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October 31, 2007

Five questions -- The newest UM women’s basketball commit

More than a year ago, Riverdale Baptist forward Dee Liles committed to play basketball for Maryland.

Academics ended up rerouting Liles, a 6-foot-1 forward, to Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla. But -- as first reported by TerrapinTimes.com -- now Liles is heading to College Park after all.

Gulf Coast head coach Roonie Scovel said Liles recommitted to the Terps on a visit to Maryland’s campus earlier this month. She also considered LSU and Louisville.

During her freshman season, Liles averaged approximately seven points and five rebounds per game for a Gulf Coast team that will eventually have had “six or seven or eight” Division I players, according to Scovel. Liles will join the Terps during the 2008-09 season with two years of eligibility remaining.

Scovel was kind enough to answer ‘Five questions’ about Liles.

Were you surprised she committed to Maryland?

Well she had made a couple other visits, but I think that’s always been her dream. It was probably smart to look at a couple other schools to make sure, and then be able to follow her dream.

Now she’ll play close to home and be close to her family. She gets back to her roots and now she gets to do something she’s always wanted to do.

What is Liles like as a player?

Dee’s one of those players that has the ability to play a lot of positions, but you can’t really name the exact one. She has great athleticism in the post, and she’s quick enough to run outside and play the perimeter game. She’s got a lot of good qualities. She can probably play any position except the point.

What can she improve on?

Last year she didn’t shoot the ball very well from the perimeter. We took her out of her comfort zone, which was close to the basket. She can score and rebound close to the basket.

This year we’ll utilize her at both positions, probably a little more inside because of our team. She worked a lot on her perimeter shooting. I do think that’ll be a lot better this year.

What are your expectations of Liles this season?

We have a pretty diverse group. We’ve got three-point shooters; we’ve got quickness, a nice post game. I think on any given night we could have five different kids who could step up and lead the team in scoring. We’re pretty diverse. My expectation of Dee is that I expect her to average a double-double this year. There are going to be nights when we move her out to the perimeter. We’re going to use Dee at whatever position will be most successful for our team.

What you think of her commitment to Maryland?

She looked at a couple other schools, but I would say Dee’s heart and loyalty was always with Maryland. The second time around with these kids, you never know what will happen. I’m glad she was loyal to Maryland and I’m glad the Maryland coaches were loyal to her. In today’s society, we’ve kind of lost some of that [loyalty]. I think it’s great that both sides agreed to be loyal to each other. I think she’s got a lot of potential to be a really nice player for Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Five questions
        

Meggett, Dorsey game recaps

Here are the last two Maryland commitment game recaps of the week. Both games were played yesterday after getting rained out over the weekend.

Davin Meggett -- 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back from Surrattsville

Surrattsville (7-1) pulled out a 18-13 win over Gwynn Park.

According to washingtonpost.com, Meggett had 18 carries for 193 yards and two touchdowns, and also caught a 75-yard touchdown pass. The three scores gave him 25 offensive touchdowns on the year, which leads the Washington-area, according to The Washington Post. Meggett has also returned an interception for a touchdown.

"For him to do that, in our league, he’s really stepped it up," said Surrattsville head coach Tom Green of Meggett leading D.C. in touchdowns. "There’s really not much more you can say. What you ask him to do, he goes and does it and then some."

For the season, Meggett has carried the ball 114 times for 1,216 yards and 20 touchdowns, and caught six passes for 301 yards and five touchdowns.

Kevin Dorsey -- 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Forestville

Forestville (3-4) defeated Central, 26-14.

According to washingtonpost.com, Dorsey reeled in three passes for 29 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown catch.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:31 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 30, 2007

Another big game for Douglas

Stormy weather bumped six future Terps from playing their high school games this weekend.

Three commits had their makeup games last night. Here's what happened in each.

Gary Douglas -- 6-foot, 178-pound running back from Durham (N.C.) Hillside

Hillside (8-2) topped Northern Durham, 43-21.

Douglas carried 15 times for 196 yards and two touchdowns.

According to The [Durham, N.C.] Herald-Sun, Douglas ripped off a 71-yard touchdown run with less than three minutes remaining, putting Hillside on top for good.

“"I saw an opening and got some really great blocking downfield," Douglas told The Herald-Sun. "Northern may not have a good record, but they have a team that can beat anybody. This was a big win for us."

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,563 yards and 16 touchdowns on 151 carries, and caught seven passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Kerry Boykins -- 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith

Oscar Smith (9-0) blasted Deep Creek, 41-7.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Boykins caught three passes for 57 yards and one touchdown.

Demetrius Hartsfield -- 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.)

Southeast Raleigh (8-2) bested Holly Springs, 31-10.

• For those who missed last night's Zach Brown update/correction, here's the link.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
        

October 29, 2007

One more thing ...

Maryland tight end commit Devonte Campbell received his qualifying SAT score today, according to Hargrave head coach Robert Prunty.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:26 PM | | Comments (0)
        

The Zach Brown situation

Earlier today I reported that Zach Brown had withdrawn his commitment to Maryland.

Turns out there was never a commitment to withdraw.

I just got a call from Hargrave head coach Robert Prunty. Here's what he had to say regarding Brown's supposed commitment to the Terps:

"Zach Brown was never committed to the University of Maryland. Zach Brown was a kid they had a lot of interest in, but they never offered him. I had talked to Coach [Dave] Sollazzo and what they wanted to see was how he did academically at Hargrave. They were waiting to see his grades at Hargrave.

“I would like to apologize to the University of Maryland coaching staff and the fans of the University of Maryland because the statement that the assistant coach made was incorrect. He’s a young guy who made mistakes, but he’s also going to do great things before he leaves Hargrave.

“One thing that Hargrave does have is a great relationship with the University of Maryland, and we look forward to continuing to work with them.

“Any player that has the opportunity to go to the University of Maryland should consider himself very fortunate. They have a great coaching staff and a great academic program.”

Here's a link to the decommitment story -- which includes the assistant's quotes. Here's a link to an earlier story that said Brown was committed.

So what's the moral of this story? Recruiting is full of misunderstandings, which in turn leads to all sorts of misinformation (obviously).

This isn't an indictment of Brown, Hargrave, or the Terps' staff. It's not the first time in the history of recruiting that misunderstandings of this magnitude have taken place between player and staff. The situation just serves as another reminder of that.

Here's hoping both parties move on -- Brown to a BCS conference school after Hargrave, and the Terps to another prospect that will add to their 2008 recruiting class.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:56 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Zach Brown no longer a Terp commit

Correction: Brown was not a commitment. Here's a link to corrected story.

Former Wilde Lake standout and current Hargrave Military Academy linebacker Zach Brown is no longer committed to Maryland.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pounder actually withdrew his commitment to the Terps about a month ago, according to Hargrave assistant Jeff Burchman.

“He just decided to kind of look around and see what was available,” Burchman said. “He’s done a great job and is getting a lot of attention.”

Brown, a four-star prospect per Scout.com, is still considering the Terps, but has a wide open recruiting picture and no current leader, according to Burchman.

“He’s looking at a variety of schools. ... a lot of ACC and SEC schools,” Burchman said. “He just wanted to open his options a bit. He’s going to take his visits ... He’s just looking at everybody.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:49 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Football commitment game recaps

Here’s your weekly recap of all Maryland football commitments’ high school games.

Justin Lewis -- 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from Johnsonville (S.C.)

Johnsonville (4-6) was crushed by Carvers Bay, 48-0.

Lewis collected six tackles and one quarterback pressure, while grading out at 86 percent of his blocks on offense.

“We finished the season, unfortunately,” said Johnsonville head coach Lewis Lineberger.
"[Justin] played pretty well the last couple weeks. He played the best he’s played all year. …

"We were disappointed with our season. We didn’t play as well as we thought we could have. But I think he played well overall. I think he probably didn’t have quite as good a year as he did last year. But I think he has great potential and will do well in college.”

Lineberger said he believes in-state schools Clemson and South Carolina could eventually offer scholarships to Lewis, but the Terp commit is “pretty well set.”

“There are other people looking at him, but right now he is completely committed to Maryland.”

For the season, Lewis contributed 36 tackles, one sack, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and one recovered fumble. Lineberger estimated that Lewis graded out at over 80 percent of his blocks on offense.

Tyler Urban -- 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin

Norwin (6-3) ended an eight-game losing streak to conference rival Penn-Trafford with its 27-6 win.

Urban led the Norwin rushing attack with 76 yards and three touchdowns.

“Coach [Dan] Conwell said coming into this game that we were going to run the ball a lot,” Urban told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Our offensive line, you have to (credit) a lot of those rushing yards to them. They opened up holes the entire game.”

Matt Furstenburg -- 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.

The Hun School (7-0) edged Valley Forge Academy, 21-18.

Furstenburg reeled in three passes for 44 yards and one touchdown, and also contributed two sacks and three tackles on defense.

R.J. Dill -- 6-foot-8, 280-pound offensive tackle from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity

Trinity (9-0) dominated James Buchanan, 35-0.

The Shamrocks rushed for 336 yards and held Buchanan to just 19 total yards.

Cameron Chism -- 6-foot-2, 180-pound cornerback from Bishop McNamara

Bishop McNamara (5-4) was blanked by DeMatha, 22-0.

Chism led the Mustangs in receiving with three catches for 81 yards.

“[Cameron] did alright,” said Bishop McNamara coach Bryce Bevill. “He played well on defense. We were on defense a lot.”

Teddy Dargan -- 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Milford Mill

Milford Mill (4-4) fell to Franklin, 35-28.

“[Teddy] didn’t play,” said Milford Mill head coach Reggie White. “He was really sick all week. He didn’t get well enough to play. He really was out of it ... missed a few days of school.”

Tavon Wilson -- 6-foot-0, 175-pound cornerback from H.D. Woodson (D.C.)

HD Woodson (6-3) routed Spingarn, 55-0.

Wilson caught a 50-yard touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 80 yards for a score.

Cody Blue -- 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle from Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake (6-2) was defeated by Howard, 21-14.

A.J. Francis -- 6-foot-4, 314-pound defensive lineman from Gonzaga (D.C.) College

Gonzaga (4-4) shut out O’Connell, 28-0.

Justin Gilbert -- 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive tackle from Richmond (Va.) Monacan

Monacan (5-3) topped Midlothian, 14-0.

Masengo Kabongo -- 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Fairfield (Conn.) Prep.

Fairfield Prep (5-2) blanked Hamden, 24-0.

Kerry Boykins -- 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith

Rain cancelled Oscar Smith’s (8-0) Friday matchup with Deep Creek. The game will be made up tonight at 6 p.m.

