Safety J.R. Pace (Woodward Academy/Woodward, Ga.) had several power-five offers prior to his Maryland offer May 5, but he called his latest college option “very interesting.” The 6-foot-1, 195-pounder hadn’t heard from UMD before May 5, so the verbal caught him by surprise.
“Coach Brawley Evans, he got in touch with me on Twitter and let me know about it,” said Pace, who previously held offers from Duke, Northwestern, BC, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Southern Miss, Troy, Minnesota, Kansas State, Miami of Ohio, Purdue and others. “He said the coaches at Maryland really liked my game and my length, and he said they need DBs there. So it was an intriguing offer for me and definitely interesting.”
Pace said Maryland’s Georgia-area recruiter, Mike London, is set to visit Woodward Academy May 10. The safety expects to establish contact with the UMD assistant in short order, likely before London treks through the high school.
“I’m looking forward to speaking to him,” Pace said. “I don’t know a lot about Maryland, so I’m looking to find out more. I do know they have a good business program, which stands out, but beyond that about all I know is they’re in the Big Ten.”
The Woodward product may not have much knowledge about the Terps, but he did hear some from his friend, receiver Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.), who is a top UMD target. Nelson visited College Park, Md., back in April and came away thoroughly impressed.
“My friend Sean Nelson loved it up at Maryland and was telling me how much he liked it when he got back [to Georgia],” Pace said. “So it sounds like a school I might want to check out. I might get up there this summer.”
Pace mentioned he does not have a preference for conference, nor is location a primary factor in his recruitment. He said, first and foremost, he’s looking at programs with strong academic reputations and that strike a balance between education and football.
“I’ve been to BC, Duke, Vanderbilt and Northwestern and I liked all of them a lot. All of them have great academics,” Pace said. “Northwestern stands out a lot with their academic opportunities, and the football program is on the rise. I guess you can say they’re the leader for me right now.”
Pace, though, isn’t ready to commit too soon. He said he “definitely” wanted to go through the recruiting process and take a couple official visits.
“I could commit sooner if spots fill, but I do want to take a couple officials, ideally,” said Pace, who mentioned college assistants haven’t been through Woodward yet but will begin doing so the week of May 9. “In the meantime, this summer, I’m talking to my parents about where I want to see next. I’m thinking about Florida, Clemson, schools like that down [in the South].”