Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
Oct. 22 Visitors
The Terps host Michigan State in a primetime matchup Oct. 22, and it’s a game many recruits had circled on their calendars. Two of Maryland’s targets will be officially visiting College Park, Md., for the affair, and several other locals should be attending as well.
Jalen Browder, WR, East Pauding (Dallas, Ga.): The Georgia receiver Browder will be taking multiple officials, with his first being to Maryland Oct. 21-23. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound Browder landed a Terps’ offer from receivers’ coach Chris Beatty back in February, and since then the two have been in semi-regular contact. But with the Maryland staff looking to add as many as six receivers in the 2017 class, Beatty has upped the ante of late, convincing Browder to follow through with a visit. Furthermore, a couple of UMD’s other Georgia receiver commits, Carlos Carriere (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.), have been urging Browder to join them in College Park.
“Nothing really has changed; Maryland has been one of my top schools for a long time now,” Browder said. “I’m excited to get up there. That’s my first official. I want to see what it’s like, see what the offense is like and talk to the coaches.”
Browder, though, does not intend to end his recruitment without taking at least a couple more officials post-Maryland. He has Louisville, Missouri and Ole Miss on his radar, although it remains to be seen if those schools’ coaches will indeed have Browder out. The Cardinals, Tigers and Rebels have all either filled their spots or may have other higher-rated targets on their respective boards.
Browder could also opt to take a look at Illinois, Purdue, Kansas State, Colorado State and a few others that have offers out, although it’s unclear if he’ll do so.
Thus, it’s conceivable the East Pauding prospect could eventually fall into Maryland’s lap. That is, if the official goes smoothly and Browder is indeed a “take” for head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. There are several mid-level wideout types taking a look at the Terps -- including fellow Georgian Jayden Comma (Roswell, Ga.), who is expected to pop to UMD Nov. 4 -- so if Browder drags his recruitment out too long, there might not be room left at the Maryland inn.
For now, he’s listed “warm” on the hot board.
Josh Paschal, DE/BUCK, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Paschal wasn’t able to see the Oct. 15 game in College Park, but he said he’d be attending the Michigan State affair Oct. 22 for an unofficial.
Other than the date change, there really isn’t anything new to report with the four-star local after letting on last week the Terps were in a fairly strong spot for him. Paschal has regular communication with the Maryland staff and is heeding area recruiter Chris Beatty’s, defensive line coach Mike London’s and headman D.J. Durkin’s message. He’s all about the hometown movement and helping to build the local university into a power.
Paschal has also let on how he’d love to learn from London, mentioning the assistant’s resume and player-development reputation. On Oct. 22, the Good Counsel product wants to see London in action, gauging how he interacts with the players and how the defense in general responds.
After the MSU affair, Paschal indicated he would likely be back in College Park for the Terps’ game against Ohio State, which is a positive sign for UMD. That said, since Maryland is so close and he’s been on campus so often, he said he doesn’t necessarily need to officially visit.
Instead, Paschal, who has already taken an OV to Oklahoma, is looking to see USC; Tennessee; and UNC, with the fifth trip undetermined. He was going to check out Notre Dame, but, as we mentioned last week, he’s probably not an immediate “take” for the Irish staff (thus why Paschal didn’t mention them as an official-visit destination).
Right now, the Sooners are probably sitting right alongside the Terps for Paschal’s services. But we’ll see what he’s thinking after he visits the Trojans, Vols and Heels, with that latter two of particular note since their respective staffs have been pushing in earnest.
Currently, we’re listing Paschal “warm” on the hot board.
Nate Proctor, OLB/BUCK, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): At first blush, it’s a positive sign the four-star Proctor is visiting Maryland Oct. 22. But don’t get too excited just yet, Terps’ fans. He’s attending with many of his Lackey teammates (tackle James Tunstall is one) as part of a team event. Also, we’ve been told Proctor is equally interested in seeing Michigan State as he is Maryland.
The Terps’ staff, with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim running point, has been after Proctor and would love to add him to the 2017 class. And the Lackey prospect has expressed some interest in the hometown school, noting how much he likes the coaches and the direction headman D.J. Durkin is taking the program.
But word is he’s not nearly as high on UMD (remember, he’s not a “DMV movement” or “stay-home” type) as he is Virginia Tech, Penn State and UCLA (no offer yet). The Hokies and Nittany Lions are thought to have the upper-hand for now, with Proctor taking to Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster and the tradition and entire staff at PSU. The Bruins, for their part, could rocket to the top of the list when Proctor officially visits Los Angeles, Calif., this offseason.