Demetrius Hartsfield -- 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.)

Southeast Raleigh’s (7-2) date with Holly Springs was rescheduled for tonight at 7:00 p.m.

Gary Douglas -- 6-foot, 178-pound running back from Durham (N.C.) Hillside

Hillside (7-2) had its game at Northern Durham postponed. It’s been rescheduled for tonight at 7:00 p.m.

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,367 yards and 14 touchdowns on 136 carries, and caught seven passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Davin Meggett -- 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back from Surrattsville

Surrattsville (6-1) had its game against Gwynn Park postponed due to weather. The Hornets’ game is rescheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.

On the season, Meggett has carried the ball 96 times for 1,023 yards and 18 touchdowns, and caught five passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns.

Kevin Dorsey -- 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Forestville

Forestville’s (2-4) matchup with Central was postponed due to inclement weather. The Knights’ makeup game is scheduled for Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.

Devonte Campbell -- 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end from Hargrave Military Academy

Hargrave’s trip to Annapolis to take on the Naval Academy was cancelled due to poor weather. Rain and flooding prevented the Cadets from making the trip from Chatham, Va. to Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 26, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

Starting with football recruiting …

• Where does the Terps’ football staff turn for players when in-state guys go elsewhere? According to The [Newport News, Va.] Daily Press, the talent-stocked Hampton Roads area has increasingly become a UM recruiting destination.

State champions last year at Phoebus High School, fullback Haroon Brown and offensive lineman Maurice Hampton are redshirting this season for Maryland.

The former Phantoms are among six Hampton Roads players recruited to the Terps program by assistant coach Tom Brattan. Moreover, Maryland has a commitment from receiver Kerry Boykins, a senior at Chesapeake's Oscar Smith High who chose the Terps over Virginia, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Tennessee.

• UM running back commit Davin Meggett has lead the Surrattsville High School football team to a completely unfamiliar scenario -- contending for a playoff berth.

The Clinton school has never sent its football team to the playoffs, but it looks like it’s going to happen this year, as the Hornets currently hold the third of four playoff spots available in the 1A South Region. After Saturday’s game, Surrattsville (6-1) will close the season against middle-of-the-road teams, Largo and Crossland. The Hornets are led by running back Davin Meggett’s 17 rushing touchdowns, but they’ve also allowed just 71 points in seven games.

• Scout.com is pretty high on Maryland’s three prep school football commitments. Hargrave linebacker Zach Brown, The Hun School tight end Matt Furstenburg and Hargrave tight end Devonte Campbell are Nos. 12, 17 and 22 respectively on Scout’s newly-released Prep School Class of 2008 Top 50.

• As part of The Sun’s ‘Football: The tie that binds’ series, Stefen Lovelace profiled one of Maryland’s top 2009 football targets, Baltimore’s own Tavon Austin.

The entire story is definitely worth the read, but to give you an idea of just how much competition the Terps will face for the Dunbar running back’s services, here’s an excerpt from the article.

Austin's smile fades and his expression becomes serious when he starts sifting through the envelopes, with return addresses from universities like Alabama, Illinois, Ohio State, Auburn, Syracuse, Arizona State and Florida State.

• One-time Terp wide receiver target Ben Barber pledged this week to the in-state Hokies.

Virginia Tech picked up the 21st commitment Wednesday for its 2008 football recruiting class from Ben Barber, a 5-foot-10, 200-pound wide receiver from Thomas Edison High in Alexandria. He also considered scholarship offers from Virginia and Maryland.

Finishing with basketball recruiting …

Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in West Paterson, N.J. caught up with 2009 big man Greg Echenique. The St. Benedict (N.J.) Prep player commented on Penn, Duke and Rutgers, but also gave a little love to the Terps.

Echenique added that he also likes Maryland, which features fellow Venezuelan Greivis Vasquez, and Pitt and hopes to take some more visits when his parents come from South America for Easter.

• CSTV.com’s Van Coleman offers Part 1 and Part 2 of his ACC Fall Recruiting Preview. Per usual, ACC teams are bringing in absurd collections of talent.

Coleman also hosted his weekly chat, and one Terp fan got Coleman’s opinion on UM commitments Gus Gilchrist and Jin Soo Kim.

Gary Md: How good are Gilchrest and Kim? Do you see Md getting any other recruits?What about junoirs? THANKS

Van Coleman: Right now I think Gus Gilchrist comes in right away and has an opportunity to start at one of the two inside spots. He's made tremendous strides this past year, has improved his body, runs the floor well, has great hands. With Kim, he's one of the best shooters in the prep school league but he'll need to get stronger.

• Gilchrist’s commitment officially spelled the end of Maryland’s courtship of Elizabeth, N.J. power forward Quintrell Thomas. This week, Thomas officially found a home by offering a verbal commitment to Kansas.

He turned down the big-city lights of UNLV and Maryland and staying home to play at Rutgers to go with KU's tradition. Not to mention a chance for playing time as a freshman.

• Looks like Tubby Smith will be just fine at Minnesota. The former Kentucky coach pulled a commitment yesterday from former Terp target Ralph Sampson III.

• South Kent (Conn.) Prep center Assane Sene, another one-time UM target, committed to Virginia this week.

"It was a tough decision. I had only good schools," said Sene, who also visited UConn and Syracuse and had interest from UCLA, Texas, Kansas and Maryland. "But Virginia is my favorite."

• Remember former UM shooting guard target Chris Turner? Back in August, Sean Mosley beat Turner to the punch, committing to Maryland, and thus leaving Turner looking elsewhere to play his college ball.

Now it appears Turner is looking elsewhere to play his high school ball as well.

Patterson (N.C.) School coach Chris Chaney said that 6-5 shooting guard Chris Turner is no longer enrolled at the school, and that he and others were working on finding Turner a better situation.

Turner, a Durham, N.C. native who spent last season at Winchendon (Mass.) Prep, attended "Madness After Midnight" last week at Seton Hall and was thought to be an option for the Pirates if they don't land Tyreke Evans or Kevin Jones.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:18 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 25, 2007

Status quo for Kenny Tate

DeMatha wide receiver/safety Kenny Tate has been fairly tight-lipped about his recruitment, but for good reason -- there's not much to report. He has unofficially visited Maryland and Florida but hasn't made an official visit to any school just yet.

According to Stags head coach Bill McGregor, Tate's been 100 percent focused on his high school season, bumping recruiting to the backburner. I caught up with McGregor earlier this week to check in on Tate's season and recruiting picture.

How has Tate performed this year?

"He’s done very well. He’s playing both ways -- wide receiver, running back, safety, kick and punt returns."

What position do you think he projects best at for college?

"I don’t know. He’s so versatile. I think he could be a wide receiver, a defensive back, a big running back. He’s tall, so I don’t know. He might even grow into a linebacker."

You've coached multiple players in the NFL, in addition to several more DeMatha alums that currently dot DI rosters. Where does Tate stack up with past DeMatha greats?

"He’s as good as anyone I’ve ever coached. He's a great kid, a great human being, a great person. He's focused on academics. He's very low key and comes from a great family."

What have you discussed with him regarding recruiting?

"Truthfully, we haven’t really talked about it. Basically we’re talking about winning the next ball game. My gut says Florida and Maryland. I don’t know which order, but again, all that could change. Kenny’s priority is high school football."

Do you have any sense as to where he's leaning?

"It’s Kenny’s call. There's pros and cons with both. It's nice being close to home and having a chance to play for Maryland. He could become a household name for the University of Maryland. At the same time, Florida is big-time. There’s lots of glitz and glamour with playing in the SEC. He could end up checking out Ohio State, too."

What does the emphasis on team over recruiting say about Tate?

"I just think that’s the kind of young man he is. He cares about his team and teammates. He doesn’t have a bad choice. He can go anywhere in the country. He's always had his priorites in order. I just think he’s following what he’s always done."

Recruiting Report programming note: For those of you that get CSTV, check out Tom Lemming's Generation Next at 7:00 p.m. tonight. I did a brief interview for the show discussing Tate's recruitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:08 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 24, 2007

Five questions - UM's in-state football commits

Today's guest for 'Five questions' is MDVarsity.com editor Sheldon Shealer.

Shealer, a professor of journalism at Mount St. Mary's University, has covered high school football in Maryland since 1987. He started the official state rankings (1990) and the All-State teams (1992) and has served as the coordinator of both since their inception, in addition to creating and maintaining the official state records for football.

Shealer answered five questions via e-mail about the Terps' in-state commits and one UM target.

1.) What are your impressions of Maryland defensive line commitments Teddy Dargan (Milford Mill) and Cody Blue (Wilde Lake)? What type of impact do you foresee them making at Maryland? What are their strengths? What can they work on?

We've been waiting for Dargan to deliver and he finally put on a monster game last week in Milford Mill's loss to Hereford. It was his best performance to date from an athlete who has been getting hype since his sophomore year. Blue is more of a project for Maryland. He has good size and strength, but will not be an impact player right away.

2.) How has Forestville wide receiver Kevin Dorsey performed this year? Is he an instant-impact type of player? What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Dorsey is having a great season even though it appears his high school team will not make the playoffs. He has 29 catches for 519 yards and six TDs.

Dorsey's size and athletic ability, and the fact he's very polished as a high school player, could get him early playing time on the collegiate level. His body frame and route running reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson.

3.) What were your impressions of Terp commits and Hargrave players Devonte Campbell and Zach Brown coming out of high school? What did they need to work on during their year at Hargrave?

Zach Brown is an exceptional athlete -- almost freakish with his size and speed. He was a three-sport star at Wilde Lake -- wrestling, track and football. I see him making a smooth transition to the college game. Campbell is a speed end/tight end who might need to add a few pounds for the I-A game.

4.) From a statistical standpoint, it seems like running back Davin Meggett is having an excellent senior year. Was this expected? What has each shown to you?

Going into this season, the question on Meggett was could he take a hit? Clearly, he has shown he can -- he's already over 1,000 yards and appears to be on pace for a 1,500+ type season. It's no surprise that he's having this sort of statistical showing, the more impressive aspect is how far he's carried Surrattsville, a program that has never been in the playoffs. Surrattsville is 6-1. Meggett has very good speed and he's thick and strong.

5.) How does Maryland look for DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate? Is Florida the Terps' main competition? What type of wide receiver is he?

Tate is a possession receiver. He has good speed, but not great speed. Florida is in the mix, but his game seems more suited for a Big 10-style offense.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Five questions
        

October 23, 2007

Gilchrist found right fit with Maryland

All it took was one official visit.

Gus Gilchrist had no idea that he’d visit College Park this past weekend and enjoy himself enough to become a Terp.

