Big Junior Drawing Big Interest

Once Gaithersburg (Md.) High coach Kreg Kephart gets to talking about junior standout Dan Atwood, it's difficult to slow him down. It's easy, however, to understand why.

Atwood, a 6-foot, 185-pound running back-defensive back, could become one of the most heavily sought recruits in the Washington area over the course of the next year-and-a-half. The Terps are showing strong interest in him already after his strong showing at their camp this summer, when he ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, leaped 35 inches and bench pressed 285 pounds as a rising junior.

Michigan and Notre Dame round out Atwood's top three choices at this early stage although none have offered yet said Kephart, who simply could not stop gushing about him.

"He's a hard-nosed, instinctive kid, he accelerates out of his cuts very well, he's a great worker in the weight room," Kephart said. "And he's a great kid."

Atwood could be a defensive back or a running back in college. He certainly has the instincts to play running back but would have to overcome certain biases at that position, Kephart noted.

He first made his name in a pre-season scrimmage before his freshman year, when he shut down Northwest High's Darren Brownlee, who was a senior who went on to play for West Virginia.

"I told my assistant right then, this kid is going to start for us," Kephart said. "He just doesn't back down."

Unfortunately, though, tragedy struck Atwood this summer when his father Frank, a former college lacrosse player who lived to watch his son compete, passed away from a heart attack at 50 years old.

"He was Dan's number one fan," Kephart said. "Dan's been playing under some difficult circumstances but he hasn't shown any adverse effects. I'm hoping he'll use it as motivation."

Atwood and his mother allowed the rectuiing letters to pile up this summer, prompting Kephart to sit down with his player and give him a crash course in the recruiting game.

"He's a novice at it right now," Kephart said of Atwood, who visited for the William & Mary game last weekend.

A workout addict, Atwood gained 20 pounds over the course of the last year. The only player in Gaithersburg history to start every game beginning his freshman year, he rushed for 850 yards in limited duty last season along with his standout play on defense.

It's appears the Terps are quite interested in Atwood, and we'll continue to monitor his situation as the season wears on and college programs begin to take more notice of the potential blue chipper from Montgomery County.

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