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February 29, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

On Tuesday night, 2008 Terps women’s center commitment Lynetta Kizer had one of the more memorable games of her decorated high school career.

Playing in the Virginia Group AAA Northwest Region Tournament quarterfinals against a Stonewall Jackson team that had defeated Potomac by 21 in December, Kizer helped the Panthers pull off the upset.

The 6-foot-3 senior center, headed to the University of Maryland, converted a field goal with one second left to enable Potomac to upset the previously-unbeaten Raiders, 60-59.

Kizer’s stick back of a missed shot by teammate Kyana Jacobs set off an explosion of joy at the Panther bench. While Kizer cried and hugged well-wisher after well-wisher, Potomac coach Mike Wilson raced across the floor to embrace Woodbridge coach George Washington, his coaching men-tor and good friend.

The win advanced Potomac to the semifinals against George Washington-Danville last night.

This game, however, didn’t go Kizer’s way. Potomac was handed a 60-41 loss by GW. The loss ended Potomac's season, and Kizer's high school career.

Potomac senior Lynetta Kizer paced the Panthers with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four blocks and three assists in her final high school game. Dominique Whidbee added eight rebounds. Kizer was the only Potomac player to score in double figures, and was ejected after receiving two technical fouls in the final minute of the game, fouls that sandwiched Potomac coach Mike Wilson’s second technical and ejection.

• The eighth annual Charm City Challenge has been scheduled for April 6 at the Towson Center. The roster for the Baltimore All-Stars was announced earlier this week, and future Terp Sean Mosley and Georgetown commit Henry Sims headline the team, which will face a yet-to-be-announced U.S. All-Stars team.

The United States team is expected to be announced later this week. The Baltimore squad won 116-113 last year and leads the all-time series 5-2.

Keith Mills from Press Box brings in Baltimore Catholic league historian Jerry Savage for a fantastic history lesson of the BCL tournament. Here’s the relevant Mosley information, but the whole thing is really worth the read.

One year later, freshman Sean Mosley led St. Frances past Towson Catholic before Mount St. Joe rebounded in 2006 with one of the greatest seasons ever. The Gaels finished 38-1 and were ranked fifth nationally in USA Today. Now, Mosley, Henry Sims of Mount St. Joe, Brandon Greene of Towson Catholic and Jamar Briscoe of Gibbons take aim at the 37th Catholic League title.

Football recruiting

WashingtonPost.com just started a great video feature this week that will highlight some of D.C.’s top high school athletes. Recruiting Spotlight’s debut piece took a look at St. John’s (D.C.) offensive lineman Pete White -- a major Terps recruiting target for 2009. Click here to see the video interview.

• Loyola athlete Leon Kinnard picked up a Terps offer this week, according to this premium article from Scout.com. The relevant info from the first paragraph is free.

• Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins received an early Maryland offer, and his teammate, running back Caleb Porzel, got some interest from the Terps as well. Porzel, however, is officially off the board, having committed to Virginia earlier this week.

Porzel, 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds out of Good Counsel High School in Onley, Md., rushed for 967 yards and 16 touchdowns and also caught nine passes for 114 yards last year. With 4.32 speed, he also returned a kickoff for a touchdown and averaged 23.8 yards on punt returns.

Doug Doughty of The Roanoke (Va.) Times says the Cavaliers are trying their best to make Porzel and Jenkins teammates at UVa.

UVa coach Al Groh mentioned Good Counsel on signing day as one of the Washington, D.C.-area private schools that his staff has targeted. The Cavaliers signed SuperPrep All-America defensive lineman Nick Jenkins from Good Counsel in 2007 and are making a push for Porzel's touted teammate, linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

• H.D. Woodson (D.C.) produced one UM verbal commitment for 2008 in Tavon Wilson. Of course, Wilson ended up signing with Illinois, but that apparently hasn’t stopped Maryland from going back to Woodson to look for 2009 players. According to this article from Yahoo Sports, wide receiver Jerrard Hunter and cornerback Joelil Thrash are hearing from the UM staff.

According to [Woodson coach Wayne] Johnson, Hunter already holds his first offer, a verbal from Maryland.

The other prospect that holds an offer is 6-foot-0, 180-pound cornerback Joelil Thrash.

“He is a track sprinter as well,” he said. “He’s a go get it type of guy. He played offense defense and special teams for us. He’s a corner in college thought because he’s a physical athlete that loves to be around the football and always makes plays. He’s a vocal guy with a lot of leadership.”

ProFantasySports.com takes a look at junior college and freshmen running backs to watch, and Maryland’s incoming duo gets a mention.

Davin Meggett/Gary Douglas, Maryland: Davin Meggett is worth a mention in this column, as his father (Dave) was a former NFL player for the Giants, Patriots and Jets. Meggett could be an all-around specialist for the Terrapins, while Douglas should battle for backup carries next year.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 28, 2008

Video: Jin Soo Kim highlights

It’ll be roughly 20 months from now when South Kent (Conn.) small forward Jin Soo Kim suits up for the Maryland men’s basketball team.

But Terps fans can get a free preview of Kim's game today thanks to a kindly YouTube user, who posted extended highlights of the 2009 UM commitment one week ago.

If you’ve got about five minutes to kill, take a look.

The first Kim video looks to be taken from a recent South Kent practice.

This second clip is footage from international play -- Kim’s Korea squad vs. Spain.


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

February 27, 2008

Honors for Dixon, Liles

It’s been a big couple of weeks for the Dixon family.

First, Juan Dixon was traded from the Toronto Raptors to the Detroit Pistons.

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Then on Monday, younger brother Jermaine Dixon, a sophomore at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College, was named to the Coaches All-Panhandle Conference first team.

Dixon, the brother of former University of Maryland standout and current Detroit Pistons player, Juan Dixon, etched his own place in TCC's basketball history this season. A native of Baltimore, Dixon became the first player to lead the Eagles in scoring (20.9), rebounding (6.7) and assists (3.6) in the same season. He also averaged a team-best 2.8 steals per game and connected on a single-season record 157 free throws.

Dixon, who played his high school ball at James Hubert Blake in Silver Spring followed by a year of prep at Maine Central Institute, committed to Pittsburgh last week. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard chose the Panthers over Kansas State and East Carolina, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

Dixon had some Baltimore company at TCC this season. Former Northwestern point guard Jeremy Robinson averaged 6.4 points, 1.9 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game during his freshman season with the Eagles.

• Maryland women’s commitment Dee Liles was named to the Coaches All-Panhandle Conference first team. Liles averaged 11.1 points and 7.8 rebounds for Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College, the No. 3 team in the country. The Commodores begin postseason play March 6 against Hillsborough Community College.

Jermaine Dixon photo courtesy of Tallahassee Community College.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 26, 2008

Winters Mill's Woodyard talks Penn State commitment

Former UConn and now New Jersey Nets center Josh Boone and ex-Indiana guard Marshall Strickland are the two obvious choices for most notable Carroll County basketball players in recent memory.

Beyond those two, coming up with a list of other recent Carroll County players to play for major DI programs is difficult, something Winters Mill guard Cammeron Woodyard was extremely cognizant of.

“I don’t play in Baltimore and I don’t play in a place where there’s a lot of people recruited,” Woodyard said.

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Thankfully for Woodyard, his location didn’t stop him from joining the likes of Boone and Strickland at the high-major level. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound shooting guard verbally committed to Penn State on Feb. 17.

Woodyard picked Penn State over offers from Longwood, Loyola, UMBC and Youngstown State. He was also receiving interest from Holy Cross.

Woodyard credited Winters Mill coach Dave Herman and his AAU coach on the Maryland Mavericks, Thomas Caviness, with getting the word out to college coaches.

“Coach Herman called [Penn State] up and was telling them that I was being under-recruited, so they took the chance and came out and recruited me.”

