Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
News On Top Terps Targets
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): The running back Fleet-Davis has steadily been adding offers during the evaluation period, with Purdue; Indiana; and Louisville three of the more recent ones to come in. And with the growing interest, it sounds like Fleet-Davis is becoming more and more open to exploring some of these new suitors.
Previously, recall, the 6-foot-1, 215-pounder was all about Syracuse, with Maryland running second. But now the DMV runner’s noting Indiana’s reputation for churning out running backs, a Purdue connection in teammate-turned-Boilermaker David Rose, and the Louisville staff’s potent push. Additionally, Fleet-Davis still has Iowa in the running since the Hawkeyes were one of his first offers, and the coaches have been in touch for months.
The Oxon Hill native plans to hit the Midwest in earnest this summer, so he’ll have a chance to see Ames, Ia., Bloomington, Ind., West Lafayette, Ind., and Louisville, Kent. Plus, Fleet-Davis wants to return to Syracuse if possible. The three-star thoroughly enjoyed his initial trek through New York, readily taking to head coach Dino Babers and his offensive system.
But Fleet-Davis will undoubtedly be back at Maryland too since it’s so close. The runner, who raves about UMD whenever he visits, continues to converse with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and running backs coach Anthony Tucker, counting them among his favorite college assistants. The chance to play close to home, continue the DMV-to-UMD movement and play alongside other locals all hold appeal as well.
But when the dust settles, Will the latter be enough to trump Syracuse and potentially a Midwest suitor? At this point, we’re not so sure. Fleet-Davis’ willingness to explore other locales and drag his feet leads us to believe he might be more inclined to take his talents out of state.
Either way, expect him to make a late-summer college announcement.
Malik Davis, RB, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.): At the very least, UMD Tampa-area recruiter Chris Beatty’s pitch is being heard. Davis is yet another Sunshine State standout that currently may not have Maryland sitting No. 1, but will give the Terps their due.
“Maryland is one of the schools I’m in touch with the most, and I want to go up there to see what they have to offer me,” said Davis, who counts verbals from the likes of Arizona, UNC, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Iowa State, Miami, Mizzou, Purdue, Syracuse, UCF, USF, Va Tech, Southern Miss and a few others. “I just have a great relationship with Coach Beatty and Coach Tucker. They’re after me like every day, and Coach Beatty came by the school for a workout. So I know they want me up there, and that’s what I want – a school that’s going to make me a priority.
“Maryland just a school I’ve always had my eye on. Growing up I just always noticed them. Also, just from talking to Coach Beatty and Coach Tucker, I know they need me there and there’s a chance I could shine and build my own legacy there. It sounds like they have a lot to offer me with playing time, the offense and just being able to make a name for myself.”
That’s fine, but Davis, like many a starry-eyed Florida recruit, acknowledged the hometown Hurricanes have his attention at this stage. Davis has been to Coral Gables, Fla., and loved head coach Mark Richt and the vibe surrounding the program. Moreover, Davis is hoping to procure looks from Florida, Georgia and Tennessee, three SEC programs whose coaches have increased their interest levels.
North Carolina, meanwhile, is running even with Miami given the Heels’ staff’s consistent overtures. Davis said he wants to see Chapel Hill, N.C., as soon as possible. That said, it’s unclear if Davis is a “take” for the Heels’ coaches right now since they have one four-star back committed and another trending towards them (see: Javon Leake below).
Some other schools on Davis’ mind include Va Tech, WVU and Duke (no offer yet), the Jesuit product letting on he wants to trek through each this summer.
Ideally, Davis would like to have a college selected by August. But he also said he intends to take official visits -- even if he is committed.
In other words, expect a few twists and turns moving forward.
We do believe the Terps have a shot, but we’re keeping Davis “cool” on the hot board.
You can read more about Davis HERE.
Javon Leake, RB, Page (Greensboro, N.C.): Our Scout colleague Don Callahan, who writes for the UNC site, stopped by Page High last week and caught up with the four-star Leake. The 6-0, 192-pounder once again reiterated a top-four favorites list of North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Maryland.
“It’s just how much the coaches care,” Leake told Callahan in regards to his four favorite schools. “They always check up on me [and] text me all the time. Their organizations are real good. Their offenses are similar to what we run here [at Page High] at all four of those schools that I named and that’s a real big key.”
UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo and offensive coordinator Walt Bell have been on the Carolina runner since the winter, followed by Lembo trekking through Page for a mid-May workout. Leake hasn’t been to College Park, Md., yet, but will do so this summer at the behest of the Maryland coaches.
The Greensboro native has seen all three of his other standouts, however, and may have them sitting slightly ahead of the Terps at this juncture.
The hometown Tar Heels are considered the favorites, with Leake praising the staff’s ardent pursuit; their offensive system; and the school’s campus. Leake also noted that UNC running back pledge Adarius Lemons’ (Clearwater, Fla.) presence would not affect the former runner’s feelings towards the Heels. In fact, Leake said he definitely wanted to get back to Chapel Hill this summer.
Nearby South Carolina hit home too following a trip to Columbia, S.C. Leake extolled the staff at USC and likes that it’s not too far from his Greensboro home. Meanwhile, Leake loved the atmosphere at Rocky Top as well. The guess is the Gamecocks are running second with the Vols sitting third or fourth in the pecking order.
Coming up, Leake should be getting to UMD, Wisconsin and Penn State, although neither the Badgers’ nor the Nittany Lions’ staffs have offered yet. If they do, however, both PSU and Wisconsin figure to be players here.
But perhaps, after trekking through College Park, Bell, Lembo and Co. can turn the tide. It’s just not going to be easy pulling Leake out of SEC/ACC country.
Jon Lovett, RB, Cherokee (Marlton, N.J.): There have been some inquiries about the Jersey runner Lovett, who seems to be in a holding pattern as the spring moves along. Personally, we've been wondering why the three-star back hasn't committed to hometown Rutgers yet, a program thought to have the inside track on the hometown product.
Well, we did some digging this week and found the reason there's been little news out of the Lovett camp is he's not exactly the No. 1 option for the programs with offers out. And that includes Rutgers, whose staff would accept the local recruit if he wanted in, but isn't pressing for a pop.
Like RU, the Terps' staff has been in touch with the Cherokee product, with area recruiter Matt Barnes and running backs coach Anthony Tucker maintaining contact. But UMD head coach D.J. Durkin is taking just one 2017 back -- with a second spot saved for Anthony McFarland (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) -- and has several options rated higher than Lovett on the board. Some of them have been discussed above, with Malik Davis, Javon Leake and Tayon-Fleet-Davis, among others (i.e. Deon Jackson out of Pace Academy in Georgia), all likely ranked ahead of Lovett.
But if the other runners fall by the wayside, the Maryland staff could easily turn its attention to Lovett. If so, they could probably even secure him, provided Scarlet Knights head coach Chris Ash looks in a different direction. Lovett has been through College Park, loves what the Terps' program is about, and has a great relationship with Barnes.
Besides RU and UMD, the only other competitors for Lovett at the moment are Syracuse, whose staff isn't pushing; Temple; and Boston College.
Tahj Capehart, WR, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.): Maryland is in the game for the four-star Capehart, but there’s a ways to go before we can pencil him into the Terps’ 2017 class. The two-way star still has a number of schools he wants to see this summer before concluding his recruitment in August.
On the docket for June and July are potential treks through Georgia, South Carolina, Notre Dame and West Virginia, in addition to returns to North Carolina; Va Tech; Alabama and UMD. Capehart has also been to Penn State, but has not indicated he’ll be heading back to State College, Pa.
Of the above, the Hokies could be holding down the top spot for now. Capehart has a terrific relationship with the staff, is taken by head coach Justin Fuente’s offense and likes that Blacksburg is near his family. He’s been on campus several times and is comfortable around the players and coaches.
But we’ll see what Capehart’s thinking after taking in the Irish, Bulldogs, Gamecocks, Terps, Tide and Tar Heels this summer.
The recent Notre Dame offer hit home, the combination of UND’s education and renowned football program leaving Capehart highly intrigued. If the South Bend, Ind., trip lives up to expectations, the Irish could quickly rise up Capehart’s favorites list.
Meanwhile, the Tide, whose staff offered Capehart as a cornerback, have the Virginia native’s attention after a standout first foray through Tuscaloosa, Ala. It’s unclear how ardently head coach Nick Saban is pursuing, however, which could allow other suitors to pounce.