“Well I didn’t really know if I was going to [commit] to Maryland or not, but I took the visit because they were interested,” Gilchrist said. “When I met the coaching staff and watched them practice with the flex offense, I knew I could be good with them.”

On Sunday, Gilchrist made it official, offering a verbal commitment to the Terrapins’ coaching staff. Gilchrist picked the Terps over interest from Georgetown, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia.

Gilchrist -- a four-star center/power forward -- originally signed a Letter of Intent to play basketball at Virginia Tech, where he would’ve been a freshman now.

But according to Terrelle Woody, Gilchrist’s longtime trainer/mentor, the shootings on the Blacksburg campus last April caused the 6-foot-10, 235-pound big man to reevaluate things.

“When the shootings happened, they really spooked him out,” Woody said. “Once they spooked him out ... Gus and his parents talked to [Virginia Tech] coach [Seth] Greenberg and told him they didn’t want to go this year. He wanted to sit out, go to prep school and then come back the next year after all the things blew over. ... The coach felt that he recruited him and Gus needed to come there now, but myself and his parents thought he should feel comfortable. ... Once he wasn’t supported, he changed his mind about the whole thing. ... He did want to go to school there. He really liked the school.”

When asked about the Virginia Tech situation, Gilchrist declined to rehash the past, saying he was entirely “focused on Maryland.”

While becoming a Terp was far from a certainty (or, at some times, a possibility), the match between Gilchrist and Gary Williams’ brand of basketball has been described by more than a few observers as “perfect,” thanks in large part to UM’s flex offense.

During his senior year of high school at Progressive Christian Academy in Camp Springs, Gilchrist had the opportunity to face a regular slate of high school opponents, but also a collection of prep school teams. Woody coached Progressive’s prep school contests, running the flex offense. Against prep school opponents, Gilchrist averaged approximately 27 points and 14 rebounds per game.

“I always kind of played the flex offense growing up,” Gilchrist said. “I remember early in AAU growing up, I was probably 9 when I started learning it.”

Gilchrist’s knowledge, experience and skill set make his play and the offense an ideal fit.

“I’m a versatile, perimeter post player,” Gilchrist said. “I can score inside and out and play defense.”

Damon Handon, the general manager of D.C. Assault -- Gilchrist’s AAU team -- is in agreement that Gilchrist and Maryland’s system are a good match. Handon, who has watched Gilchrist develop since he joined D.C. Assault at age 14, thinks his former star has the potential to start for the Terps at the power forward or center spot from “day one.”

“What [Maryland is] getting in Gus is a physical inside presence,” Handon said “He can step out and make the 17-foot jump shot. He has great size. He has gotten so much better over the last two years, so I think that’ll continue when he gets to college. His upside is just tremendous. [He’s] a kid that is physically ready right now.”

“He’s an inside-outside player. He can score around the basket. He’s multi-dimensional. One aspect of his game [that can improve] is the ability to rebound the basketball, but I’m quite sure that’ll come. But right now he’s very polished offensively. This is a kid who has made some really big strides.”

Gilchrist is set to matriculate to College Park during the winter semester. He’ll begin practicing with the team immediately, but it’s still up in the air as to whether he’ll suit up for the Terps this season, or wait to make his Comcast Center debut during the 2008-09 season.

“Well, I really haven’t even talked to the coaches about that,” Gilchrist said. “So there will be time for that.

“It’s pretty much even,” he said when asked whether he’d like to redshirt or play immediately. “If I had a preference, I’d let you know, but it’s really 50/50 right now.”

Right now, Gilchrist is using his free time to get more prepared for college basketball. Woody has worked Gilchrist hard, putting him through weight training, agility workouts, speed and stamina exercises, and of course, lots and lots of basketball.

Gilchrist is also getting his mind prepared for the rigors of a college education. When he’s not working out or spending time with family and friends, Gilchrist’s face can often be found buried in a book. He’s currently enjoying the John Howard Griffin classic Black Like Me.

In addition to his affinity for literature, Gilchrist -- a 3.5 student in high school -- is eager to explore some of Maryland’s business school offerings.

“[Education is] very important,” Gilchrist said. “The fact that Maryland has one of the best business schools in America -- that’s a field that I’d like to get into.

“I’m just really excited to start school. It feels great [to be committed to Maryland]. I’m relieved that I found a school that’s the right school for me all around, for basketball and education.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:47 AM | | Comments (25)
        

October 22, 2007

Football commitment game recaps

Here’s your weekly recap of all Maryland football commitments’ high school games.

Gary Douglas -- 6-foot, 178-pound running back from Durham (N.C.) Hillside

Hillside (7-2) defeated Chapel Hill, 25-6.

Douglas carried the ball 18 times for 100 yards and caught a 75-yard touchdown pass.

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,367 yards and 14 touchdowns on 136 carries, and caught seven passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

Davin Meggett -- 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back from Surrattsville

Surrattsville (6-1) blanked Central, 42-0.

Meggett rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries, and caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.

On the season, Meggett has carried the ball 96 times for 1,023 yards and 18 touchdowns, and caught five passes for 226 yards and four touchdowns.

Tyler Urban -- 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin

Norwin (5-3) blasted Connellsville, 42-6.

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Urban recorded Norwin’s first two touchdowns of the night.

Urban got the scoring started in the first quarter with an 8-yard touchdown run led by a key block from right tackle Jesse Dominy to give Norwin (5-3, 3-1) a 7-0 lead.

After Norwin senior Adam Dominick picked off Connellsville quarterback Cole Lowman in Falcons territory, the Knights went 30 yards in six plays for another Urban score. This one came on an 8-yard completion from quarterback Alex Dennison.

R.J. Dill -- 6-foot-8, 280-pound offensive tackle from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity

Trinity (8-0) toughed out a 7-0 over Milton Hershey. The Shamrocks, who rushed for 268 yards in the game, are the No. 4 team in Pennsylvania’s Class AA.

“For being in the mud [R.J.] did fine,” said Trinity coach Jeff Boger. “It poured -- it was a mud fest. Our quarterback fumbled nine times. Luckily he recovered all nine.

“It’s a tremendous help to know when the team needs yards, you've got a place to go. And [R.J.] wants it go there. He’s confident that when we go to his side, we’ll get the yards.”

Cameron Chism -- 6-foot-2, 180-pound cornerback from Bishop McNamara

Bishop McNamara (5-3) beat Paul IV Catholic, 42-14.

Chism rushed twice for 50 yards, caught four passes for 49 yards and broke the game open with an 85-yard kickoff return for touchdown.

“He made a big play,” said Bishop McNamara coach Bryce Bevill. “He muffed a punt right before which gave Paul field position and they scored to make it 7-7. He returned the kickoff after that. So if you want to make up for a mistake, that’s the way to do it.”

Teddy Dargan -- 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Milford Mill

Milford Mill (4-3) was edged by Hereford, 17-14.

Dargan registered seven tackles in the loss.

“Going against Hereford and holding them to 17 points was a big deal,” said Milford Mill coach Reggie White. “As he goes, so does the defense. ... He’s been the monster he’s supposed to be.”

Tavon Wilson -- 6-foot-0, 175-pound cornerback from H.D. Woodson (D.C.)

HD Woodson (5-3) beat Anacostia, 35-12.

Wilson reeled in a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Matt Furstenburg -- 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.

The Hun School (5-0) beat Peddie, 35-12.

Furstenburg caught a 37-yard touchdown pass.

A.J. Francis -- 6-foot-4, 314-pound defensive lineman from Gonzaga (D.C.) College

Gonzaga (3-4) lost to Good Counsel, 35-8

According to DCSportsFan.com, Francis’ presence affected Good Counsel’s running attack.

Alan Elder rushed the ball hard, Johnson Bademosi made a number of devastating hits on defense while A.J. Francis (Maryland) and Cameron Johnson (Virginia) were recognized as threats by Good Counsel, which forced the Falcons’ offense to run plays away from the future ACC standouts.

Demetrius Hartsfield -- 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.)

Southeast Raleigh (7-2) fell 24-19 to Garner.

According to
The [Raleigh, N.C.] News & Observer
, Hartsfield was lost from the game immediately.

Southeast, which lost defensive leader Demetrius Hartsfield on the opening kickoff, stopped Garner again and took over at the 50, with 3:43 left to play.

Kerry Boykins -- 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith

Oscar Smith (8-0) rolled to a 49-0 win over Nansemond River.

Justin Gilbert -- 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive tackle from Richmond (Va.) Monacan

Monacan (4-3) dropped a 22-7 game to L.C. Bird.

Masengo Kabongo -- 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Fairfield (Conn.) Prep.

Fairfield Prep (4-2) stomped Notre Dame-West Haven, 33-0.

Kevin Dorsey -- 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Forestville

Forestville (2-4) topped Potomac, 20-14.

Justin Lewis -- 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from Johnsonville (S.C.)

Johnsonville (5-4) bested Latta, 34-14

Cody Blue -- 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle from Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake (6-1) trounced Long Reach, 34-6.

Devonte Campbell -- 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end from Hargrave Military Academy

Zach Brown -- 6-foot-1, 212-pound linebacker from Hargrave Military Academy

Hargrave was off this weekend, but will return to action Friday at Navy.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:59 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Gus Gilchrist commits to Maryland

Maryland picked up another basketball commitment this weekend when former Progressive Christian Academy star Gus Gilchrist pledged to the Terps.

Gilchrist, a 6-foot-10, 235-pound center, will reportedly enroll at College Park in January. He originally signed with Virginia Tech, but was released from his letter of intent to the Hokies following the shootings at the Blacksburg campus last April.

According to The Washington Post, Gilchrist is unsure of whether or not he'll suit up for the Terps during the second semester this season, or just practice with the team and make his playing debut during the 2008-09 season.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:07 AM | | Comments (8)
        

October 19, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

With the emergence of Australian (by way of Sudan) power forward Ater Majok and his possible (likely?) commitment to the Terps, odds of Maryland continuing to go after Quintrell Thomas appeared slim. TerrapinTimes.com’s Dan Painter hinted as much in Tuesday’s edition of 'Five questions'.

Now it's official. According to Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in West Paterson, N.J., Thomas has dropped Maryland from consideration.

The Elizabeth, N.J. power forward has now delayed his decision, but should eventually choose between Kansas, Rutgers and UNLV. Thomas' high school coach told Zagoria that his decision could be delayed a bit, and another team could potentially join the fray.

• Who is new 2009 UM small forward commit Jin Soo Kim, and how did he become a Terp? TurtleSportsReport.com’s Seth Hoffman has the answers in this excellent feature about Kim’s journey from Korea to College Park.

