TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.

July 30 Cookout Analysis

Maryland’s July 30 cookout resulted in four commitments (yes, we’re counting the kicker) and numerous other recruits placing the Terps near the front of their respective leaderboards. Here’s a rundown of what we learned following the event:

Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): McFarland attends most major Maryland events, and he was in College Park, Md., yet again July 30. Right on cue, McFarland dropped heaps of praise on the local university. He discussed his rapport with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, running backs coach Anthony Tucker and the rest of the staff; the hometown movement; the positive vibes at UMD and more.

“Every time I come up to Maryland, it’s just a different atmosphere. I had fun talking to the coaches … it was real fun. I’m never disappointed up here,” McFarland  said. “The DMV movement, I’m feeling it right now, and it’s serious. It’s something I think about every day.”

McFarland said his teammates-turned-Terps D.J. Turner and LoLo Harrison are in his ear, along with other DMV UMD pledges like Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and Cam Spence (St. John’s). The DeMatha back allowed their collective words have hit home, keeping the Terps on his mind. McFarland even hinted it was important for him to play near family and friends.

Furthermore, the versatile athlete suggested that offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread offense would fit him well.

But, as Shell readers know by now, Miami and Alabama are right there alongside of, or maybe ahead of, Maryland in the pecking order. McFarland had compliments for both, admitting the Canes and Tide were ringing true, the former for his longstanding relationship with the staff and the latter for its tradition and player development. (For what it’s worth, McFarland said Bama’s pro-style offense didn’t faze him at all).

The DeMatha prospect said TAMU and Florida were in the race too, but called UMD, Miami and Bama his “big three.”

McFarland will use all five official visits this fall and then choose his school around Signing Day. He hinted he could make a summer commitment, but, even if he does, his recruitment would be far from over.

The feeling here is the Terps are going to have a real shot to bring McFarland in. But, to do so, he personally has to realize the Canes already have more than enough offensive playmakers, and the Tide probably aren’t the best fit for McFarland’s style.

You can hear what McFarland had to say HERE.

Tayon Fleet-Davis, RB, Potomac (Oxon Hill, Md.): And just like that Maryland's running back dilemma is solved, the Terps’ staff securing their top local target after a somewhat lengthy battle with Syracuse. The 6-0, 215-pounder hinted at a commitment July 27 during a campus visit with his parents, and then made the pledge official during the July 30 cookout.

“Terp up, baby,” Fleet-Davis said minutes after his pledge, a wide smile on his face. “Maryland is doing something big, and that’s where it’s at right now. The DMV Movement, with all the local guys on board [with the Terps], Maryland is going to be special. I love what Coach [D.J.] Durkin has going on there; Maryland is on the come up.”

Fleet-Davis said the July 27 trip in effect sealed the deal. Before then, SU seemed to hold a slight edge, but Fleet-Davis' folks loved what headman D.J. Durkin and Co. were about. What’s more, the runner appreciated how well the staff treated his parents.

Of course, Fleet-Davis always held UMD in high regard, having them running first or second in the pecking order since February -- mainly because the three-star easily connected with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Fleet-Davis knew Abdul-Rahim from when the latter was at Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.), and the connection only intensified when the coach arrived at Maryland from Alabama some three years later. The Oxon Hill native raved about the rest of the coaches' overall enthusiasm as well.

If that weren’t enough, Fleet-Davis felt at home on campus, returning on a whim to hang with the staff and other recruits. Speaking of recruits, Fleet-Davis had teammate and Terps’ commit Deon Jones constantly on him about Maryland. And, indeed, Fleet-Davis was all about the hometown movement and joining with other locals at UMD.

The coming facility upgrades, renovated player dorms and the other aesthetics appealed to Fleet-Davis as well.

Add all of that to his parents' feelings -- they wanted him nearby -- and Fleet-Davis decided to cancel his final Syracuse jaunt and stick to the in-state university.

So, what are the Terps getting in the 6-0, 215-pounder? 

A big, physical runner who hits the holes hard and can grind between the tackles. Fleet-Davis is a pile-pusher who rarely goes down after first contact. He has solid enough acceleration, allowing him to hit the gaps quickly and pop into the second level. The Potomac back also has nimble feet, showing the ability to slice through small openings and occasionally make defenders miss.

Fleet-Davis is patient, possesses above-average vision and knows how to set defenders up too. On top of that, he has soft hands; a knack for flaring out and finding openings in the flats; and generating yards after the catch.

Granted, Fleet-Davis isn't the fastest back around. He's not going to hit the home run or turn the corner on stretch runs. Fleet-Davis isn't an elite cutback runner either, nor is he especially elusive. In fact, he runs a little high and has to work on lowering his pads and keeping a lower base.

Regardless, Fleet-Davis projects as a potential starter, who could contribute early during his career. But if he can't cut it on offense, he's big enough and physical enough to transition to linebacker. Either way, a solid addition for the Terps.

You can read more about Fleet-Davis HERE.

You can hear what Fleet-Davis had to say HERE.

You can hear what his coach had to say HERE.

Javon Leake, RB, Page (Greensboro, N.C.): The Terps pulled in their second running back of the day when the three-star Leake popped to Maryland three hours after Tayon Fleet-Davis. The 6-0, 190-pounder said UMD trumped hometown North Carolina, the presumptive favorites, due to “everything [Maryland] had to offer.” Leake specifically mentioned UMD’s offense, his relationship with running backs coach Anthony Tucker and offensive coordinator Walt Bell, the uplifting mood surrounding the program, the campus, the coming facility upgrades and more. Leake mentioned his mother, who jointed him in College Park, fell in love with Maryland too.

The Page product visited UMD for the first time back in June, and after that he said the Terps started gaining major steam. Then, following a conversation with his mother earlier in July, Leake felt confident he wanted to be a Terp. Thus, he entered the July 30 cookout knowing full well where he wanted to attend college.

“I just fell in love with Maryland,” Leake said.

Now, Leake did indicate he would be taking official visits, which makes us somewhat leery. Especially since he mentioned North Carolina would probably receive one, meaning the Heels aren’t out of the picture yet.

So, we’ll see if Tucker and Bell can keep Leake on board throughout, but for now the Carolina runner’s all Maryland. (It’s important to note that schools, including UMD, will be monitoring Leake’s transcripts to ensure he’ll be a qualifier. If Leake’s good to go, he could see a serious uptick in interest later during the fall).

