TTDave's Inside The Shell

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

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

Offensive Recruiting Notes

-- Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.) receiver Dontay Demus took in a Maryland spring practice April 6. He stopped short of calling the Terps his leader, but the 6-foot-4 wideout had naught but praise for the hometown school. “I saw so much more at Maryland this time. I loved it,” Demus said. “I got to watch a whole practice, talk to my family that plays for Maryland [read: former FCA players], meet new people and try new things. I spent a lot of time with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] too. I had a lot of fun.” Demus is also looking at Rutgers and Temple, while Boston College and Wisconsin have offers out. But if the Terps’ staff pushes for the local wideout (we think they will), Demus could very well be College Park, Md., bound -- maybe by late spring or early summer.

-- Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.) receiver Armani Chatman finally made it to Maryland April 8, and, along with Tyler DeSue’s (discussed below) commitment to UMD April 12, the Terps seem to have dramatically improved their position with three-star. Chatman called the DeSue pledge “huge” and said it meant “a lot” to him and the rest of the 757. He proceeded to laud Maryland’s campus, coming facility upgrades, and the fast-paced practice he witnessed. “And Maryland is surrounded by great coaches. It's a great place with great people," said Chatman, who has a tight bond with recruiter Chris Beatty. "You can tell they're really into it, they treat their players the right way, and they care about you. I enjoyed being around them all.” But although we like Maryland’s spot with Chatman, in-state Virginia Tech is thought to have a bead, and he’s going to give Temple a look too. Chatman is willing to wait to see what materializes during the evaluation period as well. We’re going to keep Chatman “warm” on the hot board for now since the Hokies are hanging tough and the Bayside receiver is in no rush to pop. You can read more about Chatman HERE. Note: Chatman admitted he might wind up at cornerback in college.

-- Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.) receiver Darryl Jones is another recruit who has been impacted by Tyler DeSue’s commitment to Maryland. Jones was already fairly high on the Terps after a March 5 College Park jaunt, and the DeSue pledge only helps the UMD staff’s chances at landing him. Jones said he knows DeSue well and would love to catch passes from him at the next level. On top of that, Jones loves Maryland recruiter Chris Beatty and could see himself developing under the receivers coach’s watch. “My favorite right now is Maryland,” said Jones who is visiting Maryland sometime next week or for the April 22 spring game. “And not just because Tyler is going there. It’s close to home, the coaches hit me up every day, I know people up there, and I love the vibe there. It’s a great place to be.” But although the 6-3, 175-pound three-star has the Terps trending, he’s not going to pop anytime too soon. Jones wants to take more visits and see what offers come to fruition the rest of this offseason. Furthermore, Va Tech is running second to Maryland and has a chance to rise up after Jones’ return to Blacksburg April 15. But given Jones’ most recent comments, we’re shifting him to “hot” on the hot board. You can read more about Jones HERE.

-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) receiver Ed Hendrix had a number of schools he wanted to see this spring and summer, so instead of heading back to Maryland April 8 as intended, he headed down to Virginia Tech. The Hokies were a team Hendrix was taking a close look at before the trip, and now that he’s seen the institution firsthand, they can be counted as a contender. The atmosphere, the spread offense and the coaching staff all left Hendrix impressed. It’s unclear where the Woodson receiver is heading next, but UNC, WVU, Michigan State, Syracuse and Pitt are some of the schools he’s broached before. He’ll likely make it back to Maryland at some point too, with the April 22 spring game a target date. The Terps figure to be among Hendrix’s top two or three suitors when decision time comes.

-- South Fort Myers (Fla.) receiver Jeshaun Jones keeps taking visits and adding offers. Since April began, the 6-1, 170-pounder has picked up a Tennessee offer and visited the Vols (April 10); went to North Carolina for a two-day stay; and checked out the other Carolina programs. Next up, he’s looking to get to recent offerees Oregon and Oregon State. As it stands, it’s difficult to gauge exactly where Jones stands considering he talks up every new suitor and locale he treks through. We’ll have to determine which programs’ coaches keep pressing for Jones before predicting leaders. Currently, the Maryland staff, which hosted Jones back in March and left quite an impression, is keeping up the communication lines. Jones has regular conversations with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty, who the recruit has readily taken to. Given that, it’s possible Jones will fall into the category of another Florida wideout the Terps landed in the 2017 class: M.J. Jarrell. Recall, Jarrell started gaining steam on the recruiting trail after visiting College Park, but circled back to the school/coach that pushed for him from the outset.

-- Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, N.Y.) receiver Sean Ryan may yet visit Maryland. In a previous Shell, we mentioned the three-star broached around eight schools in an interview with Scout’s Brian Dohn, and none of them were UMD. But this week Ryan said he will attempt to see College Park, maybe for the spring game April 22 or a date during the summer. But we’re still not shifting him above “cool” on the hot board until he shows up. Ryan returned to Rutgers in early April and had such a good time in Piscataway, N.J., he called the Scarlet Knights as a principle contender. And coming up April 15 he’ll be in Lincoln, Neb., for his initial look at the Huskers. Nebraska’s staff recently offered and seems to be a program of keen interest for Ryan. Syracuse is in mind too since it’s the local school and Ryan’s affinity for head coach Dino Babers’ spread offense. Plus, Ryan is still pining for more major offers, hinting that coaches from Georgia and maybe Notre Dame could be anteing up. The three-star is in the process of scheduling an Athens, Ga., trip this summer.

-- Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) offensive tackle Aidan Rafferty returned to Maryland for the first time since the winter April 8. The 6-6, 280-pounder, who visited with his family, had plenty of positive comments for the hometown school. He talked up the DMV movement, the energetic practice, his initial meeting with line coach Tyler Bowen, the College Park campus, the pending facility upgrades, the school’s academic buildings and more. Rafferty said his father and mother, who is a Maryland alum, thoroughly enjoyed themselves as well. “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.” But did the trip propel the Terps to the top of the Gonzaga tackle’s favorites list? That’s hard to say. Rafferty took in UVA and Va Tech (a principle contender) right after UMD, and the thought is the Hokies remain a real threat to land the DMV lineman. But Rafferty is in no rush to end his recruitment and said he’ll take much of the summer before choosing a school. Publically, at least, he’s keeping an open mind and will continue to explore all current and future college options. UMD and Va Tech should remain in play throughout, but it’s too soon to predict exactly where Rafferty is going to wind up. (We’ve heard Maryland’s in a good spot for what it’s worth). You can read more about Rafferty HERE.

-- St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan did indeed follow though on an April 8 College Park visit after missing practice the week before. Per usual, however, the four-star didn’t respond to inquiries. But we did check in with a couple contacts and were told the visit went as well as could be expected. Duncan evidently had a good time watching the coaches in action; interacting and meeting with line coach Tyler Bowen; and talking to headman D.J. Durkin and area recruiter Brawley Evans. As mentioned previously, Duncan is keen on Durkin’s DMV-to-UMD message and playing nearing his family. That’s all positive for Maryland purposes, but we were also told the Terps may be trailing one or two other programs in the pecking order. Penn State is resonating after Duncan’s State College, Pa., visit, and longtime contender Ohio State continues to hold his attention. It’s unclear exactly when Duncan will end his recruitment, but in the past he’s hinted at a summer decision. We’ll see if UMD’s staff can reestablish itself as the leader before it’s all said and done.

-- North Point (Waldorf, Md.) offensive tackle Rasheed Walker returned to College Park April 13, taking in his first Terps’ practice this offseason. He didn’t respond to inquiries yet, but it’s a positive sign he chose to return. Walker has a close bond with UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, a developing one with line coach Tyler Bowen and likes the direction head coach D.J. Durkin is taking the program. Realize, though, that Walker was recently in State College too, and it sounds like the Nittany Lions are a potential frontrunner. Walker is also looking hard at Ohio State, UNC, Va Tech, Michigan and Maryland. But the North Point four-star is taking his time and won’t pop before official-visit season. His situation likely won’t remain status quo throughout the process.

-- North Stafford (Stafford, Va.) offensive tackle Nana Asiedu visited Maryland April 7, but this is the type of recruit who will have to take in the Terps multiple times before we start paying close attention to his recruitment. The borderline five-star has offers from all the national elites and is thought to be favoring either Penn State or Clemson. Georgia, Texas, Alabama, Florida, FSU and more have offers out too, though the coaches from the Nittany Lions and Tigers are pushing hard and seem to have an edge.

-- Butler (Pa.) offensive guard Jake Kradel visited Maryland for a second time April 13. Following the trip, he placed UMD among his top three suitors, saying they were "definitely up there." "I could see myself there in the future," Kradel said. The Pittsburgh-area lineman talked up line coach Tyler Bowen, noting his coaching methods; youth; and energetic personality. Kradel also liked the intense practice and how the players responded to the staff. But while Kradel's comments were encouraging for UMD purposes, we're not sure the Terps can rise above that No. 3 spot. Ohio State is considered the favorite, and he's heading back to Columbus, Ohio, April 15. And hometown Pitt, which Kradel has seen more times than he can count, is likely running second. Virginia Tech (April 18 visit) and Rutgers (April 22 visit) are in the game too, but probably on the outside looking in. Look for Kradel to choose a school sometime in late May or early June. You can read more about Kradel HERE.

Defensive Recruiting Notes

-- McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher returned to Penn State April 8, and he couldn’t say enough about the Nittany Lions. The four-star instantly connected wit the PSU coaches, who have been in everyday contact with Mustipher. Plus, he and his family enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere in Happy Valley. It’s now thought that PSU resides among Mustipher’s foremost three or four contenders. Next up, the DMV recruit will take in Tennessee for a second time April 14 and Va Tech April 15. After that, he’ll hit Notre Dame April 22 for the spring game. UND, which fields Mustipher’s older brother, is still thought to be the frontrunner, with the Scout 100 prospect possibly popping shortly after his latest South Bend, Ind., foray. But there’s a solid chance he delays his college decision and decides to take an even closer look at PSU, Ohio State (visited April 1), Alabama, Tennessee and maybe Va Tech. As for Maryland, Mustipher was back in town for a spring practice April 12. He didn't overtly advertise the trip unlike some of his other recent forays, which is somewhat concerning, but we heard he is at least keeping the hometown school in mind. He's getting to know defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh and has always had respect for the rest of the staff. Maybe the Terps can whittle away at the presumed leaders before the four-star is ready to pop, but it's quite a hill to climb.

