Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
Checking Out Oxon Hill (Md.), DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), St. John’s (Washington, D.C.)
I was able to hit two high schools Sept. 30, first taking in Oxon Hill’s game against Surrattsville (Clinton, Md.) to see four-star 2018 receiver Daniel George, and then heading over to DeMatha for the St. John’s game to watch 2018 Stags linebacker John Morgan; 2018 Stags guard Evan Gregory; and 2017 Cadets defensive end Tyree Johnson (who I didn’t get to fully evaluate the last time I saw SJC). I also paid attention to 2018 DeMatha corner Judson Tallandier, who is beginning to gather FBS offers and looks like a prospect the Maryland staff may want to pursue.
-- The receiver Daniel George stands 6-feet-2, 195-pounds and looks the part of a potential downfield threat at the next level. George has the length, physicality, speed and athleticism to impact a major college program a year or two after arriving. He’ll have to shore up his fundamentals and route running, however, so he’ll probably need a redshirt year initially. But if George can’t hang at wideout, he projects as a high-level strong safety too.
Strengths: Speed, wingspan, size, hands, body control, toughness, athleticism, vertical, shiftiness, blocking ability
Areas of Improvement: Route running, suddenness, cutting, flexibility, strength, awareness
After the game, George talked up the Terps and hinted the hometown school had the inside track for now. He likes the idea of the DMV movement; that College Park, Md., is close to home; offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s up-tempo offense; and the coaches in general, led by area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty. George has been to UMD several times (he was at the Purdue game Oct. 1) and loves the atmosphere surrounding the program and the staff’s overall message/mentality.
But the Oxon Hill product is also taking a look at his other 15 suitors, headlined by Louisville; Syracuse; and Va Tech. George hasn’t visited those schools yet -- he’s only been to UMD and Alabama thus far -- but wants to this offseason.
Moreover, the four-star is seeking a few bigwig Big Ten, ACC and SEC offers, including Bama and Miami. If those coveted scholarships materialize, it could very well change George’s recruitment.
But, at least initially, the Terps are positioned well and should remain at the forefront of George’s mind throughout the process.
You can learn more about George HERE.
-- The guard Evan Gregory plays two ways for DeMatha, but will probably be an offensive lineman in college. He’s a sturdy 6-3, 282-pounder who fights through the whistle and has a nasty streak. The latter, combined with his inherent physical gifts and all-around blocking prowess, should allow Gregory impact a mid-level FBS program.
Strengths: Leg drive, power, toughness, motor, awareness, balance, ability to anchor, lateral agility
Areas of Improvement: Initial get-off, hand quickness, hand placement, leverage, hip flexibility, feet in pass pro, second-level finishing, strength
After the game, Gregory reiterated that Maryland, his lone offer thus far, has his eye. The local guard has taken to the Terps’ coaches, namely area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, and is keen on the idea of the hometown movement. Gregory has been on campus on multiple occasions, including for the Oct. 1 game against Purdue, and loves the environment in College Park. It only helps Maryland’s chances that the Terps have a DeMatha pipeline, with Gregory having numerous friends already in College Park.
Gregory has interest from Syracuse and West Virginia too, but more programs are bound to enter the picture after this season. Either way, expect Maryland to be on the brain when it comes time for Gregory to choose a school.
You can learn more about Gregory HERE.
-- John Morgan mainly plays defensive end for DeMatha, but he he’ll probably be an outside linebacker in college. Regardless of position, the 6-2, 235-pounder has plenty of marketable tools that should translate to FBS ball, highlighted by his quickness; lateral agility; and pass-rushing ability. He projects as an early contributor once he reaches college.
Strengths: Tackling, quickness, disengaging ability, lateral agility, closing angles, awareness, read-react time
Areas of Improvement: Backside pursuit, pass coverage, hand placement, closing speed in open field, strength, explosiveness
After the game, Morgan said the hometown Terps had his eye for sure. Morgan likes UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive line coach Mike London and head coach D.J. Durkin, the recruit impressed by their respective demeanors and personalities. He’s high on the DMV movement, the fact UMD is close to home and the school’s academic reputation. Additionally, Morgan attended the Maryland-Purdue game Oct. 1 and has enjoyed his numerous stays in College Park the last couple years.
