Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.) cornerback D.J. Crossen had mainly been visiting colleges in relative close proximity to his Greensboro home, but April 22 he and his family made the long drive up north to College Park, Md. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound three-star had been wanting to see Maryland for quite some time, and he decided to head up for the Terps’ spring game.
“Maryland is one school that’s always been on my radar, and I had a chance to finally get up there,” said Crossen, who has offers from UMD, UNC, NC State, Duke, Tennessee, Va Tech, South Carolina, WVU, Louisville, Kentucky and more. “I was always curious about them and knew they were on the come-up because of the 2017 class they just signed, and now after taking the visit and sitting down with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim], that really put Maryland up there for me. I had a great time, and I’ll definitely be back in the summer.”
Crossen said the highlight of his day-long stay in College Park was indeed talking with Abdul-Rahim and headman D.J. Durkin. He said both were very accommodating to he and his family and delivered a poignant message.
“Coach Aazaar was the best part of the visit. He’s so straight up with me and knows where I come from, because he was a high-school coach for so many years,” said Crossen, who mentioned he speaks to Abdul-Rahim and area recruiter Pete Lembo multiple times each week (“I have a great relationship with both”). “He compared me to Jalen Tabor and guys he’d coached like that. That was really important and meant a lot to me, comparing me to guys that are going to be pros.
“And Coach Durkin, he said it’s a family up there and the program is absolutely on the rise. He talked about how they had best recruit class they’ve ever had in 2017 and it’s looking good in 2018 too. I could definitely tell that just from being there that things are really looking up for Maryland.”
Crossen and his folks toured College Park, saw the off-campus player dorms, learned about the new facilities, and familiarized themselves with the school’s academics too.
“The school and the campus were great,” Crossen said. “What I really liked about the school is they have one of the top communications programs in the country, and that’s what I want to major in. That’s a huge plus. And the housing was great too. It’s a real nice place to live there, and the players are treated well. I liked the area a lot too, just the feel of the place and how it’s close to D.C.”
The Dudley corner of course had a chance to watch the spring game as well. But Crossen was rather blunt when describing the intra-squad scrimmage. He said it would have been “10 times better” if it wasn’t raining and there were more fans, although he still enjoyed watching the defense work and the coaches interacting with the players.
“Coach Durkin expressed that because of the weather he wanted things to flow through and didn’t want to get guys hurt,” Crossen said. “I understood that. It was all good.
“But I will say one thing I noticed was how some of the players up there from the 2017 class, they already fit right in. Like, the guys I met, they already were comfortable with everyone there. So that showed me it really is like a family there and a great place to be.”
Evidently Crossen’s family thought so too.
“My parents loved it up there,” he said. “They loved talking to the coaches and being on campus.”
Besides UMD, Crossen has trekked through Duke, UNC, Tennessee, NC State and Va Tech. Next up, he wants to take in South Carolina, WVU, Louisville and Kentucky. (For what it’s worth, Crossen said he’s “real close” with coaches from Louisville and is eager to see the Cardinals).
“As of right now, I do have some standouts, but I do want to evaluate all the schools and visit most of the schools that have offered me before making a top six or seven [favorites list],” Crossen said. “But right now I’d say definitely Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina, UNC, Va Tech, WVU and Louisville are some programs standing out.”
Crossen said he’d likely take a few fall officials before selecting a school towards the end, or after, his senior season.