Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
News On Top Targets
Deon Jackson, RB, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.): The Sound Mind/Sound Body camp kicked off in Atlanta June 4, and five Maryland assistants were in attendance, including Georgia-area recruiter Mike London. Although London was watching the defensive linemen, he also reconnected with the three-star Terps’ target Deon Jackson.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Pace Academy product has held Maryland in high regard since a standout April visit to College Park, Md. He talked up the spring game, the coaching techniques, offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense, the campus, the pending facility upgrades, the Terps’ 2017 recruiting class and even the academics.
And after chatting with London again June 4, it sounds like Jackson has the Terps among his foremost four contenders.
“Coach London said he just wanted to come check up on me. He told me I looked real good and have gotten a lot faster, which people have told me a lot recently,” Jackson said. “He likes how I move, how I catch the ball – just saying things like that.
“But me and Coach London, we talk a decent amount. I talk to him and [running backs coach Anthony] Tucker, but Coach Tucker wasn’t there [June 4]. They’re real down-to-earth people, they keep it real, they’re very passionate and they’ve very high on me, which I like. They think I can come in and do some damage right away for them, so that’s what I like to hear.”
But Jackson has a few more schools firmly in play too, including Louisville; Mizzou; and Duke. He said coaches from those three programs, in addition to Maryland, are in contact most often.
Jackson has visited Maryland and Louisville, but said he’d be returning to each this summer. He’ll be at Duke June 12 and is in the process of scheduling an initial Columbia, Mo., trip. Additionally, the three-star will be camping at Notre Dame June 18 and Georgia the weekend after in hopes of landing Irish and Bulldogs looks. (If the Bulldogs’ staff offers they’d promptly vault up the leaderboard.)
Either way, expect Jackson to make a summer college decision. He hinted he could take a couple officials during the fall, but ideally would like to have his school chosen by August.
For our part, we believe the Terps are sitting second or third in the pecking order for now, perhaps right behind Duke. But much can change in the next couple months, especially if Jackson follows through with an intended Maryland return.
You can read more about Jackson HERE.
Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Scout national analysts Brian Dohn and Mike Clark discussed the four-star McFarland in their latest podcast June 7. All things considered, their assessment of the DMV back fell in line with my own: It’s Maryland, Alabama, Georgia and maybe a couple more.
“Maryland, it’s in his backyard and the Terps have done a good job at DeMatha,” Dohn said. “But every time I talk to Anthony, he talks about the Southern swing, with Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Clemson, Florida State.
“Also, keep an eye on Oklahoma in this one; they got Parnell Motley out of D.C. last year and Charles Tapper a few years ago. Oklahoma is starting to creep into the Northeast more and more. With how they use their running backs, Oklahoma makes a lot of sense to me [for McFarland]. And [McFarland] was jazzed up about Clemson too; don’t sleep on them. I’m also not counting out Florida State; kids rave about what it’s like there and they love the staff there.”
Clark pretty much concurred with Dohn. He too placed Maryland in the fold, but wasn’t ready to project him to College Park.
“Maryland, before they weren’t really in the mix, but the job the new staff has done in this class … and they’ve made [McFarland] a huge, huge priority… [McFarland] could really help speed up a turnaround at Maryland,” Clark said. “[McFarland to UMD] would be big for multiple reasons, but you have to watch the schools in the south like Alabama and Georgia…. You have to watch his visits, and judging by those you’ll get a good idea where he is with his recruitment.”
There’s really not much more for me to add, except that Miami’s also in the mix since McFarland had a close rapport with head coach Mark Richt when he was at UGA.
The Terps, with almost the entire offensive staff and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on the four-star, are going to reside among the top-three leaders all the way through the winter. But it’s too soon to project McFarland to College Park. Not with those southern powers ringing true.
Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): After analyzing Anthony McFarland, Scout’s Brian Dohn and Mike Clark moved on to Tayon Fleet-Davis, another UMD target. And, like with McFarland, they agreed with my assessment.
“Syracuse, Maryland, NC State, Iowa, and keep an eye on Illinois, which just offered,” Dohn said. “But Maryland and Syracuse, those are the two to watch. If you look at Dino Babers at Syracuse, he’s making kids like Fleet-Davis buy in…. I would not be surprised if he visits Syracuse [June 25] and commits shortly thereafter.”
Clark proceeded to echo Dohn, pointing out the upcoming trips to UMD June 18 and Cuse June 25 are “huge.”
“The fact he’s visiting Maryland and Syracuse, those are the two to keep an eye on. You have to think those two are right there,” Clark said. “You can’t count our Iowa, Illinois or NC State, but in the end those two [Iowa and Maryland] have shown they want him the most. Those two are in the driver’s seat.”
Fleet-Davis will be camping at Ohio State and possibly Pitt, but the Buckeyes’ coaches aren’t going to offer and we don’t expect the Panthers to be prime players. In all likelihood, it’s an Orange-Terps battle, and UMD fans have to hope Cuse lands Jon Lovett (Cherokee/Marlton, N.J.), Devin Darrington (John Carroll/Bel Air, Md.) or some other runner before Fleet-Davis is ready to pop.
Trey Creamer, WR/RB, Cartersville (Ga.): This Terps’ target took two visits last week and another the week before. Creamer returned to Duke and Wake Forest, and previously headed over to nearby Georgia Tech.