• Two more Kim links, both brought to my attention by ‘Recruiting Report’ reader Corn T -- NewEnglandRecruitingReport looks at the commitment and Kim’s development at South Kent (Conn.) Prep. Also, Hoopville.com previews South Kent’s season.

• Ex-Bladensburg and current Arlington (Fla.) Country Day School forward Wally Judge sported an early Maryland offer, but took himself off the Terps’ board this week by making a verbal commitment to Kansas State.

• Can’t wait to see 2008 UM defensive tackle commit Masengo Kabongo play? You’ll get your chance on Jan. 4.

Kabongo has been selected to play in the second-annual Offense-Defense All-American Bowl at the Orange Bowl in Miami. The game will be televised on Fox College Sports.

• For those who missed it earlier this week, The Sun’s Childs Walker took a look at the life of Terp running back recruit Davin Meggett.

There’s lots of interesting stuff about his relationship with his father, former New York Giant star David Meggett, but in regards to what Terp fans can expect on the field, here’s a good quote from MDVarsity.com editor Sheldon Shealer.

"I was really struck by how sturdy he's built," Shealer said. "He reminds me of a college player the way he's built. He looks like a little bowling ball, and he's very fast. I was very impressed with how quick he got going."

• According to The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier, Maryland offensive line commitment Justin Lewis is still being wooed by the in-state schools. He’s got an upcoming unofficial visit to South Carolina.

"I feel good about my commitment, but I can't count out all the schools just yet," Lewis said. He plans to set official visits with Clemson and Maryland.

• Here’s an early football name to watch -- Pete White, a 6-foot-5, 339-pound offensive tackle at St. John’s in D.C. DCSportsFan.com’s Todd Bradley reports that White, a 2009 prospect, sports two early, big-time offers.

“I don’t have any favorites right now. I have two scholarship offers from Tennessee and Maryland and hopefully I’ll get some more.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:42 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 18, 2007

Lamaar Thomas picks Ohio State

Fort Washington Friendly running back/wide receiver Lamaar Thomas announced tonight that he will attend Ohio State, choosing the Buckeyes over Maryland and Illinois.

Here are just a few paraphrased notes from his announcement, which was televised on ESPNU.

• It's very difficult for him to leave home and say no to Maryland. Thomas has never left home before.

• Ohio State plans to use Thomas similarly to how they used Ted Ginn Jr.

• Thomas plans to run track at OSU.

Tough break for Terp fans, but not a big surprise.

On the bright side, Rivals.com just updated its 2008 football rankings, and Maryland currently has the No. 19 class in the country.

It definitely hurts losing such a talented instate guy, but the Terps are still in position to reel in a very strong class.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:19 PM | | Comments (7)
        

Towson was ‘the best choice’ for Franklin

Everyone had an opinion.

Those seemingly “hundreds” of phone calls and text messages Mount Carmel's Troy Franklin Jr. received Monday morning indicated as much.

Some advocated for the warm weather, Disney World appeal of Central Florida. Others liked St. Bonaventure, just an hour and a half drive from Buffalo, but in a small town that lives and breathes Bonnies basketball. Toledo and George Mason garnered their fair share of support as well.

But in the end, Franklin picked the one school that recruited him from the beginning, the one school that didn’t fit his initial requirement of getting away from Baltimore for college, and the one school that offered everything he was looking for in a university.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pound point guard, verbally committed to play basketball for Towson University on Monday.

Some might look at the choice and think Towson won out because the campus is just a 25-minute drive from Franklin’s home. Not true, says the Mount Carmel senior.

“At first I really kind of wanted to get away,” Franklin said. “I thought I didn’t want to be around Baltimore. I thought I wanted to start fresh.”

But as Franklin learned more about Towson, the urge to leave Baltimore behind was outweighed by the countless positives about the Tigers' program.

“If it was located in California I think I still would’ve went to Towson,” Franklin said. “When I visited there, they brought everything to me and showed me everything that had to be shown.”

Showing Franklin ‘everything’ included heavy emphasis on academics. An honor student at Mount Carmel, Franklin has his eyes set on studying business management and pursuing a career in entrepreneurship after his basketball playing days are over.

On his official visit to Towson in October, the academic support staff laid out a detailed plan for Franklin, and apprised him of the many advantages of a Towson business degree. The academic staff discussed available courses, work study programs, potential internship opportunities and job placement following graduation.

“Some of their business programs [are among] the best in the country,” Franklin said.

On the basketball side of things, the Tigers have gone through their struggles in Pat Kennedy’s three years on the job, but have shown marked improvement each season. Last season, the Tigers went 15-17 overall and 8-10 in Colonial Athletic Association play – a far cry from Kennedy’s first year at the helm when his squad went 5-24.

After sending four teams to postseason play in each of the last three seasons, the CAA is already past up-and-coming status – something duly noted by Franklin. Now it’ll be partially up to him to see to it that the Tigers take that next step.

Franklin, who averaged 14.9 points, 4.4 assists and 2 steals per game as a junior at Mount Carmel, expects to contribute, but acknowledges that nothing will be automatically handed to him. Still, he’s ready to do what he can to help the team.

“I just want to win,” Franklin said. “I think they expect me to come in and lead the team and basically distribute the ball and make sure everyone’s happy.”

There’s much for Franklin to be happy about as well. He’ll have some company from the city when he joins the Tigers in 2008 in Walbrook grads Rocky Coleman and Rodney Spruill. He can look forward to playing in a new arena at some point during his career, likely by his sophomore year. And he has the satisfaction of being able to play for four more years in front of friends and family.

While location wasn’t close to being a deciding factor in Franklin’s recruitment, proximity is something, over time, which he’s come to embrace.

“It feels good to be close to home,” Franklin said. “It’s an honor to represent Baltimore and the city’s school. … Towson was the best choice.”

Click here for video of Franklin's press conference.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 17, 2007

Friendly's Thomas set to choose

It's decision time for Fort Washington Friendly running back/wide receiver Lamaar Thomas.

As reported yesterday by TurtleSportsReport.com, Thomas is set to pick between Illinois, Maryland and Ohio State tomorrow. The announcement is scheduled to be televised on ESPNU during halftime of the Arkansas Pine-Bluff at Alabama A&M football game. The game starts at 7:30 p.m.

I caught up with Friendly head coach George Earley yesterday. Here’s what he had to say about Thomas’ recruitment.

It’s been reported that Maryland and Illinois like Thomas at running back, while Ohio State sees him at wide receiver. Does he have a preference to which position he’ll play in college?

“Illinois might use him at receiver also. I don’t know exactly where each of the coaches wants him. It just won’t be on defense.

“Lamaar has expressed that he just wants to get on the field. He’s going to play. That’s going to be big factor.”

What position do you think is best for Thomas at the collegiate level?

“We try to utilize him on every level and every position in what we’re doing right now. With his speed, I would use him at wideout myself because of his separation. And he has great hands. He knows what to do when he gets the ball. He’s just an asset to the whole program. I feel comfortable putting him anywhere. It’ll depend on what the school needs.”

Has there been a lot of local sentiment for Thomas to go to Maryland?

“Oh yeah. It’s more so about family here. His grandma would love to see him play. Family has a lot to do with him staying here. That’s why the decision is so difficult.”

What do you think the most important factor in Thomas’ decision will be?

“I think a lot of it is how he was treated on his visit. He’s at a family oriented program now, and we’re all really close. He’s looking for a program with that type of surroundings. It’s about going to a program that knows him. If the people who he’s visited have treated him like family, then he’s going to lean toward that program.”

What type of character does he have?

“He’s like a son. Lamaar is a one-of-a-kind kid who actually didn’t start being vocal until this year. Whatever we ask, he does it. He’s not selfish. We’ve asked him to play running back, quarterback, receiver. But he’s a team player. ... Lamaar has thrown a couple touchdown passes and he plays defense. He’s on the field the whole game.”

Which school do you think Lamaar Thomas will select? Click here to vote in a Recruiting Report poll.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:04 AM | | Comments (3)
        

October 16, 2007

Five questions - UM men's basketball recruiting

Checking in for today’s edition of “Five questions” is Dan Painter, TerrapinTimes.com’s basketball recruiting analyst.

Painter got his start in scouting with All-Star Sports Scouting Service, balancing that gig with his full-time job with the federal government for more than 10 years. Painter’s primary scouting area was the Washington, DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia corridor.

Painter (who answered questions via e-mail) also covers UM men's and women’s basketball recruiting for Terrapin Times Magazine.

1.) What's the latest with 2008 forward prospect Ater Majok? Why did he withdraw his commitment from Baylor? Do the Terps have a good shot? What type of player is he?

Maryland looks very strong for Majok. In talking to his high school coach, he told me that Maryland has everything he is looking for, athletically, academically, and socially, and pointed out the area's cultural diversity was a factor as well.

From what I have heard, Majok told Maryland he wants to be a Terp, and only needs the blessing from his family back in Australia to make it official. That should come this week. But nothing is totally done until they give their approval.

Majok came to the U.S. and was impressed by Baylor's interest in him, liked the campus, and simply made a hasty decision. After playing extremely well in a late summer tournament, Majok realized he could play at a higher level. His coach is originally from the Maryland area; therefore, the Terps became a viable alternative. As Majok told me, "I want to play on the biggest stage I can."

Few have seen Majok, but one source described him to me as an incredibly long, skilled combo forward, who can go down low to block shots, but also has the handle and shot to play on the perimeter. His coach says he will "be a 3-man in the pros."

2.) What does Majok's emergence mean for New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas and the Terps? Is Georgia center Ralph Sampson no longer an option?

It appears that a Majok commitment may signal an end to 2008 recruiting for the Terps. Lots of buzz in New Jersey that Thomas may opt for Kansas, with Rutgers still pushing hard. Since Majok will likely play a lot of power forward for the Terps, that would seem to exclude Thomas from the picture here. There was some discussion of Sampson visiting Maryland last weekend, but instead he chose to go to Kentucky on an official visit, his second trip there. Seems like they are in the catbird's seat right now.

3.) What type of player is 2009 Terp commit Jin Soo Kim? What's his size? Where will he be ranked? How did he stay so under the radar?

Jin Soo Kim was measured this summer at 6 feet 8 1/2, and now weighs about 190 pounds. He is a fluid, graceful athlete with a deadly outside shot. As his strength increases, he will be able to do more things in traffic. He reportedly is fundamentally sound, and knows the game very well. He is under the radar because he played very little AAU ball, preferring to play internationally with the South Korean national team. His coach at South Kent (Conn.), Raphael Chillious, thinks he can be a big time player, and would be a top 30 type with more AAU exposure.

4.) Where does Maryland turn to fill its second 2009 scholarship? Are the Terps still hitting the in-state class hard?

