Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
Offensive Tackle News
Calvin Ashley, OT, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): The Terps may be gaining steam with the five-star Auburn commit Ashley, who was knocked unconscious during the WCAC title game last week, but should be fine moving forward. Ashley has his UMD official scheduled for Dec. 9, which means Maryland’s DMV pledges and the Terps’ staff’s prime targets like Tariq Castro-Fields (Riverdale Baptist/Upper Marlboro, Md.); Kofi Wardlow (St. John’s); Anthony McFarland (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.); Jordan Anthony (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.); Ellis Brooks (discussed below) and more will be joining him. Needless to say, exposing the five-star to that kind of pro-UMD atmosphere is a positive development.
Moreover, Ashley continues to hear from Maryland-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim; head coach D.J. Durkin; line coach Dave Borbely; offensive coordinator Walt Bell and other Terps’ coaches. We’ve heard he’s coming around to the possibility of staying in the D.C. area and helping build up Maryland’s program.
That said, we’re not ready to forecast Ashley to College Park, Md., just yet. Ashley will also be taking an official to hometown Florida sometime after the New Year, and the Gators remain a threat to flip the five-star. The UF staff has been in Ashley’s ear for months, and the St. John’s product is thinking long and hard about returning home for college.
Plus, Ashley is going to give Auburn’s coaches every chance to keep him in tow. He’ll be taking his AU official in January, and it’ll likely be his final visit before shutting down his recruitment. Ashley has a strong bond with the Eagles’ staff, and we’re told as long as head coach Guz Malzahn retains his job (word out of AU is he will), the big tackle may be inclined to stick with his original pledge.
Currently, we’re keeping Ashley “warm” on the hot board.
Note: Ashley will tag along with Josh Kaindoh (discussed below) on a trip to Penn State Nov. 26, but the five-star offensive lineman is not expected to seriously consider the Nittany Lions.
Tyran Hunt, OT, Southampton (Courtland, Va.): Based on the current state of affairs, it looks like the three-star tackle Hunt is about to fall into the Terps’ laps. On Nov. 23, the 6-foot-7, 280-pounder let on he would no longer be embarking on his much-anticipated official visit to Virginia Tech Nov. 25-27. If that weren’t enough, Hunt also told Scout’s Mike Clark he no longer had the Hokies, the tackle’s one-time favorite, under consideration.
Up until this week, we were led to believe the Va Tech staff would accept Hunt’s pledge if the recruit wanted in after his Blacksburg, Va., trip, but that might not have been the case. Hunt sensed the Hokies’ coaches were no longer pursuing in earnest, so the in-state native decided to focus on the programs who truly covet his services.
And those schools are Maryland and Syracuse.
Hunt took his Orange official back in mid-September, afterwards hinting SU led in his recruitment. The Syracuse coaches presented a welcoming environment, Hunt enjoyed being around the current Orange players, and he liked the school’s campus; facilities; and various majors.
But two months later, Nov. 11-13, Hunt saw Maryland officially, subsequently suggesting the Terps had the edge.
“Maryland is a great school. I like what they’re doing with the program and respect the coaches to the utmost. I’m really glad I went on the visit, because a lot of my questions were answered,” Hunt told me previously. “The money Maryland is getting, the new facilities they’re building, and what they’re planning there for the future, it sounds great, And the recruiting class they’re bringing in on top of that, things are really looking up there.
“But, ultimately, I love what they can do for my education, with the great degree there; the internship opportunities; and the school being near D.C. and Baltimore. There are so many connections and networking opportunities available, and that makes Maryland very attractive I know even if I don’t it to the NFL, I’ll be good to go with a Maryland education.”
On top of that, Hunt has a close relationship with area recruiter Mike London, while he easily connected with line coach Dave Borbely; head coach D.J. Durkin; and offensive coordinator Walt Bell during the official. He liked interacting with the Maryland fans and players, felt comfortable on campus and said he could see himself living in College Park for four years. It only helped UMD’s image that Hunt’s mom loved the school too.