But let’s see what Abdul-Rahim and Co. can swing Oct. 22. Maybe, if they see Proctor before the game, they can gain some inroads with the DMV four-star.
Markquese Bell, OLB/S, Bridgeton (N.J.): The four-star athlete Bell will be returning to Maryland for the first time since the spring. For the last few months, the 6-3, 185-pounder has had consistent contact with UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker and position coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, calling both assistants “really cool.” Plus, during his previous stay, Bell liked the atmosphere in College Park; the coming facility upgrades; and the direction the program’s heading.
But head coach D.J. Durkin and Co. will have to put on one heck of a hard sell Oct. 21-23, because Bell is honing in on his other options.
The Bridgeton recruit took one official to Rutgers Oct. 8 and dubbed the jaunt “great.” Bell likes the hometown school a good deal, especially head coach Chris Ash and his assistants. Next, Bell will be officially visiting Clemson Nov. 12 and Ohio State Nov. 25. Both programs’ coaches are willing to accept Bell’s commitment, and each has the four-star’s ear. Bell likes the prestige of the Buckeyes and the Tigers’ recent rise up the national ranks.
The Jersey product wants to check out Michigan too, although he doesn’t have a visit date set. Either way, the Wolverines probably lead for Bell’s services at this juncture, the Jersey native extoling the staff; the atmosphere in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and the program’s current state.
Expect Bell, who plans to graduate early, to commit sometime in early December, after his final official.
More Recruiting News
Anthony McFarland, RB, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): McFarland embarked on his first official visit to Miami Oct. 15, and now he’ll be taking a second to Penn State for the OSU match Oct. 22. At first blush, that sounds rather ominous for Maryland purposes considering he’s taking in PSU over UMD-Michigan State.
But we’re advising Terps’ aficionados not to panic -- at least not yet.
We haven’t heard too much noise surrounding Penn State, although head coach James Franklin and Co. are making a charge. They’ve said enough to convince McFarland to venture up to Happy Valley and at least place the Nittany Lions among his top four or five suitors.
But Penn State shouldn’t concern Terps’ fans as much as Miami. Truth is, McFarland was absolutely ecstatic following his stay in Coral Gables, Fla., to the point where the Canes have likely pulled even with the Terps atop his leaderboard. The four-star readily connected with the entire Miami staff and numerous players, lauded the vibe around campus, talked up the facilities and environment, and praised head coach Mark Richt.
But we’ll see if the Canes can hold McFarland’s attention all the way until February. The Terps remain in an encouraging position and should be hosting the DeMatha back on a couple more occasions coming up, including a winter official.
McFarland will be checking out Alabama (Nov. 26 official) and Florida (December official) as well, although we don’t believe the Tide coaches will push for a pop, while the Gators are sitting behind the Canes and Terps in the pecking order.
Miami’s staff will keep up the pursuit, inevitably sending coaches through Hyattsville this winter for in-homes and the like, but so will the nearby Terps’.
Until we hear otherwise, we’re keeping McFarland “hot” on the hot board . . . with a wary eye on the Canes.
Jacob Bolton, OT, Blessed Trinity Catholic (Roswell, Ga.): Bolton visited Maryland for the first time Oct. 1, and he was supposed to return three weeks later for his Terps’ official Oct. 21-23. But, like many Maryland targets, he rescheduled for December so the staff can deal with him on a more personal level.
Regardless, the 6-5, 300 pounder has dubbed UMD his No. 1 school, Bolton lauding head coach D.J. Durkin; line coach Dave Borbely; and area recruiter Walt Bell. The Blessed Trinity three-star loves the atmosphere in College Park, the campus and the vibe surrounding the program.
But Bolton keeps insisting he’s not ready to end his recruitment anytime soon. Even though Iowa State is Bolton’s only other power-five suitor (he’ll be officially visiting the Cyclones later this fall), he’s content to wait until around New Years before choosing a destination.
Bolton has been hearing from UNC, Georgia and Ole Miss and wants to gauge their respective O-line situations and if the staffs will eventually ante up. If so, Bolton indicated he could officially visit other locales late in the fall/winter.
But we’re not so sure Bolton is going to get his wish. Maryland could very well remain his best option at playing FBS football, and as long as Durkin is willing to accept his commitment, we’re encouraged by the Terps’ position.
