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November 30, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

Sixteen down, two to go.

That’s the status of the high school seasons of Maryland’s 18 football commitments for the class of 2008. Sixteen seasons have been completed, but two future Terps are still in the running for state championships.

Cody Blue and the Wilde Lake Wildecats (10-2) are up first, squaring off against Damascus (11-1) tonight in the Class 3A semifinals. The Washington Post previews the matchup, and gives Blue some credit for Wilde Lake’s improved running game.

[Wilde Lake junior Ashton] Hayes was averaging 87 yards per game through 14th-ranked Wilde Lake's first 11 contests. But behind an offensive line led by hefty seniors Dave Klotz (6 feet 3, 245 pounds), Ryan Smith (6-2, 295) and Cody Blue (6-5, 280), Hayes tripled that number and reached the end zone four times -- on runs of 75, 53, 32 and 3 yards.

On Saturday, Kerry Boykins and the Oscar Smith Tigers (13-0) will have their turn when they take on Westfield in a Virginia Division 6 semifinal. The Post previews the contest and gives special mention to Boykins and his wideout teammates.

The Tigers, with a big-play offense and attacking defense, boast three Division I receivers -- Todd Harrelson (North Carolina), Kerry Boykins (Maryland) and Jamal Wilson (Marshall or Northern Illinois, his coach said).

A fourth receiver, junior Tim Smith, is receiving similar attention, giving sophomore quarterback Phillip Sims plenty of targets and senior running back Lonnie Andrews ample help.

That receiving quartet also makes up the secondary and returns kicks.

For further Oscar Smith reading (and an additional Boykins quote), check out this profile/column from The Virginian-Pilot on Tigers head coach Richard Morgan.

• One future Terp who came up short in his state championship quest was running back Davin Meggett, whose Surrattsville squad fell to Dunbar and 2009 Terp target Tavon Austin. While the Hornets fell short of their ultimate goal, Meggett gets major credit for the best season in Surrattsville history in this Post article.

Meggett finished with 81 yards on 16 carries. For the season, Meggett finished with 1,784 yards rushing (148.6 per game), currently third best in the Washington area.

"He made some tough runs," Green said. "Hopefully he'll use this as motivation when he goes to college and uses this to play even harder."

• If Terps fan are hoping to add another defensive lineman to the mix for 2008, they need look no further than Paterson, N.J., where Jarel Lowery resides. It remains to be seen how serious the mutual interest between the two parties is, but according to the Herald News, the interest is there on Lowery’s end.

At Paterson Catholic, the top two recruits are defensive tackle Jarel Lowery, who has received offers from Maryland and Wake Forest and lists Maryland as his leader, and defensive end Doug Alston, a strong candidate for Herald News Defensive Player of the Year, who recently garnered his first offers from Wofford (S.C.) College and Winston-Salem (N.C.) State.

• Columbus, Ohio running back/defensive back Isaiah Pead is like most Ohioans these days -- he’s a Buckeye fanatic. But according to Scout.com, Maryland’s got a shot if they want to take it – so long as OSU doesn't come through with an offer.

Pead says the Buckeyes lead solidly over West Virginia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland and Pittsburgh. The Illini also have not offered.

"I've gone to almost all of Ohio State's home games this year," Pead said. "I love the coaches there and I hang out with the players a lot. They are only like 15 minutes from here, so everybody follows the Buckeyes. It's like a dream to be able to play for them. I've always wanted to go there.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 29, 2007

Four local girls headed to Penn State for lacrosse

A quick scan of the Penn State women’s lacrosse roster reveals that almost half of its players hail from the Baltimore area.

Come 2009, the Nittany Lions will add another four local players to the mix.

Dana Cahill from Mercy, Brittany Chamberlain from Westminster, Colleen Shea from Seton Keough and Theresa Zichelli from Severna Park are all committed to the Penn State women’s lacrosse program, where they’ll be freshmen next fall.

Each local girl is headed from Baltimore to State College, but each took an interesting path to get there.

The goalie

In any given year, a high-major women’s lacrosse program will feature two or three goalies on its roster. Penn State’s current team sports two, a senior and a sophomore. When it comes to recruiting, a program will generally take one scholarship goalie ... or none at all.

Dana Cahill, a 5-foot-7 goalie, knew the tough reality with goaltenders and scholarships. It’s “either me or somebody else,” she said. So when high school games and club tournaments finished, and the time for Penn State’s summer camp came, Cahill knew if she wanted to be a Nittany Lion, she’d have to step up.

“I definitely knew the camp was something that was probably going to seal the deal,” Cahill said. “That was my last impression before they would probably make an offer to me because there were no more tournaments. I knew I had to play my best and show them what I could do and what I had to offer.”

Cahill’s best at camp turned out to be plenty good for the PSU staff. On the last day of the camp during lunch, the coaches offered her a scholarship. So there was much discussion on the post-camp car ride home on whether or not she should commit.

“It was the topic we talked about basically the whole time,” Cahill said. “My parents later told me after I did commit that that’s where they saw me playing. They never told me ahead of time because they didn’t want to influence my decision. They said, ‘Dana, we think this is the place you should be.’ And I did agree. I think this is the place I can win a national championship and make a name for myself.”

So when Penn State head coach Suzanne Isidor called the Cahill home the following day, Dana made her commitment.

Cahill came into the camp with an offer from Loyola, serious interest from Notre Dame, and a number of other college visits under her belt, so she knew what other options were out there. But the coaching staff, players on the team, and especially the widespread, almost overwhelming Penn State pride was what won Cahill over.

“I’ve met alumni who’ve gone there and they still love Penn State,” Cahill said. “The pride and tradition is one of the most amazing things there. Everyone who goes there is absolutely in love with it and I hope that’ll be the same for me.”

The not-so-real package deal

Before recruiting even got started, Brittany Chamberlain knew Cahill pretty well. The girls were teammates on the club lacrosse program Rome.

So when recruiting picked up for both players, it was a bit of a surprise when they got together to discuss potential schools.

“It’s weird because before the recruiting process, I said, ‘Dana, you pick a school and I’ll go wherever you go,’” Chamberlain said jokingly. “We hadn’t seen each other since fall and then we got together for summer tournaments. [We talked recruiting] and she said Notre Dame and Penn State were her top schools.”

Interestingly enough, ND and PSU just so happened to be Chamberlain’s top schools at the time as well. In July, Chamberlain -- independently of Cahill – decided Penn State was the right choice for her. Much to her surprise, the joke between friends became a reality.

“We’re not really a package deal,” Chamberlain said. “It was more of a joke, like ‘I’m going where you go.’ But then all of a sudden we both decided to go there. I told [coach] Suzanne [Isidor] I wanted to commit there. And she said, ‘Have you talked to Dana yet?’

“I called [Dana] the next day and told her I committed and we were excited to play together in college.”

Chamberlain, a 5-foot-3 defender, felt a great level of comfort with the coaching staff, and also appreciated the proximity of her home to State College versus South Bend, Ind. But ultimately – much like her future Baltimore-area teammates – it was the school spirit that sealed the deal.

“Just when you go there and talk about going to Penn State, everyone’s so excited. We are Penn State,” said Chamberlain, reciting the famous Nittany Lion slogan. “Even if you went there 20 years ago, you still love the school and I love that.”

Little sister – part I

Of the four Baltimore-to-Penn State girls, Colleen Shea was probably the most well-versed on all things State College. In fact, Shea estimates she visits Penn State once or twice a month.

The reason for her semimonthly State College jaunts? Older sisters Linsey and Kerry are upperclassmen on the PSU lacrosse squad.

Shea has made so many trips to see her sisters that she can’t even remember the first. One visit in particular does stick out in her mind, though.

“I knew that I visited it a lot, but the very distinct memory I had was my sister Kerry’s official [visit] which was my freshman year,” Shea said. “Going through the process, I remembered that visit. I remember telling [assistant coach Tara Hohenshelt], ‘I want to go here.’”

Not discounting Shea’s freshman-year proclamation, the 5-foot-4 defender let the recruiting process play out, giving heavy consideration to Notre Dame and Yale.

The elder Sheas didn’t even pressure their little sister, instead letting those frequent campus visits do the recruiting for them.

“I actually like the football and the school sprit,” Shea said. “Everyone who goes there tells you how much they love the school. There’s so much enthusiasm. The town, everything centers around the college and I just love that.”

Finally in late September, Shea came to the realization that Penn State was where she wanted to go ‘the whole time,’ which, if nothing else, will make Shea family gatherings all the more pleasant.

“I’ve got to keep it in the family,” Shea said with a laugh.

