Judson Tallandier

TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to the next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.

Welcome to the next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.

Offensive Recruiting Notes

-- St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio) quarterback Chase Wolf visited Pitt March 18, and he returned home talking up the Panthers. He said Pitt’s staff “definitely” impressed him, with Wolf now inclined to give Pitt a closer look. Next up, he’ll be at Boston College March 25, Wisconsin in April, and UNC (no offer yet), South Carolina (no offer) and NC State (no offer) sometime in April/May. Wolf has yet to set a College Park, Md., trip, but may do so at some point. The quarterback is in touch with UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell and counts the Terps among his foremost contenders. But Wolf has his eye on Wisconsin and is seeking offers from those three Carolina-area programs. Meanwhile, the Panthers may have helped themselves after Wolf’s first trek through Pittsburgh. As we’ve written previously, Wolf and Maryland may only find mutual interest if some options fall through on both sides of the equation.

-- Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.) quarterback Tyler DeSue caught up with Scout’s Mike Clark this week, the 6-foot-1, 192-pounder saying coaches from UMD; UCF; and NC State were recruiting him the hardest. DeSue is also looking at Miami (coaches aren’t pushing), UVA, WVU and Indiana, but, aside from maybe the hometown Hoos, it’s obvious his personal top three are the Terps; Knights; and Wolfpack. DeSue took in NC State for the first time March 23, and he’ll be at UCF April 15. He was at Maryland back in February and could possibly return to College Park sometime during the spring. DeSue has maintained communication with UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell and believes he’d fit well into the Terps’ scheme. But, at this juncture, UCF seemingly has the inside track since his father lives in the Orlando, Fla., area and DeSue has been eager to check out the Knights for a couple months. NC State is a possible landing spot too after DeSue saw Raleigh, N.C., while in-state Virginia can’t be counted out since the quarterback has enjoyed his previous campus stays. Look for DeSue to choose his school sometime in May or June, per Clark. Note: Bell and Co. may turn up the heat on DeSue if they sense No. 1 target Devin Leary (Timber Creek/Sicklerville, N.J.), who is projected to Maryland, will fall by the wayside.

-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) running back Mychale Salahuddin visited North Carolina and Georgia on consecutive days March 18 and 19. The star D.C. back raved about both trips, although the Heels have an offer out and the Bulldogs don’t as of yet. Either way, expect UNC to be entrenched on Salahuddin’s leaderboard moving forward. Speaking of leaderboards, the three-star is set to release a top-15 favorites list soon, but, as always, there will be only a few programs worth monitoring on said list. For Salahuddin, he seems to be looking long and hard at hometown Maryland, Oklahoma (former teammate connection), Arkansas (great relationship with staff, running back tradition), Va Tech (standout visit, great rapport with staff) and now UNC.

-- Smyrna (Del.) running back Leddie Brown returned to the one school he’s had atop his favorites list for months: West Virginia. Brown’s latest foray through WVU only solidified his feelings, and it’s becoming increasingly clear he’ll be a Mountaineer. That is, unless the SEC swipes him away. Florida is in play since Brown has a close connection with one of the coaches, and Tennessee has the runner’s attention too. Brown be visiting both the Gators and Vols this summer. The four-star hasn’t been over to Maryland in quite some time, and he didn’t mention College Park as a destination he’d be returning to. We’ll keep Brown on the hot board in case UMD running backs coach Anthony Tucker can break through, but the Delaware native could be removed at any time.

-- Curtis (Staten Island, N.Y.) receiver Amad Anderson spoke to Scout’s Brian Dohn last week, and the New York athlete said coaches from Maryland, Temple and RU speak to him most often. Anderson hasn’t been able to take any offseason visits, but wants to check out each of the latter three locales this spring. In regards to UMD, specifically, Anderson has been on campus twice before and has since formed a bond with area recruiter Pete Lembo. The Curtis prospect believes he’d fit well into Maryland’s offense and have a chance to contribute early during his career. Anderson had positive comments for the Scarlet Knights and Owls too, but allowed he has to see more schools before making any kind of definitive judgment. The three-star is interested in checking out BC, UConn (no offer yet) and NC State (no offer yet), in addition to UMD, RU, Temple and other suitors that may emerge. We like Maryland’s position here, but it’s probably best to wait until after the spring evaluation period to forecast Anderson’s destination. It remains to be seen what offers he’ll procure, and exactly how UMD’s receiver situation will shake out (i.e. Will Anderson be a “take” if the Terps’ coaches land a couple other coveted targets?).

-- Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) tight end Kyle Pitts touched base with Scout’s Brian Dohn earlier this week. The 6-5, 230-pounder didn’t say much definitive, except to give a bit more insight into his top-eight leaderboard. Pitts is returning to Va Tech soon and seems to have the Hokies’ entrenched what with their offense and style. Georgia will be receiving a trip and is on the brain since former teammate Mark Webb just signed with the Bulldogs (questionable how hard the UGA staff will push). Miami, which the three-star is visiting this spring, is attractive due to its tight end tradition and Pitts’ affinity for the offense. UCLA, which Pitts is heading to this summer, is in play thanks to recruiter Tom Bradley’s overtures. Florida represents another attractive SEC destination Pitts wants to check out this spring. And Rutgers is a school that fields a former teammate and resonated with the Warminster product after an initial stay in Piscataway, N.J. As for Maryland, Pitts has been in College Park once before and said he’ll be returning to for a spring practice. He has been in contact with UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker and knows the Terps need tight ends, which is attractive to him. But we won’t have a true gauge of Pitts’ situation until he takes these next round of trips. There are too many variables at play, including which programs’ coaches will press in earnest; how Pitts compares the Florida/SEC vibe to that of colleges closer to home; any new offers that could shake up Pitts’ leaderboard; and more.

-- Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) tight end Thomas Booker didn’t grant a formal interview during TT’s trek through his school earlier this week, but from what we were able to glean the four-star is trending towards Stanford. Booker loved his Palo Alto, Calif., trip last summer and is eager to return again this offseason. Stanford’s elite academics, coupled with its football program, have Booker thinking long and hard about heading West for college. Michigan (second to Stanford), Ohio State and maybe Notre Dame are on the brain as well, but likely trailing the Cardinal at this time. Booker always speaks highly of hometown Maryland, and he has been in College Park a couple times this offseason, but the thought is UMD probably sits behind that first group of suitors.

-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) guard Evan Gregory, who the Maryland staff wants exclusively on offense after originally offering for defense, was back in College Park for the third time this offseason March 17. Gregory didn’t see much new during his latest trek, but the four-star did have a chance to meet new line coach Tyler Bowen. Now, in addition to UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and headman D.J. Durkin, Gregory has a developing bond with his potential position coach, which is always important. While the coaches are the main reason Gregory is high on the Terps, the DeMatha lineman is keen on the DMV movement and the school’s academics as well. The fact many of Gregory’s former teammates, namely fellow O-lineman Marcus Minor, are now in College Park only helps the UMD staff’s chances at landing the four-star. Gregory is also considering UVA and Rutgers, both of which he’d like to return to this offseason, but Maryland continues to ride the pole position.

-- Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) offensive tackle Justin Johnson will take his first visit to Maryland March 26. The 6-7, 345 pounder, who has been in regular contact with UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker, has been eager to see the campus for a couple months now. Johnson wants to meet line coach Tyler Bowen and the rest of the staff, and learn more about the program and the school’s academics. The Terps are currently entrenched on Johnson’s leaderboard, and will likely move up the list after his College Park foray.  The other contenders for Johnson are Pitt, Vandy, Wisconsin, Michigan State, UVA and Temple, with the in-state programs and the Hoos holding appeal after treks through each. Johnson wants to select a destination later this spring or, at the latest, the summer, so it’s conceivable he’ll pick between one of the aforementioned institutions shortly. Maryland has a real chance here -- provided the staffs from MSU and Wisconsin elect not to push (they probably won’t).

