The spring evaluation period is in full swing, and the Maryland coaches are on the road checking out potential recruits up and down the East Coast. Terps’ offensive coordinator Walt Bell has been in the Carolina area all week, handing out offers and gauging talent from Tobacco Road down through Death Valley.
On April 29, Bell stopped by James Byrnes High (Duncan, S.C.) and extended verbals to a pair of 2018 prospects who are just beginning to emerge on the radar. Inside linebacker Khalid Jones and wide receiver Demarcus Gregory both added their third offers from Maryland, each expressing excitement over their latest verbal to date.
“I was very excited. It’s great and humbling, a blessing to receive another offer,” said the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Jones, who previously procured offers from Duke and Tennessee. “To get these offers at such a young age, it’s great. I was very excited to get an offer from Maryland.”
“It was shocking to me,” added Gregory, who held offers from NC State and Wake Forest. “I knew Maryland was interested, but I had no idea there were going to offer. I was really excited.”
The pair weren’t allowed to speak to Bell per NCAA rules, but their head coach informed them of the offer. Neither had heard from Bell all that much prior to April 29, but Jones, in particular, knew something about UMD.
“My dad’s side of the family is actually from Baltimore, and I was up at Maryland last year,” Jones said. “When I was up visiting last summer I was like, ‘Hey, why not go over to Maryland and check out a camp? So I did and I had a chance to see the school then. It was great. I really liked it. I really enjoyed the campus, the facilities and had a fun time in College Park.”
Of course, at that time, the Terps were headed by Randy Edsall. It’s a completely different regime and staff under head coach D.J. Durkin.
“I don’t know much about the new staff yet, but Coach Bell just started getting in touch with me and I know Coach [Matt] Barnes, the linebackers’ coach, is from Michigan,” said Jones, who was procured interest from programs throughout the SEC and ACC. “It’s sounds like a great staff from what I’ve seen online. I’m looking forward to visiting over the summer when I go up to see my family again.”
The fact Jones has familiar faces in Baltimore entices the Byrnes linebacker. He said Maryland isn’t too far north for him and he’s fine being in and around College Park.
“Honestly, location really isn’t a factor for me, and, like I said, I have family in Maryland, so that’s definitely a place I’d be comfortable at,” Jones said. “My parents will be able to move wherever I choose to go to college, so location doesn’t mean anything to me. I’ll have support wherever I go.”
At this stage, Jones said he has no early standouts, nor does he have any dream schools, per se. Even his first two offers, from Duke and Tennessee, he said he was “glad to have them” but didn’t declare them early standouts or anything of that nature.
“I’m honestly just happy with whatever opportunities are presented to me right now,” said Jones, who has been to Clemson, UNC, NC State, Tennessee, Georgia Tech, Duke and South Carolina so far. “I’m honestly open to anything and everyone.”
As for the 6-3, 195-pound Gregory, he actually had a chance to shake Bell’s hand April 29. Evidently the two had exchanged messages on Twitter before the offensive coordinator’s arrival.
“I knew Coach Bell liked me, and I knew he thought I could fit well in his offense,” Gregory said. “He was saying before how I was a long, strong receiver and would fit in really well at Maryland. So when he offered I was so excited. It sounds like a great offense he has up there.”
Gregory, though, admitted he didn’t know much about UMD other than Bell’s spread system. He said he could visit at some point to find out more, however.
“I’m open to anything right now,” said Gregory, who plans to see Georgia, USC and Clemson coming up. “I’d like to check out all the schools that offer me. Location, really, that’s not a big thing for me. I could see myself at Maryland. I’d like to visit at some point.”
The Byrnes wideout went on to call his first two offers, NC State and Wake, “good schools,” although he’s nowhere close to naming standouts. That said, he’s visited several Southern programs and has a couple on his mind.
“I really liked Tennessee when I visited,” said Gregory, who has seen Va Tech, UT, Clemson, Duke, UNC, Wake, NC State, and South Carolina thus far. “Tennessee was very nice, and Clemson was great also. I grew up a Clemson fan, but I’m open to anyone.
“For me, it’s all about relationships and what schools want me the most. I’m open to anyone right now.”