Little sister – part II

Starting in 2005, Bob and Jenny Zichelli started logging frequent car trips to State College. They’d often load up the family car (first a Suburban, now an Odyssey) with Theresa, younger sister Mary, older brothers Bobby and Kevin, and younger twin brothers Mike and Steven. The reason for the State College trips? To see another Zichelli brother, Tommy, who was starting his Nittany Lion career with the men’s lacrosse team in ‘05.

With Theresa’s commitment, the younger Zichelli siblings can undoubtedly look forward to more family car rides to State College.

The fact that Zichelli’s brother Tommy -- who was named team captain in September – was a happy Nittany Lion was something her future teammates repeatedly reminded her of on every recruiting visit she made.

“The girls on the team were like, ‘oh, your brother’s on the team and he loves it so you’ll love it, too.’ When I went up for a visit, people were already calling me ‘Tommy’s sister,’ so it was fun.”

Zichelli, a 5-foot-7 midfielder, also gave serious consideration to Johns Hopkins and Virginia. But by the time spring rolled around, she had tired of recruiting. Fortunately for her, she also had a clear indication of where she wanted to end up.

“I knew I wanted to commit early because I could be done and there was a lot of stress,” Zichelli said. “By April I had already visited Penn State five or six times, so I was comfortable. I felt stupid just delaying the process when I already knew that was where I wanted to go.”

While following her brother to Penn State is a definite plus, Zichelli’s affinity for the school and lacrosse program eventually would have won out regardless of family ties. The school spirit, camaraderie and team passion were the decisive selling points for Zichelli.

“I love how everyone is so into Penn State,” Zichelli said. “Everyone I talked to just loves it there. I’ve never met anyone who hated it there.

“I really liked the coaches and all the girls on the team. Everyone’s just like me, nice and easygoing. But when it comes to lacrosse, everyone’s intense.”

Next year

With club teams and high school games, there’s already been quite a bit of overlap between Cahill, Chamberlain, Shea and Zichelli.

But when the quartet suits up for Penn State next year – likely in front of a crowd packed with parents, siblings and friends from the area – Baltimore girls lacrosse in State College will, once again, be well represented.

“I think we’re all in different positions for the most part and come from different schools,” Cahill said, “but I hope we do represent our schools and [make people] realize girls from Baltimore are really good at lacrosse and even through they’re from different schools, they can unite and play as a team.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:23 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 28, 2007

Newest Maryland women’s basketball commitment

Yesterday The News Journal in Wilmington reported that Dara Taylor, a 5-foot-6 point guard from Caravel Academy in Bear, Del., committed to the Terps.

Taylor said her college choice quickly came down to Maryland and Penn State. She chose Maryland after seeing an exuberant coach Brenda Frese during a recently televised game.

Click here for a more in-depth story from The News Journal on Taylor’s choice.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:32 PM | | Comments (1)
        

Season recap: Cameron Chism

Statistics don’t always present an accurate portrayal of a player’s talents, but in the case of 2008 Maryland cornerback commit Cameron Chism, the stats probably don’t lie.

During Bishop McNamara’s 6-5 season, Chism registered 81 tackles, five interceptions and returned one fumble recovery for a touchdown. Offensively, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder caught 41 passes for 750 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 157 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries.

“He played very solid,” said Bishop McNamara head coach Bryce Bevill. “He stepped up in big games, against Gonzaga particularly. He blocked an extra point, scored on a 61-yard touchdown reception, had a pick that set up another score. As a DI player, you look at his stats, and I firmly believe he should be an All-Met (D.C.) guy. He scored touchdowns receiving, rushing and on a recovered fumble.”

In college, Chism is pegged for cornerback (although Bevill believes he’s a DI-caliber receiver, as well). But the two-way versatility Chism showcased during his junior and senior seasons, plus his special teams experience, could translate to early contributions for the Terps.

“I think he has a chance as a freshman to go in and play on the defensive side of the ball and I think that’s what he’s mostly excited about,” Bevill said. “You can use him as a kick returner, punt returner. The unique thing about him is that he’s long snapped for us the past two years. He understands the importance of special teams and that’s the quickest way to get on the field in college.”

Bevill played, and later coached, at DeMatha before taking the Bishop McNamara post in 2004. One notable DeMatha standout that Bevill tutored was former Maryland and current Seattle Seahawks cornerback Josh Wilson.

According to Bevill, there are some definite similarities between Wilson and Chism.

“Honestly, they’re very, very similar,” Bevill said. “[Josh] was a very physical player with great speed. He wasn’t as tall or big as Cameron. ... Josh was also a very quality receiver in high school. They have great speed. The difference between them is the size difference.

“One thing Josh did exceptionally well was he improved every year as a corner at the University of Maryland. I know Cam has that work ethic. ... He’s got what a lot of people are looking for, he has size and speed. He’s a rangy guy with great ball skills.”

Bevill thought Chism met the high expectations set for him during his senior year -- both offensively and defensively. In this case, the statistics back up Chism’s talents.

“He was balanced and consistent in everything he did,” Bevill said. “I’ve always said he could go to the next level and play on either side of the ball, but he has a liking to defense. It was pleasure to coach him for three years. I look forward to seeing him do good things on Saturdays as a Maryland Terrapin.”

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

November 27, 2007

Hartsfield an on-field leader

It’s no secret that 2008 Terps linebacker commit Demetrius Hartsfield possesses the physical talents required of a DI linebacker prospect. His performance at Maryland’s summer camp proved as much.

But according to Daniel Finn, the head coach at Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) High School, Hartsfield’s senior year showed him to be more than just a physical specimen.

“He knows how to make the adjustments out there,” Finn said. “He gets everybody lined up. It’s basically like having another coach out there. He spent a lot of time learning the signals. He’s very football smart.”

That football intelligence paid off for Hartsfield from a statistical standpoint. During Southeast Raleigh’s 8-4 season, Hartsfield recorded 124 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries from the inside linebacker position. At tight end, Hartsfield hauled in four passes, including one touchdown.

Finn wasn’t surprised that Hartsfield had such great success as a senior. But his senior year went beyond the numbers, according to Finn.

“[His performance was] exactly what I expected,” Finn said. “He was a good leader for us. He kind of led our whole team. He played hard and basically shut down the middle of the offense. He forced everything outside. We weren’t worried about people running inside on us. He did really well this year.”

Hartsfield’s individual achievements can be attributed to the labor put in throughout the summer, and really since the end of his junior year. Finn and the SRHS coaching staff worked Hartsfield hard, and he responded in a big way.

“We worked on his speed and flexibility,” Finn said. “We didn’t think we moved very well in space so we concentrated on that. We got his 40 time down to about a 4.67, it used to be 4.8 or 4.9. He got his weight up. He was 205, now he’s weighing about 225. He really put time in the weight room and got physically ready to play.”

Hartsfield plans to enroll at College Park for the winter semester, joining the Terps in time for spring practice. Finn thinks the head start will benefit Hartsfield in learning the defensive system.

“I expect once he learns the system and the terminology that he’ll fit in pretty well,” Finn said. “Our defensive coordinator played college football and he helped [Demetrius] learn his terminology. I think once he starts feeling comfortable with the terminology, he’ll be fine. I think mentally and physically he can handle it.”

Hartsfield committed to the Terps in June, really before his recruiting process took off. In Finn’s opinion, the early commitment was a great move, and ultimately the perfect fit for his star linebacker.

“I know Maryland’s sending linebackers to the NFL and that’s one of the things Demetrius was looking at,” Finn said. “He’s got family up there and I think that’ll help him being away from his mom. It’s not that far a drive from Raleigh. I think Maryland’s getting ready to come back on the upswing. I think they’re going to be really, really good these next couple of years.

“I really think he’s ready to go. I think he’s going to fit right in up there. Once he learns everything he’s going to be fine. He’s got good support from his family. I think he’s going to jump right in and have a heck of a career.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 26, 2007

Football commitment game recaps

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

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

Oscar Smith (13-0) won its first region title with a 17-9 victory over Salem. The Tigers play in the Virginia Group AAA semifinal on Saturday.

Boykins led Oscar Smith in receiving with six catches for 108 yards and one touchdown.

Boykins, who missed the first four games of the year with a knee sprain, has tallied 37 catches for 640 yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

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

Wilde Lake (10-2) defeated North Harford 26-6 in the Class 3A East regional final. The Wildecats advance to the Class 3A state semifinals.

Blue contributed five tackles and two quarterback pressures in the win.

For the season, Blue has 36 tackles and three sacks.

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

Surrattsville (10-2) dropped a 28-6 game to a Tavon Austin-led Dunbar squad in the Class 1A South regional final.

Meggett rushed for 76 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries.

Meggett finished the season with 1,784 yards rushing and 27 touchdowns on 169 carries. He also caught nine passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns.

