Welcome to the next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland-football recruiting roundup.
Offensive Recruiting Notes
-- Bishop Sullivan (Virginia Beach, Va.) quarterback Tyler DeSue made it back to Maryland March 27. The 6-foot-1, 185-pounder proceeded to talk up the Terps, extolling the spread offense; offensive coordinator Walt Bell; the pace of practice; the UMD coaches in general; the academics; and the school’s various aesthetic qualities. DeSue said he could see himself fitting well into Bell’s system as both a run and pass threat. The dual-threat then detailed his close relationship with area recruiter Chris Beatty, while lauding Bell and head coach D.J. Durkin for their personal pitches and styles. Following the visit, DeSue said UMD was “way up there” for him, and hinted the Terps could possibly lead. “I think they’re all great coaches, and I’m really getting a good sense of how Coach Bell runs his system and wants his quarterbacks to play. I like him and I like his style. We’re becoming more familiar with each other too, and our relationship is getting stronger after meeting him in person two times,” DeSue said. “But their message to me was that I’m their guy, they want me up there, and they think I’d be a great fit football-wise; leadership-wise and academic-wise. And they said their system fits me perfectly, which I think they’re definitely right about. Definitely, the system they have is very similar to mine, just that ours isn’t as complex or fast-paced.” DeSue will now take one last visit to UCF April 14 before selecting a school. DeSue’s father is from the Orlando, Fla., area, which could give the Knights a leg up, but for now the quarterback said Central Florida is in the trail position. The main threat to Maryland (unless the Knights leave the recruit smitten) is NC State, which DeSue visited twice. The signal called heaped just as much praise on the Wolfpack as Maryland, with one possible separating factor being State’s penchant for developing quarterbacks. Our gut? It’s too close to call. DeSue, who we do believe is a “take” for the Terps’ staff despite Devin Leary (discussed above) still being available, could potentially go with any of his three top suitors. You can read more about DeSue HERE.
-- Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.) quarterback Devin Leary added an NC State offer during his 7-on-7 team’s trek through the Carolinas, but the Wolfpack aren’t thought to be a serious contender for the four-star’s services. Maryland and Syracuse are likely the two frontrunners for the 6-0, 185-pounder, with the Terps in prime position. UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell and head coach D.J. Durkin are all in for Leary and seem to have the recruit’s and his family’s ear. Leary, in turn, has enjoyed each of his College Park, Md., stays and believes he’d fit seamlessly into Bell’s spread offense. The Timber Creek product likes the direction UMD is heading as a program, the various facility upgrades and the fact College Park is only a couple hours from home. Syracuse has many of the same advantages Maryland has, however, and is right in the thick of things thanks to head coach Dino Babers and his up-tempo spread. So while we like UMD’s chances here, we’re keeping a leery eye on the Orange. Either way, Leary should be selecting a school sometime in the next month or two. Note: We no longer see hometown Rutgers as a player for Leary.
-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) running back Mychale Salahuddin just keeps adding offers. His latest opened him up to the Pac-12, with USC dishing out a verbal. Now, we don’t envision Salahuddin attending college on the West Coast, but he’ll certainly explore his expanding options. In fact, we could see Salahuddin making a western trek during the summer if time allows. Regardless, the Woodson product is going to take his time and go through the process. We still believe he’ll select between Maryland, Arkansas, Oklahoma, UNC and Va Tech, but the more offers he adds the longer Salahuddin is going to draw this process out. The Terps are in an encouraging spot at this stage of the game.
-- Rancocas Valley Regional (Mount Holly, N.J.) running back Iverson Clement isn’t likely to fall into the Markquese Bell category (read: five schools opt to pass on him), but the four-star may not be an immediate “take” for many of his primary suitors. Some of those could include Michigan and Ohio State, two major universities firmly on Clement’s radar. Now, the Jersey runner still has plenty of other attractive options, including Penn State and Florida, the latter of which is thought to have the inside track after Clement’s trek though Gainesville, Fla. But maybe, just maybe, the Terps could work into the gain if this recruitment drags. The Rancocas Valley product hasn’t been in College Park in quite some time, but he has visited before and was highly complimentary of the program. He’s in regular communication with area recruiter and position coach Anthony Tucker too.
-- Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, N.Y.) receiver Sean Ryan did close to a 180 in an interview with Scout’s Brian Dohn. The 6-4, 190-pound three-star had mentioned Maryland in every interview leading up to Dohn’s talk, but Ryan failed to broach the Terps this time around. And when this reporter personally followed up, Ryan again didn’t talk about Maryland. Instead, Ryan said he’s been in touch with coaches from Rutgers, Boston College, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Georgia and a couple others. RU and BC, both of which Ryan has trekked through, seem to have his eye, although he’s especially excited about an upcoming trip to Lincoln, Neb., April 15. Ryan would like to check out UND and UGA if those programs’ coaches offer as well. Perhaps Ryan will look at Maryland too if area recruiter Pete Lembo pushes, but the recruit made no mention of a College Park foray to Dohn. The Terps may be fading from consideration.
-- Oxon Hill (Md.) receiver Daniel George is coming back to College Park for a spring practice March 31. George was last on campus in February for the Terps’ major prospect day, and he continues to remain in close contact with area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. The Oxon Hill product, who is keen on the idea of the hometown movement, is thought to have UMD among his top two or three contenders, with Penn State; Va Tech; and maybe UNC being the others. The Nittany Lions likely lead for George if the staff keeps pursuing in earnest, but Abdul-Rahim; UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty; and head coach D.J. Durkin are doing all they can to convince the four-stay to stay local. Either way, George could possibly choose his future destination sometime during the summer.
-- South Forth Myers (Fort Myers, Fla.) receiver Jeshaun Jones will be at UNC, NC State and Wake Forest coming up April 8-10. The 6-1.5, 180-pound three-star holds offers from each of the three Carolina programs and has keen interest in the Tar Heels and Wolfpack. Jones also wants to see offerees Oregon, Oregon State and Iowa State this offseason, the Ducks holding appeal because they’re the Ducks; the Beavers in the game because it’s a recent Pac-12 suitor; and the Cyclones due to the coaches’ potent pursuit. It’s worth noting in-state USF is in the thick of things as well after Jones trekked through campus. Jones is on the radar of several SEC and ACC mainstays too, including hometown Florida, which would be a game-changing offer for the three-star. As for Maryland, the Terps are on the brain following Jones’ mid-January College Park foray. Jones loved the atmosphere and environment at UMD, talking up the campus; facility upgrades; dorms and the coaches. He has a developing rapport with receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, who is pushing for the three-star. Given that, maybe Jones will be the next M.J. Jarrell, a Florida wideout who falls through the cracks a bit and lands at Maryland thanks to Beatty’s hard work. But we won’t know exactly where Jones stands until his Tobacco Road jaunt is completed and his offer list is fully realized.
-- Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) receiver Dontay Demus touched base with us earlier this week, and it sounds like he’s a bit lukewarm on Maryland (and vice versa). Although Demus lauded the hometown school and said he’s in touch with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim “every day,” he was hesitant to call the hometown school a standout. Why? Demus knows the Maryland staff has multiple wideout options on its board and isn’t sure exactly where he fits in. Plus, Demus wasn’t especially keen on UMD’s offense, which struggled some in 2016. Perhaps Demus, who has visited UMD once this offseason back in February, will be placated down the line -- especially if the Terps’ coaches miss on their foremost targets-- but at this juncture the FCA recruit may be looking at other options. He’s hoping for Va Tech and UNC offers after visiting both last week, and was excited when Wisconsin pulled through with a verbal. Basically, Demus is banking on more scholarships materializing later this spring/fall after college coaches evaluate him (he has his eyes on Georgia). You can read more about Demus HERE.
