SEVERN, Md. -- Gonzaga Catholic High School (Washington, D.C.) has long been a local power the Terps want to get a foothold in at after years of misses. I mean, the days of Joey Haynos and A.J. Francis and Currome Cox are few and far between the last two decades.
So this spring a frequent visitor to UMD has been Eagles 2017 center Johnny Jordan, who Maryland is in the heat of the battle for, as well as another younger Gonzaga offensive prospect looking to make a name this fall.
Rising junior running back Jason Labbe, at 5-feet-11, 195-pounds, took in the Quarterback Factory Showcase combine last weekend in Severn, even though he was not a participant. The Annapolis native is still on the mend from an ACL injury suffered last year in a seven-on-seven event, but is raring to go this fall when he takes the field for the Eagles once again.
He runs a 4.55 40, and combines both speed and power as a versatile back that is on Maryland's radar.
"I am doing well, really well, I am basically almost 100 percent now," Labbe said. "I am not competing today because I just want to be ready for the season."
Labbe missed all of last season with the injury, while he will be all over the field at back, slot, linebacker and safety this coming fall.
"I am feeling great because I know I was supposed to have a big role last season as a sophomore. So I just worked my butt off the whole off-season. I picked up 15 pounds, I am faster than I have ever been. And I am ready to help my team both sides of the field."
Labbe will be complemented by 5-4 Eagles back Tyree Randolph, and "he is the speedster and I am a slasher. I am a power back, but if you give me the room, I am breaking it. I am a happy medium."
Labbe took in Wake Forest's spring game last month, while he has been to Maryland before with Jordan, and will camp at UMD this summer with his teammates.
"So far, Maryland, Wake Forest, Florida State, Ohio State, West Virginia have all been in touch. I mean, Coach Durkin is doing a great job getting kids to stay home. I train with Kasim Hill, he loves it, and he is one of my good friends. So no matter what school recruits me, that is a special place because that is home," Labbe said.
Meanwhile, his teammate Jordan is deep in his own process:
"Johnny is getting love from everywhere right now, so I think he is just taking the process in. I think he could do it before the season, or if not then after, because he is the kind of guy once we get in the season, well he wants to be down on every play," Labbe said.
Labbe said that growing up he followed Terps like running back Wes Brown of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.), who is now a senior at Maryland.
"There's just no place like home," Labbe said of UMD.
Labbe also plays lacrosse for the club team Annapolis Hawks.
As for bouncing back, Labbe is ready to shake the rust this fall.
"Oh, it is going to be a crazy season," Labbe said. "I expect a lot from my team, my teammates, but I expect a lot from myself. But I think we are going to go far this season. If we play as a team, well then no one can stop us."