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

Hillside fell to Wilmington Hoggard 29-14 in the North Carolina 4A quarterfinals. Hillside finished 11-3.

Douglas rushed for 103 yards on 25 carries.

Douglas finished the season with 2,078 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns on 233 carries. He also caught 10 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

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

Trinity (12-1) fell to Delone Catholic 25-0 in the Pennsylvania District 3-AA championship.

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

Woodson lost to Dunbar, 20-9 in the 38th Annual DCIAA Turkey Bowl. The Warriors finished 8-4.

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

Fairfield Prep beat West Haven, 35-12. Despite the win the Jesuits missed the playoffs, ending their season at 8-2.

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

Hartsfield recorded 124 tackles, 10 sacks and two fumble recoveries on the season. He also caught four passes, including one touchdown, from the tight end position. Southeast Raleigh finished 8-4.

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

Chism registered 81 tackles, five interceptions and one fumble recovery returned for a touchdown from the cornerback position. At wide receiver, Chism caught 41 passes for 750 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 157 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Bishop McNamara finished 6-5.

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

Urban made 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks, six quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery from the inside linebacker position. As Norwin’s starting fullback, Urban carried 80 times for 510 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown. Norwin finished 7-4.

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

Dorsey finished his senior year with 50 catches for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to 168 yards rushing and three touchdowns on seven carries. Forestville was 5-5.

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

Francis notched 20 solo tackles, nine assists and two sacks on the year. Gonzaga finished its season at 4-5.

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

Lewis contributed 36 tackles, one sack, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and one recovered fumble. Lewis graded out at over 80 percent of his blocks on offense. Johnsonville finished 4-6.

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

Milford Mill finished 5-5.

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

Monacan finished 6-5.

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

The Hun School went 9-0 this 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 went 4-3-1 this season.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:12 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 23, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

Just a few quick links while I sulk in the wake of yet another disappointing (albeit unsurprising) Thanksgiving loss for my beloved Detroit Lions ...

Tavon Wilson and his H.D. Woodson team hoped to bring home a D.C. Turkey Bowl championship yesterday, and they were in decent position to do so. According to The Washington Post, the turning point for Woodson was when Dunbar defensive back Jharron Armstrong correctly predicted that Wilson -- who had six catches -- was the target on a slant pass late in the game.

"I had a feeling they'd go to their big-time player," Armstrong said. "I thought they'd try something inside. I sat there and waited for it."

As Wilson approached, so did the ball. Armstrong stepped in front of Wilson, picked off the pass and raced untouched 41 yards for the clinching touchdown as Dunbar won the 38th Turkey Bowl, 20-9, yesterday before an estimated 6,000 at Eastern High School.

• River Hill running back/defensive back Michael Campanaro could emerge as a major Terps target in 2009. The Sun and the Post both offer profiles of Campanaro this week. The Post notes that Campanaro's stats rank him just behind a 2008 UM commit.

Campanaro, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior who plays tailback, defensive back and occasionally lines up at quarterback, has scored 28 touchdowns in 11 games this season via the run, pass and punt return. His 28 scores rank second in the Washington area (Surrattsville senior Davin Meggett has 32), and he has rushed for 1,438 yards as the Hawks have dismantled the opposition, 474-14.

The Sun's Glenn Graham takes a closer look at Campanaro's recruiting picture.

Campanaro, who has a 3.0 grade point average, has received scholarship offers from Wake Forest, North Carolina, Northwestern and Akron. Other schools showing interest include Maryland, Boston College, Connecticut, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh.

• Quince Orchard defensive tackle Zach Kerr is among a handful of 2008 Maryland targets still on the board. Penn State has long been thought to be Maryland’s biggest competition, but The Pocono Record says the Nittany Lions and Terps have company at the top.

Another player still interested in Penn State is Gaithersburg, Md., three-star defensive tackle Zach Kerr. Kerr lists Penn State, Illinois, Minnesota, Maryland and Rutgers as possible destinations.

Two basketball links

• 2009 small forward commitment Jin Soo Kim was on display for scouts this week at the National Prep Showcase in Lowell, Mass. Count the guys at DraftExpress.com -- who offer an extensive scouting report of Kim here -- among those impressed with the future Terp.

Since we last saw Kim at this same event last year, he has clearly transformed to American culture both on and off of the court. Last November, we saw a timid (but talented) youngster who was afraid to shoot the ball and seemed completely uncomfortable out on the court with his peers. Fast forward one year later and you have a player leading his team in scoring, demanding the ball offensively and telling opponents “block that sh*t” after rejecting their shots out of bounds.

USA Today presents its Super 25 prep basketball poll, and numerous Maryland targets make appearances, including Greg Echenique’s St. Benedict’s (N.J) team at No. 6, and Isaiah Armwood, Tristan Spurlock and Terrell Vinson’s Montrose Christian squad at No. 7.

Outlook: Stu Vetter says it may be his most talented team. Junior 6-6 F Terrell Vinson (14.5, 11.0) has been starting since he was a freshman and teams with two other juniors, 6-7 F Tristan Spurlock (14.1 ppg) and 6-7 F Isaiah Armwood (14.3 ppg).

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:54 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 21, 2007

Five questions -- UM men’s basketball recruiting

Today marks the last day of the Fall Signing Period for NCAA basketball, and few are better equipped to assess Maryland’s two-man haul than Dave Telep, the National Recruiting Director for Scout.com.

Here’s Telep’s bio:

Helped launch PrepStars.com in 1997 and worked for The Recruiters Handbook; named director of basketball recruiting for Rivals.com in 1999; hired to be the director of basketball scouting for TheInsiders.com (now Scout.com) in 2001; has written for CNNSI, ACC Basketball Handbook, The Sporting News, USA Today, Yahoo!. Studio analyst Fox Sports "Countdown To Signing Day."

Telep weighed in on the Terps’ class and other Maryland-related recruiting items (via e-mail) in this week’s edition of ‘Five questions.’

1. What are your thoughts on Maryland's class of St. Frances shooting guard Sean Mosley and Progressive Christian Academy big man Gus Gilchrist? How does the Terps’ 2008 class stack up with the rest of the ACC?

It's a fine two-man collection. We've got it tabbed Top 20 nationally, which is what happens when you pair two Top 50-style recruits. These guys, in my opinion, should be a pair of ACC-caliber starters in time and there's great value in that.

2. What type of impacts do you expect Mosley and Gilchrist (assuming he redshirts this year) to have as freshmen?

I simply can't hide my affection for Sean Mosley. He's a kid I think you can safely assume crosses the 1,000-point mark over his four-year career. He's simply a solid college basketball player. I've often referred to his game as "old school," and I think that's a compliment in regards to his approach and overall impact. Mosley loves to play, finds ways to score and he's wired up to be successful.

Gilchrist has a bigger ceiling than Mosley, but may need a touch more time to get there. I think right out of the gates he shows his value as a shot blocker, and since I haven't seen him in a few months I don't know where his offense is. He's got loads of potential at both ends.

3. There was some talk that Australian/Sudanese power forward Ater Majok would sign with the Terps during the fall, but now it appears he’ll wait until spring. Will Maryland continue to go after him? What’s the latest on Majok’s recruitment?

He's actually in the States right now touring with a team called the Heat of Virginia. They'll play this week at the Bull City Classic in Durham, N.C.; ironically on Friday morning he'll play at Hillside High School -- the home of former Maryland great John Lucas.

There's a chance he makes a few more visits and I know a ton of programs are calling in on him. The Terps are strongly in the mix, but this young man will wait until spring for sure. He simply isn't ready to decide.

4. What are your impressions of 2009 Terps small forward commitment Jin Soo Kim? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Where does he rank?

JSK is a shooter by trade. He's approaching 6-8 and his stroke is legit. His body will need to fill out to handle the rigors of high-major basketball. Right now he's got a high-level skill set and body that needs attention.

5. Is St. Benedict (N.J.) Prep big man Greg Echenique Maryland’s prime target in 2009? Do the Terps have a chance?

Greg is going to make an academic-based decision. The presence of Penn on his list is significant and you can't discount him from shunning the big boys in favor of an Ivy League program.

As far as 2009 potentials go, here's a link to some early possibilities. However, I really believe this list will expand and that there's an effort to find targets by the staff as we speak.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:18 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Five questions
        

November 20, 2007

Zach Brown

This is old news to all the Terps message boarders, but former Wilde Lake standout and current Hargrave Military Academy linebacker Zach Brown has committed to Maryland -- for real this time.

According to Wilde Lake head coach Doug DuVall, Brown -- who is now qualified academically -- committed to the Terps over the weekend.

“He had wanted to go to Maryland all along,” DuVall said. “He’s an exceptional player. ... He got offered by Tennessee and a number of other schools. He’s an impact player.”

