Looking Forward to 2007

With all of Maryland's 2006 football commitments signed, sealed and delivered, it's never too early to look ahead to the future and the next crop of prospects Maryland will be chasing.

Earlier this week, Scout.com released its Scout.com Junior Hot 100 Watch List (in alphabetical order). On this preliminary list are seven players who list Maryland among their teams of interest.

Most Maryland recruiting followers have been familiar with the name Arrelious Benn for a while now. The 5-star WR from Dunbar HS in Washington, DC may be the #1 WR prospect in the nation and/or the #1 prospect in the Atlantic East region next year. Benn should just about have his pick of schools around the country and Maryland will have to battle for his signature.

East Coast recruiting analyst Miller Safrit on Benn: “While Benn is actually a young age for his class, he looks like a construction worker already. Clearly he is a hard worker in the weightroom and that translates on the field where he can overpower smaller defenders. He is also very athletic and can stop on a dime to make defenders miss in the open field.”

Right on Benn’s heels in the rankings is DT Marvin Austin of Coolidge High School in Washington, DC. After losing out on Phillip Taylor this past year, defensive tackle will be an area of emphasis for Maryland coaches. And Marvin Austin is one of the best in his class. Austin wowed onlookers at various camps last spring and summer with his tremendous speed, strength and agility for a 300-pounder. Austin also received an early Maryland offer and will be another highly sought-after recruit from the Maryland/DC area.

Safrit: “Austin is a confident defender, and when you go against constant double teams confidence is a must. Great power at the point of attack, blows off the ball, and has a great rip move through the gap.”

Another name Maryland fans should be familiar with is NY TE Rob Gronkowski, who has two older brothers currently playing at Maryland. Chris Gronkowski is a freshman fullback, while Dan Gronkowski played behind Terrapin star Vernon Davis at TE this past season. While Maryland has not had great recent success landing star younger brothers of current Maryland players – Victor Abiamiri, Derrick McPhearson, Vontae Davis – Rob Gronkowski has shown early high interest in Maryland in large part because of his older brothers.

Northeast recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels: "Gronkowski is very athletic kid from a gifted family of athletes. For a kid his size Rob moves exceptionally well. He could play tight end or defensive end at the next level."

Offensive lineman John Elliott of East Meadow, NY is also listing Maryland early in the process and claims an early offer from the Terps. The 6’5”, 288 pound Elliott has visited Maryland unofficially and, while he is still very open in his recruitment, recently listed Maryland among seven schools he has interest in at this point. With the 2006 Maryland recruiting class not being heavy on offensive linemen, you can bet Elliott will be a name Maryland fans become very familiar with over the course of the next year.

Lichtenfels: "Elliot and Anthony Davis are hands down the elite lineman in the Northeast next year. Coach Mascia says he is the best he has coached, and he has had some good ones. Elliott is a very cerebral kid who is a technician."

A name that recently popped up on the radar is Ohio QB Chris Smith. While not yet claiming a Maryland offer, earlier this week Smith named Maryland as one of his favorite schools and said the Terps were among the schools sending the most hand-written mail. With Florida transfer Josh Portis and 2006 recruit Jeremy Ricker coming into the program and having three and four years of eligibility respectively, it’s unknown how high a priority the quarterback position will be for the Terps staff next year. Regardless, Chris Smith will be a name to keep an eye on.

Lichtenfels: "Chris is a kid I have seen since he was a sophomore and he has always impressed me. He is a standout track athlete and an even better quarterback. He is a tough kid, who plays like a linebacker. Very good arm strength and a very accurate QB."

Two other players in the Scout.com Junior Hot 100 Watch List with Maryland listed among their schools of interest both hail from South Carolina. 6’3” WR/S Markeveis Barnes and 6’5” DE Carlos Dunlap have both listed Maryland in the past. Both will be tough pulls out of the south so it’ll be interesting following their recruitments in the following months.


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