My guess is that Gregory Echenique, the 6-foot-9 low post junior from St. Benedict's [in New Jersey] would be a major target in 2009, as no true low post players were brought in this year. The Terps have looked at a number of local '09 players, but with Kim committed, I can't see any other wings opting for Maryland. And keep in mind, as of now, only one scholarship remains for that class, though attrition is always a possibility. Maryland can be very selective. Already, a number of the 2009 prospects here locally seem to be looking elsewhere. Taking Kim this early is a strong indicator of what the Terps' staff thinks of him.

5.) What does Gary Williams' ability to get in good with international prospects like Majok and Kim so quickly say about his recruiting acumen? Could this be a new strategy in recruiting, in addition to still going after the top AAU guys?

You take good players wherever you can find them. In the cases of Majok and Kim, both youngsters had ties to this area. I don't see Maryland shying away from the AAU circuit. What I do see is the Terps making a concerted effort to recruit players who are fundamentally sound and well versed in the nuances of the game. Last year's class and this year's recruitment of Sean Mosley and (likely Ater Majok) seem to bear that out.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:21 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Five questions
        

October 15, 2007

Mt. Carmel point guard commits to Towson

Troy Franklin Jr. of Mt. Carmel verbally committed this afternoon to play basketball at Towson University.

"I’m elated with Towson," said Troy Franklin Sr. of his son's choice. "[Towson assistant] coach [Jim] Meil outworked all the recruiters. He put in the work to close this one. No question about it. He was all over everything."

Franklin, a senior point guard, chose the Tigers over offers from Central Florida, George Mason, St. Bonaventure and Toledo among others.

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on Franklin's choice.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:49 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Football commitment game recaps

Here’s your weekly recap of all Maryland football commitments’ high school games.

Gary Douglas -- 6-foot, 178-pound running back from Durham (N.C.) Hillside

Hillside (6-2) pounded East Chapel Hill, 41-0.

Douglas rushed for 329 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries.

For the season, Douglas has carried the ball 118 times for 1,267 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Davin Meggett -- 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back from Surrattsville

Surrattsville (5-1) fell to Douglass, 36-24.

Meggett had 16 carries for 144 yards and 3 touchdowns. His rushing scores came from 35, 10 and 22 yards out.

On the season, Meggett has carried the ball 79 times for 873 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Kevin Dorsey -- 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Forestville

Forestville (1-4) dropped a 40-24 decision to Poly Prep Country Day in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Dorsey recorded eight catches for 122 yards two touchdowns. He also accumulated 42 yards on kick returns.

“He’s still getting double- and triple-teamed and making big catches in traffic,” said Forestville coach Charles Harley. “He came out and made a lot of tackles on defense, too. He’s just a very a consistent performer.”

Tyler Urban -- 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin

Norwin (4-3) edged Hempfield, 17-10.

Urban rushed for 48 yards in the win.

Kerry Boykins -- 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith

Oscar Smith (7-0) routed King’s Fork, 56-0.

Boykins caught four passes for 65 yards and a touchdown.

“On his touchdown catch, he caught an out route at about the 10-yard line, then he ran two guys over and broke a tackle to score,” said Oscar Smith coach Richard Morgan.

Boykins, who missed Oscar Smith’s first four games with a sprained right knee, has tallied 12 catches for 170 yards and three touchdowns.

R.J. Dill -- 6-foot-8, 280-pound offensive tackle from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity

Trinity (7-0) came up with a 21-0 win over Camp Hill. The Shamrocks are the No. 5 Class AA team in Pennsylvania.

“R.J. did very well,” said Trinity coach Jeff Boger. “We rushed for 263 yards and again, the majority of our rushing did go over to the right side where he plays. He did play defense again, and he had at least two tackles that I can think of.

“[His play has] been consistent. The thing that I will say is that on the defensive side of the ball -- since he hasn’t played there the last two games -- he really went after it, which was great to see.”

Cameron Chism -- 6-foot-2, 180-pound cornerback from Bishop McNamara

Bishop McNamara (4-3) lost 41-6 to St. John’s on Saturday.

Chism had one catch for 19 yards, recorded one pass breakup and collected five tackles.

“We got blown out, so there’s nothing in particular that stood out [about Chism’s play],” said Bishop McNamara coach Bryce Bevill.

Tavon Wilson -- 6-foot-0, 175-pound cornerback from H.D. Woodson (D.C.)

H.D. Woodson (4-3) blanked Eastern, 39-0.

Wilson reeled in two passes for 39 yards.

Teddy Dargan -- 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Milford Mill

Milford Mill (4-2) topped Towson, 20-13.

A.J. Francis -- 6-foot-4, 314-pound defensive lineman from Gonzaga (D.C.) College

Gonzaga dropped a 7-6 heartbreaker to DeMatha.

Demetrius Hartsfield -- 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.)

Southeast Raleigh (7-1) had a bye. They’ll face Garner on Friday.

Justin Lewis -- 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from Johnsonville (S.C.)

Johnsonville (4-4) was defeated by Hemingway, 50-7.

Cody Blue -- 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle from Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake (5-1) trounced Reservoir, 25-7.

Masengo Kabongo -- 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Fairfield (Conn.) Prep.

Fairfield Prep (3-2) lost to Cheshire, 42-7.

Justin Gilbert -- 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive tackle from Richmond (Va.) Monacan

Monacan (4-2) beat Huguenot, 27-20.

Matt Furstenburg -- 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.

The Hun School (4-0) blasted Blair Academy, 31-7.

Devonte Campbell -- 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end from Hargrave Military Academy

Zach Brown -- 6-foot-1, 212-pound linebacker from Hargrave Military Academy

Hargrave defeated Louisburg College, 30-9.

According to the Hargrave Web site, “Linebacker Zach Brown blocked his second punt of the season, plus had the corresponding recovery for a touchdown.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Jin Soo Kim commits to Maryland

Shortly after kicking off the 2007-08 season with Maryland Madness on Friday, Gary Williams and staff received its first commitment for the class of 2009.

Jin Soo Kim, a 6-foot-7, 170-pound small forward, committed to Maryland over the weekend following his visit to College Park for Maryland Madness. Kim is from Korea, but plays for South Kent (Conn.) Prep.

Here's a link to Kim's DraftExpress.com profile.

• Former Terp commitment Terrence Jennings pledged to Louisville during a weekend visit to UL.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:13 AM | | Comments (10)
        

October 12, 2007

Decision time for Mt. Carmel point guard

Mt. Carmel point guard Troy Franklin Jr. is set to announce his college choice at a press conference at his high school Monday at 12:45 p.m.

Franklin will choose between five schools – Central Florida, George Mason, St. Bonaventure, Toledo and Towson.

Here’s what Troy Franklin Sr. had to say about each of his son’s finalists:

Central Florida: “It’s Conference USA. Memphis is going to win the conference and then everyone else eats whatever crumbs are left. It’s okay, you don’t want to live in Dreamland, but at the same time, you want to be able to say that ‘hey we’ve got a shot.’ But the University of Central Florida came in second in regular season play to Memphis. They’re No. 2 in Conference USA.

“They have a brand new gym, an arena that seats about 10,000 that is absolutely gorgeous. The new football stadium, new dorms ... all spanking brand new. ... Everything is really, really tight. It’s a tough thing to overcome when somebody is talking about, ‘we’re going to build this’ and then you look at a finished project. “

George Mason: “Troy took an unofficial [visit] to George Mason, we went to a camp at George Mason and then an elite camp there in the summer.

“George Mason's big strength is that [Troy] would be playing ball with Bird (GMU sophomore Louis Birdsong), who he played with on the Baltimore Stars [AAU] program.”

St. Bonaventure: “Strengths [are] small class sizes and academics. St. Bonaventure is a small community and student body… It’s clear the town is really behind the school.

“They’re just coming off probation and Mark Schmidt is the head coach now. His No. 1 is (former UMBC and Towson assistant) Dino Presley. They did a good job [recruiting Troy]. They really pressed very, very hard having him up there and with everything that happened during his visit. The bright lights, the locker room, they really went all out.”

Toledo: Toledo, you’ve got Stan Joplin up there. They pressed very hard. Toledo was just on the case very early, along with George Mason and Towson. But they were really on the case hard.

“They won the MAC conference last year. They lose a few seniors. Joplin and that crew is always in the mix. They run an offensive style. The ball’s always in the point guard’s hands. I think it’s a really good move for (Towson Catholic point guard) Larry Bastfield.

Towson: “Towson, with Pat Kennedy and Jim Meil, they really came off well. They’re at every game, I mean every game during the open period when they can be there. They made all the calls like clockwork. … Kennedy made it clear they were pressing for Troy. Let’s say Troy was tying his shoes, Kennedy would be looking at him when Troy was looking up.

“They did something that I thought was great. On every visit you talk to the athletic director, but it seemed like they got everyone involved. The vice president came down. It was loose and carefree, but it was also a quality thing. ... And Pat Kennedy’s got some pieces hidden away, I’ll tell you that much.”

Check back with Recruiting Report Monday afternoon to find out which school Troy Franklin Jr. selected.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:39 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

With 18 verbal commitments, several high-priority targets still on the board, and even more prospects who at one time were offered scholarships but may no longer be targets, there’s much to sort out before we can close the book on the Terps’ 2008 class.

Ralph Friedgen’s staff pulled its 18th commit this past weekend, when Richmond (Va.) Monacan offensive lineman Justin Gilbert offered his pledge to the Terps. Gilbert told Rivals.com -- via this article from MSNBC.com -- that his commitment will be the last Maryland gets from an offensive lineman.

“I told Coach (Tom) Brattan, and then he took me to meet with Coach (Ralph) Friedgen,” Gilbert said. “They were both really happy and said it was a good day for Maryland. They got a win against Georgia Tech and they also landed their last offensive line commit.

Gilbert’s pledge could not have been timelier for the Terps, thanks to the apparent ‘soft commit’ status of one of his O-Line brethren.

Johnsonville, S.C. OL Justin Lewis committed to the Terps in August over an offer from N.C. State. According to PalmettoSports.com, it now appears the in-state schools are getting involved.

"I feel good about my commitment but I can't count out all the schools just yet," Lewis said. "I talked to (USC assistant) coach Reaves a couple of weeks ago and he said he wanted to see some recent game film. And I talked to (Clemson assistant) coach Swinney last week and he said they want me to come visit."

Lewis also told PalmettoSports.com that he has visited South Carolina unofficially, and will set up official trips to Maryland and Clemson.

As for offered, uncommitted prospects, the list of possibilities for Maryland continues to be whittled down as the season progresses.