-- Butler Area (Pa.) offensive guard Jake Kradel visited West Virginia March 18, and he now has the Mountaineers among his top two or three contenders. Hometown Pitt is holding steady in the No. 1 position, but WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen and the Morgantown, W.Va., atmosphere left Kradel impressed. Kradel is still hoping for looks from in-state Penn State and Big Ten bigwig Ohio State (visiting March 24), but if those two don’t materialize, it sounds like the 6-4, 290-pounder is leaning towards the Panthers or Mountaineers. Kradel did visit College Park back in February and extoled his trek through UMD. He spoke highly of the coaches and the direction they’re taking the program. Kradel also mentioned he could return to Maryland at some point, but we’ll see if he does so. We get the sense Kradel will be focusing in on other locales, even if PSU and OSU don’t comply with his wishes.

-- Belle Vernon (Pa.) offensive tackle Blake Zubovic was at West Virginia with Jake Kradel (discussed above), and had equally positive compliments for the Mountaineers. Like Kradel, Zubovic seems to have WVU firmly in the mix, although probably not above some of his other prime suitors. Hometown Pitt continues to resonate, and Zubovic is pining for a Penn State look. The 6-6, 295-pounder will be in State College, Pa., March 24, and if the verbal comes to fruition, the Nittany Lions could supplant the Panthers atop the totem pole. Zubovic took in College Park March 4, with the Belle Vernon product taking up head coach D.J. Durkin, offensive coordinator Walt Bell and line coach Tyler Bowen. The UMD staff did such a good job with Zubovic and his parents, the recruit said he’d be back in College Park later during the offseason. Let’s see if Zubovic makes good on his word, though. If the coveted bigwigs come through, the Keystone State lineman might just pop to one of them before he has a chance to explore further.

Defensive Recruiting Notes

-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) defensive tackle Austin Fontaine hasn’t been able to venture out much due to his track schedule. But he was back in College Park March 17, and had time to see North Carolina recently as well. Fontaine reportedly enjoyed his Chapel Hill, N.C., foray, although the Heels aren’t thought to be a main contender here. But Maryland is, and will continue to be, a prime suitor. Fontaine enjoys being around the coaches each time he’s on campus, the mammoth plugger forming a rapport with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim; head coach D.J. Durkin; and now line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh. Fontaine also likes the idea of playing near home and joining his ex-teammates in College Park. Expect Fontaine to be back at Maryland for a practice in April too. But next Fontaine wants to take another look at Ohio State and see Penn State. Both Big Ten mainstays are at the forefront of Fontaine’s mind and will be the main competition to UMD for the four-star’s services. Fontaine was smitten with each during previous stays in Happy Valley and Columbus, Ohio, and it’s possible the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions could separate themselves from the pack following the upcoming return visits.

-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) BUCK John Morgan visited Maryland March 17, and then trekked though Pitt March 21, Temple March 22 and Rutgers March 23.  Afterwards, the three-star lauded each university, letting on he was comfortable in College Park, Pittsburgh, Piscataway and Philadelphia, Pa. Of those, hometown UMD and Pitt have his attention first and foremost, with RU somewhat in play as well. The other programs mentioned prominently in conjunction with Morgan are Va Tech and Penn State, both of which he’s seen before. The Nittany Lions would be considered the favorites, but we’re not so sure the PSU staff is going to push in earnest. If headman James Franklin opts to go hard after Morgan, however, the DeMatha prospect might just jump on board. Regardless, the Hokies’ coaches are willing to “take” Morgan now. And Tech is on the three-star’s brain thanks to defensive coordinator Bud Foster and his defensive reputation. Pitt, meanwhile, hit home with Morgan after an eye-opening visit, the recruit praising the environment and the staff. And with Maryland, Morgan has been on campus three or four times this offseason and around 10 times in total. He has a tight-knit bond with several staff members, including head coach D.J. Durkin and area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Morgan is getting to know defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh quite well too. Furthermore, Morgan is coming around to the idea of staying home for college and continuing the DeMatha-to-UMD pipeline. But unlike a couple of his current teammates, Evan Gregory and Judson Tallandier, Morgan has no intention of committing this offseason. He’s going to wad through the process and thoroughly vet all his options. So while Maryland’s spot is encouraging, we’re not shifting Morgan to “hot” until his recruitment goes through an inevitable wave of ebbs and flows.