Besides UND and Bama, North Carolina is somewhat in play too. The Heels’ staff has maintained communication with Capehart and has been pushing for a second campus visit, which the wideout plans to honor. Capehart said he wanted to attend head coach Larry Fedora’s touted “Freak Show” in June, a prospect day that typically results in numerous UNC poppers.
Of course, Maryland-area recruiter Chris Beatty has Capehart’s ear as well. Beatty’s been through Ocean Lakes a couple times this spring and has daily communication with the four-star. Capehart counts the Terps’ receivers coach as one of his favorite recruiters to talk to.
Furthermore, Capehart and his mother loved the entire Maryland staff and the school itself during two previous treks to College Park. The Virginia Beach product should be back a third time during the summer for one last look at the Terps before announcing his future destination.
Capehart could also follow through with jaunts to Athens, Ga., Columbia and Morgantown, W.Va., but we don’t envision the four-star winding up at any of those schools for various reasons.
Our gut? Again, it’s too soon to make a call on this one. We’ll list Capehart “warm” given the Beatty connection -- the two have known each other for three years -- but these upcoming summer trips will give a clearer indication where the four-star’s head’s at.
Corey Reed, WR, Roswell (Ga.): The Terps remain in the thick of things for the three-star Reed, who has been in contact with UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty. Bell stopped by Roswell during his jaunt through Georgia recently and has been attempting to coax Reed and teammate Jayden Comma -- another prime Maryland target -- north for a visit. Both Reed and Comma said they’d be heeding the two assistants’ pitches and should be in College Park in June or July.
But although Reed’s intrigued by Maryland, the Terps are trailing a couple of the Roswell product’s other suitors. Miami and Louisville are the likely leaders, with Reed eager to see both Coral Gables and UL this summer. Coaches from the Canes and Cardinals have been in hot pursuit and seem to have Reed’s ear. Furthermore, Tennessee, which Reed has been to before, would instantly rise up the leaderboard should the Vols’ staff ante up. The receiver will return to Knoxville, Tenn., in hopes of landing the coveted verbal.
The favorite, though, would be Georgia if the Bulldogs' staff extends a verbal. Reed has suggested time and again he wants in at the hometown school, but for now there are higher-regarded targets on headman Kirby Smart's board. But if Reed keeps progressing, he could very well snag the local look -- and subsequently pop to the Bulldogs.
With that in mind, let’s see if Reed does indeed make it to College Park. If so, maybe Beatty and Bell can convince him to leave the South and join fellow Georgia wideouts Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.) and Carlos Carriere (Alpharetta, Ga.) at Maryland. For now, though, he’s listed “cool” on the hot board.
Note: The lesser-known receiver Comma is much higher on Maryland than Reed. However, we’re not so sure Comma is a “take” for head coach D.J. Durkin at this juncture.
Cameron Sullivan-Brown, WR, Pallotti (Laurel, Md.): We gave a full update on Sullivan-Brown after I interviewed him last week, surmising Penn State was in the poll position, followed by Maryland and then Duke.
But now there’s a fourth player for Sullivan-Brown’s services. Virginia Tech’s staff approved an offer for the Pallotti product May 24, and Sullivan-Brown promptly called them a top contender.
“I’ve always had interest in Tech, and I was very excited about the offer,” Sullivan-Brown told our colleagues who write for Scout’s Va Tech site. “I like the type of offense they run, and I’m excited to get down there and learn more about them.”
We’ll see if head coach Justin Fuente and Co. were too late to the game, but it does sound like the Laurel native has every intention of trekking through Blacksburg. If he follows through, the Hokies may have a shot to leapfrog Maryland and maybe even challenge Penn State in the Sullivan-Brown sweepstakes.
Either way, it’s just another prime suitor the Terps’ coaches will have to fend off for a recruit that seems to be slowly trending away from UMD.
Not that we’re counting UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty out by any means. The duo is fully capable of regaining the upper hand later this summer when Sullivan-Brown inevitably returns to College Park.