Expect Hunt to announce his future destination in short order, likely sometime next week.
All signs point to him being a Terp.
Jacob Bolton, OT, Blessed Trinity (Roswell, Ga.): The Maryland coaches continue to recruit the Georgia tackle Bolton, who visited College Park unofficially Oct. 1 and then dubbed the Terps the team to beat. But Bolton is not the main priority with Tyran Hunt (discussed above); Deron Irving-Bey (Southwest Academy/Flint, Mich.); and Calvin Ashley (discussed above), in addition to other tackle targets the Terps’ staff is monitoring, still on the board.
Now, it’s entirely possible Bolton becomes a “take” for the Terps’ coaches down the line, as there is hardly a guarantee the latter two tackles choose Maryland. In the meantime, though, it seems like both Bolton and Maryland will take a wait-and-see approach.
The Blessed Trinity prospect, who is in contact with UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell, was supposed to officially visit College Park Dec. 2, but he’s moving the jaunt back until after the New Year. More than likely, Bolton wants to gauge if the Terps’ coaches want/need him before returning to UMD.
With the above in mind, Bolton’s interest in Iowa State, his only other power-five suitor, seems to have increased. The Georgian wants to officially visit Ames, Ia., in either early December or after the dead period ends in January.
At the moment, we’re listing Bolton “warm” on the hot board, but that temperature could quickly increase or decrease depending on how Maryland’s tackle recruiting transpires the next couple months.
Defensive Recruiting Notes
Lawtez Rogers, DE, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): Rogers’ senior season is now over, and he’s finally set to return to Maryland. The Roosevelt edge rusher confirmed he’ll be taking his UMD official, along with many of the other local Terps’ targets, Dec. 9. (He’s on the fence about heading to College Park for the Terps’ game against Rutgers Nov. 26).
Rogers has no other officials in mind, nor have any other potential suitors come after him of late. Thus, we’re inclined to place the three-star end on “pop watch” that weekend.
Recall, back in October Rogers said he could commit to UMD “any time,” intimating he’d likely pledge after another foray through College Park. But Rogers and his family haven’t been able to find time during the weekends, delaying the process a bit.
Even so, Rogers has been forecast to the local school for more than a year now. As stated time and again, about the only way he doesn’t eventually wind up at Maryland is if the Terps’ coaches back off.
Which isn’t likely with UMD in need of even more defensive linemen in the 2017 class.
Therefore, it’s hard to believe Maryland-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and head coach D.J. Durkin wouldn’t press for a pop before the winter dead period. Maybe, finally, we can move Rogers from “hot” to “committed” by mid-December.
Josh Kaindoh, DE, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): We hadn’t given much credence to Maryland commits visiting other locales. But this one, which began percolating around Nov. 20, gave us some pause.
The five-star Maryland-commit Josh Kaindoh returned to Baltimore for Thanksgiving break, but instead of heading over to College Park for the Terps’ game against Rutgers Nov. 26, the edge rusher decided to officially visit Penn State Nov. 25-27.
Kaindoh has been hearing from the Nittany Lions’ staff quite frequently and will at least give State College, Pa., a look. The PSU coaches hosted Kaindoh a couple times before his Maryland pledge, and did have the recruit’s ear for some time.
But, truth be told, we haven’t heard anything about an imminent Kaindoh-to-PSU flip. The former Mount Carmel (Essex, Md.) standout is listening to other staffs’ pitches, though.
Kaindoh officially visited Florida State in mid-October, and we’ve heard the Seminoles are resonating. The five-star has a strong bond with a couple Noles’ staff members, namely headman Jimbo Fisher and Baltimore native and mentor Tommy Polley.
Furthermore, we’re told Kaindoh will be setting an official to Alabama in early December. The Tide staff has been pursuing in earnest and almost coaxed a visit out of the five-star earlier during the fall. Kaindoh reneged, but he’s reconsidering and may head to Tuscaloosa, Ala., after all.
