Defensive end/outside linebacker Kofi Wardlow (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) didn’t commit to Maryland during his extended College Park, Md., visit Oct. 30, but the hometown school seems to be positioned well. The 6-foot-3, 240-pounder, who projects as a BUCK at UMD, said he; his parents; and his mentor were all “very impressed” by the entire presentation.
“It went really, really well,” said Wardlow, who has procured offers from Maryland, Pitt and Va Tech within the last week or so. “It was just a great overall experience for us, and we learned a lot about Maryland and feel it’s an up-and-coming program in the Big Ten. It’s definitely a school I’m considering.
“My parents were really impressed too. They want me to make the right decision, but they like Maryland a lot as well.”
During the daylong stay in College Park, Wardlow had a chance to bond with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive line coach Mike London, Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry and, of course, head coach D.J. Durkin. Wardlow and his family readily connected with the staff, the recruit letting on how much he liked their personalities and demeanors.
“I had position meetings with Coach London, and he’s great. He has a really good background and he told me what he expects and how he’d use me,” Wardlow said. “I had some question about his BUCKs, like their size and weight, and learned more about the position. I definitely think I fit [the BUCK spot] well. I always considered myself a hybrid; I have the body and speed for it. But Coach London didn’t just talk about football. He wanted to learn more about me, though, kind of like an interview. So we learned more about each other.
“Coach Aazaar, he’s another great guy and we’re building a relationship. I really like him and relate to him well.
“And Coach Durkin, he told me about his mission statement, and I was really impressed with that. He’s living up to it so far. He came in in December and really changed the whole program around, and I’ve seen a lot of improvement just in the last few months.”
Wardlow and Co. were treated to a campus tour as well, allowing the group to see the academic buildings, the renovated dorms, the athletic facilities and the under-construction indoor fields.
“Everything was very, very nice up there,” Wardlow said. “Coach London had me sit down in the meeting room and we watched the whole video and rundown of how awesome and ridiculous this new facility will be. I was really impressed with that. Then I saw the varsity dorms and those are really good, and the campus is great too.”
Wardlow also said the educational aspects of Maryland resonated. Academics are of primary concern for the St. John’s honors student, and he’s intent on majoring in engineering.
“I got to see the academic side and was really impressed with that. The engineering program is great at Maryland, and the support system is great as well,” Wardlow said. “That’s what I want in a school -- a balance between football and academics.”
Wardlow had hinted at a possible commitment during his upcoming visit after landing a Maryland offer Oct. 23 -- his very first power-five suitor -- but he admitted recent Pittsburgh and Va Tech offers, along with interest from more Big Ten and ACC programs, have given him some pause. When asked if he at any time considered ending his recruitment Oct. 30, Wardlow took a long pause before answering.
“I mean, I guess I didn’t come close, because I do have a lot to see… I really haven’t been to some other schools, and I want to see what they have to offer,” Wardlow said. “I’d say maybe in the next couple weeks [I’ll commit], that’s fair. Just so I can get out to a couple places. But I have to regroup with my parents and talk about all that. I can’t say for sure right now.”
Wardlow doesn’t have any other trips set in stone, but admitted he “had some things coming up.” He’s in the process of confirming possible visits to Va Tech and Pitt, while he could check out another program or two if those staffs opt to ante up. (Wardlow said he has been hearing from Rutgers, Michigan State and a couple more regional schools.)
Of course, Wardlow is going to keep hearing about Maryland on a daily basis, so the hometown school is sure to sit at the forefront of his mind. Not only will Abdul-Rahim, London and Durkin continue to pursue, but so will his teammates, Terps’ pledges Cam Spence and Kasim Hill.
Hill, for his part, actually joined Wardlow Oct. 30 in College Park.
“Kasim, he was telling me how cool it would be to have me up there and a bunch of other stuff,” laughed Wardlow. “He was trying to get me [on board]. He’s always talking about Maryland. We’ll see (laughs).”