Woodyard, who’s averaging more than 20 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, did his part on the court once Ed DeChellis and his staff got a look.

On an unofficial visit to Penn State on Feb. 2, Woodyard was on hand to witness the Nittany Lions’ biggest win of the year -- an 85-76 shocker over then-No. 7 Michigan State.

“It made me understand that it’s tough to play on the road in the Big Ten,” Woodyard said, “and it’s good to have supporting fans. But it also made me realize that the team isn’t as bad as it seems to be with what they’ve been through the past couple of months.”

Penn State’s biggest problem this season was the loss of leading scorer and rebounder Geary Claxton with a torn knee ligament.

But the Michigan State win showed Woodyard that PSU was closer to being a winning program that most people would think. So when DeChellis called Woodyard two weekends ago to offer a scholarship, the Winters Mill standout didn’t even have to sleep on the decision.

“He called me up, and as soon as he offered, I took it,” Woodyard said. “He said [he was offering a scholarship], and I told him that I would come out and play for him next year. And he said, ‘You’re saying you’re coming?’ He was making sure I actually said it.”

Woodyard said it feels good not having to worry about returning phone calls from other coaches anymore. Rather, he can just focus on his game, and look forward to arriving in State College after his time at Winters Mill is done.

“It’s like a small town on campus,” Woodyard said of State College. “The people up there were cool and friendly, so it made me feel at home.”

The Sun’s Stefen Lovelace got Dave Herman’s take on Woodyard’s decision yesterday. Click here to read that Varsity Letters blog entry.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:45 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 25, 2008

Loch Raven's Lee talks Coppin St. commitment

Scoring 49 points in a game has a way of drumming up recruiting interest.

At least that’s what Loch Raven senior Jordan Lee discovered after his 49-point outburst against Hereford earlier this month.

The only problem for those new schools (including Morgan State and several others) in pursuit of Lee was that the 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard had recently been removed from the market, having committed to Coppin State just before his breakout game.

“Yeah, it’s kind of funny [that other schools started recruiting me after that game],” Lee said. “But I like my decision to go to Coppin and I wouldn’t change it.”

Lee, who played his freshman year at Calvert Hall before transferring to Loch Raven, was a little dismayed by the lack of recruiting interest he was receiving up until the summer before his senior year. The summer was when schools like Coppin first started paying attention.

“For three years I was playing good, but I could never get any looks from the schools that I wanted to go to until I got on the AAU circuit with the Baltimore Stars,” Lee said. “Then schools started paying attention to me and coming to my games this year.”

Lee, who is averaging more than 27 points per game, said playing for Eagles coach Fang Mitchell was a big selling point for him.

“I know he has a history of winning,” Lee said. “The other players that he recruited [let me know] the success that we can have when I get there.”

Lee followed up that 49-point game with a 33-point performance against Western Tech. Still, Lee said he had no concerns about dealing with his newly acquired high profile.

“I mean I already had a target on me,” Lee said. “I’m used to it. I’m not worried about that.”

Click on the video player to watch Lee’s Athlete of the Week video.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 22, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

It’s no surprise that Dunbar’s undefeated state championship team last fall was full of DI prospects.

The headliner of the group, of course, was running back Tavon Austin. According to this article from Yahoo! Sports, Austin has sported a Terps offer since his sophomore year. Here are probably the two most interesting quotes from the article.

“I always liked Florida and Florida State,” he said. “I like the schools down south because when I was watching them, nobody was beating them. I don’t think I’m really leaning towards those teams anymore though.” …

“I also don’t think I really want to go that far away, six or seven hours. I don’t want it to be that long.”

• Sticking with the Dunbar players, quarterback Jonathan Perry is scheduled to attend Maryland’s Junior Day tomorrow.

“I like the environment at Maryland and was impressed by the players and coaching staff while I was there,” Perry said. “It’s very close to home and my recruiting coach James Franklin is a really down to earth guy who is real about the recruiting process which I like. I’m supposed to go there on Saturday for a visit.”

Poets linebacker Tevin Brown has also received Terps interest, according to this article from Scout.com.

“I also like Maryland, Virginia and Rutgers a lot,” Brown added. “I visited Rutgers and really liked the atmosphere there. They also have very good academics and offer their student-athletes a lot of support in terms of tutoring. Maryland is just the hometown school and my family could come watch me play there, so I am always going to like them as well.”

Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell offers a recap of last weekend’s New Jersey Junior Day at Rutgers. Several Terps targets receive mention in the Yahoo! article, including Austin and Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins, but the loftiest praise is reserved for Forestville defensive end DeOnte Arnett.

On the defensive side, Forestville, Md., defensive end DeOnte Arnett took home defensive MVP honors by showing the quickest first step and an array of moves during the long and physical one-on-ones for the linemen. Arnett needs to improve his lower-body strength but his quickness and ability to shake linemen using his hands was impressive. Arnett boasts offers from Maryland, Syracuse and Virginia.

• River Hill athlete Michael Campanaro draws comparisons to New England Patriots receiver Wes Welker in this Scout.com article. Maryland hasn’t offered yet, but that could soon change.

The Terps are only 15 minutes from his house and Campanaro says he's always followed the home team. "I watched them because they are the home team, but location isn't going to be a factor.

"The main three things I'm looking at are academics, coaches and the overall program," he said. "I want a school where I feel really comfortable with all the coaches and where there's just a good vibe."

• N.C. State has already offered Ashburn (Va.) Stone Bridge defensive end Brian Slay. Now Slay’s hoping for Maryland to follow suit.

“I’m going to Maryland for a junior day next weekend and then I’m going down to NC State on March 1st for a junior day. I just want to see what the campus and everything is like.”

Slay also mentioned he plans to participate in the Nike Combine in Baltimore later this spring.

• Here’s yet another new name to watch among 2009 prospects -- Spartanburg (S.C.) offensive lineman Brandon Thomas, who claims a Terps offer in this article from The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier.

Thomas will play tight end this season but the colleges will recruit him for tackle. He has offers from UNC and Maryland. His coach said Clemson is close to making an offer. Thomas attended USC's junior day earlier this month and was scheduled to be at UNC this past weekend. He plans to go to Clemson on Saturday.

Terps basketball recruiting

Sean Mosley's St. Frances team dropped a 78-74 overtime game to Towson Catholic in the MIAA A semifinals on Wednesday.

Mosley led No. 4 St. Frances (24-9) with 23 points and 13 rebounds. He had 17 points in the second half but none in overtime.

On the bright side, Mosley, along with Georgetown commit and Mount St. Joseph center Henry Sims, were named the Baltimore Catholic League’s Players of the Year.

The Sun’s Don Markus participated in a Q&A for BaltimoreSun.com yesterday, and was asked when and how the Terps will get inside scoring for next year. The whole blog entry is definitely worth the read, but for this particular question, Markus drops some insider knowledge on one of the Terps’ prized 2008 commitments.

Don Markus: The players have talked about how Gus Gilchrist has been one of the best frontcourt players in practice this season, but Williams downplays that so as to not take anything away from his current team.

• Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College point guard and 2008 Terps commit Bobby Maze had a monster game earlier this week in a 72-61 win over Pratt Community College.

Bobby Maze, who entered the game fourth in Region VI in scoring, drowned the Beavers with 31 in just over 29 minutes.

Maze had 18 of the Blue Dragons' 40, including a 10 of 10 performance at the free-throw line. In the first half, he went to the line once.

Maze’s HCC teammate, power forward Ken Bowman, turned in a solid performance as well.

Kenny Bowman, bothered by a leg injury, grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds. Maze and Bowman are expected to attend the University of Maryland next season.

• Maryland women’s basketball commitment Lynetta Kizer got some big news earlier this week. The Potomac (Va.) standout received an invite to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game on March 26 in Milwaukee.

The 6-foot-3 Kizer is averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks for Potomac (13-8). Kizer received more than 30 Division I scholarship offers.