Of those, the Deacons are the only program whose coaches offered Creamer, and it sounds like the interest is reciprocal. Creamer has been in Winston Salem, N.C., twice and likes the academics and close-knit feel of the place.
Creamer admitted, however, that he’s seeking a Duke verbal, and he camped in Durham, N.C., in hopes of landing it. The Georgia receiver obviously didn’t snag the coveted verbal June 4, but it’s possible it’ll come to fruition down the road. If so, Creamer could very well wind up a Blue Devil.
As for Maryland, offensive coordinator Walt Bell offered the hybrid receiver May 17, and Creamer is in the process of scheduling a College Park trip. He said he’s excited to see UMD for the first time after Bell forayed through Cartersville and then made an enticing pitch.
But we’ll have to see how ardently the Terps’ staff pushes for Creamer with limited slots available. The Maryland staff now has three wideout commits and will take one running back in the 2017 class (with a second spot saved for DeMatha’s Anthony McFarland if he wants in).
Other schools Creamer is looking to see include Minnesota, Purdue, Southern Miss and possibly Louisville, all of which have offers out.
Jeremiah Hall, TE/H-Back, Vance (Charlotte, N.C.): Our Scout colleague Bob Przybylo, who covers Oklahoma, updated the tight end/H-Back Hall recently, and the sense is the Sooners could be trending for the three-star. Hall called his OU offer “huge” and his most significant to date, while he’s in regular communication with area recruiter Jay Boulware. The North Carolina hybrid immediately took note of Sooners’ H-Backs like Trey Millard, Dimitri Flowers and J.D. Runnels, who all excelled in Norman, Okla. Hall should be visiting OU this summer, and if he follows through, the Sooners could be positioned to reel him in.
But Hall has several more schools he wants to see as well, including Maryland. Recall, UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell offered Hall May 17 after taking in a Vance practice. Hall didn’t know much about the Terps at the time, but for the last few weeks he’s learned more and has begun developing a rapport with Bell. The three-star then texted me this week and said he’d be taking in College Park sometime in July.
One other school Hall said he definitely wanted to see was Pitt. The Panthers’ coaches recently extended an offer, and the North Carolina native said he’d like to make it to Pittsburgh next month.
There are a couple other programs that could be graced with Hall’s presence, but he told me, “Oklahoma, Maryland and Pitt for sure.”
Either way, expect Hall to embark on a couple official visits before finalizing his recruitment mid-fall. We’re listing Hall “cool” for now, but if he does make it to Maryland we’ll give the Terps better odds here.
Johnny Jordan, OC, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): The DMV center will be making the rounds starting this weekend. He’ll be at UVA June 11, UMD June 12, Va Tech June 17, BC June 19 and Pitt June 25. All five of those schools have offers out, with Tech being Jordan’s most recent.
Although the Hokies’ coaches entered the fray late, Jordan sounds quite excited about visiting Blacksburg, Va., and learning more about head coach Justin Fuente’s program. Va Tech could easily reside among Jordan’s top two or three suitors following the foray.
UVA, however, has been after Jordan for months now and has the center’s firm attention. The Gonzaga prospect loved his previous stays in Wahoo Country, extolling the staff; academics; and the area. He also has former teammates at UVA, making it a more attractive destination.
Maryland, meanwhile, is probably sitting even or just behind Virginia in the pecking order. Jordan’s been through College Park on multiple occasions and likes what he’s seen out of new-look UMD. The D.C. native and his parents have connected with offensive line coach Dave Borbely, head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and the rest.
But, as we’ve suggested in the past, the Terps’ staff may view Jordan as more of a “luxury” addition. In other words, they’re not pushing for a pop and may not be ready to accept Jordan’s pledge even if he did want in. Now, down the line, if Durkin has room for another guard-type, Jordan could very well be welcomed in. But, for the time being, the UMD staff is focused on adding longer tackles.
In fact, it’s unclear whether or not the coaches from UVA or Va Tech are ready to take Jordan now, either. We’ve heard both could be in “wait and see” mode since the Hoos’ and Hokies’ coaches have other targets on their respective boards.
If Jordan senses that’s the case, maybe it’ll open the door for a program like Boston College. The Eagles are a bit further from home, but they do boast standout academics. Jordan’s also staying two nights in Chestnut Hill, Mass., which could indicate his interest level in the program.
Jordan would like to have his future destination finalized by late summer. We should have a better idea where he stands, and where his suitors stand, after these upcoming trips.
Tyree Johnson, DE/BUCK, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): The local edge rusher Johnson is listed “hot” on the hot board for a reason. He’s visited College Park about five times this offseason, has repeatedly praised the coaching staff, loves the idea of joining his teammates and other DMV recruits at UMD, and has an all-around comfort level with the program.
Following Johnson’s latest foray June 2, he continued to call the hometown school his No. 1.
“It’s looking good for Maryland,” said Johnson, who was joined by Terps’ commits Kasim Hill (St. John’s), Cam Spence (St. John’s), Josh Kaindoh (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) and Ayinde Eley (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.) June 2. “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. Every time I’m up there, it just feels like home. I just have great relationships there, all around.”
