Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.
Notes From The Friday Night “Freak Show”
Many of the Maryland staff’s foremost targets, in the 2017, 2018 and 2019 classes, descended on College Park, Md., June 17 for an elite prospect camp, dubbed the “Freak Show.” Here’s what we learned from the elite rising-senior attendees:
-- Starting on the defensive side, since those were the most noteworthy recruits on campus, let’s delve into the five-star defensive end from DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), Chase Young. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder has been in College Park multiple times this offseason, and June 17 he reconnected with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, head coach D.J. Durkin and defensive line coach Mike London.
Young said he paid particularly close attention to London during the camp.
“He’s very technical. To be great, have to do know your technique and he’s all about that. He’s a great coach,” Young said. “And Coach Aazaar, we talked, and Coach Durkin, that’s my guy. We don’t even talk about football, just about life.
“Maryland, that’s home -- my family can see me play, it’s a good bond, and if you need to go home real quick, it’s there.”
Young also mentioned that many of Maryland’s current commits like Cam Spence (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.), Kasim Hill (St. John’s), Josh Kaindoh (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) and Ayinde Eley (Good Counsel/Olney, Md.) have been pushing for him. The DeMatha end acknowledged it was “intriguing” to play alongside guys like Kaindoh and Spence at Maryland.
Young then said UMD would certainly be among his principal suitors once he releases his leaderboard later this summer. And, more than likely, the Terps will reside among his three favorites, alongside Alabama and Ohio State.
Yes, those are two major players for Maryland to contend with, and OSU has been on Young’s mind for some time. He even admitted June 17 his relationship with the Buckeyes’ staff was very good and “most people know” where he stands with Ohio State. Young visited OSU a month ago and plans to be back in Columbus, Ohio, for the Friday Night Lights camp in July.
Bama should be the recipient of a visit later in July as well, and the Tide’s staff has left a distinct impression. It’s entirely conceivable Alabama will rise to the top following Young’s foray through Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Young will also be checking out Virginia Tech, but the Hokies are not thought to be a threat to land the edge rusher.
Of course, Young is in no hurry to commit. He’ll take multiple officials before deciding on a school following his senior season, meaning there could be some ebbing and flowing ahead.
We like Maryland’s position with the DeMatha defensive end, but this will be a hard-fought battle. Young is currently listed “warm” on the hot board.
You can hear what Young had to say HERE.
-- Sticking with the defensive theme, Montgomery County native Jordan Anthony (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) returned home for break and opted to stop by Maryland.
The Terps have been one of the four-star outside linebacker’s leaders ever since Anthony met head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Chris Beatty and Mike London during his winter break. The four-star reconnected with each staffer June 17, and had loads of positive comments afterwards. Additionally, the ex-Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) star vibed with former IMG teammate Cam Spence and Terps’ commits like Kasim Hill and Ayinde Eley.
“I’m loving it right now. I think they’re going to have something special,” Anthony said. “The atmosphere, I love the atmosphere. Everybody is having a great time, and it [the June 17 camp] was great. The coaches, it’s the same love. They’re saying this is your home, you want to [represent] your hometown. … Maryland is definitely high, definitely top five.”
But is Maryland high enough to leapfrog some of Anthony’s other suitors?
Penn State, Clemson, Michigan, LSU and Oklahoma are all firmly in play, with the Sooners gaining Anthony’s attention. Anthony even said the only school he “definitely” knew he would be officially visiting was OU.
The IMG product said he should be checking out Clemson, PSU, Michigan and LSU during the next few weeks as well. We doubt he’ll get to all four locales, but CU and Penn State are probably locks.
Anthony won’t be selecting a school until after his senior season, so his thoughts will inevitably change in the next few months. But, from the sound of things, it’s going to be an Oklahoma, Maryland, Clemson and PSU race for the DMV product.
Our gut? It’s too soon to make a call until Jordan sees some of the other desired locales. But his interest in the Terps is genuine, and we do believe Beatty, London and Co. have a legitimate shot to win him over. Especially since the staff has already landed two IMG recruits in this class.
You can hear what Anthony had to say HERE.
-- Anthony’s former teammate at Good Counsel, Josh Paschal, also chimed in. Paschal has been at Maryland four times this offseason, and he too is considering staying home for college. The four-star said he has an excellent relationship with the staff, likes the vibe in College Park and is keen on the DMV movement.
But Paschal is taking a deliberate approach and refuses to give in to overstatement. He let on, however, that North Carolina had his ear following a spring trip to Chapel Hill, N.C. Paschal said he enjoyed himself so much he wanted to return to UNC this summer. Plus, the Good Counsel product was eager to see Notre Dame June 21, the Irish’s tradition and academics ringing true with the Good Counsel product. Following the South Bend, Ind., foray, Paschal told our colleagues he had an outstanding stay and had the Irish under prime consideration. (We’ll see if that interest is reciprocal; we’re not so sure Paschal’s a “take” for the UND staff). And then there’s Oklahoma, which, like Jordan Anthony, is on Paschal’s mind.
Michigan State and Virginia Tech are also in play, though maybe near the top of the totem pole.
Of course, there’s plenty of time for the edge rusher’s situation to change. Paschal’s in no hurry to commit, and plans to take all five officials during the fall. He likely won’t announce where’s he’s heading until next winter.
The Terps’ coaches have done well with Anthony and have a legitimate chance at keeping him home. But UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and defensive line coach Mike London will have to “play the game” before they can convince the four-star to join the program.
You can hear what Paschal had to say HERE.
-- Another local defensive end, Lawtez Rogers (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.), returned to UMD for the fourth time this offseason. Basically, Rogers’ comments haven’t deviated from his previous three or four times at UMD. The three-star loves the school itself, the idea of staying home and representing his home state at the next level. On top of that, he’s readily connected with defensive line coach Mike London and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
“Maryland’s at the top for me,” Rogers said. “I like the way [Coach Mike London] coaches. He knows what he’s talking about, and it would be good to learn from him. I like talking to him. He’s got a good resume and can make you a better player… And Coach Durkin, he’s my guy. I love talking to him. He talked to us about how when Miami, in the ‘80s, guys stayed home that played together, and that’s how they won championships. We could do the same thing at Maryland with the DMV movement. So that’s influencing.”
Rogers then acknowledged he was leaning towards UMD -- just as he’s been for some time now.
But Rodgers does want to check out a few other locales before committing. He’ll be at Pitt and Syracuse coming up, and he wants to foray through Michigan State, Temple and ODU, in addition to returns to RU and UMD.
“But Maryland is in a good spot for me right now,” Rogers said. “I like them a lot.”
About the only way Rogers doesn’t wind up in College Park is if the UMD staff halts its pursuit.
You can hear what Rogers had to say HERE.
-- BUCK Tyree Johnson (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) was in attendance too, although he didn't say much we didn't already know.
Johnson has been in College Park three times this month, and it’s clear he’s comfortable on campus. He loves being around the other DMV recruits and Terps’ commits like teammates Kasim Hill and Cam Spence. Johnson has a fantastic rapport with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive line coach Mike London and head coach D.J. Durkin too.
But Johnson doesn’t want to pop just yet, the St. John’s product seeking to see a few more campuses.
The edge rusher was at UNC June 18, and the sense is the Heels are right there for Johnson’s services. He loved the vibe in Chapel Hill and the staff's pitch.