-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) inside linebacker Juan Wallace spoke to Scout's Brian Dohn this week, and apparently the three-star backer was back at UMD March 15. Wallace said he's building a connection with linebackers' coach Matt Barnes and headman D.J. Durkin and feels he could fit in well in Maryland's defense. Wallace, who already had a close relationship with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, also talked up the academics (he wants to major in engineering), the player dorms and the campus. But Wallace didn’t just check out the Terps. He was at Duke recently as well and loved his stay in Durham, N.C., the jaunt likely vaulting the Blue Devils near the forefront of his leaderboard. Then, the backer and teammate/UMD target Noah Boykin headed to WVU (the Mountaineers’ staff offered beforehand), and Wallace loved his stay in Morgantown, intimating West Virginia is now a real contender. Next, Wallace will hit Syracuse and Rutgers before setting the rest of his schedule. Maryland is heavily involved here and likely one of Wallace's top two or three suitors. But we won't truly know where he stands until later in the offseason, after he takes all intended visits and his offer list is fully realized.

-- Pope John XXII (Sparta, N.J.) inside linebacker Nick DeNucci still hasn’t made it down to Maryland, but he plans to sometime in April. It’s one of the last of DeNucci’s current contenders he would like to visit. The Jersey backer is in communication with Maryland linebackers’ coach Matt Barnes, and the three-star told Scout’s Brian Dohn his Pope John position coach, former UMD backer Cole Farrand, has hyped the Terps some too. But we’ll see if that prospective College Park foray can propel Maryland up DeNucci’s favorites list, because, at the moment, hometown Rutgers may be standing out. The Sparta native said he’s open in his recruitment, but it’s clear he has a solid bond with the RU staff and is particularly comfortable in Piscataway. Additionally, two other locales DeNucci has visited, Boston College (academics) and Syracuse (relationship with coaching staff), are also on the brain. If that weren’t enough, DeNucci landed a potentially game-changing offer from Louisville March 22; the Pope John backer is bound to give the Cardinals a look.

-- Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.) corner Jermaine Waller returned to College Park for the first time since receiving an offer March 14. The 6-2, 170-pound local had a chance to hang out with the Maryland staffers like Marcus Berry, defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and area recruiter Chris Beatty. Waller lauded Abdul-Rahim’s coaching methods, Beatty’s recruiting tactics and head coach D.J. Durkin’s enthusiasm and energy. Moreover, Waller liked seeing the player dorms and learning more about the program and the school’s academics. Next up, Waller will head back to Temple, and then take trips to Syracuse (no offer yet) and ODU.  The Terps are probably in the lead position for Waller, but we’ll have to see how ardently Abdul-Rahim and Co. press for his services. The vibe is the UMD staff may not want Waller to commit too soon with many other options on their board.

-- Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) corner A.J. Lytton's coach, DaLawn Parrish, who we know well here at TT, caught up with Scout's Brian Dohn last week. Predictably, Parrish didn't say much of substance. Basically, Lytton’s recruiting situation remains status quo. Lytton is all about Florida State, has Maryland in play (he visited earlier in March), and is looking to see Alabama; Georgia; Penn State; and Oklahoma. The only reason Lytton hasn't committed to FSU yet is because SEC schools are hitting him up. It's possible a program like Alabama (think Mike Locksley connection) could lure him in, but FSU remains the favorite. We don't envision Lytton, who has a tight bond with Terps' area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, winding up at UMD unless other suitors back off.

Note: Lytton’s teammate, 2019 receiver Isaiah Hazel, does have legitimate interest in Maryland and could very well end up in College Park. He once again praised the Terps in an interview with Scout’s Brian Dohn. “The [UMD] coaching staff was treating me like I was already at home," Hazel said of a recent College Park trek. "Everything was going well and everything felt right…. Everything you want in a D-1 school is right there. So why not play for your home team and represent?" Va Tech is a contender too, and Hazel is receiving interest from power programs like Clemson, Michigan and Florida. Thus, it’s no slam dunk he chooses the Terps, but Maryland is positioned well early.

-- DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) corner Judson Tallandier has visited Syracuse, WVU, Pitt, Rutgers, Temple (twice) and Maryland (twice) this offseason. The DMV corner offered up compliments for each of the schools he’s forayed through, although the vibe is UMD; Pitt; and Cuse have his eye. The Panthers’ coaches have been in regular communication, and Tallandier, who was at Pitt once before last fall, seems to have significant interest. In fact, one could surmise the Panthers are running second in the pecking order for Tallandier’s services. Syracuse is a player too since the Orange represented the three-star’s first offer and the coaches have been pushing longer and harder than other staffs. Tallandier has also been to Temple twice, but we’re not sure the Owls will be able to stay in the running for the long haul. Of course, the Terps are likely the team to beat here. Tallandier has journeyed through UMD multiple times and thoroughly enjoys himself on each occasion. He has a terrific relationship with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, likes the idea of the stay-home movement, and is keen on joining his former Stags’ teammates in College Park. Tallandier was back in College Park yet again March 17, this time with current teammates/Terps’ targets Evan Gregory, John Morgan and Austin Fontaine. “We were all just up there [March 17], just chilling – me, Evan, John and Austin,” Tallandier said. “It’s always cool just to go up there and talk to the coaches. It’s a great atmosphere up there and it’s just chill… And with the DeMatha guys there [at Maryland] now, and the [local] guys they’re bringing in, that’s definitely a factor for us. It’s easy to talk to some of the [former DeMatha] guys there now like Tino [Ellis], D.J. [Turner], Lo [Harrison] – I can talk to those guys about anything and they tell me how it is. That’s definitely a plus.” It’s possible Tallandier’s recruitment will ebb and flow if more offers pile in during the evaluation period, but for now we have UMD trending. He’s been shifted to “hot” on the hot board. You can read more about Tallandier HERE.

New Offers Out

Chigoziem Okonkwo, WR, Hillgrove (Powder Springs, Ga.): The Terps became the second power-five and first Big Ten offer for the 6-3, 220-pound Okonkwo March 21. Terps’ area recruiter Walt Bell, who has known Okonkwo since the recruit’s sophomore year, did the honors. Personally, Okonkwo didn’t know much about UMD, but he did have plenty of positive comments for Bell.

“When [Bell] came to our school, he really paid attention to the guys and really made sure he stayed around and watched. He wasn’t really allowed to talk to [the recruits], but some coaches will just stop by and leave, and Coach Bell really watched and took interest,” said Okonkwo, who also has a Georgia Tech offer. “And just from talking to him, I can tell he’s a caring coach and a good guy. I look forward to getting to know him more in the future.”

The Hillgrove prospect would like to see College Park at some point, but is unsure when that might occur. In the meantime, he’ll be looking at nearby SEC programs such as Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Georgia, all of which have coaches who are in contact with Okonkwo. (Okonkwo had previously been through a host of southern schools, including UGA, Ga Tech, UNC, Tennessee, Duke, Florida, Auburn and more).

The wideout doesn’t have a dream offer per se, but acknowledged hometown Georgia Tech offer is the early leader for his services. Okonkwo has been in Atlanta, Ga., numerous times, has a sister who attends Tech, and is in close contact with the Jackets’ coaches. 

Given that, we’re inclined to forecast Okonkwo to Georgia Tech, although some SEC program could trump the Jackets down the line. Either way, we’re not so sure the big receiver makes it to College Park unless Bell’s word carries.

You can read more about Okonkwo HERE.

Will Lawrence, OT, Harding Academy (Memphis, Tenn.): Terps’ Tennessee-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim tossed an offer Lawrence’s way March 17, making UMD the 33rd school to present a scholarship.

But Lawrence has already named a leaderboard of LSU, Arizona State, Michigan, UNC and Ohio State. It’s possible other such as Clemson could work into the mix, but more than likely Lawrence’s is heading to one of the aforementioned programs.

Anthony McKinney, OT, Iowa Western C.C. (Council Bluffs, Ia.): The Terps’ coaches are scanning the junior college ranks for linemen, and March 18 UMD assistant Walt Bell offered McKinney. The Illinois native, who was a sought-after prospect in high school but failed to qualify academically, is beginning to regenerate interest in his second year at Iowa Western. The 6-8, 330-pound left tackle now has offers from programs like Georgia, Oregon, Oklahoma, Iowa State, TCU, Memphis and Maryland. He’s already let on he likes the idea of playing at a “name” program, with the UGA, Oregon and OU verbals catching his eye. More SEC-type looks are bound to come in eventually too.

