Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.
Offensive Recruiting Notes
-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) running back Mychale Salahuddin is on his way to becoming one of the most sought-after runners on the East Coast. The offers just keep piling up, and this week he breeched the 20 threshold with Mizzou and North Carolina verbals. Salahuddin and his Woodson teammates should be embarking on a southern swing during the summer, so there’s a good chance they stop by, at the very least, Chapel Hill, N.C. The Heels may or may not rise up Salahuddin’s leaderboard, but for now the main contenders would seem to be Maryland; Arkansas; Nebraska; Oklahoma and Wisconsin. He has deep ties to both the Terps and Sooners.
-- Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) receiver Armani Chatman saw his recruitment reach a new level Feb. 26 when he pulled an Auburn offer after a campus visit. It was the 6-foot-1, 180 pounder’s first SEC look, and it won’t be the last. Georgia (visited in February), Alabama (visited in February), Ole Miss, Florida and others are intrigued by Chatman, and the interest seems reciprocal. Currently, the Terps remain in the game with area recruiter Chris Beatty on the three-star. Chatman has a close rapport with Beatty and should be in College Park, Md., at some point. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, is another prime player with Chatman having trekked through Blacksburg, Va., several times. But, as Chatman’s offer list expands, he may begin to focus on those SEC schools.
-- Curtis (Staten Island, N.Y.) receiver Amad Anderson saw nearby Rutgers recently, and the trek through resonated. Anderson praised the Scarlet Knights’ staff, enjoyed seeing the campus/facilities and liked how RU isn’t far from his home. It’s too early to call RU any sort of leader, though. Anderson is taking his time with the process and will visit several programs coming up. One of those is Maryland, which is a school Anderson said he “definitely” wants to see again this March. The New York native, who previously took in a game in College Park, has a bond with assistant Pete Lembo, mentioning UMD’s area recruiter is in touch “all the time.” We get the sense Anderson has the Terps and Scarlet Knights trending, but he’ll also be looking at Syracuse; Boston College; NC State (no offers yet); UNC (no offer yet); and other suitors that may come in.
-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) receiver Ed Hendrix picked up two more offers from Missouri and Louisville, giving him 22. Hendrix said his latest looks were “big,” pointing to UL’s receiver reputation and Mizzou’s SEC affiliation. Beyond that, not much has changed in Hendrix’s recruitment. Maryland, Kentucky, Pitt, MSU, Arkansas, Va Tech, WVU, Wisconsin, Syracuse and UNC (again, watch out for the Heels) are all in play. The Terps, which Hendrix said would “definitely” be on his top-five favorites list, are on the brain after his latest trek through campus Feb. 4, and Hendrix has an outstanding bond with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. But there’s a long way to go before the wideout makes any kind of decision. He wants to follow through with the entire official visit process before selecting a college next winter. You can read more about Hendrix HERE.
-- Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) receiver Dontay Demus is slowly but surely gaining steam on the trail. After pulling two initial offers from Maryland and Boston College, Demus landed Rutgers, Navy and ODU last week. Additionally, coaches from Virginia Tech, Pitt, Temple and a couple others are intrigued. The Terps, which represented Demus’ first verbal, would seem to have the inside track should the staff push for a pop. But we’ll have to see where Maryland (multiple receivers on its board), along with Demus, stand down the road before projecting the FCA product to College Park. Personally, Demus is content to wait and vet all of his options.
-- Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) receiver Brian Cobbs doesn’t have a Maryland offer yet, but he’s reportedly close to pulling one, per his interview with Scout’s Mike Clark. Cobbs, who visited College Park once before, said he’s in regular contact with UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty. The 6-3, 200 pounder lauded Maryland’s assistant, in addition to the school’s academics; Big Ten affiliation; and Under Armour gear. His pro-Terps’ comments lead us to believe Cobbs would place Maryland among his foremost contenders should the offer materialize. For the time being, though, Cobbs has taken a liking to both NC State and UVA, two programs he’s visited and whose coaches have come through with verbals. Note: Scout’s Brian Dohn brought up another receiver who could land a UMD scholarship during a March 11 campus visit. Woodrow Wilson (Camden, N.J.) three-star Travon King, who many programs’ coaches are recruiting as a defensive end, has been hearing from Maryland’s staff and wants to check out College Park. At the moment, the 6-4, 200 pounder has offers from NC State, Purdue, Rutgers and Houston.