"When I found out I was like, 'That's crazy.' I was kind of shocked. But I was excited, too," Kizer said.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:02 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 21, 2008

Five questions: Local basketball recruiting

With high school basketball playoffs getting under way, I thought this would be a good time to check in on the local hoops recruiting scene.

Enter Jide Sodipo of MidAtlanticHoops.com, who was kind enough to answer 'Five questions' (via e-mail) about that very topic.

1.) Has Sean Mosley exceeded expectations this season? What elements of his game have improved since his junior year? What type of impact do you see him making at Maryland?

Sean Mosley is doing the same thing he has done at St. Frances for the last three years, and that’s winning. As a freshman, he led his team to a Baltimore Catholic League tournament championship. The only improvement this year from previous years is that he’s hitting his outside jump shot with more consistency.

Mark my words, Mosley is going to make a major impact at Maryland just from his leadership, his will to win and his ability to change the game from all aspects (scoring, rebounds, steals e.g.). He reminds me of former UNC star Rashad McCants, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

2.) How has Henry Sims fared for Mount St. Joseph? What improvements has he made between his junior and senior years? What do you expect from him at Georgetown?

Sims has done a great job stepping into the leadership role and accepting the go-to-guy responsibility for the Gaels in the team-oriented style of coach Pat Clatchey. He has become a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. His back-to-the-basket post moves have improved tremendously, and he has always been a good low-post passer and rebounder. Now he has become more of an all-around force. I expect him to continue the great tradition of the Hoyas big men.

As a senior, Sims is way ahead of Roy Hibbert development-wise when Hibbert was coming from Georgetown Prep. I know that because I had the opportunity to scout him for four years and he was a project all throughout his prep career.

3.) Who are some of the best unsigned seniors in the Baltimore area?

The best available seniors right now have to start with Brandon Greene, a 6-foot-6 power forward from Towson Catholic who has really come into his own. Greene is a solid mid-major prospect who can rebound, run the floor, finish strong around the basket and also hit the mid-range jumper.

Five-foot-nine point guard Jamar Briscoe from Cardinal Gibbons has proven it in his senior year that he is more than capable of playing the position that he has been criticized about most of his career.

Devon Branch, a 6-foot-5 swingman from Aberdeen is not known to a lot of people, but this young man can flat-out play. And also Omar Strong, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Douglass, is a typical Baltimore-bred guard -- tough, small, but competitive.

Other players to watch include Anthony Oquendo (6-4 WF St. Frances), Byron Westmoreland (6-4 SG Mervo), Dwayne Wheeler (6-1 P-SG Mt. Carmel). Check MidAtlanticHoops.com for the Top Available/Unsigned Prospects in the area.

4.) Several Baltimore-area sophomores have gotten a lot of major recruiting attention
already. Who are some of your favorites? What do their recruiting pictures look like?

The Baltimore area has four of the 10 and six of the top 15 prospects in the Mid Atlantic Hoops area for the class of 2010. The class is led by Roscoe Smith, a talented 6-foot-7 wing forward from Walbrook, who’s currently getting recruiting interest from Georgetown (offer), Maryland (offer), Texas, Connecticut (offer) and Texas A & M.

Eric Atkins, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Mount St. Joseph, is the real deal and is rated as one of the best point guards in the Mid Atlantic Hoops area. He’s getting interest from Maryland, Georgetown, Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Virginia to name a few.

One of the most interesting prospects is Carl “C.J” Fair, a 6-foot-7, smooth, lefty shooting guard from City. He’s getting recruiting interest from NC State, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Maryland, Virginia, Texas A & M and Pittsburgh.

Also Jonathan Graham, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Calvert Hall, is going to make a major impact in the BCL/MIAA next season. Graham is the son of former Terrapins great Ernie Graham. All preliminary indications point to the Terrapins as a leader [in his recruitment].

Also, there are a few more sophomores with potential to be solid high-major prospects by the end of summer, depending on their development. They are Donte Holmes, a 6-foot-3 SG from St. Frances, and Jordan Latham, a 6-foot-8 PF/C from City.

5.) How are some of the local DI colleges faring in local recruiting? Who are some good local players that have committed to those schools?

Towson got itself a good prospect in Troy Franklin, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Mount Carmel.

The Eagles of Coppin State also inked a Mid Atlantic Top 50 prospect in Justin McCoy, a 5-foot-10 combo guard from Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore).

Loyola signed one of the area’s unsung heroes in 6-foot-8 power forward/center Josh Wiegand, who seems to impress me more and more every time I see him play.

And last but not least, Morgan State might have the best recruit so far, and it’s not a player, but a coach. Longtime Baltimore Select and local AAU coach Keith Goodie joining the Bears staff is something that is going to make an already strong staff even stronger locally.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:11 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Five questions
        

February 20, 2008

Not bad for a walk-on

If I was writing Recruiting Report five years ago when Joey Haynos was a high school senior, he most likely would not have been mentioned in this space. bloghaynos.jpg

I wouldn't have been alone in giving so little, if any, attention to Haynos.

Haynos (pictured here as a 6-foot-7, 220-pound freshman at Maryland) did not have a recruiting profile on either Rivals or Scout.

You can read more about Haynos' unlikely path from Terps walk-on to NFL combine invitee in an article I wrote for BaltimoreSun.com today.

But looking back, Haynos said he's happy he was overlooked from a recruiting perspective.

"Five stars and all that stuff, it’s ridiculous," Haynos said. "It makes kids so full of themselves because they feel like they don’t have to work. I think that was one of the best things to happen to me because I had to prove myself."

The Maryland staff gave Haynos the routine walk-on sell -- Bust your butt for a year or two, then we’ll see where you're at. If you work hard, you can earn a scholarship.

Haynos obviously took advantage of the opportunity, embracing that 'something to prove' attitude. Joe Haynos, Joey's father, recalled just how serious his son was about proving the gurus wrong.

"I can remember talking to Ralph Friedgen and him telling me, [Joey] will be on the scout team. I said, 'Well he’s not coming here to be a scout-team player.' Friedgen must’ve thought I was crazy, but lo and behold, it came to pass."

So take heed, potential DI walk-ons -- you could be the next Joey Haynos.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:42 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 19, 2008

Potential Terps QB target

Here's another potential quarterback for Terps fans to watch in the class of 2009 -- San Diego Scripps Ranch dual-threat Tate Forcier.

TurtleSportsReport.com has a free story on Forcier, who is currently ranked as the No. 52 player in the country in the class of 2009 by Rivals.com.

From the TSR article:

Forcier has outstanding junior film and statistics. Last fall he completed an eye-popping 77 percent of his pass attempts for 2,387 yards, 21 touchdowns and five interceptions. A dual-threat quarterback, he also rushed 66 times for 733 yards and six scores. So it’s no surprise he already holds a dozen offers -- Arizona, Auburn, Iowa, Kansas, LSU, Maryland, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Virginia and Wisconsin -- with several more schools likely to offer soon.

Both of Forcier's older brothers are DI quarterbacks. Jason Forcier transferred from Michigan to Stanford where he'll be a junior this fall, while Chris Forcier redshirted at UCLA in 2007.

If you've got nine minutes to kill, check out Forcier's junior-year highlights. If those highlights aren't enough, click here for more Forcier videos.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 18, 2008

Morgan State's Hill-Eley talks Bears football recruiting class

Signing Day earlier this month was a fruitful one for Morgan State head coach Donald Hill-Eley.

MSU signed 23 players to its 2008 recruiting class, including four transfers from DI programs.

Hill-Eley was kind enough to answer questions about the Bears' recruiting class last week.

From the looks of your class on paper, it appears defense -- and linebacker in particular -- were heavy areas of emphasis. Do you feel you adequately addressed those needs?