Owen Carney, DE/BUCK, Miami Central (Miami, Fla.): The three-star Carney officially visited Maryland Oct. 14-16, and he allowed the jaunt went well enough. From what we were able to glean, the 6-3, 235-pounder had a good time meeting the staff, hanging with the players and taking in the College Park atmosphere. Carney easily bonded with assistant Mike London, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and head coach D.J. Durkin, and believes he could readily develop under those two defensive minds. Moreover, the players, particularly fellow Floridians Qwuantrezz Knight, Elisha and Elijah Daniels, and Dion Goldbourne, showed Carney a good time and made him feel welcome.
The Miami Central prospect also said the Under Armour connections, the new facility upgrades and the school’s location near Washington, D.C., caught his eye.
But while Carney enjoyed himself, he admitted the trip could have been better.
“I might be able to go back to see more, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give the trip an 8,” Carney said. “I fell like it was a good visit, but it was limited time. I was a little rushed, so it was a little short on details. But it was still good and at the end of the day I enjoyed myself.”
With the above in mind, we’re somewhat skeptical Carney winds up in College Park, which is why he’s still listed “cool” on the hot board. We’ll have to see how his next few visits go before making any definitive calls, however.
Carney has a trip to Illinois coming up next, followed by November officials to Tennessee and Louisville. Furthermore, Carney wants to return to Tallahassee, Fla., for his final official before decision day. The Seminoles, should the coaches still have room for him, continue to lead for Carney’s services.
Look for Carney to end his recruitment in late December or New Years so he can enroll early in January.
You can read more about Carney HERE.
Lawtez Rogers, DE, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): The local edge rusher Rogers may finally (fingers crossed, eyes rolled) be ready to end his recruitment and commit to Maryland. The 6-5, 255-pounder told us a couple weeks back to “not be surprised” if he ends up popping to the hometown school in short order, pointing to the Oct. 22 Michigan State affair as a target date. Rogers, however, won’t be able to make it to College Park this weekend due to a school function, but he does intend to attend one of Maryland’s final two home games. He reiterated he should be popping during his UMD return.
Rogers said he was no longer inclined to visit other programs, which was the main holdup that kept him from popping in the first place, and was more than content with the school that’s stood by him for almost two years. The Roosevelt prospect has a terrific relationship with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, thinks he can excel under defensive line coach Mike London, and has readily taken to head coach D.J. Durkin. Rogers is keen on the idea of attending school just minutes from his house, where his friends and his family (his mom definitely wants him home) can see him on a regular basis. Moreover, he knows many current Terps, is comfortable in College Park and likes the campus/coming facility upgrades.
At one time, Rogers held offers from Pitt, Louisville and Rutgers, but those schools’ coaches haven’t been pushing of late. The Terps remain Rogers’ lone committable power-five offer, and he’s beginning to realize it won’t be on the table forever, particularly with UMD having three defensive line pledges in tow.
So, expect the three-star to snap the hometown scholarship up before it too falls by the wayside. Rogers could commit as soon as early-November.
Vic Dimukeje, DL, Boys’ Latin (Baltimore, Md.): After reneging on yet another opportunity to check out Maryland Oct. 22, we downgraded Dimukeje’s status to “warm” this week. But, in reality, we could’ve done so awhile ago -- and we probably could shift him to “cool” or off the hot board altogether.
The local edge rusher just hasn’t seemed all that interested in attending school in College Park, despite the staff’s persistent push. UMD-area recruiter Mike London even urged Dimukeje to pop recently, but the Boys’ Latin three-star demurred.
Publicly, Dimukeje is keeping Maryland in play, but it’s not an overwhelmingly pro-Terps’ vibe like during the spring when he came close to committing. Truth be told, he’s been favoring Wake Forest since the summer, pointing to the staff’s ardent pursuit and the fact he has family near Winston Salem, N.C. Moreover, Dimukeje has taken to the small-school environment and the chance to shine immediately for a defensive-line depleted Deacons’ squad.
And, ultimately, Wake might just be his best chance to play FBS football. Duke, once the frontrunner, has likely filled its defensive line quota, and Virginia Tech’s staff isn’t thought to be pushing either.
Ellis Brooks, LB, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.): We received some key intel per Scout’s Mike Clark on the four-star linebacker Brooks this week, and it favors Maryland. From what we’ve been able to glean, Virginia Tech, which held a slight edge over UMD for Brooks, hasn’t exactly prioritized Brooks of late. We’ve been told the Hokies’ coaches have a couple other inside backers prioritized over the in-state prospect.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Tech’s staff won’t “take” Brooks should he truly want in, but at the moment it sounds like the backer’s leaning Maryland’s way. Terps’ area recruiter Mike London, headman D.J. Durkin and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes have been after Brooks in earnest, letting on he’s the No. 1 target on their board. Brooks, in turn, has reciprocated the interest by visiting College Park several times the last few months, including the Week 1 game against Howard. The Benedictine product said he “loved” the Maryland coaches, the defensive system and the atmosphere in College Park.