-- Mays (Atlanta, Ga.) tight end Maleak Bryant said in January he intended to visit Maryland this offseason with his teammate, UMD receiver offeree Amir Abdur-Rahman. Earlier this week, Bryant and Abdur-Rahman set that trip in stone. The two, who have been in touch with Terps’ offensive coordinator Walt Bell, will be in town April 14. “We both have Maryland offers and we’re both excited to see what Maryland is like,” Bryant said. Bryant and Abdur-Rahman also have Iowa State offers and want to check out the Cyclones during the summer. They’ve already been to Georgia State, which has a scholarship out to both, but have no other trips planned. We’ll see how ardently Bell and the Maryland staff pursue the Mays prospects, but, at the very least, the pair are interested enough to give College Park a look.
-- East Allegheny (North Versailles, Pa.) tight end T.J. Banks took his first offseason visit to hometown Pitt Feb. 25. Banks already had a Pitt offer prior to the trip, and now that he’s seen the school again, the Panthers are sitting pretty -- as expected. Last week, we surmised Pitt had the inside track for Banks, and now we’re even more sure of it. Unless the Pitt coaches back off, Banks is probably destined for his local university.
-- North Point (Waldorf, Md.) offensive tackle Rasheed Walker was supposed to see Maryland for a second time in a three-week span Feb. 25. He didn’t make it over, but we still caught up with him for an update. The four-star told us the Terps had his attention and would be under consideration. He detailed his relationship with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and noted the hometown movement. But we didn’t get the sense he was as enthused as some other DMV recruits about staying local. At least, not with national suitors and a select few others on the North Point product. From the interview, Walker sounded more taken with Penn State, VA Tech and North Carolina -- all of which he’s seen before and wants to return to -- as well as Ohio State, which he’s scheduling a trip to. Each of the latter programs could be considered possible landing spots ahead of UMD, although there’s time for Abdul-Rahim and Co. to turn this around. You can read more about Walker HERE.
-- Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) offensive tackle Aidan Rafferty saw Pitt for the first time Feb. 25. He returned with praise for the Panthers’ offensive line coach John Peterson, headman Pat Narduzzi, the surrounding area and the facilities. Rafferty said he and his family would attempt to return for a spring practice as well. After seeing Pittsburgh, the 6-6, 285-pound tackle has taken in almost all of his suitors: Maryland, UVA, Va Tech and Pitt. Rafferty has not forayed through Syracuse or NC State yet, but should at least be able to see the Orange sometime soon. Of the D.C. prospect’s suitors, the Terps, Hokies and Panthers seem to have his attention, with the former two presumably holding an edge. Expect Rafferty, who has no other trips scheduled, to be back in College Park and Blacksburg this spring.
-- Butler Area (Butler, Pa.) offensive guard Jake Kradel pulled a hometown Pitt offer after visiting the Panthers Feb. 25. With the scholarship in tow, Pitt immediately becomes the favorite for Kradel’s services. That is, so long as Penn State and the other Big Ten bigwigs lay off. Kradel does have much affinity for UMD after visiting College Park and pulling the Terps’ offer, and he did say he wanted to return for a practice. He loved the Maryland coaching staff during his first stay and has a budding rapport with recruiter Anthony Tucker. But Kradel is the type of recruit we’ve seen UMD finish second or third for time and again. We get the feeling that may be the case once again now that Pitt is on the 6-4, 290 pounder.
-- American Heritage (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) center Zack Zambrano will be visiting Maryland March 4, a day after taking in Navy (the Academy is expected to offer). The Terps are the 6-3, 290-pounder’s lone FBS verbal, and he’s expressed high interest in the school. Area recruiter Chris Beatty has been in touch and has Zambrano’s ear, and new offensive line coach Tyler Bowen has begun to initiate contact too. It remains to be seen if the UMD coaches will actually push for Zambrano, but, at the moment, this looks like a potential fit. Zambrano could jump on board sometime later during the offseason, provided his offer list doesn’t expand to include SEC/ACC mainstays.