But Morgan has other options at his disposal and is willing to explore them. The DeMatha backer visited Penn State, Syracuse and Va Tech a couple months back, raving about each. The Nittany Lions immediately shot up Morgan’s leaderboard after earning the offer at a camp, while he has close bonds with the staffs at Va Tech and Cuse. Furthermore, Morgan is on the radar of numerous Big Ten, SEC and ACC programs and is seeking looks from Florida; Ohio State; TAMU; and Pitt (all four staffs have had contact with him).
Basically, there’s a way to go in this recruitment. Morgan’s situation is bound to ebb and flow as he earns more offers and takes more visits.
But, like the rest of the DMV recruits the Terps’ staff covets, we expect Morgan to keep the local university firmly in play.
You can learn more about Morgan HERE.
-- The defensive end Tyree Johnson certainly looks like he can succeed in the SEC. The TAMU pledge has a solid frame (6-3, 245 pounds), long arms and big, violent hands. Plus Johnson’s quick, athletic, explosive and plays with a high motor. He’d have an immediate impact at a mid-level FBS program and could be a contributor after a season or two at A&M.
Strengths: Explosiveness, speed, quickness, athleticism, initial quicks, power, tackling, frame, motor, football IQ
Areas of Improvement: Hand placement, pass-rush technique, open-field agility, disengaging ability
I didn’t conduct a full interview with Johnson, but we’re told he’s a firm TAMU pledge. That said, there’s still a possibility he embarks on a couple official visits during the offseason.
Maryland’s staff, with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and defensive line coach Mike London running point, is still on the St. John’s edge rusher. So are Johnson’s teammates-turned-Terps Kasim Hill and Cam Spence, in addition to the rest of the DMV heading to College Park.
If Maryland needs defensive linemen down the road, we’re led to believe Johnson could be a flip candidate.
You can read more about Johnson HERE.
Note: I briefly spoke to five-star tackle Calvin Ashley after the game. Ashley remains a solid Auburn pledge, but there’s a strong sense he’s going to entertain other suitors.
Florida, which would represent a homecoming for the Sunshine State native, figures to be the main threat to flip Ashley. But Maryland is going to be in mind too.
Ashley was back in College Park for the Purdue game Oct. 1, which was his third time on campus since the summer. He didn’t respond to inquiries after the homecoming affair, but we’re told Ashley enjoyed himself and liked interacting with the other recruits and the coaches. He even tweeted a picture of himself with Under Armour CEO and Maryland alum Kevin Plank.
How much the trip actually helped Maryland’s chances with Ashley remains to be seen, but Terps’ area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and headman D.J. Durkin have put the full-court press on. And from the way it sounds, we do believe Ashley will officially visit College Park after this season.
If the five-star follows through, well, maybe the Terps will have a shot to pull off the shocker.
Notes Part II: Maryland assistants Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Mike London were at the DeMatha-SJC game Sept. 30, and apparently their consistent overtures were enough to convince five-star Ohio State pledge Chase Young to attend the UMD-Purdue game Oct. 1. But we’re led to believe Young mainly wanted to “chill” with his friends, so we’re not reading much into the appearance right now.
True, Young does have plenty of UMD affinity and likes the program a good deal, but it’s going to take a lot to flip him. There would have to be wholesale changes on Ohio State’s end for Young to reconsider his college destination.
That said, if Young returns to College Park for an official, maybe the Terps’ staff can convince him to reconsider.
The Terps took down Purdue, 50-7, Oct. 1 at Maryland Stadium, and afterwards numerous recruit attendees chimed in:
Jayden Comma, WR, Roswell (Ga.): The Georgia receiver Comma didn’t commit to Maryland during his Oct. 1 College Park official, but it’s only a matter of time. The visit, which is the only one on Comma’s schedule, left a distinct impression on both the recruit and his mother, with the coaches winning the pair over.