The three-star should be at Va Tech, another top contender, June 25, followed by possible jaunts to South Carolina and Syracuse. He may also return to TAMU and Tennessee, along with yet another trek through College Park.
The feeling is the Terps are in a strong spot for Johnson, but they’re followed closely by the Heels, Vols and Aggies. And we’ll have to see what the St. John’s product is thinking following proposed trips to Blacksburg, Va., and Columbia, S.C. In our estimation, the Tar Heels are a major threat to UMD.
-- At inside linebacker, Shanon Reid (Dunbar/Ft. Myers, Fla.) made his way up from Florida to take in the Freak Show. Reid, who was on an extended tour that included stops at Mississippi State, NC State, Wake, UMD and finally Rutgers June 18, said he had a “great” experience during his initial Maryland jaunt. He praised linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and headman D.J. Durkin, all of whom treated him well. Reid liked the campus, the under-construction facility upgrades and the chance to hang with the other top recruits too. The three-star then said he would be keeping Maryland in mind moving forward.
But while Reid may have UMD interest, his words rang a bit of lip service. Truth is, he had similar comments for all the programs he took in. Some of our colleagues who cover RU, NC State and Mississippi State caught up with Reid too, and he gave them the same positive spiel.
When delving deeper, though, it seems like Mississippi State and Michigan could be the leaders. The Dunbar prospect hasn’t been to Ann Arbor, Mich., yet, but should be later this summer. If he’s a “take” for the Wolverines’ staff, he might commit while on campus.
We’ll keep Reid on the hot board as “cool” in case some of his other suitors fall off, but for now we’re not projecting him to College Park.
-- The No. 1 skill-position defender of note June 17 was Tariq Castro-Fields (Riverdale Baptist/Upper Marlboro, Md.), who was back at Maryland for the first time in a couple months.
I actually interviewed Castro-Fields before the camp, but then spoke to him casually afterwards. He told me he had a great time chatting up the coaches and other recruits, while he also enjoyed watching his position coach, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, in action.
“Coach Aazaar is a great coach and I like how technical he is, and how he’ll tell you what you’re doing right and what you’re doing wrong,” Castro-Fields said. “We have a great relationship and can talk about anything. He’s my guy. He’s been talking about how he can make me into a Jalen Tabor-type player, and that’s a good thing.”
But we already knew Castro-Fields liked Abdul-Rahim, head coach D.J. Durkin and the Maryland program in general. We were more concerned with Castro-Fields’ thoughts on Alabama, which he visited and subsequently landed an offer from.
“It definitely was a game-changer, just because it’s Bama,” Castro-Fields said. “They love me down there.”
Castro-Fields, though, isn’t ready to end his recruitment. He’s been led to believe the Crimson Tide verbal will remain on the table for the foreseeable future, so he’s not feeling any pressure to pop.
In fact, the Riverdale corner was excited about the possibility of landing even more offers. Castro-Fields mentioned coaches from Ohio State, Florida and FSU have had contact and could be anteing up soon enough.
But even if the above scholarships do materialize, the Upper Marlboro native said he’s not going to cast aside his previous suitors. He said Maryland, Penn State, UNC and Va Tech remain on the brain, with Alabama now entering the mix. Of those, the Terps, Nittany Lions and Tide are probably just ahead of the Heels and Hokies, although that’s subject to change. Castro-Fields will be checking out Chapel Hill and Blacksburg later this summer, giving each a chance to move up the leaderboard. Moreover, the corner will be heading back to Happy Valley for yet another look at the Nittany Lions, which were thought to be trending -- great rapport with the staff, teammate Zeke McPhearson is there -- before the Bama verbal.
Originally, Castro-Fields wanted to select his college in August, but now he’s leaning towards taking four or five official visits. His timeline for a college decision is late fall, sometime after his senior season.
You can hear what Castro-Fields had to say HERE.
-- Cornerback Kenny Bennett (Simon Graz/Philadelphia, Pa.) was the lone senior who landed an offer following his camp performance June 17. The 6-2, 199-pounder evidently showed out in one-on-ones, shadowing and shutting down four-star receiver Mark Webb (Archbishop Wood/Warminster, Pa.). Bennett said he immediately caught the eye of UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and head coach D.J. Durkin, who extended the offer on the spot.
It represented Bennett’s very first power-five offer, and apparently it was a verbal the Philly product highly coveted. Bennett actually camped at Maryland earlier in June in hopes of landing the look, and when that attempt was unsuccessful, he returned June 17 for try No. 2.
“Maryland has always been my dream school, my favorite school,” said Bennett, who also holds a Temple offer. “When I was younger, I was actually in Baltimore for awhile, and I became a Ravens fan. And then I just took notice of Maryland too with the uniforms and all that. I’ve just always sort of enjoyed Maryland as a state and Baltimore as a city, so I grew to watch the teams there.
“So I was honored by the offer. It meant a whole lot to get an offer from the school you grew up wanting one from. Just what Maryland has to offer academically and athletically, and just the people there, it looks like a great fit.”
Bennett said he liked working with and talking to Abdul-Rahim, noting the coach’s energetic personality and attention to detail. The Simon Graz prospect also lauded Durkin for his enthusiasm, calling the headman “my kind of guy,” while he mentioned his budding relationship with area recruiter Anthony Tucker too. Bennett had plenty to say about UMD’s academics, campus and the coming facility upgrades as well.
“Maryland is my No. 1,” Bennett said. “No doubt.”
But Bennett does want to see what other offers he can procure this summer. He attended Syracuse’s camp June 19 and believes the Orange staff will be anteing up. Bennett is camping at Penn State June 24 in hopes of landing a Nittany Lions’ look too. Furthermore, the three-star said he’d be visiting UGA and Alabama in July, although we’re not expecting either the Bulldogs’ or the Tide’s coaches to extend offers.
Look for Bennett to choose a college after the latter two trips.
If he’s a “take” for Durkin, he could very well wind up in College Park. But we’ll have to see how ardently Tucker and Abdul-Rahim pursue what with corners like Deon Jones (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.); Tariq Castro-Fields (discussed above); Randall Haynie (Cardinal Gibbons/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) and Terrell Jana (Woodberry Forest/Woodberry, Va.) all on the Terps’ board.
-- The three-star running back Tayon Fleet-Davis (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.) was at Maryland June 17 for the Freak Show and June 18 for his team’s 7-on-7. That’s a week after Fleet-Davis took an impromptu trip to College Park June 11, meaning he was on campus three times in eight days.
“Nothing’s really different from the last time I was here,” Fleet-Davis told me June 17. “I’m just up here chilling. I just like being up here around the [other recruits] and coaches.”
Either way, it’s an encouraging sign for Maryland purposes. Like many of the DMV recruits, Fleet-Davis enjoys the camaraderie and hanging out with his friends on campus. He likes the idea of teaming up with them at the next level and showing out for his home state.
Recall, following his June 11 visit, Fleet-Davis dubbed the trip his “best yet,” the running back lauding the Maryland staff and its message. From the sound of things, the UMD coaches’ “DMV takeover” pitch is hitting home with the local back. Plus, Fleet-Davis has a close bond with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and has taken to running backs coach Anthony Tucker too.
But Syracuse still makes us a bit leery. On June 18, I joked that Fleet-Davis was “done” to the Orange, and the Potomac back smirked, refusing to deny the “accusation.”