Sean Savoy, WR, Wilson (Washington, D.C.): The local receiver Savoy remains on Maryland’s board, and UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim did stop by Wilson to maintain the relationship with the speedy three-star. But we’re not so sure it wasn’t just a courtesy trip on Abdul-Rahim’s part; there just doesn’t seem to be a major push for Savoy’s services at the present date.
Now, we’ve speculated in the past this has less to do with Savoy’s talent and more to do with some other question marks. But perhaps, if Savoy is squared away with his transcript following his senior season, Abdul-Rahim and Co. can jump back on the DMV receiver. Savoy does have keen interest in staying local and continuing the hometown movement, so he’s going to keep Maryland in mind throughout the process.
For now, though, Savoy may be focused elsewhere.
The Wilson product visited Penn State for the first time May 21, and he left State College, Pa., with an anticipated offer. Savoy, who readily took to head coach James Franklin and his assistants, called the verbal “huge,” promptly placing the Nittany Lions among his top contenders.
PSU now sits alongside longtime mainstays Va Tech and Miami, two programs that have been trending for Savoy for two-plus months now.
The Wilson product will be visiting Coral Gables June 23, and some have speculated he couple pop while on campus. Simply put, Savoy loved the Miami look and the tradition surrounding the school. Meanwhile, Savoy has seen Va Tech twice this offseason, raving after each trip. The D.C. recruit has hinted the Hokies may have the edge for the time being.
Also in play are Iowa, Rutgers and Kentucky -- all of which have presented May offers -- although we don’t envision him at those programs.
Savoy may commit sometime during the summer, but he’s the type who could flip before signing on the dotted line. We’ll continue to monitor the receiver in case the Terps begin to pick up steam in the future.
M.J. Jarrell, WR, Timber Creek (Orlando, Fla.): There’s not much new to report on Jarrell after updating his status last week, other than the release of the Timber Creek wideout’s top-10 favorites list. The leaderboard, which is subject to change (naturally), had no surprises: Va Tech, Duke, Maryland, South Carolina, Louisville, NC State, Indiana, Pitt, Syracuse, Wake.
Of the above, Duke and Va Tech are ringing true after treks to Durham, N.C., and Blacksburg. Jarrell loved the academic/athletic balance the Blue Devils presented, and the high-powered spread head coach Justin Fuente’s brought to the Hokies.
But Jarrell hasn’t seen South Carolina yet and is excited about an upcoming Gamecocks’ foray in June. It’s possible USC could ascend following that trip, Jarrell admitting he’d love to compete in the SEC.
Pitt and Syracuse have a chance to get a look too. Both offers came in recently, Jarrell saying he could consider trips to Pittsburgh and New York during the summer.
But Maryland remains in the thick of things with the Orlando native. UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty has been on Jarrell in earnest, the recruit well aware of the assistant’s resume for producing top-flight wideouts. Plus, Jarrell couldn’t say enough about his April 16 College Park visit, the receiver coming close to popping shortly after leaving campus. The atmosphere surrounding headman D.J. Durkin’s program, offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense and the school itself all rang true.
So while the Terps may not be in the driver’s seat for Jarrell, they do have a legitimate chance here. Jarrell will continue to sit “warm” on the hot board, with a chance to elevate if he returns for a second look at College Park this summer.
Regardless, expect the Orlando native to select a school in late August, if not a couple weeks into his senior season.
Carter Warren, OT, Passaic County Tech (Wayne, N.J.): Maryland’s in the game for Warren and probably resides among the tackle’s top-five contenders. Warren returned from his first College Park trip April 16 raving about the family atmosphere, pending facility upgrades and coaching staff. Since then, he has been in consistent contact with Maryland offensive line coach Dave Borbely.
But the feeling here is Rutgers, Va Tech and UNC are the leaders in the clubhouse. Warren left his Blacksburg, Va., visit as high on the Hokies as one could be without committing, while multiple visits to Piscataway, N.J., have him smitten with Chris Ash’s program. The three-star has not been in Chapel Hill, but plans to venture down during the offseason. (Michigan could also get a look, although it’s unclear how hard the Wolverines’ coaches will push, despite their offer.)
When it’s all said and done, Warren’s probably going to stick with hometown RU. Ash and his staff have let Warren know he’s priority No. 1, and word from our Jersey colleagues is the Passaic product’s buying into their pitch. Much like Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin has been making hay in the DMV, Ash has been doing the same in Jersey.