Comma easily connected with head coach D.J. Durkin, receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, offensive coordinator Walt Bell and the rest of the staff. He said the group as a whole, along with the current Terps’ players, provided a welcoming environment, making him feel like he was already part of the program. On top of that, Comma loved the atmosphere inside Maryland Stadium and the show the Terps put on against Purdue. He lauded Bell’s offense, how he utilized the receivers and the pace the Terps played at. Comma also liked the campus, the school’s academic opportunities and the community.
It only helps his view of UMD that several fellow Georgians, including receiver Carlos Carriere (Alpharetta, Ga.), who was at Maryland Oct. 1 as well, are heading to College Park next year.
“They’re the favorite on my list,” Comma said. “My impression of Maryland was it was awesome. Just the atmosphere and the coaches, I loved it. I loved being known by the coaches and the fans when I got there. It was great. I spoke to Coach Durkin, Coach Beatty and Coach Bell and they really showed me that I was high on their [board] and wanted me there.”
Given the above, all the tealeaves point to a Maryland pop come Nov. 4, which is Comma’s intended announcement date. He isn’t scheduled to see Minnesota, as previously mentioned, nor is he intent on checking out Colorado State.
Barring a snag, Comma should be a member of the Terps’ 2017 class.
You can read more about Comma HERE.
Quantino Allen, WR, Glades Central (Belle Glade, Fla.): The Muck native Allen was a prime flip candidate entering his Maryland official, but the 6-0, 202-pound Oregon State pledge demurred afterwards. He remains high on the Terps, but he has several other schools to see before ending his recruitment.
“I really liked the Terps, but I wasn’t going to commit yet or anything like that,” said Allen, who will be looking at Illinois (Oct. 8 official), WVU and Louisville, in addition to Oregon State and UMD. “I’m still solid with Oregon State, and I’m not going to announce exactly where I’m going until I take my last official [to see the Beavers] on Nov. 28. After that visit, I’ll sit down and evaluate all the different systems, all the different staffs and all the things I liked about each school. Then I’ll announce where I’m going.”
That doesn’t sound quite as encouraging for Maryland purposes, but the Terps should remain in the thick of things. First of all, Louisville is basically full at receiver for 2017, and WVU’s staff has other prime targets on their board who may be rated ahead of Allen. Illinois could be a legitimate contender given Allen’s affinity for head coach Lovie Smith, but we don’t envision the Illini trumping the Terps, nor do we foresee the Floridian winding up in the Midwest.
The main holdup for Maryland, therefore, could be Oregon State, which, as Allen stated, he remains committed to. The Glades Central prospect will be embarking on his final official to Corvallis, Ore., so the Beavers’ staff is going to get every opportunity to solidify Allen’s pledge.
At the same time, Allen admitted the Terps’ trip opened his eyes and did give him some pause. He loved the various coaches he met and how their message didn’t just center on football. Allen instantly connected with head coach D.J. Durkin, while he’s had a rapport with area recruiter Chris Beatty for quite some time. Plus, offensive coordinator Walt Bell and his up-tempo spread grabbed Allen’s attention during the 50-7 rout of Purdue.
Allen also talked up the environment in College Park, the coming facility upgrades, the fans during the homecoming game, and the school’s location between Baltimore and D.C. But maybe more importantly, Allen easily bonded with the various players he met -- namely Elijah and Elisha Daniels and Will Likely -- and liked how many Floridians the Terps already have on their current roster.
With the above in mind, we’re at least keeping Allen “warm” on the hot board.
But typically when committed recruits take their final official to the school they’re already pledged to, they end up sticking to said university. We’ll see if Beatty and the rest of the staff can secure a flip before that final Oregon State trip, though.
You can read more about Allen HERE.
Blake Williams, TE, Canada Prep (St. Catharines, Ontario): The last time Williams visited Maryland, back on Sept. 24, we moved him to “hot” on the hot board. After his second trip in as many weeks, we’re about ready to shift him to “white hot.” The 6-4, 230-pound Oklahoman saw even more of College Park this time around, and he couldn’t have been more thrilled.
First of all, Williams had his first opportunity to watch Maryland live. He praised offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offensive system, highlighting the pace at which the Terps play and how the coordinator uses the tight ends in a variety of ways.