Brown is the 18th known member of Maryland’s 2008 recruiting class.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:21 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Urban had breakout senior season

Terps defensive end commitment Tyler Urban had two years of starting experience under his belt when he entered his senior season at Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pa.

Urban had already performed at a high level, but throughout his final year, the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder stepped his game up a notch.

“We knew he had some potential as a sophomore,” said Norwin head coach Dan Conwell. “He showed bits and pieces. Last year as a junior, he made a name for himself. This year he was the most consistent player on the team. It was the culmination of three years. I can’t say enough about the young man. I think Maryland’s getting a heck of a football player and a great young man.”

During his senior season, Urban registered 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks, six quarterback pressures, three pass breakups, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery from the inside linebacker position.

As Norwin’s starting fullback, Urban carried 80 times for 510 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also caught three passes for 38 yards and one touchdown.

“Well, he was without a doubt the cornerstone of not only our defense, but our offense,” Conwell said. “He was our MVP and I mean that in all phases of our team. He never came off the field. He started as our punter, all special teams and he kicked off. He was really the driving force behind the season we had.”

Norwin finished 7-4, ending its season with an overtime loss to McKeesport Nov. 9 in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals.

According to Conwell, Urban’s play stood out in the ultra-competitive Pittsburgh-area high school football scene.

“I think that Tyler can hold his own against anybody in this area,” Conwell said. “We are sorely going to miss him next year. He’s definitely one of the top prospects to come out of this area. He will be a tremendous asset to Maryland.”

Conwell thinks Urban has the potential to contribute immediately in College Park, but if he doesn’t make an impact right away, it’ll just be a matter of time before he does.

“I’m not exactly sure what coach [Ralph Friedgen] has returning,” Conwell said. “I think he may have an opportunity to see the field on special teams with the size he has, but I think he’ll be an impact player. I’m not exactly sure when that will occur, but I think you’ll be hearing about Tyler Urban for many years to come.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:46 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 19, 2007

Football commitment game recaps

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

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

Oscar Smith (12-0) blasted Bethel, 39-3, in the Virginia Eastern Region Division 6 semifinals. The Tigers face Salem on Friday night.

Boykins reeled in six passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns.

Boykins, who missed the first four games of the year with a knee sprain, has tallied 31 catches for 532 yards and nine touchdowns on the season.

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

Surrattsville (10-1) blanked Digital Harbor, 44-0.

Meggett rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries. He also caught a 29-yard pass.

Meggett has rushed for 1,703 yards and 25 touchdowns on 153 carries this season. He has also caught nine passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns.

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

Hillside (11-2) bested Greenville Rose, 42-30 in the second round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs. The Hornets face Hoggard on Friday.

Douglas rushed for 142 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries.

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,973 yards and 22 touchdowns on 310 carries. He has also caught 10 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

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

Forestville (5-5) lost to Dunbar, 66-29, in the Class 1A South semifinals.

Dorsey caught seven passes for 143 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for an 80-yard score.

According to washingtonpost.com Dorsey finished his senior year with 50 catches for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns in addition to 168 yards rushing and three touchdowns on seven carries.

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

Wilde Lake (9-2) shut out Howard, 17-0. The Wildecats will face North Harford this weekend.

Blue contributed four tackles and 1.5 sacks.

For the season, Blue has 31 tackles and three sacks.

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

H.D. Woodson (8-3) defeated Coolidge, 34-13. They’ll face Dunbar (D.C.) in the DCIAA Turkey Bowl on Thursday.

According to DCSportsFan.com, Wilson caught two passes for 15 yards and was excellent in coverage throughout the game.

“In addition to catching a 12-yard touchdown pass from Ricardo Young, Wilson intercepted a pass and did a great job covering Coolidge wide receiver Josh Brooks, who is as talented as they come. Wilson is one of two extremely gifted cornerbacks for the Warriors.”

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

Trinity (12-0) defeated Milton Hershey, 31-12, propelling the Shamrocks to the District 3-AA championship on Friday. Trinity rushed for 297 yards in the win.

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

Monacan (6-5) fell to Hanover, 30-0, in the VHSL Group AAA, Division 5, Central Region semifinal.

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

Fairfield Prep (7-2) had a bye. They face West Haven on Thanksgiving morning.

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

Gonzaga finished its season at 4-5. Francis earned first-team all-conference honors on defense, recording 20 solo tackles, nine assists and two sacks on the year.

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

During Johnsonville’s 4-6 season, Lewis contributed 36 tackles, one sack, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and one recovered fumble. 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 finished 7-4.

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

Milford Mill finished 5-5.

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

Southeast Raleigh finished 8-4.

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

Bishop McNamara finished 6-5.

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

Unavailable

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

Unavailable

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (3)
        

November 16, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland wide receiver commitment Kevin Dorsey got some welcome, albeit surprising news this week.

Back on Oct. 6, Gwynn Park recorded a 27-6 win over Dorsey’s Forestville squad.

But according to The Washington Post, Gwynn Park used an ineligible player during that and other games throughout the season – meaning Forestville’s Oct. 6 loss turned into a win. That was enough to push Dorsey and the Knights into playoffs.

Not only did Urbana qualify for the playoffs -- knocking out Frederick -- the Hawks earned the second seed in the Maryland 3A West Region and will host a postseason game Saturday against Seneca Valley. The forfeits also allowed Forestville to qualify for the Maryland 1A South Region postseason instead of Glenelg.

For a much more thorough, clearer explanation, click here for the complete Post story.

• Dorsey and Forestville’s reward for making the 1A South region semifinals is a Saturday date with 10-0 Dunbar, which is led by 2009 Terps running back target Tavon Austin.

• Dorsey got another good piece of news this week when RiseMag.com named him the U.S. Marines Leader of the Month.

Kevin Dorsey has been a leader on the Forestville (Forestville, Md.) football team ever since his sophomore year, when after the last game of the season he asked all the non-seniors to meet him in the weight room the next day to start preparation for the following season. Now a senior himself, Dorsey is the ultimate role model.

• If you’re regular reader of this blog, you’re familiar with the mind-boggling statistics 2008 Terps running back commit Davin Meggett has compiled this year. The success of Meggett and his Surrattsville team was a fairly significant surprise to D.C.-area high school football watchers.

According to this excellent story from the Post, Meggett and the Hornets have been fueled by the naysayers throughout their 9-1 season.

"I don't think anybody expected me to do anything," Meggett said. "In past years, coaches said that I wouldn't play up to my potential in big games. I knew I would have to have a breakout season to prove to everyone that I am a good player."

Click here for a preview of the playoff matchups for Surrattsville and Forestville.

The Virginian-Pilot previews tonight’s playoff game between Kerry Boykins' undefeated Oscar Smith team and 10-1 Bethel. The Pilot also named Boykins, who missed the first four games of the season with a knee sprain, to its All-Southeastern District team.

Two quick basketball links

• St. Benedict (N.J.) Prep power forward Greg Echenique is arguably Maryland’s top remaining target for the class of 2009. Adam Zagoria of the Herald News spoke with St. Benedict’s assistant Scott Smith earlier this week, and according to Smith, the Terps are in great shape with Echenique.

"Penn is very strong," Smith said. "Rutgers is very strong. Villanova is very strong. Maryland is very, very strong. And Syracuse. They are his top ones (along with Duke)."

• Shameless plug -- For those who missed it, here’s a link to a Sean Mosley feature I wrote earlier this week.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 15, 2007

Dulaney SS signs with UNC-Greensboro

Seven years ago, Alex Frederick won the Golden Arm award at Cooperstown Dreams Park during a Little League tournament and summer camp, which earned him a trophy and extensive mention in an article in The Sun.

At 10 years old, Frederick was armed with an astonishing amount of success for someone that age, and a quiet confidence that his Cooperstown experience was just the beginning of his baseball accomplishments.

“I knew baseball could take me far if I stuck with it and it has,” Frederick said.

base.jpg Yesterday, Frederick’s premonition of later baseball success came true when the Dulaney shortstop signed a National Letter of Intent to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro next year.

As a junior for Dulaney, Frederick batted .403 with 19 RBI, while committing just one error in 88 opportunities.

But despite his impressive statistical campaign for the Lions, Frederick’s recruitment was surprisingly slow heading into last summer.

All that changed in July when he made the Mid-Atlantic Red Sox travel baseball team. The Red Sox, comprised of players from five different states, traveled up and down the East Coast between mid-August and October playing in weekend showcases. Teams would show up and play double-headers on Saturday and Sunday with an audience of college coaches looking to fill their rosters.

