It may take him awhile to come public, but BUCK/inside linebacker Bryce Brand (Clayton Valley Charter/Concord, Calif.) is heading cross-country to Maryland, per contacts. Brand, a 6-foot-1, 235-pound three-star who decommitted from Arizona Dec. 16, decided the Terps not only represented a terrific opportunity to not only play BCS football, but the opportunity to play alongside his older brother as well.
Junior college quarterback and former Air Force Falcon Ryan Brand (San Mateo College/San Mateo, Calif.) accepted a preferred walk-on offer from UMD Dec. 17, spurring Bryce Brand to jump on board.
The Brand brothers actually met with Maryland head coach D.J. Durkin Dec. 11, and that personal overture had the two thinking long and hard about becoming Terrapins. They pondered the possibility for about a week before word leaked out Bryce and Ryan Brand would be heading to College Park. Both are set to enroll at Maryland in January, and the latter has three years left to play.
The walk-on offer may have pushed Bryce Brand to make the move from the Wildcats to the Terps, but Maryland had already given the Detroit, Mich., native some pause prior to that. Area recruiter Chris Beatty deserved a tip of the cap for his ardent pursuit. Beatty knew the three-star last year when Brand was at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.), and the coach stayed on the hybrid when he moved back to his current California home this spring.
Beatty eventually coaxed Brand out to College Park, Md., Dec. 2 for an official visit. It was that official that opened the recruit’s eyes and had him mulling over heading 3,000-miles east for college.
“I got all my questions answered from a football and academic standpoint. I couldn’t of asked for a better visit,” Brand said. “The thing I liked best about Maryland, really, was the whole football program and how Coach Durkin and his staff are really building something special. You can really tell just from being around them they’re building something there.”
While in town, Brand, who was hosted by UMD defensive lineman Adam McLean, readily took to numerous Terps’ coaches. He already knew Beatty, but Brand instantly connected with Durkin, defensive line coach Mike London, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and various other staffers. Brand lauded each coach’s personality, as well as Durkin’s and London’s player-development resumes.
“Coach Durkin thinks I can be like Dante Fowler, who he coached at Florida, so that was cool to hear,” Brand said. “I liked all the coaches I met there and thought they were really knowledgeable and knew what they were talking about.”
Additionally, Brand said the players welcomed him in like one of their own. The Clayton Valley product acknowledged one of the deciding factors for why he opted to attend Maryland was how easily he connected with the current Terps.
“They were all really cool. Everyone I talked to was cool,” Brand said. “They made it seem as if I was already on the team with them.”
Plus, Maryland’s academics are none too shabby either. Brand mentioned the array of majors UMD provides, while it’s location near Washington, D.C, allows for multiple internship/business opportunities.
“The location in relation to D.C and Baltimore really helps with networking, internships, and really taking the next step in your career. I really liked that about Maryland,” Brand said.
But even with all those advantages, Brand insisted post-trip he remained an Arizona pledge and would be officially visiting Tucson, Ariz., Dec. 9. Brand followed through with the visit, and though it went well enough, the Terps’ staff pulled out the trump card a few days later.
Now, not only do the Terps have their BUCK target on board, but they have a decent quarterback prospect with three years of eligibility remaining as well.