Now, Brooks is still holding out for a coveted Michigan look, while he’s hoping Auburn’s coaches extend an offer as well. But, at this stage, we’re not so sure either the Wolverines’ or the Tigers’ staffs are going to comply.
Brooks intends to take a couple postseason official visits no matter what scholarships are on the table, although we could see him cutting his recruitment short. If the Big Ten bigwigs and the SEC don’t come calling soon, he might just check out Blacksburg, Va., College Park and maybe a couple other suitors like Illinois; Duke; and Syracuse before choosing his future destination shortly thereafter. (We don’t foresee the Orange, Illini or the Blue Devils, the program Brooks was originally committed to, hopping UMD.)
And, as aforementioned, the tealeaves are reading “Terps.”
Alex Woods, CB, Lackawanna (Scranton, Pa.): Woods remains committed to West Virginia, but it’s evident he’s looking around. He visited ECU back on Oct. 1, was at Maryland unofficially Sept. 30 and was supposed to head back to College Park for an official Oct. 22. Woods has since rescheduled his UMD OV for Dec. 2 at the staff’s behest, but his eagerness to return to College Park indicates the 6-2, 180-pound JUCO corner is heeding area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim’s word.
Woods and the Maryland defensive backs’ coach have been in touch for a couple months now, the recruit readily taking to the assistant’s pitch. Woods knows the Terps need defensive backs and thinks UMD would be an opportunity to show what he can do soon after arriving on campus. Plus, Woods enjoyed his initial College Park foray, speaking to the atmosphere around the school and the Terps’ coaching staff.
For the time being, Woods is remaining true to WVU, and intends to visit Morgantown, W.Va., later in November. But if Woods does indeed show at Maryland Dec. 2, we’re going to monitor his situation closely. A flip could be in order, with Woods set to enroll in January.
Tariq Castro-Fields, CB, Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.): OK, we are reading into Castro-Fields’ absence at the Terps’ games Oct. 15 and Oct. 22. He definitely gave us some pause when he said it was unlikely he’d be at a Maryland Stadium this fall. The four-star local let on the only college football match he’d be checking out this season (other than the Iron Bowl at Alabama) is the Oct. 22 Penn State-Ohio State showdown, which means he’s opting for the Nittany Lions over the Terps-Michigan State affair.
Granted, Castro-Fields will be officially visiting College Park after his senior season, but it would’ve been a positive development for UMD if he did check out at least one of the last two home matches. At the very least, it would have allowed the staff, namely defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, to reconnect with the four-star and give Castro-Fields some idea how he’d fit into the scheme.
But recent developments suggest that Penn State may be sitting just ahead of --rather than even with or just behind -- UMD in the pecking order.
Alabama, meanwhile, continues to hold steady atop the leaderboard. Indeed, word is is the Tide are the team to beat for Castro-Fields’ services. If head coach Nick Saban pursues in earnest, he could have the DMV corner all but wrapped up by the time the Iron Bowl ends Nov. 26. But, there’s still a question of whether or not Saban and Co. are ready to accept a Castro-Fields commitment.
If Bama’s staff backs off, it’ll be down to Maryland and Penn State, with the DMV four-star seemingly favoring Happy Valley at this juncture. Virginia Tech is somewhat in play, but is likely running fourth.
This recruitment isn’t over yet, but the UMD coaches will need to roll out the red carpet during Castro-Fields’ College Park official to regain his ear.
New Offers Out
TyQuan Brown, RB, Freedom (Woodbridge, Va.) (2019): The emerging running back Brown attended the Maryland-Minnesota game Oct. 15, and afterwards he landed his first offer from the Terps. Naturally, Brown was excited to snag the scholarship from UMD-area recruiter Mike London.
Brown also said he loved being in College Park and taking in the game in Maryland Stadium. He said the Terps are firmly on his radar and he’ll be back during the offseason for various camps and events.
“The Maryland offer was big. I’ve been working and praying for this moment, and I was extremely happy and blessed,” Brown said. “I had a great time at the game too. The outcome obviously wasn't good, but they have a lot of young guys out there playing. I liked the fans and how they were into it.”