-- Millbrook (Raleigh, N.C.) defensive end Joseph Boletepeli landed a Maryland offer in mid-March, and now he’s set to see College Park for the first time April 22. The 6-5, 245-pounder has formed a bond with defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh and area recruiter Pete Lembo, while he’s intrigued by the school’s academic reputation. Boletepeli doesn't have Maryland as his favorite (NC State is), but it’s clear he has UMD on his mind. The other offerees Boletepeli seems to have trending are NC State first and foremost, Louisville, Rutgers, Miami and maybe Georgia Tech. The Wolfpack, which Boletepeli has been to before, have the inside track since it’s the hometown school and he has a tight-knit bond with the coaches. But if UNC’s coaches ante up later this spring/summer, the Heels could vault up the leaderboard. The Cardinals could make a move too if Boletepeli follows through with an intended late-spring trip. We’re going to shift Boletepeli to “warm” on the hot board, but we’re not sure the Terps will ultimately hop NC State and the southern suitors.

-- Zebulon Vance (Charlotte, N.C.) BUCK Damir Faison stopped by Maryland during a northern swing April 8. Following the trip, the 6-3, 240-pounder was enthusiastic about his stay, lauding the Maryland coaches for how they welcomed him in; the fast-pace tempo at practice; the campus environment; the renovated player dorms; the coming facility upgrades and more. Faison, even said he’d be returning to College Park for a June camp so he can show the staff he deserves the offer they’d already extended him. “Honestly, I wasn’t aware of everything they had up there. I wasn’t aware and educated on all they had to offer,” said Faison, who has offers from UMD, Rutgers, ECU and a couple more.. “The campus, the coaching staff, the people around the program -- it’s a very nice environment. What I experienced, it was awesome man.” Given those comments, Faison probably has Maryland at or near the top of his leaderboard. But we’ll have to see how ardently UMD defensive coordinator Andy Buh and Co. push with one BUCK on board and a few other options available. If the Terps’ coaches elect not to press, Faison might take a longer look at Rutgers, which he visited April 11-12. East Carolina is also in the picture, and it’s possible Faison could add another offer or two during the evaluation period. You can read more about Faison HERE.

-- South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.) BUCK/inside linebacker Eli Adams had been forecast to hometown South Carolina for months, but it doesn’t sound like he’s a “take” for the Gamecocks’ staff. Thus, some of the three-star’s other suitors are rising up. NC State, which Adams has been to before, may have a bead, but the South Pointe prospect is willing to take a look at Maryland too. Adams hasn’t scheduled a College Park trip yet, but he’s in contact with recruiter Walt Bell and is intrigued by the program. The three-star has trekked through the Old Line State before and said he likes the D.C. area. There’s nothing imminent, but it’s worth paying attention to Adams’ recruitment moving forward.

-- Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.) inside linebacker Nick DeNucci is going to give the Terps their due. In previous Shells, we were somewhat skeptical he’d make it down to College Park after a couple reneged attempts, but the three-star said he’d be taking in Maryland’s spring game April 22. DeNucci, whose Pope John position coach is former Terp Cole Farrand, has maintained contact with UMD linebackers coach Matt Barnes and is intrigued by what he’s heard about the program. The day before, though, DeNucci will be checking out Duke. He doesn’t hold a Blue Devils’ offer, but is hoping one materializes after meeting the coaches. Maybe, if the upcoming trips go well, it will impact DeNucci’s recruitment. But at the moment hometown Rutgers seems to have the edge after the inside backer’s numerous campus visits. He has a tight rapport with the coaches and likes the idea of representing the local university at the next level. Meanwhile, Boston College and Syracuse are on the mind after forays through each. Regardless of how the next couple treks to College Park and Durham, N.C., turn out, expect DeNucci to choose a school sometime shortly after. He’ll likely commit, at the latest, this summer.

-- Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.) inside linebacker Keshon Artis is adding a new offer every few days. In the last two weeks, he’s picked up Tennessee, Duke, WVU and Syracuse. Of those, the Vols and Blue Devils would seem to hold the most clout since he likes Duke’s academics and UT’s SEC affiliation. We could see him taking in Durham and/or Rocky Top later this spring/summer. Artis might head over to Morgantown, W.Va., too, although we’re not sure the Mountaineers are going to become a prime player here. As it stands, in-state Va Tech continues to sit atop the totem pole. Artis has a terrific relationship with the Hokies’ staff and has raved about each of his Blacksburg, Va., stays. Maryland caught Artis’ eye as well after a February foray through College Park. The three-star has had frequent communication with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty since then, who has kept the Terps on Artis’ mind somewhat. Artis has not come back for a spring practice, however, and doesn’t have a scheduled return to Maryland.