Let’s see if Bell can coax McKinney out or a visit before placing him on the hot board.

Doug Nester, OT, Spring Valley (Huntington, W.Va.) (2019): Nester is one of the elite 2019 tackle recruits on the East Coast, already boasting offers from programs throughout the ACC, SEC, Big Ten and Big 12. The Terps, with offensive line coach Tyler Bowen running point, gave the 6-6, 295-pounder a scholarship March 20.

Nester, however, has Ohio State trending after a March Buckeyes’ verbal, while in-state WVU is in the thick of things as well. Others in play include Tennessee, Florida, Va Tech, Penn State and more.

Verdis Brown, OG, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.): Maryland assistant Chris Beatty offered Brown March 17, but the four-star has offers galore. The Chicago native is high on the Midwest programs near his home, namely Ohio State. Michigan is also involved, as is Tennessee (visited), FSU (visited) and a few others.

Brown isn't going on the hot board unless he visits College Park.

Jonathan Lolohea, DT, Copiah-Lincoln Community College (Wesson, Miss.): The junior-college plugger Lolohea is a Hawaii transport who chose to attend a two-year school in Mississippi after spending his first JUCO season at Los Angeles Valley. The 6-3, 315-pounder has since grabbed the attention of major four-year programs, with Maryland entering the picture March 17. UMD defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh offered, and Lolohea seemed particularly intrigued.

“The Maryland offer actually meant a lot to me,” said Lolohea, who only began playing football during his senior year at Maui and wasn’t able to qualify academically coming out of high school. “I feel like it would be a good spot for me, because the two main things I care about are developing as a D-lineman and strength-and-conditioning. Maryland is strong in those two areas. So for me, personally, I’d say Maryland is in my top three right now.”

The Copiah-Lincoln product, who has three years to play two seasons, immediately took to Brumbaugh personally. Plus, Lolohea is heeding the assistant’s early-playing time pitch, the recruit believing he could readily develop in Maryland’s program. The Maui native said UMD’s coming facility upgrades, Under Armour connections and sports-medicine major were attractive too.

The defensive tackle is now in the process of setting up a College Park visit.

The other two schools Lolohea is honing in on are Iowa State and Oregon State. More could enter the picture as his profile expands, but the Hawaiian seemed adamant he would be developing relationships with coaches from the Cyclones, Beavers and Terps.  

Our initial reaction is to list Lolohea “warm” on the hot board, but we’ll see how this situation develops. He said location isn’t a factor for him, but we wonder if the allure of playing in the Pac-12 and closer to home may eventually win him over. (Oregon State, Arizona, Utah and Utah State all have offers out and more are bound to come in).

You can read more about Lolohea HERE.

Chris Collins, BUCK, Benedictine (Richmond, Va.): Collins is being pursued by UMD defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh and a host of other Maryland coaches. But the three-star didn't have much to say about his Terps’ look, except that he could drive up to College Park since its close.

Collins has UNC trending after visiting the Heels, likes what he's seen out of in-state Va Tech, wants to check out offeree UGA, and has a host of programs from the ACC and SEC about to ante up. 

Collins isn't going on the hot board unless we hear some pro-UMD comments after a visit. 

Shaka Heyward, OLB, Mill Creek (Hoschston, Ga.): The 6-3, 200-pound hybrid Heyward, who Maryland and most other schools want as an outside backer, pulled his first Big Ten offer from UMD March 20. Terps’ area recruiter Walt Bell did the honors, with Heyward calling the look “exciting” and “big.” But despite Heyward having some contact with Bell via Twitter prior to the verbal materializing, the Mill Creek prospect didn’t know a lot about UMD. He said he’d heard about the school’s academic reputation and that “it’s a real nice environment,” but not much else.

The latter comments (or lack thereof) could be an indication Heyward is more inclined to explore his other options/upcoming options. He has one SEC offer from Ole Miss, and is in touch with coaches from Georgia, South Carolina, Duke, UNC and more. Heyward said he was seeking a Blue Devils’ scholarship (he likes the academic/athletic balance), but, if those SEC scholarships come through, it’s a safe bet he’ll give them a long gander too.

