TTDave's Inside The Shell

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.

Welcome to our next edition of Inside the Shell, the weekly Maryland football-recruiting roundup.

Bryant On Board & The TE Situation

It was questionable whether or not the Maryland staff was going to accept the 6-foot-6, 225-pound Maleak Bryant’s (Mays/Atlanta, Ga.) commitment right away – that’s why the recruit didn’t pop post-College Park, Md., trip back in April -- but apparently they were ready to after offensive coordinator Walt Bell watched the tight end at a mid-May Mays High workout. Bryant then let head coach D.J. Durkin, position coach Pete Lembo and Bell know May 21 he wanted in at UMD.

“I chose to do this now because I just didn’t see the point in waiting any longer,” said Bryant, who was also being pursued by Iowa State’s staff. “Maryland just felt like home when I was up there, they have a top program for what I want to major in and the offensive coordinator is going to use my the way my high school does now – as a flex tight end. Everything there just seemed to fit. The coaches there treat you like family. I’ve known Coach Bell and Coach Lembo for a minute there and they’re talking to me like every day. Coach Lembo, he’s been great because we talk about more than just football. He’s a really good guy to talk to and always checks in on me. 

“And I feel like Coach Bell is a great coach and I liked what he’s been saying to me too. He said they don’t have tight ends like me on the roster now, and they want guys who can get down the field and make plays. He wants to make them a bigger part of the offense, and he thinks I can be like the guy he had at North Carolina, Eric Ebron. That made me feel great, for him to think I can do that kind of thing for his offense.”

Bryant went on to praise the College Park campus, the dorm renovations, the new facility upgrades and the communications degree. He likes the post-grad opportunities available to him given the connections Maryland provides in the sports-journalism field.

Now, the Mays tight end will head out to Iowa State with his teammate, receiver Amir Abdur-Rahman, but Bryant said he wouldn’t be seriously entertaining the Cyclones. It’s possible he could delve into any new suitors that may emerge once his senior film is evaluated, but for now Bryant’s all Maryland. (His offers from Tennessee, Rutgers and Pitt aren’t currently committable).

So, what are the Terps getting in Bryant?

He’s a long, athletic tight end who has big, soft hands and can make plays up top. Bryant has solid body control, is physical in air, and is willing to give himself up to come down with jump balls over the middle. Additionally, he knows how to find the soft spots in a defense and has good field awareness.

Bryant is going to have to improve his get-off, cuts and long speed, however. He will have to expand his route tree and work on getting in and out of his breaks much quicker too. He obviously must add weight and work on his blocking as well. 

In all likelihood, Bryant is going to need a redshirt year to build up his body and to hone his fundamentals. He has upside, but could eventually wind up as a defensive end if he doesn’t develop offensively.

You can read what Bryant had to say HERE.

You can read what his coach had to say about him HERE.

With Bryant on board, look for the UMD coaches to go after one more tight end to compliment him. None of the current true tight-end offerees are projected to College Park at this time, so it’s possible someone like receiver/defensive end Tyree Henry (St. Frances/Baltimore, Md.) or hybrid Chig Okonkwo (Hillgrove/Powder Springs, Ga.) could fill that slot.

The 6-4, 215-pound Henry is keeping the Terps under firm consideration and remains in regular contact with recruiters Matt Barnes and Brawley Evans, but he wants to see what offers he can procure during his senior season. Many programs, including Maryland’s to an extent, are taking a wait-and-see approach to see if Henry can bounce back from a spinal cord injury. Henry’s intent on proving himself and re-acquiring the offers/interest he had before he went down last season. (Henry claims offers from UMD, WVU, Pitt, Syracuse and Va Tech, but it’s really only the Terps right now who have him near the top of the board).

As for the 6-3, 225-pound Okonkwo, he’s basically honing in on his two power-five options: Maryland and Georgia Tech. He’s been to both schools and had plenty of praise for each. But Okonkwo, who’s in communication with UMD’s Walt Bell, has no intention of committing until after his senior season. He’s keeping an open mind for now as he waits for more options to materialize.