-- North Fort Myers (Fla.) inside linebacker Fa’Najae Gotay caught up with Scout’s Corey Bender this week, but the 6-0, 205-pounder really didn’t say much different from when we interviewed him post-Maryland offer in January. Basically, the three-star has been in a holding pattern. He hasn’t taken any visits recently, doesn’t haven any standout offers, and isn’t sure which schools he’ll be able to get to. From what we were able to glean, Gotay is waiting to see which programs’ coaches pursue in earnest since it doesn’t sound like any one in particular is doing so at this juncture. (He has offers from Arizona, UMD, Iowa State, Purdue, Syracuse, UCF and Washington State). With Maryland, Gotay has had contact with UMD linebackers coach Matt Barnes, but based off his comments to Bender, we’re not sure how hard the staff is actively pushing. Sure, Barnes and Co. would like to get the Florida native up for a visit, and they’ll continue to recruit him, but they have other inside backer options to gauge before pressing for Gotay. 

-- Woodbridge (Va.) safety DaShaun Jerkins reneged on two attempts to see the Terps this week. The four-star has had regular talks with UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo and defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, who have been one of the four-star’s most potent pursuers, but Jerkins has still yet to take in College Park. He said he's rescheduling for later in the spring, but we're getting a little skeptical on this end. Regardless, in-state UNC is Jerkins’ stated leader, although the Tar Heels’ coaches may not push for a pop right now with other targets on their board. Thus, there’s a chance schools such as Maryland, NC State, Pitt, Vandy, Wake Forest and Louisville could enter the picture. But we'll have to see what happens with Jerkins the rest of this spring. We get the feeling he's pining for bigger offers and may take a look at those before cycling back if those verbals don't come in.

-- Buford (Ga.) safety Bryson Richardson visited Minnesota April 4 and then took in Stanford April 8. The three-star raved about his Minneapolis, Minn., stay and now has the Gophers as one of his main contenders. He enjoyed Palo Alto, Calif., too, but the Cardinal staff hasn’t anted up and is unlikely to. Richardson, who previously took in NC State and Tennessee, has no other trips planned. There’s a chance Richardson does visit Maryland, however, since he has family near College Park and assistant Walt Bell has been on him. Plus, the three-star is taking a deliberate approach, so a school like UMD could move up the leaderboard if Richardson eventually treks through. For now, though, he seems to be more focused on Minnesota, NC State and UT, all of which have offers out.

-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) corner Vincent Flythe didn’t make it to Maryland April 8 as anticipated, but the 5-11, 165-pound three-star said he’d be at a practice “very soon.” Flythe has been in regular communication with Terps-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, is keen on the hometown movement and likes the direction UMD is heading. He’s also looking at Rutgers (visited), NC State (visited), Boston College, Pitt (visited), Vandy, UVA (visited), Wake and Wisconsin. But the Maryland coaches have prioritized the local Flythe and seem to have his ear. In fact, of all the Woodson recruits Maryland is pursuing, Flythe might be the one who jumps on the UMD bandwagon first. Flythe doesn’t want to drag his recruitment out beyond the summer, and we could see him popping even before that.

-- Woodson (Washington, D.C.) corner Noah Boykin, like his teammate Vincent Flythe, wasn’t in attendance for UMD’s spring practice April 8. Instead, he joined another teammate, Ed Hendrix (discussed above), at Va Tech. Following the trip, Boykin placed the Hokies firmly on his radar and likely among his unstated top-five offerees. But the D.C. corner isn’t ready to publically name leaders, and there are a number of other programs’ coaches pushing for him. Maryland, UNC, WVU (visited recently), Tennessee, Louisville, Michigan State and Kentucky are all in the game for Boykin, and Oklahoma, whose staff offered April 12, is going to be there because the Sooners field former teammate Parnell Motley. The Terps are positioned well, and he should return to College Park soon enough, but since Boykin is going to wad through the process, it’s too soon to project him to UMD. His situation is likely to ebb and flow in the months ahead.  Note: Woodson linebacker Juan Wallace was at Tech too, but he doesn’t hold an offer from the Hokies. He hasn’t been back at Maryland in some time, but figures to return for a practice next week or perhaps the spring game April 22. The Terps and Duke (visited) are likely the two frontrunners, with Syracuse (visited); Rutgers (visited); and WVU (visited) in the running as well.

-- Coatesville (Pa.) cornerback Avery Young, along with his younger brother Aaron Young, has taken a couple visits the last two weekends. He was at Rutgers earlier in April, and then headed to West Point to see Army. Although Avery Young lauded the Black Knights, the 2018 corner isn’t going to Army unless his power-five suitors fall off. Rutgers is a more legitimate threat for the three-star, with Young highly complimentary of the Scarlet Knights. Young isn’t sure where he’s headed next, but offerees Maryland, Boston College, Nebraska and Syracuse are on his radar. The Coatesville prospect, who loved his fall stay in College Park, has been in touch with UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Young hasn’t declared frontrunners yet, but the Terps figure to be firmly in the mix should Abdul-Rahim push.

-- Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.) cornerback A.J. Lytton is finally coming back to Maryland for the first time since the winter April 14. Maybe UMD-area recruiter Aazaar Abdul-Rahim and the UMD staff can improve its standing with Lytton, as the Terps are sitting behind some national programs in the pecking order. It’s not that Lytton doesn’t appreciate the hometown school; he’s simply starry-eyed. So unless someone gets in his ear or he has a change of heart, it’s going to be difficult for the Terps to top Florida State (visited multiple times), Clemson (visited), Penn State (visited), Alabama and LSU. Each of the latter schools’ coaches are pursuing Lytton and top the four-star’s personal unstated leaderboard.

Terps Secure Their Quarterback

We were a bit worried Central Florida might leapfrog Maryland after the dual-threat quarterback Tyler DeSue (Bishop Sullivan/Virginia Beach, Va.) trekked through Orlando, Fla., in mid-April, but after his latest trip to College Park, it was obvious he was heading to Maryland. DeSue ended up popping April 12, becoming the program’s second 2018 pledge.

The 6-1, 192-pound three-star was last in College Park for a spring practice March 27, afterwards hinting the Terps had his eye. DeSue felt he’d fit perfectly into UMD’s up-tempo spread, and that offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Walt Bell could help develop him. Speaking of Bell, DeSue readily connected with him; area recruiter Chris Beatty; and headman D.J. Durkin, calling them “my kind of coaches.” The UMD staff has been after DeSue in earnest for several months now, and the quarterback appreciated their efforts.

To boot, DeSue loved College Park and the surrounding area. He noted the business connections available in nearby Washington, D.C., Maryland’s academic reputation and the various campus upgrades. He thinks UMD, as a university and as a football program, is about to take off in the near future.

DeSue also had NC State among his three foremost contenders, but the Wolfpack fell off when their staff landed one-time UMD target Devin Leary (discussed below). Indiana, Miami, NC State, West Virginia and UVA had offers out as well, although the only locale DeSue actually saw was Charlottesville, Va. The Cavaliers already had a quarterback commit, however, so he honed in on the Terps and Knights. UCF had one key advantage in that DeSue’s father lives in Orlando, but the Maryland coaches did enough to win the Virginia native over. Plus, DeSue couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play power-five ball in the Big Ten.

DeSue’s pledge is an important one, and not just because he’s a quarterback and his commitment elsewhere would’ve left the UMD staff scrambling. (The only other realistic signal-caller option on the Terps’ board was Chase Wolf, who we’d deemed a semi-longshot for Maryland). He’s another noted recruit out of the talent-rich 757 area, where the Terps have been intent on gaining a foothold since the Durkin regime took over. Last class, Beatty swiped four-star defensive linemen Breyon and Brandon Gaddy and four-star receiver Tahj Capehart from Bishop Sullivan, and DeSue continues the trend in 2018.

And since DeSue is a quarterback, he will naturally have some pull with other prospects. Perhaps he can help draw another talented 757 weapon or two to College Park (see: Armani Chatman, Darryl Jones and 2019 Bishop Sullivan corner Trayvion Land). DeSue personally said he’d be doing his best to hype the Terps via social media and in person, attempting to gain the ear of one of his well-regarded Bishop Sullivan teammates and others he knows in the area.

So, what is Maryland getting in the dual-threat DeSue?

The top-rated dual-threat in Virginia should transition seamlessly into UMD’s up-tempo, spread attack. He has a quick release and can complete throws both in the pocket and on the run. DeSue has an above-average arm too, flashing solid zip on sideline passes and those outside the hashmarks. He also has a decent deep ball, although he’s not going to consistently put the ball on a line down the field.

Moreover, when flushed from the pocket, or when a play breaks down, DeSue has the athleticism and speed to pick up yards in the open field. He’s no Michael Vick, but he has some shake to him and can make a defender miss.

Furthermore, DeSue sees the field well, goes through his progressions and senses how a defense will react. It’s clear he’s been playing the position for awhile, because he has a natural feel for running an offense. Additionally, DeSue doesn’t make many mistakes. He’ll take a chance when he has to, but DeSue isn’t one to throw into double coverage or become rattled in the face of a rush.

The issue with DeSue is his fundamentals. His release, follow through and footwork aren’t always consistent, which can lead to accuracy issues. That’s not to say DeSue can’t hit a receiver in stride or put touch on his tosses, but there are times he’ll throw behind targets; his elbow will drop; or his feet won’t be set properly.

The latter can all improve with another year under center and after a season at Maryland. With that in mind, DeSue isn’t someone the Terps should expect to come in and play right away. He’ll need a year to iron out his mechanics, become more comfortable in Bell’s system and gain more strength. But given DeSue’s football acumen, arm strength and athleticism, he has upside and could be a valuable piece down the line.

You can read more about DeSue HERE.

You can hear what his coach had to say about him HERE.

