Make that four receivers from Georgia in Maryland’s 2017 class.
In an anticipated Nov. 4 announcement, Roswell (Ga.) three-star Jayden Comma committed to Maryland a little more than a month after a College Park, Md., official visit vaulted the Terps to the top of his leaderboard. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was practically on board with UMD after said trip, but waited until Nov. 4 for sentimental reasons.
“It’s my senior night, and I felt it would be special to do it like that. When the announcer introduced us over the intercom, he told everyone [in attendance] that I was going to Maryland. It’s a special moment,” said Comma, who at one time held offers from WVU, Louisville and Minnesota. “But Maryland’s a place I knew I was going to be at for a good minute now. Everything they had to offer there, from the coaches to the players to the facilities to the education, it just felt right.
“And I basically committed when I was up there [for the official], but I just wanted to wait until senior night to announce it. I mean, the Maryland coaches already knew I was on board, and they were willing to wait to as long as I wanted to make it official. In fact, Coach [D.J.] Durkin called me [Nov. 3] just to make sure I was set to go. He’s all excited and couldn’t wait until I put it out there. Him and the rest of the coaches really wanted me badly and couldn’t wait to get me on board.”
Comma’s main points of contact were Maryland offensive coordinator Walt Bell and receivers’ coach Chris Beatty. He’s been in regular communication with the pair since last winter, Comma speaking to their ardent pursuit and relatable personalities. Then, during the Sept. 30-Oct. 2 official, the receiver had an opportunity to connect with them on an even more personal level. Additionally, Comma met head coach D.J. Durkin, who also left the recruit and his mother impressed.
“The coaches really showed me that I was high on their board and wanted me there. I really liked talking to them and getting to know them,” Comma said. “It’s been a really good relationship with Coach Beatty, Coach Bell and Coach Durkin. They talked to me, if not every day, then most days. They always kept up with me to see how I was doing, and that meant a lot, because it showed how interested they really were.
“My mom was really impressed too. She really liked what Coach Durkin and Coach Beatty were telling her and thinks Maryland is a great fit for me.”
The Roswell receiver went on to compliment Bell’s spread offense, which Comma saw in action against Purdue Oct. 1.
“It’s a great system, and they put up really good numbers when I was up there. The offense caught my eye for sure. They’re playing tougher competition now, and it’s hard against those Big Ten defenses, but I can see that the offense is going to put up numbers once the pieces are in place,” Comma said. “I love how up-tempo it is and how they spread the ball around.
“And when I was up there, I sat down with Coach Bell and I learned how I’d fit and how I’d be used there. Coach Bell’s offense, it sounds great to me, because it’s just like the offense I run now. So I feel like I’d fit in well. The coaches think I could do great things [in the offense].”
During the 48 hours Comma spent in College Park, he interacted with numerous current Terps and also plenty of Maryland fans. Before UMD’s 50-7 romp of Purdue Oct. 1, Comma loved how the Terps’ faithful actually recognized him while walking around the concourse.
“That was really cool, just how people knew who I was. And everyone I met was very friendly and welcoming,” Comma said. “And they players were great too. [Player host] Qwuantrezz Knight was great, and he was telling me how they’re turning things around there and the Terps are on the rise. He was saying how the coaches really care about you as a person and a player there, and that stood out to me.
“And, honestly, they treated me like one of their own. Qwuantrezz, Elijah and Elisha Daniels, Ty Pigrome, the other freshmen – I met all of them and they were so cool. I loved watching them play, and then talking to them after the game.”
Speaking of the game, well, that resonated as well -- not only for the Terps’ performance, but also because of the atmosphere inside Maryland Stadium.
“The team looked great. They definitely look like a team on the rise,” Comma said. “And the atmosphere was great too, and the fans were all into it. I had a great time being there and really enjoyed it.”
Comma spoke highly of the campus, the renovated player dorms and the upcoming facility upgrades as well. He called each “very nice” and said he could see himself residing in College Park the next few years.
Comma went on to praise Maryland’s array of majors, academic reputation and academic support system. He found it beneficial that College Park is located near Washington, D.C., too, allowing him to explore a variety of internship and post-college career opportunities. The Under Armour connections, meanwhile, are an added bonus that hit home with Comma.
“The education is really, really good. When we took the tour and I saw the buildings and how many majors they had, that really caught my eye,” Comma said. “The athletic facilities are great and really impressive, especially the new fields they’re building, but it really meant a lot that they take so much pride in their academics.”
And, of course, he’ll be joined by plenty of familiar faces, which will make the high school-to-college transition much more seamless.
Indeed, the Roswell product has been hearing from Alpharetta (Ga.) three-star Carlos Carriere, the Terps’ receiver pledge urging Comma to join him in College Park. Plus, Comma is familiar with Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.) and Jalen Browder (East Paulding/Dallas, Ga.), two other wideouts committed to UMD.
“I think it’s a great thing all these Georgia guys are going to Maryland. There’s a lot of talent down here, and to get these guys, it’s great for the Terps,” Comma said. “I haven’t really seen those guys play, but I’ve watched their film and they’re good receivers. It’s a cool thing and a good idea for Maryland to get receivers from the south.”
At one time, Comma had Louisville and West Virginia trending, with the Mountaineers the perceived frontrunners. But both of those options fell by the wayside as each program filled their receiver slots. Comma also considered Illinois, Minnesota and Colorado State, but opted not to visit those locales.
“[UL and WVU coaches] stopped talking to me and I left it alone. It’s part of the process. I didn’t take it to heart,” Comma said. “I understand how it is with recruiting, so I let it be.”
Regardless of how or why, Comma’s a Terp, and he adds another lengthy wideout to Maryland’s 2017 mix. He said his specialty is using his size and wingspan to make plays up top, out-leaping and out-reaching smaller defensive backs.
“I imagine I’ll play on the outside, but I can fit in anywhere and will play wherever Coach Durkin needs me,” Comma said. “But, as a receiver, I bring playmaking ability with my height. I can go up and get it. I have to work on my speed, but I have the height, the hands, and I’m a pretty good route runner. I’m excited to get up to Maryland and get started.”