The Terps had prospects in from up and down the East Coast Nov. 12, including a budding three-star inside linebacker from South Carolina. James Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.) junior Khalid Jones, who added a Maryland offer from area recruiter Walt Bell April 29 during the evaluation period, saw his first game at College Park, Md., for the UMD-Ohio State affair.
“Maryland didn’t play so well, but they’re in the development stages right now. I can understand why it looked like that,” Jones said, referring to the Terps’ lopsided loss to the Buckeyes. “The loss didn’t really change my view of them at all. I still thought they did OK at first, and the atmosphere was cool at the start. I’ve always liked Maryland, though, and the game did nothing to change that.”
One of the reasons Jones has had an affinity for the Terps is his family is actually from Baltimore, Md., which is 40 minutes outside of College Park. Jones said he’s been over to Maryland several times over the years, and was most recently at a Terps’ camp during the summer.
“I’ve seen a lot of Maryland already, so it was good to get back up. I flew in from South Carolina [the morning of Nov. 12], saw my family at the airport, and then headed over to the game,” Jones said. “Then I left Sunday morning after staying the night.
“It was a good time. The last time I was up there I toured the school, so I knew what [the campus] was all about. But this time I got to talk to the academics advisors. The academic people were explaining my major, the support system and how they would help me out. It was very informative and I liked it. Then after that I saw the game.”
Before taking in the OSU-UMD match, though, Jones had a chance to reconnect with Bell, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and linebackers coach Matt Barnes. He did not have an opportunity to chat up head coach D.J. Durkin, though, since the headman was in “game mode” per the recruit.
“I was mainly talking to Coach Barnes, and he was real happy to see me. He was seeing how I was doing, telling me how I’d be used in the defense and how they were excited I came up all the way from North Carolina. He said the staff is really excited about me and really wants me,” Jones said. “Me and Coach Barnes have a good relationship. We talk every week. I like him. He’s a cool coach and a really nice guy. He does a good job with the linebackers and seems like a really good coach.”
Jones said he’d likely be back at Maryland during the offseason when he returns to the Baltimore area. He said UMD is “definitely” a school he’s interested in.
But he’s looking at his growing list of suitors too. Jones also has looks from Tennessee, Duke, Wisconsin, Wake Forest and others. He’s receiving interest from the likes of Va Tech, South Carolina, USC, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Stanford, UNC, NC State and more.
Jones -- who has been to South Carolina, Duke, ECU and Tennessee and is pining to see Va Tech, Wake and Wisconsin coming up -- said he doesn’t have any dream schools, but he would love to procure offers from an array of southern programs and an academic institution like Stanford.
The Byrnes product is coming off a season where he recorded 115 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles, two recoveries and two breakups.