Lawtez Rogers, DE/DT, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): Even as the three-star local Rogers adds offers, hometown Maryland keeps trending atop the leaderboard. I caught up with the 6-5, 253-pounder right before the evaluation period ended, and the Roosevelt edge rusher said the Terps led the likes of Pitt, Rutgers, Wake Forest, Louisville and UCF, all of which have extended verbals.
Rogers pointed to his relationship with the Maryland coaches, the school’s close proximity to home and the chance to join DMV-to-UMD as the primary reasons he has the Terps sitting pretty.
“Maryland is my top school,” said Rogers, who has been in College Park three times this offseason. “The new staff there now is just great. D.J. Durkin is a great defensive mind, Mike London is a terrific D-line coach who can help me get to the next level, and Coach [Aazaar Abdul] Rahim is someone I have a ton of respect for. I talk to Coach London a lot, and he’s just a great coach and someone I feel like I could see myself developing under.
“When I think about my family, friends, youth coaches, high school coaches, all of them being able to see me play – that means something. [Also] the guys Maryland is bringing, with the way it’s going, they’re going to be a top-10 university … The class coming in for 2017 is already looking like maybe the best the program’s ever had. So that’s something that definitely stands out to me.”
Before ending his recruitment, though, Rogers would like to check out a few more campuses.
He has been to Rutgers and deemed the visit “OK,” but he did not sound overly enthused. Next, Rogers would like to see recent offeree Pitt and a few others he’s hashing out with his coach. The three-star could also consider camping at places like Ohio State, MSU and PSU, all of which sent assistants through Roosevelt this spring, in an attempt to cull out looks from the Buckeyes; Spartans; and Nittany Lions.
Rogers, who insisted he’s not looking for any offers in particular, also mentioned the possibility of taking officials. But we’ll see if those actually come to fruition. In all likelihood, the Roosevelt product will be cajoled into a summer or early-fall decision so he doesn’t lose his spot. (The latter might be the only way he doesn’t end up a Terp).
Rogers is listed “hot” on the hot board -- and has been for some time now.
You can read more about Rogers HERE.
Jabreel Stephens, DE/OLB, Jefferson (Tampa, Fla.): After noting the “BUCK” linebacker Stephens’ interest in Maryland following a mid-May offer, we caught up with the Jefferson High prospect for more insight earlier this week. The 6-3, 230-pounder said he’s been communicating via Twitter with UMD-Tampa recruiter Chris Beatty, who has let Stephens know all about Maryland’s multiple defense.
“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 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. So I liked the sound of that; it fits me perfectly. That’s what I do in high school now.”
That may be encouraging for Terps’ purposes, but Stephens is in the preliminary stages of his recruitment. He had similar compliments for a few other recent suitors, Stephens pointing to Louisville’s defense; Kentucky’s SEC affiliation; and Syracuse’s rise under headman Dino Babers.
The doesn’t even include the program presumably leading for Stephens. Arizona’s coaches have had an offer out since early spring and have been in daily contact with the Tampa native since then. And of all the campuses Stephens said he could be trekking to, Tempe, Ariz., was the only locale he said he “definitely” wanted to check out (likely for an official visit during the fall).
Of course, Stephens is seeking to see a few more as well, giving the likes of UMD; Kentucky; Louisville; and Syracuse an opportunity to win him over. It’s possible more suitors could enter the fray too, although Stephens said he’s not seeking offers.
Stephens went on to say he’d like to embark on all five allotted officials before announcing his college decision. But he conceded he’ll probably have to commit before doing so. The hybrid edge rusher acknowledged schools might begin filling their defensive end/outside linebacker slots, which could trigger an earlier-than-anticipated pledge.
We have Stephens listed “cool” on the hot board since he does want to take in College Park. But the vibe is Arizona’s the team to beat, followed by Louisville and Kentucky.
You can read more about Stephens HERE.
Stephon Zayas, DE, Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): We made note of Zayas’ Terps’ offer last week, and this week we were able to get a bit more out of the 6-6, 210-pound edge rusher. Apparently Zayas isn’t one for phone calls, but the emerging end did give some more insight into his situation via text and Twitter.