Additionally, Williams was able meet the entire UMD staff this time -- only Bell was around Sept. 24 – and had conversations with headman D.J. Durkin, tight ends coach Pete Lembo, receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and Bell. He lauded the energy emanating from the coaches, their upbeat message and how personable they were during meetings.
“The coaches put me on a pedestal it seemed like. Every coach I hadn’t met before wanted to come up and talk to me,” Williams said. “I had a chance to talk to Coach Durkin for five minutes or so, and he’s a great guy. He said they want me a whole lot, the offense would compliment me and I’d be a perfect fit there. Then Coach Lembo was a great, great guy and was very kind and sympathetic. I like him a lot. And Coach Bell, I’ve been talking to him for awhile now, and I always enjoy talking to him. He really wants me to be part of the program.
“So I was just glad to meet the whole staff and see what they’re all about. They’re different in person than over the phone – just very welcoming and personable.”
The former Mustang High star is holding off on committing for now, but it’s obvious the Terps have the inside track. About the only way this recruitment could be derailed is if some major Big 12 or SEC program comes calling like Oklahoma or Arkansas (doubtful), or the Maryland staff takes a pledge from another tight end in the meantime (i.e. Charles Reeves, Kurt Rafdal).
Williams is in the process of scheduling an official visit to Maryland, and whenever that occurs, the tight end is likely to pop.
You can read more about Williams HERE.
Travis Koontz, TE, Boardman (Youngstown, Ohio): The second tight end who made his way to College Park Oct. 1 was the three-star Koontz. The 6-4, 235 pounder has Maryland and Toledo atop his favorites list, but he said the Terps’ trip resonated in a major way. Now, he’s looking to return for an official later in October, Koontz hinting at a possible commitment shortly thereafter.
Of course, it’s questionable whether or not the Maryland staff would be willing to accept Koontz’ pledge. The coaches also hosted Blake Williams (discussed above) Oct. 1 and have a couple other offers out to top-notch tight ends they’re hoping to bring in for visits.
Regardless, Koontz had a good time Oct. 1 and readily took to head coach D.J. Durkin, tight ends coach Pete Lembo and area recruiter Andy Buh. Koontz said he and Durkin bonded over their mutual hometown, the recruit noting the Terps’ coach is a Boardman High alum.
Koontz praised Maryland’s campus, facilities, the coming facility upgrades and the atmosphere in College Park too. He said offensive coordinator Walt Bell’s offense fit his style and was similar to Boardman’s scheme.
“I liked the way the offense worked and how they use their tight ends. They flex their tight ends out and they put them in tight,” Koontz said. “That’s what I do too; I can play out wide and I can block. So I liked that about the offense.”
Besides Maryland, Koontz will be officially visiting Toledo. He has no other planned trips coming up and said no new suitors have emerged.
Given that, Koontz should be choosing between Maryland and Toledo later during October or early November. But if he picks Toledo, it’s probably because he wasn’t a “take” for Durkin and Co. (And right now, he’s probably not a “take” for the Terps).
You can read more about Koontz HERE.
Note: A third Maryland tight-end target, Kurt Rafdal (Carmel, Ind.), held off on visiting College Park Oct. 1. Instead, he’ll check out the Terps officially for the UMD-Michigan State game Oct. 15.
Jacob Bolton, OT, Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.): Bolton had the Terps No. 1 on his leaderboard heading into Oct. 1, and the visit did nothing to diminish that standing. The three-star Georgian raved about the atmosphere inside Maryland Stadium, the campus itself and the other recruits he interacted with. But Bolton counted his conversations with headman D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell, line coach Dave Borbely and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty as the highlight of the trip.
“Coach Durkin is a really good guy. He took me into his office and said he really liked my film and has heard great things about me,” Bolton said. “It was a really good conversation, and he really wants me up there.
“And I loved Coach Borbely. That was my first time talking to him, and he definitely has a lot of experience and knows what he’s doing. I could see myself playing for him.”
