Three days after securing an offer from the University of Maryland, Hampton (Va.) athlete Dazz Newsome became the Terps’ 19th pledge in the 2017 class. The 5-foot-10, 170-pounder promptly set up an unofficial visit to College Park, Md., for Oct. 9, and he committed after a day-long stay at the school.
“I’m real pumped up. I went up there and I found a home, just like I thought I would,” said Newsome, who chose Maryland over offers from Marshall, Charlotte and ODU. “At the end of the visit, I went into Coach [D.J.] Durkin’s office and told him flat out I wanted in. And he was so excited and happy, and I was too. I’m still real excited about it. I know I found a great home.”
Newsome, whose older brother is a safety at Virginia Tech and whose biological father, Myron, played linebacker for the Hokies and the Carolina Panthers, had just begun to develop a relationship with Hampton Roads area recruiter Mike London in mid-September. But the two bonded quickly, and eventually London was able to convince the UMD staff to ante up with an offer. Shortly thereafter, Newsome repaid London’s faith with a visit and, subsequently, a commitment.
“Coach London is a great coach and a great person. He’s been pushing and pushing for me, saying how he didn’t want to lose me to Virginia Tech or another program like that,” Newsome said. “He believed in me when no other [power-five] school did. So that’s a big reason why I was so confident I wanted to go [to UMD]. They took a chance on me.”
The only reason Newsome didn’t commit on the spot Oct. 6 is that he wanted to actually see the school firsthand. So on Oct. 9 he, his mother, his stepdad and his younger sister drove up to College Park for an extended stay. They were able to tour the campus, check out the facilities and sit down with position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim; the headman Durkin; and of course London.
“I loved all the coaches at Maryland. And the best thing about them is how honest and real they were,” Newsome said. “They basically told me I had a chance to place right away there, but I would have to compete and nothing would be given to me. They said I had to work. Then I really liked how they said I could be a corner, a receiver, a kick returner and a punt returner. They think I can help them all over the field, and that’s what I love. I love to contribute in all areas.”
Although Newsome had spoken to London before on several occasions, he’d yet to talk to Abdul-Rahim or Durkin prior to Oct. 9.
“Coach Aazaar is a real funny dude and a great coach. I like him a lot, just how he explains things and how he [interacts] with you,” Newsome said. “And Coach Durkin, he was doing things I’ve never seen coaches do before. Like, he got up and started demonstrating plays and then throwing questions at me. He’d say, ‘OK, the offense is doing this and this, what do you [as a cornerback] do?’ He’s a very hands on coach and I love that.”
The Virginia two-way star couldn’t say enough about the campus and the environment in College Park too. Although it was a Sunday and he didn’t get to see any classes, Newsome enjoyed walking the grounds and interacting with various students. He also liked seeing New Cole Field House and the various upgrades in College Park.
“The facilities were awesome; I loved the dining halls and the dorms. They were so nice,” Newsome said. “And the new fields they’re building are going to be sweet – some of the best around. Also, I found out that the founder of Under Armour [Kevin Plank] went there and that Shawne Merriman, one of my favorite players ever, went there too. So that was really cool; I have to wear all Under Armour stuff now (laughs).
“The only thing was the academic people actually didn’t show up until after I left, but I’m calling them this week to find out more about that. But overall I loved the campus and what I saw there.”
Evidently Newsome’s parents were impressed too. He said they were fully onboard with the Terps and the coaching staff.
“They were the ones that encouraged me to commit actually,” Newsome said. “They loved the coaches and they thought the campus was great. They loved Maryland.”
Before committing, Newsome had been gaining steam on the recruiting trail after a hot start to his senior season. He put up around 1,000 total yards of offense and proved to be a lockdown corner as well.
Besides Maryland, Newsome said coaches from North Carolina, Va Tech, Purdue, Temple and Penn State had been in touch. But only London and the Terps chose to immediately offer, and Newsome rewarded the staff for it.
“I can’t see myself visiting another school or looking at another school,” said Newsome, who described himself as a confident, aggressive playmaker in all facets of the game. “I’m 100 percent Maryland. I’m taking my official visit to Maryland in December, and that’s it for recruiting for me.”
Now that he’s on board, Newsome is eager to show out the rest of the season for Hampton before preparing to spend his next four-plus years at UMD. But in-between games, he said he’ll be doing his own share of recruiting down in the 757.
“I’m trying to bring everybody to Maryland,” Newsome said, laughing. “I’m hitting up all the guys down here, letting them know Maryland is where it’s at.”