The Maryland staff would like to add one safety to its 2017 class, and Dec. 3-4 the Terps hosted the No. 1 target on their board, Carol City’s (Miami, Fla.) Naytron Culpepper. The 6-foot, 175-pounder, who played in his team’s class 6A semifinal game Dec. 2 before heading to College Park, Md., the next morning, has held a UMD offer since early September, Culpepper staying in close contact with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim since then.
The three-star has repeatedly listed the Terps among his foremost two contenders, and the official visit only served to solidify Maryland’s standing with him.
“The official visit was a 10. I loved it. Maryland is at the top of my list with South Carolina and a couple others like Mississippi State and Michigan State,” Culpepper said. “Maryland is really up there. I had a great time up there, and it was a lot of fun. The coaches showed me a lot of love, the players showed me love, and I just had a good time and it felt like home.”
Culpepper said his favorite aspects of the trip were interacting with Abdul-Rahim and head coach D.J. Durkin, as well as hanging with player hosts and fellow Floridians Elijah and Elisha Daniels.
It’s Abdul-Rahim and Durkin, though, who have done the heavy lifting here, with the secondary coach remaining in regular contact with Culpepper and trekking through Carol City to see the safety.
“Coach Durkin and Coach Rahim let me know if I come there and work hard I could potentially earn a starting spot as a freshman. That was big, and also Coach Rahim, he’s a real straightforward guy and great to talk to. He’s all business, but he also cares about you personally and really looks to help you,” Culpepper said. “Another thing I liked is [Durkin and Abdul-Rahim] also said that I could return punts and kicks and play different spots in the defense. That’s what I really liked – being versatile in the defense. I want people to know I’m not just a corner – I’m an athlete. That’s my style.”
Culpeper went on to detail his interactions with the Daniels brothers and the other Terps’ players. He said he loved how many Florida natives the Terps field.
“That was real nice and a lot of fun connecting with those guys. It was like I was home around those guys,” Culpepper said. “And just the way they were talking to me, they made me feel secure and comfortable. It’s a family before a football team there, and that was great. The players, they told me they love it at Maryland and love the coaches.”
The Carol City product also mentioned how much he enjoyed the campus, saying he could see himself residing in College Park the next few years. Culpepper mentioned he liked touring Washington, D.C., with the other recruits as well.
“D.C. is great, and the networking opportunities there, and the people around that can help you later in life, that’s big,” Culpepper said. “Being near D.C. and Baltimore, that’s an area you want to be surrounded by. It can really help you later in life if football doesn’t work out. And just the atmosphere around there, it’s a great vibe. I liked it a lot.”
Last but not least, Culpepper got a taste of what the Maryland fans could be like. He attended the Terps-Oklahoma State hoops game Dec. 3, which UMD won 71-70.
“Oh, it was a great game and a live atmosphere,” Culpepper said. “The fans were definitely into it, and I loved them. I loved the students at Maryland.”
Next up for Culpepper, who has already taken an official to South Carolina, is an OV to Michigan State Jan. 13. He’s also contemplating officials to Mississippi State and possibly Indiana after the New Year before ending his recruitment on Signing Day or slightly before.