Hill-Eley: Yes, we needed to beef up at the linebacker spot as well as the defensive line. I think we got some impressive young men where in the past we had to take freshmen and sit them out a year or two to get them up to playing level. But we’ve got a group of young men who can come in and at least help us out on special teams. Because of the program and the continuity, we’ve been able to recruit a little bit better athlete every year. Every year it’s gotten better with the quality of the athletes. We’ve gone from no-star kids to two- and three-star kids. So it’s putting us in the game that we’re getting more of the first-tier than second-tier players.

You brought in two players from Detroit, four from the Atlanta area and seven Miami-area natives. How has Morgan State been able to develop a national recruiting profile?

Hill-Eley: Well Morgan has been fortunate enough and has really supported us going to these different areas to recruit these young men. I truly believe if we can get any student-athlete to our campus and show them the resources and facilities that we have, that’ll definitely give us an opportunity to get them and make it tough to lose them.

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Miami in particular has been good to you. To what do you attribute your recruiting successes in South Florida?

Hill-Eley: We actually ended up getting a couple of kids out of Miami Northwestern [High School], and the thing about it is, Miami Northwestern has been in the top five of high schools nationally. To be able to go in there and get kids like [sophomore offensive lineman] Corey Sellers, [junior wide receiver] Chauncey Thompkins, this new kid, [defensive back Steve] Gallon. We’re actually working on another kid [from Miami Northwestern] as we speak. To get these national-caliber kids gives you a chance to add that competitive edge to our program. We’re fortunate enough that Miami has become one of my two recruiting areas -- south Florida is one of the areas I recruit myself. I have some relationships with players I used to coach, and that helps me bring new players to the program.

What’s your other recruiting area?

Hill-Eley: Georgia.

What’s your specific strategy in developing this national recruiting profile?

Hill-Eley: Well the thing about it is my technique is so different than any of the other coaches. I recruit the parents. I let the parents know what we have to offer. Then I can understand what they want for their son. About the third time [I go to recruit] I talk to the kid. I’ll answer any questions about myself or the university. By that time, I’ve talked to their family, they believe in what we’re doing, the successes that we’ve had on the field and off the field; People want to have their kids in a place where they can grow.

You brought in three quarterbacks. What do you expect from each?

Hill-Eley: Our biggest need was at the quarterback position. I think we shored that up with the young men we have. [We also shored up] the defensive end position. I’m looking forward to this being one of the classes to get the program going in the right direction.

[The quarterbacks are] all winners from their current schools, great passers as well as runners. Any time you have those quarterbacks that are dual-threats, that gives us a competitive edge when we’re in the one-back set. The quarterback has to be a threat to really offset the defense and limit the things they can do to us.

This class contains six players from the Washington D.C. area, but none from Baltimore. Was this a specific strategy you had with this class?

Hill-Eley: The thing about it is not intent. We have a big thing going on now of young men just wanting to get away from home. We were recruiting some Baltimore kids and some kids locally. But some kids just want to get away from home. You can look at that at any other university that doesn’t have a big turnout of local guys.

What do you expect from transfers you’ve brought in?

Hill-Eley: At the quarterback position, Carlton Jackson is a young man from the Miami, Broward area. He started some games up at Akron and did a great job there. To be able to get a player of his caliber up at Morgan -- that kid was recruited by a bunch of major DI schools out of high school. He brings experience and is a great passer and a great runner.

Another young man from Akron, Rodney Etienne, is a very explosive young man, a great hitter and plays with a lot of range in the secondary. He’s going to help us out a lot with attacking the football and fending off deep passes from the safety position.

Jody Ellis, he transferred in from Illinois. He plays both sides of the ball. He’s so talented, we’re not sure what side of the ball we’re going to play him on. He’s an excellent wide receiver and an outstanding defensive back.

E.J. Morton-Green, he’s a 6’6 wide receiver that gives us leverage outside at the wide receiver and a big target. We look forward to those guys coming in and giving us depth at a lot of positions.

What's the legal status of Ellis, who was dismissed from Illinois last March after being charged with felony burglary and theft?

Hill-Eley: He has an arrangement with the judicial system giving him a second chance at school, so they allowed him to come out here to better his life. So he got a second chance. He has another court appearance later on in the summer. At that point he’ll weigh in on what he’s done since the incident at Illinois.

Are there any other individual guys in this class who you feel can make an immediate impact for the Bears?

Hill-Eley: With this particular class, I don’t think there is not one who can’t contribute in his freshman year of college. We have a good list of guys who have been part of championship teams and have more accolades than we’ve had in the past. With that particular list, they all have an opportunity to contribute. I don’t think one stands out over another.

Photo of Donald Hill-Eley by Sun photographer Monica Lopossay.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:03 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 15, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

It’s been more than a week since Signing Day for the class of 2008. So, I suppose it’s about time to start paying attention to the 2009 kids.

For the Terps, quarterback will likely be a huge priority for 2009. Hampton (Va.) Phoebus quarterback Tahj Boyd sports an early offer, but Maryland will have plenty of competition for his services. That’s apparent in GatorCountry.com article about Chesapeake (Va.) Great Bridge receiver Logan Heastie.

Another thing that Boston College has going for them is that Heastie’s close friend, Tajh Boyd, quarterback at Phoebus High School in Hampton, Virginia, is being recruited by the Eagles.

“We talk about going to school together all the time,” Heastie said. “I think where he wants to go will be a big factor in my decision because he is one of my best friends and an awesome quarterback. Florida isn’t really looking at him, but he is interested in Wake Forest, Boston College and West Virginia.”

Here’s what Boyd had to say about his recruitment in this Yahoo! article from last week.

"Boston College is really high on my list," he said. "Tennessee is up there along with West Virginia. I like those schools because I've gotten a chance to meet my position coaches. They all seem like good guys that are honest."

Earlier this week, fellow Hampton Roads stud Logan Heastie expressed a desire to play with Boyd in college. What is Boyd's view on that?

"Hopefully we can get a chance to play together," he said. "We talk about going on visits all the time and I look forward to the recruiting process with him."

• Quince Orchard athlete Travis Hawkins is another big name to watch. One thing working in Maryland’s favor is a former teammate of Hawkins’ – who just so happens to be a future Terp.

"Zack Kerr (Maryland) and I have been talking about going to the same college," he said. "That's something I'm thinking about and hopefully it happens. But I'm looking at all my options. I'm about to go on a junior day to Rutgers this weekend. I've also been to Penn State and loved the atmosphere.

"I do like Maryland since it's close to home, but in some ways I do want to get away a bit."

2008 football recruiting

• In case you haven’t read enough about Maryland’s 2008 football recruiting class, here are a couple more takes on the newest Terps. First, CollegeFootballNews.com weighs in with a less than optimistic opinion, ranking UM’s class the ACC’s ninth-best.

Ralph Friedgen and his staff aren't brining [sic] in the top talents the other ACC teams are; this isn't the hot program it was a few years ago. There aren't many, if any, instant impact players, so Friedgen has to be planning for the future with this group. However, this staff has done more with less, especially at quarterback, where Tyler Bass should eventually be the man.

CSTV.com’s Tom Lemming doesn’t offer a ranking for the ACC teams, but does give a somewhat optimistic look at the Terps’ class.

Maryland is kind of the sleeper of the ACC. Everybody forgot about the guys who committed early, where they filled their needs at defensive line and wide receiver. Kenny Tate (62) and Kevin Dorsey (77) highlight the pass-catching talent.

• For any college fantasy football players out there, the Terps might not be a bad pick this fall at the wide receiver position. CollegeFantasyFootballInsider.com names UM’s incoming receiving trio among recruits to keep an eye on.

WR Kerry Boykins, Maryland - Deep ball threat with excellent hands. Daruis Hayward-Bey [sic] has a lock on one of the starting spots, but Terps could use someone to complement him.

WR Kenny Tate, Maryland - Physically mature athlete that could play multiple positions for Ralph Freidgen.

