Maryland’s Fort Lauderdale-area recruiter Chris Beatty, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim were all in Florida last week, and May 16 they handed out a trip offers to Dillard High’s (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) start-studded defensive linemen. Miami commit Jonathan Ford and four-star Jordan Wright were the known names, but perhaps the most intriguing verbal (from a Maryland perspective) went out to defensive end Stephon Zayas.
The 6-foot-6, 210-pounder had a few smaller Division-I looks prior to the spring evaluation period, but has since seen his recruitment expand in earnest. But Maryland remains one of his most significant suitors and a program of interest for Zayas.
“Maryland is one of the schools that jumps out to me,” said Zayas, who counts offers from UMD, Louisville, Pitt, Iowa State, Illinois, NC State, Temple, UCF, USF, Colorado, FAU, FIU, Bowling Green and a couple more. “When I received the offer I was shocked at first; I hadn’t really been in touch with them and didn’t really think they’d offer. But then later the coaches told me I was a big-time player and made me feel good about myself, and I ran with it.
“And I was real happy that all three of us [Dillard teammates] got the offer at the same time. It was great how that happened, and we probably will go up there for a visit.”
Zayas admitted his knowledge of Maryland was limited to the basics such as conference affiliation and Under Armour connections. He said he’s only just begun initiating contact with the staff and researching the program.
“But just seeing their coaches come down here, and to offer all of us like that, it left an impression,” Zayas said. “I want to learn more about them and try to get up there this summer.”
In addition to UMD, Zayas said the offers that have his eye initially are Pitt and Louisville. He said both the Panthers’ and the Cardinals’ staffs have made attractive pitches and he wants to visit both during the offseason.
“The schools I’d like to see are Pitt, Louisville, Maryland, UCF and Bowling Green,” said Zayas, whose only campus visit thus far has been to Miami. “But we’ll see what I have time for and what other schools get involved. I want to get offers from Michigan State, Syracuse and UMass. All those schools are showing interest, so I could visit them too if they offer.”
Zayas said he has “no idea” when he’d like to choose a college. He did say, however, that he’d like to take official visits before doing so.
"But right now the focus is just on getting better and showing we as a defensive line are the best in the nation," Zayas said. "We want to prove we deserve all these offers we're getting."