The three-star will be back at Cuse June 25, and it’s possible he could pop shortly thereafter. Then again, if Fleet-Davis returns to Oxon Hill uncommitted, perhaps he really is thinking long and hard about sticking around town for college. Abdul-Rahim and Co. might just be able to hop SU and keep the DMV runner home.
-- At wideout, Cameron Sullivan-Brown (Pallotti/Laurel, Md.), returned to Maryland for the fourth time since the spring. One of the more exuberant prospects in attendance, it was obvious the Pallotti product had a great time jelling with the other recruits and the UMD staff.
“It’s top-tier DMV talent here. I liked all the talent,” Sullivan-Brown said afterwards. “I like [Coach Chris Beatty’s] style. He’s coached some of the best, and he could really help me. I was watching the coaching style and I was loving it.
“And the coaches were telling me afterwards, This is what could happen if all of us [DMV recruits] stay here. And, I mean, it’s a lot of talent, and I’m trying to win championships, and if I [teamed up] with the guys here, we definitely could do that.”
Sullivan-Brown went on to discuss the chemistry he has with the other DMV prospects, namely the Terps’ pledges, who the Pallotti receiver said are pushing him to pop. He ended by calling Maryland a “real family” and noting the Terps were tied atop his favorites list.
Of course, UMD fans know full well who resides alongside Maryland on said favorites list. Penn State has long been on Sullivan-Brown’s mind, and many believe the Nittany Lions could have the pole position, despite being “tied” with UMD.
Sullivan-Brown has just as strong of a bond with the PSU staff as he does the Maryland one, while he knows numerous Nittany Lions’ commits too.
The Pallotti product let on he’d “definitely” be returning to State College, Pa., later this summer, and it’s possible that trip could once again break the tie.
Others on Sullivan-Brown’s mind include Duke, WVU and Syracuse, although, of those, only the Blue Devils are a true player. We’ll be paying close attention to the Pallotti prospect’s proposed trip to Durham, N.C.
It’s possible Sullivan-Brown commits following the upcoming jaunts to PSU, Duke, WVU and Cuse, but the recruit also said he could take official visits. But regardless of how long he drags his recruitment out, it’s probably going to be a Maryland-Penn State battle to the end -- with Duke lurking.
You can hear what Sullivan-Brown had to say HERE.
-- Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) four-star receiver Mark Webb was back at Maryland for the second time, offering up some cursory praise afterwards. But we still haven’t placed him on the hot board. And for good reason.
After speaking to our colleagues who cover Pennsylvania and are close to Webb, the sense is Georgia, hometown Penn State, and maybe UNC are the three to watch.
“I think Maryland has about a zero-percent chance here,” one of our colleagues joked.
Webb visited Athens, Ga., recently and returned raving about the staff, the offense and the vibe on campus. But the Nittany Lions’ coaches have been pushing in earnest and won’t let the nearby four-star skip town without a fight.
Look for Webb to choose one of those two programs later this summer.
-- Moving into the trenches, offensive tackle Gabe Houy (Upper St. Clair/Pittsburgh, Pa.), Maryland’s (realistic) No. 1 tackle target, returned to College Park for a second look. He was at UMD back in March with his mother, and this go-around he brought both his parents down.
But following the June 17 trip, Houy didn’t say much different than after the first trek. He still has Pitt and Maryland atop his leaderboard, with the hometown Panthers probably sitting higher on the totem poll.
The Terps aren’t making Houy’s decision easy, however. The Maryland program does seem to genuinely intrigue him.
“I really like Maryland; the campus and the coaches are great. My parents really enjoyed it too; they really liked the housing and everything,” Houy said. “I like the way [offensive line coach Dave Borbely] taught pass [blocking] and the techniques he uses. I got to see more of the coaching styles, which I liked. I talked to him a little bit after the camp, and I talked to most of the line coaches.”
We’ll see if it’s enough to jump Pitt in the end, however. Houy hinted he could be ending his recruitment in the near future, and, if so, we’d have to give the Panthers the edge.
Houy has no other planned visits coming up, but there’s always the possibility he could slide over to the school five minutes from his house. Truth be told, he’s extremely comfortable at Pitt, much like many of the DMV recruits are at Maryland.
You can hear what Houy had to say HERE.
-- Another offensive lineman, Marcus Minor (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), continues to be one of the more difficult recruits to read. The four-star guard/tackle flat out refuses to hint at leaders, discuss which staffs are in touch most often, or rate one visit over another.
That said, we do know Minor, who hadn’t been in College Park since March, does have hometown affinity.
“I was watching Coach [Dave] Borbely, and he looked like he knew what he was doing. He was doing a good job and I enjoyed [how he was coaching],” Minor said after the Freak Show. “And Coach Borbely, Coach [D.J.] Durkin, we had a little bond, just talking about what was going on since the last time I was there. And Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], the relationship is great, it’s like family. The journalism program at Maryland is big too, and that does help them.
“Maryland is a great school, but I’m just weighing my options and seeing what’s best for me.”
The above is a typical Minor comment. He’ll offer praise, but he always adds a qualifier so as not to sound especially high on any one program. So while we are encouraged by Maryland’s position, it’s difficult to project the DeMatha lineman to College Park just yet.
Minor wants to see Florida and possibly return to Miami in July, and the feeling is the Gators’ and Canes’ staffs have a legitimate chance to gain the lineman’s ear. UM’s coaches have already established inroads, and it’s telling that Minor wants to get back to Coral Gables, Fla.
The four-star has no other visits on tap after the Florida trips, although we’d expect him to trek through another locale or two before training camp begins in August.
Other programs linked to Minor include North Carolina, Auburn, Virginia Tech and maybe Rutgers (RU is the only other school besides UMD Minor’s been to recently).
Minor said he could make his college decision at any time. But the sense is he’ll probably need to embark on officials since he doesn’t have a clear set of frontrunners.
You can hear what Minor had to say HERE.
Note: I was mainly focused on Maryland’s senior targets at the Freak Show, but head coach D.J. Durkin did hand out an underclassman offer to 2018 tackle Jaelyn Duncan (Northern/Owings, Md.). The 6-6, 295-pounder, who visited College Park back in March, shined during line drills with offensive line coach Dave Borbely and Durkin looking on. Duncan’s athleticism and nifty footwork stood out, prompting Durkin to become the first coach to offer the rising junior.
“I was pretty excited when he told me. I didn’t know what to do or say at the time, but later on I was pretty happy,” said Duncan, who also participated in UMD’s Big Man camp June 18. “That’s the offer I was looking for.”
Although Duncan hides his enthusiasm well, he all but admitted he wanted to be a Terp. When I asked if there were any other scholarships he was hoping for, Duncan promptly replied, “No, Maryland was the offer I wanted.” He then said he could be committing shortly, perhaps later this summer.
While Duncan enjoyed working with Borbely and likes the staff’s overall personality, the main reason he’s so high on UMD is its close proximity to home. Duncan acknowledged he’s seeking to play his college ball near his family -- and now the Terps’ coaches are giving him that opportunity.
The Northern product will be camping at Penn State coming up, but no matter what the Nittany Lions’ staff decides to do, Duncan is probably Maryland’s to lose. Provided Durkin is ready to accept his pledge, the Terps could very well have their first 2018 popper before the fall begins.
You can read more about Duncan HERE.
