The Terps dipped into North Carolina for running back Javon Leake in the 2017 class, and now they’re after another runner/athlete type in the 2018 crop. Trent Pennix (Sanderson/Raleigh, N.C.) pulled his 10th verbal from Maryland Feb. 19 when area recruiter Pete Lembo anted up.
“Coach Lembo had been talking to me for awhile, and he actually came to visit my school and has been talking to my head coach too. We’re starting to build a relationship, and I think he’s a great guy,” said Pennix, who now holds offers from UMD, Minnesota, Boston College, ECU, Ohio, Georgia State and a few more. “Then [Feb. 19] he contacted me and said the coaches liked my tape and wanted to offer me. They’re recruiting me as an athlete, though, because they have a lot of running backs and aren’t sure if they want to bring me in for that position or for defense. Coach Lembo said I might be an outside linebacker or free safety there, but they still like me at running back too. Either way, I was real happy about the offer.”
Beyond his budding rapport with Lembo, though, Pennix is just getting to know the Terps. He does have cursory knowledge of the program, though.
“I’ve actually been watching Maryland since they played in the ACC, so I saw them some then,” said Pennix, who wasn’t aware of Leake’s signing with Maryland last year, despite being from the same hometown. “And now that they’re in the Big Ten, I’ve actually kept watching them because they play some great competition. It looks like they’re on the rise in that conference.”
Pennix said he wants to visit College Park, Md., sometime in March. He said Lembo gave him a list of spring practice dates, and the recruit and his parents are in the process of setting up a date when they can trek north.
Beyond UMD, Pennix mentioned Minnesota as another program that’s grabbed his attention. The Gophers want the Raleigh native purely as a running back.
“The Minnesota coaches love me and have really been pushing for me to visit,” Pennix said. “So I’m really tying to get up there. It’s like an 18 hour drive, but we’re seeing if we can maybe take a flight up. I’m excited to see them.”
Pennix went on to say of his current offers, it’s the Gophers and Terps he’s honing in on.
“I’d say those are my top two schools right now,” Pennix said. “Both Maryland and Minnesota are showing a lot of interest and both are great schools. I’m keying on those two.”
Pennix did allow he grew up an NC State fan and would “love” to have an offer from the Wolfpack. However, he hasn’t heard from the staff and doesn’t believe they’ll actively recruit him since State already has a junior running back pledge.
“I’d also like to get UNC and South Carolina,” Pennix said. “I haven’t heard from those coaches [from UNC and USC] either, but I like that they’re close to home and in the ACC and SEC. I could see myself in either one of those conferences.”
Thus far, Pennix has visited UNC, Duke, NC State, Wake Forest and ECU. He’ll be at ODU Feb. 25 and plans to see UMD and Minnesota in March. He has no other trips or intended trips on the docket.
“But we’ll see what [offers] all come in. Right now I haven’t heard much from other schools besides the ones that have offered me,” Pennix said. “But we’ll see what happens. I kind of want to take my time, go through my senior season, see what options I have, and then make a decision on where I want to go [to college].”
Pennix is coming off a season where he rushed for 1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns. He played three games at safety and had an interception.