As for his game, Leake’s an elusive, athletic scat-back with big-play ability. He has deft feet, plenty of shake and can make defenders miss in the open field.

Leake hits the holes quickly, showing the ability to “get skinny” and slide through tight gaps, while possessing enough speed to turn the corner. The Page product reads his blocks well too, displaying a knack when and where to cut.

Additionally, Leake’s an outstanding pass catcher and could easily move into the slot in a spread offense. He does some of his best work in the open field after the catch, juking out defenders and using his above-average acceleration to blow by them.

To improve, Leake mainly needs to add more power to his game. He’s not the type of back who can break tackles or run defenders over. Leake has to improve his blocking technique too, as it’s a bit suspect right now.

You can hear what Leake had to say HERE.

Reese Leitao, TE, Jenks (Okla.): The Oklahoma offer Leitao made it to College Park July 30 for his first look at Maryland as a football recruit. The three-star, whose father, DePaul basketball coach Dave Leitao, accompanied him on the trip, acknowledged he didn’t consider the Terps a serious suitor until he visited.

“Before coming to Maryland, I felt like they weren’t as high, but now they definitely climbed up,” said Leitao, who holds offers from programs like Penn State, Duke, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma State, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota and more. “I felt really comfortable around the coaches and can definitely see myself in College Park for the next four, five years. I see them as a really good candidate.”

Leitao said his favorite part of the stay was sitting down with offensive coordinator Walt Bell. The Jenks prospect easily bonded with Bell, Leitao speaking highly of the assistant’s demeanor, not to mention his spread offense. Leitao also interacted with head coach D.J. Durkin and tight ends coach Pete Lembo, who offered Leitao in mid-July.

Leitao said Maryland’s engineering program and academic assistance grabbed his attention too. He’s an education-first recruit, so the fact UMD and Durkin emphasize academics hit home.

But while the visit may have improved the Terps’ chances, it didn’t sound like Leitao had them among his main three contenders. When I asked Leitao what schools he “definitely” wanted to officially visit, he promptly pointed to Penn State, Oklahoma State and Nebraska.

Leitao raved about his July 17 stay in Happy Valley and seems to have the Nittany Lions trending after the staff presented an offer. Oklahoma State’s coaches, meanwhile, have been after Leitao longer than most others, and Nebraska represents a chance to play Big Ten ball at a nearby program.

Leitao has already seen each of those three programs, in addition to Duke, which could also work its way into the mix.

There is a chance Leitao could commit this August, but he’s inclined to take officials. If he opts for the latter, well, perhaps Bell and Lembo can snag a second visit.

You can read more about Leitao HERE.

Note: Maryland’s other Oklahoma tight end target, Blake Williams, who is playing out his final year at Canada Prep (St. Catharines, Ontario), was not able to make it to College Park this summer. However, the 6-4, 230-pounder said the Terps -- with offensive coordinator Walt Bell running point -- are on the docket for an official visit during the fall.

Williams is also considering Syracuse, and is hoping a few more suitors come his way once his senior film is evaluated.

Johnny Jordan, OC, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): In a somewhat surprising turn of events, Jordan opted to end his recruitment earlier than originally intended, committing to Maryland July 30. The 6-2, 296-pound three-star was basically down to UMD and UVA anyway -- he had Va Tech, Pitt and BC under consideration -- and, after seeing College Park for the fifth time this offseason, decided not to follow through with official visits. (He actually had his mind made up a week prior, when he took an impromptu trek to UMD July 22).

Jordan had a terrific rapport with both offensive line coach Dave Borbely and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. He counted them among his favorite coaches, speaking to the former’s resume and detailed, no-nonsense approach and the latter’s engaging personality. Jordan loved head coach D.J. Durkin’s enthusiasm and the energy he’s put into building the Maryland program as well.

The school’s academics hit home too, a primary reason the recruit had the Terps atop his leaderboard. Plus, New Cole, the various renovation projects, the Under Armour connections and the DMV movement also played a role in Jordan’s decision.

Moreover, both of Jordan’s parents, who accompanied during each College Park visit, were comfortable with the staff.

Virginia’s staff made a run, and the school itself had Jordan’s eye due to the distinguished degree it offers. But, ultimately, Durkin’s potent pitch and the chance to build the hometown school into a winner won out.

Jordan’s pledge is an important one, because it gives the Terps a commitment from nearby Gonzaga, which seemed to shun UMD of late. Many of the school’s recent Division I recruits headed to UVA, Stanford or elsewhere, giving Maryland little more than lip service. Jordan’s pop, though, could potentially turn the tide, representing another significant step in Durkin’s attempts to win over the local high schools.

As far as Jordan’s game in concerned, he’s a rugged, sturdy center who plays with a mean streak. He has a stout base, keeps a low pad level and has terrific leg drive.

Jordan possesses an above-average initial strike, packing plenty of power at the point of attack. He hits low and hard, keeps his feet moving after engaging the opposing lineman, and has enough athleticism to push to the second level or pull around end.

To improve, Jordan needs to work on his feet and flexibility, especially in open space and when blocking quick-twitch blitzers. It follows that Jordan has to keep improving his pass-blocking technique, which can be a tad methodical at times.

The Gonzaga center could stand to come off the ball even quicker and develop a more rapid first step too. And, obviously, he’s not the tallest lineman around, nor does he have especially long arms, which could hinder him a big against Big Ten defenders.

You can hear what Jordan had to say HERE.

You can read what his coach had to say about him HERE.

Tyran Hunt, OT, Southampton (Courtland, Va.): After months of deliberating, the 6-6, 275-pound three-star tackle Hunt finally made it to College Park July 30. We’d basically written Hunt off after he reneged on at least three intended forays, but evidently he never lost interest in the school. He said UMD-area recruiter Mike London has stayed on him, and the university’s academic reputation always held his attention.

“I had my doubts at first, but it was great and I was glad to see Maryland. They had a lot to offer academically, at the school and around the area, and that’s why I came. Definitely, that stood out,” Hunt said. “And Coach London, he’s really been pushing for me and talks to me like three times a week. When we talk, it’s not the whole car salesman deal, and I really respect that. [The visit] definitely moved Maryland up into my top five.”

