables, Fla., and Auburn, Ala., not too long ago and has been through Va Tech and Penn State multiple times. Of those, the Nittany Lions are considered a serious threat for Minor’s services. Meanwhile, the DeMatha guard is set to see Texas A&M sometime in June, and it’s likely the Aggies will begin to resonate after that Lone Star State trip.
Minor said he’d like to embark on several official visits before ending his recruitment, so there might be some ebbing and flowing here. But the four-star also hinted an early pop was possible if he finds the right fit.
Our gut? Minor could very well continue the DeMatha-to-Maryland pipeline before the summer’s out. It wouldn’t shock us if he headed elsewhere, but UMD fits Minor from a social; academic; and athletic standpoint. We think, in time, he’ll realize this (if he doesn’t already) and keep the hometown movement humming.
You can read more about Minor HERE.
Ja’Mion Franklin, OG, North Caroline (Ridgeley, Md.) (2018): This sophomore guard, who transferred back to North Caroline from Gilman (Baltimore, Md.), added a Maryland offer before last season, and the new Terps’ staff has honored it. Franklin has been high on the hometown school for some time, initially taking a liking to then-UMD recruiter Mike Locksley. Now, he’s in the process of forming a bond with the D.J. Durkin regime and recruiter Mike London.
The burly guard had a chance to meet London and the rest of the staff April 16, his first time back on campus since last year.
“It was great, you could tell the coaching staff is bringing [DMV] guys in that are changing the whole feel of the campus,” Franklin told Scout’s Brian Dohn at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17. “I feel like all over [the country], people talk about Texas and Florida, but I think we have just as good talent in the DMV.”
The Terps have an early bead, but Franklin’s recruitment is in its infant stages. He’s bound to land numerous regional and Midwest offers before it’s all said and done. And Penn State, a program that should be anteing up this summer, has Franklin’s attention due to a personal connection at the school.
But we’ve had Franklin trending to Maryland since last year, and there’s been no indication that has changed.
You can hear more from Franklin HERE.
Chase Young, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Young has been a regular in College Park this offseason, and he was back again April 16 for the Terps’ spring game. The near five-star edge rusher wanted to join his teammates and friends, many of whom have Maryland under principle consideration.
“[The spring game] was a good experience. After the game I talked to the coaches … Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], Coach [Mike] London, Coach [D.J.] Durkin, it’s a real good relationship with those guys. We talk all the time, and I call them all the time,” said Young after he won defensive line MVP at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17. “Coach London, he’s a man of God, and I like that and my parents like that too. Maryland’s a good look right now.”
Young went on to say he likes the idea of the stay-home movement. He noted that “Maryland has ballers,” and if all the local talents banded together at UMD, the Terps could accomplish something special.
The DeMatha product previously praised UMD’s upcoming $150 million facility upgrades, the benefits of training under strength coach Rick Court, the dorm renovations and the school’s educational opportunities. Young’s mother, whom he confides in often, has taken a liking to Maryland as well.
But don’t expect a sooner-than-expected pop a la the Terps’ other primetime defensive line recruit, Cam Spence. More than likely, Young’s going to embark on four or five official visits before announcing his future destination at the Under Armour All-American game.
Which may ultimately work in Maryland’s favor, because right now, if we had to guess, Young would not pick the Terps. Ohio State is the probable leader, with Young saying Columbus, Ohio, is the only official visit “I know I’m definitely taking.” The four-star trekked through OSU earlier this year and reportedly came close to committing while on campus.
Alabama, which the edge rusher is visiting shortly, is another top suitor, along with Florida State and USC, two schools he’ll see in the summer.
You can hear what Young had to say HERE.
Victor Dimukeje, DL, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): Tick tock goes the clock. We’ve been waiting … and waiting … and waiting for the local defensive end/tackle Dimukeje to commit to Maryland, and it sounds like, finally, the Boys’ Latin product’s in the home stretch.
After attending UMD’s spring game April 16 (how he didn’t pop on campus, we’re not sure), Dimukeje told us the Terps were his top school and he could commit at any time.
“I have the best relationship with the Maryland staff. I love the school. It’s my top school,” Dimukeje said. “The conversations, I talk to all the coaches there and just feel comfortable around them. Coach [Mike] London is a great coach and he knows what he’s doing. And the stay-home movement, that’s cool and I think it’s a good plan. I’m just waiting for the right time to make the right decision.”
Dimukeje counts UMD’s academics, pending facility upgrades, dorm/weight room renovations and the school’s proximity to home as positives too. Plus, his parents are fully on board with Maryland after meeting head coach D.J. Durkin and the rest of the staff.
Sure, Dimukeje complimented Wake Forest, Duke, Pitt and Penn State, four schools he visited recently. The former three have offers out to him, and the Boys’ Latin prospect said each are under prime consideration. But, in the same breath, Dimukeje admitted he didn’t plan on returning to Winston Salem, N.C., Durham, N.C., or Pittsburgh anytime soon. In fact, the defensive lineman hinted he’s finished college tours altogether, meaning Maryland had the benefit of the final impression.
Unless there’s a last-second snag (i.e. Durkin telling Dimukeje to hold off on committing), the tealeaves all read Terps here.
You can hear what Dimukeje had to say HERE.
Josh Paschal, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Paschal returned to Maryland for the third time this offseason, and after each successive trip it seems he’s coming around more and more to the hometown school. April 16 was his second opportunity to see the Terps in pads.
“I think the spring game was real fun. I like going up [to Maryland] just to relax and chill,” Paschal said from the Nike Opening in D.C. “I talked to Coach [Mike] London, and we weren’t even talking about football – just life and stuff like that. Our relationship is closer than it was.
“The [stay-home] movement, I think that’s big; I think it’s going to change the program around. I like it, and my friends committing there are making me look [at Maryland] even more.”
Paschal not only has a developing rapport with London, but UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and head coach D.J. Durkin have left their marks as well. The Good Counsel standout loves the changes they’ve instilled in terms of attitude and atmosphere in College Park. The pending facility upgrades, the school’s academics and Maryland’s close proximity to home also hold appeal.
But Paschal does not seem inclined to end his recruitment too soon. He said he wants to take multiple officials before selecting his destination after his senior year.
The Terps, though, should be at the forefront of Paschal’s mind throughout. The edge rusher said Maryland’s staff had been in touch most frequently, followed by Kentucky’s; Clemson’s; and Oklahoma’s. Other programs are bound to work into the mix too, but the Terps, Wildcats and Tigers have been consistently broached in conjunction with Paschal.
