Maryland secured a commitment from four-star DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) guard Marcus Minor Aug. 28. Afterwards, we spoke to his head coach, Elijah Brooks, to gain more insight into the 6-foot-4, 285-pounder.
Our question and answer session with Brooks is below:
Terrapin Times: Coach, it seems we talk all the time about your guys going to Maryland now. Just some initial thoughts on keeping that pipeline humming?
Elijah Brooks: We’re excited. For our guys to go down the road, a mile away, and play the next four years of their career is definitely something we’re happy about. Marcus is excited, the DeMatha family is excited, and I think he’s going to do a great job. Maryland is doing a great job recruiting these local kids and keeping them home.
TT: Did you have an inkling it would be Maryland all along for him?
EB: I thought it was going to be Miami. He developed a great relationship with [Stacy] Searels when he was at Virginia Tech, and when [Searels] moved over to Miami, I thought Marcus was going to Miami. But [D.J.] Durkin and his staff have done a fantastic job in recruiting.
I told Marcus he would have that gut feeling when it was time, and he came and approached me and said he was ready to make his decision. We fully support it.
TT: Coach, we’ve known Marcus has been high on Maryland for some time, even before the new staff got there. In interviews, even his sophomore year, he always brought up the journalism program. Was that the deciding factor that pushed it over the edge?
EB: Definitely. He wouldn’t consider an offer unless they had an elite journalism program. He’s very sure about what he wants to do post-football, and Maryland definitely sold him on that. He wants to go into sports broadcasting. Maryland, in this market, and just the quality of the journalism school, it just really stood out to him.
TT: Marcus has never been big on the whole DMV movement thing or following others, at least not in interviews. What’s your take on that?
EB: You know, the guys constantly put stuff in Marcus’ ear about joining them at Maryland. But Marcus is a very headstrong kid, and he knows what he wants out of life and this was going to be his decision. While he did decide to play with his DeMatha teammates, he was going to make this decision on his own.
And his parents were fully supportive no matter where he went. They were going to be OK with it. But they just wanted him to make the decision.
TT: Terps fans saw another one of your guards, Terrance Davis, commit to UMD last year. How does Marcus compare to Terrance?
EB: Marcus is a longer athlete. He’s extremely athletic and moves like a tight end. They both are very fierce competitors, they’re tough and want to do well, but physically they’re two different types of linemen. Marcus is a great pass protector and has really good feet. Terrance is more of a mauler inside and wants to get his hands on you and drive you 10 yards off the ball. They both bring different dynamics to the line, but they’re both very good.
TT: At 6-4, we project Marcus as a guard, but I know he plays tackle for you guys and he does have long arms. Is it possible he could play some swing tackle at UMD?
EB: I actually think they’re recruiting him as a tackle. Now, once he gets [to Maryland] they’ll make that decision ultimately. But Marcus is versatile. He can play guard, tackle and if need be he can snap the ball. That’s a definite asset he brings to the table.
TT: What are some things Marcus has to work on to be ready for Big Ten ball? Obviously all high school linemen need to add strength, but what are some technical areas?
EB: He’s going to need a year in the weight room to develop. He definitely needs to work on his pad level, which is something we’ve been emphasizing for awhile now. But ultimately he possesses all the traits needed to be a standout lineman at the next level, and we’re excited to see how he does.
TT: When did you sort of know Marcus could be a top-level lineman? Did it take him awhile to hit his peak, or did you guys sort of know right away?
EB: He’s been starting for us since his sophomore year. We knew he had to get stronger, and we knew he had to learn the game. But we always knew, if you’re a lineman and have good feet, you’re going to have a chance to do big things. And Marcus, to his credit, he put on some strength, competed and put out some good film. So we knew it was only a matter of time before he blew up as a recruit.
TT: How is Marcus around his teammates and in the locker room? Whenever I see him he always looks very serious, especially compared to Terrance, but is that how he is around you guys?
EB: Marcus, he jokes with his teammates and is a real out-going guy. But on the field he’s different. He’s extremely passionate, competitive, mean. But in the locker room all the guys love him and he’s just a great person to be around.
TT: Coach, is there a play or moment that you can describe that just sort of illustrates the type of player Marcus is and the impact he has on you guys?
EB: We just opened up the season, and we’re not really sure what kind of team we’re going to have this year. But in the first five or six plays [Aug. 26] against Oscar Smith, we ran behind him and drove the ball right down the field. He was ready as a senior and really set the tone for us. We had 300 yards rushing and 250 of that was behind him. Marcus is a guy we’re going to put our hat on to lead this team. He’s just a great football player, a great kid and a great teammate.