Former DeMatha Standout Has UMD Top Five

Maryland has had plenty of recent success landing players from nearby football powerhouse DeMatha Catholic. Already the Terps have extended scholarships to two of the Hyattsville school's best juniors—wide receiver Kenny Tate and cornerback Rodney McLeod. But the staff had to travel a little further than down Rt. 1 to find this standout junior with DeMatha ties.

Makiri Pugh, a 6-foot, 194-pound cornerback now calls Charlotte's Independence High home after spending his first two years at DeMatha. His family moved from Fort Washington to Charlotte last summer, and it's safe to say he found a decent school to continue his high school career; Independence has won 92 consecutive games.

"We just needed a change of scenery," Pugh said. "I wanted to go to another good program, but we knew we were moving. So we ended up looking at Charlotte and Independence is a good place to play so we made the move."

Maryland extended an offer to Pugh when special teams coach Ray Rychleski paid a visit to Independence two weeks ago. The Terps, along with Virginia, Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson make up his top five, and he plans on making a decision either on May 31 or soon after.

Pugh will visit either Virginia or Maryland this upcoming weekend, though he said it will probably be Virginia because of scheduling issues. He is no stranger, however, to the school just a few miles from where he grew up.

"I am familiar with Maryland football and everything else. I know some guys up there—[defensive backs] Anthony Wiseman and Jeff Allen," he said. "We were on the same team [at DeMatha] so I know those guys pretty well."

Pugh is being recruited by most schools as a boundary corner. The physical play he learned as a former running back translated well to his current position in the defensive backfield, and that's what he believes sets him apart. He has no shortage of impressive measurables as well—a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 3.9-second shuttle, 33.5-inch vertical leap and a 10-foot broad jump.

"I love to hit and I love competition. I've been working on my back peddle and I'm pretty agile and explosive. I like to gamble so I have the tendency to make a big play," Pugh said.

The Terps have some pretty stiff competition for Pugh's services. Georgia, Georgia Tech and Clemson recruit North Carolina and Independence regularly and Pugh's visits to each has left him impressed.

Georgia—"Athens is a college town, and [Independence] has some alumni over there. The whole area is really, really behind football and everything. It has great academics and I want to study business and they have the second best business school in the country."

Clemson—"They have a great support system for the athletes which is really important. They have a building that's dedicated to student athletes and helping them. They're students as much as they play football, so that's definitely a plus. They're known for defensive backs and I have an opportunity to play cat safety and boundary corner."

Georgia Tech—"I met the whole coaching staff—Coach [Chan] Gailey, he's a great guy. I really like Georgia Tech. I have the opportunity to play boundary or field corner. We made the trip down to Atlanta, it's a great city. I know some people at the Atlanta Technological School."

Right now, Pugh does not claim a leader, as he is still in the process of evaluating each school.

"We got a few more things we want to look at before we make that final decision. But right now, there's a lot to look at," he said. "I'm looking for academics, great athletics, a place I'm going to fit in and of course a great environment. I want to be somewhere for four years where I'm going to enjoy it." and will keep you up to date as Pugh nears his decision.

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