Defensive Recruiting Notes
-- Dominion (Sterling, Va.) defensive tackle Jayde Pierre caught up with Scout’s Mike Clark last week and continued to offer positive comments for the Terps. Pierre, who also has Purdue and UVA offers, lauded his first visit to College Park and said he’d be back for a practice this spring. “[The Terps] have a family atmosphere and they are interested in what's best for you,” Pierre told Clark. “The coaches I've talked to the most are [offensive coordinator Walt] Bell and [defensive coordinator Andy] Buh. I like how they want to get to know me as a player, student and person." So, we’re encouraged by Maryland’s position, but there’s a ways to go here. Pierre is receiving interest from Wake, Duke, BC, Vandy, NC State and Rutgers and should eventually secure offers from most of them. He’ll be visiting the Deacons, Blue Devils and Wolfpack this spring, along with Va Tech (coveted offer). We have Pierre listed “warm” on the hot board for now.
-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) defensive tackle/offensive guard Evan Gregory could be returning to College Park for another visit March 4. Gregory isn’t sure he’ll definitely be able to make it up or not, but it’s a positive development he wants to head back with his family. We have Gregory sitting “hot” on the hot board for a reason.
-- St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) defensive end Eyabi Anoma added two more SEC verbals this week, pulling Georgia and Ole Miss offers. That’s fine, but Alabama, which has assistant Mike Locksley on Anoma, already had an offer out to the four-star. We’re told the Tide are going to be prime players here and the staff will push for the St. Frances star. So will the coaches from Clemson (Anoma is trying to visit March 3), Ohio State and Michigan. The Terps figure be in the game throughout, and they have plenty working in their favor (i.e. Anoma’s former teammate is in College Park, the hometown movement, relationship with the staff, etc.), but the coaches are going to have to beat the big boys to secure Anoma’s services.
-- Hapeville (Atlanta, Ga.) defensive end Kingsley Enagbare pulled a North Carolina offer last week, and it sounds like the Heels have the Georgian’s firm attention. UNC and South Carolina both have verbals out and are schools Enagbare is seeking to see in short order. ECU’s staff also offered Enagbare during a campus visit, which left the edge rusher impressed. Maryland, NC State and Wake Forest are in mind for visits too, although none have been scheduled yet. We’ll see if Enagbare makes it to College Park with all these southern suitors coming in.
-- Paint Branch (Burtonsville, Md.) BUCK Durell Nchami visited Maryland again Feb. 24 in order to see the school more in-depth, and he came close to committing. He held off so he could at least see a couple more locales like UVA (March 4), Pitt and Wake, but he all but admitted he’d be popping to UMD by the summer. “If I had to choose a school right now it would be Maryland,” he said. “I really love it there. I really like what the school is about and everything Coach [D.J.] Durkin is doing there.” Look for Nchami to return to College Park for a spring practice. You can read more about Nchami HERE.
-- Zebulon B. Vance (Charlotte, N.C.) BUCK Damir Faison has visits set up. The Appalachian State commit will be at ECU April 1, Maryland April 8 and Rutgers April 10. All three programs have offered the 6-3, 240 pounder and are staying in contact. Faison said he’s staying loyal to App State, but more than likely he’ll decommit during the offseason. More and more FBS schools are showing interest, and Maryland is a prime contender. The UMD staff, with Walt Bell anchoring the recruitment, may or may not push in the end, but they’ve said enough to entice Faison. The Carolina native has family in Baltimore and wants to see what it’s like at the nearby university while in town to visit his folks. For now, we’re listing him “cool” on the hot board, but keeping an eye out for any movement here.
-- Tottenville (Staten Island, N.Y.) BUCK Zihir Lacewell was at Rutgers recently and talked up the Scarlet Knights. He bonded with the coaches, liked watching the team practice and said he believes in the direction headman Chris Ash is taking the program. Lacewell doesn’t have anymore trips on tap, but said he’s trying to get to Maryland. The Jersey edge rusher is in communication with UMD area recruiter Pete Lembo, who is trying to coax Lacewell down for a looksee.
-- South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) linebacker Eli Adams is eager to check out Maryland. He said he’s in regular contact with UMD area recruiter Walt Bell, likes what he’s heard about the program and school, and enjoyed his last trek though the D.C. area. Expect him on campus sometime in March or April. So far, Adams has only visited hometown South Carolina, and it’s clear the Gamecocks are on the brain. USC, which has had an offer out to Adams since May 2016, has hit home due to the coaches’ pursuit; the vibe on campus; and his connection with the players. If the South Carolina staff presses, Adams will probably wind up there. He is, however, exploring his options and gauging what offers materialize this spring (Va Tech, UGA, Duke, NC State, Ga Tech, Wake, NC State and others are interested). You can read more about Adams HERE.
