Terps Nab North Carolina Quarterback
O'Brien has been to Maryland before, but after visiting this week with his family he decided to seal the deal, less than a week after the staff formally offered him. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound rising senior had offers from East Carolina and Duke – and noted quarterbacks guru/head coach David Cutcliffe – along with interest from Notre Dame, Virginia, Boston College, Clemson and Wake Forest.
"Coach Cutcliffe has coaches the last two Super Bowl MVPs, and they have told me that I am 'the guy' in 2009 for them at the quarterback position," he told The Devils Den earlier this spring.
On Maryland, he told TSR today: "I had to get my family up there to see it, but I've felt like it was the right place since the second I stepped on campus," O'Brien said. "The location and the way the program is run, the opportunity to play early and the academic standpoint" were the deciding factors.
"They just said they're really excited and ready to make a run toward the ACC championship … I knew that this was where I wanted to be, so I went ahead and pulled the trigger."
O'Brien is a dual-threat prospect who passed for 1,800 yards and 16 touchdowns against six interceptions last year, while also rushing for seven more scores. He runs a 4.64-second 40-yard dash.
"Danny has a lot of ability; he just needs that one person to see his intangibles," East Forsyth High School coach Todd Willert told Inside Carolina earlier this spring. "But he'll go somewhere, and he'll make somebody very happy and make some other people very unhappy that they didn't take the time to actually offer him."
O'Brien was recruited primarily by Terps assistant Danny Pearman and offensive coordinator James Franklin, who gave the gifted young passer an up-close view of the passing attack he's brought with him from Kansas State this offseason.
"I really like coach Franklin's offense and everything he does. It's a pro-style offense and I'm a pro-style offense kind of guy," said O'Brien, who also has a perfect GPA. "I'm not an option-read guy or a running back playing quarterback. I'm definitely a pass-first quarterback, but hen everything breaks down, I can make a play with my legs."
Also a good basketball player, O'Brien is considering graduating high school early and enrolling at Maryland midway through the upcoming school year.
"I'm thinking about it. I also like basketball so I want to talk to my basketball coach about it and make a decision this summer," he said.
He also plans to help the Terps' staff with recruiting. He said he's working on Laurinburg, N.C., safety Damonte Terry, but won't limit his scope to his home state.
"I'm gonna work on some in-state players, but then anybody who they want me to work on," he said.
O'Brien is the third verbal commitment in the 2009 class for Maryland, joining Brown and in-state athlete Avery Graham.
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