Johnson’s formed a strong bond with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and defensive line coach Mike London. The St. John’s product respects London as a coach and an individual, Johnson noting the assistant’s resume; coaching style; and personal demeanor. Moreover, Johnson’s known Abdul-Rahim for years and has a buddy-buddy-like rapport with the Terps’ defensive backs coach.
Additionally, the D.C. native is constantly hearing from his teammates Hill and Spence about the Terps. Johnson said he’s heeding their words, while he’s keen on the idea of lining up next to Spence and Kaindoh along Maryland’s D-line.
Before committing, though, Johnson does want to see a couple other locales. He specifically mentioned Va Tech, UNC, South Carolina and Syracuse, with possible returns to Tennessee and Texas A&M also in the works. The Vols and Aggies (former teammate Aaron Hansford is there) are currently running second and third, respectively, at this juncture.
If all goes according to plan, Johnson should be committing by late July or early August. He might push his decision date back if more offers come piling in, but Johnson’s goal is to have his recruitment finalized before his senior season.
Regardless of the timetable, all the tealeaves read “Terps” at this stage.
You can read more about Johnson HERE.
Josh Paschal, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): The four-star edge rusher Paschal is in no hurry to end his recruitment, but it’s clear the Terps are in a solid spot for him. The 6-3, 255-pounder retuned to UMD June 2 for his fourth look at the hometown school, and he came away raving.
“That was one of my favorite visits to Maryland. It was a great time,” said Paschal, who holds offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee, TAMU, Virginia Tech, UNC, Ole Miss, Clemson, Kentucky, Ohio State, West Virginia, Pitt, Iowa, Missouri, Penn State, UVA, Michigan State and more. “I had a really good time interacting with the coaches and other recruits. I had a one on one meeting with Coach [Mike] London and Coach [D.J.] Durkin and it was really great. I didn’t really see anything different this time, but it’s just a really good feel there. I feel comfortable there. Maryland stands very good for me overall. They’re one of my top schools. I like it a lot there.”
The main reason the Good Counsel product likes new-look UMD is the staff. He said he’s in contact with most every Maryland coach, although area recruiter Chis Beatty and London lead the way. Paschal said he’d love to play for London given his resume, while he likes Beatty’s personality and approach. Paschal also extolled Durkin’s energy and the vibe he’s receiving from the coaches overall.
If that weren’t enough, Paschal’s high on the dorm upgrades, NuCole, DMV-to-UMD and more. He’s all about playing with his fellov locals and showing out for the hometown program. Plus, his parents like Maryland a good bit and wouldn’t mind if their son stuck around town for college.
But Paschal does want to explore his other suitors. Notre Dame and Oklahoma are on the brain, in addition to returns through places like Clemson; Kentucky; Va Tech; UMD; Ohio State and more.
Look for Paschal to form a leaderboard later this summer before declaring official visit destinations in the fall. He has no intentions of committing before the winter.
Our gut? We like Maryland’s position and believe the Terps will reside anywhere from first to fourth throughout. But Paschal’s going to take his time, so we’re not ready to forecast him to UMD just yet.
You can read more about Paschal HERE.
Chase Young, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): There’s really not much new to report on the five-star Young, but Scout’s Brian Dohn did give a refresher of sorts earlier this week. Here’s his overview of where the DeMatha edge rusher stands heading into the summer months:
“Young made an April visit to Ohio State, and he made a pair of April trips to Maryland. He wants to make a summer visit to see USC, and Alabama is high on his trip list. He will also attempt to visit a bunch of other schools on his Top 15.
This has all the feel of a Maryland vs. Ohio State battle, but plenty can change before signing day, especially with Alabama and USC.
In Maryland, Young has comfort and familiarity. A number of former teammates, including Darryl Turner and Lorenzo Harrison, will be playing for the Terps in the fall, and the campus is five minutes from DeMatha. His visit to Ohio State was eye-opening, and given the Buckeyes produce NFL defensive ends and Maryland standouts Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Keandre Jones both flipped from Maryland to the Buckeyes in last year's class, it gives Young comfort with the players in the program.
Never rule out Alabama because the Crimson Tide recruit well nationally, and coach Nick Saban landed his share of players from the Washington, D.C., area. Visiting Alabama and learning about the defensive fit could turn into a game-changing visit for Young.
The visibility of USC and its mix of academics and football history are big reasons the Trojans could make a substantial move with Young, if he gets to campus. Michigan and Notre Dame are also schools that can get heavily involved with Young when (if) he gets to campus, and do not rule out Florida, Florida State or Clemson.
Decision Time: That Young still has a Top 15 shows he does not seem to be in a rush. Look for Young to make official visits before making a decision, which could come in January.”
My Take: I concur with Dohn; this will indeed be a Maryland-Ohio State battle, with Alabama lurking. Right now, the Buckeyes may have the edge, but there’s a ways to go. If DMV-to-UMD keeps humming in earnest, we could see the Terps hopping OSU in the pecking order.
Antwan Owens, DT, Godby (Tallahassee, Fla.): Back when Owens landed his Maryland offer, in late May, we noted how the Terps had piqued the three-star’s interest and he sought to see College Park in June or July. But we left Owens “cool” on the hot board since many out-of-state recruits say they’re going to visit but fail to follow through. Well, earlier this week Owens texted in he would indeed be trekking through Maryland later in June and was nailing down an exact date with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
“It’s a school I definitely want to see,” Owens said. “I like what Coach Rahim has been saying to me, and I think Maryland’s a program on the rise. I like that it’s in the Big Ten. I want to get up there to meet the coaches.”