The other somewhat realistic Maryland tight-end options are Archbishop Wood’s (Warminster, Pa.) Kyle Pitts and Rumson Fairhaven’s (Rumson, N.J.) Elijah McAllister. But we don’t anticipate either winding up in College Park unless the Terps can benefit from a few breaks.

Pitts has been to Maryland and has a close-knit bond with recruiter Anthony Tucker, tight ends coach Pete Lembo, and offensive coordinator Walt Bell. In fact, he listed those assistants as some of his most ardent pursuers, alongside Florida; Va Tech; and Tennessee. Pitts should be back in College Park later in June for a deeper look at the school. But he’s always seemed a bit starry-eyed, which is why he’s still listed “cool” on the hot board. Pitts will be at Florida for the first time June 10, and he’s planning out a trip to Tennessee. Moreover, he could camp at Ohio State and Alabama in hopes of drawing offers from the Buckeyes and Tide. Virginia Tech’s staff, meanwhile, has made significant inroads and could lead for Pitts’ services.

As for McAllister, he has not trekked through UMD yet, but said he’ll be in town this summer. Some of his foremost contenders, such as Tennessee, aren’t willing to “take” him right now, so it’s possible he could drop to Maryland. But Rutgers, which has hosted McAllister a couple times, has left an impression, and Michigan State; Pitt; and Cuse are on the radar too. The three-star is also intent on proving he can play at the FBS elites this summer during camp season.

Running Down Where Maryland Stands With (Realistic) Targets

* = Immediate “take”/Priority recruit

Quarterbacks (Take 1)

Tyler DeSue: Firmly committed

Running Backs (Take 1)

*Mychale Salahuddin, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): USC, Oklahoma, Michigan, Arkansas, UNC, Maryland

Receivers (Take 4)

*Darryl Jones, Princess Anne (Virginia Beach, Va.): Maryland

*Dontay Demus, Friendship Collegiate (Washington, D.C.): Maryland, Louisville, Michigan State

*Tyree Henry, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): Maryland

*Robert Mayo, Freedom (South Riding, Va.): Maryland, Wake Forest

*Ed Hendrix, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): UNC, Maryland, Syracuse, Va Tech, Arkansas

*Daniel George, Oxon Hill (Md.): Penn State, Va Tech, Maryland, WVU

Sean Ryan, Erasmus Hall (Brooklyn, N.Y.): RU, Nebraska, Maryland

David Robinson, Hempfield (Landisville, Pa.): Maryland, Rutgers

Joseph Wilkins, North Fort Myers (Fla.): South Carolina, UCF, Maryland, Iowa State, Notre Dame

Jeshaun Jones, South Fort Myers (Fla.): UGA, UT, Oregon, Arkansas, Maryland, USF

Amir Abdur-Rahman, Mays (Atlanta, GA.): Iowa State, ECU, Maryland

Tight Ends (Take 2)

Maleak Bryant: Firmly committed, may explore other options down the road

*Chig Okonkwo, Hillgrove (Powder Springs, Ga.): Maryland, Georgia Tech

*Kyle Pitts, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.): Florida, Va Tech, Tennessee, Maryland

*Elijah McAllister, Rumson Fair Haven (Rumson, N.J.): Rutgers, Syracuse, Maryland, Michigan State

Offensive Tackles (Take 3)

*Justin Johnson, Imhotep (Philadelphia, Pa.): Maryland, Temple

*Aidan Rafferty, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.): Maryland, Va Tech

*Jaelyn Duncan, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): Penn State, Maryland, LSU, Ohio State

*Rasheed Walker, North Point (Waldorf, Md.): Penn State, UNC, Ohio State, Maryland, Va Tech

*T.J. Bradley, Lackawanna (Scranton, Pa.): Penn State, Maryland, WVU, Pitt, Va Tech

*Jalynn Strickland, Ware County (Waycross, Ga.): Arkansas, NC State, Maryland, Minnesota

