One of Maryland’s foremost offensive tackle targets, Gonzaga’s (Washington, D.C.) Aidan Rafferty, made it back to College Park, Md., for the first time since February April 8. The 6-foot-6, 260-pounder, who was joined by his parents, said he got a much more personal, in-depth look at the hometown school this time around.
“I’m really glad I got to visit Maryland again,” said Rafferty, who holds offers from UMD, Va Tech, UVA, Indiana, Arizona, NC State, BC, Pitt, Louisville and Syracuse. “I got a lot more information about the school and saw a lot that I hadn’t seen before. It was a good time up there, and both me and my parents enjoyed it.”
Rafferty said he spent the majority of his stay taking in a Maryland practice and touring the campus. He also met with head coach D.J. Durkin, line coach Tyler Bowen and recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim.
“I’d never really seen the interior of the campus before, so that was a nice thing to see. I had no idea how big Maryland actually was,” Rafferty said. “Then I got to see the virtual tour of the new facilities they’re building. That was sweet. The apartments where the football players stay was very nice too. Also, just walking through the business school and seeing the buildings was great. There weren’t any classes going on or anything, but it was good to see the [department] and the academic buildings.”
The Gonzaga product saw most of UMD’s afternoon practice too. He said he liked how Maryland’s offensive linemen jived with Bowen, who Rafferty hadn’t seen in action, or met, before. When Rafferty took in UMD games last fall and then visited College Park back in February, the Terps had Dave Borbely guiding the O-line.
“I really enjoyed the practice. Overall, it was a lot of energy there, which was great. Coach Bowen was very enthusiastic, and the linemen responded to him well,” Rafferty said. “They were working really well together. I got a chance to meet Coach Bowen for the first time too. We’ve been in contact the last month, but this was the first time my parents and I got to talk to him in person. He was great; he gave us a bunch of info and talked a lot of football. He was talking about how he’s a Maryland alum, and how they need more O-linemen, and specifically more tackles, this year. It was a good meeting.”
Rafferty said his conversations with Durkin and Abdul-Rahim were fairly similar to the Bowen chat.
“Coach Durkin keeps talking about keeping the local guys home. He said they need tackles, and they want them to be local kids. I think that’s a cool thing,” said Rafferty, who acknowledged he’s been hearing plenty from teammate and 2017 UMD signee Johnny Jordan about the Terps. “And Coach Aazaar, I talked to him for a little bit too. He’s been doing great with me, and we’ve been in steady contact.”
The D.C. native, who grew up a Terps’ fan, said his parents were impressed with the staff and the program too. Rafferty’s mother, of course, is a Maryland alum.
“My parents liked the coaches, and they liked how the practice was run and the campus tour,” Rafferty said. “They liked everything they saw there.”
Following the trip, Rafferty stopped short of calling UMD a standout. He insists he has no leaders and is still in the information-gathering stage.
Next up, he’ll be at UVA and Va Tech April 11. The Hokies, who are home to Rafferty’s older sister, are thought to be a primary contender.
Rafferty has no other visits planned after taking in the two Virginia schools, but figures to hit some of the further-out locales during the summer.
“Since I’m on break, I thought it would be a good idea to go around to the local schools that I could take day trips to,” Rafferty said. “But right now I’m still learning and researching all the schools. I don’t have any favorites or anything, and I’m open to any suitors that may still come in.
“But my plan is to hopefully have my [college] decision made before the season starts. If not, I’ll go longer, but hopefully I’ll be set to go before the season.”