That’s all well and good, but we don’t believe Maryland resides at the top of the totem poll just yet. Fact is, the Terps are one of 10 programs on Owens’ mind, the others being Louisville; Kentucky; Mississippi State; Purdue; Indiana; Iowa State; USF, UCF; and ECU.
Owens just visited Louisville in early June and raved about the campus, facilities and the staff’s pitch. But the Cardinals -- along with several others -- are probably trailing the SEC suitors, Kentucky and Mississippi State, which the Godby product previously said had grabbed his attention. UL, Maryland, UCF, Purdue and Indiana are probably sitting anywhere from third to seventh on the leaderboard based on our conversations with the Tallahassee native.
We’ll know more about Owens’ situation after he embarks on more trips. But the Godby recruit does sound interested enough in Maryland to elevate his hot-board temperature to “warm.”
Note: It remains to be seen which programs are truly pushing for an Owens pop. Even UMD’s coaches may not pursue in earnest just yet considering the number of defensive linemen the Terps are positioned for.
DeMarco Artis, DE/OLB, Seminole (Sanford, Fla.): The 30-plus offer Artis has been on and off our radars, but we chose to tentatively place him back on the hot board earlier this week. First of all, Artis released a top-13 favorites list that did include UMD. Secondly, both linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes and defensive coordinator Andy Buh have maintained regular contact with Artis since the winter. And thirdly, recent Terps’ pledge M.J. Jarrell (Timber Creek/Orlando, Fla.) is a good friend of Artis’, the receiver insisting he’d be “working” on the linebacker.
With the above in mind, it is conceivable Artis trips through College Park this offseason or during the fall. The Seminole product indicated he may join Jarrell on the wideout’s return north later this summer.
If the trip comes to fruition, the Terps could probably become one of Artis’ foremost four or five contenders. But our Florida colleagues believe Barnes, Buh and Co. have their work cut out for them.
North Carolina could be in the pole position for now, Artis connecting with recruiter Chad Scott and eager to visit Chapel Hill, N.C. Per Scout’s Corey Bender, the Heels “are looking real good” with the Seminole prospect.
In-state UCF is ringing true too after multiple forays through Central Florida. And Va Tech, NC State and possibly Temple have Artis’ eye as well thanks to the pitches from those respective schools’ coaches.
Indiana, Iowa State, Pitt, Louisville and Hawaii are also in the game, though probably trailing the aforementioned programs. Meanwhile, the Floridian has Ole Miss and Michigan State on his leaderboard, but we’re not sure the Rebels’ or the Spartans’ staffs are pushing.
It’s important to note that Artis, like most multi-offer recruits, left a disclaimer that his list is subject to change. That means if a few more “name” verbals come through it’ll undoubtedly shake up the board.
But we’ll see what kind of traction the Maryland staff can make here; perhaps they’ll do enough to secure an official visit during the fall. But, for now, we’re leaving Artis “cool” on the hot board.
Shanon Reid, ILB, Dunbar (Fort Meyers, Fla.): This linebacker attended Michigan’s satellite camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., June 4, and afterwards he told our colleagues who cover the Wolverines that UM had his ear. Reid said he’s been in close contact with area recruiter Don Brown and was excited to work with head coach Jim Harbaugh at the camp. The three-star wants to see Ann Arbor, Mich., later this summer, mentioning how he couldn’t wait to learn more about the program.
At the same time, Reid also intimated he doesn’t have a clear leader yet. He said Michigan, USF, Maryland, Mississippi State, WVU, Tennessee and Marshall all “are sticking out equally” at this stage. Of those, however, Reid seems to be more inclined to take a closer look at UM, UMD, Tennessee and Mississippi State. All of the latter are in line for potential visits in the next couple months.
With the Terps, multiple staffers have had contact with the Dunbar prospect. UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and defensive coordinator Andy Buh have trekked through the school, while linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes has maintained a rapport via Twitter. Reid said the Maryland staff’s ardent pursuit has piqued his interest, to the point where UMD could reside among his top-five suitors when the leaderboard’s released this August.
But we’ll see how this plays out down the line. The Terps have numerous linebackers on the board (albeit, not nearly as many inside backers), and Reid may not be a primary target right now. And as Reid’s profile expands to include more southern and SEC offers, the less inclined he could be to venture north.
If the Fort Meyers native does make it to College Park, we’ll follow his situation more in-depth. For the time being, though, we’ll leave him “cool” on the hot board.
Look for Reid to announce his favorites list late summer, before scheduling officials during the fall. His recruitment is bound to ebb and flow.
Randall Haynie, CB, Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): We're growing increasingly optimistic about Maryland's chances with the Gibbons corner Haynie. He's already listed "warm" on the hot board, but it could go "hot" at any time -- perhaps, after he visits College Park for the first time June 19 or 20.
"I've been talking to Coach [Aazaar Abdul] Rahim about it, and it looks like June 19-21 will be the day. I'm real excited to get up there," Haynie said. "I'm very interested in Maryland. It's one of my top schools."
