The Maryland staff has identified numerous hybrid defensive end/outside linebacker types to fit its multiple defense, and one of the more recent verbals went out to Jefferson High’s (Tampa, Fla.) Jabreel Stephens. UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty was down in Tampa in mid-May, and immediately deemed the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Stephens offer-worthy.
“Maryland was definitely one of the offers that caught my eye,” said Stephens, who claims scholarships from Louisville, Kentucky, Arizona, Syracuse, Cal, Iowa State, UCF, USF and more. “Coach Beatty came down to my practice, saw me play and gave me the offer on the spot, which I appreciated. Then I’ve been talking to him on Twitter since then and he seems like a real cool guy.”
Stephens doesn’t know much about the Maryland program as a whole yet, but the defense has his attention initially.
“Coach Beatty has been telling me about the defense and how [the Terps] run a mixture of a 3-4 and a 4-3. He said they need athletes like me to play outside linebacker and also put their hand in the dirt and rush off the edge,” Stephens said. “So I liked the sound of that; it fits me perfectly. That’s what I do in high school now.”
Stephens also mentioned UMD’s Big Ten affiliation stood out to him. Thus far, it’s the only Big Ten offer he’s procured.
“But a lot of good schools have come in and a lot of good schools have offered,” Stephens said of the current spring evaluation period. “Maryland, Syracuse, Louisville and Kentucky all caught my eye. Louisville has a great defense; Maryland runs that multiple attack defense; Kentucky plays in a great, competitive conference in the SEC; and Syracuse is on the rise in the ACC.”
Additionally, Stephens mentioned a pre-evaluation period verbal from Arizona has his attention. In fact, he said the Wildcats’ staff has been pushing hardest for his services.
“I’m in touch with Arizona like every day,” said Stephens, who believes Purdue could be next to ante up. “That’s defensibly a school I’m looking hard at, plus Syracuse; Kentucky; Maryland; and Louisville.”
In terms of visits, Stephens has stayed local thus far. He said he’s been to Florida, UCF and USF, calling each programs with “great coaches, great environments and great vibes.”
During the summer, he’s like to see all of the aforementioned standouts, Stephens specifically pointing to Tempe, Ariz., as a locale he “definitely” would hit. Since Arizona’s so far, however, Stephens allowed he might have to wait to take an official during the fall.
Stephens went on to say that he’s not seeking any offers in particular.
“I’m jut taking my time and building myself up and seeing who comes in,” he said. “Right now, I like what I have on the table. After I take some visits and a couple officials, I should be ready to make my commitment sometime during the season. I don’t want to wait too long to commit, because I know schools fill their spots. Ideally, I’d like to take all five officials, though.”