Zayas counts Maryland as one of three programs standing out early after three Terps’ assistants watched a Dillard workout May 16. UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim all stopped by the Fort Lauderdale school and then extended verbals to Zayas and his fellow 2017 linemates, Miami commit Jonathan Ford and four-star Jordan Wright.
“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 didn’t know much about Maryland beyond the initial coach encounter, however. He’s in the research phase and just beginning to establish a rapport with the staff.
The other programs on the brain are Louisville and Pitt. He wants to see both schools this summer, in addition to UCF; UMD; and Bowling Green.
Zayas also noted that staffers from Michigan State, Syracuse and UMass were interested, and if offers materialized, he’d like check out the Spartans; Orange; and Minutemen too.
Even more suitors are bound to pile in as the offseason moves along, though, which means Zayas’ recruitment will inevitably ebb and flow. Therefore, Zayas, who does not plan on choosing a college until he takes official visits, is nowhere close to naming firm leaders and standouts.
But the feeling here is Zayas may give Maryland a look. For him to wind up in College Park, however, Terps fans have to hope the nation’s elites don’t come calling.
You can read more about Zayas HERE.
Vic Dimukeje, DL, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): Little has changed since I interviewed the DMV defensive lineman a couple weeks ago . . . except that Dimukeje secured his first SEC offer from Missouri. Afterwards, Dimukeje said he was thrilled with the look and sought to see Mizzou at some point this summer.
Now, that’s all well and good, but we aren’t projecting Dimukeje to the Tigers. Sure, Mizzou holds SEC allure, but some of the other factors playing heavily into the Boys’ Latin product’s recruitment -- namely, academics -- don’t exactly apply to the Columbia, Mo., institution. Plus, we’re not even sure the offer’s committable at this point. The Tigers’ staff has handed out a slew of defensive line offers of late, and it’s unlikely Dimukeje’s viewed as priority No. 1.
Even so, the offer itself is still noteworthy, because it could elevate Dimukeje in the eyes of other programs’ coaches. Schools like Alabama or LSU won’t come calling, but it’s possible staffers from a Penn State; a Michigan; a Cal; a Michigan State; and others of that ilk take a closer look. If so, Dimukeje will be that much harder for the Terps’ staff to haul in.
For the time being, this looks to be a Maryland-Duke race, with both programs practically running neck and neck. Dimukeje wants to return to both Durham and College Park this summer, giving each a look before selecting his future destination sometime before his senior season.
It still could come down to those two before it’s all said and done, but an offer from, say, Michigan -- the coaches have expressed interest -- could complicate matters.
New Offers Out
James Graham, QB, Fitzgerald (Ga.) (2018): Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell approved yet another sophomore quarterback offer, this one going out to the dual-threat Graham May 25. Graham did not respond to inquiries this week, but he’s a 6-1, 175-pounder with offers from Miami, Cincinnati, UMD, Georgia Southern, Tulane, Western Kentucky and Appalachian State. Graham has interest from schools throughout the ACC, SEC and Big Ten, however, and should have many attractive options to explore before his junior season’s complete.
Hometown Georgia should be anteing up in time, sending Graham’s recruitment to another level. The SEC programs may recruit Graham as a receiver, however, as they’ll covet the Fitzgerald product for his electrifying athleticism.
How Graham views himself in college, either as a quarterback or receiver, remains to be seen. If it’s the former, perhaps a school like Maryland will enter the equation.
Tyran Hunt, OT, Southampton (Courtland, Va.): UMD-area recruiter Mike London has serious pull in Virginia, and it sounds like he's got enough mojo working to get the Terps involved with Hunt. The three-star tackle, who snagged a Maryland offer May 23, may have had several other programs trending prior to London's verbal, but apparently Hunt's got his eye on the Terps.
“I picked up a bunch of new offers during this evaluation period, but definitely Maryland was one that caught my eye,” said Hunt, who claims offers from Va Tech, UVA, Rutgers, UNC, UCF, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, NC State, Duke, Pitt, Vandy and others. “Maryland has always been a pretty good school. It’s a school I’ve always sort of paid attention to since it’s close by and I know it’s great academics. I watched them when they were in the ACC, and then I saw they were in the Big Ten, which is another great conference.