-- South County (Lorton, Va.) receiver Dillon Spalding, visited College Park March 27, but the four-star wasn’t offered. Even so, the 6-2, 205-pounder extolled his initial UMD visit, detailing the practice he watched and his conversations with several Maryland staffers, namely recruiter/position coach Chris Beatty. Spalding previously had looks from Va Tech, Tennessee, NC State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, Vanderbilt, UVA and WVU. The in-state Hokies have left an impression and sit at or near the front of Spalding’s mind. But, for the most part, he’s keeping his options open and will thoroughly evaluate all his offerees/coming offerees. Spalding is someone who should receive significant attention during the evaluation period, pulling in offers from the rest of the ACC and SEC. That could (will) potentially shift his focus. The Terps have a number of receiver options already on their board, though, so we’ll see if the staff chooses to enter the race. If so, it would behoove them to do so fairly soon. You can read more about Spalding HERE.
Note: Besides those Maryland offerees discussed above (Tyler DeSue, Dillon Spalding, Kyle Pitts, etc.) and the four-star Spalding, some other interesting recruits on campus recently were Bishop McNamara (Forestville, Md.) offensive tackle Spencer Anderson, who has offers from Kentucky and Pitt; Potomac Falls (Sterling, Va.) outside linebacker Grant Misch, who has an offer from Army; and Maret (Washington, D.C.) offensive tackle/guard Devonte Gordon, who has an offer from Virginia. All three locals have prime interest in Maryland and would love to land a scholarship. But at the moment the Terps’ coaches have other options ahead of them on their board.
-- Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) tight end Kyle Pitts said he’d be attending a Maryland spring practice, and April 1 is the day. Pitts has been in College Park once before and wants to get a better gauge of UMD’s offense and coaching staff. The three-star knows the Terps need tight ends, is in touch with UMD-area recruiter Anthony Tucker and has Maryland among his eight main contenders. It’s a positive development for UMD purposes that Pitts is giving the program a longer look, but there’s a ways to go in this recruitment. Pitts is making the rounds and intends to fully evaluate each of his leaders, in addition to those schools that may enter the picture later during the game. Virginia Tech, Georgia, Miami, Rutgers and UCLA are all viable options, with Oklahoma and Tennessee kicking around as well.
-- Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.) offensive tackle Justin Johnson visited Maryland for the second time March 26. The 6-6, 330-pounder, who was previously in College Park for the Terps’ game against Michigan State Oct. 22, couldn’t say enough about his one-on-one UMD staff encounters and how headman D.J. Durkin is changing the program. “Just seeing what they’re doing there, seeing what Coach Durkin has going on, it’s impressive,” Johnson said. “They went to a bowl game last year, they just had their top recruiting class ever, and they’re only going to go up from there. It’s all very impressive, from the top down. You can just tell it from walking around there and talking to the coaches.” Johnson proceeded to laud line coach Tyler Bowen, recruiter Anthony Tucker and offensive coordinator Walt Bell for their energy and personalities. The Imhotep prospect spoke highly of the campus, the coming facility upgrades and the school’s academics too. Afterwards, Johnson insisted the Terps were on an even plane with the other seven schools on his leaderboard He’s publically looking at UVA (visited March 24), Boston College (visited), Temple (visited), Pitt (visited twice), Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, Michigan State and UMD. But we’d guess Maryland and Pitt may have separated themselves from the pack, with Johnson yet to see the Commodores; Badgers; and Spartans. He’ll check out each of the latter three during the summer, so it’s certainly conceivable any of that trio could rise up the favorites list. It’s also worth noting that Johnson, who values academics and player-coach relationships first and foremost, wants to take official visits before ending his recruitment. That means there could be some ebbing and flowing here, but we do believe Maryland is going to be a principal player throughout. You can read more about Johnson HERE.
-- Butler Area (Pa.) offensive guard Jake Kradel visited Ohio State March 25, but he left without an offer. The 6-4, 290-pounder is in communication with the Buckeyes’ staff, though, and if the verbal eventually comes to fruition, OSU would certainly shoot up Kradel’s leaderboard. For now, he’s honing in on hometown Pitt, Rutgers, Maryland, NC State and West Virginia, all of which he’s seen before. The Panthers remain the frontrunners if the Big Ten bigwigs such as OSU and Penn State stay away, with Kradel routinely talking up the nearby university. The others are likely sitting even behind Pitt. Kradel, who has UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo and line coach Tyler Bowen on him, was last in College Park in February. It’s possible he could return for a spring practice or in the summer, but we’re not listing Kradel above “cool” on the hot board just yet. At least, not until it’s clear the power programs aren’t going to pursue and somehow Pitt drops off.