Bolton, however, didn’t consider committing while in town, and he said he would refrain from doing so during his Oct. 22 UMD official visit. Bolton may have Maryland sitting pretty, but he wants to see what other offers materialize before ending his recruitment. Currently, he’s talking to coaches from Ole Miss, Georgia and UNC and believes another major suitor or two could come in once his senior film is fully evaluated. (Bolton is also taking a look at Iowa State, which he’ll be officially visiting later in October, but the Cyclones are sitting behind Maryland in the pecking order.)
Look for Bolton to choose his destination sometime after his senior season. The Terps are in an encouraging position, but we’ll have to see if those coveted SEC offers come through before forecasting him to College Park.
You can read more about Bolton HERE.
Calvin Ashley, OT, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): See section above.
B’ahmad Miller, DE, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): We had a feeling the local lineman Miller might get caught up in the College Park atmosphere Oct. 1.
And that’s exactly what happened.
The 6-2, 258-pound St. Frances recruit had been high on UMD ever since securing an offer from defensive line coach Mike London back during the spring. All it took was a bit of a nudge from the staff and a big Terps’ victory for Miller to end his recruitment.
“Just after being there, talking to the coaches, and being in the atmosphere, I knew that’s where I needed to be. I decided to commit,” said Miller, who was the lone prospect who publicly committed after the Purdue game. “Coach London is a great guy and he has a great resume. It speaks for itself. He’s a great coach and a I really enjoyed working for him at the camp [at UMD].And Coach Durkin just is great. I love him. He’s a wonderful coach and has great energy. I love talking to him.
“It’s just a new vibe up at Maryland and the coaches are great. It’s something I wanted to be apart of, what they’re building now. They have a great vision for the program and they’re definitely on the come up.”
Miller, who is from Pennsylvania and played his first three high school seasons at Eastern Christian (Elkton, Md.), also held offers from Illinois; Buffalo; Temple; and Marshall, though the Owls were the only other school he really considered. Once it became apparent the Terps’ coaches were going to accept his commitment, though, Maryland became the clear favorite.
We did question whether or not the UMD staff would push for a pop with several other talented local defensive linemen on the board. But Miller does have some marketable qualities, and he plays at a rising power in St. Frances.
It would behoove the Maryland coaches to create a pipeline of sorts to the East Baltimore school, as SFA is bound to have its share of elite recruits in the coming years. Simply put, taking Miller now could help Maryland’s cause down the road.
As far as how he fits at Maryland, Miller projects as a 3-technique, although he plays both 3- and 5-tech at SFA. He has the frame to take on weight and move into the trenches full-time.
On the field, Miller flashes a fast first step, violent hands and solid athleticism. He comes off the ball hard, keeps his feet moving after contact and can ably plug the gaps. Miller shows plus lateral agility and makes plays down the line and in space too.
The main concern with Miller is his size, first and foremost, along with his arm length. The latter affects his ability to disengage, as sometimes Miller can have trouble scraping off blocks. Furthermore, he needs to develop more point of attack-power, work on his rush moves and learn to play with more knee bend.
If the St. Frances defender keeps progressing, though, he could become a nifty rotational piece at UMD. He’ll need a year or two to shore up his body and hone his conditioning before he becomes a contributor in College Park, however.
You can read more about Miller HERE.
You can see what his coach had to say about him HERE.
Josh Kaindoh, DE, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The Maryland commit Kaindoh took his official visit to Maryland Oct. 1, and by all accounts he loved his latest stay in College Park. The five-star Baltimore native is all about the Terps’ coaching staff and the environment they’ve created.
There’s no reason for Maryland fans to sweat his commitment status.
Chase Young, DE, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): See section above.
Kenny Bennett, CB, Academy at Palumbo (Philadelphia, Pa.): The Philly corner Bennett is basically on board with Maryland, but he’s staying mum for whatever reason. Look for him to publicly come forth with his pledge in short order, however, when the three-star officially visits College Park Oct. 22.
After the UMD-Purdue game, Bennett answered a few of Scout’s Brian Dohn’s direct-message inquiries. Bennett naturally extolled the game atmosphere, the Terps’ defensive system and the coaching staff. He also said he was able to see more of the campus compared to his first College Park foray, which Bennett seemed to like a good deal.
