The Maryland coaches continue to mine the ranks for another tight end or two to pair with 2017 commit Andrew Park, and Oct. 19 they extended an offer to a junior college prospect. Chicago native Sal Cannella (Scottsdale C.C./Ariz.) pulled his first power-five scholarship from the Terps after assistant Brawley Evans informed him of the offer.
“I’m happy as hell,” laughed the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Cannella, who previously held looks from Hawaii, Illinois State, UMass, Eastern Kentucky, Missouri State, Murray State and Nevada. “I had all the other offers, but no power-five ones. I didn’t specifically know the Maryland offer was coming, but mentally I knew I’d eventually get my [power-five] types. It was just a matter of time, just a matter of me getting my film right. So when the offer came, I was thrilled, and I’m thankful to Maryland for being the first big school to really trust me.”
Cannella said he first heard from Evans less than a week prior to the offer materializing. But the tight end mentioned the two were in constant contact the last four days or so, getting transcripts straightened out, evaluating film and the like. Then, once offensive coordinator Walt Bell and tight ends coach Pete Lembo gave their blessing, the scholarship was on the table.
“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,” Cannella said. “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.”
Cannella mentioned he hasn’t spoken specifically to Bell or Lembo yet, but both reached out to him on Twitter. He expects to converse with one or the other later this week.
“Mainly it’s been Coach Evans, and he’s a great guy,” Cannella said. “I really like him. He’s straight up -- one of the most straight up coaches I’ve talked to, honestly. He told me how it is, and we worked fast getting everything moving. I can’t wait to talk to the rest of the Maryland coaches.”
For now, though, Cannella only knows the basics in regards to UMD. He’s aware it’s a Big Ten program, which is the conference he grew up watching in Illinois.
“But I’m definitely going to do my research and learn more,” Cannella said. “I’m thinking about taking an official visit out there too. As of right now, I’m not sure because I’m waiting until the end of my season to take my visits. I have four, five weeks after our last game to take visits, so when the date gets closer I’ll line those up.”
Basically, Cannella is trying to gauge what other options he’ll have in the next month or so. He said he’s in touch with coaches from Minnesota, Kansas, Illinois and Indiana.
Which begs the question, if an offer closer to home such as Illinois, IU or Minnesota materialized, would Cannella jump at it?
“Honestly, it’s tough. The type of person I am, I’d love to go to so many different schools. It's hard for me to say I’d like to go here or there unless I have that offer,” said Cannella, who attended St. Viador in Chicago, but elected to go the JUCO route after he didn't secure the offers he sought out of high school. “As a dream school, I’d say Ole Miss to be honest. I talked to them last year when I was a greyshirt, and they hit me back recently and said my film was interesting. I just sent it to them again, but I haven’t heard back yet. Hopefully I do soon.”
Cannella is in his second year at Scottsdale, but is still a true freshman. He will have four years to play three seasons once he reaches a major college institution. He is a December grad and will enroll in January.