Other Recent Terps’ Visitors
Javon Leake, RB, Page (Greensboro, N.C.): Other than Anthony McFarland (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Leake might be the highest-rated running back target on the Maryland staff’s board. It took awhile to get him on campus, but, finally, the borderline four-star runner made it to College Park June 22.
The 6-1, 195-pounder didn’t declare UMD a leader post trip, but it’s clear head coach D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell, area recruiter Pete Lembo and running backs coach Anthony Tucker have done their part to win Leake over.
“Maryland is definitely higher on my list,” said Leake, who claims offers from UNC, Tennessee, South Carolina, East Carolina, NC State, Louisville, Nebraska, Va Tech and others. “I definitely had a great time there and enjoyed being around the coaches. I had the same reaction to everything I saw at Maryland: ‘Wow.’”
Leake has heard from the Terps’ coaches on a daily basis, while both Lembo and Bell trekked through Page High. The Greensboro native characterized his relationship with the staff as “great,” Leake appreciating their consistent pitch. On June 22, the runner enjoyed meeting and conversing with each coach on a personal level.
Leake went on to laud Bell’s offensive system, saying he “loved” how the spread centers around running backs. The renovated player dorms, the pending facility upgrades and the College Park campus all caught Leake’s eye as well.
That sounds encouraging, but North Carolina is going to be tough to top. The Tar Heels’ coaches have had a bead on the hometown runner for months now, hosting him on numerous occasions, including twice in June. Unless another back takes Leake’s spot, the Page prospect has been projected to Chapel Hill.
Leake is also thinking hard about Tennessee and South Carolina, both of which he’s seen before, and maybe NC State.
Expect Leake to choose from one of the aforementioned programs later this summer. He has no other visits scheduled, mentioning Maryland was the last campus he sought to see.
Our gut? Leake’s probably North Carolina bound, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities someone like Malik Davis (discusses above) or another touted runner steals the Heels’ final running back slot. If so, maybe Leake could fall to the Terps.
We’re just not banking on it quite yet.
You can read more about Leake HERE.
Desmond Holmes, OT, Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield, Pa.): Maryland’s Pennsylvania-area recruiter, Anthony Tucker, offered Holmes May 9, and June 18 the recruit embarked on his first College Park trip. Holmes didn’t receive a tour or have a formal sitdown with the staff, but he connected with offensive-line coach Dave Borbely during the Lineman Challenge.
“I finally got down to Maryland for the camp, and it was great,” said Holmes, who also holds offers from Pitt, Syracuse and Temple. “It was great to learn from Coach Borbely and to get coached up from him all day. I was really comfortable around him and the rest of the staff. Just being there with those guys and learning from them was great and made Maryland really stand out. They’re definitely one of my top schools.”
Holmes mentioned he had a chance to briefly interact with head coach D.J. Durkin and offensive coordinator Walt Bell. And though he didn’t take a staff-led tour, Holmes liked driving around the campus, letting on he was impressed with College Park in general.
Now, the O’Hara product is in the process of setting up a return to UMD, likely in July. Holmes will be checking out Syracuse and Pitt for the first time too, with a camp date at Penn State set for July 17. The 6-5, 300-pounder has already been to Temple, which he counts as a main contender as well.
Expect Holmes to choose from one of his four offerees in August. There’s a chance he could take an official or two during the fall, but if he’s able to see the Orange and the Panthers next month, a summer college decision is likely.
The feeling on this end is Holmes may not be the first priority for the Maryland staff. True, the Terps do need tackles, but at 6-5, 300 pounds, we’re not so sure Holmes represents the prototype Durkin is searching for. (I’m going to coin the term “combo tackle” in lieu of “tweener”).
That said, it wouldn’t be a shock if Holmes is a “take” considering the only tackle/guard target the Terps may (potentially) lead for is the previously-discussed Marcus Minor.
You can read more about Holmes HERE.
Michael Scott, BUCK, North Florida Christian (Tallahassee, Fla.): Scott, who added a Maryland offer in late May, camped and visited College Park for the first time June 21. Afterwards, the 6-3, 220-pound three-star dubbed UMD a true contender:
“I had a great time at Maryland. At first I was just going up there to visit, but then I ended up participating in the camp as well,” said Scott, who holds offers from UMD, Cal, Syracuse, Purdue, Syracuse, ECU, Louisville, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa State, Georgia Tech, Memphis, Southern Miss, Northwestern, USF, UCF, Temple, Utah and more. “I really enjoyed working with Coach [Mike] London at the camp, and the coaches in general. Then the campus was very nice, I like the facilities they’re building there, and of course the uniforms are always cool (laughs).
“Honestly, though, I just think Maryland is getting better in general. I think the program is on the rise with this new staff. It’s all positives at Maryland.”
Scott proceeded to extol London’s coaching methods, head coach D.J. Durkin’s message and UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s personality. The recruit also likes the idea of playing the BUCK spot, which Scott believes will best fit his versatile skill-set. Plus, Scott, who has his education prioritized, counted Maryland’s academic reputation and the job/internship opportunities in Washington, D.C., and Baltimore as positives.
That’s all well and good, but Scott also dropped a couple hints suggesting maybe he’s not an immediate “take” for Durkin and Co. First of all, Scott said his relationship with Abdul-Rahim was “decent,” which is an indication the coach may not be pushing for a pop. Secondly, when I asked Scott if he thought Durkin would accept his pledge right now, the three star said, “I couldn’t tell you.”
The Terps are positioned for numerous BUCK recruits, so Scott might not be target No. 1 at this juncture. But it probably doesn’t matter, because the Tallahassee native isn’t quite ready to pop anyway.
Besides UMD, Scott has taken in Louisville, Illinois, Cincinnati, Purdue, Memphis, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, USF, UCF, FSU, Utah, Louisiana Lafayette and Southern Miss. All of those schools have offers out, and Scott said he could rattle off positives in regards to each of them.
Scott refused to list leaders, but he admitted Louisville had his ear, with Cincinnati; Illinois, Louisville, Memphis, Purdue and Maryland also leaving an impression.
Look for Scott to select one of the latter institutions in late July or August.
Our gut? This recruitment could go in a few different directions, but it sounds like he may be leaning towards the Cardinals or one of his other Midwest suitors. If Abdul-Rahim, Durkin and Co. pick up the pace, however, they could probably make up some serious ground.
You can read more about Scott HERE.
Nathan Proctor, BUCK, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): The local linebacker Proctor finished up his seven-school tour at Maryland June 21. Proctor, per usual, didn’t openly comment about his latest trek through College Park, but we’re told the visit went well and the Terps continue to reside among the Lackey product’s principal contenders.
Proctor has a solid relationship with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes and head coach D.J. Durkin, the prospect previously extolling their energy and enthusiasm. And although Proctor isn’t one to follow a “hometown movement” per se, he isn’t opposed to sticking around and representing the state school at the next level.
But Proctor’s going to keep an open mind about the process, which makes sense considering he did see six other programs besides Maryland last week. The Indian Head native was at UNC June 15, Tennessee June 16, Ohio State June 17, Michigan June 18, Toledo June 19 and Pitt June 20.
North Carolina is thought to be firmly on the brain after multiple trips to Chapel Hill. Proctor is very close to the staff and has known a couple Carolina coaches for years. Our colleagues who cover the Heels believe UNC could be among the top two-or-three standouts for the four-star backer.