Hunt went on to lionize the campus itself, the forthcoming facility upgrades, and the advantage of UMD’s location outside of Washington, D.C., and near Baltimore. He said the internship/job opportunities the area presents makes Maryland attractive in and of itself.

Hunt’s comments were enough for us to re-include him on the hot board as “warm,” but we’re skeptical he’s going to pick UMD in the end. Virginia Tech and UVA are thought to be the frontrunners, with the Hokies holding the pole position.

Others in the game include Wake, UNC and Syracuse. He has not been to Cuse yet but will officially visit the Orange this fall.

Hunt did not list any other schools he’d “definitely” be officially visiting, but figure Virginia; Virginia Tech; North Carolina; and maybe Maryland will be included.

Before Hunt embarks on those trips, however, he might actually commit. He said he intended to pop early fall, and then go through with the official process.

Regardless, the smart money is on Tech. But let’s see how it plays out; if Hunt returns to Maryland for a second look, you never know what can happen.

You can hear what Hunt had to say HERE.

Marcus Minor, OL, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Give Minor credit: he’s an expert at keeping his feelings close to the vest, deflecting leading questions and staying even-keeled throughout interviews. He continues to reiterate the mantra that he has no clear leaders among his seven contenders, nor can any recruit; coach; or parent persuade him to join a particular program.

I asked him about his teammates committing to Maryland, I asked him about the DMV movement and I asked him about the chance to build the hometown school into a winner. Each and every time, Minor gave the politically correct response.

“It’s always going to be what’s best for me,” Minor said. “Not what anyone else is doing or where anyone else is going.”

Now, don’t fret Terps’ fans. Minor did have fun July 30, and he does genuinely likes it up at College Park. He has a strong bond with head coach D.J. Durkin, area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and offensive line coach Dave Borbely. Minor mentioned no Maryland staffer is pushing him to commit, which the four-star appreciates.

Most importantly, the guard/tackle is all about UMD’s renowned journalism program.

“Whoever has a good journalism program will always give that school a boost. If it has good connections and I have a good chance of getting a nice job, that will always be a plus for me,” Minor said.

Considering the latter, Minor probably has the Terps sitting anywhere from first to maybe third on his leaderboard. We’ve been projecting him to UMD for some time, and there’s no reason to reconsider that prediction after this latest interview.

That said, Minor is entertaining other programs, with Miami and Florida the latest to make a move. The DeMatha four-star was in Coral Gables, Fla., and Gainesville, Fla., earlier this month, commending both Sunshine State schools.

Meanwhile, Virginia Tech has Minor’s eye after a trip to Blacksburg, Va., with Rutgers; Auburn (not a “take”); and Michigan State (not a “take”) in play as well.

Expect Minor to take several officials, and then conclude his recruitment next winter. We thought there was a chance he’d commit before his senior season, but it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen.

You can hear what Minor had to say HERE.

Desmond Holmes, OT, Cardinal O’Hara (Springfield, Pa.): It was questionable whether or not Holmes would make it in to College Park, particularly after landing a coveted Penn State offer, but the 6-5 tackle did indeed make it down.

His visit didn’t disappoint either.

The O’Hara prospect had been in College Park once before for a camp, but he really didn’t tour the school or interact with the staff until July 30. Afterwards, he went on and on about the benefits of the UMD program and a Maryland education, making it clear the Terps would remain No. 1 or No. 2 in the pecking order.

“It was really awesome, seeing not only the football part but the academic part. And the virtual tour of what’s coming with the [facility] upgrades and where the players live, that was really, really cool. Then [the coaches] took us aside, talked about the school’s relationship with Under Armour and the jobs after college, and that really stood out,” Holmes said.

Holmes harped on the educational side of UMD first and foremost, hitting on the internship opportunities and the coaches’ emphasis on academics. He then spoke highly of offensive line coach Dave Borbely, calling his area recruiter “awesome” and saying how much he liked the assistant’s mentality and message.

Holmes also said he and his family had a “great” meeting with headman D.J. Durkin, the recruit letting on his parents “loved” the Maryland program.

Taking all of that into account, it’s safe to say the Terps are going to be in the conversation when Holmes is ready to pick a college later this summer. But the question is, Can they top Penn State and in-state Pitt?

The July 28 PSU offer hit home in a major way and could be a game-changer. Holmes even admitted he would be returning to State College, Pa., in August -- perhaps with the intention of committing.

Pitt, another in-state program, has his eye too. Holmes has been to Pittsburgh several times and likes the direction the Panthers are headed.

Our gut? Well, if the Penn State coaches really do want Holmes, that’s probably where he’ll end up. But, if not, he could fall into the Terps’ laps.

Stay tuned.

You can hear what Holmes had to say HERE.

Calvin Ashley, OT, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): It pays dividends when your university is right down the street from powerhouse high schools. Five-star tackle Calvin Ashley recently transferred to St. John’s from IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), and he elected to join his new teammates on a trek to UMD.

Following the July 30 cookout, the Auburn pledge said he enjoyed himself and was impressed with what Maryland had to offer. He easily interacted with the coaches and other recruits, seemingly gelling well.

With that in mind, we’re inclined to keep Ashley in mind as a possible flip candidate. But from what we’re told, the five-star isn’t coming to Maryland. Our colleagues insist he’s either sticking with Auburn or flipping to Florida State, Ashley’s childhood dream school.

Thus, he’s not going on the hot board quite yet. But remember Ashley’s name in case it crops up in Terps’ circles during official-visit season.

Tyree Johnson, DE/BUCK, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): Another College Park regular, the three-star Johnson returned to Maryland July 30. Johnson attended all three of the Terps’ major offseason events -- DMV Day, Freak Show, July 30 cookout -- in addition to other random treks through campus.

The St. John’s edge rusher has seen pretty much everything he needs to out of Maryland, but the latest visit allowed his parents the opportunity to mingle with the coaches. Johnson’s folks liked head coach D.J. Durkin and assistants Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Mike London. They’re keen on the direction Durkin’s taking the program and believe their son could readily develop under the staff’s watch.

Personally, Johnson once again had fun hanging out with his friends and the Maryland coaches. It’s reached the point where neither teammates Cam Spence nor Kasim Hill, or Abdul-Rahim or Mike London, need to press the Terps on Johnson. It’s more about making sure he’s comfortable around the program, which the three-star clearly is.