Two big-time defensive prospects thought to be longshots for the Terps have essentially confirmed those thoughts. According to the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News, four-star defensive tackle Reggie Ellis and four-star defensive end Robert Quinn have both seemingly bumped UM from serious contention.

Reggie Ellis (Washington D.C.-Dunbar) will take an official visit to Alabama Oct. 20. His top schools are Alabama, Illinois, Penn State and Pittsburgh.

Robert Quinn (North Charleston-Fort Dorchester, S.C.) appears as a high-priority recruit. Quinn has visited Tuscaloosa several times unofficially and will return for an official visit after the season. Alabama faces Auburn, Florida and North Carolina in a tough recruiting battle.

Switching to prospects with legitimate Maryland interest, Virginia Beach running back Kevin Whaley has frequently mentioned the Terps, Virginia and Virginia Tech when asked about his recruitment.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Whaley had hoped to visit UM last weekend, but ...

Salem running back Kevin Whaley will reschedule his official visit to Maryland, possibly after the regular season. Whaley originally planned to visit College Park during Salem's bye last week, but the Terrapins asked him to postpone.

This is completely speculative, but I’m guessing Maryland wants to know where it stands with Fort Washington Friendly’s Lamaar Thomas before going all-out for another running back, which would explain Whaley’s visit rescheduling.

One last football link

Last week’s Weekly recruiting roundup looked at former UM running backs coach and current Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley, and how he has helped establish a D.C. to Champaign pipeline.

Yesterday CBSSports.com examined the issue at greater length. If you're a Maryland fan concerned about the Fighting Illini coming to recruit in D.C., then the entire article is definitely worth the read.

The newest basketball target

Scout.com’s Dave Telep reported earlier this week that Ater Majok, a 6-foot-9, 195-pound forward from the class of 2008, will make an official visit to College Park this weekend.

Majok grew up in Sudan, but his family eventually fled to Australia where he is now a student at the American International School in Carlingford. A former Baylor commitment, Majok now has offers from Maryland, Cal, Houston and South Carolina, according to Scout.com.

As for his game, longtime college basketball writer Frank Burlison liked what he saw from Majok in July 2006.

But the skinny (he’s a lot closer to 190 than he is to, say, 220) Majok is really active – one of the really popular scouting catch words of this millennium) – and handles the ball surprising well. Forty pounds and the acquisition of a dependable shot from now, we might see his name on an NBA roster.

For a more comprehensive feature on Majok’s development into a “a potential first-round draft pick in 2009,” check out this story from Fox Sports Australia.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:04 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 11, 2007

Towson Catholic point guard headed to Toledo

Taking a rare break from an unquestionably exhausting summer of AAU play, Larry Bastfield Jr. settled into his seat at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas last July to watch Team USA’s basketball team take part in an intra squad scrimmage.

Bastfield was in Las Vegas with Team Melo for the Main Event AAU tournament. Almost every major college coaching staff had representatives on hand for the tournament, but the University of Toledo’s coaches had shown particular interest in the 5-foot-11, 178-pound point guard.

So when Bastfield’s father, Larry Bastfield Sr., met up with his son at UNLV’s arena that day, the look on his face told the younger Bastfield all he needed to know. Toledo had offered a scholarship.

“He really gave me a look, but he didn’t have a surprised look,” said Bastfield of his father. “He tried to keep it under wraps. He didn’t try to get really excited, but he did.”

On Saturday, Bastfield finally made it official, offering his verbal commitment to the Toledo coaching staff.

The Towson Catholic star proved himself as a Division I player throughout his junior year, averaging approximately 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals per game. A self-proclaimed setup point guard with a deceiving power game, Bastfield helped guide the Owls to a 31-6 record and the MIAA A championship.

Surprisingly enough, Toledo was the only DI scholarship offer Bastfield was seriously considering. Fortunately for him, that offer came from a school that’s no stranger to success.

Stan Joplin has guided the Rockets to a 192-136 record and four NIT appearances in his 11 years at Toledo. Last season’s team went 14-2 to win the Mid-American Conference regular season championship.

The opportunity to play for a program that is regularly in contention for the NCAA tournament was a major selling point for Bastfield.

“I wanted to be around a winning tradition,” Bastfield said. “I didn’t want to go to a school that was in a losing situation. [Toledo is] always competing for the MAC championship.”

The Rockets lost two senior guards from that MAC title team, and they’ll lose another before Bastfield arrives. That open depth chart and Toledo’s penchant for producing great freshmen – namely three MAC Freshman of the Year recipients in the last seven years – bode well for Bastfield making an early impact.

“They expect me to come in and compete,” Bastfield said. “Kashif Payne is going to graduate. They told me I’ll be in the playing group. I’ll have to work hard to start, but they have said there will be playing time for me.”

Bastfield will have to shoulder a heavier load this winter as Towson Catholic attempts to compensate for the losses of Donte Greene (Syracuse) and Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech). But for now, Bastfield’s content knowing he’ll be continuing his basketball career next year – and getting a free education along the way.

“It was a big relief,” said Bastfield of his commitment to Toledo. “[Getting a college scholarship is] what I’ve played basketball for. I always wanted to not have my mother and father have to pay for my education. This was about hard work.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:02 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 10, 2007

Quick hoops recruiting links

Van Coleman of CSTV.com dropped some interesting Maryland-related basketball recruiting nuggets in his weekly chat. The entire transcript is definitely worth the read, but here’s a Terps-specific question and answer involving New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas and Georgia center Ralph Sampson:

Rusty Md: Do the terps have a legitimate chance for Sampson and or Quintrel Thomas? Thanks

Van Coleman: Any time you can get guys on your campus, you have a shot. In this case, that's where they're at right now. It's going to depend on how well they sell the program to the two kids. I don't see them as the leader for either of those young men, but top three? I think so.

• SPARQ has been holding training sessions up and down the East Coast with some of the most high-profile high school basketball programs, including St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, N.J. – home of 2009 Terp target Greg Echenique.

Echenique has a particularly interesting story, having moved to Newark and St. Benedict’s from Caracas, Venezuela. Built like a freight-train, Echenique is in his third year in the US. The 6’9” center has excelled on and off the court, establishing himself as a top recruit in the class of 2009. Echenique said that he is still considering a number of schools, but named nearby Rutgers, Maryland, Miami, Pitt, and Penn as some of his top choices. He also said that he is very committed to his academics; he said “in five years my goal is to have graduated from college.”

Click here for the entire St. Benedict’s recap, which also includes more tidbits on Echenique, photos and results from the training session. SPARQ also stopped by Montrose Christian last month, the home of ’09 UM targets Isaiah Armwood, Terrell Vinson and Tristan Spurlock. (Credit goes to the always excellent Big East Basketball Report for the links.)

Adam Zagoria answers questions about Thomas and Echenique (in addition to numerous other New Jersey/New York prospects) in this recent entry to ZAGSBLOG. Scroll down to the bottom of the entry for answers to various Thomas and Echenique-related questions.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:13 AM | | Comments (0)
        

October 9, 2007

Five questions -- UM's D.C.-area football commits

A good chunk of Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class comes from the Washington D.C. area.

Todd Bradley, the co-founder and editor of DCSportsFan.com, which focuses on the private and public high schools in Washington, D.C., has seen four of those future Terps in action.

Bradley answered 'Five questions' via e-mail about those four UM commits, and also gave his thoughts on one of Maryland's biggest remaining targets.

1.) Cameron Chism seems to have emerged as a solid two-way player for Bishop McNamara. How has he performed this year? Could you see him getting involved in the offense at Maryland? What are his strengths as a defensive back?

Chism has been exceptional this year. After emerging as one of the area’s top juniors last season in the D.C. area, Chism has lived up the hype in 2007. To put it simply, he’s a playmaker. Against Gonzaga this past weekend, he intercepted a pass, caught a 61-yard touchdown pass and blocked an extra point—and that was just in the fourth quarter. I can definitely see him getting some time at wide receiver for Maryland because he has great speed and rarely drops passes. It’s hard to say what his strengths are at defensive back because teams rarely throw his way. Gonzaga tried to pass the ball to Virginia commit Cameron Johnson late in the game and Chism picked off the pass and almost took it to the house. I think he’s a more talented version of Curome Cox.

2.) How has A.J. Francis looked for Gonzaga thus far? Does he project better on the offensive or defensive side of the ball? What are his strengths, and what are some things he needs to work on for college?

Francis has a great deal of potential. When he’s playing well on offense, Gonzaga’s running game thrives and the same goes for the defensive side of the ball. But if I had to predict where he’ll play at Maryland, it would be on the defensive line. Right now his biggest asset is his size, but he needs to work on his strength and quickness, which shouldn’t be a problem when Maryland gets a hold of him. And as an added bonus, Francis isn’t afraid to speak his mind, which can make for some interesting reporting.

3.) Has Davin Meggett's season been a big surprise to followers of D.C.-area football? What's stood out about his play? How much of Surrattsville's success can be attributed to Meggett's play? Might Maryland have gotten a steal?

Meggett has been a big surprise. Surrattsville went 4-6 last season and were shut out three times. Through the first five games this season, Surrattsville has outscored their opponents 227 to 34 and Meggett is a major reason why. After this past weekend, Meggett is seventh in the D.C. area with 729 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he’s averaging over 11.5 yards per carry. In a 35-8 victory over Potomac, Meggett rushed for 299 yards and three touchdowns. At 5 feet 9 and 205 pounds, Meggett is a powerful runner who is surprisingly fast. Not only has Maryland gotten a steal, but Redskins fans finally get some payback for all those times his father, David Meggett, tortured us when he played with the Giants.

4.) How has Tavon Wilson looked? How important is he to H.D. Woodson's success? What are his strengths as a defensive back?

Tavon Wilson has looked really good this year. H.D. Woodson started off the season 0-3, but they have won their past three games against three tough opponents. Nobody expected them to beat Central Dauphin East (Pa.) two weeks ago and Wilson caught two touchdowns in the victory. Woodson then beat Ballou, last year’s runner up in the DCIAA, 20-2. Wilson's most obvious strengths are his quickness (runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds) and ability to make big plays, which is one of the reasons he received offers from schools like Maryland, Illinois, Boston College and Michigan State, to name a few.

5.) There's been some debate about which position Kenny Tate (wide receiver, running back, safety) should play in college. Which do you feel is the best fit for him? Is he an instant impact guy in college? Any sense of where he could end up?

I've been fortunate enough to cover Kenny Tate since his sophomore year at DeMatha. If I were to predict what position he will play in college, it would be either wide receiver or safety, but he's the kind of talent that could play both. I don't think he'll play running back because he's built more for a wide receiver (6 feet 4, 215 pounds), but Coach Bill McGregor likes to use him occasionally out of the backfield because he's so dangerous when he touches the ball. Last weekend he only carried the ball once, but it was a 92-yard touchdown run.