Moreover, it’s possible LSU enters the picture if Jimbo Fisher bolts Tallahassee, Fla., for Baton Rouge, La.
Kaindoh, of course, already took his College Park official Oct. 1, and afterwards we were led to believe he was a firm UMD pledge. He admitted as much to several Maryland outlets, letting on he was ready to return home and continue the DMV movement.
Pretty much the entire Maryland coaching staff has a tight bond with Kaindoh and his parents. D.J. Durkin, Mike London, Chris Beatty and others have not only maintained regular contact with Kaindoh, but they’ve personally journeyed through IMG to see him whenever coaches have been allowed to do so.
The Maryland staff met with the Kaindoh family yet again Nov. 23, two days prior to his Penn State foray, and the sit-down went well from what we’ve heard. At the very least, it was an indication the Kaindohs have much respect for the UMD coaches and are heeding their stay-home/early-playing-time message.
But recent rumblings suggests there’s more than just smoke percolating around Kaindoh. Don’t be surprised if the IMG prospect opts to decommit in the near future, perhaps as soon as Nov. 27.
But we’ll see if Durkin and Co., which knew they were in for a battle from the jump, can stave off the country’s elites and keep Kaindoh in tow.
Either way, the IMG product’s recruitment will end by the New Year since he’s an early enrollee.
Note: Maryland commit Cam Spence (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) and Auburn pledge Calvin Ashley (discussed above) will be joining Kaindoh in Happy Valley. Spence, though, is a solid Terps’ pledge. We do not envision Spence flipping to another program at the moment.
Josh Paschal, BUCK, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Turns out two consecutive weekends in College Park weren’t enough to turn the tide in Maryland’s favor. The four-star Paschal seemed to be coming around to UMD earlier during the fall, and the fact he took in two straight Terps’ games against Michigan and Ohio State boded well for the hometown school.
But the key for Maryland-area recruiter Chris Beatty, defensive line coach Mike London and headman D.J. Durkin was to secure a Paschal official visit during one of those two upcoming major recruiting weekends: Dec. 2 or Dec. 9. Unless there’s a change of heart, however, Paschal’s heading elsewhere in early December.
He’ll be at Kentucky, which may have Paschal’s attention more than originally surmised, Dec. 2, before heading to Notre Dame Dec. 9. The Good Counsel product is considering an official to Ohio State sometime in January as well.
The Terps remain among Paschal’s foremost five contenders, but it’s going to be difficult to keep the local away from Oklahoma -- which he lauded for its family atmosphere and player development after officially visiting in September – UND, Ohio State and maybe Kentucky. The Irish could lead thanks to the school’s prestige, tradition and the coaching staff’s renewed pursuit, while the Buckeyes are right there too with defensive line coach Larry Johnson gaining Paschal’s ear.
True, this is recruiting, so Paschal’s situation could change in another month. But, at this juncture, the Olney native may be fading from the Terps’ coaches’ grasps.
Kofi Wardlow, BUCK, St. John’s (Washington, D.C.): Wardlow’s recruitment leveled off the last couple weeks, but Nov. 20 he pulled his first SEC look from Missouri. The three-star DMV edge rusher hasn’t commented extensively on the Tigers, although it’s conceivable he could visit sometime after the New Year. That’s highly speculative, though, because there’s a distinct possibility Wardlow pops well before then.
Wardlow has two official visits coming up, first to Michigan State Dec. 2 and then to Maryland Dec. 9. The Spartans’ offer certainly piqued Wardlow’s interest given the program’s success up until this year. Wardlow is excited to see East Lansing, Mich., firsthand and meet the coaches, who have made the St. John’s product a prime target, in person. But unless the MSU staff can wow Wardlow and get him to commit before leaving campus, the St. John’s product will be embarking on his UMD trip.