Following the cookout, Johnson said it would be his final stop this summer.

Now, perhaps, comes decision time.

Johnson has gone back and forth on whether or not he wanted to take official visits, but the sense is he’s seen enough to choose a school later in August. (He may still embark on a couple officials after announcing his college selection).

Publically, Johnson has four programs in play -- TAMU, UMD, North Carolina, Tennessee -- but in reality he’s deciding between Maryland and Texas A&M. His mid-July College Station, Texas, jaunt resonated, and many analysts believe the Aggies’ coaches are positioned to snag the DMV edge rusher. TAMU’s SEC affiliation, the staff’s player-development and the presence of teammate-turned-Aggie Aaron Hansford all have Johnson’s attention.

Given that, we’re growing leery about the Maryland coaches’ chances with Johnson. We’ve heard enough pro-TAMU rumblings to dub this a 50-50 proposition, rather than giving the Terps the edge.

Granted, even if Johnson does choose Texas A&M this summer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s where he’ll end up in February. We do believe the Terps’ staff’s all-out-effort could be enough to keep Johnson home when it’s all said and done. (That is, provided the Terps are still in need of a defensive end/BUCK later in the winter).

Stay tuned.

Ellis Brooks, ILB, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.): Brooks returned to College Park July 30, and, after his second look at Maryland under the D.J. Durkin regime, it sounds like the Terps are going to be a real player for the four-star.

Brooks, a former Duke commit, spent the majority of his stay with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty, who has the backer’s ear, and linebackers coach Matt Barnes. Beatty, for his part, has known Brooks for a couple years now, the assistant counted as one of the recruit’s favorite college coaches.

Brooks also enjoyed chatting up Barnes and seeing D.J. Durkin again. Durkin actually pursued Brooks when the UMD headman was at Michigan, so the two have a rapport that dates back to before last season.

If that weren’t enough, Brooks and his father like the environment Durkin and Co. are creating in College Park. It was a loose, laid-back feel at Maryland July 30, and Brooks seemed to have fun chilling with the other recruits and the coaches. Last but not least, Maryland’s standout academics have Brooks thinking turtles as well.

But the four-star obviously didn’t pop July 30, and the feeling is he’s going to embark on multiple official visits before selecting a school.

Brooks just toured through Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Auburn, Virginia and Virginia Tech and is seeking offers from the former four SEC programs. If any of those scholarships materialize (Auburn is most likely), Brooks will certainly entertain them and perhaps return for an official. Moreover, he likes what he’s seen out of in-state Va Tech, Brooks giving more thought to sticking around town for college.

Our gut? We’re encouraged by Maryland’s position here, and as long as the bigwigs in Alabama stay away, we think Beatty and Durkin can gain serious inroads. But there’s a ways to go before Brooks decides on a school, so we’re not ready to forecast him to College Park just yet.

Marcus Bowman, ILB, Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Bowman may have had one of oddest college visits this offseason July 30. For whatever reason, the local backer did not arrive with the rest of the recruits; he got to campus around 5 p.m., after most everyone save the coaches had left. Therefore, Bowman didn’t have a chance to see the event’s three commitments, nor did he interact with the glut of other DMV prospects.

But Bowman said he and his mother still had a good time reconnecting with the coaches. The two had an opportunity to chat with defensive coordinator Andy Buh, linebackers coach Matt Barnes area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.

Of those, Bowman spoke most extensively to Buh, who explained Maryland’s defense and let the backer know his potential role. Afterwards, Bowman said he liked the idea of lining up at inside linebacker, where he can see the entire field “and hit whoever comes my way.”

“But the coaches were mainly just excited to see me.,” Bowman said. “They were just telling me to keep my grades up and asking how I was doing in summer school. I told them I was doing well, and I’m on top of [my grades]. I think I’ll definitely qualify; I’m working for it.”

And therein lies the concern.

Some have been wondering why Bowman has been dragging his feet a bit, and this is the answer. In all likelihood, Bowman probably couldn’t  commit right now if he wanted to.

That said, he’s someone the Maryland coaches will likely monitor this fall. If it looks like he will qualify, and the Terps still need an inside linebacker, well, the staff could jump right back on the DMV three-star.

Not that Abdul-Rahim has backed off Bowman of late. The Maryland assistant has, and will continue to, maintain regular contact throughout.

Which is probably why Bowman is keeping the hometown school atop his leaderboard, alongside Syracuse. The Douglass prospect visited the Orange in June and loved the family environment and the fact he has a former teammate (Devin Butler) in New York already.

But if Bowman’s not a “take” for either the Terps’ or the Orange’s coaches, he could wind up at Marshall, a recent riser whose staff has the linebacker’s ear. (Minnesota just offered as well, though we don’t foresee Bowman ending up that far from home).

At this juncture, we’re keeping Bowman “warm” on the hot board. But our gut is the Terps’ coaches might look elsewhere (think: Ellis Brooks) for their inside linebacker.

You can read more about Bowman HERE.

Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): The main thing to tale away from the Castro-Fields visit was his comments in regards to his mother. Castro-Fields’ mom is paramount in his recruitment, so her opinion matters.

“[The Maryland visit] was good for her, she got to hang with the coaches again,” Castro-Fields said. “Her being up here often is good for her and good for me, because she’s big in this recruiting process.

“But it was a good event. It showed what Maryland had to offer with a family vibe.”

If we are to take Castro-Fields at his word, and his mom genuinely approves of UMD, we’d have to think Maryland is going to be right there -- or maybe even have a chance to jump to the head of his favorites list. It’s clear Castro-Fields’ mother likes area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and head coach D.J. Durkin, as well as what the Maryland headman is preaching athletically and academically.

But, even so, Castro-Fields is keeping an open mind about the process, seeking to take his officials and thoroughly vet each of his foremost suitors. Penn State, which he saw again in mid-July, and Alabama are on the brain, both programs impressing the three-star. The Nittany Lions gained ground following the Lasch Basch, and the Tide have Castro-Fields smitten with their tradition and star-studded staff/program.

Castro-Fields mentioned Va Tech and UNC as players too, but he’s not going to either locale unless the former trio falls by the wayside.