Tennessee has also been the recipient of multiple trips. The fact the Vols reside in the SEC, along with the coaches’ pitch, have piqued Proctor’s interest.
Meanwhile, Pitt, which is Proctor’s head coach’s alma mater, could be a darkhorse contender. The Lackey product has now been exposed to the Panthers twice in a month’s span.
Don’t discount the schools Proctor took in before the recent tour, either. Penn State has been a longtime contender, and many analysts have projected Proctor to Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions’ staff has been after Proctor for more than a year now, leaving a distinct impression after hosting him for games and other visits.
Virginia Tech is involved as well thanks to defensive coordinator Bud Foster, his scheme and his player development.
Later this summer, look for Proctor to start scheduling several official visits. He doesn’t intend to end his recruitment until after his senior season or the winter.
Proctor is currently listed “warm” on the hot board.
Deon Jones, CB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): We detailed Jones’ June 11 Maryland trip in last week’s space, but the four-star didn’t personally comment until I grabbed him on camera June 18.
Jones, as anticipated, proceeded to talk up the hometown school, pointing to his relationship with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and headman D.J. Durkin; his comfort level around the program; and, most notably, the DMV movement that’s taken hold in the area.
“The Movement -- it’s real,” Jones said. “Terps baby.”
It’s clear the Maryland staff’s ardent pursuit has Jones thinking long and hard about staying home. Maybe the only other coaches pushing like Maryland’s are Penn State’s, another program on Jones’ mind.
Jones also mentioned Florida and Florida State as possibilities, but we don’t believe the corner is a “take” for either program right now.
The Potomac product wants to return to Happy Valley and UF, but he won’t have many opportunities to venture out since he’s in summer school. If Jones remains on track to commit in August -- he wants to enroll in college early -- that UMD trip might be his last, unless he’s able to get out to PSU’s Lasch Basch in July.
We’re keeping a wary eye on the Nittany Lions, but with the bonds Jones has formed at UMD, coupled with some of his more prominent suitors backing off (slower than expected 40-yard-dash time), the hometown school would seem to be the best fit.
At the moment, the tealeaves are reading “Terps” for the former Carroll (Washington, D.C.) product.
You can hear what Jones had to say HERE.
Randall Haynie, CB, Cardinal Gibbons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): We thought the three-star Haynie might commit to Maryland during his visit June 21 -- the Gibbons corner even admitted he considered it -- but he opted against it. The Terps are in a strong spot, however, and could be in line to secure Haynie’s services by mid-July.
“Maryland was pretty cool. I really enjoyed it,” said Haynie, who claims offers from schools like UMD, Duke, BC, Michigan, Iowa, Rutgers, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Syracuse, UCF, Southern Miss, Vandy, USF and others. “It was a beautiful campus, the stadium was big, they’re getting new indoor facilities which look really cool -- I saw a great virtual tour of those up on the big screen -- and the coaches were great.
“I saw the varsity dorms, and those are pretty nice too. And I like how it’s close to D.C.; it’s cool to be able to go right into the city and hang out down there. So all around, it was a great time.”
Mostly, Haynie enjoyed working with position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. The Ft. Lauderdale native actually participated in UMD’s camp June 21 and couldn’t say enough about Abdul-Rahim’s coaching methods and the various techniques he taught. On top of that, Haynie loved head coach D.J. Durkin’s on-field intensity and energy, while noting the headman’s reputation as a defensive guru as well.
Haynie went on to describe his meeting with All Big-Ten corner and fellow Floridian Will Likely (“that was really cool”), the school’s academic presentation (“there’s a lot of job opportunities in D.C.”) and the pitch he’s receiving from teammates-turned-Terps Elisha and Elijah Daniels (“they’ve been all over me”).
After speaking to Haynie, we still like Maryland’s position. But realize he will be trekking to Vanderbilt June 24 and Duke in early July. The Durham trip, in particular, is giving us some pause; academic-oriented recruits like Haynie tend to be lured to programs like Duke.
Also, before flying in to College Park, Haynie visited Michigan and Boston College, raving about each. The Wolverines’ staff probably isn’t ready to accept Haynie’s pledge, but BC’s staff has been pining for Haynie, pitching academics and early playing time.
Haynie said each of the above schools are on an even plane, the recruit refusing to make any definitive statements until his tour is complete. But we’re keeping Haynie “hot” on the hot board and believe the Terps’ staff has enough mojo working in their favor to close the deal.
You can read more about Haynie HERE.
More News On Top Targets
Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): It was somewhat disappointing for UMD aficionados that McFarland elected to head to Alabama last weekend instead of attending Maryland’s Friday Night Freak Show. But McFarland was going to be visiting Tuscaloosa, Ala., sooner or later, and there’s no denying Bama’s one of the four-star’s top contenders.
After the foray, McFarland naturally commended head coach Nick Saban’s program. He spoke to the Tide’s tradition, the athletes/skill players they coaches have produced, the staff’s player-development methods, the campus and more.
We’ll see how long Saban and Co. stay after McFarland, but it sounds like the offer’s going to be on the table for awhile.
Next up, McFarland should be taking in a few more Southern standouts, namely Miami and Florida. Of the two, the Hurricanes are the program to look out for what with former UGA coach Mark Richt at the helm. Recall, McFarland developed a deep bond with Richt at Georgia, counting the Bulldogs as perhaps his early leader. Now that Richt’s at Miami, McFarland’s switched allegiances to the Canes too.
Maryland is probably sitting alongside, or just behind, Miami and Alabama at this juncture. Despite the June 17 snub, McFarland has much love for the hometown school, and he’s been on campus about five times this offseason. The four-star has a great relationship with the entire UMD staff, plus he has his four teammates-turned-Terps and multiple 2017 Maryland commits in his ear.
McFarland may be infatuated with the traditional powers, but the Terps should have a real shot here come winter, particularly if the Tide’s staff backs off and the Canes’ coaches fill their skill-position spots.
Note: We never give much credence to long leaderboards, but McFarland did release a top-10 list that consisted of: Maryland, Bama, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame, TAMU, Michigan, Ohio State; South Carolina and Florida. We’ve already told you which of those schools are true threats, however. It’s UMD, Miami and Bama, with Florida having a chance to move up after McFarland takes in Gainesville, Fla.
Malik Davis, RB, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.): The Terps’ running back target Davis visited North Carolina for the first time June 15, and June 24 he’ll be at Iowa State.
Davis said he loved UNC head coach Larry Fedora, running backs coach Larry Porter, the Tar Heels’ offense and the campus environment. He admitted afterwards UNC had his eye for sure, despite the presence of four-star back Adarius Lemons (Clearwater, Fla.).
Next up, Davis wants to see Iowa State because the staff has been on him constantly. He counts the Cyclones’ staff as perhaps his most ardent pursuers, other than the Heels’ coaches.
After taking in ISU, Davis is seeking to see Maryland, WVU and maybe Va Tech.
The Tampa three-star said he has had consistent contact with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and running backs coach Anthony Tucker, who have had Davis pining to visit College Park for quite some time.
“It sounds like Maryland has a lot to offer me with playing time, the offense, and just being able to make a name for myself,” Davis said. “I like that Maryland is making me a priority. I don’t have a set date yet, but I definitely want to see [the Terps].”
Davis had previously trekked through UCF, Clemson, Miami, NC State, USF, Wake and Georgia, in addition to UNC.