Kenny Tate is definitely an instant impact guy in college. His best season statistically at DeMatha was during his sophomore year (24 receptions, 529 yards, four TDs; seven rushing TDs) when he was a relative unknown. Now defenses key on him and he doesn't get the ball as much as he used to, and DeMatha has so many weapons that Tate doesn't need to win games by himself. However, with less attention on him next year I can see him having a freshman season similar to what we are seeing this year with Arrelious Benn at Illinois. Tate is just that good, regardless of where he is ranked on various recruiting Web sites.

As far as next year is concerned, trying to guess where Kenny Tate will end up is like trying to predict who will get the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential race. Tate is taking his time and I wouldn't be surprised if he made the announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this January in front of a national audience. But if I were to make an educated guess, it would be either Florida or Maryland. He's also talented enough to make either school's basketball team and see the floor as a freshman, but that discussion can be left for another time.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:53 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Five questions
        

October 6, 2007

Apologies

I'll be out of town Sunday and Monday -- the days I call high school coaches -- so the regularly scheduled 'Football commitment game recaps' post will be on a one-week hiatus.

I did manage to dig up a few UM commitment game nuggets before heading out of town. Here's what I've got:

Gary Douglas was the star of Hillside's 39-7 win over Riverside. The Durham (N.C.) native rushed for 190 yards and 2 touchdowns. On the year, Douglas has accumulated 938 yards and 11 touchdowns on 93 carries.

Cody Blue contributed nine tackles in Wilde Lake's 25-8 loss to River Hill. I believe Blue's nine stops were a season high.

DCSportsFan.com was on hand to see Cameron Chism and his Bishop McNamara team notch a 29-28 win over A.J. Francis' Gonzaga (D.C.) squad.

Tavon Wilson's H.D. Woodson squad bested Ballou, 20-2. Wilson caught three passes for 53 yards.

• No stats here, but Demetrius Hartsfield's Southeast Raleigh squad moved to 7-1 with a 44-18 drubbing of East Wake.

Davin Meggett and his Surrattsville team blasted Fairmont Heights, 43-0, to move to 5-0 on the year. Surrattsville's stats are often posted here on Monday.

One uncommitted Terp target

• Fort Washington Friendly athlete Lamaar Thomas was pretty much unstoppable in Friendly's 40-0 rout of Douglass. According to The Washington Post, Thomas caught two touchdown passes, rushed for one score, threw a TD pass and recovered a fumble.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:00 PM | | Comments (1)
        

October 5, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

When recruiting really got under way for Maryland’s 2008 class, Dunbar (D.C.) defensive tackle Reggie Ellis and Fort Washington Friendly running back Lamaar Thomas were without question two of the biggest targets on the Terps’ wish list.

Ralph Friedgen and staff immediately faced almost nationwide competition for the duo. According to Rivals.com, Ellis has been weighing offers from Alabama, Pittsburgh, Penn State and Illinois, while Thomas sports scholarship tenders from Ohio State and Illinois.

Notice the common school – the resurgent Fighting Illini, a 4-1 surprise that has enjoyed stellar seasons from D.C. natives Arrelious Benn and Vontae Davis.

Now Illinois hopes to reel in Ellis and Thomas, continuing its D.C. to Champaign pipeline. If Ellis and Thomas do eventually choose the Illini, it will be due, in great part, to the efforts of former UM running backs coach/recruiting coordinator and current Illini offensive coordinator Mike Locksley.

The Chicago Tribune took a really interesting look earlier this week at Locksley's D.C. ties, and how, according to Benn, Illinois has become “the school for D.C. kids.”

• Virginia Beach running back Kevin Whaley has been pretty quiet on his recruitment, possibly because he’s been too busy breaking the South Hampton Roads rushing record and leading Salem High School to a 6-0 record.

The Virginian-Pilot says Whaley, who claims offers from Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech among others, is the Beach District’s best thus far.

MVP Ocean Lakes QB Marcus Davis was putting up eye-popping numbers until last week's loss to Salem. We'll go with Mr. Reliable: Salem running back Kevin Whaley, who has six 100-yard games and 14 total TDs.

Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell stopped by Virginia Beach last week to see what all the Whaley hype was about. According to this ‘From the Road’ segment, Farrell came away impressed.

• Onondaga (N.Y.) athlete Latavius Murray faces a difficult question when deciding which school to choose – linebacker or running back?

According to this feature on Murray’s recruitment from The [Syracuse, N.Y.] Post-Standard, the linebacker/running back position debate was in full effect on recent visits to Boston College and Central Florida.

UCF has another, more fundamental, advantage. The Knights are recruiting Murray as a running back; BC wants him to play linebacker. … Murray prefers to play running back in college, though he will consider schools that recruit him at linebacker.

Maryland’s offer to Murray is as a linebacker. There isn’t much mention of the Terps in the article (other than that UM is one of five schools to offer him a scholarship), but it’s an interesting, in-depth read on his recruiting process.

• Harmony (Fla.) athlete O’Neill Chambers was at one time thought to have Maryland and BYU among his leaders. Now, however, the mutual interest between Chambers and the Terps seems to be waning.

According to the Daily Herald in Provo, Utah, Chambers has a new team on top

Scout.com is reporting that O'Neil Chambers (6-3, 205 WR) of Harmony High School in Florida has placed Purdue as his No. 1 school after a visit to the campus last week. BYU is also interested in Chambers, who leads his area in receiving with 15 catches for 319 yards after four games. Chambers is expected to trip to BYU in January.

Off the list

Two Maryland long shots officially dropped the Terps this week, much to the surprise of no one.

First, Lynchburg (Va.) Liberty Christian offensive tackle Bobby Massie committed to Virginia Tech.

It had been reported before that the Terps were in contention for one of his five official visits, but according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Terps had faded out of the big man’s top five.

Massie, a 6-8, 335-pounder from Liberty Christian Academy in Lynchburg, chose Tech over Georgia, Clemson, North Carolina and Tennessee, said Liberty Christian coach Frank Rocco.

Augusta, Ga. athlete Sanders Commings was another recruit who had mentioned Maryland as a possible destination for his fifth official visit, but according to The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier, the talented two-way player will stay south for college, as expected.

ATH Sanders Commings Jr. (6-2, 195) of Augusta made an unofficial visit to South Carolina on Saturday, the third he's made with the Gamecocks. He hopes to make a decision this week with South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Georgia Tech his finalists.

Future Terps

• Defensive end commit Tyler Urban will be part of a major conference matchup tonight when his Norwin (Pa.) squad takes on Pittsburgh Central Catholic.

• UM wide receiver commitment Kerry Boykins just came off the injury list last week, but his team has managed pretty well without him.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, Boykins’ Oscar Smith team is the overwhelming favorite to win the Southeastern District title.

The district champ will be Oscar Smith. The Tigers have dominated the district for the past three seasons, winning at least a share of three consecutive titles. They've outscored their district opponents 175-10, including three shutouts.

• Several of Maryland’s DC-area commitments have big games on tap this weekend, starting with a matchup between two future Terp teammates.

Defensive back Cameron Chism’s Bishop McNamara squad squares off against lineman A.J. Francis and his Gonzaga (D.C) team.

The Gazette high school sports staff offers its predictions for the contest here, as well as a pick for running back Davin Meggett’s undefeated Surrattsville team.

One basketball note

Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in West Paterson, N.J. reports that New Jersey forward Greg Echenique, a 2009 prospect, will be visiting College Park this weekend.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:14 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 4, 2007

Wilde Lake pitcher committed to JMU

Wilde Lake pitcher Josh Futter had just spent an enjoyable day touring the Radford University campus, meeting with the school’s new baseball coach and figuring out whether he could see himself spending the next four years of his life as a Highlander.

But after settling down for the night in his hotel room with his father, Jim, Josh got an unexpected phone call from a different set of coaches than the ones he just spent the day with. The call came from a James Madison University baseball staff member, who extended a surprising invitation.

“I had talked to [the JMU coaches] before, but I didn’t realize [their interest] was that serious,” Futter said. “They said, ‘Since you’re down here, come up [to JMU's campus] on your way back [home].’”

The next morning, the Futters made the two-and-a-half-hour drive from Radford, Va., to Harrisonburg, home of the JMU Dukes. Two days after the visit, Futter had a scholarship offer, and a few days after that, he made it official, committing to JMU.

For Futter, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound pitcher for the Wildecats, the commitment two weeks ago was the culmination of a sometimes exhausting, yet often exciting, recruiting process.

Futter, who chose JMU over Radford, Coastal Carolina and Virginia Commonwealth, was impressed with almost everything about the Harrisonburg campus.

“It wasn’t too big and it wasn’t too small,” Futter said. “They’re also getting a new stadium. It’s a really comfortable atmosphere. And they have a strong business program, which I’m planning on majoring in.”

JMU had a difficult 2007 season, finishing ninth in the 11-team Colonial Athletic Association. But Dukes head coach Spanky McFarland put together one of the country’s top recruiting classes for 2008 -- something that didn’t escape Futter’s attention.

Plus, McFarland has big plans for Futter when he joins the Dukes.

“What they told me so far is they’re bringing me in to play right away,” Futter said. “A lot of these schools won’t make a commitment to someone they have to work with ... they say I’m pretty polished and college-ready to come right in and play.”

Futter made his mark on the local high school baseball scene as a freshman during Wilde Lake’s run to the Class 3A state championship game.

The Wildecats lost the title game to Severna Park, but Futter picked up four wins in the playoffs.

Futter’s been used to pitching on the big stage since that improbable freshman season, so some might find it curious that he’s headed to a smaller school for college.

In his mind, however, playing at JMU will still give him an opportunity to be noticed by major league teams.

“The reason that I actually chose JMU is I felt if I went to a bigger school, I might be a No. 2 or 3 starter,” Futter said. “I think I’d have a better chance getting drafted as a No.1 ... I think by my junior year I could be the No. 1 [starting pitcher at JMU].”

But the decision to go to JMU goes way beyond his potential for big things on the diamond. The Harrisonburg visit was more than enough to convince Futter he was a good fit with the Dukes.

“JMU just kind of blew everything else out of the water.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:31 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 3, 2007

Five questions - UM basketball and football recruiting

Answering ‘Five questions’ regarding Maryland basketball and football recruiting today is Jeff Ermann of TurtleSportsReport.com.

Ermann has written for TSR for more than a year, and has also covered Missouri basketball for the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune and high school sports for The Washington Post.