Defensive Recruiting Notes
-- McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher has finally hit the trail now that wrestling season is over. He was at Michigan State last weekend and plans to be at Ohio State April 1, Penn State April 8, Va Tech the weekend after that, and Tennessee and Notre Dame in late April. Mustipher has trekked through College Park once this offseason, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be back anytime this spring unless he takes an impromptu trip over to campus. True, the four-star defensive tackle has been talking to UMD defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, and Mustipher has always held the hometown school in high regard. But we never sensed his Terps’ interest trumped that of some of the power programs after him. Mustipher has been forecast to the Irish -- where his older brother attends -- for quite some time, and Notre Dame remains the favorite. But Ohio State, which Mustipher has been to before, is a real threat to win him over during his April trip to Columbus, Ohio. Meanwhile, Penn State, another campus Mustipher has taken in previously, is heavily involved too, and the McDonogh product has expressed plenty of interest in Tennessee after two previous Rocky Top stays. Our gut is Mustipher could pop to UND after his late-April foray through South Bend, Ind., but it wouldn’t shock if the Buckeyes or Nittany Lions swiped him away. Maryland is going to be in the conversation, but currently may not be higher than fourth or fifth on the totem poll.
-- Sanderson (Raleigh, N.C.) defensive tackle Alim McNeill said he will take an intended trip to College Park April 12, which prompted us to place him back on the hot board. But we’re not listing the four-star above “cool” anytime soon. McNeill isn’t pocking a school until next winter, and most analysts believe he’s going to choose a southern program close to his North Carolina home. NC State, UNC and Duke are heavily involved, along with some others such as Va Tech, Florida, Florida State and potentially more. It’s early, however, and there’s going to be loads of ebbing and flowing. We’ll see if UMD defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh and area recruiter Pete Lembo can keep the Terps in the game.
-- Pope John XXII (Sparta, N.J.) inside linebacker Nick DeNucci visited Boston College for the second time March 24, and the sense is the Eagles are firmly in play for the three-star. BC’s standout academics, in addition to the football program and its relative close location to Jersey, have DeNucci’s attention. Hometown Rutgers may still lead, but the Pope John product is taking a hard look at his other options. Besides BC and RU, Syracuse, which DeNucci has visited before, is on the brain, while Maryland and Louisville are in the game too. DeNucci hasn’t visited College Park or Louisville yet, but is planning out trips to both. Each have a chance to rise up the leaderboard after DeNucci’s initial look, although the vibe is the recruit may want to stick in the Northeast. Rutgers, BC or Cuse could be his ultimate destination unless DeNucci absolutely blows up on the trail and starts to pull offers from Big Ten bigwigs and other national elites. (West Virginia’s staff offered DeNucci March 27, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact that will have on the three-star).
-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) inside linebacker Juan Wallace visited Syracuse March 24. Afterwards, the DMV backer raved about the Orange, and it sounds like Cuse is going to be among Wallace’s foremost contenders alongside UMD; Duke; WVU; and Rutgers. The Terps, holding the hometown card, and Blue Devils, with the academic appeal, are likely riding high, but Wallace isn’t tipping his hand. He’s thoroughly enjoyed each of his college trips and wants to see even more campuses moving forward. Maryland is in an encouraging position thanks to Wallace’s relationship with recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and his affinity for the DMV movement, but the Woodson product is no lock to wind up at the local university. He does like his other suitors a good deal, and the Blue Devils, boasting a renowned degree, have Wallace’s parents’ attention.