Brown, though, is a prime blowup candidate and should have double-digit offers by next year. In that sense, it was smart for the Maryland coaches to ante up early, before schools throughout the ACC, Big Ten and SEC come calling.
Shaquon Anderson-Butts, WR, Harrisburg (Pa.) (2018): The four-star junior Anderson-Butts heard from UMD Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry Oct. 19, the Terps becoming the latest to offer the 6-0, 170 pounder. But this Keystone State recruit is going to be one tough pull out of Pennsylvania.
Anderson-Butts has already declared Penn State a leader of sorts, and about the only way he winds up elsewhere is if institutions like Ohio State; Alabama; Michigan and others of that ilk come calling. Which, it would seem, is likely given Anderson-Butts’ talent level.
Sal Cannella, TE, Scottsdale C.C. (Scottsdale, Ariz.): It’s becoming rather apparent the Terps are looking to add at least one more tight end in the 2017 class, and possibly even two. That became evident Oct. 19, when an offer went out to junior college tight end Sal Cannella courtesy of UMD assistant Brawley Evans.
The 6-6, 230-pound Chicago native previously held lower Division I scholarships, so the UMD offer represented his first of the power-five variety.
“I’m happy as hell,” Cannella said. “I was thrilled, and I’m thankful to Maryland for being the first big school to really trust me.
“Coach Evans was saying how they’re losing a couple guys and the coaches at Maryland think I can be a big-time playmaker and they like my style. They think I need to add weight, but they like my potential as either a guy behind the line or out wide – like an H-back. They like my versatility.”
At the time of the interview, Cannella hadn’t spoken to Maryland tight ends coach Pete Lembo or offensive coordinator Walt Bell. He has since done so, however, and Cannella enjoying his initial interactions with the staff.
Beyond the basics, Cannella isn’t privy to the Maryland program, but he’s intrigued enough to delve deeper and begin the process of scheduling an official visit (likely in December).
The Terps are the current leader since they were the first major offeree, but Cannella is hearing from other power-five programs. Hometown Illinois has been in contact, in addition to Indiana; Minnesota; and Kansas (the Jayhawks' staff offered Oct. 20). The Scottsdale C.C. prospect didn’t say he’d immediately jump at a scholarship closer to his native Chicago, but it was clear Cannella would give those particular schools plenty of consideration.
Furthermore, Cannella admitted Ole Miss was his “dream school,” and he has had some communication with the Rebels’ coaches. We don’t envision a Mississippi offer materializing, but, if it somehow does, that’s where Cannella’s heading.
Let’s see how his recruitment develops before forming any conclusions. For now, Cannella is listed “warm” on the hot board.
You can read more about Cannella HERE.
Off The Board
D.J. Mack, ATH, Norview (Norfolk, Va.): Mack, a dual-threat quarterback, had been listing Maryland among his main four suitors for quite some time. We didn’t give it much thought after the Terps secured quarterback Kasim Hill (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) back in the spring, but figured the UMD staff might give Mack another look as a wideout -- especially with the UMD coaches’ desire to add five-plus receivers in the 2017 class.
Turns out that wasn’t the case. UMD-area recruiter Mike London hasn’t had much contact with Mack since May, which is why the Norview product never made it north for a College Park visit. Thus, Mack focused on the programs whose staffs did go after him, namely Temple and UCF.
The 6-3, 205-pounder officially visited the Knights in mid-October, and on Oct. 20 he ended up popping to them. He’ll be given a chance to play quarterback at UCF, but more than likely will end up out wide.
Travis Koontz, TE, Boardman (Ohio): The three-star Koontz committed to Toledo Oct. 16, giving the Terps one less tight end option. Koontz had UMD and the Rockets atop his favorites list, but he opted to go with the nearby MAC program rather than head east to College Park.
True, Koontz was not the No. 1 target on Maryland’s board, and even after his Oct. 1 Terps’ unofficial visit it was clear he sensed as much. The three-star Ohio native certainly enjoyed his College Park stay, noting the immediate bond he formed with head coach D.J. Durkin and tight ends coach Pete Lembo, and said he wanted to return for an official. But, at the same time, he mentioned he “wasn’t sure” exactly where the Maryland staff stood with him, which was an indication the coaches probably favored the other tight end on campus Oct. 1, Blake Williams (Canada Prep/St. Catharines, Ontario).
Thus, Koontz, who was originally committed to Bowling Green, settled for another hometown MAC institution: Toledo.