Next up for Paschal are trips to Rutgers and Oklahoma. He’s unsure what schools he’ll be taking in this summer, but figure he’ll be back in College Park at some point.
Our gut? It’ll be tough for Paschal to turn down Clemson if the Tigers’ coaches push for his services, but we could easily see the local defensive end winding up at the hometown school. (That is, provided UMD still has room by the time Paschal’s ready to decide).
You can hear what Paschal had to say HERE.
Lawtez Rogers, DE, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): If Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin pushes for Rogers, the local edge rusher should wind up in College Park. The Terps remain Rogers’ lone power-five offer, and although he’s not ready to commit, the Roosevelt product continues to talk up the hometown school.
The April 16 spring game was Rogers’ first opportunity to see the Terps in action.
“I liked spending time with the coaches and watching the game,” Rogers said from the Nike Opening D.C. “Watching the people that I knew [in high school] and seeing them doing what they’re doing [at Maryland] was cool… Coach [Mike] London is a good coach, one of the best [defensive line] coaches in the country. He came from an NFL background, he was a head coach before and he’s a good guy. And Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] he’s a cool guy; he’s a guy that I look up to and look forward to seeing more of.
“The coaches were happy about me coming to the school, and they’re talking about keeping the local kids home. If that was to happen, Maryland would be a force to be reckoned with. If all these [local] kids come to the same school, no body can stop [what the DMV has].”
I then asked Rogers -- who now holds offers from UMD, Navy, Army, Toledo and Akron -- what was keeping him from committing. He answered by intimating he might be a UMD popper towards the end of the spring, after seeing a couple more schools. Fact is, Rogers hasn’t visited any other campuses besides Maryland, and he wants to explore before ending his recruitment.
Moreover, Rogers has begun to generate more power-five interest, and it’s likely he’ll procure several offers during this spring evaluation period (Kentucky and Wake should be extending verbals). The Roosevelt recruit would like to gauge which programs ante up between now and June.
But, as aforementioned, Roger’s is Maryland’s to lose if the staff wants him. The chance to stay home and play in front of his mother, whom Rogers is particularly close to, should ultimately push him to UMD.
You can hear what Rogers had to say HERE.
Curtis Harper, DT, McKeesport (Pa.): Harper has now visited Maryland twice since the beginning of April, first coming down with his father on Fools’ Day and then returning April 16. Harper didn’t see the Terps practice the first time around, so he was excited to see the team in pads. Afterwards, he praised UMD’s intensity, the defense’s physical style and line coach Mike London’s teaching methods. He also said the upgraded player dorms, weight room renovations and Under Armour gear all caught his eye.
Harper spoke to head coach D.J. Durkin previously, but this time he chatted with UMD-area recruiter Dave Borbely and London. The McKeesport plugger, who mentioned the two assistants are in contact “all the time,” said both Borbely and London let him know he was a wanted commodity.
“Basically Coach Borbely was telling me he likes me and was really glad I came back down for another visit,” Harper said. “He didn’t really talk about playing time, but he said they liked me and would love to have me there. He and Coach London were talking about the defensive linemen they’re recruiting, but I’m pretty sure if I tried to commit there they would take me. I know they like me a lot there.
“My relationship with both those guys is pretty good. I send them messages all the time and they always get back to me. It’s real cool. We talk about all kinds of things, and they’re straight with me, which I like.”
Maybe Harper’s right and he could pop to Maryland tomorrow, but we’re not inclined to believe the tackle’s that high on the Terps’ board yet. With so many defensive linemen trending towards UMD, the sense is Durkin will see what transpires with his touted DMV targets before turning his attention to the McKeesport product.
If Durkin elects not to pursue, Harper could take a closer look at BC and Toledo, the other programs residing alongside Maryland atop the tackle’s leaderboard. More suitors could potentially enter the fray if they choose to offer. (Harper’s visiting Rutgers April 23 and hinted he could add a Scarlet Knights’ scholarship while on campus).
Regardless of what scholarships crop up, the Key Stone State recruit should have his college chosen before his senior season begins.
The vibe on this end is Harper won’t end up in College Park, mainly because of the multitude of defensive linemen UMD’s positioned for.
You can read more about Harper HERE.
Robert Porcher, DL, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): Porcher’s probably not going to Maryland, but it was still refreshing to hear his comments after his first trek through UMD April 15-16. The son of the former NFL great by the same name, Porcher told Scout’s Corey Bender he had a terrific stay in College Park.
"I got to tour the whole campus, and they're actually building a new football facility across the street, so they showed me a virtual tour of that and that's going to look good,” Porcher said. “I actually stayed in one of the player's (Antwaine Richardson) dorm rooms, and that was cool because I got to see what they do on a daily basis.
"I got to speak with coach [D.J.] Durkin and the whole coaching staff, and we talked about some things. [Durkin] was telling me he needs good players like me, and that he can see me making plays on the defensive side of the ball, I also went to the spring game on [April 16] and was impressed. The defense actually won."
Now, realize Porcher is one of those “love every school” recruits, but he does seem genuinely interested in Maryland. He’s developed a rapport with Terps’ defensive line coach Mike London and has connected with Durkin as well.
Even so, the Dr. Phillips product is a blowup candidate, and our colleagues have him forecast elsewhere. Porcher’s recent USC offer was a game-changer, per Corey Bender, while the SEC is about to come knocking on his door in earnest. If the Florida powers and southern mainstays become involved, Porcher’s probably bound for one of those programs.
Even if Porcher does eventually come around to Maryland, the inn might be full by the time he’s ready to commit next winter. The Terps are positioned for numerous DMV defensive linemen and could have four in tow before the fall -- with another spot saved specifically for Chase Young.
But we’ll keep Porcher on the hot board, just in case the Terps begin to resonate for the Floridian.
You can read more about Porcher HERE.
Austin Fontaine, DT, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (2018): When I spoke to Fontaine last year, after he landed a Maryland offer, he talked up then-area recruiter Mike Locksley and the various visits he’d taken to College Park.
But now he’s in the process of getting to know the current staff under head coach D.J. Durkin. April 16 was his first opportunity to do so, and Fontaine said he had a good time at the spring game. He briefly interacted with several staffers and is looking forward to developing a rapport with area-recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive line coach Mike London and the rest.