"Plus, the school’s in a great spot, it’s a great campus, and they have a lot of great majors there for me to explore. I really like how it’s a good combination of academics and a wonderful football program. And I have family in the area, and when I’ve been up there I just really liked the city and how it’s near Washington, D.C. There’s so many great opportunities there.”
The Southampton prospect added that he'd surely be stopping by College Park this summer.
But while this sounds encouraging for UMD purposes, it's important to note that Hunt also said he has no definitive standouts. He's not a "praise every school" recruit per se, but the vibe is he's just as high, if not higher, on a few other suitors as well.
Hunt chose to downplay his Virginia Tech interest, but we've heard from our colleagues the Hokies are sitting pretty. The tackle, who has been in Blacksburg on a few occasions, loves the vibe Hokies’ headman Justin Fuente is creating around the team and has developed a strong bond with his assistants.
Tech isn’t the only local school on Hunt’s mind, either. UVA has also left a distinct impression after Hunt took in head coach Bronco Mendenhall’s program. The Southampton product has visited N.C. State as well (actually, he’s been there twice), Hunt placing the Wolfpack firmly in the running for his services.
Additionally, Wake Forest and Duke are two more schools on the brain, with Hunt enthusiastic about checking out Durham in particular this summer. On top of that, the Courtland native landed a North Carolina offer in mid-May and is in the process of setting up a Tar Heels’ trip.
It’s entirely possible London can gain Hunt's ear, but we’re not sure it’ll be enough to top Tech and the other ACC suitors. Hunt has been listed "cool" on the hot board for now.
Note: Hunt said he'd like to be committed by August, but admitted official visits were a strong possibility. So even if he elects to pop this summer, his recruitment won't end there.
You can read more about Hunt HERE.
Antwan Owens, DT, Godby (Tallahassee, Fla.): After Maryland-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim stopped by Godby May 19, he offered the three-star Owens, who immediately named UMD a school of interest. The 6-3, 285-pounder said he “definitely” wanted to visit College Park and might even consider taking an official during the fall.
“I was really excited about it and I really felt accomplished, because Maryland was an offer I really wanted. It’s a big offer for me,” said Owens, who also holds offers from Kentucky, Mississippi State, Wake, Indiana, Purdue, ECU, UCF, Syracuse and others. “First of all, the new coaches there look like they’re building a powerhouse in football. Maryland is a program on the rise from what I can tell with some of the guys they’re bringing in. Also, it’s a Big Ten school and that’s a great conference to play in. And I kind of want to get out of Tallahassee and go some place a little farther away. I like the idea of going up north for college.”
It does sound like Owens has legitimate Maryland interest, but we’re not ready to project him to College Park just yet. Owens admitted his two SEC suitors, Mississippi State and Kentucky, had his eye and may lead at this time. (The Godby product’s cousin, Mike Williams, was a former Wildcat, and Owens used to attend games in Lexington, Kent., when he was younger.) The defensive tackle wants to see both programs during the offseason.
Owens also said Indiana, Purdue and UCF were in mind, with possible trips to all three this summer. Moreover, Owens said he’s hoping either Miami or Florida pull through with offers -- the Canes’ and Gators’ coaches are showing interest -- the tackle suggesting UF and UM would vault up his unstated leaderboard.
We’ve listed Owens “cool” on the hot board.
You can read more about Owens HERE.
Michael Scott, OLB, North Florida Christian (Tallahassee, Fla.): This outside linebacker/defensive end (he’d be a “BUCK” at Maryland) now has about 30 offers in tow, with UMD coming in May 20 courtesy of area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. The list includes programs like Cal, Syracuse, Purdue, Syracuse, ECU, Louisville, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Southern Miss, Northwestern, USF, UCF, Temple, Utah and more.
Scott said none of the scholarships “burst out” to him at the moment, but there are a couple that caught his eye following visits. He said he enjoyed his stays at Utah and UCF most, ahead of trips to Georgia Tech; Southern Miss; and USF. Scott also said the Cal offer had his attention, the North Florida Christian product mentioning he could take a Berkley, Calif., official this fall.