-- Christchurch (Church View, Va.) inside linebacker Jamar Darboe didn’t make his first scheduled trip to College Park, but he’s aiming for a March 11 makeup date. “That’s the first spring practice, and I can’t wait to get up there. It should be fun,” Darboe said. The 6-1, 230 pounder has just one other FBS verbal from ECU, but a few more regional programs are showing interest. Regardless of which schools’ coaches opt to ante up, the Terps are positioned well for the Virginia backer. That is, if UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and headman D.J. Durkin press for a pop. Maryland has several offers out to inside linebackers and it’s not entirely clear how the board stacks up, although we suspect Durkin would accept Darboe should he want in.
-- Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.) outside linebacker Chance Campbell embarked on his second offseason visit to Pitt, which has an offer out, Feb. 25. Afterwards, Campbell raved about the trip, extolling head coach Pat Narduzzi; the linebackers’ coaches; and the area. He said his father enjoyed the experience too. Furthermore, Campbell landed another offer from UVA, and he’ll likely give the ‘Hoos a look since Charlottesville, Va., is relatively close and has a renowned academic reputation (education is paramount for Campbell). We still like Maryland’s spot, however, and believe the Terps’ staff, with assistant Matt Barnes running point, should be able to cement its position when Campbell returns to College Park sometime in March or April.
-- Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) safety Ray Boone was back at Maryland for the second time in three weeks Feb. 25. His latest foray only solidified his standing with the Terps. “I went to the basketball game, actually, and even thought Maryland lost it was lit. I love the atmosphere up there,” Boone said. The Terps’ fans are hardly the reasons Boone has UMD leading for his services, though. Boone has a deep connection with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and loves what the staff as a whole is about. He’s keen on the DMV movement, joining ex-Roosevelt star Lawtez Rogers in College Park and playing near his family. Boone likes the direction Maryland is headed as well. He still wants to see offerees like Pitt, Va Tech and Syracuse, but Boone is sitting “hot” on the hot board for a reason.
-- Vineland (N.J.) safety/running back Isaih Pacheo, who the Terps’ staff wants for defense, visited Pitt last week, and before that saw Rutgers. Both the Scarlet Knights’ and Panthers’ coaches have extended offers, and each has his eye. Pacheo spoke highly of the staffs and atmospheres in Piscataway, N.J., and Pittsburgh, although the sense is the hometown school has the upper-hand. Pacheo mentioned he wanted to see three of his other suitors next: Syracuse, Maryland and BC. The Vineland prospect said the Terps’ coaches are starting to contact him regularly, so Pacheo is interested in heading down to College Park.
-- Naples (Fla.) safety Sammy Faustin secured his most significant offer yet Feb. 23 when Michigan came through. Following the look, Faustin all but admitted he had the Wolverines trending, despite saying he had no leaders. Faustin should be in Ann Arbor, Mich., in April, and we wouldn’t be shocked if he popped on campus. Faustin is keeping Arizona, Maryland, Kentucky, Iowa State, Purdue, UVA, USF and UCF in mind too, but we could see him growing starry-eyed quite quickly.
-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) corner Noah Boykin snagged major offers from Louisville, Mizzou and Tennessee earlier this week. Boykin had SEC offers prior to the UT and Missouri verbals, but the Vols’ look was significant because the three-star loved his previous stay at Rocky Top. Tennessee, which Boykin will be returning to, now becomes an instant contender. Likewise, the Cardinals are on Boykin’s mind, and he could possibly visit around the same time he checks out Tennessee. As we’ve written in past Shells, the other players are Maryland, North Carolina (watch out for the Heels), Michigan State, Va Tech, Kentucky and WVU. More schools are bound to enter the fray as well. The Terps are in an encouraging position what with defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on Boykin and his teammates, but the three-star is not going to be an easy pull.
-- Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) corner A.J. Lytton took in Florida State Feb. 25, and he returned hyping the Seminoles. As most anticipated, Lytton declared the ‘Noles his clear frontrunner, intimating it was only a matter of time before he popped. Lytton does want to check out the likes of Alabama, Penn State and maybe one or two others like Georgia and Clemson, but he’s going to FSU unless the staff backs off. Lytton is publically keeping UMD under prime consideration, and he has a terrific relationship with assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, but the Upper Marlboro native has been starry-eyed since the jump. If Florida State falls by the wayside, another national program like PSU or Bama could quickly swoop in. Oklahoma also just offered Lytton Feb. 29.