WR Kevin Dorsey, Maryland - Quarterback/wide receiver that will get a chance at wide receiver for the Terps.

Ralph Friedgen went on and on about Kenny Tate’s character during Maryland’s Signing Day press conference last week. This story from The Washington Post seems like a good example of what Friedgen was referring to.

Tate's latest move, though, had little to do with basketball for the No. 8 Stags (17-8, 11-5), who take a five-game winning streak into tonight's game against No. 18 Bishop McNamara. Before Sunday's 62-49 victory over St. John's, Tate approached [DeMatha coach Mike] Jones with an unusual request: The Maryland football recruit wanted to switch jersey numbers to honor a friend, football teammate Jonathan Mason, a senior who will play for Harvard in the fall.

Mason's father, Ted, died Saturday night, one day after suffering a stroke, according to school officials. For the rest of the season, Jones said, Tate wanted to switch from his customary No. 4 to the No. 5 that Mason wore on the football field. The plan also required junior forward Naji Hibbert to give up No. 5 on the court; he now wears No. 34.

2008 basketball recruiting

• How did Los Angeles native Ken Bowman end up at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas? The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle’s Jeffrey Martin has the answers in this feature on Bowman. Below is the relevant recruiting info on Bowman, but the whole piece is definitely worth the read.

Bowman, who is averaging approximately 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks for Hutch (18-6 overall, tied for first in the Jayhawk West with Seward County at 8-2), took an official visit to Maryland.

It was a one-day trip, but the Terps were playing Duke. Although Maryland lost, 93-84, the experience still left an lasting impression.

“They’re at the top of his list -- as they should be as that’s the only official visit he’s taken,” [Hutchinson head coach Ryan] Swanson said.

• UConn assistant Andre LaFleur visited 2008 power forward prospect Ater Majok in Australia last month. According to The Connecticut Post, Majok is all set to return the favor.

Ater Majok, a 6-foot-10 forward originally from the Sudan, will visit UConn on March 1 to see the Huskies take on West Virginia. Currently living in Australia, Majok is also considering Kansas, Maryland, UCLA and Baylor.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:33 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 14, 2008

Towson’s Combs talks Tigers recruiting class

Last week Gordy Combs and his Towson Tigers football program signed its largest recruiting class in team history. Click here to look at the complete list of recruits.

Combs was kind enough to discuss the team’s recruiting haul (via e-mail) with Recruiting Report.

This was the largest recruiting class you've had at Towson. Does this mean recruiting went particularly well for your staff?

Combs: This was the largest recruiting class because it was replacing the first true scholarship class we've had. Since we went to scholarship football five years ago, this is the first time we used all of our scholarship money on freshmen. In the past, we would use some scholarships to reward 'walk-ons' and transfer students.

But, recruiting went very well for us. We had 90% of our recruits verbally committed before Christmas. Then, it just became a matter of following up on our verbals until Signing Day.

How will this class stack up with the rest of the CAA?

Combs: That's a very difficult question to answer. We are confident that we have a class of CAA-caliber athletes that address our specific needs.

You brought in seven players from Maryland this year -- including four from Montgomery County and two from Frederick County. Did you recruit those areas particularly hard? What can you tell us about the in-state class?

Combs: Our first objective is to do a thorough job recruiting the state of Maryland. Perhaps because of our proximity, we've been very successful recruiting Montgomery County the last five years. I think our visibility in Montgomery County has been enhanced by the success that Brian Bradford (Gaithersburg H.S.) and Eric Yancey (Seneca Valley H.S.) have had here. (Bradford was a 1st team All-America linebacker in 2007; Yancey was a 1st team All-CAA wide receiver in 2006). We are very pleased with the Maryland players we have coming in.

combs.jpg

Which players do you envision making contributions as true freshmen?

Combs: Our attitude is that we go into the preseason with the idea that the entire freshman class will be redshirted. But, sometimes circumstances change and we have to adjust. So, it's difficult to envision who will contribute as true freshmen.

Five linebackers are part of Towson's class. Was that a position group you specifically targeted for this class? What can you tell us about the linebacker recruits?

Combs: We knew that we needed to put an emphasis on recruiting linebackers this year. We lost three of our four linebackers to graduation and our fourth starter, Jordan Manning, is going to be a senior. Since we are committed to a 3-4 defense we need a lot of talented linebackers. All of the linebackers we recruited are good athletes with speed who can make plays in space.

Brian Potts was one of the more decorated players in Delaware this year. How big of a coup was it to land him? What do you expect from him as a freshman? What type of quarterback is he?

Combs: Brian Potts is a dropback style of quarterback who fits our system perfectly. With Sean Schaefer (the Tigers' three-year starter at quarterback) entering his senior year, we knew it was imperative to bring in a quarterback of this magnitude to compete for the starting position after Sean graduates. We plan to have Brian redshirt this year and watch and learn from Sean Schaefer. Next spring, he should compete for the starting quarterback position with Andrew Daley.

Photo courtesy of Towson University

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:45 PM | | Comments (3)
        

February 13, 2008

A few links

As if the ACC-Big Ten Challenge needed to become any more lopsided.

News broke late last night that Indiana, which currently sits at No. 2 in the Big Ten standings, received a list of major violations from the NCAA last week.

This revelation arrives less than four months after head coach Kelvin Sampson and the Indiana program self-reported impermissible phone calls to the NCAA. Sampson was already on NCAA probation thanks to making 577 impermissible phone calls during his time at Oklahoma.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the issue, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Sampson "failed to deport himself ... with the generally recognized high standard of honesty" and "failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men's basketball program," according to the report.

IU has until May 8 to provide a written response. The letter says IU officials will be required to appear June 14 in Seattle at a hearing before the Division I Committee on Infractions.

Major violations of NCAA rules can carry punishments including postseason ineligibility.

All this could happen thanks to a whole bunch of recruiting phone calls, purportedly committed by what is, without question, the Big Ten’s preeminent program. Yikes.

• Per usual, Adam Zagoria has the latest on St. Benedict’s (N.J.) center Greg Echenique. According to Zagoria, Florida has emerged as a possible destination for the Venezuelan big man.

The 6-9 Echenique previously listed Duke, Rutgers, Penn, Miami, Maryland and Pitt among his leaders, but his interest in Miami stems from the fact that Florida is closer to his native Venezuela. It's not hard to imagine he might like Florida, the two-time defending NCAA champs, for the same reason.

Echenique’s high school coach, Danny Hurley, told Zagoria that Echenique and his parents will try to visit Duke, Florida and Miami at the end of March.

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

February 12, 2008

Maryland Hurricanes' recruiting blueprint

Four years ago, Kevin Randolph, Michael Coughlan, Suzi Coughlan and Kevin Green sat down and hammered out a business plan for the Maryland Hurricanes.

It might sound strange for the manager and coaching staff of an AAU girls U-14 basketball team to approach their squad in such a serious manner. But after seeing the potential in the new-look Hurricanes (which had recently combined with another local AAU team, the Seminoles), the quartet thought a four-year plan was essential.

“We said, ‘Hey, we might need to approach this now as a business venture,’" said Randolph, the team’s manager and father of point guard Ayanna Randolph. “We’ve got to make sure we play the girls in front of the right coaches on the right platforms so the girls can be seen in front of the college scouts.”

Four years, countless hours of practice, thousands of miles driven up and down the East Coast and a missed Prom or two later, and seven members of the Hurricanes have signed letters of intent to play college basketball next season.

team.jpg
From left to right: Becky Cox, Brittany Coughlan, Katie Biggs, Ariana Guyton, Kandice Green, Bethany Hart, Danielle Parker, Destiny Jacobs, Ashley Davis, Ayanna Randolph, Atiya Brown.


“Our No. 1 priority was getting scholarships for the girls, if that’s what they wanted to do,” said Suzi Coughlan, Michael’s sister and an assistant coach with the Hurricanes. “We just had to have a plan and it worked out beautifully.”