But this was Bennett’s most telling comment:
"The fact that I will have a powerful degree not just a piece of paper (is appealing). I also loved the school spirit. Everywhere I turned, I saw the UMD-colored socks. It's like it's own little community."
It’s possible Bennett could come out with his commitment at any time, maybe even before the Oct. 22 official. We don’t expect him to explore his other two main suitors, Temple and Pittsburgh. In fact, Oct. 8 he’s heading to Penn State to see the Terps take on the Nittany Lions instead of taking in the Owls or the Panthers.
Note: I didn’t have time to conduct underclassmen interviews this week, but some of the notable recruits from the 2018 and 2019 classes who made it to Maryland Oct. 1 were:
Daniel George, WR, Oxon Hill (2018)
Evan Gregory, OG, DeMatha (2018)
John Morgan, OLB, DeMatha (2018)
Shane Lee, LB, St. John’s (2019)
Caleb Deveaux, LB, Marvin Ridge (Waxhaw, N.C.) (2018)
Isheem Young, S, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) (2018)
Daesean Winston, CB, Spalding (Severn, Md.) (2018)
More Recruiting News
Josh Paschal, DL, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): There wasn’t much new to report after last week’s Paschal update, but Scout’s Mike Clark did catch up with the four-star for an interview. Paschal basically kept to the company line, speaking highly of each of his foremost suitors, but he added in one nugget that gave us some pause. He said the schools he definitely wanted to officially visit after his senior season were Tennessee, USC and North Carolina, noticeably leaving out Notre Dame. Paschal mentioned the Vols, Trojans and Heels were three schools whose coaches had been showing the most love. Which could be interpreted as the Irish staff backing off Paschal some.
Recall, we surmised UND posed the greatest threat to Maryland for the DMV lineman’s services. So, if the Notre Dame coaches have other targets in mind, it could open the door for the Terps to snap the local up.
Now, Paschal said he didn’t need to officially visit UMD since it’s so close and he’s been in College Park more times than he can count. But we’re not taking that as a slight. It’s clear Paschal loves the Maryland staff and the environment head coach D.J. Durkin is creating at UMD. He should be back on campus for another game or two this fall; he has the Michigan State and Ohio State battles circled.
Oklahoma is also kicking around, with Paschal talking up his recent Norman, Okla., official. But we’ve been led to believe the Sooners won’t leapfrog the Terps, despite Paschal telling Mike Clark Oklahoma was “standing out” and he really liked the family environment and the college-town feel.
But, again, there is time for Paschal’s situation to change as he’s not picking a school until the winter. At this stage, however, we’re encouraged by Maryland’s position.
Jordan Anthony, BUCK, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): The Michigan buzz surrounding Jordan Anthony has been evident for some time, and it’s growing after he officially visited Ann Arbor, Mich., Oct. 1. The four-star from the DMV raved about his latest stay in the Big House, Anthony eating up the fan atmosphere for the Wolverines’ victory against Wisconsin. He enjoyed interacting with the recruit masses during the game, chatting up the staff afterwards and reconnecting with defensive coordinator Don Brown.
The good news for Terps’ fans is Anthony refrained from committing. We heard he may have come close, but he held off and intends to follow through with a couple more visits.
For now, Anthony is scheduled to be at Oklahoma in December and possibly Maryland sometime after that. Penn State is on the radar as well, but may be fading from consideration.
The Terps, as we mentioned last week, have done as well as can be expected here. UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty has trekked through IMG, defensive line coach Mike London has been in touch and head coach D.J. Durkin has made his pitch too. Plus, the Terps’ current pledges have been all over Anthony, trying to get him to join the hometown movement.
But will it be enough to topple the Wolverines?
Time will tell.
Louis Acceus, BUCK, St. Joseph Regional (Montvale, N.J.): Scout’s Brian Dohn interviewed the Jersey outside backer Acceus earlier this week, and the three-star detailed his recent Va Tech jaunt and the upcoming visits on his mind. He hasn’t scheduled officials yet, but said North Carolina; Maryland; and Rutgers were on the brain.