The feeling here is the Terps might just wind up landing the Riverdale corner. We’re not sure how long Bama’s offer is going to be on the table (despite Castro-Fields’ insistence it will be), nor are we positive Penn State’s coaches will keep pushing if they land another top corner or two before the Riverdale recruit’s ready to pop.

Castro-Fields has had Maryland affinity for a long time, and he and Abdul-Rahim are tight. It wouldn’t even be a surprise if he eventually came around to UMD and opted for the Terps this winter.

You can hear what Castro-Fields had to say HERE.

Exree Loe, CB, Johnstown (Pa.): The Pitt decommit Loe returned to College Park for the first time since the spring, the three-star taking the opportunity to interact with UMD-area recruiter Dave Borbely and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Loe naturally enjoyed himself, and he now counts UMD among his two main contenders.

“Maryland is a school I just feel really comfortable at and who recruits me the most,” Loe said. “It feels like home there.”

But, as mentioned in last week’s space, we don’t believe the Terps’ staff has the 5-11, 195-pound Loe prioritized. The feeling is head coach D.J. Durkin is more inclined to look at lengthier corners with plus athleticism.

Given that, process of elimination dictates West Virginia, Loe’s other stated frontrunner, is in line to land the Pennsylvania product.

At the latest, Loe wants to have his college decision made Aug. 26, and all signs point towards a Mountaineers’ pop.

You can read more about Loe HERE.

Jonathan Doerer, K, South Mecklenburg (Charlotte, N.C.): As expected, the Terps pulled in their lone kicker target during Doerer's second campus visit July 29-30. The 6-3, 190-pounder had a chance to tour the grounds, learn about the school itself, reconnect with the staff and meet other recruits. 

Doerer raved about special teams coach Pete Lembo, the assistant's acumen and demeanor hitting home. The kicker also bonded with head coach D.J. Durkin, noting his special teams knowledge and engaging personality. 

Doerer, though, was particularly impressed with the school's academic reputation. An education-oriented recruit, he's eager to engage himself in Maryland's sports-medicine  program.

The Carolina native lauded the campus itself, the pending facility upgrades and the renovated dorms as well. He liked that College Park is down the street from Washington, D.C., and 40 minutes from Baltimore, giving him plenty of internship/job opportunities. 

If that weren't enough, Doerer's mother was on board too, extolling the coaches and the school’s degree.

Needless to say, Doerer was thrilled with the whole experience; he ended up committing before the cookout July 29.

“When Maryland first offered me, I knew that was my school. It was exciting to get the offer, and it was something I’d been working towards,” Doerer said. “All I needed, really, was to see the school and learn about the academics, and I was good to go. I’m really, really happy with my decision and excited about my future at Maryland. It’s a great opportunity for me.”

So, is Doerer the next Brad Craddock? Well, time will tell, but he does seem to have a big leg. Doerer can connect from 50 yards right now, and figures to add more distance once he gets into a college training program. He's fairly accurate from inside 35 yards, but will need to improve on longer attempts.

To boot, realize that Doerer, unlike many high-school specialists, does not kick off a tee on field goal attempts. That should only aid in his transition to college.

On kickoffs, Doerer easily sends the ball into end zone, registering touchbacks about 90 percent of the time. 

You can read more about Doerer HERE.

You can hear what his coach had to say HERE.

2018 Cookout Visitors

The July 30 cookout wasn’t limited to rising seniors, and several elite 2018 recruits made it to College Park as well. There were probably more, but the three we noted were Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.) quarterback Devin Leary, Oxon Hill (Md.) receiver Daniel George and DeMatha defensive end John Morgan.

-- It’s early, but it sounds like Terps’ offensive coordinator Walt Bell has a bead on the dual-threat Leary. The 6-2, 175-pounder, who landed a UMD offer back in May, took his first trip to College Park (OK, he visited once before his freshman year) and heaped praise on Bell and Maryland.

“I loved it,” said Leary, who holds early offers from UMD, Rutgers, BC, Wake Forest, Temple and UMass. “What I really liked and stood out was how much of a family it is there. Like, all the coaches not only knew my name, but they knew my parents’ names and even my little brother and sister’s names. All of us were so surprised, and it was such a welcoming atmosphere.

“And what I really liked about Coach Bell is how he talked to me as a person, not as a football player. We talked how things were going off the field, and I could really relate to him.”

Leary went on to extol Bell’s spread, which is similar to Timber Creek’s system. The Jersey native said he wants to play in an up-tempo, fast-paced offense, and believes UMD ‘s fits him perfectly.

Furthermore, Leary talked up the campus, the coming facility upgrades and the academics. His parents, especially, were thrilled with the educational aspects. The family also liked that Maryland wasn’t far from their Jersey home.

So, it certainly sounds like UMD is positioned well for Leary. But we’ll have to see how his recruitment develops before declaring him a future Terp.

For the time being, the Maryland coaches are only competing with a few mid-level Division I programs for Leary’s services. But what happens if some SEC schools or maybe UNC, which Leary previously coveted an offer from, become involved?

Time will tell.

You can read more about Leary HERE.

-- The four-star receiver George is coming around more and more to the hometown school. Although still somewhat starry-eyed, he dubbed his latest journey through College Park an “an eye opener.”

“The hometown movement is real,” said George, noticeably excited. “Seeing all the guys I know commit and want to represent their home state is great. And seeing all the other DMV guys coming out and taking interest in Maryland was big. It definitely does affect me and my thinking.”

The 6-2, 185-pounder has a relationship with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, but July 30 he connected with receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and headman D.J. Durkin. George lauded Beatty for his resume and the receivers he’s put in the NFL, while the Oxon Hill product noted Durkin’s energy and ability to attract hometown talent.

George won’t be popping to Maryland early, however. He’s seeking offers from the nation’s elites like Alabama, Ohio State and Florida State, along with Miami.

But the Terps’ coaches have worked into the thick of things, ensuring UMD will be among George’s  leaders at this time next year.

You can read more about George HERE.

-- The DeMatha edge rusher Morgan irked some UMD fans when he placed Penn State ahead of Maryland after the Nittany Lions’ Lasch Basch. But Morgan now has the Terps running even with PSU post-July 30 cookout. The DeMatha prospect said his mother finally had a chance to meet the Terps’ coaches, and since she’s on board with UMD, Morgan is too.