“Basically you go to a whole bunch of different colleges,” Frederick said. “We went to James Madison, Mount Saint Mary’s, UNC-Charlotte, UVa., East Carolina. A whole bunch of coaches from the surrounding sites will go to that showcase. It’s an easy way to see a lot of players at one time.”

The first set of coaches to see Frederick and be impressed enough to start heavily recruiting him were from Radford University. That was in late August. Later that fall, High Point got involved, and significantly piqued Frederick’s interest.

At a showcase in September at UNC-Charlotte, the High Point coaches were on hand for arguably Frederick’s best performance of the season.

“That particular showcase I was 5-for-7 with three or four doubles and I think seven RBIs on the first day,” Frederick said. “I had a big second day. I got the save against the North Carolina Dirtbags and we beat them again in the second game.”

His hitting and standout defense caught the eyes of the UNCG assistant coach Chris Roberts, who made it a point to seek out Frederick’s parents in the stands and invite the family to visit the Greensboro campus. The High Point coaches extended the same invitation.

That day, the family took brief tours of both campuses in what Frederick called “a preview before the real visits.”

One Friday in mid-October, the family again flew down to North Carolina and visited both campuses.

Frederick started at Greensboro, attending a business class with some baseball players, then going on a tour of the school with an assistant coach and watching the team practice. He followed that up with a visit to High Point. He enjoyed both, as did his parents, but if they had a preference between the two schools, Frederick couldn’t tell.

“Those schools are actually really, really different,” Frederick said. “High Point has like 3,000 [students] and UNC-Greensboro has like 15,000. They are really, really different schools and it comes down to the kind of person you are. I couldn’t really tell what [my family] liked better, but in the end it was all up to me.”

With the decision in his hands, Frederick went with UNCG, the school with the bigger student body, impressive baseball facilities, a winning tradition and a head coach in Mike Gaski who is the president of USA Baseball.

The Spartans expect Frederick to come to Greensboro as a freshman and compete for the starting shortstop position immediately. According to Frederick, he and a sophomore will do battle, with the runner-up likely taking over second base.

For now, Frederick’s eager to continue on that path of baseball success, which started in Cooperstown seven years ago, and will lead him to Greensboro in 2008.

“I’m really excited because it’s a top-notch DI program,” Frederick said. “It’s everything I’m looking for in a school and a coach. I know some of my friends are stressed out about school and I’m all set. So I can’t really complain. ... I guess it just all came together.”

From The Sun archives: Big league -- Alex Frederick and the Cockeysville Travel A team takes on Cooperstown

Click here for The Sun's list of area high school players' college commitments.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 14, 2007

Meet Sean Mosley

Name: Sean Mosley

Birthdate: 3/14/89

Birthplace: Baltimore

Height: 6’4

Weight: 210

Other Schools Considered: Florida State, Syracuse, Clemson, Marist

Favorite NBA player: Dwyane Wade

Favorite NBA team: Phoenix Suns

Favorite all-time Terp: Len Bias (“I watched a couple tapes”)

Favorite thing about College Park: “Just the whole atmosphere. The gym, actually.”

Favorite music: Lil’ Wayne, Young Jeezy

Favorite TV shows: Martin

Favorite food: Baked chicken

Hobbies: Basketball, football, baseball

Favorite high school class: Math

Intended major: Business management

Best basketball moment: Winning MVP of the Baltimore Catholic League freshman year

Role model: “My dad. He’s basically just walked me through my life and told me the wrongs and rights. He’s an exceptional person.”

Why Maryland? “Because it fit me and I think we have a chance to make a run at the national championship.”

For more on Mosley, click here to read an extended profile of his recruitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:04 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting, Meet the recruit
        

John Carroll's Kusmieruk, Wiegand make DI choices

Back in August I wrote that the John Carroll boys basketball team could have as many as eight Division I players on its roster.

As of today, the Patriots have two down and six to go.

Senior Jakub Kusmieruk, a 7-foot-4, 290-pound center, will play for Central Florida next year while Josh Wiegand, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior forward will suit up for Loyola. Senior guard Mike Maczko also weighed numerous DI offers, but elected to wait until the spring signing period to make his college decision.

John Carroll head coach Tony Martin was happy with both his seniors’ choices.

“I was pleased with the decision because it’s one that Jakub and his parents looked at very thoroughly," said Martin of Kusmieruk's pick. "They’re not a family to rush into a decision. They weighed all the options that were there. And the best place for his development was Central Florida. Everyone who follows college basketball and Conference USA knows [UCF] is a program on the rise. They’ve invested quite a bit of money in facilities. He’s a growing player at a growing program.”

Kusmieruk sported scholarship offers from LaSalle, Loyola and Marist among others. He was receiving interest from schools like Georgetown, Oklahoma, Stanford and St. John’s.

Wiegand was recruited by American, Oral Roberts, Quinnipiac and The Citadel among others. According to Martin, the 3.7+ student found the most comfortable fit with Jimmy Patsos’ Loyola program.

“It’s a great opportunity for Josh to be a part of program that’s on the rise,” Martin said. “He enjoyed spending time with coach Patsos and the team on the official visit. He should get a great education there and have the opportunity to compete for playing time early on.”

Martin felt that both Kusmieruk and Wiegand could have waited until the spring signing period to receive additional “quote unquote high-major offers” to choose from. But both were completely sold on their respective choices.

"I think in this day and age of college basketball, there’s a thin line between [high- and low- major programs]," Martin said. “You saw Gardner-Webb upset Kentucky. There’s obviously appeal and cachet for some of the bigger name schools, but for me as a coach, my job is to help kids play the game they love and get an education. I’m never going to be a guy worried about the name of a school as much as the right fit for the kid.”

In Central Florida and Loyola, Kusmieruk and Wiegand both found that right fit.

Click here for The Sun's list of area high school players' college commitments.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:54 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 13, 2007

Five questions - UM women's basketball recruiting class

The early signing period for NCAA basketball begins tomorrow, and the Maryland women’s team is expected to ink yet another excellent -- albeit light-on-numbers -- class.

Lynetta Kizer, a 6-foot-3 post from Potomac in Dumfries, Va., is the only high school player expected to sign with the Terps, but coach Brenda Frese has also secured a verbal commitment from Gulf Coast Community College forward Dee Liles -- who originally committed to Maryland as a senior in 2006 at Riverdale Baptist.

For today’s edition of ‘Five questions’, Chris Hansen, the Director of Scouting for HoopGurlz.com, was kind enough to weigh in on the Terps’ class.

What kind of player is Kizer?

We have her ranked as the top post in the class and No. 5 overall. She is a big body that’s not slow. Your typical big players that are her size, you think [they] sit in the paint and don’t get out in transition. But she just has this great athletic ability. She’s a wide body who’s really strong, but I’ve seen her grab rebounds off the rim and turn the break.

She’s real intense. She’ll guard forwards on the perimeter and she can keep up. She’s a great athlete. You take someone around that size (6 feet 4) with the ability to be more athletic than anyone else ... it’s just a very explosive combination.

Her strength and body type are really college-ready in high school. Other than getting used to playing against people her size and strength, I think it addresses a definite need for Maryland. They loaded up in '07 on perimeter players. One thing missing last year was a big bruiser inside and she fills that need big-time.

What is Kizer’s ceiling as a player?

I think given her athleticism and size and that she’s a very aggressive, strong player, she could be an all-conference player. She has the body and game to be a WNBA-caliber player. She’s scoring like 23 points a game at a pretty strong high school level.

She’s dominated [at] all levels. She’s really come along with her mid-range jumper, which is especially important at the college level where you can’t wear out everyone on the block. She’s really quick. She’ll be able to take other post players off the dribble. She has WNBA and all-conference potential.

What do you expect from Liles?

She’s really long and is able to defend and get to the basket. ... She’s got length and size and the athleticism to [make an impact at Maryland], but who knows what’ll happen

I don’t think she would’ve been picked up and recommitted if her development [wasn’t significant]. It must’ve been pretty substantial if they’re still getting her back two years later. She’s legit and underrated. To be able to play at the USA [national team] trials for the U-19’s is really impressive.

I think we had her rated as a 3-star, which is a high DI-caliber player. I think she ended up being even better than we thought because she played so well at the USA trials.

How does Maryland’s class stack up with the ACC and the rest of the country?

I think [the class] keeps up with the top teams in the ACC. North Carolina’s bringing in a pretty decent post and nice wing player as well.

Tennessee, Rutgers, Connecticut and LSU have far superior classes than everyone and last year Rutgers was in that top tier as well.

Maryland getting Lynetta and Liles is a top 20 class just by filling their needs.

You’re not getting a huge number of kids like last year, but that shouldn’t overlook how good of a player Kizer is and Liles is a 6-foot-1 forward who has experience against top talent. She’s played junior college and that’s definitely something Terps fans should be excited about. They’re used to being right up there in that top tier.