The plan, according to Randolph, yielded approximately $832,000 in athletic scholarship support for the seven committed Hurricanes. Randolph reached the figure by calculating four years of tuition, room and board. That approximation doesn’t account for the monetary support each player will get for athletic gear and travel, or the inevitable tuition hikes.

St. Frances forward Kandice Green was the headliner of the group. Green (whose father Kevin Green was a Hurricanes assistant and the second-leading scorer in Loyola College history) inked with Seton Hall in the fall.

Other DI-bound Hurricanes include McDonogh point guard Becky Cox to George Mason, McDonogh center Destiny Jacobs to Stony Brook (N.Y.), Dulaney forward Danielle Parker to Delaware and Arundel point guard Ayanna Randolph to Furman.

Additionally, Glenelg guard Katie Biggs signed with Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia, while Atholton point guard Brittany Coughlan (Suzi’s daughter, Michael’s niece) inked with Berry College, a NAIA school in Georgia.

It’s likely that many of the girls on the team would’ve found the right college program no matter which team they played for. But thanks to Randolph’s impeccable coordination and planning, all seven girls ultimately found what they were looking for.

Step one of the business plan called for Randolph, the Coughlans and Green to get the girls and their parents to buy in. That meant convincing them that practice three days a week from March through August, including tournaments up and down the East Coast every other weekend, in addition to balancing schoolwork, was a good idea. Randolph sold the parents and players on the potential for earning college scholarships.

Once the commitment was made, step two of the business plan was ready to be implemented – Randolph had to make sure the girls were seen. When the Hurricanes were in the 14-and-under age bracket, the team still had to prove itself on the national level. That involved Randolph getting on the phone, reaching the tournament directors and others in charge of putting together brackets, and making sure the Hurricanes had a chance to compete against the elite teams.

Never was the intensity of the plan on better display than last summer. From July 5 through the 19th, the Hurricanes played in three tournaments. First was the Blue Chip tournament at Penn State. After that eight-game run, the Hurricanes drove from State College, Pa. back down to the Baltimore area for the night to wash clothes and get a somewhat decent night of sleep before hitting the road again the next morning for another tournament in New Jersey. The Hurricanes played five games, drove back down to Baltimore for another quick change before catching a plane to Tennessee to play in a Nike-sponsored tournament. In that 14-day stretch, the team played 18 games, and was seen by between 25-30 Division I coaches at almost every game, Randolph estimated.

“We were fortunate Kevin was a mastermind in terms of getting a hold of the right people, people who run these organizations and tournaments, because we played in the upper echelon in these tournaments,” Suzi Coughlan said. “I mean we played everybody. That’s where our kids got the most exposure.”

While Randolph dealt with the logistical concerns, he left all the coaching and skill development up to the Coughlan siblings and Green.

“Honestly, I know it’s probably cliché, but I personally would just focus on what was in front of us at the time,” said Hurricanes head coach Michael Coughlan. “I figured if the kids would get better and face really good competition and be in front of the right coaches, [the girls would get scholarships]. But I always focused on every practice and tournament. ... If we got better, everything else would take care of itself. But the big picture obviously in the back of our minds was college. That’s what we were pushing for. But I took more of a short-term approach to it.”

Since the goal of the business plan was to eventually earn college basketball scholarships, the original idea of Randolph, the Coughlans and Green called for equal parts basketball and academics. If a scholarship opportunity presented itself, the last thing Randolph wanted was a girl who couldn’t cut it academically. That was never a problem.

“We had a GPA of over a 3.25 for the entire team,” Randolph said. “We started doing it like the colleges do. It was all about the academic push. You had to be students first, athletes second. We really stressed academics. We got the girls in the mind frame of, ‘you take care of business in the classroom and we’ll get you to play in the right tournaments in front of the right people.’”

By September, Cox, Green, Jacobs, Parker and Randolph had all made their verbal commitments. Before national signing day in November, Biggs and Coughlan made their choices. Four years, hundreds of games and countless hours of practice later, and seven of the Hurricanes’ 11 players had made the business plan of Randolph, Green and the Coughlans a success.

Now it will be strange for the four staff members to move away from their four-year venture.

“We’re going to miss it,” Suzi Coughlan said. “We go to all these kids' games, we see all these kids play. ... The girls talk several times a week, follow each other in the paper. These kids have a genuine love for each other beyond the scope of basketball. That’s what we wanted to instill in these kids. They’re all awesome students, wonderful kids. Come May or June, it’s going to be a sad time. But it is a great story.”

Meet the seven Hurricanes

Katie Biggs -- 5-foot-9 guard from Glenelg
biggs.jpg
Honors: Sun 1st team Howard County
College choice: Shepherd University
Others considered: McDaniel
Why Shepherd? “Well my final two were Shepherd and McDaniel and after visiting Shepherd, I fell in love with it and knew that’s where I wanted to go. I liked the program and I liked the coaches. I spent two nights with the team. It’s a good school and it met all my requirements. I didn’t want to go too far away.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “They were great. Our team manager was Mr. Randolph and he made sure we got in all the elite brackets so we were watched by the most colleges. They would talk to the different colleges and tell us what they were thinking. We would tell them what we were thinking. Then they’d contact the colleges and tell them if we were interested.”

Brittany Coughlan -- 5-foot-7 point guard from Atholton
coughlan.jpg
Honors: Sun 1st team Howard County
College choice: Berry College
Others considered: Mount St. Mary’s, Longwood
Why Berry? “Mainly the coaching staff and the team. They’re very welcoming. I really liked the area. They’re currently building a new gym and I’d be part of a brand new thing there and I was very excited about that.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “I mean as far as getting our team into the right tournaments, talking to any of the coaches, giving them a little background information, teaching me the fundamentals of the game; basically, they just tried to enable the process. It made it a little easier on me, going after the schools I was interested in and being able to talk to the coaches.”

Becky Cox -- 5-foot-7 point guard from McDonogh
cox.jpg
Honors: McDonald’s All-American nominee, Sun 1st team All-Met, 1st team Baltimore County
College choice: George Mason
Others considered: Loyola, Bucknell, Delaware
Why George Mason? “The location was a good thing. I really liked the coaches and the league they’re in. … I just think it’s good competition.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “Coach Coughlan talked to a lot of different coaches. He always put his information for the coaches to contact him whenever they needed. Mr. Kevin Randolph did a lot of things with making packets of information for the coaches to see, which was helpful. It was player profile packets of everyone on the team. I just felt like whatever choice I made, they would help me make the choice. I felt like they helped with the recruiting process a lot because they got my name out there with different coaches. And they put me in a good position on the court to show my skills.”

Kandice Green -- 6-foot power forward/center from St. Frances
green.jpg
Honors: McDonald’s All-American nominee, Street & Smith's All-American honorable mention, Sun 1st team All-Met, 1st team Baltimore City
College choice: Seton Hall
Others considered: James Madison, Virginia Tech
Why Seton Hall? “That was the best fit because I loved the basketball atmosphere. It was a Big East school and the coaches remind me of my AAU coaches and my dad. I really like coach [Phyllis] Mangina and everyone was just really cool. I loved it."
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “They played a big role. They were the backbone. They really helped me out with my decision. They helped me think how I would fit in with the team. They were helping me out and helped me make my decision.”

Destiny Jacobs -- 6-foot center from McDonogh
jacobs.jpg
Honors: McDonald’s All-American nominee, Sun 2nd team Baltimore County
College choice: Stony Brook
Others considered: Hofstra, Johns Hopkins, Iona
Why Stony Brook? “I liked the team. I feel like I fit in with the girls, the coaches and just the overall environment is just a really good place to be.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “They helped a lot. They basically got me out to the coaches and all I had to do was just go out there and play.”