Of the above, aforementioned UNC and Miami are on the brain. We’re not sure the Hurricanes’ staff is pushing for Davis, however. If they were, the in-state product would’ve probably popped to headman Mark Richt by now.
Also, note that UNC’s staff has a couple other elite backs on its board, including UMD target Javon Leake (discussed above), who is favoring North Carolina as well. If Leake beats Davis to the punch, the latter is out of luck in regards to UNC.
If the above remains true, which is likely, it would open the door for programs such as Maryland, Iowa State, WVU and Va Tech to pounce on Davis. We like the Terps’ coaches chances given those odds -- if Beatty and Tucker keep pursuing.
Remember, D.J. Durkin is taking one running back -- a second spot is saved for DeMatha’s Anthony McFarland -- and the headman may only grab Davis if he’s sure local runner Tayon Fleet-Davis (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.) is heading to Syracuse; Georgia back Deon Jackson (Pace Academy/Atlanta, Ga.) chooses Duke; and Leake is bound for UNC.
Jon Lovett, RB, Cherokee (Marlton, N.J.): Not much has changed with the Jersey back Lovett, except Scout’s Brian Dohn did catch up with him earlier this week for an update. Lovett remains focused on five programs, which just so happen to be five of his six FBS suitors: Rutgers, UMD, Temple, BC and Va Tech.
The Jersey runner just returned to Piscataway, N.J., for the umpteenth time, and Rutgers would seem to be the odds-on favorite following the trip. But, remember, Lovett isn’t an immediate “take” for head coach Chris Ash, which is why he hasn’t committed yet. Therefore, Lovett’s exploring his other options in hopes of finding a program that’s going to welcome him in.
That program could be Maryland . . . but maybe not at this juncture. Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin has several touted runners on his board, including Tayon Fleet-Davis (discussed above), Javon Leake (discussed above), Malik Davis (discussed above) and Deon Jackson (discussed above). Now, if Fleet-Davis picks Syracuse, Leake heads to North Carolina, Davis elects to stay in the South and Jackson chooses Duke, well, then Lovett would become the primary target.
In the meantime, Lovett will be returning to Maryland for the third time this offseason, per Dohn’s article. Lovett enjoyed both of his previous stays in College Park, praising the offensive system; the campus; the player dorms; the coming facility upgrades; and more. Plus, the Cherokee prospect is in touch with UMD running backs coach Anthony Tucker, area recruiter Matt Barnes and assistant Marcus Berry, who have maintained regular communication.
So, if Durkin does decide to accept Lovett’s commitment, the Jersey runner might jump right on board. But, if not, Lovett’s search will continue with jaunts to Boston College, Va Tech and possibly another trip to Temple.
The Eagles could be a potential fit since their staff does covet Lovett right now. Lovett said he was excited about his upcoming BC foray due to the school’s academics and tradition. The Hokies’ coaches, meanwhile, could be willing to bring the Garden State native in as a safety, but it remains to be seen if Lovett would be willing to play defense in college.
Temple, meanwhile, is actually closer to Lovett than Rutgers. The Owls’ staff has been on the three-star longer and harder than any of Lovett’s power-five suitors, and the interest appears mutual. Lovett could very well end up at Temple if he senses a “slow play” from his other significant options.
Andrew Steuber, OT, Darien (Conn.): The Terps are technically still in the game for the Connecticut tackle Steuber, but they may be hanging by a thread. Scout’s Brian Dohn recently updated the three-star’s status, and it sounds like Steuber’s attention is focused elsewhere.
The 6-6, 290-pounder recently landed a Michigan offer following a camp, subsequently declaring the Wolverines’ look a “dream.” Provided head coach Jim Harbaugh will accept his pledge, Steuber could be bound for Ann Arbor before the summer’s out.
Steuber then made his way to Notre Dame June 20, drawing interest from the Irish. If the UND staff elects to pursue, Notre Dame would promptly rise to the top of the Darien prospect’s favorites list.
The three-star also mentioned he wanted to see North Carolina for a second time coming up. Steuber said the UNC staff has been harping on him daily, which has the Northeast tackle eager for a Chapel Hill return.
Then there’s Penn State, which Steuber will be trekking to for the July 16 Lasch Basch. Steuber has heard from multiple PSU staffers, who have been urging the 6-6 recruit to check out Happy Valley.
Others in play include Duke and maybe BC and UMD. Steuber has visited each of the latter three and could see Durham again given his affinity for the school’s educational opportunities. But the tackle didn’t sound like he’d be returning to Chestnut Hill, Mass., or College Park before announcing his college decision in July or August.
We’ll keep Steuber on the hot board just in case line coach Dave Borbely, area recruiter Pete Lembo and offensive coordinator Walt Bell can turn the tide. The UMD staff has been diligent in its pursuit, so perhaps they can coax a second College Park trip out of the Darien product.
We’re just not counting on it based off the Dohn interview.
Victor Dimukeje, DL, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): Perhaps the most noticeable absentee at Maryland’s Friday Night Freak Show June 17 and the Lineman Challenge June 18 was the edge rusher Dimukeje.
Sure, Dimukeje’s been a regular in College Park, so there’s not much more he can glean by visiting Maryland. But many other DMV recruits have been on campus countless times as well, and the majority of them still showed up June 17 just to hang out. The fact Dimukeje opted against it could be an indication he’s cooled on the hometown school just a bit.
Truth be told, Dimukeje’s mid-June trek through Duke may have vaulted the Blue Devils ahead of the Terps in the pecking order. The Boys’ Latin product had been excited about visiting Durham for some time, Dimukeje long counting Duke as a standout due to the school’s academics and emerging football program. Moreover, Dimukeje’s parents, who are concerned about education first and foremost, may be favoring Duke.
Now, the DMV lineman has much love for UMD and defensive line coach Mike London, Dimukeje lauding his area recruiter for his personality; pitch; and resume. Moreover, the Baltimore resident does like the idea of teaming up with his friends at the next level.
But it’s clear the Durham trip opened Dimukeje’s eyes, and now Maryland may be sitting a hair behind the Blue Devils. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Boys’ Latin prospect, who has no other visits planned, popped to Duke sometime in July.
Note: While it would be somewhat deflating to lose a local like Dimukeje, the Maryland staff, which has already secured two elite D-line pledges, has loads of alternatives. Dimukeje’s a solid player, but it wouldn’t be a gut punch if he slipped away.
George Ellis, DT, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.): Terps’ assistants Chris Beatty, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Andy Buh trekked through American Heritage in May, offering the three-star Ellis May 17. Immediately after landing the verbal, Ellis said he’d “always liked” the Terps and sought to venture north for a visit.
Since then, Ellis has established a rapport with his UMD-area recruiter, Beatty, and said he should be finalizing a College Park visit date for sometime in July.
“I actually haven’t been to any schools recently, but the three I have in mind are Maryland, Mississippi State and USF,” Ellis said. “Those are the schools I definitely want to check out, because the coaches are showing love and I think they’d be great fits.”
Before the spring, Ellis was able to see Vanderbilt, Miami and UCF, with the Commodores and Knights extending verbals. Vandy, in particular, grabbed Ellis’ attention and is considered a potential landing spot.
But so are UMD, USF and Mississippi State. Ellis is keen on the Bulldogs due to their SEC affiliation, the Bulls since it’s a hometown school and the Terps due to the staff’s persistent overtures.