Haynie has not only been in communication Abdul-Rahim, but he's developed a relationship with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and assistant Mike London as well. He's also been in frequent contact with 2016 Maryland signees Elisha and Elijah Daniels, former teammates who are now in College Park.
After conversing with all of the above, Haynie's heard all about the facility upgrades; the new coaching staff; the campus; the academics; the atmosphere surrounding the program and more.
"I'm going to have a lot to say about Maryland after I visit," Haynie said. "I can't wait."
But Michigan may reside right alongside UMD atop Haynie's leaderboard. He's been equally effusive in his praise for the Wolverines after having connected with them at a June satellite camp. He'll be in Ann Arbor June 17.
Haynie will also be taking in USF June 12 and Vandy June 24. He has no other trips scheduled after that, although he figures to see some of his other suitors such as Duke and Wisconsin at a later date.
There's a chance the Gibbons corner could commit by August, and, if so, we like UMD's spot (unless the Wolverines leave him infatuated). But if Haynie drags his recruitment into the winter, embarking on several official visits in the process, it's a more difficult call.
Notes From St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) Camp
We stopped by the Michigan-hosted satellite camp in Patterson Park June 6, allowing us to catch up with a few Terps’ offerees and potential offerees. But the recruit we were most concerned about was Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.) cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields. The 6-2, 175-pound three-star didn’t say too much we didn’t already know, though the interview made it rather clear he’s nowhere near ready to end his recruitment.
For the moment, Castro-Fields is focused on Penn State, Maryland, Va Tech and UNC, and maybe Michigan State; Syracuse; and Pitt. Furthermore, he’s hoping to catch the eye of staffs from Michigan (thus, why he attended the camp June 6), Ohio State and Alabama.
Of the above, however, the Nittany Lions and Terps are probably trending.
“Well, I wouldn’t say one-two,” Castro-Fields said, smirking. “But I love them both [UMD and PSU]. I like the family vibe at Penn State and how I can always go up there. And my former teammate Zeke McPhearson is up there and pushing them. “With Maryland, everything is good with them. I have a good relationship with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rhaim], and I’ve been up there like five times. The chance to play close to home is good, and [DMV-to-UMD] is really big for me. Just the talent we have here, if we all came together, I mean, we have the best talent in the country and we could do big things [at Maryland]. Guys like Kasim [Hill], he’s on me everyday about Maryland.
“And my mom, she’s been up [to Maryland] and she loves it.”
But part of the reason Castro-Fields keeps harping on the Nittany Lions and Terps is those are the two programs he’s ventured through most. He insisted other schools could enter the fray once he sees more campuses this June.
Castro-Fields will be at Va Tech June 12, UNC later during the month and could make it to Pitt and Cuse too. The Riverdale corner went on to say he’d like to officially visit Michigan State and Michigan (if the Wolverines’ coaches ante up).
There’s a chance Castro-Fields commits before his senior season, but, even if he does, he said he wants to take his officials. Which means there’s going to be some twists and turns moving forward.
We do like Maryland’s position here, but, based off the interview, there’s no reason to move him above “warm” on the hot board. Fact is, Castro-Fields still has plenty of decisions to make before we can pigeonholes his college destination.
You can hear what Castro-Fields had to say HERE.
-- Besides Castro-Fields, one of the most intriguing senior recruits June 6 was West Philadelphia Catholic’s (Philadelphia, Pa.) Dajone Averett. This safety/corner is someone we identified back at a 7-on-7 in early April, and he once again commanded attention at the satellite camp. Averett stands 6-3, 195-pounds and shows the ability to hang at either defensive back spot.
Curiously, though, he only holds offers from Purdue, Temple, UMass, Army and Villanova, leading us to believe there could be some issues Averett has to work out --or college coaches may want to see him in pads before anteing up. But while Averett may not have many major offers, he is on the radar of programs like Maryland, Wake Forest and West Virginia, per the recruit.
Evidently he’s been talking to UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim for more than a month.
“Coach Aazaar, he liked what he saw [June 6], and he likes my size, my athleticism and my ability to move. He likes me as both a corner and a safety,” Averett said. “But we’ve actually been talking for more than a month now. My 7-on-7 coach introduced me to him, and it’s gone from there. We have a pretty good relationship, and I think Coach Aazaar is a cool guy.
“And when I went there, it was a real nice visit. We saw the facilities and I liked them. All the upgrades they’re doing there were nice, and the campus was nice too. That’s a school I definitely want to get back to, for a visit or a camp. That would definitely be a big offer to get for me. I’d have a lot of interest in them [if the offer came].”
Now, we’re not so sure Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin will be extending a scholarship unless Averett blows him away at a one-day later this month. Durkin is only taking one safety this year (if that), and the focus seems to be on a couple nationally-touted names. But, perhaps if those options fall by the wayside, Averett’s someone the UMD staff will revisit down the line. The Philly prospect won’t be placed on the hot board at this stage, however.
In the meantime, Averett will be making the rounds. In addition to Maryland, he wants to see Wake Forest, whose coaches might offer once the safety makes it to Winston Salem. Averett believes he could make an early-impact at Wake given the Deacons’ need for defensive backs.
He’ll also be trekking to WVU in hopes of culling out a Mountaineers’ offer, with Penn State on the docket as well (the Nittany Lions’ coaches have not initiated contact).
