When Hayfield (Alexandria, Va.) three-star receiver Brian Cobbs landed an offer from nearby Maryland June 5, the three-star immediately dubbed the Terps his leader. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder had offers from schools such as in-state UVA, NC State and Wake Forest, but he couldn’t turn down the opportunity to play for the school he’d visited 10-plus times and that sat 45 minutes from his home in College Park, Md.
“First of all, Maryland was always a dream school of sorts for me. I grew up watching them. And the biggest thing for me was that, of all the offers I had, Maryland was the closest. It’s a great opportunity for my family to see me play, and also continue the hometown movement that Coach [D.J.] Durkin and the staff have been preaching,” said Cobbs, who committed to UMD the morning of June 20. “Then, also, Maryland was my one Big Ten offer, and I want to play against the Michigans, the Ohio States and the Penn States of the world. I love that kind of competition. It’s a great program and it’s moving up and ready to make some noise in the Big Ten.
“It feels great to be committed. All the pressure if off now and I can go through my senior season with the hometown supporting me.”
Another major factor that played into Cobbs’ college decision was how Maryland’s spread offense mirrored that of Hayfield's. Cobbs said from the position meetings he’s sat in, to what he’s heard from receivers’ coach Chris Beatty and offensive coordinator Walt Bell, the Terps’ scheme is fairly similar to what he’s doing in high school now.
“I know I can step in there and make an impact,” Cobbs said. “Maryland obviously has different calls than us, but the screens they run, the route combinations, the downfield game, it’s all similar. So, like, when I was at the 7-on-7 at Maryland and they saw me run, the coaches knew I knew what I was doing. They felt I could slide right in and execute their routes, and that’s one of the main reasons they offered and one of the top reasons I chose them. I know I can fit right in there.”
Cobbs also wanted the chance to play under Beatty. Even though Cobbs didn’t hold an UMD offer until June, he and Beatty had been in close contact for more than a year. The Hayfield product not only had a close bond with the Terps’ assistant, but he learned all about Beatty’s reputation for developing receivers.
“Coach Beatty, from Day One, has been in my corner. Like, Coach [Walt] Bell and Coach Durkin needed to see me in person at the 7-on-7 before they signed off, but Coach Beatty was always on me, and I appreciated that,” Cobbs said. “I texted Coach Beatty like every day, so, like, even though I didn’t have an offer, I felt like Maryland was one of my top [suitors]. Plus, Coach Beatty is a great coach and has helped a lot of guys get to the next level. I feel like I can learn a lot from him and maybe one day I’ll be in the Maryland record books like Stefon Diggs.”
Since Cobbs has been in College Park so many times, he’s become familiar with the campus, the $156 million facility upgrades the school is completing, the renovated dorms and the academics. He said all of the aesthetic qualities are “awesome,” while mentioning Maryland’s standout business program as another reason he wanted to be at UMD.
“I want to study sports marketing, and I know Maryland has a really good business program and really great internships and opportunities in that field,” Cobbs said.
Of course, Cobbs wasn’t always all about the Terps – even after the offer came to fruition. He held off on committing soon after the UMD look materialized in hopes of potentially landing a scholarship from PSU, another stated “dream school.” That offer didn’t come following a one-day in Happy Valley, however, so Cobbs opted not to delay and risk Maryland falling by the wayside too.
“I’d say last week I was willing to wait for Penn State, but I never heard back from them. Then I sent the receivers’ coach a message, and he responded that they weren’t looking to offer at this time. So I said, ‘Why wait any longer? Maryland is where it’s at,’” Cobbs said. “But, really, I had a silent commitment with Coach [Chris] Beatty at Maryland, and I let him know I was coming to Maryland if Penn State didn’t offer. So when I found out the PSU offer wasn’t going to be there, I texted [Beatty] last night and let him know I was on board. He was real pleased to have me, and he’s putting me on the phone with Coach Durkin soon.”
Cobbs, who mentioned NC State finished second for his services, is coming off a season where he recorded 76 catches for 1,114 yards and 16 touchdowns. He runs the 40-yard dash in the 4.8-second range.
“I feel like I can help Maryland win a Big Ten championship and knock out all the big teams like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State,” Cobbs said. “And, really, I think with the DMV guys coming in, Maryland is on the road to being a national program. I think us [locals] can build a legacy here, and eventually take Maryland to an elite level, where they can start pulling top recruits from places all over the country. I think that’s the direction we’re headed.”