*Wyatt Campbell, Lugoff Elgin (Lugoff, S.C.): Duke, NC State, Louisville, Va Tech, Mizzou, UVA, Maryland

Hamilton Hall, Chamblee (Ga.): Mississippi State, Maryland, Indiana, UCF, Ga State

Spencer Anderson, McNamara (Forestville, Md.): Wake, Maryland, BC, Kentucky

Qadir White, Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.): Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers, Syracuse

Nick Lewis, Bolles School (Jacksonville, Fla.): Mizzou, Iowa State, Maryland, Colorado State, UCF

Offensive Guards/Centers (Take 1-2)

Evan Gregory: Firmly committed

*Jake Kradel, Butler Area (Pa.): Ohio State, Pitt, Wisconsin, Maryland

Zack Zambrano, American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.): Maryland

Defensive Tackles/Ends (Take 3)

Austin Fontaine: Firmly committed, unlikely to explore unless a program like Ohio State really wants him.

*Eyabi Anoma, St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.): Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State, Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, Florida

*PJ Mustipher, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.): Notre Dame, Penn State, Va Tech, Maryland, Tennessee, Michigan State

*Jalen Alexander, Western Branch (Chesapeake, Va.): Va Tech, WVU, Maryland, Duke, NC State

*Jaevon Becton, Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.): Va Tech, Maryland, NC State, WVU, UGA, Wake, Syracuse

*Jonathan Lolohea, Copiah-Lincoln (Wesson, Miss.): Kansas, Iowa State, Oregon State, Arizona, Louisville, Maryland, Kansas State

Jayde Pierre, Dominion (Sterling, Va.): Maryland, UVA, Wake, BC, Rutgers, Temple

Kingston Harris, IMG (Bradenton, Fla.): Michigan State, Maryland, Rutgers, UCF

Jason Mercier, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): Louisville, TCU, Indiana, Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers

BUCKS/OLBs (Take 3)

Durell Nchami: Firmly committed, but will venture out to other nearby locales

*Joseph Boletepeli, Heritage High (Wake Forest, N.C.): NC State, Maryland, Wake, Louisville

*Derrick Eason, Norview (Va.): Va Tech, NC State, Maryland, Syracuse, Wake

*Grant Misch, Potomac Falls (Va.): Maryland, UVA, Rutgers, Purdue

*Rashawn Yates, Treasure Coast (Port St. Lucie, Fla.): Maryland, Pitt, Tennessee, UNC, UCF, Rutgers

Dante Burke, Bishop Sullivan (Virginia Beach, Va.): Rutgers, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Temple, ECU

John Morgan, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Pitt, Duke, Va Tech, Kentucky, Maryland

Damir Faison, Zebulon Vance (Charlotte, N.C.): Maryland, Rutgers, ECU

Lance Turay, Irvington (N.J.): Rutgers, Syracuse, Maryland

Tyler Baylor, Good Counsel (Olney, Md.): Kentucky, Maryland, Pitt

Randy Charlton, Miami Southridge (Miami, Fla.): Tennessee, Baylor, Oregon, Syracuse, Maryland

Dionte Gipson, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.): Colorado State, FAU, Middle Tennessee, Maryland, Purdue, Minnesota

Patrick Keenan, Blake (Tampa, Fla.): Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa State

Myjai Sanders, Raines (Jacksonville, Fla.): UCF, Mississippi State, Maryland

Thurman Geathers, North Cobb (Kennesaw, Ga.): NC State, Indiana, TCU, Maryland, Wake

Yasir Abdullah, Miami Carol (Miami, Fla.): LSU, Louisville, Maryland

Franklin Jackson, West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.): FAU, FIU, Air Force, App State, Maryland

DeQuan Jackson, Robert E. Lee (Jacksonville, Fla.): WKU, USF, Memphis, FAU, Maryland

Inside Linebackers (Take 2-3)

Nihym Anderson: Firmly committed

*Chance Campbell, Calvert Hall (Towson, Md.): Maryland, UVA, Duke

*Keshon Artis, Oscar Smith (Chesapeake, Va.): Va Tech, Maryland, Tennessee, NC State, Duke, WVU