Averett could commit this summer if the right offer materializes, but he seems intent on having his senior film evaluated. He’s fairly certain more significant scholarships will crop up once he shows what he can do in pads.
You can read more about Averett HERE.
-- A local prospect who caught our eye, 2017 St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) tight end/H-Back Myles Wright, has just begun generating Maryland interest. Which is somewhat surprising considering he’s a 6-2, 235-pounder, who would seem to fit the mold of the hybrid types offensive coordinator Walt Bell covets.
“Maryland, I think they’ve ben waiting on my SAT scores to come back before they can offer or look at me more,” Wright said. “But that’s a school I’d be interested in if they offered. I’ve been up there before and I liked it.
“And [June 6] I got a chance to work with Coach Lembo and we talked for awhile when I contacted him afterwards. He was telling me what he wants to see from me down the road and what I need to do. He wants me to come down for a camp and just to keep improving. And I do plan to go to a Maryland camp or a 7-on-7, so hopefully I show him something then.”
But sans UMD verbal, Wright’s probably going to focus in on the schools who already have offers out. Namely, two other programs who helped coach the June 6 satellite camp: Syracuse and Wake. Wright visited Cuse in the winter and promptly placed the Orange atop his unofficial leaderboard. Wake is right there too, with Wright eager to check out Winston Salem for the first time. The St. Frances prospect also wants to see Boston College and potentially North Carolina if the Heels’ staff reinitiates contact.
It’s possible Wright commits this summer, but he wants to see what offers he can secure after camp season and once his senior film is evaluated.
Wright has not been listed on the hot board.
You can read more about Wright HERE.
-- And from nearby Delaware came St. Georges Tech (Middletown, Del.) running back Gary Brightwell. The Terps’ staff is searching for a bigger back in 2017, and this under-the-radar runner stands 6-0, 190-pounds and runs a sub 4.6 40-yard dash.
Brightwell only has one significant suitor in Temple, but UMD; Va Tech; Syracuse; Arizona and more have shown interest.
The Terps’ Matt Barnes has initiated contact, and apparently the assistant wants Brightwell to attend UMD’s camp June 18. If the St. Georges Tech product runs well, it’s conceivable head coach D.J. Durkin could extend a placeholder offer. (The offer likely wouldn’t be committable right away with some national runners still on UMD’s board).
Brightwell, for his part, said Maryland’s the look he’s been seeking.
“Maryland is like my favorite school. I’ve always dreamed of going there,” Brightwell said. “I love Under Armour, and I’m an Under Armour guy. Plus I loved their fancy uniforms, and red is my color. It’s close to home too, so my family could easily see me play.”
Of course, Brightwell would take any power-five offer right now. He has high interest in Temple, but is willing to wait for the likes of Cuse, Va Tech, UMD and others. Thus, he’s camping at Rutgers, Ohio State, Syracuse and attending a Hokies’-hosted satellite camp in Jersey.
If the right scholarship crops up, Brightwell may jump on it. If not, he’ll wait until after his senior film is evaluated and go from there.
You can read more about Brightwell HERE.
-- There were several elite underclassmen at the camp as well, including four-star defensive tackle Austin Fontaine (DeMatha). The 2018 3-technique pretty much has his pick of schools, but the program he kept harping on in my interview was Ohio State. It sounds like Fontaine wants to check out Columbus, Ohio, as soon as possible -- and he’ll do so later this month.
Moreover, when the SEC bigwigs like Alabama come calling, expect Fontaine to begin honing in on those programs too.
Now, Fontaine does seem somewhat interested in Maryland. He is in the process of developing a rapport with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and defensive line coach Mike London, both of whom have trekked through DeMatha. Fontaine’s been in College Park before and likes what head coach D.J. Durkin is doing with the program.
But it’s clear the Terps’ coaches are going to have to battle for the future five-star. Fontaine’s a national name who will likely go through the entire recruiting process.
You can hear the interview with Fontaine HERE.
-- Fontaine’s classmate and fellow defensive lineman, Evan Gregory, was at the June 6 camp too. The 6-3, 285-pounder doesn’t yet have the offer list Fontaine does, but Gregory figures to procure double-digit options by this time next year. The early suitors, however, are Maryland; Syracuse and West Virginia.
The Terps, of course, were Gregory’s very first offer. The former Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) standout was honored by the look, especially since it came from the nearby university.
Since then, Gregory has readily taken to head coach D.J. Durkin, UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and line coach Mike London, specifically pointing to the staff’s energy. Plus, he likes the campus itself, the upcoming facility upgrades, and the fact Maryland’s close to home.
Penn State, whose staff is showing interest but hasn’t offered yet, figures to be another contender. Gregory’s been through State College, Pa., and is keen on the vibe surrounding the program.
But we won’t know where Gregory stands until his recruiting profile is fully realized and he embarks on more trips. The Terps do seem to have his eye initially, however, and we’re encouraged by their position.
-- Another 2018 prospect, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) tight end Thomas Booker, was in attendance June 6, which we fully expected. After all, two of his early favorites are Maryland and Michigan, both of whose staffs were out in full force at UTZ Field.
The 6-4, 255-pound Booker is building a rapport with UMD-area recruiter Mike London, and he had a chance to reconnect with him at the camp. Booker’s been through College Park multiple times and loves the atmosphere, academics and the coaching staff in general.
