The Terps have their quarterback.
In an anticipated April 12 announcement at his high school, three-star dual threat Tyler DeSue (Bishop Sullivan/Virginia Beach, Va.) chose Maryland over Central Florida.
“I’m really excited about it. I called Coach [Walt] Bell and Coach [D.J.] Durkin earlier and told them I was coming, and they were all hyped. They’re happy to have me on board, and I can’t wait to get up there,” said DeSue, who at one time had offers from NC State, Indiana, WVU, UVA and Miami, in addition to UMD and UCF. “Honestly, though, I’ve known I wanted to be at Maryland for awhile. Just the vibe there, the coaches, the offense they run fits me perfectly, and just what Coach Durkin is doing there, I wanted to be apart of that. I think I can go in there and make an impact on a program on the rise.
“Also, it’s a place I want to be. I love it at Maryland. And what the coaches are doing there is special. They’re bringing in top recruiting classes and it’s only going to get better.”
The 6-foot-1, 192-pounder said the Maryland coaches, first and foremost, sold him on the school. DeSue has known area recruiter Chris Beatty since last year, and has been developing a bond with offensive coordinator Walt Bell and the headman Durkin since February.
“Coach Bell and I have a great relationship. He texts me just to see how I’m doing, just checking in on how school is going and my workouts,” said DeSue, who began his career at Ocean Lakes High before transferring to Bishop Sullivan before last season. “We talk a lot of football too. He wants his guys involved in decision making and he’s really hands-on with the quarterbacks. He’s going to really help develop me and improve my game.
“And Coach Beatty, I’ve known him for awhile now. He’s from this area and has a lot of ties down here. He gets what it’s like down here and relates to you well. We can talk about anything, and he’s done a great job recruiting not just me, but other guys down here as well.”
It’s Bell’s offense, though, that had DeSue smitten. Bishop Sullivan implements a spread, and when DeSue trekked up to College Park, Md., in February, he was thrilled that Maryland employed many of the same concepts as his high school team.
“Coach Bell is a great coach and he’s really high energy, and his offense is the same way,” DeSue said. “It’s fast-paced, up-tempo, and they spread the ball around. The quarterback has to be on-point and know what he’s doing, make all the right decisions. That’s what’s expected of me here [at Bishop Sullivan], so I love it. The offense at Maryland is going to fit me perfectly.”
DeSue ending up taking two UMD trips before deciding to spend his next four years in College Park. He first saw the school during a February visit with his coach, afterwards saying the Terps were “definitely going to be one of my top schools.” A little more than a month later, on March 27, DeSue returned for Maryland’s first spring practice. It turns out that latter foray, in which the quarterback had a chance to watch the offense live, basically sealed him to the Terps.
“Just seeing how intense it was there, and all the competition, I was really drawn to that,” DeSue said. “They style there and how passionate the coaches are, I could see that in the practice.
“I still was thinking about some of my other options, but a couple of them got commitments, so that kind of [accelerated the process]. But I was always high on Maryland, though. I honestly love it there.”
It wasn’t just the staff and the spread that had DeSue thinking turtles, however. He thoroughly enjoyed walking around campus, seeing the renovated player dorms, checking out the weight room under the watch of strength coach Rick Court (DeSue is a big fan), and learning about the school’s standout academics. The coming $156 million facility upgrades caught his eye too, DeSue eager to use New Cole and the indoor fields. Plus, DeSue noted the various internship opportunities available in nearby Washington, D.C., while he liked the university’s relatively close proximity to his 757 home.
“The opportunities you have there are unbelievable,” DeSue said. “You’re right outside D.C., which is the most powerful city in the world. There’s so much to do around there too. It’s an exciting place to be.
“And just everything that’s going at Maryland with the facilities and all the new buildings – it’s great. I mean, who wouldn’t want to go there right now?”
Add it all up, and it was quite clear DeSue was bound for Maryland.
But that wasn’t necessarily always the case.
Although DeSue had been on Bell and Beatty’s radar since last year, the Terps didn’t pursue him right away. Their top two realistic quarterback options in the 2018 class were actually Artur Sitkowski (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) and Devin Leary (Timber Creek/Sicklerville, N.J.), both of whom visited College Park last year and during the winter. But after the Jersey native Sitkowski started gathering national attention, making it clear he wasn’t coming to Maryland, the Terps’ staff moved on DeSue as another option to Leary. The Bishop Sullivan signal caller visited College Park Feb. 18 for the first time, and after that extended stay, DeSue pulled in the coveted offer.
“The Maryland coaches said they were going to offer me before, but they wanted to do it in person, and that meant a lot,” DeSue said. “I was really excited at the time. Coach Bell and Coach Durkin said they loved how I could make all the throws and make plays with my feet. They thought I’d be a really good fit for their offense.”
That they did, but it didn’t stop the Maryland coaches from continuing to pursue Devin Leary. The four-star Garden State gunslinger seemingly had Maryland and Syracuse trending for quite some time, and many projected him to College Park given his rapport with Bell. But after a spring trek through the Carolinas, and a subsequent offer from NC State, Leary’s situation changed. He jumped at the chance to play for the Wolfpack, whose staff has developed NFL quarterbacks, leaving the Terps to go all-in for DeSue.
The coaches’ efforts the last three months paid off, even though Maryland was actually the sixth Division I offer for the Virginia Beach native. WVU, Indiana, NC State, UVA and UCF all came in right around the New Year before Maryland entered the picture in mid-February. But DeSue didn’t consider venturing out to the Midwest for IU, the WVU coaches didn’t push, and UVA already had a quarterback pledge.
Thus, DeSue honed in on Maryland, NC State and UCF, all of which had coaches after the three-star in earnest. The Wolfpack looked like a viable option after DeSue trekked through Raleigh, N.C., and connected with the staff. But NC State fell by the wayside when the coaches landed Leary earlier in April.
That left Maryland and UCF, with DeSue having visited Orlando, Fla., in early-April. Central Florida seemingly had a key advantage in that DeSue’s father lives in Orlando, not to mention they also run a spread offense and had the coaches in his ear. But he popped to Maryland anyway citing the UMD staff’s consistent overtures; his comfort level on campus; and the chance to play power-five ball just three hours from his 757 home.
“Now, I’m trying to get everybody to go to Maryland,” DeSue said. “Guys like [receiver] Darryl Jones, [corner] Trayvion Land, a bunch of guys. I’m going to be on guys to take a look at Maryland because of what they have going on there.
“[The Terps] already got some guys out of Bishop Sullivan last year, and they’re getting the attention of a lot of guys in Virginia Beach. I’m going to do my best to help with that.”
DeSue gives the Terps yet another dual-threat option with a pass-first mentality, a la UMD’s 2017 quarterback signee, Kasim Hill. The Bishop Sullivan prospect has a good (not great) arm, showing he can complete passes down the field and outside the hashmarks. He releases the ball quickly, sees the field well, goes through his progressions and knows how to decipher a defense. And if a play breaks down, DeSue has the wheels and moves to pick up yards with his feet. To boot, DeSue’s a leader who remains calm under pressure and can take charge of the offense.
He does have some mechanical issues to iron out, and accuracy can be an issue at times, but the arm, savvy, smarts and athleticism suggest a solid upside.
“I think I bring a lot to the table for an offense, and I know I’ve got to keep working. That’s a big thing with the Maryland coaches – nothing is given to you and you have to work,” said DeSue, who will attempt to graduate early. “I’m ready to do that as soon as I get there.”