Maryland has established a fertile pipeline to nearby DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.), and Feb. 4 the Terps hosted the next contingent of Stags’ rising stars. Three-star junior defensive end John Morgan, three-star corner Judson Tallandier, and four-star lineman Evan Gregory were all in attendance, in addition to a few other 2018 recruits and underclassmen.
Morgan, Tallandier and Gregory, all prime UMD targets, each offered up their share of praise, although Morgan’s was most effusive.
“I really could not tell you exactly what it was, but I felt like this was the place where it could fit me the best,” said Morgan, who has offers from UMD, PSU, Pitt, Rutgers, Va Tech, Syracuse, Temple and more. “I felt it as soon as I walked through the doors. It was one of those shocking, give-you-chills type of feelings where I could see myself coming through those doors everyday and grinding. It’s a feeling you don’t get visiting most schools.
“And to see it with my teammates, feeling that with all of them, made it even better. We could really see ourselves playing for the University of Maryland.”
Previously, Morgan had left the Terps off his initial leaderboard, instead favoring programs like Va Tech, Penn State, Syracuse and RU. But the Feb. 4 trip altered his thinking.
“Yes, this visit really moved Maryland up,” Morgan said. “One part was the coaches, but really it was the whole vibe with the stay-home movement. They had all these 2017 signees and early enrollees – guys there like Anthony McFarland, Deon Jones and other guys. They were saying this is the right fit. It’s right down your alley and it’s your home school. they were all so enthusiastic about Maryland. I’m looking at all my options, but Maryland is right there.”
Morgan mentioned his former teammate McFarland before commenting on each of the Stags currently showing out in College Park, Md. He said the chance to continue the DeMatha pipeline is particularly intriguing.
“Oh yeah definitely. How could you pass up the chance to play with guys like DJ Turner, LoLo Harrison, Anthony, Squeal (Terrance Davis), Marcus [Minor]?” Morgan said. “Just picturing a pipeline of guys from 2016, ’17 and ’18 all staying home, we could be real special for the next few years.”
In addition to connecting with the incoming signees, Morgan said he spoke to area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, defensive coordinator Andy Buh and headman DJ Durkin. He said Buh and Durkin gave him a detailed explanation of how he’d be used in UMD’s defense, while Abdul-Rahim continued to make personal inroads.
“Coach Rahim and I are real close and he’s close with my family too. He’s done a great job,” Morgan said. “And Coach Buh and Coach Durkin were breaking the D all down to me and explaining how I could make a big impact there on defense. They want me at the BUCK spot, and I believe that’s the perfect fit. I just picture myself being another Khalil Mack or Bruce Irvin playing that type of role.”
Besides the staffers on campus Feb. 4, Morgan is also excited about the Terps’ new D-line hire, Jimmy Brumbaugh, who came over from Kentucky. Morgan had a rapport with former UMD line coach Mike London, but is eager to meet Brumbaugh.
“I haven’t met him, but I’ve heard so many great things. Coach Buh was telling me about him, and with a guy as knowledgeable as Coach Buh, you have to trust what he’s saying,” Morgan said. “So I can’t wait to meet him and see what he does with Maryland’s D-line this year.”
Morgan went on to complement the coming facility upgrades, noting how New Cole will be one of the best indoor complexes around. The DeMatha edge rusher complemented the education too.
“The academic side really caught my eye,” Morgan said. “With them having my major, and it being one of the top majors players can pick from (communications), and the connections there, it’s another avenue to pursue my dreams.”
Next up, Morgan is attempting a return trip to Pitt. He has no other visits in mind after that, however.
The three-star had previously trekked through Rutgers, Penn State, Cuse and UMD and Pittsburgh.
Morgan mentioned that he’d like to take his time exploring his options. His intention is to commit around All-American Game season or next Signing Day.