Danielle Parker -- 6-foot-2, guard/forward from Dulaney
parker.jpg
Honors: McDonald’s All-American nominee, Street & Smith's All-American honorable mention, Sun 1st team All-Met, 1st team Baltimore County
College choice: Delaware
Others considered: James Madison, Penn State, Virginia Commonwealth, Old Dominion
Why Delaware? “Its location and overall atmosphere, the coaches and the campus. It was really nice. I liked the campus immediately when I got there.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “They pretty much communicated with me what schools were out there and who was looking. They knew I didn’t want to go too far. Coach Michael Coughlan -- if any schools called and I didn’t like them, he told them they weren’t an option. The schools that did call and I liked, he’d have them communicate with me.”

Ayanna Randolph -- 5-foot-7 point guard from Arundel
randolph.jpg
Honors: McDonald’s All-American nominee, Sun 2nd team Anne Arundel County
College choice: Furman
Others considered: American, George Mason, Hofstra, Princeton
Why Furman? “When I went down there the people were all friendly and I just loved being around all of them. The atmosphere, the team and everybody. I just felt at home as soon as I got down there.”
Role of the Hurricanes’ staff: “My dad (Kevin Randolph) was very helpful. He made sure that I was able to experience different opportunities and go to different colleges before I made my decision. He was just making sure he talked to other coaches and got to know people and make sure he could really entrust them with his daughter.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 11, 2008

Quick weekend wrap

Rounding up the weekend for Terps men's and women's basketball commitments and targets ...

• Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College improved to 18-6 on the season with its 70-53 win over Butler C.C. Terps point guard commit Bobby Maze contributed 13 points, four rebounds and five assists, while Ken Bowman recorded 17 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.

“We picked it up a whole lot in the second half,” sophomore Ken Bowman said. “Twenty-two points (in the first half) is not us, it’s not Hutch. We shot 13 threes in the first half and that’s not our game plan. I told the guys that we needed to lock up on defense and we will get our offense from that.”

Sean Mosley led a well-balanced St. Frances scoring attack yesterday with 16 points in the Panthers’ 72-71 overtime win over Cardinal Gibbons.

• 2009 UM center target Greg Echenique had 14 points for St. Benedict’s (N.J.) in its 77-63 win over Our Savior New American (N.Y.) on Saturday at the PrimeTime Shootout in Trenton, N.J. For highlight video of Echenique (and other PrimeTime participants), click here.

Lynetta Kizer ('08 UM commitment) led Potomac (Va.) with 18 points on Friday, but her squad suffered a 50-43 loss to Forest Park. Potomac (11-8) dressed just seven players, according to The Washington Post.

"We still have time left," said Kizer, alluding to the looming district tournament. "It's a tough loss, but we're still getting better."

• Last Thursday Terps point guard commitment Dara Taylor had one of her highest scoring games of the season with 26 points. Only problem for Taylor and her Caravel (Del.) Academy team was UConn recruit Elena Della Donne, who put up 51 points to lead Ursuline to a 76-51 win over Caravel.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:56 AM | | Comments (2)
        

February 8, 2008

Teddy Dargan

I spoke with Milford Mill head coach Reggie White earlier today about Teddy Dargan, the former Terps defensive tackle commitment that was unable to sign with Maryland earlier this week due to academic concerns.

White said he’s in the process of trying to find a school and football team for Dargan next year. Hargrave, another prep school or junior college are all options being considered, according to White. They hope to have a decision by mid-March.

According to White, Dargan’s test score was “a little low, but just the overall GPA – he made a lot of mistakes freshman year that he didn’t make up.”

Dargan made a verbal commitment to Maryland in late 2006, but according to White, realized last month that his academics would prevent him from signing with UM.

“He was upset, but who can he blame?” White said. “He knows he’s made a lot of mistakes, so he’s trying to rectify them.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:18 PM | | Comments (2)
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

Here’s your weekly roundup of notable Maryland football and basketball recruiting links ...

The grades are in for Maryland’s 2008 recruiting class, and not many of the ‘experts’ are enamored with it from top-to-bottom.

ESPN.com gave the Terps a C, though Maryland was able to secure two ESPN 150 players.

Kenny Tate (Forestville, Md/Dematha) is a top-20 receiver, but if prospects were rated on pure upside, wide receiver Kerry Boykins (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) might be rated ahead of him in the ESPN 150. Boykins has playmaker written all over him; he has great hands and a supreme blend of size and athleticism. Boykins and the top half of this Maryland class, comprised of four top-20 positional prospects, are solid. Defensive tackle Masengo Kabongo (Fairfield, Conn.) can be explosive off the ball and disruptive down the line of scrimmage, and he possesses the tools to blossom at the next level. Stacking behind him at inside linebacker is Demetrius Hartsfield (Raleigh, N.C./Southeast), a potential sleeper if he can fill out his frame and retain his quickness and fast-twitched athleticism between the tackles.

The Orlando (Fla.) Sentinel gives Maryland’s class a No. 8 ranking in the ACC, edging out just Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Virginia and Duke.

The Sporting News is a bit more kind to the Terps, naming the class the ACC’s seventh-best, and putting two UM signees on the All-ACC Recruit Team.

As for the two major recruiting services, Rivals.com has the Terps at No. 32 nationally and No. 6 in the ACC, while Scout.com ranks Maryland No. 53 in the country and No. 9 in the conference.

TurtleSportsReport.com has three free articles from Signing Day. Sam Latter profiles Tyler Bass, Seth Hoffman takes a look at A.J. Francis, and Mike Hogan recaps Maryland’s most notable recruiting misses for the class of 2008.

• Credit UM offensive line coach Tom Brattan for a decent chunk of Maryland’s 2008 class. According to the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, Brattan was instrumental in landing Justin Gilbert, thanks to a pretty strong reputation he has earned throughout Virginia.

A Dominion District rival of the Judes, offensive lineman Justin Gilbert of Monacan, signed with the University of Maryland. One of the Terps' top drawing cards was offensive line coach Tom Brattan, one of the mostly highly regarded assistants in college football.

Brattan was head coach at Highland Springs High after Al Rinaldi retired and was L.C. Bird's first football coach. He also spent nine years as an assistant at William and Mary.

• The Connecticut Post has a good story about Terps defensive tackle pledge Masengo Kabongo from Signing Day. It seems the Terps coaches had a last-minute scare waiting for Kabongo’s letter of intent.

National Signing Day officially begins at 7:05 a.m., when athletes are allowed to begin faxing their signed letters to their chosen colleges. But two hours passed and Maryland still hadn't received a fax from Fairfield Prep.

By then, the Maryland coaching staff was well into panic mode.

SCNow.com had a nice feature on UM offensive guard commitment Justin Lewis from Signing Day.

Johnsonville coach Lewis Lineberger immediately took notice of Lewis when he came to the program three years ago.

“He was very raw, but you could see the potential,” Lineberger said. “Since then, he’s improved his footwork tremendously and we’ve been able to pull him and do some things offensively that have opened up the running game.”

A few basketball recruiting links

The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle’s Jeffrey Martin has an update on Ken Bowman, a teammate of Terps commit Bobby Maze at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

ACCORDING to Hutch C.C. sports information director Steve Carpenter, who spoke with Ken Bowman on my behalf because the 6-foot-8 forward isn’t available at this point of the season, Bowman is down to Maryland and Kansas State. Teammate Bobby Maze is a Terps commit, so that might be the allure.

Ater Majok to Maryland almost assuredly won’t happen, but KUSports.com has the latest on where the one-time Terp target could land.

Ater Majok, a 6-foot-10, 220-pound high school senior center who attends the American International School in Carlingford, Australia, will make official recruiting trips to KU and Connecticut sometime in March, according to Rivals.com. Majok, 20, a native of Sudan who has played for Heat Basketball Academy in Virginia, has also heard from West Virginia, Baylor, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgetown, St. John’s and others.