At this juncture, though, Fontaine doesn’t have much to say about the Terps -- or any other team for that matter. Since he’s just a sophomore, the stud defensive tackle is simply absorbing all his college looks without giving too much thought to the schools’ inner workings. (He barely acknowledged the hometown movement or the fact several of his 2016 teammates are heading to Maryland).
But we expect Maryland’s staff will be heavily involved with the 6-4, 275-pounder, gaining inroads during the next year. Fontaine should be back in College Park later this summer and again for a game during the fall.
However, the plugger will have his pick of schools by this time next year, and he already has Clemson; Georgia; UVA; Va Tech; Tennessee; FSU; and South Carolina on him. Fontaine’s recruitment, like that of his elite 2017 DeMatha teammates’, will probably drag out into the winter of his senior year.
You can hear what Fontaine had to say HERE.
Louis Acceus, LB, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): After a terrific initial foray through College Park in early March, the Garden State three-star Acceus returned to UMD with his brother April 16. The 6-1, 190-pounder was fairly high on Maryland before, but after the spring game he called the Terps his leader.
“Maryland is out front right now. They’re my top school… Everything that’s going on at Maryland right now is why they’re my top school,” said Acceus, who holds offers from UMD, UNC, MSU, Miami, Indiana, BC, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Rutgers. “My brother, who is like my mentor, that’s his favorite school too. We both love Maryland and the coaches down there.”
Acceus praised UMD’s defensive style, linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, who doubles as the prospect’s area recruiter, and the team’s overall intensity level. Afterwards, he spoke to Barnes personally, lauding the coach’s on-field vigor and off-field demeanor.
“[Barnes and I are] real tight, and he’s my favorite recruiter right now,” Acceus said. “He’s real down to earth, and he’s not a salesman like some other recrutiers. He’s just laid back and doesn’t force anything on me, so we’ve connected really well.”
Maryland’s academic opportunities, the campus itself, the people in College Park and the facilities/facility upgrades have caught Acceus’ attention too. He said he liked UMD so much he’d “definitely” be returning for a game this fall.
But pump the breaks just a bit here.
Acceus also has UNC firmly in play following a trip to Chapel Hill, N.C., while Boston College is in the game for now. Plus, he’s eager to check out Michigan State this summer. Word is, if he’s a “take” for the Spartans’ staff, Acceus will wind up in East Lansing, Mich.
Nebraska, Wisconsin and Indiana are also involved, but Acceus is not projected to any of those three programs at the time being.
Acceus said he wants to commit on his birthday, Dec. 31, but he’ll probably choose a school earlier than that. He’s aware many programs will begin filling their linebacker spots well before next December, forcing the three-star’s hand a bit.
Our read? If the Maryland staff truly covets Acceus’ services -- remember, there are a lot of touted linebackers on UMD’s board -- he could very well be a Terp. We’re not so sure MSU’s coaches accept an Acceus pledge at this juncture, leaving the door open for Barnes and Co. to pounce.
You can read more about Acceus HERE.
Marcus Bowman, LB, Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): I touched base with the linebacker Bowman after his second Maryland jaunt in three weeks, but the local didn’t say much different this time around. Remember, he attended a spring practice March 26 and proceeded to call UMD his No. 1 suitor, all the while acknowledging he had to see some other schools before popping.
And that’s exactly what he told me after his April 16 stay.
“Maryland is high for me right now -- my No. 1,” Bowman said. “But Syracuse and N.C. State are there too, and I still have to see them yet. I want to get up to Syracuse this summer and then NC State around then too.”
Maryland is the only school Bowman’s seen so far, so that’s fair. But, in the meantime, the local is intrigued by what the nearby university and its staff can offer.
Bowman lauded Matt Barnes, the recruit interacting with linebackers’ coach after the spring game. The Douglass prospect called Barnes a “good coach” and said the assistant reminded him of his high school coaches. Barnes evidently let Bowman know how much the Terps coveted his services as an outside backer, which “made me feel kind of special,” per the prospect.
Bowman also mentioned he liked Maryland’s intense defense, the linebackers’ physicality and how the “D” was constantly in attack mode. The Upper Marlboro native said the school’s academics hit home too. He didn’t hear much about UMD’s education during his March 26 trip, so he was excited to learn about the multitude of available majors.
Maryland’s soon-to-be-completed indoor fields, dorm improvements and weight-room upgrades caught Bowman’s eye previously.
Add it all up, and it sounds like the linebacker is trending towards UMD.
But, in all honestly, I didn’t get a great pro-Maryland vibe.
For one, Bowman mentioned DMV-to-UMD didn’t mean much to him; he isn’t inclined to follow other locals to College Park. Secondly, Bowman hinted Syracuse could easily hop UMD in the pecking order following a summer trip to New York. (Recall, Bowman’s teammate, Devin Butler, is a 2016 Orange signee). And, thirdly, the Douglass product said even if the Maryland coaches tried to squeeze out a commitment, he’d probably decline.
“I’m still going to wait,” Bowman. “It seems like the Maryland coaches are pushing for me; they said I’m one of the top people on their board. I have no idea if they’d take me right now or not, but it really doesn’t matter because I’m not ready to commit yet anyway. I’m not committing until the end of my senior year. I want to see what else comes in.”
Take from that what you will.
Our take? The Terps’ staff is positioned to land a couple elite outside backers, so they might not be ardently pursuing Bowman.
You can read more about Bowman HERE.
Dorian Etheridge, LB, Capital (Charleston, W.Va.): It took him two months longer than anticipated, but the West Virginia backer finally made it to College Park April 16. Evidently the trip was worth it, because Etheridge said he had a “great time” at the spring game, counting his meeting with UMD-area recruiter and position coach Matt Barnes as the day’s highlight.
“Coach Barnes is like a big ball of energy. I love the way he coaches, and I love how the linebackers responded to him,” Etheridge said. “It was great energy overall, and the defense at Maryland just flies around. It’s really fast and they love to attack; that’s my style of play. I could fit right in there.
“Coach Barnes, we talk on the phone all the time and have a great relationship with him. He’s a young guy and just a great person to talk to. But it was great to finally meet him in person. He was just pumped that I was down there, and I was excited too. It was awesome to sit down and talk with him and just go over some things.”
Besides the Barnes affinity, remember that Etheridge grew up in Northern Virginia, in the shadows of College Park. He mentioned he attended numerous Maryland games as a youngster and has plenty of family in the area. The Capital product said it was good to be back in town, allowing him to reconnect with the school and his relatives.
