Inside linebacker Nick DeNucci (Pope John XXIII/Sparta, N.J.) has held a Maryland offer since February, and the 6-foot-1, 225-pound thumper has been eager to visit College Park, Md., ever since. He finally had a chance April 22 for the Terps’ spring game.
“It was pretty amazing down at Maryland. The atmosphere there is incredible, and the coaches are great,” said DeNucci, who has offers from UMD, Rutgers, BC, Syracuse, Pitt, Louisville, WVU, Temple, Army and Navy. “Maryland is actually pretty high up there for me now. Just going down there, I really liked what I saw, so they’re pretty high on my list. But now I’ll sit down the next couple months, reevaluate things after the spring, and we’ll see what happens.”
DeNucci said the highlight of his stay was meeting head coach D.J. Durkin and recruiter/position coach Matt Barnes. DeNucci has been in consistent contact with Barnes since February, the two exchanging messages multiple times each week.
“Coach Durkin is doing really great things with his team, and he really cares about his players. Just from seeing him with the players [at the spring game] and then talking to him, I can tell he really cares,” DeNucci said. “And obviously he had a great recruiting class last year, and some of the players he brought in are amazing. It’s definitely a chance to be part of something special at Maryland, which why it’s a school I’m going to be looking at.
“And Coach Barnes, we have a great relationship. He actually put together a cool video for me, showing me some of my plays [at Pope John XXIII] and comparing them with what they do at Maryland. He was explaining to me and my dad how I’d fit in there, and it was a really good, detailed explanation.”
The Jersey three-star liked watching Durkin and Barnes in action too. Despite the rainy weather, DeNucci called the spring game “great.”
“The team looked pretty good, and I liked how aggressive the defense was,” DeNucci said. “But I noticed there’s a lot of opportunities at linebacker. They’re a little light at that position, so it looks like a great opportunity to come in and play and maybe start early.”
DeNucci and his father had a chance to tour some of the campus and see the off-campus player dorms as well. They also drove through College Park and the surrounding area.
“The dorms are really, really nice, and it’s pretty crazy how the campus is. Everything is connected together, and it’s like a great college town right there on campus,” said DeNucci, who mentioned his dad was impressed with UMD as well. “It’s right next to D.C. too, which is pretty cool.”
The Pope John prospect is unsure where he’s headed next. He’s already seen Syracuse, Rutgers, BC, Pitt and now Maryland.
“I’ve got to see how things go this spring. I want to see what comes in [offer-wise], and then I’ll see where I can visit,” said DeNucci, who insists he has no clear-cut leaders. “But I definitely want to get to back to Pitt, BC, Syracuse and Rutgers, and there’s a couple others I want to get to as well. Bu I’m not too sure on everything yet. I have to reevaluate after the spring.”
DeNucci also isn’t sure exactly when he wants to commit. Ideally, he’d like to have his school chosen by late summer, but allowed he could wait until the fall.
“I’m still seeing what schools I can make it to this summer, and then I’m thinking about whether I want to take official visits or not,” DeNucci said. “That plays a big part in my decision.”