Anderson Is Commitment No. 3

Vineland Senior (Vineland, N.J.) outside linebacker Nihym Anderson took in Maryland for the second time April 11, and it turns out the 6-1, 230-pounder was pining to commit heading in. The understated Anderson evidently fell in love with College Park during his initial trek through the school in March, letting on to those close to him how much he liked the coaches; campus; area; academics and defensive scheme. Of course, Anderson also didn’t want another linebacker to swipe his spot, which is why he chose to commit sooner rather than later, but he’s had UMD trending for some time.

“There's nothing I didn't like about them,” said Anderson, who pledged to UMD over Syracuse, BC, Rutgers, Minnesota, Indiana and more. “I saw everything I wanted in a school there. They made me feel like home there. It all fit me, and football-wise it obviously did too.”

Anderson had a deep-rooted connection with linebackers coach Matt Barnes, liked recruiter Anthony Tucker and was impressed with head coach D.J. Durkin’s resume.  He felt he could slide right into Maryland’s defense too -- at any of the three linebacker spots. Location wasn’t a factor for him, but he appreciates that UMD is only a couple hours from home and his family can easily see his games.

Now, Anderson did say other programs would continue to recruit him, including Ohio State. But he insisted he wouldn’t be taking more visits or entertaining new offers. We’ll see if that remains true, but for the time being Anderson sounds like a firm pledge.

So, what are the Terps getting in the three-star?

The Jersey product is a downhill bulldozer who plays with reckless abandon. He’s quick off the ball, fires forward in a hurry and is a fast closer. Anderson actively plugs gaps and finds his way into the backfield.

The three-star also moves well laterally, showing solid change-of-direction and back-end pursuit. He possesses good speed and athleticism for a linebacker, while he’s strong enough to pick through the trash and make plays in traffic.

Additionally, Anderson’s a smart, heady player who anticipates well. He’s been playing the game a long time and seems to sense what offenses will do.

If that weren’t enough, Anderson’s a fiery, intense competitor and an on-field leader.

The main area of improvement for Anderson is his pass coverage. He needs to loosen up his hips, refine his footwork and work on his reads in order to drop back and pick up tight ends/receivers.

You can read more about Anderson HERE and HERE.

You can read what his coach had to say HERE.

New Offers Out

Patrick Keenan, DE, Howard W. Blake (Tampa, Fla.): The Maryland staff, per usual, is casting a wide net, tossing out offers even if they’re not immediately committable. On April 7, Terps’ assistant Brawley Evans identified the 6-6, 210-pound Keenan, who had nary a power-five look before UMD came in.

“Oh man, that offer meant everything,” said Keenan, who previously had offers from Marshall, Troy, Toledo and UMass. “I was real excited, especially because it was my first power-five offer. I’m always going to be looking at Maryland becasue of that.”

Keenan is just beginning to research Maryland, and is attempting to set up a trip to College Park. In the meantime, he’ll hit UCF April 14.

The Blake prospect has been hearing from coaches from Va Tech, but that’s the only other power-five school in close contact at this time. He’ll likely receive more interest during the evaluation period, however.

Keenan mentioned he has no coveted offers, nor is location a factor for him. He said he just wants to find a school that has his major and where he’s truly wanted.

The latter is going to be the main issue.

If the Terps, for example, do push for Keenan, the coaches could probably make serious inroads. But the Maryland staff has multiple defensive-end options on their board, so they’ll probably wait to see which direction some of them are trending before moving on Keenan.

You can read more about Keenan HERE.

Mayan Ahanotu, DE, Berkley Prep (Tampa, Fla.): Maryland assistant Brawley Evans was active in Florida last week, and one of his offers went out to the steadily-emerging three-star end Ahanotu. This reporter spoke to the 6-4, 250-pounder after Evans presented the verbal, but Ahantou said he had yet to establish a rapport with his UMD recruiter and knew little about Maryland. Ahanotu had done some initial research, though, and said, “Maryland does sound like a great place to be. I might want to go up and check it out.”

We’ll see if that actually happens.

Ahanotu visited Minnesota April 8, and he seems to have the Gophers high on his unstated leaderboard. The Gophers’ coaches have been after the three-star in earnest, piquing Ahanotu’s interest.

But Minnesota’s chances of landing the Berkley Prep product took a hit when Ahanotu pulled in a California offer. Ahanotu’s father played for the Bears, and his entire family still lives near Berkley, Calif. Now, Ahanotu insists he won’t commit to Cal just because his dad attended the school, but the feeling is the Bears are the team to beat.

Oregon State is another strong contender what with it being so close to Ahanotu’s family.

Other programs with offers out include Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, NC State, Rutgers, Wake, USF (visited) and UCF (visited).

Jayson Oweh, DE, Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.): The Terps entered the game for the 6-6, 240-pounder Oweh April 11. It was the first contact the Jersey recruit had had with UMD defensive line coach Jimmy Brumbaugh, so the three-star knew little about Maryland. He said he’d consider visiting College Park and giving the Terps a longer look, however.

But, at this juncture, Oweh is honing in on a few other mainstays, while he continues to add offers as the offseason moves along. He’s taken in hometown Rutgers multiple times and likes the Scarlet Knights a good deal. Louisville, Pitt, Vandy, Wisconsin, Syracuse and BC are in play too, with several in line for visits. Additionally, Oweh is on the radar of some national schools and could land a game-changing offer at some point.

