The Maryland staff is casting a wide net in search of defensive linemen and BUCK options, and one name that’s been on their radar for awhile is prep school edge rusher Hozey Haji-Badri (Chantilly, Va.). The 6-foot-4, 270-pounder, who was originally in the 2016 class but opted for a prep year to shore up his academics, has been in close contact with UMD defensive line coach Mike London and has visited College Park, Md., three times.
“I’ll tell you what, my relationship with Coach London is really good. He started talking to me around the middle of May, and, honestly, we talk every week now. I’m really, really close with him,” said Haji-Badri, who was originally committed to Temple and currently holds offers from Georgia State, Buffalo and Montana. “He really looks out for you and cares for you, and when I met him that’s what struck me. Me and my father had a personal visit with him, and the way he spoke to us, it was impressive. I’d love to play for him.”
Haji-Badri embarked on his first UMD trip last year, and then returned after London initiated contact in May. The Virginia product attended a camp in College Park in July as well for his third look at the school.
“There were many, many things I liked about Maryland. I feel like Coach [D.J.] Durkin and the rest of the staff are going in a good direction. They’re 4-1 so far and you can tell they’re moving up,” Haji-Badri said. “And when I was up there, I really liked the new facilities they’re building and the campus. I liked how the coaches treated me, I liked the academic support and I liked just the environment. Everything about the program is attractive. They’re a program to keep an eye on, for sure.”
Haji-Badri went on to say that London and Co. have been “urging me” to attend a game this fall. However, the prep-school rusher hasn’t been able to since his team plays most of its games on Sundays.
“But I’m aiming for the game against Rutgers [Nov. 26],” Haji-Badri said. “I really want to get up there and see them in action.”
Haji-Badri doesn’t hold a Terps’ offer yet, but he believes one will surface as long as he “stays the course.”
“I’m a prep school guy, so usually, for [larger FBS schools] those offers go out later in the process, around December. I think, with a school like Maryland and some others, they really just want to see if I finish strong academically,” said Haji-Badri, who will graduate in December and plans to enroll at a university in January. “But Coach London keeps saying everything is going to work out between me and Maryland. So I’m not really stressed about it. If [the offer] happens, it happens. I’m really hoping it does.”
Besides UMD, Haji-Badri has been hearing from Rutgers, WVU, Mississippi State, Va Tech and Iowa State. Of those, he said coaches from the Scarlet Knights and Mountaineers are in contact most frequently, in addition to those from UMD.
The Virginia lineman has visited both Piscataway, N.J., and Morgantown, W.Va., and enjoyed his stays at each.
“Obviously I’m keeping every option open. I like all the schools recruiting me. But if I had to choose one I’d love an offer from, Maryland is one that would be ideal. I live like 40 minutes from there and it’s a great school,” Haji-Badri said. “But I really like WVU, Rutgers and the others too. I have to examine all of my options and see what the best fit is.”
Haji-Badri plays up and down the line for Chantilly. He said he projects as a 5-technique, but he can also play 3-tech and some outside linebacker/BUCK.