The late-September Tech trip certainly hit home, with Acceus praising the Hokies’ defense; the atmosphere in Blacksburg, Va.,; and the coaching staff. Meanwhile, the Montvale native said he “definitely” wanted to officially visit UNC due to his rapport with the coaches, while Rutgers has his ear since it’s the hometown school and the Scarlet Knights’ coaches are prioritizing the locals.
As for Maryland, Acceus said:
"They have a lot to offer. It's close to home, but not too close. The coaching staff is really amazing. Coach (D.J.) Durkin is really good. I like (linebackers) coach (Matt) Barnes a lot. The area is great. I love College Park."
At one time, Acceus had dubbed the Terps his No. 1 contender following a summer foray through College Park. But while he remains high on the program, it seems like he’s more open to some of his other suitors. More than likely, that’s because he’s not the top option on the Maryland staff’s board. If he were, he’d likely be committed already.
Sure, the UMD coaches, with Barnes running point, have maintained communication with Acceus, but there are a few other BUCK linebackers the Terps are positioned for, including Jordan Anthony (discussed above) and Nate Proctor (Lackey/Indian Head, Md.). If those two fall off, however, expect Barnes and Co. to ramp up the pursuit on Acceus.
And the Maryland coaches do have some time since the Jersey product isn’t popping anytime soon. Acceus is content to wait until after his senior season before taking officials, so the Maryland staff can gauge where they stand with Anthony and Proctor before making a move.
Steven Franklin, BUCK, Glasgow (Kent.): This is a name we’ve been monitoring since the spring, when the Kentucky backer Franklin first came in contact with UMD defensive line coach Mike London. But he never secured a Terps’ offer and still doesn’t hold one, so we’ve been hesitant to broach his name. This week, however, Franklin set an Oct. 22 College Park official visit, an indication the coaches are more serious about him than originally perceived.
Franklin told me he and London are in touch “all the time,” and, since the season started, the recruit has gone back and forth with Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry. Per Franklin, the Terps’ staff, including head coach D.J. Durkin, “love” his film and believe he could potentially fill the BUCK role. Franklin even noted how Durkin compared his size (6-2, 240) and potential to former Florida great Dante Fowler.
Now, according to the Glasgow product, he just has to visit Maryland and sit down for a face-to-face with Durkin. Afterwards, the recruit said the offer could materialize.
If so, and it’s committable, Franklin would probably snatch it up.
“I like Maryland’s defense and how they get after it. I’ve watched their games and I really like how they attack,” Franklin said. “And my cousin lives near Maryland, and he was telling me about the school. He said it’s a great, tight-knit community and very welcoming. Also, I talked to [UMD commit] Josh Kaindoh and [UMD commit B’ahmad Miller] and they said I’m going to love it there. They were like, ‘You get on campus, you talk to Coach Durkin, and you see what’s going on there and you’ll know that’s where you want to be.’
“So I feel like I’m going to fit right in when I go up there…I’m from a small, small town, but I feel like I’m going to really like Maryland.
“[And] Coach London, he’s a very Christian guy and tells me the right and wrong way to go about things. He really cares about you as a person. The people at Maryland aren’t about football all the time; they’re about building quality men. So I really respect that.”
Franklin has no other scheduled visits after UMD. He said he’s hearing from Ole Miss, Michigan and UVA, but hasn’t procured offers from any of them (and doesn’t figure to).
Thus, Franklin, who mainly holds lower Division I scholarships, is banking on that Terps’ scholarship. But we’re not so sure the offer is going to be there with the number of BUCK targets still on the Terps’ board. Franklin is likely a recruit the staff will continue to monitor and only move on if they’re in need of another hybrid backer near Signing Day.
You can read more about Franklin HERE.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): It’s probably not worth updating Castro-Fields’ situation until he begins embarking on official visits, but Scout’s Brian Dohn touched base with him anyway. As expected, the four-star corner reiterated what we already knew: He’s going to Bama Nov. 26 and then hitting Va Tech, Maryland and Penn State for officials after his senior season.