Our gut is Ellis is going to wind up at one of his Southeast Conference suitors, Mississippi State or Vandy. But if he does make it to College Park as intended, all bets are off.
We’ll leave Ellis “cool” on the hot board until the Maryland visit date is set in stone, but, based off our latest exchange, it wouldn’t shock if the American Heritage prospect fell into the Terps’ laps.
Note: Ellis might not be an immediate “take” for head coach D.J. Durkin what with the number of local defensive lineman still in play.
Stephon Zayas, BUCK, Dillard (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): When the hybrid Zayas pulled a Maryland offer in late May, he told me the Terps were a program that “jumped out,” and he definitely wanted to check out College Park this summer. But, at the same time, Zayas admitted the two schools’ coaches pushing the hardest for him were Pitt’s and Louisville’s.
A month or so later, Zayas keeps talking up the Cardinals and Panthers, while he isn’t so sure he’ll be making it to UMD. He said the only trips he has set are to U of L and Pittsburgh, Pa., with a college decision possibly coming shortly thereafter.
The vibe is the Cardinals will be Zayas’ landing spot barring an unexpected scenario. The school’s closer to Florida than Pitt, and the Dillard product seems to love the staff.
Even so, we’re keeping Zayas “cool” on the hot board, because both of Maryland’s ace recruiters, Chris Beatty and Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, are on the three-star. It’s conceivable the two assistants can cull out a visit while Zayas is on the road to Pitt this July.
There’s also the possibility Beatty isn’t making an all-out effort recruiting Zayas. After all, there are numerous defensive ends and BUCKs on Maryland’s board, and the Terps’ staff may have some elite DMV prospects rated higher than the Florida lineman.
Marcus Bowman, ILB, Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): The local linebacker Bowman was a College Park no-show for both the Friday Night Freak Show June 17 and the Lineman Challenge June 18. Instead, he went to South Carolina (the Gamecocks’ staff is unlikely to offer) before trekking up to Syracuse to participate in the Orange’s camp.
Following his first visit to New York, Bowman told Scout’s Mike McAllister he had SU and UMD sitting pretty, although word is Cuse may have the inside track. The Orange staff has made Bowman a priority, maintaining consistent contact for the last few months. On top of that, Bowman had predisposed affinity for SU after hearing all about the program from teammate Devin Butler, a 2016 Orange signee.
The Terps, with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim running point, have remained involved too, targeting Bowman as their guy at inside linebacker. Bowman has visited UMD several times this offseason and has given the hometown school its due. In fact, following the April 16 spring game, he called Maryland his frontrunner, although Bowman admitted that could change once he ventured out to other schools.
Well, the Douglass product finally made it out of the DMV June 19, and, as expected, his mind did change. The Orange program left a distinct impression, and it wouldn’t shock us if Bowman popped to SU before his senior season. (Bowman said he wanted to embark on officials, but we could see him being squeezed into an earlier commitment).
Note: One thing to note here, which could be affecting the Maryland staff’s pursuit of Bowman: The local linebacker had acknowledged previously he had to make sure his transcripts were in order. If those are shaky, it’s unlikely he’d be a “take” for UMD head coach D.J. Durkin anyway.
Keontae Jones, S, Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio): Maryland’s Ohio-area recruiter, Dave Borbely, offered Jones during the May evaluation period and has stayed in contact since then. However, Jones has yet to take a College Park visit and doesn’t intend to do so this summer.
But that’s not necessarily a slight on the Terps. Jones has been able to see just one school this offseason, Indiana, which he took in last weekend. The only other program he’s set to check out before September is Iowa State, which is where his brother attends.
The Cyclones supposedly have the inside track given the family connection, but Jones insists he’s keeping an open mind and will be taking all five official visits during the fall. Which means there’s a chance Maryland could grab one of the five if Borbely continues to make inroads.
The other schools in play for Jones include Iowa, Louisville, Rutgers, Syracuse, Cincinnati, Wisconsin, Va Tech and WVU. Not all those programs’ coaches will accept his pledge, however.
In all likelihood, Jones will concentrate on the schools’ staffs who are in constant communication, which include ISU’s, Indiana’s and Iowa’s, first and foremost, with UMD’s; Cincinnati’s; Rutgers’; Syracuse’s and Louisville’s somewhat involved.
New Offers Out
Jordyn Adams, WR, Blythewood (S.C.) (2018): The rising junior Adams is about to explode on the scene. He’s been one of the top participants at every camp he’s attended this June, securing offers from ECU, South Carolina and North Carolina in the process.
The Terps’ verbal, Adams’ fourth to date, came in June 20 courtesy of UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell. Bell saw Adams perform at a camp a couple weeks back and elected to toss out the offer before the 6-2, 175-pounder blew up in earnest.
Adams is wide open at this stage, but he’ll have his pick of schools by this time next year.
Blake Williams, TE/H-Back, Canada Prep (St. Catharine’s, Ontario): A tight end comes off the board, another quickly enters onto it.
The last two times the Terps’ coaches have extended tight end/H-back offers, the recruit has ended up popping elsewhere without giving Maryland nary a look. But Williams, an Oklahoman formerly of Mustang High (Monkton, Okla.) who is playing out his final year at Canada Prep, sounds like he’s at least going to check College Park out.
UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell extended the scholarship June 22, and the 6-4, 230-pound Williams was thrilled.
“When I was offered I was a bit shell shocked because Coach Bell and I hadn't really talked in a while. We were on and off with him occasionally checking in to see how I was doing, but nothing too in detail,” said Williams, who also holds offers from Syracuse, Rutgers, Illinois and UNC. “Of course, I was hyped because I'd been wanting an offer from them for a little while now, but at the same time speechless because it came out of nowhere.
“But I know the offense is definitely tight end friendly and they've sent one of the best tight ends to ever play college to the NFL, Vernon Davis. So seeing that he came out of Maryland opens my eyes. It’s one of the best offenses for tight ends in the nation I believe. It would be a great place to go.”
Williams, who did not know Bell when the coach was at Arkansas State, said he’d be visiting Maryland at some point this summer. He said UMD and Syracuse were the two programs he “definitely” wanted to get to in the near future.
But Williams has no intention of committing to either of those two schools anytime soon. Rather, he’ll wait to see what offerees materialize once his senior film is evaluated.
Williams -- who would have been an upper-tier tight-end recruit if not for a serious medical condition called dysautonomia, forcing him to miss two full seasons -- has been receiving interest from Texas, TCU, UCLA, Oregon, Mizzou, Vanderbilt, Houston, Arkansas, Kentucky and Penn State. Not all of those schools will ante up, but several of them undoubtedly will considering Williams’ physical and athletic prowess.
Williams, for his part, acknowledged he was seeking offers from the Bruins and Razorbacks. He said he’d “love” to play in Los Angeles or in Fayetteville, Ark., the latter representing a homecoming of sorts.
For now, though, it’s the Terps and the Orange on Williams’ mind. The fact Bell jumped on Williams before many other major programs could pay dividends for Maryland down the line.
Now, let’s see what kind of an impression the UMD coaches can make when Williams takes his intended College Park trip.
You can read more about Williams HERE.
Jaylin Duncan, OT, Northern (Owings, Md.) (2018): See “Freak Show” notes above.