Etheridge noted UMD’s academics, environment and upcoming facility upgrades all stood out too.
That’s all well and good, but the Charleston resident also admitted the Terps weren’t at the top of the totem poll. Etheridge has Va Tech and Pitt running one-two, with West Virginia a close third. He’s visited all three of those programs, and then returned to Blacksburg, Va., April 19. The vibe is the Hokies, his former hometown school, are the team to beat.
Expect Etheridge to choose his future destination at some point this spring or summer. We’re listing him “cool” on the hot board.
You can read more about Etheridge HERE.
Antwan Collier, CB, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): After it became clear some of Collier’s “dream schools” (Florida, FSU, Clemson) wouldn’t be offering, Maryland became the focal point for the Miami corner. We even had Collier on “semi pop watch” heading into last weekend, the Miami Southridge prospect hinting at a possible pledge while in College Park. Fact is, Collier had April 16 circled for some time, telling me heading in he was “really excited” for his first look at UMD, whose staff offered back in February.
But following his stay, Collier curiously went silent. He responded cryptically to a couple text inquiries and then didn’t answer his phone at scheduled interview times. I even had two of my colleagues attempt to contact Collier, but as soon as they asked about Maryland the corner wouldn’t comment.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what’s going on here. More than likely, the Terps’ coaches aren’t pushing for Collier’s pledge with several touted targets still in play. Maybe the situation will change in time, but for now it seems like the staff will look elsewhere for defensive back help.
Collier’s only other offers are UCF, ECU, Illinois and Southern Miss, so that list suggests he’s not yet a priority for mid- to high-level power-five programs. We’ll continue to monitor Collier, though, in case we’ve misread the ordeal.
Rell Coley, CB/S, Highland Springs (Va.): So much for Coley being on “pop watch.” As anticipated, the nickel-corner/safety is not someone the Maryland staff will accept a commitment from at this stage. After Coley took in the spring game, he acknowledged the staff didn’t seek him out and he had not had contact with UMD-area recruiter Mike London in some time.
“I love Coach London and what he’s about. He’s very honest and straightforward with you, and when he talks to you he keeps it real,” Coley said. “I like how he talks about more than football too and is concerned with you as a person.
“But before when I was up there they were talking about me playing some nickel back and safety, but I haven’t really talked tom him much since then. It’s not a whole lot of back and forth recently.”
Despite the humbling admission, Coley did have a good time in College Park April 16. He enjoyed watching the defense and the defensive backs, calling Aazaar Abdul-Rahim a “great coach.” Coley also liked the atmosphere at the spring game, the campus itself and the different majors Maryland offers.
But since the Terps’ staff hasn’t been pressing, the Highland Springs product has his eyes elsewhere. He said Colorado State is his No. 1 for now, but is hoping some other programs ante up following the evaluation period. He said Marshall’s staff should offer once he visits, while North Carolina’s coaches have shown interest.
Coley wants to have his school selected sometime this summer. Unless London and Co. reinitiate contact, though, the corner’s not going to Maryland.
You can read more about Coley HERE.
Offensive Recruiting Notes
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): Fleet-Davis couldn’t attend Maryland’s spring game April 16 due to a family matter, but he certainly wanted to be in College Park. The Potomac runner continues to hold the hometown school in regard.
“Maryland is high. The Terps, they’re high,” Fleet-Davis said at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17. “I think it’s good, my relationship with the staff. I talk to Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] every day, and it’s about on and off-the-field stuff; we talk about more than football.
“And I’ve seen a couple players moving towards Maryland, and I’ve got a couple teammates there now. I like the idea of staying home. The coaching staff is coming together with a plan and they’re going with it. I can see the [stay-home movement] being big.”
The Potomac back has visited UMD on three occasions this offseason, and he should be returning for another trip soon. He likes offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense, the energy emanating from the coaching staff, and the overall vibe in College Park. Fleet-Davis is comfortable on campus, and likes the pending facility upgrades and dorm renovations too.
Syracuse, though, may be running just ahead of Maryland. Fleet-Davis raved about his recent New York jaunt and said he’d “definitely” be returning this spring. The DMV recruit called headman Dino Babers “a real good dude,” and extoled the Orange’s penchant for producing running backs.
NC State, another program Fleet-Davis has seen and will be heading back to, is also in play. The Oxon Hill native wants to check out Iowa as well, although the Hawkeyes are likely fourth in the pecking order.
Look for Fleet-Davis to select a school from one of the aforementioned quartet towards the end of spring. From this vantage point, we think it’ll be SU or UMD, with the Orange maybe holding a slight edge. But let’s see how ardently Abdul-Rahim and Co. push, and if that has any bearing on Fleet-Davis’ decision.
You can hear what Fleet-Davis had to say HERE.
Hezekiah Grimsley, WR, Lafayette (Williamsburg, Va.): Scout’s Michael Clark caught up with the receiver Grimsley at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17, and our colleague’s interview fell in line with mine from a week prior. Remember, Grimsley visited College Park in mid-April, afterwards dubbing UMD and Va Tech his top two suitors.
He told Clark the same thing at the Opening.
“Virginia Tech and Maryland are the schools I could see having a future for me,” said Grimsley, who previously complimented UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread, the upcoming facility upgrades, the school’s academics and the coaches’ demeanors. “Maryland has a plan for me. They know what I need to be successful, and I have a good relationship with the staff. Coach [Chris] Beatty recruits me and he’s a receivers’ coach. It’s good to have a coach recruiting you that coaches your position. I had a great visit there [too].”
Grimsley, though, will be returning to Blacksburg April 23 for the Hokies’ spring game. The consensus is Tech leads for the wideout’s services since it’s the hometown school and the appeal of headman Justin Fuente’s up-tempo offense.
But, as we noted last week, we’re not completely positive Fuente’s ready to accept Grimsley’s pledge. So, if UMD head coach D.J. Durkin truly covets the Lafayette prospect, we could see Grimsley opting for the Terps.
Of course, Grimsely told Clark he’s not ready to pop anytime soon. He wants to wait until midway through his senior year before ending his recruitment, conceivably so he can see what other offers materialize. So far, besides UMD and Tech, only Marshall; Syracuse; Iowa State; and ODU have presented scholarships.