“I know I said after I visited Penn State they were the leader, and I said that because my family is very, very familiar with the staff there. But it’s the same now with Maryland. I like [the Terps] a lot,” said Morgan, who holds verbals from UMD, PSU, Va Tech, Rutgers and Syracuse. “We got to sit down for a long time with Coach [Mike] London. He’s someone who you know is going to be in your corner. You can talk to him about anything, and he’s going to have your back. Even after football or outside of football, Coach London is like a mentor.”

Morgan will have more than just PSU and Maryland in the running before it’s all said and done, though. Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Florida are showing interest and could offer soon enough.

The Terps are bound to be in play throughout, but look for plenty of ebbing and flowing from Morgan.

You can read more about Morgan HERE.

More News On Top Targets

Markquese Bell, WR, Bridgeton (N.J.): Bell was a tentative re-addition to the hot board. The four-star Jersey athlete released his top-seven favorites list Aug. 1, and Maryland was included, along with Ohio State; Clemson; Michigan; Florida; Rutgers; and Temple. The feeling, per our Garden State contacts, is that Bell is going to wind up at either OSU, Clemson or Michigan, with hometown Rutgers remaining in the picture.

That said, Bell has been in College Park twice this offseason, giving the Terps their props. He’s spoken highly of Maryland’s spread offense, the coaching staff’s overall demeanor, the coming facility upgrades and more. Plus, Bell has exchanged messages with both head coach D.J. Durkin and UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker on a regular basis.

Thanks to Durkin and Co.’s overtures, Bell intends to officially visit UMD Oct. 22. If he sticks to it, perhaps Maryland can remain in play for the four-star.

But to secure Bell’s signature, the Terps probably have to outlast the Buckeyes, which just offered, the Wolverines; and the Tigers. (In other words, all three staffs might have to back off Bell). The Bridgeton prospect will be taking officials to Michigan Sept. 24, Florida Oct. 8, Clemson Nov. 12 and OSU Nov. 26.

The sense is that final foray through Buckeye Country could prove pivotal.

Josh Paschal, DE, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): One of the more “interesting” no-shows for Maryland’s July 30 cookout was the four-star Paschal, who previously said he’d be in College Park. But apparently Paschal had family matters to take care of and did not attend.

Terps’ fans probably don’t need to be overly concerned with the perceived snub, however. Paschal continues to hold the hometown school in high regard, and vice versa. He has regular communication with UMD defensive line coach Mike London and area recruiter Chris Beatty, both coaches letting Paschal know he’s needed at the local university. Additionally, Paschal already has a sense for the DMV movement from the four-star’s previous stays at DMV Day and the Friday Night Freak Show.

Paschal should be back in College Park for a game during the fall, and then for an official visit.

He’ll be checking out Oklahoma and Notre Dame too, provided both the Sooners’ and Irish’s staffs keep pursuing him. Paschal is noticeably high on those two stalwarts, and if UND’s coaches want him, Paschal could be South Bend, Ind., bound.

Paschal is considering Clemson, UNC, Tennessee and USC as well, although those four are likely sitting behind UMD, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.

Expect Paschal to take four or five official visits before coming to his college decision next winter.

Vic Dimukeje, DE/DT, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): There’s not much new to report after last week’s update, except that Dimukeje didn’t show at Maryland July 30. But while that may be an indication his interest in the Terps is waning, we’re not so sure. We still believe this is a 50-50 shot, the Boys’ Latin recruit down to Duke and Maryland, with Va Tech running third.

From what we’ve been able to gather, Dimukeje’s torn between his own personal feelings and what others around him are suggesting. Dimukeje’s parents, for example, may want him at Duke given the school’s renowned degree. But the three-star personally may be inclined to join his fellow DMV recruits in College Park.

Of course, that’s conjecture at this point. Dimukeje isn’t going to outright admit to any of the above, so take it for what it’s worth.

Either way, we do know he has a terrific rapport with UMD defensive line coach Mike London. Moreover, Dimukeje has enjoyed each of his previous Maryland jaunts and couldn’t say enough about the staff’s enthusiasm; the DMV movement; the pending facility upgrades; and the educational opportunities.

The Baltimore resident has similar feelings for Duke, however, which is one of the reasons why this isn’t an easy call. The coaches’ potent pitch, the atmosphere on campus and the academics all hit home with the Boys’ Latin lineman. Furthermore,  Dimukeje does have family in North Carolina, which is no small factor.

It’s a difficult decision, for sure, and we don’t expect Dimukeje to rush. There’s some possibility he could pop later in August, but, from what we’ve heard, he wants to take officials so he can further gauge his contenders.

Corey Bolds, DT, Paramus Catholic (Paramus, N.J.): The 6-3, 275-pound interior tackle Bolds has generated little, if any, news in Maryland circles, but evidently UMD defensive line coach Mike London; area recruiter Matt Barnes; and head coach D.J. Durkin have done enough to at least warrant a visit. Bolds ended up tripping down to Maryland Aug. 4, and though he didn't respond to inquiries immediately afterwards, the sense is the Terps could work into the lineman's upper-tier of suitors. 

Bolds holds offers from programs throughout the SEC, ACC and Big Ten, but he might not be a "take" for some of those power programs (read: Clemson, Michigan, Georgia, Ohio State, Alabama, Ole Miss, etc.). That means schools such as hometown Rutgers and maybe even Maryland might be able to make some noise here.

Personally, Bolds is favoring Michigan, which he'll be seeing sometime soon, and Rutgers, a school he's been to numerous times. He lists UGA, Tennessee, Penn State and Clemson among his contenders too, although, as previously stated, it's unclear which of those staffs will accept his pledge.

For the time being, Bolds seems content to wait until after he takes officials before choosing a school. Many believe he could very well wind up at hometown RU before it's all said and done, though if the Wolverines' staff truly wants him he could be Ann Arbor, Mich., bound.

Malik Horton, BUCK, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.): Horton did not make it to Maryland July 30, his second cancelled college trip in as many weeks (he backed out on Colorado July 24).

“Yeah sorry, couldn’t get the plane ticket,” Horton told me. “But I definitely want to get to Maryland, though. That’s my top school. That’s where I’ll be committing, it’s just a matter of time.”

OK, but this sounds like another George Hunter (Atlantic/Delray Beach, Fla.) situation: A recruit that’s all in with Maryland, but can’t pull the trigger and probably isn’t allowed to.

