Under-the-Radar Star has Pledged Maryland

As quiet as it's been kept, TerpSportsReport.com has learned the University of Maryland football staff secured a verbal commitment from one of the most impressive big athletes on the East Coast. Wilde Lake (Md.) linebacker Zach Brown, a 6-foot-2, 204-pound three-sport star who is the state champion at 215 pounds in wrestling and the reigning 100-meter and 200-meter state champ ...

in outdoor track, verballed to the Terps a while back, his coach Doug Duvall told TSR.

The non-binding commitment is based on Brown attending Hargrave Military Academy next year and improving his grades and SAT scores a bit.

But, Duvall and Brown said, each side is committed to holding up its respective side of the agreement, which would eventually give the Terps an athletic specimen who rushed for 1,537 yards and 20 touchdowns while recording nine solo tackles per game at linebacker for the Howard County champions.

"It's pretty common these days. A lot of kids do it. [Keon] Lattimore did it," Duvall said.

"It's a verbal commitment, so he could [technically] go somewhere else after a year if he wanted. But we all [expect] him to be at Maryland," Duvall said. "His father wants him at Maryland, and we all think it's the best place for him."

Several big-name schools were recruiting Brown, including Florida State and Notre Dame, when Duvall – a graduate assistant alongside Ralph Friedgen three decades ago at Maryland -- closed down the recruitment because he knew Brown would need a year of prep school, and because everyone involved wanted him to remain near home.

"I do have a great relationship with Ralph, but that has nothing to do with Zach. If there was somewhere that would have been better for him, we would have sent him there. I'm also good friends with [recruiting coordinator] Larry Johnson at Penn State, and if that was the best place he would have gone there," Duvall said.

Brown, who could potentially be a force at outside linebacker or strong safety, talked with former Wilde Lake teammate and current Terps tackle Dane Randolph often last season about the possibility of becoming a Terp.

"He was like, ‘It's great, but do what's best for you,'" Brown said. "They have a good school and a good location."

His comfort level with the coaching staff was a factor as well, he said.

"I have a good relationship with coach [Phil] Zaccarias and coach [Dave] Sollazzo. Once I met them, I bonded with them instantly," he said.

This winter on the wrestling mat, Brown went 29-0 with 17 pins and five technical falls en route to Baltimore Sun wrestler of the year honors. He won 60 of his final 61 bouts, winning the 4A-3A state title in dominating fashion. Each of his final two losses came against a two-time, unbeaten state champion, and he also beat several private-school star in addition to former Whitman (Md.) football standout Pat Lazear (West Virginia).

On the track Brown won the Class 3A title in the 100 (10.67 seconds) and 200 (21.52). Each was the fastest time in the state for any classification. Still, he managed to somehow fly under the radar, and Maryland will be the recipient of that unusual occurrence, assuming all goes as planned. He's young for his grade and has some individualized needs that he'll be able to take care of at Hargrave, Duvall said.

West Virginia and North Carolina tried to jump into the mix and undoubtedly will continue to try and recruit Brown, but it seems unlikely he'll look elsewhere.

"It's like when you ask a girl to go to prom with you and she says yes," Duvall explained. "He's not obligated to go there and they're not obligated … But there's a gentlemen's agreement in place."

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