Jake Kradel (Butler Area/Butler, Pa.) is a steadily-emerging offensive guard in the 2018 class, the 6-foot-4, 290 pounder adding a new offer seemingly every time he visits another campus. His most recent look came from Maryland, which he took the opportunity to see during his Presidents’ Day break Feb. 20.
“Maryland was a great offer. It’s a great Big Ten school, and the coaches there are on a mission,” said Kradel, who now claims verbals from UMD, Syracuse, BC, NC State, Minnesota, UConn, Iowa State, Rutgers, Wake, WVU, Toledo, Temple and more. “Maryland, with the staff they have, they’re going to turn things around from a team that’s around 6-6 to a winning program. That’s pretty clear from what I saw down there.”
Kradel drove down to College Park, Md., along with his parents, who were also impressed with head coach D.J. Durkin and his program. The Butler product said he spoke extensively to numerous Terps’ coaches, namely line coach Dave Borbely, offensive coordinator Walt Bell, Director of Operations Marcus Berry and Durkin himself.
“Getting to talk to the coaches was awesome. They’re all great guys,” Kradel said. “Coach Berry, he showed me around and did a really good job explaining things. Coach Bell was a very nice guy and I enjoyed talking to him and learning about his offense.
“And meeting Coach Borbs was great. We’ve been talking and he came to our school back in the winter. it was great talking to him, and his message was to find a school that fits you best. He said everything is great here, pretty much, and Maryland has a lot to offer me. I’m building a good relationship with him.”
Kradel saved his most ardent praise for the headman, however.
“Coach Durkin was telling me the expectations there, what he demands out of his players, and also what we wants for guys after football,” Kradel said. “He talked about all the internships there and how Maryland can set you up for the future. That really stood out to me, just his vision for the program and his players.”
The Keystone State lineman said one of the highlights of his initial visit, though, was touring the campus. He enjoyed seeing all the remodeling at UMD, and taking in the surrounding area.
“I mean, it was a great overall visit. I loved seeing the campus, the facilities and getting to know everything about the school. The $156 million indoor fields are going to be sick,” Kradel said. “And where Maryland is located near D.C. is great too. There are so many opportunities [in D.C.].”
Following the foray, Kradel said he’s “definitely” getting back to College Park, more than likely for a March spring practice.
Besides UMD, he has visited Syracuse, NC State, Northwestern, Pitt, Penn State, Rutgers, Temple and Toledo. He’ll return to Pitt Feb. 25 and PSU March 25, while also hitting Ohio State in March. Then, later in the offseason, Kradel plans to see NC State, Wake Forest, UNC and Vanderbilt, in addition to other suitors that may crop up.
Kradel said he is receiving interest from Pitt, Ohio State, UNC, Notre Dame, Vandy and Penn State.
“I grew up fans of Penn State and Pitt so those would be big offers,” Kradel said. “Then Notre Dame and Ohio State, I’ve always liked their programs and cultures too. Those four schools would be great offers to have.”