*Nick DeNucci, Pope John XXIII (Sparta, N.J.): Rutgers, Syracuse, Pitt, BC, Maryland

Jamar Darboe, Christianburg (Va.): Maryland, ECU, Temple, Buffalo, Marshall

Eli Adams, South Pointe (Rock Hill, S.C.): NC State, Maryland, ECU, Va Tech, South Carolina

Jaquez Jackson, Peach County (Fort Valley, Ga.): Marshall, Ga Southern, Arkansas State, Rutgers, Maryland, WVU

Fa’najae Gotay, North Fort Myers (Fla.): UCF, Syracuse, Iowa State, Purdue, Marshall, Maryland, Louisville, Arizona

Safeties (Take 1-2)

*Ray Boone, Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.): Maryland, UNC, Va Tech

*DaShaun Jerkins, Woodbridge (Va.): UNC, Maryland, NC State, Louisville, Vandy

*Amad Anderson, Curtis (Staten Island, N.Y.): Rutgers, Maryland, Wisconsin

Bryson Richardson, Buford (Ga.): Minnesota, Kentucky, NC State, Maryland, UNC

Isaih Pacheco, Vineland Senior (Vineland, N.J.): Rutgers, BC, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt

Nate Bauer, Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio): Syracuse, Maryland, BC, Minnesota

Sammy Faustin, Naples (Fla.): UVA, USF, BC, NC State, Nebraska, Maryland

Cornerbacks (Take 3-4)

*Judson Tallandier, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): Maryland, Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers

*Noah Boykin, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): Oklahoma, UNC, Va Tech, Maryland, Clemson

*Vincent Flythe, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): Maryland, Kentucky, Pitt, Syracuse, Wake, Rutgers, UVA, Vandy

 *Armani Chatman, Bayside (Virginia Beach, Va.): Va Tech, Maryland, Temple, NC State

*DJ Crossen, Dudley (Greensboro, N.C.): Louisville, UNC, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Va Tech, WVU

Avery Young, Coatesville (Pa.): Maryland, Syracuse, Rutgers, Nebraska

Jermaine Waller, Avalon (Gaithersburg, Md.): Temple, Rutgers, Maryland, NC State

Kenneth Dicks, Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.): Vandy, Wake, Louisville, Minnesota, Maryland

Elijah Jones, Cardinal Hayes (Bronx, N.Y.): Maryland, BC, Rutgers, UConn, Purdue

Various Recruiting Notes

-- South Fort Myers (Fla.) receiver Jeshaun Jones caught up with Scout last week and said Georgia, Maryland, Oregon, USF and Tennessee were on his mind. He said staffers from each of those locales are in communication, while the three-star thoroughly enjoyed visits to College Park; Rocky Top; and South Florida. He’ll look to see UGA, Wisconsin, Arkansas and possibly others this summer. Then, after forming a leaderboard before his senior season, he’ll begin to schedule official visits. Jones has been talking to UMD receivers’ coach Chris Beatty, and the two have a solid rapport. Plus, during his March trek through campus, Jones liked the rest of the staff; the vibe surrounding the program; the Terps’ spread offense; and the school’s academics. It’s possible he’ll be back for an official, but right now Jones may have his eye on other suitors. The SEC schools, UT and UGA, are surefire contenders, and in-state USF is in play after several visits. Furthermore, Jones has been seeking to hit the West Coast to see Oregon and Arkansas for some time now. There are other wideout options on Maryland’s board, so it’s unclear exactly how hard Beatty will push anyway, but the long and short of it is UMD’s probably sitting around fifth in the pecking order. If spots are filled at some other spots, though, Jones, who isn’t committing until late fall, might give the Terps a closer look once again. (That is, if there’s still room in College Park).

