Maryland’s staff is giving itself plenty of tight end options in the 2018 class, and one of their most recent offers went out to Marist School’s (Atlanta, Ga.) John Fitzpatrick Jan. 5. The 6-foot-6, 230-pounder previously claimed offers from the likes of Pitt, Iowa State, Ohio and Charlotte, but said the Maryland look resonated in a major way.
“It was a big offer for me, because it was my first Big Ten offer. That’s really exciting, because it’s one of the best conferences in the country,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a great place and area, I hear it’s a fun campus, and it’s really intriguing because I have family close to the Maryland area in New York and Connecticut. I’ve heard a lot about Maryland and really am intrigued.”
So intrigued that Fitzpatrick actually reached out to the Terps’ coaches. He said he sent them an e-mail awhile back, but hadn’t received anything in return. But then in early January he noticed several Maryland coaches began following him on Twitter. A couple days later, on Jan. 5, the Georgian heard he had an offer courtesy of UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell.
“I was sitting in class [Jan. 5] and I noticed three Maryland coaches had texted me. One of them was Coach Bell, and he DM’d me and said, ‘Nice to meet you, John. You have an offer from Maryland.’ So I was really, really excited about that,” said Fitzpatrick, who has yet to converse with Bell yet but plans to shortly. “I told [the coaches] before I was very interested in the school, thought it would be a great fit, and an awesome place to play.”
Fitzpatrick hasn’t been in College Park, Md., yet, but has driven through the area plenty of times to see his family in New York. He will make his way to UMD’s campus for the first time later this winter.
“My dad always talks to me about Maryland whenever we’re going through there. And one of my teammates who I played with last year, Cameron Pearson, was planning on walking on at Maryland. And when he was trying to go there, he was absolutely in love with it and talked about how great it was. So that made it even more enticing. It just sounds great,” Fitzpatrick said. “Beyond that, I don’t know too much else about the program. I think the Under Armour connection and all the gear is really cool. I know all about that and think it’s great. But I haven’t gotten to see too much more about Maryland yet.”
In addition to Maryland, Fitzpatrick said his Pittsburgh offer has his attention. The Panthers were the first FBS look for the budding tight end.
“The Pitt offer was really shocking and exciting too,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a rising program in the ACC and they knocked off Clemson this year.”
It remains to be seen what programs will ante up next, but Fitzpatrick has been talking to coaches from Duke and Northwestern. Both would represent ideal offers of sorts.
“Those two are big. It’s cool to have the great balance of academics and also play football at the highest level,” Fitzpatrick said.
So far, the Marist School prospect has been able to see Duke, Georgia Tech, Princeton and Columbia. He wants to check out Vanderbilt, Maryland and UVA this offseason, first and foremost.
“I definitely want to find a program where the coaches care about you and are involved with you,” Fitzpatrick said. “I also am looking at the campus and surrounding area and how comfortable I am there.”
Offensive system, however, is not a major factor for Fitzpatrick. Apparently his school runs the triple-option, so he’s used to blocking the majority of the time.
“It’s really tough to get passes around here (laughs). But I love the school and the coaches here. Actually, a lot of colleges haven’t specified where they’re going to put me yet, but I think I might wind up at defensive end,” said Fitzpatrick, who noted his initial Maryland look is for tight end. “We’ll see what happens with that.”
Fitzpatrick had seven catches for 100-plus yards and one touchdown last season.