1.) With the news that Maryland is not a part of Terrence Jennings’ top five, have the Terps stopped recruiting the big man? If that's the case, what went wrong here? And what do you make of him leaving Mt. Zion for Notre Dame Prep?

No, the staff is still actively pursuing, it seems. As to what went wrong here, well, that's a long [story]. Jennings is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a middle-of-the-night when-the-coach-isn't-looking high school transfer. He's made more moves than U-Haul. This will be his sixth school, I believe. He's not a bad kid, but I think he has a bunch of people pulling him in different directions, as often is the case with major basketball recruits. The odds he ends up a Terp appear slim, but I wouldn't say there's absolutely no chance.

2.) New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas has now visited three of his four finalists. Is there any word on how the visits have affected his recruitment? Are Georgia center Ralph Sampson and South Kent (Conn.) Prep big man Assane Sene still considered longshots?

Thomas still seems to have Maryland as his favorite. But he did like Kansas. I don't see the other schools as very likely landing spots. He wants to get out of New Jersey, so that would mean [he's not interested in] Rutgers despite the immense pressure being applied on him locally. And it would be difficult to see him choosing UNLV.

Sene has been to Virginia twice, so speculation is there's at least a solid chance he'll end up there. He does have a Maryland offer and the Terps have been working him for some time, but he also keeps it very close to the vest, so it's hard to gauge his interest. Sampson just received an in-home visit from the Terps staff this week and may be warming up to the idea of coming to Maryland. I'd expect he'll visit soon, quite possibly for Midnight Madness.

I think people around the program are feeling fairly confident about him despite getting in late. Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Minnesota are the primary competition here. We should know more soon so you'll just have to tune in to TurtleSportsReport.com for the latest!

3.) There was a lot of optimism regarding Maryland’s potential for a great 2009 class, but that sentiment seems to have waned as of late. Where do the Terps stand with some of the big name in-staters, and emerging targets like South Kent (Conn.) Prep small foward Jin Soo Kim?

Kim is supposedly very good. I have not seen him play but he is a 6-foot-9 forward who can really shoot, from what I hear. Maryland has made a quick impression on him and may battle with Georgetown and Cal for his commitment.

On the local 2009 kids, the three most often mentioned are the Montrose Christian kids -- Tristan Spurlock, Isaiah Armwood and Terrell Vinson.

Spurlock seems most likely to end up at Virginia, Armwood can go virtually anywhere in the country and is getting the full-court press from Villanova and Lousiville, and Vinson also has a lot of major suitors. It's still early, but it'll be a real battle to land any of the three it seems. Armwood is the prize jewel.

Still, the staff has cast a wide net. Wally Judge is a 6-foot-8 kid from Bladensburg who the Terps have been after, though West Virginia and Georgetown may have the lead. Another local big kid is Dante Taylor from National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, but he could be a Big East type. It may not be a local class. Two frontcourt players who i think the Terps would love to have are Greg Echenique from New Jersey and Daniel Orton from Oklahoma. Both are major recruits.

There are a ton of names out there and a lot of time left. I believe they'll get some very good prospects.

4.) Having now visited his three finalists (Maryland, Ohio State, Illinois), is Lamaar Thomas getting ready to make his decision? How good should Terps fans feel about their chances? Could he have a Steve Slaton-type impact on whatever team he chooses?

He'll decide within the next three weeks. It's been a whirlwind tour since the beginning of the summer and he wants to relax a bit and focus on his season and taking the SAT this weekend. Right now, Ohio State seems to have the upper hand, but Maryland is most definitely in the mix. I'd be very surprised if he ends up anywhere but OSU or Maryland. He certainly has Slaton-like speed, and I do think he'll likely be a star on the college level.

5.) It’s been a while since the Terps picked up a football commitment. Are there any good bets to pick UM sometime this month? Are there any in-state guys who could be close to earning offers?

Justin Gilbert, a lineman from Monacan, Va., would seem the most likely. He's choosing between Maryland and Virginia Tech. Other than him, though, it's pretty quiet. The staff has already used almost all of its scholarships for 2008, so now I think the approach is to hold the final few spots for some highly sought kids (Zach Kerr, Lamaar Thomas, Kenny Tate), who generally take longer to decide.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:52 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Five questions
        

October 2, 2007

Quick Jennings, Thomas links

• So much for Maryland still leading.

In the wake of Terrence Jennings reopening his recruitment two weeks ago, he told a couple different recruiting sites that Maryland was still his leader.

According to Jody Demling of The Courier-Journal, however, Jennings has a new top five, and the Terps are noticeably absent from it.

• New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas visited Lawrence, Kan. this past weekend to check out what the Jayhawks had to offer.

According to Adam Zagoria of the Herald News in West Paterson, N.J., Thomas' expectations of "a school in the middle of a farm" were proven false.

Thomas has a final four of Maryland, Kansas, Rutgers and UNLV.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:38 AM | | Comments (7)
        

October 1, 2007

Football commitment game recaps

Here’s your weekly recap of Maryland football commitments’ high school games.

Davin Meggett -- 5-foot-8, 190-pound running back from Surrattsville

Meggett’s Surrattsville team topped Kevin Dorsey’s Forestville squad, 55-20.

Meggett rushed 23 times for 175 yards and four touchdowns in the win. He also recorded five tackles.

On the season, Meggett has carried the ball 60 times for 639 yards and 10 touchdowns. Surrattsville is 4-0.

Kevin Dorsey -- 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Forestville

In Forestville’s loss to Surrattsville, Dorsey reeled in seven passes for 96 yards, recorded eight tackles and returned a kickoff 81 yards for a touchdown. Dorsey had 240 kickoff return yards on the day.

“They double-teamed him, but he still made some great catches,” said Forestville head coach Charles Harley. “He’s just a warrior. He’s a once-in-a-lifetime athlete.”

Dorsey has four touchdown catches on the season for 1-2 Forestville.

Tyler Urban -- 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end from North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin

Urban’s Norwin squad blasted Latrobe, 42-7 to move to 3-2 on the year.

Urban, who only played in the first half, contributed four tackles, one sack and one quarterback pressure on defense, and carried the ball four times for 41 yards on offense.

“We put a lot of calls on him because [Latrobe] runs a no-huddle offense,” said Norwin head coach Dan Conwell. “He was a coach on the field, and he handled all the calls and checks extremely well.”

For the season, Urban has recorded 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks, four quarterback pressures and one pass breakup. On offense, Urban has carried the ball 27 times for 217 yards.

Gary Douglas -- 6-foot-0, 178-pound running back from Durham (N.C.) Hillside

In Hillside’s 35-28 win over Jordan, Douglas rushed for 128 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries.

For the season, Douglas has carried the ball 83 times for 748 yards and nine touchdowns. He’s also caught five passes for 59 yards. Hillside is 4-2 overall.

Kerry Boykins -- 6-foot-1, 200-pound wide receiver from Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar F. Smith

Oscar Smith blasted Grassfield, 50-10, to move to 5-0 for the season.

Boykins caught four passes for 65 yards in his first action of the year. A right knee sprain sidelined Boykins for the first four games.

“He looked good,” said Oscar Smith head coach Richard Morgan. “Every one of his catches was in traffic. He had to catch the ball and get hit and there were no repercussions from the catches. I’m glad we held him out for as long as we did because now he’s healthy and he’ll be ready for the rest of the season.”

R.J. Dill -- 6-foot-7, 275-pound offensive tackle from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity

Trinity bested Steelton-Highspire, 31-7. Dill’s squad is now 5-0, and ranked the No. 9 Class AA team in Pennsylvania.

“Defensively he didn’t play because we kept him as fresh as we could for offense,” said Trinity head coach Jeff Boger. “We rushed for 238 yards this past week, and that was against the No. 1 rush defense in the area … [R.J.] did very well. Again, we ran the majority of the time to his right side.”

Teddy Dargan -- 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive tackle from Milford Mill

Milford Mill beat Kenwood, 16-7. The Millers are now 3-1.

Dargan collected four solo tackles and two assists. He has 24 tackles on the season.

“He’s getting double-teamed every time, but he’s not getting frustrated anymore,” said Milford Mill head coach Reggie White. “He’s learning how to play a little lower. They’re throwing everything at him, but he’s been playing a lot more aggressively.”

A.J. Francis -- 6-foot-4, 314-pound defensive lineman from Gonzaga (D.C.) College

Gonzaga routed Paul IV, 30-0. Francis recorded two tackles in the win.

“I don’t know why he’s not getting more tackles, but it’s just not happening,” said Gonzaga head coach Joe Reyda. “He comes up with a couple tackles each game. But he is playing on the offensive side of the ball, and we ran behind him most of the game Saturday. Our back had over 100 yards.

“He’s doing what he’s supposed to be doing. He’s improving each week, which is all I’m asking of him.”

Tavon Wilson -- 6-foot-0, 175-pound cornerback from H.D. Woodson (D.C.)

HD Woodson notched an out-of-state victory on Saturday with its 22-16 decision over Central Dauphin East in Harrisburg, Pa.

According to PennLive.com, Wilson starred for the Warriors in the second half, catching six passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns.

Demetrius Hartsfield -- 6-foot-1, 210-pound linebacker from Southeast Raleigh (N.C.)

Southeast Raleigh topped previously unbeaten Smithfield-Selma, 36-15. The Bulldogs are 6-1 on the season.

Hartsfield caught a two-point conversion pass and another catch for five yards.

Cameron Chism -- 6-foot-2, 180-pound cornerback from Bishop McNamara

Bishop McNamara fell to Good Counsel, 28-13, which dropped the Mustangs to 3-2 on the year.

Justin Lewis -- 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive guard from Johnsonville (S.C.)

Johnsonville fell to Green Sea-Floyds, 26-14, which dropped Lewis’ squad to 2-4.

Cody Blue -- 6-foot-5, 280-pound defensive tackle from Wilde Lake

Wilde Lake defeated Centennial, 35-7. The Wildecats are 4-0 on the season.

Blue collected 4 tackles and half a sack.

Masengo Kabongo -- 6-foot-2, 280-pound defensive tackle from Fairfield (Conn.) Prep.

Fairfield dropped its first game of the season, a 26-21 decision to Shelton. The Jesuits are now 2-1.

Matt Furstenburg -- 6-foot-4, 220-pound tight end from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.

The Hun School shut out Penn Charter, 19-0, to move to 3-0 on the season.

Devonte Campbell -- 6-foot-2, 230-pound tight end from Hargrave Military Academy

Zach Brown -- 6-foot-1, 212-pound linebacker from Hargrave Military Academy

Hargrave fell to the University of Tennessee’s JV team last Thursday, 37-20.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:45 AM | | Comments (6)
        
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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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