-- Waycross (Ware County, Ga.) offensive tackle Jalynn Strickland has set his college decision date for July 4. Which means he’ll have the month of June to visit the four schools he wants to see: Maryland, Arkansas, Minnesota and NC State. Last week, Strickland said he was focusing in on the former three schools, but the Wolfpack entered the picture when the staff tossed the 6-6, 295-pounder an offer May 22. The three-star doesn’t have set dates for the proposed trips, but he said he’ll be talking to each school’s area recruiter shortly to set something up. From this vantage point, we could see Strickland winding up at any of those four locales. He’s been in contact with coaches from each and had equally praiseworthy compliments for the Terps, Razorbacks, Gophers and Wolfpack. NC State is closest to his Georgia home, so that could potentially work in the Pack’s favor, but the coaches from UMD and Minnesota have been after Strickland longer and harder.  Recall, the Terps were Strickland’s very first offer back in January when recruiter Anthony Tucker anted up. The Georgian has since been in regular contact with line coach Tyler Bowen, who stopped by Waycross earlier in May. We’ll see if that longstanding rapport pays off come Independence Day.

-- Ocean Lakes (Virginia Beach, Va.) defensive end Jaevon Becton added another significant offer from West Virginia after the Mountaineers’ area recruiter stopped through his school May 22. Following the offer, Becton told our Scout colleagues it was a verbal he was looking for and he planned to give Morgantown, W.Va., a look this summer. WVU is yet another contender for the steadily-emerging edge rusher, who previously had UMD; Georgia; Va Tech; Syracuse; and Rutgers scholarships. Maryland is going to be in the game because area recruiter Chris Beatty has been exchanging messages with Becton for about two years now and has a close relationship with the 6-4, 240-pounder. Becton also knows UMD 2017 signee Tahj Capehart and 2018 commit Tyler DeSue well. Becton hasn’t visited College Park yet, but he should be up sometime in June. But the three-star has no intention of committing this summer -- or even during the fall. He’s going to explore his growing list of options, form a leaderboard in August, and then set official visits for either during or after his senior season. We’ll have to see where his recruiting profile stands, and which programs have open slots, before giving the Terps any kind of edge with Becton.

-- Vineland (N.J.) safety Isaih Pacheco let Scout know at Under Armour New Jersey he was in contact with coaches from RU, UMD, Pitt, BC and Cuse the most. Which, really, are all the schools that have offered him. Thus, per usual, Pacheco didn’t give much insight in the interview. He mentioned he was nowhere close to putting out standouts or honing in on a particular school or two. That said, the hometown Scarlet Knights may have the inside track at first blush, if only because Pacheco has been there several times and knows the staff well. But this situation could go in a number of different directions depending on what programs have room for him; what coaches stay in touch; and where Pacheco elects to visit. The three-star, who is the teammate of UMD pledge Nihym Anderson, has been talking to Terps’ area recruiter Matt Barnes. He’s seen College Park before and could return this summer. However, it remains to be seen if Pacheco will be a “take” for Terps’ coaches with other safety options available. (He’s likely in the middle of Maryland’s board).

-- Curtis (Staten Island, N.Y.) safety/corner Amad Anderson has Maryland, Rutgers and Wisconsin atop his initial leaderboard. He told Scout at Under Armour New Jersey he speaks to coaches from each of those three institutions regularly. Anderson hasn’t seen College Park since last fall, but he wants to head back this summer. He’s in communication with UMD-area recruiter Pete Lembo, who has been building a rapport with Anderson since last year. Wisconsin, meanwhile, is a newer suitor, but one that has the three-star’s eye since it’s a major Big Ten university. Anderson would like to trek to Madison, Wisc., for the first time this summer. Rutgers, however, may have a bead on the New York product. Anderson has been through Piscataway, N.J., on multiple occasions and has readily taken to the staff.  The Scarlet Knights‘ coaches have been on Anderson longer than any other staff as well, which resonates with the three-star. However, Anderson said he is open to more schools, and BC; Purdue; Syracuse; and Wake are on the radar for summer trips. He’ll mull over any new suitors that enter the picture too. Anderson could commit later in July or August, but it sounds like he wants to wait until later during the fall before ending his recruitment.

