June 2 was the final school day before summer break for DMV-area private schools, and a handful of football recruits took the opportunity to head over to College Park, Md., for yet another looksee at Maryland. Joining 2017 UMD commits like Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), Ayinde Eley (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.), Josh Kaindoh (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) and Cam Spence (St. John’s) were a pair of highly-rated uncommitted Terps’ targets, who head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. are after in earnest.
Four-star defensive end Josh Paschal (Good Counsel) and three-star edge rusher/BUCK linebacker Tyree Johnson (St. John’s) returned to UMD June 2, and both continue to sing the hometown school’s praises.
The latter in particular.
The 6-foot-3.5, 250-pound Johnson has been favoring Maryland for quite some time now, hinting the Terps lead the likes of Tennessee and Texas A&M. And after his latest foray through College Park, Maryland’s seemingly in an even better spot.
“It’s looking good for Maryland,” Johnson said. “I don’t want to, you know, come out and say ‘definite leader,’ but, yeah, they’re No. 1 (laughs). I’m liking them a lot right now.”
Johnson has been on campus about five times this offseason, taking in DMV Day, practices, spring games, scrimmages and more. Thus, he didn’t see much different June 2, but he certainly heard a whole lot about DMV-to-UMD -- from coaches and commits alike.
“It was kind of funny how it happened. I was working out with Kasim and Cam, and after that they were like, ‘Hey we’re going up to Maryland.’ And I was like, ‘Cool, I mine as well go too.’ And I ended up driving everyone up,” laughed Johnson. “And from there it was just a good time. Those guys are good friends of mine, and they’re not really pressuring me to go to Maryland, but they are putting Maryland in my ear. There’s no doubt they want me on board with them, and that’s something I’m really looking into because they’re there.
“And just thinking about playing on the same D-line as Cam and Josh [Kaindoh], I mean, that would be very cool. It would be really cool to play on the same side of the ball as them and make an impact on the defense. We were talking about that [June 2].”
In addition to interacting with the other recruits, Johnson said he spoke to Durkin, defensive line coach Mike London and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. He’s developed a strong rapport with each of those coaches, along with the rest of the staff. Both Abdul-Rahim and London have trekked through St. John’s and maintained close contact via Twitter.
“I was talking to Coach London a good bit, and it was a deep conversation,” Johnson said. “It’s mainly the same message, but it’s a good one. I just like how whenever he talks to you, there’s a life message there that you can hold onto. Plus, Coach London is a great line coach, and he can help you get to the next level. So I really respect him.
“And Coach Rahim, he’s just a cool guy. I’ve known him since he was a high school coach, and he’s just a great dude and gives a great message to me too. I also spoke to Coach Durkin, but he was mainly talking to us as a group. But he’s still great to be around and just has great energy.”
The St. John’s product also mentioned that the Terps continue to recruit him as a hybrid type, who can rush with his hand in the dirt or from an outside linebacker spot. Johnson said he loves the BUCK position, because it takes advantage of his versatility and allows him to use a variety of techniques.
“And another thing is Maryland already has Josh [Kaindoh] and Cam, and then they’re going after Josh Paschal and Chase [Young]. So there’s already a lot of true D-line guys that are there or could be there,” Johnson said. “So the BUCK spot, that would let me get on the field and make an impact early. Like, if the D-end spots are taken, I can drop back and get on the field as an outside linebacker. So that sounds good to me.”
Johnson concluded by discussing the “feel” he has every time he’s in College Park. Previously, he’s talked up the upcoming facility upgrades, the renovated dorms and the area itself. But he said the atmosphere generated by the coaches and players is what stays with him.
“Every time I’m up there, it just feels like home,” Johnson said. “I just have great relationships there, all around.”
Before ending his recruitment, however, Johnson does have a few visits he’d like to take. He said he’s trying to see Va Tech, Syracuse, North Carolina and South Carolina this June and July. Johnson would also like to return to Texas A&M and Tennessee, the programs currently running second and third in the pecking order, if possible.
“I still want to commit in August before my senior season,” Johnson said. “It could be later if I keep getting offers, but the goal is August.”
Note: Johnson said he did not talk to Josh Paschal much during the visit. The St. John’s product knows that Paschal is high on the Terps, but wasn’t sure exactly what the Good Counsel end was thinking post June 2 trip.