We’ll see if Grimsley commits sooner if the Hokies’ or Terps’ staffs put the squeeze on, however. If either decides to do so, the Williamsburg native will probably end up in Blacksburg or College Park. But, again, it’s not entirely clear how Fuente and Durkin view the Lafayette prospect.
You can hear more about Grimsley HERE.
Justin Marshall, WR, Salem (Conyers, Ga.): We were cautiously optimistic about Maryland’s chances with Marshall after he dubbed UMD his “second dream school” last month and sought to visit College Park as soon as possible. But Marshall has since reneged on two intended weekend trips in favor of a couple locales closer to his Georgia home.
In lieu of heading to UMD April 16 for the Terps’ spring game, Marshall ventured over to Louisville for the Cardinals’ scrimmage. Afterwards, Marshall declared UL his leader, calling the Cardinals a “place I’ve always wanted to play.” The Salem product has now been to Louisville twice this offseason, and word is it may only be a matter of time before he pops.
That said, Marshall’s holding off on committing and may check out a few more programs before doing so. South Carolina just offered April 21 and might be a possible destination.
Apparently, UMD remains on the docket too and could be the recipient of a visit later this offseason. Marshall said he’s in communication with Terps’ receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and continues to count Maryland as a contender.
Given that, we’ll keep Marshall on the hot board as “cool.” But we’re skeptical Marshall actually follows through with that College Park trip.
The other programs in play, besides Louisville, South Carolina and Maryland, are NC State; UNC; Tennessee; and WVU.
Sean Savoy, WR, Wilson (Washington, D.C.): We questioned last week whether some of Savoy’s more prominent offers were committable, but after watching the ultra-athletic receiver in action at the Nike Opening D.C., it’s pretty clear Miami; Va Tech; and Syracuse will welcome him in.
As for Maryland, which technically has an offer out, we’re not so sure.
Per Savoy, the Terps’ coaches do want him, the receiver noting how, “Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] and Coach [Chris] Beatty, we talk all the time.” But when asked which programs have stayed in touch the most, Savoy told Scout’s Brian Dohn it was Miami; Va Tech; Cuse; PSU; and Indiana. He didn’t even mention Maryland until Dohn broached the hometown school. (It’s also worth noting that Savoy did not know about Maryland’s April 16 spring game, which is rather telling).
Sure, Savoy proceeded to place UMD among his principal three suitors, but the vibe is the Canes and Hokies are the far-and-away frontrunners. Savoy raved about Tech following a Blacksburg visit, the Wilson product speaking to headman Justin Fuente’s offensive system and his relationship with the staff.
Miami, however, holds a decided edge, with Savoy destined to pop while in Coral Gables June 23. In the Dohn interview, Savoy waxed lyrical about the Hurricanes, speaking to their tradition; their days as “The U;” their recent recruiting classes; and their new coaches.
We’re listing Savoy “cool” on the hot board, but it’s likely only a matter of time before he’s removed altogether.
You can hear what Savoy had to say HERE.
DeMarcco Hellams, WR, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (2019): Scout’s Brian Dohn stopped by DeMatha on his way down to the Nike Opening D.C., and he spoke to this stud freshman receiver, who UMD offered as an eighth grader. The 6-1, 173-pounder attended Maryland’s Big Show Camp two summers ago and landed the early verbal after performing in front of then-head coach Randy Edsall.
Naturally, the new Maryland regime honored the offer, and now Hellams is connecting with the likes of UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and head coach D.J. Durkin. Hellams has already visited UMD a couple times this offseason, giving him early exposure to the hometown school.
“I’ve been there a few times. When I go up there, they really show me a lot of love. The coaches, I come around, they’re [on me]. I appreciate that,” Hellams told Dohn.
Look for the Terps’ staff to stay on Hellams hard and heavy the next three years. They’ll need to, because Hellams is a future five-star who will be able to attend college anywhere in the country. Besides Maryland, North Carolina and Louisville have offers out, while more programs should be anteing up this spring and into the fall.
You can hear what Hellams had to say HERE.
Johnny Jordan, OL, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): There was a sense Jordan might not be an immediate “take” for Maryland’s staff, but the Gonzaga lineman suggested otherwise after winning O-line MVP at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17. Jordan said all three of his main suitors -- UMD, Syracuse and UVA -- have him prioritized and would surely accept him should he want in.
We’ll see if that’s the case, but for now we’ll take Jordan at his word.
The D.C. product has the Terps, Wahoos and Orange dead even after visits to each, but suggested a couple other schools could enter the mix following upcoming jaunts. Wake Forest and UNC are two programs he could be checking out, while Pitt and Louisville, whose staffs just offered this week, might be in line for trips too.
Of course, Jordan’s been to College Park a couple times already. He first trekked through with his father, and then returned in April with his mother.
“I was just at Maryland for a spring practice, and it went well,” Jordan said. “I really like how [Coach D.J.] Durkin coaches; he runs a really energetic and physical practice, which I like. And Coach [Dave] Borbely is awesome; he’s a great offensive line coach.
“I like Maryland, and my parents are liking it too. Both times I’ve been up, they’ve talked to Coach Durkin, and they can see the mentality is changing at Maryland from the old staff to the news staff.”
Jordan went on to talk up the hometown movement, saying it’s “definitely real” and “definitely something I’m paying attention to.” UMD’s academics, internship opportunities, close proximity to home, and the recruit’s longstanding rapport with Borbely have Jordan’s mind on Maryland too.
But Jordan’s other main suitors have similar advantages. The new environment and staff at UVA have Jordan seeking to return to Charlottesville, Va., next month. Furthermore, the Hoos have a history of luring in Gonzaga recruits.
It’s also worth noting that Jordan had a great time in New York and wants to get back to Syracuse at some point as well.
Currently, Jordan has no timeline for choosing a school, but the sense is it’ll be sometime this summer -- unless his growing offer list causes him to hold off. Nevertheless, we like the Terps’ position here. But whether or not Jordan winds up at the local university could depend on how hard Durkin’s willing to pursue.
You can hear what Jordan had to say HERE.
Defensive Recruiting Notes
Tyree Johnson, DE, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): By the time next week’s Shell comes out, Tyree Johnson could be a Terp. The St. John’s edge rusher has been talking up the hometown school for quite some time, and now it sounds like he might be getting ready to pop. At the Nike Opening D.C. April 17, Johnson told Scout’s Brian Dohn he could commit “at any time.”