Michigan, meanwhile, is ringing true thanks to former Gilman coach Biff Poggi’s presence in Ann Arbor; the school’s tradition; and the renowned education. Booker should be visiting UM in short order.
Booker holds offers from Pitt and Duke too, with many more about to trickle in. Expect him to focus on schools that strike a balance between football and academics, with education of the utmost importance. Institutions such as Stanford, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Maryland, Duke, Michigan and more should all be on Booker’s mind.
-- We also took note of 2019 rising star Shane Lee, who transferred from Gilman to St. John’s a couple months back. Already one of the area’s top linebacker recruits, the 6-2, 230-pound Lee claims verbals from Maryland, Michigan, UNC, Rutgers, Syracuse and Toledo.
The Terps, who were Lee’s very first offer last year when then-area recruiter Mike Locksley extended the verbal, already have made significant inroads. Lee’s established a connection with Maryland defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and has taken in new-look UMD under head coach D.J. Durkin. Plus, he’s heard plenty about Maryland from teammates-turned-Terps Kasim Hill and Cam Spence.
Since he’s a sophomore, Lee’s going to keep his options open, but it’s clear UMD’s going to be a player throughout.
Note: Pallotti’s (Laurel, Md.) Cameron Sullivan-Brown was at the camp June 6 as well, but we’ve updated him several times the last few weeks. He’s looking hard at Maryland and Penn State, with the Nittany Lions perhaps holding the edge. Duke is also firmly in play.
New Offers Out
Sean Ryan, WR, Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, N.Y.) (2018): Maryland’s New York –area recruiter, Pete Lembo, offered the sophomore Ryan June 7. It was Ryan’s second Big Ten and power-five offer, following Rutgers.
The Scarlet Knights’ staff identified the nearby recruit before any other school and seem to have his ear at the moment. Ryan’s been through Piscataway, N.J., and likes head coach Chris Ash and the new staff.
But Ryan’s bound to secure verbals aplenty moving forward. Programs such as Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, Miami, UNC, Bama, Penn State, South Carolina and more have all taken note of the 6-2, 180-pounder.
Lembo did a good job jumping on Ryan now, perhaps giving the Terps a chance to win him over down the road. Look for the Erasmus Hall product to visit College Park at some point this summer, or during the fall for a game.
Raykwon Anderson, WR, Charlton County (Folkston, Ga.) (2019): A few of Maryland’s coaches, including offensive coordinator Walt Bell and area recruiter Mike London, were in Georgia for a series of satellite camps last week, and one of the rising stars they deemed offer-worth was the rising sophomore Anderson. The Terps became the first offer for the 5-9, 155-pounder, who lined up on both sides of the ball last season.
Anderson looks to have elite speed and athleticism, so he should begin attracting attention from schools throughout the South. The Maryland staff has taken an aggressive stance on underclassmen recruits, however, and the early verbal could pay dividends in the future.
First thing’s first: Let’s see if Anderson makes it up to College Park next year after establishing a rapport with London.
Jonathan King, DE, Tampa Bay Tech (Tampa, Fla.) (2018): The sophomore King is a defensive end/tight end who projects as a defender in college. His Terps’ offer came in June 4 courtesy of UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty. It was his 17th verbal to date, joining the likes of Florida; Miami; Louisville; Kentucky; USF; Penn State; Pitt; Rutgers; Tennessee; Ole Miss; NC State; and others.
The hometown Gators have an early bead, and our colleagues believe UF is the team to beat. Miami, though, also has King’s ear and is in the thick of things.
Needless to say, it’s going to be difficult for Beatty and Co. to pull King out of state.
Chris Pierce, BUCK, Smithfield (Va.): OK, so Pierce hasn’t pulled a Maryland offer yet, but he said he’s receiving increased interest from Virginia-area recruiter Mike London. If the Terps’ look does materialize, however, Pierce said he’d give Maryland a hard look.
“I watched Maryland on TV, and my older brother always liked Maryland, so I kind of knew them from that. We always paid attention to the Under Armour uniforms,” said Pierce, who claims verbals from BC, ODU, UCF, UVA, Temple, Wake Forest and Yale. “Then when I was up there last year, I thought it was a beautiful campus and a great school. It’s just a great college town and a place I could see myself at. I like that it’s not far from home and that it’s in the Big Ten.
“Also, the educational side really stands out. I want to major in sports medicine and Maryland has a great program for that.”
That’s fine, but unless some of the Terps’ other BUCK targets head elsewhere, we don’t envision London pushing for Pierce. Not that Pierce isn’t a solid player; it’s just Maryland has so many hybrid backers its already positioned for.
More than likely, Pierce is going to wind up at hometown UVA, a school whose staff has been after the local for months. Pierce loves the Charlottesville, Va., vibe, from the coaches to the community. Virginia’s academic reputation certainly doesn’t hurt its chances with Pierce, either.
Wake Forest, another institution Pierce has seen, is involved too and could be running just behind UVA at this juncture. Pierce will check out Temple, Yale and Va Tech (no offer) this summer as well.
The linebacker/safety/receiver said he wants to wait until after his senior year before committing, but the feeling is he could be squeezed into an earlier pop.
