Coaching Change Affecting N.C.Terp commits?

The Maryland football staff landscape has changed recently, with the loss of special teams coordinator Ray Rychleski to the University of South Carolina and the addition of offensive coordinator James Franklin from Kansas State University. Rychleski, who was the primary recruiter in the state of North Carolina, left after helping the Terps sign two key players from the Tar Heel State.

Only 25 miles separate future Terps linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield and tailback Gary Douglas. Both committed over the summer after growing closer to the coach who everybody affectionately referred to as "Coach Ray."

However Terps fans may breathe easy knowing that both Hartsfield and Douglas are solid in their commitments to Maryland. "I was really surprised," said Hartsfield, "he called me and let me know. It came out of nowhere, but it didn't affect me. I understand why he did it."

"Everything's fine over there. I was a little confused, but [Rychleski] told me the real reason why [he was leaving], so everything is alright," Douglas said.

Though their primary recruiter is headed south, both players still keep in contact with the staff at Maryland. Hartsfield speaks to the Maryland staff "once or twice a week" while Douglas speaks to running backs coach Phil Zacharias "just about every week."

Douglas, whose Hillside High School team finished 11-3, earned All-Conference and All-Area honors after amassing 2,172 yards and 26 touchdowns on 185 carries. "This season I got a lot stronger. I [have to work on] blocking better and learning the schemes."

Interestingly, the Gamecocks, Rychleski's new home, is the only school actively recruiting the speedy Durham-area tailback. "Most of the schools backed down now that I'm committed."

Recruiting has officially died down for Hartsfield, who earned first-team All-Conference honors and was awarded Academic All-Conference after leading his team to an 8-3 record. He finished with 132 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, and four fumble recoveries. "They might call my coach, but directly [I'm not being recruited]."

"I improved my mental state, [in terms of] knowing the game more, and doing pre-snap reads. I improved on my speed, getting downfield and securing tackles. I need to work on reading linemen and remembering the formations. Analyzing the game a little more," Hartsfield said.

Hartsfield, who chose the Terps over offers from Buffalo, East Carolina and Duke plans to enroll early and join the team next month. Douglas, who picked Maryland instead of California, NC State, Marshall, East Carolina and Tulsa has plans to join the team next fall.

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