“Watch out,” Johnson said, laughing. “The [Maryland] coaches are trying to build something special there. The coaches there now, they’re just better in general [than the previous staff]. I have a great relationship with the coaches there.
“And the commitments they’ve gotten recently, [DMV-to-UMD] is really starting to come together. And it’s close to home.”
Johnson wasn’t at the spring game April 16, but teammate Kasim Hill and several other Maryland commits have been after the D.C. defensive end in earnest. So have UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and defensive line coach Mike London, two Terps’ staffers who have Johnson’s ear.
It only helps Maryland’s chances that Johnson’s parents have connected with head coach D.J. Durkin and like the school’s educational opportunities.
Yes, Johnson does have a couple other programs on him. He mentioned coaches from TAMU, Tennessee, UNC, Va Tech and Rutgers, in addition to UMD, have consistently been in contact. Furthermore, Johnson was recently at Rocky Top and College Station, Texas, lauding the atmospheres and respective defensive systems at each. But, for several reasons, the St. John’s edge rusher doesn’t project to either of those SEC programs, despite the presence of former teammate Aaron Hansford at A&M.
North Carolina holds some appeal, although Johnson has not visited and has no Chapel Hill trip on tap. Johnson has been to Rutgers before, but the Scarlet Knights are not a true player here.
The tealeaves read Maryland on this one, and, barring a snag, Johnson should be a Terp in short order.
You can hear what Johnson had to say HERE.
Joe Hunt, LB, Cosby (Midlothian, Va.): The Virginia jack-of-all-trades Hunt has held a Maryland offer since Feb. 26, and April 18 he and his mother finally made it to College Park. The Terps were Hunt’s initial offer, so he’d been itching to see UMD for the first time.
“I loved the Maryland visit. It was amazing,” said Hunt, who now holds verbals from UMD, Army, Navy, ECU and various FCS programs. “The coaches really made me feel at home and welcomed me with open arms. And my mom, she loved it too. She was blown away. So I’d say right now Maryland is definitely a top option for me. It’s definitely a place I could see myself at.”
Hunt tossed out practically every adjective and superlative in the book to detail his stay. Words like “fabulous,” “incredible,” “amazing” and “terrific” were used to describe Maryland’s campus; coming facility upgrades; engineering program; student-life; and overall environment. Hunt then talked up the current Terps’ players (“their enthusiasm for the program boosted Maryland up even more,” Hunt said) and the various coaches he met. The Cosby product couldn’t say enough about UMD defensive line coach and area recruiter Mike London.
“My relationship with Coach London is awesome. He’s a great guy, he’s fun to talk to and he gives you the straight up truth,” Hunt said. “Coach London was saying how they like me because I can play multiple positions for them on both offense and defense. He said on defense they like me as a rover linebacker but because I’m still growing they could definitely see me as maybe a defensive end or inside linebacker in the future. And on offense, they like me as an H-back or bigger receiver kind of guy.
“So I was very excited to hear that, and it shows me they really looked into me and talked about the possibilities for me. I know they’re serious about me.”
So, why didn’t Hunt commit while on campus?
Well, per the recruit, Hunt’s brother advised him to hold off until at least the end of the summer so the backer/H-back can evaluate what options might materialize this spring.
But, per our gut, the Maryland staff might not be ready to accept Hunt’s commitment anyway. That could change down the line, however, depending on how UMD’s recruiting situation develops.
Either way, Hunt seems content to check out a few of his other options like ECU and Navy. He’s also been receiving interest from Wake Forest and a couple other regional schools and could conceivably check out Winston Salem.
We’ll continue to monitor Hunt to see if London presses for a pop. If so, the versatile athlete might very well wind up in College Park.
You can read more about Hunt HERE.
Brailyn Franklin, LB, Battlefield (Haymarket, Va.): The Maryland linebacker target Franklin told me after his March 26 College Park visit the Terps and Hokies resided atop his leaderboard. He reiterated that statement to Scout’s Michael Clark at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17.
“I’m between Va Tech and Maryland. Those two have shown me the most love,” said Franklin, who also holds offers from Kansas, Marshall, Temple and ODU. “Va Tech was my first offer and Maryland was second.”
Franklin, a Texas native, had been seeking a few looks from programs closer to his Lone Star State home, but now seems content with his current two leaders.
He was back in Blacksburg April 15 and said he “loved it a whole lot.” Franklin noted the family feel, his rapport with defensive coordinator Bud Foster, and said his father enjoyed himself too.
As for Maryland, Franklin said:
“They show the same love. Coach [Mike] London gives that one-on-one time with you, and the thing I like about Maryland is they really want to meet my family and get to know who my family is.”
Back in late March, Franklin mentioned UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and headman D.J. Durkin were showing the love too. He spoke to the staff’s overall energy, personable demeanors and their player-development system.
Franklin also liked how Durkin said the recruit could line up all over the defense or even play a little receiver, the Terps fully taking advantage of the backer’s versatility. The Battlefield product also spoke to the school’s academics, coming facility upgrades, and the overarching vibe surrounding College Park and Durkin’s program.
“They have a whole lot to offer me at Maryland,” Franklin said before. “I could definitely see myself there.”
Franklin has no visits scheduled the rest of this month, although he’ll likely check out any new suitors that come to fruition. Regardless, Franklin wants to have his destination chosen by the summer, or at the latest early fall.
The sense is Tech holds a slight edge over UMD, but it’s a close race. It wouldn’t shock us at all if Franklin opted for the Terps (provided Durkin’s ready to accept his commitment with the glut of linebackers on Maryland’s board).
You can head more from Franklin HERE.
Dashaun Jerkins, S, Woodbridge (Va.) (2018): We made note of Jerkins’ Maryland offer last month, but weren’t inclined to follow up with the sophomore this early in the game. But Scout’s Michael Clark caught the emerging safety at the Nike Opening D.C., Jerkins offering up some praise for UMD.
“I like Maryland. I was there before, and it’s a great atmosphere and the crowd is hyped,” Jerkins said. “It’s a good school and I like the coaches.”
We’ll see what kind of ground UMD-area recruiter Mike London can make up here, however. Jerkins is about to blow up on the trail and is on the verge of landing a coveted Clemson offer. If the Tigers’ coaches ante up, Jerkins, who has already been to Death Valley and said he “definitely” wants to return, could place CU in the pole position.