Kenny Bennett, CB, Simon Graz (Philadelphia, Pa.): See “Freak Show” notes above.
Off The Board
Josh Palmer, WR, Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.): Well, so much for that.
Last week we wrote Palmer had UMD, Syracuse and Pitt trending after visits to each, and it turns out the school that had last dibs won the day. The Canadian native Palmer trekked to New York directly after seeing College Park, and evidently that final impression rang true.
Palmer popped to Syracuse June 22, lauding head coach Dino Babers’ fast-paced offense; the staff’s overall personality; the Orange’s indoor facilities; and the campus vibe. But the one factor that may have pushed Cuse past the Terps was the former school’s proximity to Palmer’s home in Ontario. Palmer noted that his family could easily make the trip down from Canada to see him on college football Saturdays.
The Terps’ staff did its diligence with Palmer, however, making the receiver’s decision difficult. The Aquinas three-star heaped praise on UMD following his June 13 jaunt, detailing his terrific relationship with area recruiter and position coach Chris Beatty. Plus, he liked offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread, meeting headman D.J. Durkin and chatting up the rest of the coaches. Moreover, Palmer raved about the impending facility upgrades, the renovated player dorms and the College Park area.
Palmer acknowledged it wasn’t easy turning down UMD (and yes, he was a “take” for Durkin), but the Orange’s location and Babers’ pitch won the day.
Emmanuel Greene, Slot, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): Maryland made the top-seven leaderboard for Greene, but the IMG product ended up popping to UCF June 17. Greene didn’t even see six of the seven programs he had in the running, but he’d taken in the Knights on several occasions and was a UCF lean following his latest foray. He bought into head coach Scott Frost and decided he’d rather represent his home school rather than journey outside the Sunshine State.
Greene expressed interest in seeing College Park since teammate Josh Kaindoh and ex-teammate Cam Spence are current Maryland commits, but there wasn’t a major push from UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty. The Terps already have three receiver pledges and are targeting several elite wideouts to fill the final one or two spots. Greene is a solid player, but not a game-changing type.
Corey Reed, WR, Roswell (Decatur, Ga.): Reed hasn't spoken to the media in quite some time, so we left him on the hot board in case we heard of him journeying north to College Park. We figured it was a possibility what with area recruiter Walt Bell and receivers' coach Chris Beatty both after the three-star wideout.
But Reed opened up a bit this week, and let on his focus was on his southern suitors. Louisville, which he's checking out this weekend, could be the leader in the clubhouse. The Cardinals' staff has been after Reed in earnest and seems to have his ear.
Meanwhile, Reed is pining for a Georgia look and will camp at Athens yet again in hopes of procuring one. If it comes to fruition, Reed could be UGA bound. Auburn is also in play for the borderline four-star.
Reed made no indication he would be trekking to UMD.
Jeremiah Hall, TE, Zebulon Vance (Charlotte, N.C.): Somehow, I overlooked Hall’s commitment to Oklahoma, the three-star tight end/H-back’s longtime favorite, in mid-June. When Hall pulled his OU offer during the spring evaluation period, he basically conceded he’d be popping to the Sooners at some point this summer.
The North Carolina native did want to check out a few other locales, including Maryland, but evidently he decided not to wait. Hall actually didn’t even make it to Norman, Okla.; he committed to Sooners’ area recruiter Jay Boulware sight unseen.
“That was a very tough decision,” Hall told Scout’s Bob Przyblo. “It was something we (his family) did discuss a lot. I looked at the offers I had and weighed each one differently and the outcomes. OU had only made like one other H-Back offer so that showed how much they wanted me.”
Terps’ head coach D.J. Durkin has been trying to add a second 2017 tight end, but he’s now seen two targets fall by the wayside sans College Park trip. Maybe he’ll hit on the third, Blake Williams (discussed above), who was offered June 22.
Antwan Owens, DE, Godby (Tallahassee, Fla.): Well, so much for wanting to get out of Florida. When Owens landed his Maryland offer courtesy of UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim May 19, the Tallahassee native told us the main schools he was looking at were out of state. He had programs like Louisville, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Purdue, Indiana and Maryland on his mind and in line for summer trips.
But, of the above, the only school he actually trekked to before popping to hometown UCF June 18 was Louisville.
“I loved UCF since I stepped foot on campus [back in February],” Owens told Scout’s Corey Bender the day he committed. “It felt like home for me.”
Goes to show you, these recruits’ minds change by the day.
DeMarco Artis, BUCK, Seminole (Sanford, Fla.): Last week in this space we said the hybrid Artis was fast fading for Maryland. A few days later, Artis did indeed drop off the board when he popped to UCF June 21. Knights’ head coach Scott Frost has done well convincing some of the Sunshine State’s second-tier recruits to stick with the hometown school.
Artis had numerous power-five options, including Ole Miss, Va Tech, Indiana, Wake Forest, Duke, Maryland and more. But rather than visit any of those out-of-state locales, Artis chose to stay in-state and play for Frost, who is quietly building quite a 2017 class.
The Terps, for their part, had linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes and defensive coordinator Andy Buh on Artis. Furthermore, UMD wideout commit M.J. Jarrell (Timber Creek/Orlando, Fla.) counts Artis as a good friend, and the receiver did his best to convince the BUCK to visit College Park.
Keisean Wilson, OLB, North Point (Waldorf, Md.): The Maryland staff has offered a boatload of linebackers and BUCKs, but Wilson never drew a look. We kept him on the hot board just in case he showed out at a UMD one-day camp and earned the hometown scholarship, but it didn’t happen.
Wilson, who had openly been campaigning for a UMD verbal, realized in recent weeks he should probably be turning his attention elsewhere. Thus, he popped to Old Dominion, whose coaches had been aggressively pursuing the DMV backer.
Derrek Pitts, S, South Charleston (Charleston, W.Va.): I placed Pitts back on the hot board after one of our colleagues updated the West Virginia safety’s status and felt the Terps resided among the recruit’s top six suitors. That may be true, but we just don’t see Pitts winding up in College Park barring a total change of heart. Pitts has had numerous opportunities to visit UMD, but he’s elected to head elsewhere.
We thought maybe Maryland-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim could get Pitts to attend the “Freak Show” June 17; instead, the safety headed to Tennessee.
The Volunteers are now considered a prime contender for Pitts’ services, although it’ll be hard to beat hometown WVU. Pitts has been forecast to the Mountaineers for months now, and that remains the case unless Penn State, Va Tech or Oklahoma can steal him away.
Antwan Collier, CB, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): The corner Collier probably could have come off the hot board awhile ago, but we kept him on since he hadn’t addressed his recruitment much recently. But that changed this week when the Florida corner attended a Miami camp and spoke to reporters afterwards.
Collier admitted if the Hurricanes, whose staff has shown interest, anted up, he’d likely be attending college in Coral Gables. The Florida corner loved the staff and the vibe at UM, while admitting he grew up a Canes fan as well.
Collier said offeree California was firmly in play too thanks to the staff’s overtures. At one time, Collier had the Bears out in front for his services.
The Southridge prospect is also looking hard at hometown UCF and Louisville, per our colleague’s reports. Collier made no mention of Maryland.
The Miami native visited UMD for the spring game April 16, but he didn’t comment afterwards, leading us to believe 1) he didn’t have a great time or 2) the staff wasn’t pushing for him. Either way, the Floridian probably isn’t coming back to College Park.