We’ve listed Oweh “cool” on the hot board for now, but we could see the Terps gaining some ground down the line.

Jacolbe Cowan, DE, Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) (2020): Cowan is already 6-5, 250 pounds as a freshman, so it’s little wonder he has close to double-digit offers after one year of high school ball. Coaches from Georgia, Iowa State, Vanderbilt, UVA, Wisconsin and Va Tech all anted up this spring, and Maryland’s staff followed suit April 10.

Look for the SEC bigwigs and national elites to get involved soon enough. Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and others of that ilk are all monitoring the Providence Day prospect.

Kingston Harris, DT, IMG Academy (Orlando, Fla.): The 6-4, 272-pound Harris landed an offer from Maryland assistant Brawley Evans April 11. There’s a chance the Terps could make some noise here, because the three-star was receptive to the look and is willing to explore all his options.

"I mean, Maryland is in a big-time conference and they're on the come up," said Harris, who previously had verbals from Michigan State, Rutgers, Tennessee, UCF and a couple others. "I'm definitely going to be doing my research on them. I don't know that much about them now, because I only just heard from them, but it's a school I'm going to be looking more into. It's a school I'll be considering when it comes time to make my [college] decision."

But it should be noted that Harris would like to stay near his Florida home if viable options present themselves. He’s in contact with coaches from Florida, Miami, FSU and more in the SEC, and if those offers come in, they’d promptly jump his current suitors.

For now, Tennessee, whose staff offered after Harris visited Rocky Top, is one primary contender that could swipe the three-star.

You can read more about Harris HERE.

Brandon Smith, OLB/DE, Louisa County (Mineral, Va.) (2019): The linebacker Smith is one of the top 2019 recruits in Virginia, and he's been in close contact with UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty. The Terps' receivers coach invited Smith up to College Park for a visit, and the 6-5, 220-pound edge rusher did that April 13. Then, following a meeting with head coach D.J. Durkin, Smith landed his fourth offer from the Terps.

Naturally, Smith was thrilled. He loved meeting the Maryland coaches, taking in the practice and learning what UMD was all about. Smith said he'd like to come back for a game this fall too. 

Beatty and Co. have done well early here, but it's way too soon to read much into it. Smith was just as complimentary of Va Tech, UVA and Duke after receiving those offers, and he's on the radar of Big Ten and SEC elites. Penn State, whose coaches are keeping tabs, could be anteing up soon, and Smith already has the Nittany Lions firmly on his radar. Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan and more are taking a gander at the Louisa County prospect as well.

Antoine Sampah, ILB, Woodbridge (Va.) (2020): The 6-1, 205-pound Sampah is the next big thing out of Woodbridge, and April 12 UMD assistant Aazaar Abdul-Rahim tossed him an offer. It was Sampah’s fourth to date, with ECU; UNC; and Va Tech all coming in during March. The 2020 recruit will have loads more verbals to consider in the next year or two.

Nate Bauer, S, Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio): The Maryland staff is casting a wide net, and April 13 an offer went out to the three-star safety Bauer. It was the 6-1, 185-pounder’s fourth power-five look, the Terps joining BC; Syracuse; and Minnesota.

“That was a huge offer for me,” said Bauer, who has been in communication with UMD defensive coordinator Andy Buh. “I love the Big Ten, so it was a real cool offer. The coaches are coming to the school to see me next week too. And I’m looking forward to seeing them [in College Park, Md.] at some point. Coach Buh was talking about how he really liked my film and would love to see me in person. He likes me as a safety. We were talking a little about the program, but mainly just introductory stuff. He seems like a good guy.”

Bauer just might follow through with that College Park visit later during the spring. But first he’s heading back to Syracuse, which is the frontrunner. Bauer lauded his initial New York stay and hinted SU could be his ultimate destination.

Other suitors might emerge during the evaluation period, and Bauer suggested he’d entertain them and possibly visit. But we’ll see how many he gets to before his self-imposed college-decision deadline of late-May/early-June.

You can read more about Bauer HERE.

Keidron Smith, CB, Oxbridge Academy (West Palm Beach, Fla.): Smith added a Terps’ offer from defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim April 11. But the three-star didn’t have much to say about Maryland since he’d only just heard from the staff. Maybe Abdul-Rahim can coax the 6-2, 180-pounder up for a College Park visit, but currently the three-star has ACC on the brain.

Smith called Duke and Louisville his two leaders in March, and that remains the case presently. That said, coaches from LSU, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UNC and Kentucky have anted up and are making a run, so it wouldn’t shock if Smith explored other locales.

We’ll list him “cool” on the hot board in case Abdul-Rahim can gain inroads, but our gut is Smith is going to wind up in the ACC or SEC.

NyQuee Hawkins, CB, Orange (N.J.) (2019): Hawkins is one of the top defensive backs in the Northeast in his class, and April 11 he snagged his 13th verbal from Maryland defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. Prior to that, he had looks from Penn State, Michigan, UNC, WVU, Minnesota, Pitt, Va Tech, Rutgers, BC, NC State, UConn, Pitt and ODU.