Maybe Heyward does trek north, takes in College Park and keeps Maryland in play. But our gut is he’s going to hit the southern schools and hone in on those.

We have Heyward listed “cool” on the hot board initially.

You can read more about Heyward HERE.

Kendrick Torain, S, Jesuit (Tampa, Fla.): The 6-2, 195-pound safety/outside backer Torain landed an offer from Maryland assistant Brawley Evans March 20. Following his second Big Ten look, Torain told Scout’s Corey Bender the Terps were an intriguing option and he’d be researching the program further.

That’s all well and good, but realize Torain snagged a Georgia offer on the same day as Maryland, and previously had verbals from Vandy; Wake; Syracuse; Purdue; Iowa State; USF; Duke and more. Plus, the Jesuit product is on the radar or numerous other SEC and ACC programs.

For the time being, at least, Torain is keeping an open mind. He’s considering trips though each of his early suitors and said he’d be giving each equal consideration. But we wonder how long he’ll be singing that tune if more offers like Georgia begin streaming in during the evaluation period.

Jalyn Philips, S, Archer (Lawrenceville, Ga.) (2019): The safety Philips projects as one of Georgia’s top defensive back recruits, and the 6-1, 190-pounder has already turned recruiters’ heads with his size, speed and length. Philips has seemingly added an offer a day since March began; some of his more prominent looks are from Oregon, South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, Kansas State, Vanderbilt and Maryland.

The Terps’ look came in March 20, Philips saying he was excited about it. But his recruitment is in its infant stages, and the Archer prospect is bound to have SEC multiple options to evaluate.

Telly Plummer, CB, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.): Maryland, whose staff landed Plummer’s teammate, Sean Nelson, in the 2017 class, has a chance to work into the game with Plummer. The 6-0, 180-pounder landed an offer from UMD assistant Brawley Evans March 20, although it’s Nelson who informed Plummer about the Terps prior to the verbal.

“Well, I’ll say Sean is an amazing recruiter himself,” laughed Plummer, who now claims offers from UMD, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Marshall, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue, USF and more. “Sean has been on me – all of us really down here – and said good things about the program. He’s been telling me about the uniforms, how the facilities are coming up, and how great the coaching staff is. He was real excited when he heard I got the offer. Maryland sounds like a real nice place, a place I’d like to check out.”

Plummer proceeded to talk up Evans, who has been in communication with the corner since January. The three-star Plummer called his Terps’ recruiter a “good guy” and said he appreciated Evans’ up-front, personable approach.

But Evans and Co. have some some work to do to convince Plummer to head north. It’s possible the Langston Hughes product will be able to see College Park during his spring break in early April, but Plummer is already planning to hit WVU; Louisville; and Penn State during that time. He has established rapports with the coaches from each of the Mountaineers, Cardinals and Nittany Lions and basically hinted each had his ear. And if the PSU staff presents a committable offer during Plummer’s upcoming campus visit, he all but admitted Penn State would become the leader.

To boot, Plummer has in-state Georgia’s coaches considering offering after a March 23 visit, and staffs from Tennessee and South Carolina are monitoring him after treks to Rocky Top and Columbia, S.C., as well.

Plummer wants to commit sometime later during the spring or summer, so it’s paramount Evans and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim move quickly here. It may not matter much if the Georgian blows up on the trail or nabs the Nittany Lions’ look, but the Terps’ coaches won’t even have a chance unless they can get him on campus shortly.

You can read more about Plummer HERE.

Off The Board

Dashaun Jerkins, S, Woodbridge (Va.): Scout’s Mike Clark caught up with Jerkins earlier this week, and the Scout 300 safety let on UNC remained a clear leader. Jerkins then said Vandy and Wake Forest were in play since the coaches from each have been persistent. The Woodbridge prospect made no mention of Maryland or a potential College Park visit.

Granted, Jerkins is fairly open in his recruitment, so it’s possible the Terps could enter the picture with a strong push from defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and area recruiter Chris Beatty. But the sense is Jerkins’ mind is on the SEC and ACC.

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