Fact is, Horton’s teammate, Terps’ commit Sean Nelson, was able to secure a plane ticket to College Park. Even Nelson didn’t know why Horton didn’t join him on the flight, the receiver just as perplexed as us in the media.

“Man, I can’t even tell you what’s up with him,” Nelson said July 30. “I have no idea. He was supposed to be here. I had my plane ticket; don’t know why he didn’t.”

The sense on this end is Horton might be a tad mercurial. Sure, he said he would be officially visiting Maryland and Colorado this fall, in addition to new offeree Vandy, but we’ll have to see what trips he actually follows through with.

Additionally, we’re getting the sense the Maryland staff isn’t pressing for Horton. The recruit certainly has high interest in the Terps, but head coach D.J. Durkin likely has other BUCK candidates in mind.

All that considered, we’re going to downgrade Horton to “warm” on the hot board. But, if Horton remains true to his word, and the Maryland staff is willing to accept his pledge, it wouldn’t shock us if he popped to UMD out of the blue.

Keep his name in mind just in case.

Kenny Bennett, CB, Simon Gratz (Philadelphia, Pa.): Bennett was perhaps the most disappointing absentee from Maryland’s July 30 cookout event. But unlike a couple others who chose not to attend, Bennett had a good reason for reneging. His parents’ car evidently broke down, and they were unable to make the drive from Philly to College Park.

Which was unfortunate for UMD purposes, because there was a better-than-average chance Bennett would have committed after taking in the Terps.

Of Bennett’s four foremost suitors (UMD, Pitt, Temple, Va Tech), it was obvious Maryland held the top spot. Bennett raved about defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, head coach D.J. Durkin and area recruiter Matt Barnes. He talked up Abdul-Rahim’s coaching techniques, in particular, and said he could see himself thriving learning under the secondary staffer.

Plus, the Philly corner liked the campus, the pending facility upgrades, the Under Armour connections and the program’s imminent rise. Bennett also knows he’d have an opportunity to shine early in Maryland’s defensive-back-needy unit.

But since Bennett didn’t make it back to College Park July 30, it complicates matters a bit.

Since the failed UMD trip-attempt, Bennett returned to Temple Aug. 1 and took in Va Tech Aug. 3, both visits leaving a mark on the Philly corner. The Owls’ coaches pressed the be-a-hometown-hero angle, and the Hokies’ staff harped on their “DB U” reputation.

On top of that, Bennett now seems inclined to go through the official-visit process and have his senior film evaluated to see if he can procure a few more suitors (he wants Penn State).

For the time being, we still like Maryland’s spot, but we’re a bit less confident than before.

Tareke Lewis, CB, Riverside C.C. (Calif.): We tend to be a bit skeptical of junior-college offerees, but, if Lewis is to be believed, he’ll be Maryland-bound later this fall. The Florida native, who was teammates with new UMD corner signee J.C. Jackson, told me he’s been in communication with Terps’ defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim since landing his Maryland verbal back in the spring. And once Jackson let on he was headed to College Park, Lewis has been eager to join him.

“I like Maryland right now. They’re No. 1, because I keep in contact with Coach Aazaar a lot, and my friend, J.C. Jackson, is going there too. And looking at the secondary, I have a chance to play there early,” said Lewis, who attended Palatka (Fla.) High. “J.C. actually just got to Maryland [Aug. 2], but when he went on his visit there he told me he loved it. He said he loved the environment and the coaches there. We’ve been talking about playing together in Maryland’s secondary.”

Lewis said he’ll have his first opportunity to see College Park during an official visit shortly after Riverside’s season ends. His intention is to commit upon seeing the school.

But, as aforementioned, we’ll have to monitor how this situation develops throughout the course of the fall. As readers know, we’ve heard recruits “destined” for Maryland before, only to do a 180 after learning they weren’t truly in the coaches’ plans or had transcript issues (see: Atlantic High’s George Hunter).

Lewis, for his part, may fall into the latter category.

So if Maryland isn’t available to Lewis, the programs on the Floridian’s mind include UCF, which he visited in late July, and Kansas State, which he’s officially visiting Oct. 8.

You can read more about Lewis HERE.

New Offers Out

Isaiah Hazel, WR, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) (2019): This DMV freshman figures to be the next big-time athlete out of Wise, and Terps’ receivers coach Chris Beatty and graduate assistant Brawley Evans identified him early. He landed an offer July 30 during UMD’s cookout event, his very first verbal.

The 6-1, 190-pounder was naturally thrilled; he has plenty of hometown affinity and is eager to take in a game this fall.

But it’s way too soon to comment on Hazel’s recruitment at this stage. He’s bound to secure double-digit looks provided he continues to develop.

Elijah McAllister, TE, Rumson Fairhaven Regional (Rumson, N.J.) (2018): McAllister is one of the best 2018 tight ends in the Northeast, and the Terps’ Pete Lembo handed him an offer Aug. 1. The 6-6, 215-pounder previously held verbals from Tennessee, Rutgers, Syracuse, UConn, UVA, Pitt, Temple and more. He is on the radar of programs throughout the Big Ten, SEC and ACC.

McAllister’s been to nearby Rutgers a couple times, but he has no leaders at this stage. We’ll have to see how his profile expands before forecasting him to a particular conference or school.

Let’s see if Lembo and Jersey-area recruiter Anthony Tucker can convince McAllister to visit College Park this fall.

Bumper Pool, ILB, Lovejoy (Allen, Texas) (2018): It’s not the best football name ever, but it’s still pretty darn cool. Which, in our opinion, was enough for Maryland Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry to offer the four-star junior Aug. 2.

Pool, though, already had the in-state stalwarts and several SEC; Big 12; and Big Ten elites after him. Alabama, Texas, TAMU, Michigan, USC, Baylor, Arkansas and more have anted up.

Unless Pool has some connection to the Terps we’re not privy to, he’s going to be one tough pull (no pun intended) out of the Lone Star State.

Harrison Hand, CB, Cherry Hill-West (Cherry Hill, N.J.): The Jersey corner Hand, a three-star who could attract significant interest with a standout senior campaign, earned a Maryland offer July 30. The 5-11.5, 193-pounder doesn’t grant lengthy over-the-phone interviews, but we’re told the Terps could become one of Hand’s top contenders.

