The Terps have had one local safety targeted for over a year, and on June 16, they brought him in. Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) defensive back Ray Boone opted in at UMD after a long visit in College Park, Md.
“You know, I’ve always wanted to be at Maryland,” said Boone, who had offers from Pitt, Kentucky, NC State, UNC, Syracuse and Va Tech. “But it was like in the seventh grade when I came to the realization that I really wanted to play for the Terps. It’s a great school and to have the opportunity to play for the home state is something I couldn’t pass up. I mean, DMV-to-UMD, I always wanted to be apart of that. And now my family can watch me play? That’s what’s up. Like, why should I go somewhere else? It’s always been Maryland.”
Boone had been trending towards UMD for quite some time. But his recent stay, which was his 10th or so trip to College Park, sealed the deal.
“Just being up there again, I just felt it was the right fit,” Boone said. “I was there for a camp, and I just wanted to compete. And just working with Coach Aazaar [Abdul-Rahim] and being exposed to those guys, it was great. Then we had a cookout and all that, and it was like my family up there. There were guys from DeMatha, Wise, all the schools I know around here. It was awesome. Like, why wouldn’t I want to play here? All my friends are here. … Then Coach [DJ] Durkin talked to me afterwards and I was like, ‘Yeah, OK, I’m ready. I’m going to be a Terp.’ It was great.
“Coach Durkin like jumped up and was so exited. He gave me the hardest handshake I’ve ever had. He was really excited, and so was I. He said it’s time to build championships, and do it with the local guys, and I told him I agreed. It’s a real commitment up there and a family up there, and I’m happy to be apart of it.”
Boone detailed his rapport with Durkin and Abdul-Rahim as the primary reasons he pledged to UMD over other offers. But, he continued to harp on the idea of his mother being able to see him play six times a year as a main factor as well.
“Look, I feel like I could’ve played anywhere. But to able to play somewhere you love and where your family can see you, that’s special,” Boone said. “To play at home, that’s not an opportunity everyone gets. I wanted to do that – always have.”
The Terps, of course, pulled in Boone’s good friend last year. Lawtez Rogers committed to UMD after a long, drawn out recruitment in the 2017 class. Boone didn’t take quite as long as Rogers, nor did the safety say his former teammate had that much of an impact on his commitment.
“I mean, this was my decision,” Boone said. “We’re friends and all that, and we’ve known each other forever. It’s great that I’ll be playing with Tez again. But I don’t want to say my decision was impacted by him. We did talk a lot, and he’s really happy for me, but I’m going to Maryland because I want to be there.”
Boone went on to say the school’s educational values, the support system and the campus sold him as well. Plus, his family was thrilled with his decision. He said his mother and aunts were “screaming at the top of their lungs” when he announced he was going to Maryland.
“They’re so excited for me,” Boone said. “They can’t wait.”
The three-star is coming off a season where he recorded over 70 tackles and had a couple picks. He believes he’s one of the top deep defensive backs in his class.
“I can do things that just can’t be done by others at my position,” Boone said. “I mean, I have things to work on. No one is perfect. I have to work on my footwork, my hands and things like that. But I can go sideline to sideline, I can defend deep, I can take away the deep ball… I can do it all. I can lock down.
“I’m ready to Terp up in the secondary.”
Now that he’s committed, Boone is ready to concentrate on summer workouts and his senior season. He’s been playing football since he was five years old and can’t wait to continue his career at the next level.
“Terps 2018,” he said. “We’re live, baby. We’re live.”