New Offers Out

Brendon Clark, QB, Manchester (Midlothian, Va.) (2019): Add another quarterback to the list of 2019 targets for Maryland.

The 6-2, 195-pound four-star Clark picked up his first offer from Wake Forest earlier in the spring and landed Maryland May 23. UMD offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Walt Bell watched Clark throw and then approved the scholarship on the spot.

Afterwards, Clark said he was excited about the look, although he was more shocked than anything. He hadn’t heard from Bell prior to May 23, and all he knew about Maryland was it employed a spread offense. (Of course, that system in and of itself gives UMD a dog in this fight since it’s the scheme Clark is seeking to play in.) Clark, however, said he’d be camping in College Park this June so he can get a feel for the coaches, campus and the program in general.

But the Manchester product has already seen Duke and Wake multiple times and counts both as primary contenders (the Blue Devils’ coaches should be offering eventually). He’ll be returning to Winston Salem, N.C., and Durham, N.C., once again this summer.

Clark will also be competing in one-days at Clemson and maybe UNC and NC State in hopes of drawing offers from the Tigers; Heels; and Pack.

Regardless of what verbals he procures, there’s a chance the signal caller could wrap his recruitment up quickly. He already knows what he wants in a school -- terrific academics (biomed, kinesiology, biology), spread offense, welcoming coaches, and a comfortable environment/campus -- so if he finds the right fit, he’ll pop before his junior year begins.

If Clark follows through on those plans, he’s probably going to wind up at Duke if the Blue Devils pull through, with Wake running a close second. But the Terps’ staff will have a chance to impress Clark and his family this June, so we’ll see what the four-star is thinking after that.

You can read more about Clark HERE.

Taisun Phommachanh, QB, Avon Old Farms (Avon, Conn.) (2019): The second quarterback offer UMD offensive coordinator Walt Bell extended this week was for the 6-3, 195-pound Phommachanh May 24. The Connecticut native didn’t conduct an extensive interview yet, but he figures to take a little more time to choose a school than Brendon Clark (discussed above). Phommachanh has three current offers from UConn, Minnesota and now Maryland, with a number of suitors from up and down the East Coast and into the Midwest showing interest (Michigan, Pitt, BC, Temple, Southern Cal, Rutgers, WVU, etc.)

The true dual-threat, who could end up playing receiver or safety in college if quarterback doesn’t work out, will be attending several camps this summer to draw even more attention. He’ll likely be a four-star prospect after his junior season, with numerous attractive options to choose from.

We’ll see if Bell, who opted to offer Phommachanh after watching him throw, can coax out a College Park visit this summer.

Kenny McIntosh, WR, University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2019): The 6-1, 205-pound McIntosh is one of the best running backs in the 2019 class, and Maryland-area recruiter Chris Beatty offered him May 19. McIntosh previously had offers from Alabama, Miami, Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, FSU, UF, UGA, Baylor, LSU, Oregon, Mississippi State, Kentucky, Pitt, WVU, Wisconsin, Syracuse and more.

The University School prospect has already called the nation’s elites his initial standouts. Bama, Clemson, OSU and UND are all in play.

Harry Miller, OT/OG, Buford (Ga.) (2019): Maryland offensive line coach Tyler Bowen offered pretty much Buford’s entire offensive line May 19, and the most notable recruit among the four new line verbals is Miller. The 6-4, 310-pounder has offers from some of the nation’s elites, including Florida and Michigan. Oregon, South Carolina, NC State, Mississippi State. TAMU, Va Tech and Wake are also after Miller.

The burly guard/tackle has no leaders at this stage and is wide open in his recruitment.

Carter Colquitt, OT, Buford (Ga.) (2019): The 6-6, 295-pound Colquitt pulled his fourth offer from Maryland May 19. Florida, Oregon and Toledo came in first. Colquitt has visited a number of programs throughout the South and could end up at an SEC or ACC institution.

