It was only a matter of time before Paint Branch (Burtonsville, Md.) BUCK Durell Nchami landed at hometown Maryland. Ever since pulling an offer from Terps’ linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes Jan. 4, the 6-foot-2, 206 pounder has been all about UMD, dubbing it the leader from the jump.
So, after Nchami’s fourth visit to College Park, Md., this offseason March 11, it was no surprise when he opted to commit, becoming Maryland’s first 2018 pledge March 13.
“I called Coach [Chris] Beatty up and told him I was ready, and he was all excited and put me on the phone wth Coach [D.J.] Durkin, who was really excited too... I just felt Maryland's where I wanted to be all along, and I wanted to apart of what they’re doing there,” said Nchami, who also held offers from Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, Wake Forest, ODU and Army. “I love the coaches at Maryland, I love what they’re about and I think it’s just a great fit. I could really see myself doing well there and it’s a great opportunity for the local guys to stay home and do something big at the hometown school. I've made my mark here in Maryland, so why wouldn't I want to continue that and keep making my mark at [the University of] Maryland?
“The coaches had been telling me to get the ball rolling [in the 2018 class], so I decided that’s what I wanted to do. It meant a lot for me to be first; it's a privilege. Now, I'm going to do my best to recruit more guys to College Park."
Nchami hinted at a commitment after his latest foray through UMD. After watching the Terps practice and interacting with Barnes, head coach D.J. Durkin and D-line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, the local edge rusher laughed and said, “you’ll see soon enough.”
Turns out soon enough was two days later.
“I could really see how much the coaches and players were into it. Watching the team practice was really good and really impressed me,” Nchami said. “They were full speed on their very first day, going 100 percent. I really enjoyed watching the players and the coaches. Everyone was all into it.”
Nchami has readily connected with Barnes during the last couple months, and he’s had meetings with Durkin and Brumbaugh as well. Each of their respective messages resonated with the Paint Branch BUCK. Meanwhile, Nchami thoroughly enjoyed watching Barnes and Brumbaugh in action during the practice.
“Coach Durkin really, really wanted me to be part of the program. He really preaches the stay-home movement, and I really like what he’s doing there. He’s a great guy to talk to, he’s really energetic and he’s easy to like. He’s really doing something special. [Durkin also] thought I’d be a great fit and I could really contribute there,” Nchami said. “That really excited me about Maryland. And Coach Barnes and I are just cool. We’re really comfortable with each other, and I like him as a person and as a coach. It’s like we’ve really connected.
“And Coach Brumbaugh, I just met him [March 11]. He’s a great guy and really intense. He’s very technical and demands a lot of his players, and he’s very energetic. I feel like I can learn a lot from him and Coach Barnes. “
Nchami went on to say his potential role at Maryland excited him. He’s currently a hybrid at Paint Branch, and loves how the Terps’ staff wants him at the versatile BUCK spot, which will allow Nchami do put his hand in the dirt and rush from an outside backer position.
“I really like the Maryland defense and how I’ll be used there,” Nchami said. “Coach Barnes was saying how he could see me doing a lot of things to really help them. If I keep gaining weight, I’ll be a BUCK, but if not I could move to a more traditional OLB spot. But they think with my athleticism I can help them all over. But I'll play wherever and give it 100 percent effort at all times."
The Burtonsville native praised the College Park campus, its location near Washington, D.C., the coming facility upgrades and the player dorms too. He said the dorms were “first class,” called New Cole and the coming indoor fields “awesome” and mentioned the various internship opportunities being close to D.C. represented.
“And I also really like their engineering program,” said Nchami, who has a 3.2 GPA. “That’s what I want to major in, and it’s a great program.”
Before this offseason, Nchami had attended two Maryland games and had toured around on his own. The school caught his eye well before the offer was presented.
“I really enjoyed the atmosphere each time I went up to Maryland. It was a fun environment,” Nchami said. “And I really liked Maryland, because I like being near my family and friends. And I see all the local recruits going there like Fofie [Bazzie], who I know, and guys like Kasim Hill. It’s really cool to join them there.”
Nchami did visit Virginia March 4, and he still intends to visit Pitt later in March. But he's a firm Maryland pledge and said he foresees himself as a Terp in February.
"Maryland is where I want to be," Nchami said. "I can't really think of anything that would change my mind. I'm ready to get up there, and Maryland fans are getting a hardworking player who is ready to show out."