This year was just an interesting year. It used to be UConn and Tennessee signing as many top kids as they want. But now Rutgers and LSU got in on a lot of the kids that Maryland was looking at as well.

Kizer came in nice and early. I think that’s why people are wondering how good she is because she committed so long ago.

Anything else to keep in mind on the Terps’ class?

Don’t forget that Kim Rodgers has basically become an ’08. She tore her ACL and I don’t think she’ll play this year. She was one of the top shooters in the country. ... We had her at 48, the No. 26 overall guard. She played for the same club team (Boo Williams) as Lynetta Kizer played for.

You take a shooter, a post player and a really athletic forward. You’re not stacking at one position. All the parts fit together.

They were in on a lot of kids, but it’s just one of those years they didn’t get everyone they recruited like they did in ’07. But Kizer should come in and be an impact player right away.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Five questions
        

November 12, 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 (10-2) stomped Wilmington Ashley, 55-7, in the first round of the NCHSAA 4-A playoffs. Quarterback Corey Gattis was 17 of 25 for 400 yards and five touchdowns in the win.

Douglas rushed for 75 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. He also caught three passes for 81 yards and one touchdown.

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,831 and 21 touchdowns on 186 carries. He also has 10 receptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns.

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

Surrattsville (9-1) shut out Crossland, 39-0. The Hornets host Digital Harbor on Saturday at 1 p.m. It’s the first playoff game in school history for Surrattsville.

Meggett rushed for 140 yards and one touchdown on nine carries. He also caught two passes for 80 yards and one score.

“He’s just doing the same thing every week,” said Surrattsville head coach Tom Green. “He’s just getting a little more consistent in his play on defense. He had another interception on defense.

“He’s the go-to guy. He’s leading us in receiving and rushing. We kind of go as Davin and our quarterback go.”

For the season, Meggett has rushed for 1,602 yards and 24 touchdowns on 140 carries. He has made eight receptions for 381 yards and six touchdowns. Defensively, Meggett has 40 tackles, three interceptions (one of which he returned for a touchdown), a blocked punt and a fumble recovery.

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

Forestville (4-5) beat Fairmont Heights, 20-7.

Dorsey caught one pass for 35 yards.

“I’ve had five Division I wide receivers and none of them got the coverage he got,” said Forestville head coach Charles Harley. “[Teams would have] two guys on him and they could care less what we did anywhere else. They put a man on the line of scrimmage and a man 10 yards off. On 4th and inches [in a recent game] they still covered him that way. No matter the situation, they committed two men to him the entire game.

“He had an interception return for a touchdown, a kick return for touchdown, so he put it in the end zone in a variety of ways [this season]. ... Nobody trains harder than him.”

Harley said Dorsey has finished his requirements for graduation at Forestville and plans to enroll at College Park in January.

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

Oscar Smith (11-0) trounced Woodside, 41-6, in the Virginia Eastern Region Division 6 quarterfinals.

Boykins hauled in five passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed for 25 yards on two carries.

Boykins, who missed the first four games of the year with a knee sprain, has tallied 25 catches for 440 yards and seven touchdowns on the season.

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

Trinity (11-0) blasted Littlestown, 36-7, in the opening round of the Pennsylvania District 3-AA football playoffs. The Shamrocks face Milton Hershey (who they beat 7-0 earlier this season) next weekend in the semifinals.

“[R.J.] did very well,” said Trinity head coach Jeff Boger. “Defensively, I don’t have all the stats in front of me, but I’m pretty sure in watching the film that he had at least three tackles. He played more defense than in the past few weeks.

“On offense, we ran to the right side when we needed the yards. By him anchoring that right side, it opened up the left side, because everyone was [keying on the right]. He basically became a decoy for us.”

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

Fairfield Prep (7-2) crushed Amity, 41-7. According to the Connecticut Post, Kabongo registered 11 tackles and half a sack.

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

Wilde Lake (8-2) crushed Mount Hebron, 42-7.

Blue contributed two solo tackles in the win. For the season, Blue has recorded 27 solo tackles and two sacks.

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

According to DCSportsFan.com, Woodson’s DCIAA semifinal was postponed.

A representative from the D.C. Public School’s office confirmed that the 11 a.m. game between Coolidge and H.D. Woodson and the 4 p.m. game between Dunbar and Ballou will not be played Saturday. The games have been rescheduled for Saturday, November 17th.

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

Norwin fell to McKeesport, 35-28 in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals. Norwin finished 7-4 on the season.

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

Bishop McNamara lost to DeMatha, 26-0. The Mustangs end their season at 6-5.

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

Milford Mill was defeated by Perry Hall, 17-14, ending its season at 5-5.

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

The Hun School (9-0) topped Worcester Academy, 46-6.

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

Southeast Raleigh fell to Leesville Road, 28-6, in the first round of the North Carolina 4-AA playoffs. The Bulldogs finish their season at 8-4.

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

Monacan (6-4) upset Manchester, 14-10. Monacan faces Hanover in the Division 5 playoffs on Friday.

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

Unavailable

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

Gonzaga finished its season at 4-5. Francis earned first-team all-conference honors on defense, recording 20 solo tackles, nine assists and two sacks on the year.

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

During Johnsonville’s 4-6 season, Lewis contributed 36 tackles, one sack, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and one recovered fumble. Lewis graded out at over 80 percent of his blocks on offense.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:02 PM | | Comments (0)
        

November 9, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

Remember last week’s light-on-news roundup? This week’s edition rivals that. But there was a smattering of football recruiting news as playoffs continue for some schools and draw nearer for others.

A couple one-time UM targets made their college choices, a basketball recruit got a bumped-up ranking and one Maryland football commit is looking to continue his already impressive postseason.

• Maryland defensive end commitment Tyler Urban turned in a dominant performance in Norwin’s first-round playoff win. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries, and also registered seven tackles, two sacks, one quarterback pressure and one forced fumble.

For that performance, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review named Urban its Greensburg Male Athlete of the Week.

Urban made a verbal commitment to attend the University of Maryland, but his performance occurred in front of West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez.

"It was good to have a big game in front of them, so they could see what I can do," Urban said. "It was more important to pick up a big playoff win against a team that is normally dominant in the WPIAL."

The Tribune-Review also turned in a scouting report of Urban’s matchup tonight against McKeesport’s quarterback. The paper gives the edge to the QB, but not without some nice praise for the future Terp.

Though Urban can tackle with the best of them, it is his pursuit along the line scrimmage and his ability to finish the play that makes him a standout at his position. What also helps him is his size and ability to fight off opposing linemen to get to the ball carrier and make tackles in the opposing backfield. In addition to his solid defensive play, he is also a threat offensively as a punishing running back in the Knights' scheme.

Urban and his Norwin (7-3) squad take on McKeesport (9-1) tonight for a berth in the WPIAL Class AAAA semifinals.

Latavius Murray claimed a Maryland offer earlier in the recruiting process, but there was some debate as to whether he was better suited for linebacker or running back at the collegiate level. The Terps and a few other schools thought defense, while Central Florida said offense.

Earlier this week, offense won out as UCF won the battle for the Nedrow, N.Y. native.

Murray chose the Central Florida Golden Knights out of a list that included Syracuse, Boston College, Maryland and Connecticut.

• Terps fans can cross West Potomac (Va.) offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett off the wish list. The 6-foot-8, 275-pound lineman reportedly showed recent interest in Maryland, but Bennett picked UConn earlier this week. According to The Hartford Courant, Huskies coach Randy Edsall gets major credit for landing Bennett.

"Pretty much it was the coach [Randy Edsall] that made my decision for me," Bennett said. "It wasn't about the facilities or anything like that, everybody has facilities. It was the fact that coach Edsall takes a very personal interest with the players and the academics are very good and important there. With Coach Edsall he treats his players like people, it's not just a numbers thing. ...”

• Terps basketball commit Gus Gilchrist is likely to redshirt after enrolling at Maryland for the winter semester, but Rivals.com ranks the big man as a 2007 prospect -- and a highly rated one at that.

Maryland will get a major shot in the arm at the semester break when local product Augustus Gilchrist enrolls at the ACC school. The skilled big man comes in at No. 52 in the final rankings.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:36 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 7, 2007

Marriotts Ridge volleyball player headed to St. John's

The first moment Jordan Haskins knew where she wanted to attend college was about five years ago.

Then a seventh-grader, Haskins took a trip to New York City for a modeling competition. The now 6-foot-1, Marriotts Ridge volleyball star even told her mom she wanted to move from their Howard County home to the Big Apple.

