The Terps have been in search of a kicker since greyshirt offer Jonathan Doerer bolted for a scholarship at Notre Dame in January, and now they have a replacement. Monsignor Farrell (Staten Island, N.Y.) booter Paul Inzerello took a walk-on offer from Maryland March 24 after being accepted into the university. The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder, who was rated the top 2017 kicker in the Northeast per the renowned Kohl's Kicking group, said he can't wait to begin his career in College Park, Md.
"The coaches are still deciding if it's a walk-on or preferred walk-on, but they had me down on a visit not too long ago, and I loved everything about it," Inzerillo said. "I loved everything the coaches had to say, and they said as long as I get an opportunity I'll have a shot to win the starting job there eventually and earn a scholarship. It's a great opportunity there. I love everything about Maryland, it looks like a great place and I can't wait to get started."
Inzerillo has been in contact with UMD special teams coach Pete Lembo for a couple months now. The Terps' New York area recruiter has readily connected with the Staten Island kicker and left Inzerillo thoroughly impressed.
"I had another walk-on offer from Buffalo and up until a month or so ago I thought that's where I was going. But then Coach Lembo sent me an e-mail after Jonathan Doerer decommitted and went to Notre Dame and said they had an opening. We've been in touch ever since, I went down for a visit, and I just loved it," Inzerillo said. "Coach Lembo I absolutely loved. He's a very nice person and a family man, and really easy to talk to. He also went to school up here at Monsignor, so we kind of connected over that and were talking about high school. And from what I hear he's a great coach. I can't wait to start working with him."
The New York product met Lembo in person during his February trek through College Park. Inzerillo also connected with graduate assistant Kyle Hancock, while he couldn't say enough about the campus, dorms and the coming facility upgrades. He appreciated the Under Armour and Big Ten affiliations too.
"I loved everything the coaches said and how they operate. At Maryland everything is competition -- and it's good, healthy competition. They constantly press you to get better, and just their workouts and how they're designed, it's great," Inzerillo said. "Also, I really bonded well with Coach [Kyle] Hancock and Coach Lembo. They're really good guys and they care about their players. And absolutely I loved the dorms and the new facilities they're putting in. Those are unbelievable and really caught my eye.
"And another thing is Maryland is in the Big Ten, which is a terrific conference. Compared to the MAC, I mean, it was a better opportunity to play big-time college football. But I just loved everything I saw at Maryland. Also, Maryland is closer to me than Buffalo. I live in Staten Island, so College Park is actually closer to me."
Inzerillo admitted he hasn't delved into UMD's academics yet, but he wants to major in either economics or business.
"And I did get accepted into the school, so that's why I decided to commit when I did," Inzerillo said.
Lasy year, Inzerillo connected on 14 of 17 field goals, with a long of 52 yards. All three of his misses were beyond 50 yards, he hit eight from the 40-50 range, and nailed the rest inside 40 yards.
"As a field goal kicker I feel like I'm the best in the country from 50 yards and in. I think my high school stats show that," Inzerillo said. "As for what I have to work on, I'd say the length of my kickoffs. But I feel like once I get in the program and get bigger and stronger that will come."
Like many prospective kickers, Inzerillo played soccer growing up. He was always a football fan, though, and decided to see if his soccer skills would translate to the gridiron during his freshman year at Monsignor.
"I never really thought about playing football, but my freshman year I asked one of the kids on the team if they had a kicker and he said yeah but he's not too good (laughs). So I tried out and the coaches loved me," Inzerillo said. "I started on JV my first year, gave up soccer to concentrate fully on football my sophomore year, and then started on varsity for three years."
Now, the New Yorker will attempt to win the Maryland coaches over and establish himself in College Park. Inzerillo is well aware of the Terps' history of producing kickers, from Nick Novak to Brad Craddock, and wants to continue that the next few years.
"Of course," Inzerillo said of the UMD kicker reputation. "Actually, one of Maryland's punters, Nick Pritchard, went to one of the camps I did and he talked to me about Maryland. I know about all the kickers they've had there and what they've accomplished. I want to do my best to continue that legacy."