Meanwhile, North Carolina and NC State both have offers out, each grabbing Jerkins’ attention. Jerkins is seeking to see both the Wolfpack’s and Tar Heels’ programs again this summer. Penn State’s staff is about to ante up too, and the Woodbridge product said he wanted to check out State College as soon as possible.
Jerkins did not sound quite as eager about a College Park return.
Needless to say, it won’t be easy to convince Jerkins to attend college at UMD.
You can hear more from Jerkins HERE.
Deon Jones, CB, Carroll (Washington, D.C.): At one time, we thought Deon Jones was getting ready to end his recruitment and pop to the Terps. So high on Maryland was Jones post-February and post-March visits that he rambled on and on about DMV-to-UMD, the new energy in College Park, his relationship with Terps’ area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, the upcoming facility upgrades and more.
But Jones didn’t seem quite as high on the hometown school when I spoke to him at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17.
“I like the Terps. Coach [D.J.] Durkin is a good coach, always energetic and I’ve known Coach Aazaar since I was in eighth grade,” Jones said. “I respect [the hometown movement]. It’s good for the Terps.”
And that was it. Jones didn’t expand or offer much more beyond those brief comments.
Another somewhat ominous sign for UMD is Jones elected to attend Penn State’s spring game April 16 instead of Maryland’s. Following the trip, Jones lauded headman James Franklin’s crew, calling it “real love” in Happy Valley.
Next up, Jones is heading to UCLA, Arizona State, Stanford and Oklahoma. After that, he plans to form a top-15 or top-10 leaderboard, which will probably consist of Clemson; Maryland; Florida; PSU; Va Tech; Ohio State; Michigan State; Oklahoma; UCLA and possibly one or two more.
The Tigers, Jones’ very first offer, have long been a frontrunner and could have the inside track. Many analysts believe Jones will ultimately head to Death Valley before it’s all said and done. Oklahoma, PSU and Florida figure to be among Jones’ main contenders as well.
But the Terps aren’t dead in the water by any means. Jones should be returning to College Park at some point, and he does have a solid rapport with Abdul-Rahim and the rest of the staff. He even mentioned UMD second, right after Clemson, when I asked him which coaches he was in touch with the most.
Since he’s an early graduate, Jones intends to select his future destination this summer. Let’s see what Abdul-Rahim and Co. can pull off before then.
You can hear what Jones had to say HERE.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Castro-Fields didn’t attend Maryland’s spring game April 16, but that wasn’t a slight on the corner’s part. After all, he and his mother were just in College Park a week or so earlier, and Castro-Fields has trekked through himself at least four other times this offseason.
“It’s just great,” Castro-Fields told Scout’s Brian Dohn at the Nike Opening D.C. April 17. “Just the hometown vibe, it’s up the street, my mom can come up anytime she wants, and I can play early there. Maryland’s great.”
Indeed, Dohn’s Castro-Fields interview corroborated with my own, which was conducted after the Riverdale product’s latest College Park foray. The local corner has a close bond with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, is keen on the idea of DMV-to-UMD, likes the new Maryland vibe and is seeking an opportunity to play close to home.
But, just as Castro-Fields insinuated when I spoke to him, the recruit told Dohn he had a couple other regional suitors on the brain too. Namely Penn State, a school that might be sitting atop Castro-Fields’ unstated leaderboard. The Upper Marlboro native talked up the welcoming environment in Happy Valley, the football program’s tradition and, to boot, mentioned he has family in the area. On top of that, the defensive back’s former teammate, Zeke McPhearson, is at Penn State and has done his part to coax Castro-Fields to State College, Pa.
Other programs in play include North Carolina, Syracuse, Temple, Virginia Tech and maybe Boston College. Of those, the Orange have been making a potent push and have Castro-Fields’ attention. Tech’s staff, meanwhile, offered April 20 and could gain inroads with a persistent approach.
But the feeling on this end is Castro-Fields will opt for either PSU or UMD. Which school he chooses, however, is too close to call at this point.
You can hear what Castro-Fields had to say HERE.
Terrell Jana, CB, Woodberry Forest (Woodberry, Va.): When this corner/receiver’s teammate, quarterback Lindell Stone, committed to UVA earlier this week, I promptly asked our Virginia colleagues if Jana would follow suit. The Hoos recently offered the Terps’ target as a wideout, so it would make sense for Jana to join Stone to Charlottesville.
“Yes, I would be surprised if Terrell didn’t wind up at UVA,” our colleague texted in. “I think he’ll visit Maryland, but Virginia is probably the team to beat.”
Jana personally told me he still intended to visit College Park this spring, so we’re keeping him on the hot board in case UMD defensive backs’ coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim can sway the Woodberry product. Abdul-Rahim has had Jana’s ear since early February, when the Terps became the Canadian native’s very first power-five suitor. Jana has been trying to find time since then to see UMD, but track season has precluded him from doing so thus far.
“Coach Rahim is great. I can talk to him pretty easily, and he’s a great coach,” Jana told Scout’s Michael Clark at the Nike Opening D.C. “I want to see the facilities and get to know the staff a little better.”
If the corner does make it to campus, perhaps the Terps can gain some ground (if the UMD staff pushes). But with Jana having already seen UVA and eager to return for a follow-up, coupled with Stone’s commitment, it might only be a matter of time before he pops to head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Jana even told Clark the Hoos were standing out among his contenders.
Note: Jana landed a coveted Virginia Tech offer April 20, and it’s conceivable the Hokies’ coaches could make a run at the Woodberry resident. The corner/receiver previously told us Va Tech would be firmly in play should head coach Justin Fuente ante up.
Judson Tallandier, CB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) (2018): Tallandier is new to the scene, but recruitniks will know his name soon enough. The 6-2, 181-pounder has the length and speed to be a top-flight corner, and he should have double-digit offers by this time next year. So far, only Syracuse has anted up, but Maryland; Boston College; Florida; and more could extend verbals shortly.
Look for the Terps to offer perhaps as soon as this spring, after defensive backs’ coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim watches Tallandier work out.
“[Maryland is] recruiting me heavy. They just want to see me more, see how I can move and things like that,” Tallandier told Scout’s Brian Dohn. “They’d like to have a couple more DBs, especially guys [like me] that are long, tall corners.”
Tallandier has visited College Park a couple times before, while he’s also been to Syracuse. He is wide open in his recruitment for now, but we figure the Terps will be heavily involved throughout the process.
You can hear what Tallandier had to say HERE.
