DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) four-star guard Evan Gregory and four-star defensive tackle Austin Fontaine committed to Maryland April 22 before the Terps’ spring game. Afterwards, we spoke to their head coach, Elijah Brooks, to gain more insight into the two touted recruits.
Terrapin Times: Coach, this is becoming a yearly thing for you now, sending kids to Maryland. But this is the first time sending two at once on the same day. What are your thoughts on Austin and Evan committing on the same day?
Elijah Brooks: Well, Evan had come to me awhile ago and expressed he wanted to commit. We just wanted to make sure he was sure, so we told him to take his spring break and really talk with his family and think about it. And Austin kind of wanted to get the recruiting process over with. He’s not one who wanted to talk to a million coaches or things like that.
Both of them have been good friends since they were young, and they decided they wanted to make the big decision on the same day. They worked it out between them. They wanted to do it sooner rather than later, and they spoke with coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], and he said, ‘Why don’t we do it before the spring game?’ Both families agreed to it, and they went ahead with it.
TT: Coach, every time we talk about a commit you tell us it’s an honor to send a local kid to the hometown school. But this DeMatha to Maryland pipeline really seems to be humming now.
EB: Yeah, you know, I think that Coach [DJ] Durkin and his staff have done a phenomenal job not only connecting with our kids, but kids across the entire area. Guys really believe in the future of Maryland. Maryland as a university has a lot to offer kids academically. All the way around it’s been good for DeMatha and our kids. It’s really going pretty good now.
TT: Coach, we knew Evan liked Maryland a lot and was probably going to wind up there. Austin, we knew he liked Maryland too, but he also seemed to be looking hard at Ohio State and some other big programs. Were you surprised he didn’t go back, visit and entertain those more?
EB: Austin has always said that Maryland was his dream school. His older brother, who doesn’t play sports, is a senior at Maryland. And he’s really close with his mom. He didn’t have ambitions to go far from home. So he wasn’t necessarily caught up on some of the bigger programs; he just wanted to go where he was most comfortable at. He was sure Maryland was the spot for him.
TT: Can you give us a scouting report on these guys, what Evan brings as a guard and Austin as a defensive tackle?
EB: With Evan, he has the flexibility on the high school level to play all three positions, much like Marcus [Minor] did. He can snap, play guard and play tackle. He’ll definitely be an inside guy at the next level. But he’s mean, he plays with good bend, he has real strong hands and can control guys on blocks. He’s extremely competitive.
Austin is one of the most athletic defensive linemen I’ve ever coached. He has a real strong lower body and can really wear on offensive lines. He can take on double teams and then take on linebackers at the next level. He’s a fantastic player all the way around.
But both of them are going to do a great job at the next level. They both have very high ceilings.
TT: And what do Evan and Austin need to work on?
EB: Evan I really want to see him work on his feet. Any time he gets in trouble he stops moving his feet. We’re going to continue honing in on his footwork. And he has to get stronger, both upper and lower body.
With Austin, we really want to work on his hands. Defensively, he’s stronger than a lot of guys in high school, but he has to work on getting his hands better against the better competition next year. So both have things to work on, but they’re going to be real good players.
TT: Now that Evan and Austin are on board, do you think the other top recruits you guys have are going to be considering Maryland even more now? Like Judson Tallandier, DeMarcco Hellams, guys like that?
EB: All of our guys are different in their own way. It obviously helps their teammates are going there, but they all have their own individual goals and aspirations.. So I’m not sure how Evan and Austin committing are going to effect the rest of the class, but it doesn’t hurt.
TT: Just from talking to both these guys Coach, Evan seems very reserved and humble, and Austin is quieter too. How are they around their teammates and what’s their character like?
EB: They fit in real well with their teammates. Both of them are pretty reserved off the field. They’re not real out going guys. They’ll talk to you, but they don’t like a whole lot of attention. So when they were doing their college announcement, they didn’t want to go a top five or anything like that. They’re true linemen. They want to get the job done and move on to the next things. That pretty much sums up who they are.