The hometown school continues to ring true for Wardlow, and the Terps’ coaches might be able to coax out a pop during the recruit’s Dec. 9 foray or shortly thereafter. (Wardlow has said before he didn’t want to drag his recruitment out into the winter). UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive line coach Mike London and head coach D.J. Durkin have all been pressing for Wardlow, who appreciates their overtures and the fact they were the first FBS staff to recognize his talents. The local is also keen on the DMV movement and teaming with other recruits he knows at the nearby university. He’s been on campus countess times, including Nov. 22 for the UMD-Stony Brook basketball game, and loves the atmosphere and vibe surrounding the school. Wardlow said his parents like the school a good deal too, namely its academic reputation; coaching staff; and its close proximity to their D.C. home.
We’ll see if another SEC or Big Ten elite comes through and alters Wardlow’s thinking. But, at the moment, we have no reason to move him off “hot” on the hot board.
Nate Proctor, BUCK, Lackey (Indian Head, Md.): Scout’s Brian Dohn gave an update on Proctor in the Scout 300 trend meter this week, projecting the four-star to either Penn State or Ole Miss, with UCLA and Va Tech firmly in play as well. Per sources, there’s still a possibility Proctor could give Maryland another look, though that’s not a given.
For the time being, Proctor has officials set to Blacksburg Dec. 9, Los Angeles, Calif., Jan. 13, State College Jan. 20 and University, Miss., Jan. 27. But we’ll see how things shake out the next couple months, with Dohn suggesting the situation could change.
“He could add another visit, but Ole Miss gets the last shot, and that could be pivotal,” Dohn wrote. “How well schools recruit Proctor in the next two months will dictate the direction of this recruitment.”
Ellis Brooks, ILB, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.): Maryland continues to trend for the four-star inside backer Brooks, and after he set his College Park official for the Terps’ major visit weekend Dec. 9, we’re fairly confident he’s going to wind up at UMD.
That trip could be Brooks’ final official before ending his recruitment around the New Year. Brooks will use one upcoming weekends Nov. 26, to see Ohio State unofficially, but the Benedictine product doesn’t hold a Buckeyes’ offer and isn’t one of head coach Urban Meyer’s main targets.
Indeed, Brooks has not received coveted offers from the nation’s crème de crème like Michigan and several in the SEC. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech, the one-time frontrunner, has backed off, and we’re led to believe Northwestern isn’t a prime player either, despite the linebacker’s impromptu official to Chicago, Ill.
Given the above, Brooks should be Maryland-bound, with the staff potentially wrapping him up (privately, if not publically) during the upcoming official. Brooks has a longstanding rapport with area recruiter Mike London and linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, has lauded each of his trips to College Park -- including for a game in September – likes the school’s academic reputation, and believes head coach D.J. Durkin has the program moving in the right direction.
"I'm in contact with Maryland a lot and I'd say they're recruiting me hardest," Brooks told Scout’s Mike Clark. "They're trying to get all the top guys in DMV to stay home and there's a lot of talent in the area. So if everybody went to one team, they'd be a force to be reckoned with -- even on a national scale.
"I definitely like the coaching staff. The coaches I talk to the most is (linebacker) coach (Matt) Barnes and (defensive line) coach (Mike) London. They're really down to earth. They told me I'd have a great opportunity to come in and compete for early playing time and make an impact."
Brooks told Scout’s Mike Clark he could announce his college decision either Jan. 1 at the Under Armour All-American game or Jan. 28, which is his dad’s birthday. There’s a chance Brooks could use a weekend or two in January to see another school, but let’s see if the Terps’ coaches can seal the deal before then.
Tancey Richardson, CB, South Aiken (S.C.): The three-star cornerback Richardson was supposed to officially visit Maryland Dec. 2, but his team is in the midst of a playoff run, which will preclude him from attending. Plus, Richardson is taking the SATs Dec. 2, meaning even if South Aiken loses this weekend (unlikely), the corner still won’t be able to make it to UMD.