The two Big Ten mainstays, Penn State and Michigan, have his eye early. Hawkins has been in State College before and loved what he saw, and he’s attempting to head out to Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Jersey corner has seen UNC, NC State, WVU and Pitt too. Let’s see if he takes in Maryland down the line.

Off The Board

Devin Leary, QB, Timber Creek (Sicklerville, N.J.): In a somewhat-surprising development, Maryland’s former No. 1 quarterback target, Leary, committed to NC State April 7. The Jersey gunslinger visited Raleigh, N.C., in March, receiving the offer while in town, but we were told the Wolfpack likely had significant ground to make up since others like UMD and Syracuse had been after Leary for much longer.

The Terps, for their part, had quarterbacks coach Walt Bell after Leary, with the four-star taking a keen liking to the Maryland offensive coordinator and his offense. Leary even ventured down to UMD three times, showing genuine interest in attending school in College Park.

But evidently the Pack coaches won the dual-threat over. Leary easily connected with the staff, believing the offensive coaches could develop him like they have some of their previous quarterbacks. Moreover, the Timber Creek four-star loved NC State’s system and thinks he could fit right into it. Leary liked the atmosphere in Raleigh, the players in the program and various other aesthetic qualities as well.

Chase Wolf, QB, St. Xavier (Cincinnati, Ohio): Wolf was trending away from Maryland anyway, but he can officially come off the board now that the Terps have their quarterback in Tyler DeSue. Wolf, who never visited College Park, may be favoring South Carolina after pulling the offer during a campus visit. Boston College, with its standout academics, is on the brain too, as is hometown Cincinnati.

Iverson Clement, RB, Rancocas Valley (Mt. Holly, N.J.): Well, so much for that.

A couple weeks ago, we suggested the four-star Clement could fall through the cracks some since staffs from Ohio State and Michigan are looking in different directions. But before all his national offers dried up, Clement jumped on the one he had left: Florida. He ended up committing April 13.

Tommy Tremble, TE, Johns Creek (Alpharetta, Ga.): Tremble was a tentative hot board add when he received a Maryland offer April 3, but we’re going to take him off altogether now. The Johns Creek product landed an offer from Georgia during a campus visit April 10 and promptly named the Bulldogs his leader. UGA is where Tremble’s father played, and the rising-star tight end is almost certain to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

True, Tremble doesn’t want to commit before seeing some other locales such as Tennessee, South Carolina, Minnesota, Vandy and Maryland. But unless he has a serious change of heart, Tremble’s not going to be swayed from UGA.

Alim McNeill, DT, Sanderson (Raleigh, N.C.): We placed McNeill back on the hot board, because he was supposed to visit College Park April 14. But it doesn’t sound like the trip is going to come to fruition. McNeill told our Scout colleague Don Callahan he was going to be at FSU and Florida April 14-15, and those are the only two trips he has planned.

Furthermore, McNeill, who is coming off another UNC foray, basically admitted the Tar Heels had the edge in his recruitment.  But even if McNeill doesn’t go to North Carolina, we don’t envision him leaving the South for college.

Azeez Ojulari, DE, Marietta (Ga.): That didn’t last long. A couple weeks after landing a Maryland offer and saying he was interested in visiting College Park, Ojulari’s recruitment exploded. Now, he seems focused on a few “name” programs. Most notably, Notre Dame, which came in with an offer April 6. UND’s combination of academics and athletic prowess have Ojulari’s attention.

Oklahoma, Tennessee, Auburn and South Carolina are in the race too, with more bound to enter later during the spring.

Patrick Joyner, DE, South Dade (Homestead, Fla.): A week after Joyner went on the hot board, he came right back off. The three-star end committed to Florida State April 7. The Terps’ coaches barely had a chance to make a move here.

Khalid Jones, ILB, James Byrnes (Duncan, S.C.): Even as Jones’ profile expanded, we kept him on the hot board because he’d visited College Park; had family in the 410; and kept in contact with Maryland’s staff. But earlier this week the three-star backer told our Scout colleagues he had Ole Miss, Duke, Clemson, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Wisconsin atop his leaderboard. He’s checked out most of those southern suitors and figures to wind up at one of them.

Telly Plummer, CB, Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Ga.): So much for heading to Maryland on his spring break. Rather than venture a bit further north to College Park, Plummer stopped off at Virginia Tech to see the Hokies. Following the visit, the three-star has the Hokies trending, alongside Louisville. Plummer was smitten with Tech’s defensive coaches, their reputation for developing corners, and the environment in Blacksburg.

It should be noted that Notre Dame’s staff just anted up earlier in April too, and Plummer is eager to check out South Bend, Ind.

It’s possible UMD-area recruiter Brawley Evans and teammate-turned-Terp Sean Nelson can coax Plummer north for a visit, but we’re somewhat skeptical after the first reneged attempt. Maybe if the Langston Hughes product slips a bit, it’ll allow the Terps to pounce. At the moment, though, he seems focused on Va Tech, Louisville and potentially some bigwigs like Notre Dame.


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