Her mother deftly sidestepped that issue and remained in the Baltimore area, but Haskins made her NYC dreams come true late last month by verbally committing to St. John’s University in Queens, N.Y. Haskins will sign a letter of intent with Joanne Persico-Smith’s Red Storm program (currently the No. 21 team in the country) during the early signing period this month.

“It felt amazing because in all my volleyball career I never would’ve thought [I’d end up at St. John’s],” Haskins said of her commitment. “I think I knew I could go DI, but I didn’t know I’d be able to go to a really, really good, top 25 program. I would’ve thought maybe top 100, but never top 25. It made me look at myself differently.”

Haskins’ commitment to St. John’s ended an exhausting, stressful process that forced her to flip the normal recruiting procedure and do some wooing of her own.

Initially, Haskins got recruited like most high level volleyball players – through her club team. Hofstra, DePaul, Georgia State, Wright State and Western Kentucky were among the schools to send literature, according to Haskins.

But one by one, each school bowed out of the Haskins sweepstakes – mostly due to scholarship constraints and eventually using up their offers.

So when the summer was coming to a close and Haskins was ready to begin her senior season at Marriotts Ridge, she was without options. That’s when she took recruiting into her own hands.

“I e-mailed,” Haskins said. “I went online, got the coaches’ e-mail [addresses] and sent [the coaches] e-mails.”

Haskins targeted five programs in her e-mail recruiting campaign: St. John’s, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Marquette and Colgate.

Each program responded to her inquiry and expressed interest. But again, one by one, each program went a different direction. Except for St. John’s, which just so happened to be the program she liked best.

“[Coach Persico-Smith] had read my e-mail,” Haskins said. “She asked me if I had a DVD skills video and gave me an address to send it. I sent it as soon as I could. She said she liked what she saw, but wanted to see more.”

Persico-Smith made the trip from Queens, N.Y. to Howard County for Marriotts Ridge’s October date with Centennial. The Red Storm coach liked what she saw, but wanted more.

“Basically we had a new lineup and we hadn’t practiced it or anything,” Haskins said. “We were all just confused. ... I would get a few blocks of course, but then they would hit the ball over me. She wanted to see how I could jump. She wanted to see more hitting and more middle stuff.”

Later that week, Haskins made another DVD skills tape that showcased her jumping and hitting ability. That was all Persico-Smith needed to see. The St. John’s coach invited Haskins on an official visit to the Queens campus.

Before embarking on the visit, Haskins told herself that she’d commit if offered. She was already sold on living in New York. She had done her homework online, and felt the SJU academics were top-notch. And perhaps most importantly, Haskins knew that Persico-Smith -- who guided the Red Storm from a club program 14 years ago to a now top 25 team – was the right coach for her.

Haskins got to spend a lot of one-on-one time with Persico-Smith during her visit, and especially before the Red Storm’s Oct. 26 win against DePaul.

In her office before the game, Persico-Smith found the perfect moment to officially offer Haskins. While waiting for her slow-loading computer to pull up page to buy Broadway tickets for the two the next night (the coach chose Hairspray for her Baltimore visitor), Persico-Smith gave Haskins that long-awaited offer.

“At first she said, ‘we want to offer you a full scholarship, but you can sleep on it,’” Haskins said. “But I said, ‘I’m ready to say yes.’”

So how good does ending the recruiting process and committing to St. John’s feel?

“Oh my God, you have no idea,” Haskins said. “It was such a process and I was getting so tired of it and so frustrated some days. It feels like an elephant lifted off my shoulders. Now I get to go into the club season stress-free because I already know where I’m going.

“I don’t have to worry about this school coming to see me and hoping I don’t mess up. I plan on doing well, but I don’t have as much pressure. So it feels really good.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:49 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 6, 2007

Something new for Terps fans

TurtleSportsReport.com editor (and occasional Recruiting Report contributor) Jeff Ermann is launching a monthly magazine covering Maryland athletics.

Click here to check out Inside the Shell magazine.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:21 PM | | Comments (3)
        

UM commit Francis improved each week

A.J. Francis saved his best for last.

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound defensive lineman from Gonzaga (D.C.) College recorded four solo tackles and two assists in the Eagles’ 20-13 season-ending loss to St. John’s on Friday.

“He was in on more tackles than he had been throughout the season,” said Gonzaga head coach Joe Reyda. “He was filling holes, he was getting pressure on the quarterback and he did a lot of good things. ... He just came to play on defense, which was good. We really needed it. And he did a good job.”

Gonzaga finished its season at 4-5, but Reyda said Francis and the rest of the team steadily improved each week. The improvement culminated in what Reyda called Francis’ best game of the year.

Francis played on the offensive and defensive lines for Gonzaga all year, earning first-team all-conference honors on defense. He recorded 20 solo tackles, nine assists and two sacks on the year.

Reyda was pleased with Francis’ play on offense and defense, but thinks he’s probably best suited as a nose guard in a 4-3 defense. His work on the O-Line should benefit him in college.

“He’s big, he’s strong and for his size he moves very well,” Reyda said. “He’s got good footwork. I think with him, getting in a program and just concentrating on getting bigger and stronger and faster [will be the key].”

Francis has some work to do before heading to College Park, but Reyda is confident he’ll put in the effort and be able to make an impact.

“I think he needs to lift a little more and just get defined,” Reyda said. “He’s going to get stronger, but he’s got to keep running, which I know he will do. Like I said, he’s got good footwork. As long as he just continues to lift and run and do agility work, he’s going to be fine...

“A.J.’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s likable kid and has a great personality. He’s going to do what you ask of him and I think he’ll do very well at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:56 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 5, 2007

Football commitment game recaps

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

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

Norwin (7-3) won its first round playoff matchup with Woodland Hills, 29-14.

Urban rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He also registered seven tackles, two sacks, one quarterback pressure and one forced fumble.

"Our defense has been playing with our backs against the wall all year," Urban told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It was nice to see us respond. We figured if we had no turnovers in the second half, we'd have a chance."

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, one of Maryland’s rivals was on hand to watch Urban and another Norwin player.

Urban had a big game for the Knights under the view of West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez and secondary coach Tony Gibson. Even though Urban verbally committed to attend Maryland, the West Virginia coaches were there to see him and [Norwin wide receiver Mike] Shanahan.

They're hoping to convince both to pick WVU.

Norwin faces McKeesport (9-1) in the quarterfinals of WPIAL Class AAAA playoffs.

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

Surrattsville (8-1) blasted Largo, 46-18.

Meggett rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries.

“He had some exceptional runs,” said Surrattsville head coach Tom Green. “He’s just getting better every week. Guys will miss a block and he’s running through the tackles.”

On the season, Meggett has carried the ball 131 times for 1,462 yards and 23 touchdowns. Meggett has also caught six passes for 301 yards and five touchdowns.

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

Hillside (9-2) won a share of its conference championship with a 28-14 win over Roxboro Person.

Douglas rushed for 148 yards and three touchdowns.

For the season, Douglas has rushed for 1,756 yards and 19 touchdowns on 180 carries. He has also caught seven passes for 144 yards and one touchdown.

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

Southeast Raleigh (8-3) fell to West Johnston, 27-26.

“Two weeks ago [Demetrius] went out with a knee injury on the opening kickoff against Garner,” said Southeast Raleigh head coach Daniel Finn. “He strained his MCL, so we kept him out of the next game. The doctor cleared him for this week, but we still didn’t really want to rush him back. He played two or three series near the end of the game. But he’s fine and healthy ... he should be ready [for the playoffs].”

Southeast Raleigh has a first round playoff date with Leesville Road on Friday.

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

Bishop McNamara (6-4) crushed Carroll, 41-14.

Chism rushed for a 17-yard touchdown, caught two passes for nine yards and recorded an interception.

“He did very well defensively,” said Bishop McNamara head coach Bryce Bevill. “I know he had a sack, he probably had six or seven tackles on defense. We were fortunate enough to get up on them early, so we took him out kind of early in the second half, but Cameron’s been solid all season.

“He’s one of the guys I really feel strongly should be part of the All-Met team as a defensive back. He led our team again with five interceptions. He’s a solid, solid pass defender. From where I’m sitting, he’s All-Met. ... He’s turned in a very good high school career.”

Bishop McNamara takes on DeMatha in a first round playoff matchup Saturday.

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

Forestville (3-5) lost to Crossland, 15-12.

According to washingtonpost.com, Dorsey caught four passes for 62 yards and one touchdown.

For the season, Dorsey has caught 42 passes for 724 yards and eight touchdowns, and also carried eight times for 88 yards and two touchdowns.

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

H.D. Woodson (7-3) shut out McKinley, 46-0.

Wilson returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown, and led Woodson in receiving with four catches for 69 yards – which included a 25-yard touchdown pass.