But Richardson said earlier this week he has every intention of seeing College Park firsthand, most likely in January after the dead period ends. He has been consistently talking to UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who Richardson said would be visiting him in-home, and assistant Brawley Evans, and likes what he’s heard about the school. Additionally, Richardson knows Terps’ receiver commit Sean Nelson (Langston Hughes/Fairburn, Ga.), who has vouched for the program.
With the above in mind, Richardson seems to have turtles on the brain. He even said he’s considering committing before the holidays so he can ensure his spot doesn’t get snapped up.
Now, we originally thought Abdul-Rahim and Co. would not push for a pledge with several other targets on their board, and that still may be the case. But we’re led to believe if Richardson truly wants in at UMD, the Terps’ staff would accept his commitment -- if not immediately, than down the road if Maryland’s in need of another corner.
“Coach Aazaar said he’s actually coming down to see my parents and talk to them too,” Richardson said. “He’s serious about me and really wants to get me up there. And that means a lot to me. I like that I’m needed there and can play early.”
Richardson is considering Indiana and Colorado State as well, and would like to officially visit both. Of the two, the South Carolina native is favoring the Rams since the CSU coaches have been after him longer and harder than any other program.
But if the Maryland coaches still covet Richardson in January (and the recruit remain uncommitted), he’s probably the Terps’ to lose.
He’ll continue to sit “hot” on the hot board.
You can read more about Richardson HERE.
Alex Woods, CB, Lackawanna C.C. (Scranton, Pa.): The three-star junior-college corner Woods will be officially visiting UMD Dec. 2, and he’s keeping the Terps entrenched atop his favorites list. Woods -- who decommitted from West Virginia Nov. 3 -- is also contemplating ECU, which would represent a homecoming of sorts for the North Carolina native, and is gauging what other suitors might emerge, but he should be Maryland’s to lose. We haven’t heard of any transcript issues that could derail this recruitment, so it’s possible the Terps’ staff pushes for a pop during his upcoming official.
Lewis has been in regular communication with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and Director of Recruiting Marcus Berry. Berry, in fact, hosted Woods during his early-fall trip to College Park, which left the corner impressed. Woods liked the campus, the facilities, and the coming facility upgrades, but, most importantly, he sensed an opportunity for early playing time.
Woods might follow through with an official to East Carolina before ending his recruitment, but we’re inclined to put him on “pop watch” heading into that Dec. 2 official. The Lackawanna three-star is listed “hot” on the hot board.
Note: As a reminder, the other Dec. 2 College Park visitors, as of now, are Sal Cannella (Scottsdale C.C./Ariz.), Naytron Culpepper (Miami Carol City/Miami, Fla.) and Deron Irving-Bey (Southwestern Academy/Flint, Mich.).
Tareke Lewis, CB, Riverside C.C. (Riverside, Calif.): The Florida native and junior-college corner Lewis is set for his second unofficial to West Virginia Dec. 2, and it’s a significant trip. Lewis is listing WVU among his top three contenders, but the feeling is a standout visit to Morgantown, W.Va., could vault the Mountaineers up the leaderboard. Furthermore, WVU would seem to be a natural fit for Lewis given that program’s penchant for attracting JUCOs.
For now, Lewis actually has Utah in the driver’s seat after an eye-opening official back in October. Lewis loved the atmosphere in Salt Lake City, Utah, and how well the coaching staff received him.
As for the Terps, Lewis continues to talk up the program and his relationship with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Lewis knows the Terps are in immediate need of cornerbacks, while the Riverside prospect has heard plenty of positives about the school; area; players; and coaches from former teammate and friend J.C. Jackson.
Lewis should be officially visiting College Park after the New Year, but we’re somewhat skeptical that trip ultimately comes to fruition. As we’ve written previously, there are some issues that could prevent the Terps from accepting Lewis’ commitment. We’ve heard the Maryland coaches might not press due to said risks.
We’ll keep listing Lewis “warm” on the hot board, but we could see him pledging to WVU or Utah before he even makes it to UMD.