The Maryland staff convinced one California resident from Clayton Valley (Concord, Calif.) to officially visit when Bryce Brand came out to College Park, Md. Now, UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty is trying to coax another top Clayton Valley recruit to the East Coast.
Beatty and Co. offered four-star offensive tackle Jalen McKenzie in early December and have the 6-foot-5.5, 307-pounder’s ear.
“Maryland started getting in contact with me in [late November] when Coach [Marcus] Berry started contacting me. They Coach Beatty came out to see me and they offered me,” said McKenzie, who missed his junior year with a knee injury, which hurt his recruitment. “So that was pretty good, and of the offers I have, they’re pretty high up there. From an offer standpoint, it’s Maryland and Utah at the top.”
Although McKenzie hasn’t been in touch with the Maryland staff for long, he’s intrigued by what they’ve relayed about the program. McKenzie knows the Terps are in need of offensive tackles, so there’s an opportunity to play fairly early during his career.
“I’d say I have a good relationship with the Maryland coaches. Right now, I’d say Utah, Maryland, Michigan and USC talk to me the most,” said McKenzie, a Tennessee legacy with offers from UCLA, UMD, Arizona State, Utah, Hawaii and Oregon State. “I liked what [Beatty and Berry] have told me about the school, and it was big that [Beatty] came out here.”
Although McKenzie heard from Beatty and Berry, his teammate let him know about UMD too. Brand, an Arizona commit, officially visited UMD Dec. 2 and returned raving about the trip.
“Bryce went out there and really enjoyed it,” McKenzie said. “He said it’s a great school, a great area next to D.C., and they’re getting a lot of good recruits to go there. [Brand] said he liked the coaches and thought it was a great experience.”
But although McKenzie’s intrigued by UMD, it may not be his No. 1 priority right now. He said he’s still waiting on a couple major offers, including Michigan and USC. McKenzie said Tennessee’s staff, meanwhile, has not been in touch recently, so the four-star is somewhat resigned to the fact he probably won’t be heading to Rocky Top like his brother, father and uncle.
“It’s USC and Michigan right now, that’s who I’m really waiting on. They’re both close [to offering], but I’m just waiting,” McKenzie said. “If they offer, I’m looking to visit both USC and Michigan in January. Then I’d use the third weekend in January to maybe see one other school.”
If the Trojans’ and/or the Wolverines’ staffs don’t ante up, though, McKenzie said he’d probably officially visit Maryland, Utah and maybe UCLA instead.