The only semi-surprise here is that Castro-Fields left out North Carolina. But the Heels were never any higher than fifth in the pecking order anyway. The main contenders continue to be Maryland, Penn State and Bama, with the order undetermined until Castro-Fields takes his trips.
The Riverdale prospect will be at PSU for an unofficial Oct. 22, and we expect him to take in a Maryland game later this fall as well.
The Terps’ staff, for its part, has made Castro-Fields the No. 1 priority. Area recruiter and position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim has trekked through Riverdale multiple times, attended one of Castro-Fields’ games, and has been in constant communication via Twitter. Head coach D.J. Durkin has also stopped by Riverdale and made similar overtures to the local four-star. The two have not only been stressing the DMV movement, but they’ve also been harping on Maryland’s 4-0 start, imploring Castro-Fields to join a program on the rise.
The Upper Marlboro native has been heeding their words, but he’s not going to suddenly hop on the local school’s bandwagon. Castro-Fields is intent on wading through the process and then selecting a college sometime after the New Year.
So, we wait.
Alex Woods, CB, Lackawanna (Scranton, Pa.): The junior college corner Woods visited Maryland unofficially Sept. 30 in order to meet defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and some other staff members. The 6-2, 180-pound Woods, who is committed to WVU, has been itching to get to College Park since he received an offer a month or so ago. Abdul-Rahim let Woods know the Terps needed defensive backs and he had an opportunity for early playing time, which immediately piqued the recruit's interest.
After the rather brief stay, Woods said he remained interested in Maryland and enjoyed connecting with Abdul-Rahim and Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry. He said he enjoyed being on campus and likes the atmosphere in College Park.
But Woods didn't sound quite as high on UMD as originally perceived. Recall, when we first interviewed Woods, he suggested a flip from WVU (to Maryland or another school) was imminent. He said since the Mountaineers had so many defensive backs on the roster and coming into the program his chance at immediate playing time was limited. His message was a bit different this time around, however. Woods implied that he was fairly content with his WVU pledge and inclined to stick by his word.
At the same time, Woods said he could return to College Park for an official visit, with Oct. 22 as a target date. That in and of itself implies the junior college corner does have turtles on the brain.
So, if that trip does materialize, we think Woods has a solid chance to flip. But we're not ready to forecast him to UMD just yet since Woods seems like he wants to give the Mountaineers' staff every chance to keep him in tow.
New Offers Out
C.J. Miller, CB/S, McEachern (Powder Springs, Ga.): Terps’ area recruiter Walt Bell and defensive coordinator Andy Buh approved an offer for Miller Oct. 2. However, the three-star corner/safety is considered a hard USC pledge, despite the Trojans’ struggles this season. Miller told our Scout colleagues he sees an opportunity to earn early playing time at USC and is excited to take his Trojans’ official in January.
Yes, Miller did allow he could take a look at Auburn, South Carolina or some other SEC schools if the offers materialize. But unless a big-name southern suitor comes calling, it sounds like Miller’s sticking with USC.
Dazz Newsome, CB, Hampton (Va.): The corner Newsome, the brother of Va Tech safety Deon Newsome, is actually an electrifying running back/receiver for Hampton. Through a handful of games, he’s lit up the 757 with nearly 800 yards of offense and double-digit touchdowns.
But most college programs view him as a cornerback, including the Terps, who approved an offer Oct. 6. Maryland is looking to add as many as three more corners to its 2017 class, and the coaches are casting a wide net with about three spots open.
Newsome only stands about 5-10, 165-pounds, so he’s not in the mold of the lengthier corners the Terps’ staff prefers, but head coach D.J. Durkin has shown he’ll make exceptions for “ballers.”
Newsome, based on his speed, quickness and athleticism, seems to be just that.
He might just want in at College Park too.
After pulling his latest look courtesy of UMD Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry, the Hampton native was ecstatic. Maryland represented his second power-five scholarship after Iowa State, and the first of the Big Ten variety. Now, Newsome’s intent on officially visiting College Park. He hasn't scheduled a date yet, but it could be sometime this fall.