Hand, who actually knows UMD corner target Kenny Bennett (discussed above), has been exchanging messages with Maryland defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. The three-star is now looking to visit College Park during the fall, perhaps for an official visit.

Many analysts originally projected Hand to remain home and head to Rutgers, but evidently the Cherry Hill native might be more inclined to leave the Garden State. Thus, he’s taking a hard look at Virginia Tech, which he dubbed “DB U” in a previous interview, and figures to officially visit Blacksburg, Va. Temple is another program on Hand’s radar since the Owls’ coaches are in constant contact.

We’ll have to see what offers Hand procures during his senior season, but, at the moment, it sounds like Rutgers (if head coach Chris Ash can convince him to stay put), Va Tech, Maryland and maybe Temple will be in play. But it’s unclear if Abdul-Rahim and the Terps will push in earnest unless Bennett or Tariq Castro-Fields (discussed above) head elsewhere.

For what it’s worth, our colleagues have pegged Hand a Hokie, but we’ll see what transpires following officials.

Off The Board

Cam Sullivan-Brown, WR, Pallotti (Laurel, Md.): As expected, the three-star receiver Sullivan-Brown committed to Penn State July 29. It came a bit earlier than anticipated, but after he attended the mid-July Lasch Basch -- and, really, well before that -- it was inevitable he’d end up a Nittany Lion. Sullivan-Brown chose PSU over Maryland (second), Duke (third), Syracuse and West Virginia.

The local receiver couldn’t say enough about the Penn State staff, Sullivan-Brown readily bonding with head coach James Franklin and several assistants. The three-star had daily contact with the coaches, who let Sullivan-Brown know he was a priority.

Moreover, Sullivan-Brown ate up the Happy Valley vibe, talking up Beaver Stadium; the campus; and the facilities. The school’s academics also played a role in his decision.

Maryland’s coaches made a run and had pulled even with PSU at one point. Area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty both had Sullivan-Brown’s ear, earning plenty of praise from the recruit.

On top of that, Sullivan-Brown visited College Park on multiple occasions and always returned home with loads of positive comments. He liked the idea of the DMV movement and teaming with the other locals to build a winner at the hometown university.

But Sullivan-Brown reneged on a final College Park trip July 30, popping to Penn State the day before.

Fact is, he was infatuated with PSU from the jump, and no matter how ardently the Terps’ staff went after him, nothing was going to change his mind.

Tahj Capehart, WR, Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.): The four-star Capehart is committing Aug. 6, and, quite honestly, there’s little suspense surrounding the announcement. Capehart’s heading to Va Tech unless he pulls a Trevon Diggs, which we don’t anticipate.

The 757 four-star has been trending towards the Hokies for months now, with head coach Justin Fuente’s offense and the staff’s all-out recruiting effort winning Capehart over. But the Terps hung tough and made the situation interesting.

UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty had Maryland in the game throughout given the coach’s two-plus-year relationship with the Capehart family. Capehart then developed an even greater Terps’ affinity following two campus visits, the four-star noting offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s spread; head coach D.J. Durkin’s personality and emphasis on academics; and the various facility upgrades.

But the straw that broke the turtle’s back was when Capehart decided not to attend Maryland’s July 30 cookout. He originally said he’d be in town, but backed out two days later, an indication he had Hokies on the mind.

Moving on.

Gabe Houy, OT, Upper St. Clair (Pittsburgh, Pa.): In a much-anticipated move, the tackle Houy committed to hometown Pittsburgh Aug. 1. Houy chose not to trek down to Maryland’s July 30 cookout, heading over to nearby Pitt instead, which pretty much said it all.

Now, the 6-6, 260-pound three-star had had the Panthers and Terps atop the totem poll for several months. But even as he and his parents visited College Park twice, including for the Friday Night Freak Show; even as he lauded offensive line coach Dave Borbely and head coach D.J. Durkin; and even as he talked up the school’s standout academics, the sense was Pitt held a decided edge.

Truth be told, the only way Houy wasn’t going to wind up a Panther is if the staff backed off. And once it became clear head coach Pat Narduzzi and Co. wanted him in the program, it was only a matter of time before Houy popped to the school 10 minutes from his home.

Shanon Reid, ILB, Dunbar (Fort Myers, Fla.): Reid visited Maryland as part of an extensive tour back in June for the Freak Show, and, following the visit, he counted the Terps among his top contenders. The inside backer, who landed a UMD offer during the spring evaluation period, enjoyed meeting the coaches firsthand; checking out the campus; and seeing the pending facility upgrades.

But we never sensed Reid was all that interested in Maryland, nor were we convinced the UMD staff was pushing for a pop.

Those feelings were confirmed after Reid visited N.C. State in late July, when the three-star told our colleagues the Wolfpack; Mississippi State; and USF were resonating. Even more telling, when asked what visits he’d taken recently, Reid couldn’t even recall Maryland.

Thus, he’s off the hot board. More than likely, Reid’s going to Mississippi State if he’s a “take” for the staff, with N.C. State and USF making a strong bid.

Joe Hunt, OLB/SS, Cosby (Midlothian, Va.): Hunt pulled a Terps’ offer way back in February from UMD-area recruiter Mike London, the hybrid subsequently suggesting he’d be committing to the Terps later during the summer. The Cosby prospect then reiterated that sentiment after his initial College Park trip in April.

But, since then, Hunt has not had much contact with London, nor was he invited to UMD’s Freak Show event or the July 30 cookout. We didn’t believe Hunt was a “take” for the Terps to begin with, but now it’s fairly obvious the staff’s attention is focused elsewhere.

Marquis Waters, S, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): The Atlantic safety Waters never visited Maryland, although he did give the Terps their cursory due. In other words, he noted his exchanges with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and teammates-turned-Terps Antwaine Richardson and Dion Goldbourne.

But Waters’ heart has always been in the South, so it was no surprise he opted for the southern-most school that would take him: Duke. Waters loved his spring visit to Durham, N.C., speaking to the academic-athletic balance and the coaching staff. The Duke degree, first and foremost, hit home with the Delray Beach native.

Thus, Waters reneged on intended officials, opting for Duke before high-school camp began.

We do not expect the Maryland staff to continue pursuing him.


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