Class of 2019 running back Joachim Bangda (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.) entered the spring with one offer from Michigan State, but since then the 5-foot-10, 210-pounder’s recruitment has increased exponentially. The former St. John’s (Washington, D.C.) standout, who transferred to St. Frances just recently, said he now has looks from Alabama, Ohio State, UCLA, Va Tech, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers and Syracuse.
“It’s been very exciting for me. What happened was all these coaches came by a workout we had at St. Frances, and they told my coaches they really, really liked me. Then Coach [Biff] Poggi let me know I had all these offers,” said Bangda, who lives in the D.C. area. “But I’m going to keep working hard so that these great coaches will continue to recognize me and that I can continue to be recruited by them. I still have a lot to prove.”
Terps’ D.C. recruiter, Aazaar Abdul-Rahim, identified the runner while he was at St. John’s. But more recently Bangda has been talking to running backs coach Anthony Tucker.
“I’m building a really good relationship with Coach Tucker and Maryland. When I speak to him, he tells me I can just show up and am always welcome at Maryland,” Bangda said. “That makes me feel good; it’s part of building a family environment, which is big for me. Also, Coach Aazaar is great too. I’ve known him or awhile too.”
Bangda has been in College Park, Md., a couple times, most recently for a spring practice. He said he liked what he saw from the players and coaches, speaking to their welcoming demeanors and on-field intensity.
“Maryland is high for me at the moment. They’re always going to be one of my choice because of the respect I have for the coaches and that school,” Bangda said. “What they’re doing there with the DMV [movement] talk, it’s a great idea. They’re building up a presence in the area, and they have a promising future with the [recruits] they’re getting. It’s a great thing they’re doing.”
So far, Bangda has visited Maryland, Rutgers, Penn State (no offer yet) and Ohio State. He’ll be getting to Michigan State, Alabama and Va Tech this summer.
He said the Ohio State visit and subsequent offer grabbed his attention.
“Ohio State is a top 25 program nationally, and they have a great medical program. I want to be a neurosurgeon if football doesn’t work out for me, so schools with good programs in that field are going to be up there for me,” Bangda said. “And I love the coaches, the atmosphere, the players and the history they have with running backs. Coach [Urban] Meyer is a great coach. He sets his players up to succeed and make sure they follow certain criteria to accomplish their goals – which is to win championships.”
Bangda hasn’t visited Michigan State yet, but said since the Spartans were first to recognize his talents they’re “always going to be there for me.”
“They’re going to be top school for me,” Bangda said. “I’m excited to visit this summer.”
The St. Frances recruit mentioned he’s done research on Bama and Va Tech too, which is why he singled out both as visit destinations. Bangda noted Tide head coach Nick Saban’s reputation and how he sets his team up to win titles, while mentioning he’s heard plenty of positives about Tech as well.
But Bangda said he’s open to all suitors and will consider each program that chooses to offer. He’s not looking for any in particular, however, nor does he have any dream schools or early leaders.
But the burly runner does have a plan for how he’ll move forward in his recruitment.
“I’m going to go through the whole process, see what’s out there, research each of these schools and form a top-five [leaderboard] next year,” Bangda said. “Then I’m going to take my five officials after my senior season. I’m looking for great academics, which all these schools have, but also a place where I feel welcome and comfortable. I want a place where I can trust the coaches and be able to talk to them and [bounce] ideas off of them.”
Bangda, who missed two games last season with an ankle injury, rushed for 865 yards and six touchdowns on 51 carries for St. John’s. He decided to transfer to St. Frances for a variety of different reasons.
“One, I have an opportunity to take more college-ready classes and be ahead of some incoming freshmen when I graduate high school. It’s not set that I’m going to graduate early but I’m working on it,” Bangda said. “Then it’s just a great opportunity here and it’s the coaching environment I was looking for. Not that there aren’t great coaches at St. John’s, but this was just more what I was looking for.”