-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) corner Judson Tallandier picked up offers from Boston College and NC State. He added those two to Kentucky, Maryland, Pitt, Syracuse and Temple. The Terps have Tallandier’s attention after his multiple treks to College Park and the pipeline UMD has to DeMatha, but the local corner will explore his growing list of offerees. He’s in no rush to commit.
New Offers Out
Richard Gouraige, OT, Cambridge Christian (Tampa, Fla.): The four-star Gouraige had more than 30 offers before the Terps came in Feb. 29. The 6-5, 270 pounder already named an initial group of standouts too, meaning there’s probably a slim chance for UMD to work its way into the picture.
At this juncture, Gouraige said his looks from Clemson, Florida, Auburn and UNC had his eye, with CU likely in the pole position. Others such as Alabama, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Miami and pretty much every national elite are on Gouraige as well.
Jamarcus Chatman, DE, Rome (Ga.): Chatman is a rising recruit who initially started with offers from schools like Appalachian State, Colorado State, Georgia Southern and the like. But, of late, his recruiting has risen exponentially. After Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Iowa State, Miami, Minnesota, Purdue, Oregon, Rutgers and more came in, Chatman pulled a game-changing offer from Florida State Feb. 24.
A day later, while Chatman was on a visit to Alabama (the Tide coaches are interested), Maryland defensive coordinator Andy Buh tossed the Terps into the mix. But we’ll see how much traction Buh can gain. It’ll be difficult to pry Chatman away from SEC/ACC country now that those schools are starting to get involved.
Juan Wallace, ILB, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): We weren’t quite sure why the Maryland staff chose to offer four of Wallace’s teammates in succession, but waited a month or so to offer the inside backer. Either way, Wallace now has the Terps in tow and hardly holds any ill will for the delay.
“I’m very, vey excited about it,” said Wallace, who has offers from UMD, Duke, Iowa State, Syracuse and Wisconsin. “It’s a great school. I’m crying right now. I think the hometown school is the most important school to get, so it’s an honor to get the offer from Maryland. It means a lot to me.”
Wallace went on to detail his strong bond with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who has known the recruit for years, as well as his budding rapport with linebackers coach Matt Barnes. The Woodson backer also talked up the stay-home movement head coach D.J. Durkin has been preaching, in addition to the Terps’ defense and some of the school’s aesthetic qualities. Wallace even noted how his parents readily took to UMD and the staff.
Given the above, we’re inclined to give the Terps an early edge for Wallace’s services. He’ll be back on campus multiple times, including a spring practice this month.
That said, Wallace was equally complimentary of Duke after his visit to Durham, N.C., and is eager to see Pitt, Syracuse and Rutgers. Plus, Wallace admitted he’d love to have offers from Tennessee and Va Tech.
We’ll have to see how much his profile expands, and what he’s thinking after taking more visits, before forecasting Wallace to College Park.
You can read more about Wallace HERE.
Caleb Johnson, OLB, Northside (Columbus, Ga.): Maryland defensive coordinator Andy Buh gave Johnson his first Big Ten offer Feb. 24. The Georgia outside linebacker was appreciative of the look and said he was excited to break into the Big Ten. But Johnson didn’t know a ton about the program and was hesitant on whether or not he’d be visiting.
Truth be told, Johnson will more than likely end up in the SEC. Florida, Ole Miss, Mizzou and South Carolina all have offers out, and others of that ilk are showing interest. He’s visited several southern schools and could be checking out more in the coming weeks.
Off The Board
George Takacs, TE, Gulf Coast (Naples, Fla.): So evidently Takacs didn’t transfer to Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) after all. He’s staying in Florida and continues to have the Sunshine State schools, SEC programs and Oregon on the mind. Takacs did take in College Park back in early February, but the Terps are not thought to be a true contender.
Sevyn Banks, CB, Jones (Orlando, Fla.): Banks’ recruitment has risen to the point where he’s probably out of the Maryland staff’s grasp. The Florida corner just landed a Florida State offer after a campus visit, and the ‘Noles could be leading for Banks, alongside Florida. If he leaves the Sunshine State, it’s because another SEC program swooped in.
Jonathan Gipson, CB, Mill Creek (Hoschton, Ga.): Gipson attended South Carolina’s junior day Feb. 25, and it sounds like the Gamecocks lead for his services. Auburn is in play too, and if more SEC suitors come through they’ll undoubtedly enter the mix. We don’t get the sense Maryland is going to be a player here unless some other contenders drop off.