-- Sanderson (Raleigh, N.C.) outside linebacker Trent Pennix remains interested in checking out College Park since UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo is on him and pressing for the 6-2, 200 pounder. But Pennix has publically called Louisville and Va Tech his early standouts, the recruit seemingly smitten with those two universities. Pennix said he’ll be visiting both the Hokies and Cardinals as soon as he’s able to venture out. Now, we’ll have to see if he’s ultimately a “take” for those two staffs what with Va Tech and Louisville having multiple options on their respective boards, but for the time being that’s where the North Carolina native’s mind’s at.
-- Tucker (Ga.) outside linebacker Gerry Vaughn, who claims a UMD verbal, was supposed to be at Maryland March 30, but he said his Terps’ area recruiter, Andy Buh, didn’t get back to him to confirm the visit. Vaughn said he’s been exchanging messages with Buh, but hadn’t heard from UMD’s defensive coordinator recently. Perhaps there was a miscommunication, or maybe Buh was busy with practice plans. Often times, though, it’s a indication the prospect may not be a priority for a particular staff. We’ll keep Vaughn on the hot board in case it’s the former, but more than likely Buh and Co. have other outside linebackers higher on their board.
-- Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.) cornerback Telly Plummer picked up a significant offer from Notre Dame March 24. It remains to be seen how ardently the Irish coaches will push for Plummer what with all the offerees on UND’s board, but the three-star was particularly intrigued by the look. It’s possible he’ll visit South Bend later during the spring. Plummer previously hinted that West Virginia and Louisville, both of which he’ll be seeing in early April, had his eye, along with Penn State. (The Nittany Lions would vault to the top of the three-star’s favorites list if the coaches choose to offer after Plummer’s April campus visit). The Langston Hughes prospect is keeping Maryland in mind after hearing from assistant Brawley Evans and thanks to teammate-turned-Terp Sean Nelson’s pitch. But we’ll see if he makes it to College Park or focuses on other suitors.
-- Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.) cornerback Jermaine Waller caught up with Scout’s Brian Dohn this week, and, from the sound of things, the Terps’ staff may not be pressing in earnest for the local. Waller, who has UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim on him, told Dohn he speaks to coaches at UVA; Temple; ODU and Syracuse the most. On top of that, Waller couldn’t quite recall the last time he was in College Park -- even though he was there less than three weeks ago. Now, the Avalon corner did compliment the Terps’ fast-paced practice, liked how the coaches interacted with the players, and took to the stay-home message, but it might have been lip service. Maybe the situation will change down the road since Waller’s recruitment is in its infant stages. Currently, however, Waller seems to be looking elsewhere like UVA (he visited Charlottesville, Va.) and maybe Rutgers.
New Offers Out
Dominick Wood-Anderson, TE, Arizona Western C.C. (Yuma, Ariz.): Terps’ assistant Walt Bell tossed Maryland’s name into the hat for the junior-college tight end Wood-Anderson March 27. It was the 6-5, 245-pounder’s 14th offer to date, UMD joining a host of SEC/ACC/Pac-12 programs.
Alabama, Auburn, Tennessee, Auburn, Louisville, Arizona State, UCF, TCU, Oregon, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Utah and Iowa State are all in the game for the four-star. Of those, Bama, which Wood-Anderson is visiting April 3, has his eye first and foremost. If the Tide coaches will accept him, that could be the Arizona Western prospect’s destination. Auburn, Oregon, TCU and Arizona State are the main players if the Bama staff reneges.
Keiondre Jones, OG, Callaway (Hogansville, Ga.) (2019): The 2019 guard Jones is a future four-star with offers already from Alabama, Georgia, Clemson, Florida, Auburn, South Carolina, Miami, Ohio State, UNC, NC State, Mississippi State, Tennessee, NC State and more. The Terps entered the fray March 30, but we’re not sure how much traction the staff can gain here. Jones has already said some of his bigwig SEC suitors stand out.
Tobe Umerah, DE, Stratford Academy (Macon, Ga.): The Terps' Jimmy Brumbaugh offered this defensive end March 30, but it's going to be a tough road to how for UMD. Umerah has a legitimate Stanford offer and the Cardinal are the stated favorites. Meanwhile, he's been to Wisconsin twice and has taken a keen liking to the Badgers. Penn State, Alabama, Tennessee and a couple more are in play too.