Reece McIntyre, OT, Buford (Ga.) (2019): The least-heralded of Buford’s four FBS line recruits is the 6-5, 290-pound McIntyre. The 2019 prospect had nary a look before UMD line coach Tyler Bowen anted up May 19. We briefly exchanged messages, and McIntyre was thrilled to join his linemates as an offer-worthy player. He was excited about Maryland and could be visiting at some point down the line.

McIntyre is receiving plenty of interest from other schools’ coaches, though, and should be a coveted recruit after camp season and his junior year.

Riley Simonds, OG, Buford (Ga.) (2019): Simonds is the second-most recognized lineman at Buford. The 6-4, 280-pounder had offers from Florida, Oregon, Va Tech and Mississippi State before the Terps came through May 19.

Simonds figures to wind up at a power program, but for now he’s open to anyone.

John Olmstead, OT, St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.) (2019): The 6-6, 290-pound Olmstead grabbed a Maryland offer May 25 from line coach Tyler Bowen and area recruiter Matt Barnes. It was his 15th offer to date. Olmstead has basically called Ohio State, which has a verbal out, his early leader, but Penn State is lurking as well.

Jason Mercier, DE, Atlantic (Delray Beach, Fla.): The Terps were the latest verbal for Mercier May 17 when area recruiter Chris Beatty came through. Mercier offered up a few compliments for Maryland, saying he was glad to have the scholarship and that he knew teammate-turned-Terp Dion Goldbourne enjoyed College Park.

But, beyond the basics, the 6-5, 235-pound three-star wasn’t privy to much about the Terps. He’s only been in contact with Beatty for a short while, so he’s still in the relationship-building and learning stage. But Mercier allowed he might hit Maryland during a northern tour this summer.

Besides UMD, Mercier has looks from Louisville, Pitt, Kansas State, Rutgers, Indiana, Iowa State, UNC, Cuse, TCU, UCF, USF, FAU and more. He wants to get to Louisville, Georgia (no offer, coaches interested) and other offerees if he has time.

Mercier has already seen most of the in-state programs, and it’s possible he could wind up at a place like FAU, USF or UCF. But he’ll probably head to an out-of-state locale like Louisville or maybe another significant southern suitor that enters the picture.

We’ll list Mercier “cool” on the hot board for now, just because he said he might visit College Park.

You can read more about Mercier HERE.

Dante Burke, BUCK, Bishop Sullivan Catholic (Virginia Beach, Va.): Yes, another BUCK option for the Terps, although this one was a little less questionable than some of the random edge-rusher verbals tossed out in Florida last week. The 6-3, 240-pound Burke does attend powerhouse Bishop Sullivan, where Terps’ area recruiter Chris Beatty actively recruits. Even so, we wouldn’t think Burke would be an immediate “take” for the Terps’ staff given the attractive BUCK options still on the market. But, regardless, the hybrid end/outside linebacker is going to give the Terps a long look, and it’s possible Beatty and Co. will push in earnest down the line if there are spots available.

Following the May 24 UMD offer, Burke said he planned on visiting College Park in June. He’d been on campus once before two years ago to see his grandfather, who is a professor at Maryland, but he’s yet to take in the football program.

Speaking of said football program, even though he has three former teammates heading to College Park this summer (Breyon and Brandon Gaddy) and a current teammate committed to UMD (Tyler DeSue), Burke didn’t know a whole lot about the university. He said Beatty has told him “a little,” but the two haven’t talked that extensively about the inner-workings. 

“But Coach Beatty is a really cool, nice and honest person,” said Burke, who mentioned the presence of his teammates in College Park really wouldn’t affect his college decision. “He’ll tell you straight up where you stand, which I appreciate.”

And where Burks stands will be the question moving forward.

One school that has been pressing in earnest, however, is Rutgers. Burke said the RU staff texts him every day, and the recruit will reciprocate the interest by visiting Piscataway June 17. He’ll also be a Temple June 16, recent offer Georgia Tech sometime later in June, and Maryland at an undetermined June date.

There’s a chance other programs could enter the fray as well, but Burke isn’t sure who’s genuinely interested in him. Either way, his recruitment could change down the line since Burke doesn’t want to commit until after his senior season.