New Offers Out
Damon Williams, RB, Gadsden City (Gadsden, Ala.): Perhaps the most intriguing new offer handed out last week went to the 6-2, 182-pound Williams, a borderline four-star from Alabama. Williams heard from running backs coach Anthony Tucker and texted in he did have some interest in checking out Maryland.
The Gadsden City back did not return phone calls, however, so it was difficult to gauge exactly how he felt about the UMD look. But after checking in with a few colleagues it does sound like Tucker and the Terps’ staff may have a shot here. The in-state bigwigs, Alabama and Auburn, aren’t inclined to offer, leaving Williams to try his luck at some out-of-state locales.
But that doesn’t mean Williams is going to fall right into UMD’s lap. Michigan has had a verbal out for awhile now, and the runner would like to check out Ann Arbor, Mich. Plus, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisville, Mizzou and Kentucky have all anted up, Williams expressing plenty of interest in seeing his SEC suitors. The Gadsden native has been through Rocky Top twice already and may be trending towards the Vols.
From our standpoint, Williams will be difficult for the Terps’ coaches to pull away from the SEC, unless his perceived options fall through. He’s listed “cool” on the hot board for now.
Michael Miranda, OT, Munroe Falls (Stow, Ohio): This three-star Ohio tackle landed his 20th offer courtesy of UMD-area recruiter Dave Borbely April 18. But unless Borbely can put forth one heck of a pitch, the Terps might be a little late to the game here.
Miranda already released his six finalists and has a late April/May decision date in mind. The schools under consideration are UVA, Penn State, Missouri, Northwestern, Pitt and Syracuse.
The Ohio tackle has visited Pittsburgh and PSU multiple times, while he forayed through UVA and Syracuse just recently. Miranda intends to see Mizzou and Northwestern before ending his recruitment.
Word is the Nittany Lions lead, but since PSU already has multiple offensive line commits it’s questionable whether the staff would accept his pledge. If not, Miranda had a terrific visit to Virginia, the tackle hinting Charlottesville could be a possible destination.
Maybe Borbely can coax out a last-minute visit and work the Terps into the game, but unless Miranda makes it to College Park, he’s not going on the hot board.
Joel Honigford, OT, Garaway (Sugarcreek, Ohio): Maryland offensive line coach Dave Borbely dipped back into Ohio to offer this elite Midwest tackle April 19, making the Terps Honigford’s 27th suitor. It’s doubtful UMD is going to resonate much with the Garaway product, however.
That’s not to doubt Borbely’s ability on the trail, but rather because Honigford already seems to have his mind set on the nearby elites. Michigan State, which has offered, likely owns the pole position after an April trip through East Lansing. But Ohio State, a school Honigford’s been to multiple times, could leapfrog MSU should the Buckeyes’ staff opt to ante up. Michigan and Oklahoma are two more suitors that have piqued Honigford’s interest, the tackle considering treks through each.
Honigford’s not going on the hot board unless he makes it out to College Park.
Jackson Carman, OT, Fairfield (Ohio) (2018): This is what happens during the spring evaluation period: Coaches set their eyeballs on a recruit, size him up, watch him move, and then present an offer on the spot. Sometimes, said prospect can land offer after offer after offer, all following one workout.
Such was the case with the sophomore tackle Carman, who added about seven verbals in the span of an hour April 18. The Terps were one of those seven, giving the 6-6, 305-pounder around 23 offers to date.
Needless to say, Carman’s going to be an extremely difficult pull for line coach Dave Borbely. The Fairfield prospect already has in-state Ohio State all over him, and most believe that’s where he’ll wind up.
Off The Board
Rob Martin, OT, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): This three-star Terps’ tackle target popped to Penn State while at the Nittany Lions’ spring game April 16. Which, really, wasn’t all that surprising. Martin had been leaning towards PSU for quite some time, and it was more a matter of when, not if, he’d commit.
Yes, Martin did visit College Park and genuinely enjoyed his stay. He spoke highly of head coach D.J. Durkin, line coach Dave Borbely and the atmosphere at Maryland. Martin stayed in touch with Borbely and UMD-area recruiter Matt Barnes too, the tackle letting on he liked both personally.
But Martin admitted the Terps were probably no higher than fifth on his favorites’ list, counting several of his other contenders like hometown Rutgers; Penn State; Boston College; UNC; and Duke as true standouts. Of those, the Nittany Lions held the clear edge.
Nick Smith, OLB, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): This Florida Terps’ target was supposed to join his teammate, defensive end Robert Porcher, at Maryland April 15-16. But the three-star Smith chose not to venture north and doesn’t intend to trek through College Park in the future.
Smith insists he doesn’t have any true leaders yet, but it’s obvious North Carolina, which he saw in early April, has his ear. Our UNC analysts believe Smith will eventually wind up a Tar Heel.
Meanwhile, South Carolina, which should be anteing up the spring/summer, is another school Smith has his eye on after visiting Columbia, S.C. The Dr. Phillips prospect is also seeking looks from in-state Florida and other SEC programs.
Markquese Bell, CB, Bridgeton (N.J.): What a difference a few visits make. Three weeks after trekking through College Park for the first time and lionizing Maryland for the coaches’ intensity and the program headman D.J. Durkin’s building, Bell’s attention has turned elsewhere -- in particular to the three schools he’s seen most recently. Those include Penn State, Michigan and hometown Rutgers, all of which have offered.
The Scarlet Knights have picked up major steam of late, especially after landing a couple prime Jersey recruits Bell’s friends with. The Bridgeton athlete has visited RU numerous times as well, and after his April 16 jaunt he has the nearby school sitting pretty.
Florida, Wisconsin and UNC are also heavy in the mix. Bell has offers from, and has journeyed through, all three programs.
The Jersey corner wants to go through the official visit process, but the sense is UMD’s not going to be a school he returns to, despite his relationship with Maryland-area recruiter Anthony Tucker.
Trajan Bandy, CB, Columbus (Miami, Fla.): Bandy probably should have come off the board a few weeks ago, after he returned to Oklahoma for the Sooners’ spring game. The OU pledge suggested a couple months back he could visit some of his other primary suitors like Clemson, Alabama, LSU and even Maryland -- Bandy’s had a relationship with UMD defensive backs’ coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim since the recruit’s freshman year -- but it sounds like he’s a solid OU commit. Bandy left Norman, Okla., waxing hyperbole about the Sooners’ corners and their coaches, insisting he’ll be recruiting for Oklahoma from here on out.