“He’s an athlete,” said H.D. Woodson head coach Greg Fuller. “He can play. If he gets the ball in any situation, he’s going to make plays, for sure.”

H.D. Woodson is set to take on Coolidge in a first round playoff matchup Saturday.

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

Wilde Lake stomped Oakland Mills, 42-6.

According to HowardScoreboard.com, Blue has contributed 25 tackles and two sacks on the season.

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

Milford Mill (5-4) defeated Parkville, 23-0, but the win was marred by a brawl between the two teams at the end of the game.

“Just some hotheads lost their cool a little bit on both sides of the ball,” said Milford Mill head coach Reggie White.

Dargan was sick and missed his second straight game.

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

The Hun School blanked Hill, 38-0.

According to NJ.com, Furstenburg caught a 30-yard touchdown pass.

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

Trinity (10-0) earned an outright Mid-Penn Capital Division championship with its 48-6 win over Boiling Springs.

Trinity faces Littlestown (6-4), in the first round of the Pennsylvania 3/6-AAAA playoffs.

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

Oscar Smith (10-0) topped Lakeland, 49-13.

The Tigers will face Woodside on Friday in the Virginia Eastern Region Division 6 quarterfinals.

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

Gonzaga (4-5) dropped a 20-13 game to St. John’s, ending its season.

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

Monacan (5-4) was shut out by James River, 20-0.

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

Fairfield Prep (6-2) blasted Lyman Hall, 40-6.

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

Unavailable

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

During Johnsonville’s 4-6 season, Lewis contributed 36 tackles, one sack, five tackles for loss, nine quarterback pressures and one recovered fumble. Lewis graded out at over 80 percent of his blocks on offense.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:41 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 2, 2007

Weekly recruiting roundup

The past week was particularly light on football recruiting news -- probably for a couple different reasons.

1.) High school football playoffs are getting under way, so many prospects are focused on that, not recruiting.

2.) Maryland’s class is almost filled, so there aren’t too many targets that the Terps staff is really going after at this point.

Today’s light-on-news edition of the roundup reflects that, and also checks in with a couple former targets that are officially headed elsewhere.

• Apparently UM target and Alexandria, Va. offensive tackle Jimmy Bennett is more than just a mammoth offensive tackle – at least in high school. The Connection Newspapers reports that Bennett made an unlikely position move that paid off for his high school squad this week.

It’s not hard to miss Jimmy Bennett on West Potomac’s football field. A physical specimen that has colleges recruiters salivating, the 6-foot-9, 280-pound Wolverine usually mans the offensive tackle and defensive end slots. But while facing Annandale on Monday, the West Potomac coaching staff tweaked his defensive position. To middle linebacker?

• Over the summer, an unlikely recruiting battle for Harmony, Fla. safety/wide receiver O’Neill Chambers developed -- Maryland vs. BYU. There hasn’t been much on the Terps and Chambers as of late (he probably falls into category No. 2). According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the Cougars might be on the outside looking in as well.

Chambers has offers from Maryland, Florida, Purdue and South Carolina, is not LDS and has no ties to BYU other than the fact that his high school coach, Tyler Anderson, played for the Cougars.

• Extremely sad news involving a former Terp target -- Fort Dorchester (S.C) defensive end Robert Quinn had a tumor in his brain removed Monday after collapsing in his home the day before.

The biopsy results, which will tell whether or not the tumor is cancerous, are pending, but Quinn was able to speak with his teammates Tuesday.

"We put him on the speaker phone and he told the guys to keep their heads up and to get after it," Fort Dorchester coach Steve LaPrad said. "He said he would see them soon. He's just like old Robert. He's waiting there to get well. He's waiting to get the word."

• News broke late last week that Dunbar (D.C) defensive tackle Reggie Ellis committed to Illinois. The Chicago Tribune has more on the commitment and the much-discussed D.C. to Champaign pipeline.

"He can't wait to get to Champaign and be a difference-maker just like the rest of us and help our program from top to bottom," said sophomore cornerback Vontae Davis, a Dunbar alum. "As long as coach [Ron] Zook is here, myself and Arrelious [Benn], a lot of D.C. guys will feel at home in Champaign."

• Augusta (Ga.) defensive back Sanders Commings sported an early Maryland offer and occasionally listed the Terps in his top five. Still, he was thought to be a longshot, and those thoughts proved accurate when he committed to Georgia earlier this week.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 1, 2007

Gaels pitcher headed to Saint Joseph's

The Baltimore area has been very good to the Saint Joseph's University baseball program in recent years.

Players from Calvert Hall, Long Reach and Mount St. Joseph currently dot the Philadelphia school’s roster, and when the 2008-09 season rolls around, the Hawks will add yet another Charm City player to the mix.

Mount St. Joseph’s Ryan Kemp, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound right-handed pitcher, committed to Saint Joseph's about two weeks ago. Kemp finished his junior season 6-3 with a 2.60 ERA. While Kemp said he “could’ve done better” during his junior season, it was more than enough to convince the Saint Joseph’s coaches of his potential.

“From what they told me, I think I’m going to start off my freshman year with a spot in the bullpen,” Kemp said. “Depending how that goes, I could end up starting eventually.”

Not bad for a pitcher who was almost discovered by the Saint Joseph’s coaching staff by accident.

Hawks assistant Greg Manco came to town in 2006 to scout Mount St. Joseph senior outfielder Ryan McDonald. McDonald impressed enough to earn a spot on Saint Joseph's team (where he’s now a sophomore). But Manco also came away intrigued with Kemp, then a sophomore closer.

“The coach came down to watch one of our games against Calvert Hall,” Kemp said. “I threw, I think, three innings and I got a save that game and we won. He was impressed with that. He sent me a letter. Then he called me last spring season and this summer he came to two or three of the local showcases I did.”

The Saint Joseph’s coaches may have been among the first to discover Kemp (who posted six saves and a 0.76 ERA during that sophomore season), but the Hawks had plenty of company from other schools competing for his services.

Georgia Southern, Hartford, Liberty, Mount St. Mary’s, Old Dominion, Radford and Richmond were some of the schools showing serious interest in Kemp. Ultimately, it was Georgia Southern -- a program that has recorded seven straight 30-win seasons -- that was Saint Joseph’s biggest competition for Kemp.

“Georgia Southern was definitely a school I was highly interested in,” Kemp said. “They’ve had a great program for a long time and their stadium was incredible. But they’re way out in the middle of nowhere in Georgia. It’s two hours away from the nearest airport and I can’t get a direct flight to there from Maryland. For Philadelphia, you just take the train right up there.”

Kemp took advantage of the approximately hour and a half train ride from Baltimore to Philadelphia on his official visit to Saint Joseph’s in September. He arrived on a Friday morning and spent the day with his ex-teammate, McDonald, attending classes, getting a tour of the campus and checking out an intrasquad baseball game.

When nighttime rolled around, Kemp, McDonald and several other baseball players drove into the city to experience essential Philadelphia, which included a trip to world-famous Geno’s for a cheesesteak. Kemp stuck around for the next morning's intrasquad scrimmage before taking the train back to Baltimore that afternoon.

The Saint Joseph’s campus is within Philadelphia city limits, but situated on a 65-acre plot on the northwest side near Lower Merion Township. Proximity to a big city wasn’t a deciding factor, but Kemp definitely prefers that atmosphere to the alternative -- “a school in the middle of nowhere where it’s just going to be hot and boring.”

“I can picture myself fitting in anywhere really,” Kemp said. “Over the summer with baseball, we travel a lot. We stayed in a very wide range of places. We stayed in the middle of nowhere and right in the city -- Omaha to West Palm Beach. I’m pretty much used to almost every environment. I guess the city is just what I liked best.”

Kemp has a 3.66 GPA and scored an 1850 on his SATs. He plans to major in Business, with a minor in sports marketing.

“With the sports marketing thing, I didn’t really look into their program too much,” Kemp said. “But I hear about some opportunities working with the local professional sports teams. … If I could get an internship with the Eagles or Phillies, that would be great. … I’m really undecided on [exactly what program to do]. But I love sports, so I feel like that’s where a job for me would fit best.”

For now Kemp is focused entirely on enjoying his senior year at Mount St. Joseph. He’s taking mostly honors courses, but still finds plenty of time to work on pitching. His junior year ended with him pitching back-to-back shutouts in the MIAA A Conference playoffs before falling to Calvert Hall in the championship. In Kemp’s perfect world, the Gaels would get over that hump so he could start his college career fresh off a championship.

He says leaving high school will be bittersweet. But Kemp is excited to join a program that needs immediate pitching help, a program whose head coach played, scouted and managed in the minor leagues, a school that fits his academic requirements and a school just a short train ride away from home.

“I just felt it was the best overall fit for me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:05 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        
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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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