Of course, there’s a good chance his hand could be forced this summer (read: spots fill, squeeze play). We’ll see how it plays out in the coming months, but for now it sounds like the Scarlet Knights have done well here.

You can read more about Burke HERE.

Yasir Abdullah, OLB, Miami Carol City (Miami, Fla.): Abdullah is a 6-0.5, 188-pound three-star with prior offers from Louisville, Purdue, Syracuse, USF and LSU. He’s called the Tigers his leader on several occasions, but may not be able to pop yet due to other prospects on the LSU staff’s board.

The Terps, who have area recruiter Chris Beatty on Abdullah, handed out an offer May 20. We’ll see if the UMD coaches can gain some inroads and perhaps take advantage of some other programs like LSU concentrating their efforts elsewhere.

Josh Sanguinetti, S, University School (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) (2019): Maryland was offer No. 25 for the 6-2, 165-pound four-star Sanguinetti. UMD-area recruiter Chris Beatty tossed him the verbal after seeing Sanguinetti at a workout.

Sanguinetti has looks from all the in-state mainstays, and Miami seems to have an edge after the Fort Lauderdale native saw the school. UGA, Duke, Kentucky, Ohio State, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, NC State, Pitt, Stanford, Oregon, Tennessee, UCLA, USC, Wisconsin and WVU also have offers out.

In all likelihood, Sanguinetti is going to stick in the Sunshine State, at either Miami; Florida; or Florida State.

Off The Board

Andrew Tuazama, TE, Knightdale (N.C.): Technically, Tuazama is still in play for the Terps with tight ends coach and area recruiter Pete Lembo on him. But the 6-6, 225-pounder seems focused elsewhere, and if the Florida State offer becomes committable, that’s probably where he’s going.

Ole Miss, Tennessee and Miami are three other schools involved with Tuazama. Regardless of whether any of the aforementioned programs’ coaches push, it sounds like he wants to stay in the South for college.

Thomas Booker, DE, Gilman (Baltimore, Md.): At the Under Armour New Jersey event, Booker said he was down to Notre Dame, Duke and Northwestern and would be selecting a school later this summer. Stanford would also be involved if the Cardinal staff chose to offer. At this stage, the Irish are the clear leader after Booker’s recent foray through South Bend, Ind.

Booker had always at least mentioned Maryland up to this point, but more out of respect for the hometown school than anything genuine. He never seemed all that interested in staying local for college.

T.J. Banks, DE, East Allegheny (North Versailles, Pa.): The former tight end recruit, whose looks are pretty much all for defensive end now, has been forecast to nearby Pittsburgh -- and it’s probably only a matter of time before he pops there.

The Terps are still in the game to an extent, and area recruiter Pete Lembo has stayed in contact. But the only way this guy isn’t going to wind up a Panther, a school he’s seen numerous times and has heaped praise on, is if the coaches back off for some reason.

Zihir Lacewell, OLB, Tottenville (Staten Island, N.Y.): Maryland-area recruiter Pete Lembo has been in touch with Lacewell, but doesn’t seem to be pressing as hard as some others. Moreover, Lacewell, who has held a UMD offer since the winter, has yet to visit College Park and doesn’t have plans to this summer.

Nearby Rutgers’ coaches, meanwhile, have prioritized Lacewell. The three-star told Scout at Under Armour New Jersey the Scarlet Knights were “by far” making the biggest push.

Syracuse and Pitt are involved, but it sounds like Lacewell is going to be RU bound before long.

Tanner Ingle, CB, Dr. Phillips (Orlando, Fla.): Maryland’s staff offered Ingle back in March, and the three-star said he wanted to learn more about the program and begin building a relationship with UMD defensive backs coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. But last week he told Scout coaches from BC and Syracuse were in the closest contact, with Air Force somewhat involved too. The 5-9 Ingle proceeded to call the Eagles and Orange his two leaders, hinting he could commit to either one at some point this summer.


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