At this year's signing day press conference, the Maryland coaching staff emphasized speed as the area they were trying to improve the most. Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin mentioned wide receiver as a position of focus for the 2011 class. If the Terps can nab top prospect Damiere Byrd, they can solve both of those problems.
Byrd, a receiver from Erial, NJ, is one of the top prospects at his position in the 2011 class, ranked at #21 among wide receivers by Scout.com. As a junior, Byrd caught 38 passes for 605 yards and rushed 78 times for 685 yards, scoring eleven total touchdowns.
Byrd helped Timber Creek Regional High on their way to a 9-3 record and an appearance in the state finals, a 23-17 loss against Terp commit Ian Evans' Hammonton High School. The wide receiver is one of the fastest players in the nation, recording a 4.30 time in the 40-yard dash at the 2009 Scout.com Baltimore combine.
"As a receiver, speed is my strength," he said. "Along with crisp route running, knowing where I have to be and when to be there, and of course catching the ball. I need to work on just being a overall player, being able to block and learn new things."
Looking at his junior highlight tape, Byrd uses his extreme explosiveness to his advantage, and he can seemingly turn on that extra gas at any time. The junior thinks that he will still be able to use that explosiveness against better players in college.
"Yes, I'm very confident at the things I do," he said. "I believe my explosiveness will continue to be the same at the next level. The players at the next level will be better than the ones now but with preparation and working out it shouldn't be a problem."
At 5'9" and 162 pounds, Byrd is undersized for a college receiver, but what he lacks in size, he makes up in speed. The junior isn't concerned about the possible size disadvantage, however, and is planning on getting bigger before playing at the next level.
"Yes, being undersized has been the thing for me my whole life," he said. "Right now I'm not too worried about it. I'm slowly gaining weight, but it's hard because [I'm on the] track [team]. But I do plan on gaining some more weight if I can before my high school career is over."
Programs around the country are taking notice of Byrd. He is currently holding six scholarship offers, from Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, Rutgers, South Carolina, and Stanford. Running backs coach John Donovan has been heading the recruiting of Byrd for the Terps.
"I've been talking to Coach Donovan," Byrd said. "He is definitely a great guy, very passionate about his job. He's been telling me that he wants me to come play early and become that go to guy that can take it the distance every time he touches the ball, and being the center of the offense is cool with me. I'm not the type to complain about getting touches, and if the coach feels that I need to be the main one touching the rock then that's fine with me."
Byrd was the state champion in the 55-meter for New Jersey as a junior with a time of 6.39 seconds. He was named to the All-Conference, All-South Jersey, All-Group 3, and All-State teams.
Byrd Impresses With Speed
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