We’ll list Pierce “cool” on the hot board in case London makes a run down the road, but we don’t envision the Virginia native winding up in College Park.
You can read more about Pierce HERE.
Nolan Johnson, CB, Southwest Guilford (High Point, N.C.) (2018): The Terps, with UMD assistant Pete Lembo running point, were the very first offer for the 2018 corner Johnson, a 6-2, 180-pounder who projects as a top-flight defensive back by next winter. In that sense, it was wise for Lembo to ante up now, before the Southwest Guilford product blows up.
“It’s just a blessing. The offer really caught me off-guard,” Johnson said. “Honestly, Coach Lembo didn’t talk too much about the offer. It was a really normal conversation, and I enjoyed it. He did say he liked my size and athleticism, but the thing that struck me was when he said he’d heard a lot about me and had gotten recommendations about me from people in the community. He talked about my character and academics, which meant a lot.
“Then he said I should try to visit Maryland later this month, and I plan to be up there June 25. He didn’t say too much about the program, but it sounds like a great school.”
Johnson may not know much about UMD, but he’s aware it’s a new coaching staff; Maryland resides in the Big Ten; it’s Under Armour affiliated; and Stefon Diggs attended the university.
The Carolina native is interested in Maryland, but he admitted he’s hoping for a North Carolina and SEC looks.
And he’ll get them.
Johnson will have offers from programs like UNC, South Carolina, Clemson, Duke, Georgia and potentially others throughout the SEC; ACC; and Big Ten before it’s all said and done. But by getting in there before any other school, Lembo’s at least given the Terps a chance to secure a visit. And if Johnson follows through with said College Park trip June 25, well, you never know what can happen.
You can read more about Johnson HERE.
Morgan On Board
Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin brought fifth-year graduate transfer Teldrick Morgan home June 8. The 6-0, 190-pound wideout from Hanover, Md., played the last few years at New Mexico State, leading the Aggies in receptions in 2014 and 2015. He’s also a solid return man, taking back kicks and punts for NMSU.
Morgan comes to Maryland after graduating NMSU with a criminal justice degree in May and ultimately deciding he’d like to play his final college season closer to his family. The Terps, in turn, needed receiver depth, so there was mutual interest between the two parties. Then, after visiting College Park and meeting with the UMD coaches June 8, Morgan made it official.
Morgan, who starred on the football field and the track at Meade High (Fort Meade, Md.), projects as a starter at Maryland. He is a sure-handed, quick receiver who has a knack for finding openings in the defense. He’s fast enough to take the top off the defense, elusive enough to create yards after the catch, and physical enough to come down with passes overtop corners/safeties. Morgan can line up out wide or in the slot, showing the ability to shoot down the seam and make plays over the middle, or burn a corner with a double-move before getting deep. He has plus body control and a wide catch-radius too, completing the occasional circus catch.
Morgan does have a limited route tree, however, and could stand to run tighter patterns. He also has to work on defeating the jam and staying on his route. Morgan’s not a burner in the mold of Torrey Smith either, so don’t expect him to routinely race past Big Ten corners.
Morgan may not be an All-Big Ten guy, he looks like a solid addition who should fit in alongside Levern Jacobs and D.J. Moore.
Off The Board
Devin Darrington, RB, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.): We’re removing the local runner Darrington after the Scout podcast from Brian Dohn and Mike Clark. While we don’t doubt Darrington’s talent, it just doesn’t seem like the Terps are going to make a push here given the runner’s size. Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin is seeking a bigger back in 2017, and Darrington is barely 5-9. (Durkin, of course, will make an exception for the four-star Anthony McFarland).
Darrington is currently on a southern swing, camping at locales throughout SEC and ACC country. We’re not sure some of the more prominent schools down south will ante up, but perhaps Wake Forest, UVA and a few others of that ilk will.
In the meantime, Darrington continues to build relationships with offerees like Syracuse, Rutgers, Vandy, Indiana, Pitt and the Ivies. He wants to string out the recruiting process, however, so his situation could change come fall.
Perhaps the Maryland staff will come back around to Darrington down the line, but for now we’re taking him off the hot board.
Tyran Hunt, OT, Southampton (Courtland, Va.): Well, so much for that. In late May, following his Maryland offer courtesy of area recruiter Mike London, Hunt said he “definitely” had interest in the Terps given the school’s academic reputation; close proximity to home; and London’s reputation as a coach.
But in a recent interview with Scout’s Mike Clark, Hunt released a top-five favorites list that included Va Tech, Duke, NC State, UVA and Wake Forest. Also in play are Rutgers, Pitt, Syracuse and Vanderbilt, all of which Hunt said he sought to trek through this summer. He made no mention of a College Park visit.
The feeling is Va Tech, whose staff has been after Hunt for awhile, hosting the three-star on several occasions, has the inside track. Duke and UVA have a chance to unseat the Hokies, but it would be an upset if either succeeded.
Regardless, it doesn’t sound like Hunt’s coming to College Park -- even for a looksee.
Chris Whittaker, DL, Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, Fla.): The big defensive tackle Whittaker expressed interest in visiting Maryland this summer due to his relationship with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and defensive line coach Mike London. But on June 7 he landed a Notre Dame offer, which is the one he’d been seeking. Provided Whittaker is a “take” for the Irish, it’s probably only a matter of time before he commits to UND.