But Scott won’t know where he truly stands until this summer, when he embarks on a long tour through the north. Some of the campuses he plans to hit include Syracuse, Maryland, Memphis, Louisville and maybe more. He’ll be camping at Ohio State too in hopes of drawing a Buckeyes’ look.
“I do want to get up to Maryland,” Scott said. “Actually, one of my friends, Qwuantrezz Knight (East Gadsden/Quincy, Fla.), just signed with them. Qwuantrezz and I actually trained together last summer and went to a few camps. So we’ve been friends since then. He told me Maryland is where it’s at and he loved it up there. So I think I want to check it out. There’s a bunch of schools I’m seeing up North, so I’m trying to get to Maryland.”
Scott, however, didn’t know much about the Terps beyond what he’s gleaned from brief conversations with Knight. The edge rusher said he’d be in touch with Abdul-Rahim moving forward in order to learn more, though.
Scott, who isn’t necessarily inclined to stay near home for college, would like to have his future destination decided by the end of the summer. If not, he said he’d take one or two officials and then end his recruitment in early fall.
For now, we’ve listed Scott “cool” on the hot board. We’ll elevate him if Abdul-Rahim gains his ear and Scott visits College Park.
You can read more about Scott HERE.
Off The Board
Noah Igbinoghene, WR, Hewitt-Trussville (Trussville, Ala.): We sensed the Alabama wideout Igbinoghene had been trending away from the Terps for some time, but the three-star hadn’t said much to the media of late. Thus, we left him on the hot board in case UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker could make up some ground.
When Tucker first became involved with Igbinoghene back in February, the receiver called Maryland one of his biggest offers and said he was open to visiting College Park. But it doesn’t sound like the Hewitt-Trussville prospect will be journeying east anytime soon.
Our Scout colleague, John Garcia, caught up with Igbinoghene recently, and basically confirmed our suspicions.
In the Garcia interview, the Alabama receiver discussed a coveted Notre Dame offer, which is about to send Igbinoghene’s recruitment skyrocketing. Now, SEC coaches from Bama, Auburn and Florida are initiating contact and could toss out scholarships at any time. If so, Igbinoghene hinted he’s probably going to wind up in the SEC. The wideout’s made no secret he’d love to compete in the nation’s No. 1 conference, with the hometown Tide and Eagles holding prime appeal.
Robert Porcher IV, DE, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): Porcher remained on the hot board because he did visit College Park in April and has been in touch with three Maryland staffers: Matt Barnes, Mike London and Andy Buh. But while Porcher hasn’t declared definitive standouts, it’s obvious, based on recent interviews, the Terps are down in the pecking order.
As expected, Porcher’s blown up on the trail and now counts offers from programs throughout the Big Ten, ACC, SEC, Big 12 and the Pac-12.
Nebraska defensive line coach John Parrella has been making inroads and seems to have caught Porcher’s eye. Porcher will be in Lincoln, Neb., this summer and it seems like the Huskers’ staff has a real shot to reel him in.
USC, Arizona and Arizona State are heavily involved as well, Porcher seeking to see each during the coming months. In fact, the Floridian is rather infatuated with the West Coast, and could be leaning towards left-coast institutions.
Not that Porcher’s discriminating. Michigan’s staff just offered, after all, and Porcher previously let on he would have high interest in the Wolverines should the verbal materialize. He told our Scout colleagues he wanted to trek up to Ann Arbor, Mich., to learn more about John Harbaugh’s program.
True, Porcher’s recruitment will ebb and flow until the winter, but we don’t foresee him coming back around to the Terps.
Dorian Etheridge, LB, Capital (Charleston, W.Va.): Etheridge had a rapport with UMD linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, liked his spring stay in College Park, and at one time ranked the Terps among his foremost two or three suitors. But now Maryland’s probably no higher than fourth or fifth on the leaderboard -- and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change.
Etheridge has Va Tech and WVU far out in front, and there seems to be a good amount of separation between those two programs and “the rest.” Both the Mountaineers’ and the Hokies’ staffs have sent coaches though Capital, and each remains in daily communication with the outside backer. In turn, Etheridge has trekked through Blacksburg and Morgantown, W.Va., a couple times this offseason and could return for one last look before choosing a school during the summer.
Unless there’s a change of heart, Etheridge is going to wind up at Tech or West Virginia.