Jatavious Harris, S, Baldwin (Milledgeville, Ga.): The four-star Harris landed a Maryland offer March 30, joining 21 other suitors. Florida, Miami, Tennessee, NC State, South Carolina, Kentucky, Pitt, Vandy, Purdue, Minnesota and Mississippi State are some of Harris’ offers.
Harris already told Scout South Carolina had his eye, in addition to others in the SEC like Tennessee, Florida and Georgia (no offer yet). The Gators, which Harris is visiting soon, could potentially trump the Gamecocks, but, regardless, it seems like his eyes are on the SEC.
Treron Collins, S, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.) (2019): The 2019 safety Collins pulled his very first power-five offers on the same day. Just hours after the Tennessee staff anted up during Collins’ campus visit, the Terps came in with a verbal March 25.
Naturally, Collins was thrilled with the Vols’ look considering he was at Rocky Top and connected first-hand with the coaches. But he was also intrigued by the Maryland offer, which came courtesy of assistant Brawley Evans. Collins’ former teammate, Sean Nelson, is heading to College Park, and has spoken highly of the program.
But we’ll see how long Evans can keep the Terps in the game here. Collins is a 6-2, 190-pounder with plenty of length and athleticism. He’s on the radar of multiple SEC and ACC programs and should have numerous options by the time the fall hits.
Off The Board
Blake Zubovic, OL, Belle Vernon (Pa.): And in went the dagger.
Zubovic visited hometown Penn State March 24, leaving with the coveted offer. And as long as he doesn’t delay, Zubovic should be PSU-bound.
In-state Pitt has given the tackle some pause, but it’s going to be difficult for the Belle Vernon product to turn down the offer he’d been seeking from the outset. Zubovic did visit Maryland and gave the Terps their due, but we never sensed he was a serious candidate to wind up in College Park.
Ja’mion Franklin, OG, North Caroline (Ridgeley, Md.): We’re not quite sure what the deal is here, but for whatever reason the Maryland coaches have opted not to offer Franklin. If they do so soon, it’ll probably be too late.
Franklin just pulled a long-awaited Notre Dame verbal during a campus visit, and his commitment seems inevitable. Provided the UND coaches are truly willing to accept Franklin, that’s where he’s headed. UVA, Duke, Northwestern and BC are also in the running, each in play due to their respective academic reputations.
Abi Okonji, DE, South Gwinnett (Snellville, Ga.): Okonji had been in contact with UMD-area recruiter Walt Bell since landing a Terps’ offer in January, but the 6-3, 240-pounder never seemed all that enthused about Maryland. He said he’d consider trekking through College Park this spring, but a visit never materialized.
Okonji ended up going to see Minnesota March 24, and a day later he committed to the Gophers. The Georgian, along with his father, fell in love with the staff; facilities; campus; and academics, afterwards saying he’s “100 percent” certain with his decision.
Caleb Tannor, BUCK, Miller Grove (Lithonia, Ga.): We had a feeling Tannor might blow up on the trail. Last week, the 6-3, 225 pounder visited hometown Georgia, landed an offer from the Bulldogs, and promptly called UGA the favorite. The only surprise is he hasn’t committed yet, perhaps so he can explore his growing list of SEC options.
Coaches from Tennessee, Auburn and Mizzou have all anted up, and more SEC staffers are showing interest. Regardless of where Tannor ultimately winds up, he’s likely out of the Terps’ reach.
Caleb Johnson, OLB, Columbus (Ga.): Johnson visited Florida March 24, and it sounds like he’s going to be a Gator so long as a spot remains open. The 6-3, 245-pounder has been high on UF since receiving the offer, the Gainesville, Fla., jaunt only solidifying those feelings.
Johnson is also looking at South Carolina, Ole Miss and a couple other schools of that ilk. He does hold a Maryland offer, but didn’t seem especially keen on giving UMD a look after the SEC verbals came through.