SLAM’s Aggrey Sam recently took a road trip to Maryland and D.C. to take in the local hoops action. Sam offers his take on multiple potential UM targets. He also gives high praise to the beltway's basketball scene.

Long story short–and I know I haven’t seen every high school league in the country–I’ll put the WCAC (DC’s Catholic League), top to bottom, against any other conference in the nation. I’m not going off one game, either, trust me.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 6, 2008

Notes from Friedgen's news conference




Emptying out my notebook from Ralph Friedgen's news conference this afternoon. Click here for The Sun's story on Maryland's 2008 class.

• Milford Mill defensive lineman Teddy Dargan's name was noticeably absent from the Maryland news release announcing the class. When asked about Dargan, Friedgen said "we're not recruiting him," citing academics.

• New Terps wide receivers coach Kasey Dunn has been assigned the Eastern Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh recruiting areas. "I want to do a better job in Pennsylvania. I'm a little frustrated in the Pittsburgh area," Friedgen said. A notable incident of Pittsburgh-area frustration this year came when Tyler Urban switched his commitment from Maryland to West Virginia.

• Friedgen called this class Maryland's "best academic class" that he's brought in. He also repeatedly stressed how highly he thought of this class' character. Kevin Dorsey and Kenny Tate were cited multiple times by Friedgen.

• Friedgen and Terps defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo both expressed their hopes for a switch to an early signing period. An earlier period would help put an end to decommitments, both coaches said. "When I shake a hand, that's a commitment," Friedgen said. Three players in this class shook Friedgen's hand at one point but ended up elsewhere (Tyler Urban to West Virginia, Tavon Wilson to Illinois and Zach Brown to North Carolina).

• On Maryland's mid-year enrollees, Friedgen said he thinks Demetrius Hartsfield, Devonte Campbell and Kevin Dorsey could all potentially make early contributions for the Terps. Dorsey suffered an undisclosed injury recently "that's being checked out," Sollazzo said.

• Friedgen and Sollazzo both said Maryland will no longer put a substantial effort into recruiting the state of Florida. While Al Seamonson will still recruit north Florida, the staff will focus more on a five-hour radius around College Park.

• Offensive coordinator James Franklin will recruit Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Prince George's County.

Friedgen's comments on each of UM's 18 signees:

• On Tyler Bass -- Friedgen said he was "surprised a kid with his ability was still around" so late in the recruiting process, comparing Bass' recruitment to that of Chris Turner's.

• On Cody Blue -- Friedgen called Blue a "big, tall athletic defensive lineman" that runs a 5.3. Illinois was UM's main competition.

• On Kerry Boykins -- "It's always good to get a kid out of the Tidewater area," Friedgen said. He credited offensive line coach Tom Brattan on doing a "tremendous job" recruiting Boykins.

• On Devonte Campbell -- The Forestville and Hargrave product is "kind of like Vernon Davis," according to Friedgen. He's "very athletic in playing space."

• On Cameron Chism -- Friedgen called Chism a "cover corner" with 4.4 speed. Chism is "a guy we were psyched about getting," Friedgen said.

• On R.J. Dill -- Dill is "very tall", "very athletic" and has "very, very good feet," according to Friedgen, who also said he thinks the offensive tackle could get up to 310 pounds eventually.

• On Kevin Dorsey -- Friedgen called Dorsey "an outstanding individual." Dorsey "committed to us as a sophomore, went to combines last spring and was exceptional," Friedgen said. But, Friedgen noted, Dorsey never took another recruiting visit. Friedgen also compared Dorsey to Domonique Foxworth, both physically and "as a person."

• On Gary Douglas -- With Douglas' father living in Berkeley, Calif., Friedgen was happy to secure the Durham, N.C. running back's commitment over Cal, his runner-up. Douglas "has great speed," Friedgen said.

• On Eteyen Edet -- "I call him E.T.," Friedgen said. Friedgen first noticed Edet at a Forestville-Friendly game in the fall. Edet recorded 18 tackles in the game. Friedgen recounted Edet's journey from Staten Island, N.Y. to Fork Union (Va.) to Fort Washington (which you can read here). "I think he has finally gotten it together, and he will be a great success story if he can fulfill his dreams," Friedgen said.

• On A.J. Francis -- "A.J. is a big, strong, very agile defensive lineman," Friedgen said. Francis will start on defense, but could possibly move over to the offensive line, according to Friedgen.

• On Matt Furstenburg -- Friedgen called Furstenburg a tall, athletic tight end that has very good speed. Vanderbilt and North Carolina tried to recruit him during his post-grad year at The Hun School in New Jersey.

• On Justin Gilbert -- Gilbert, "a big kid that can move," played offensive tackle in high school, but Friedgen mentioned the possibility of him trying center as well.

• On Demetrius Hartsfield -- Friedgen said Hartsfield has a chance to crack the two-deep. Hartsfield is a guy that "can really bend his knees."

• On Masengo Kabongo -- Friedgen said "Maska" speaks four languages. "He speaks French, Swahili, another one and English," Friedgen said. "I'm anxious to see how he reacts to coach Sollazzo's language."

• On Zach Kerr -- Friedgen said Kerr is big, strong and "can run well for his size."

• On Justin Lewis -- A road grader, Friedgen said, who "runs very, very well." Lewis' build is similar to Jaimie Thomas in that he looks "about four feet wide."

• On Davin Meggett -- Friedgen was "very impressed with his speed," noting that Meggett's "phenomenal senior year" had Virginia and North Carolina come calling. "Another class kid," Friedgen said.

• On Kenny Tate -- "The more I got to know him, the more I liked him," Friedgen said. Tate is "unselfish and he is an unbelievable competitor," according to Friedgen.

Primary recruiters for Maryland's commitments:

Tom Brattan -- Bass, Boykins, Gilbert

Chris Cosh -- Chism, Francis, Tate

John Donovan -- Furstenburg

James Franklin -- Edet

Kevin Lempa -- Kabongo

Al Seamonson -- Lewis

Dave Sollazzo -- Blue, Kerr

Former coaches

Bryan Bossard -- Campbell, Dill, Dorsey, Meggett

Ray Rychleski -- Douglas, Hartsfield


Video courtesy of the University of Maryland

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:12 PM | | Comments (4)
        

Signing Day notes

Just a sampling of random Maryland-related notes on Signing Day ...

• Will Milford Mill defensive tackle Teddy Dargan be able to sign a National Letter of Intent? Dargan's been committed to the Terps since 2006, but academics could prevent the 6-foot-3, 310-pounder from signing. We'll see what Ralph Friedgen has to say later today.

Update: Dargan did not sign a letter of intent. Friedgen cited academics as the reason for Dargan's exclusion from the Terps' class.

• Hargrave running back Enrique Davis was mulling a visit to College Park after Signing Day, but today the five-star recruit inked with Ole Miss.

• Oklahoma quarterback Nathan Stanley's NLI hasn't surfaced at any school, as of this writing. Stanley visited Maryland, Oregon State, Ole Miss, Florida Atlantic and Louisiana Tech.

Update: Stanley signed with Ole Miss.

• Former Maryland verbal commitments Tyler Urban and Tavon Wilson have signed their respective letters of intent. Urban's letter arrived at West Virginia, while Wilson's landed at Illinois. The other Terp decommit, former Wilde Lake standout Zach Brown, switched his verbal from Maryland to North Carolina. But according to UNC's official site, Brown's NLI has yet to reach the Chapel Hill football offices. It could be just a natural, explainable delay, but Brown's recruitment has always been one to watch.

Update: Brown's NLI arrived at North Carolina at 2:52 p.m.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:48 AM | | Comments (1)
        

Superlatives for the Terps' class of 2008

One man's opinion on the potential of Maryland's 2008 football commitments. Post your takes below.

Most wanted: Given to the most heavily recruited Maryland commitments.

OFFENSE

Kenny Tate -- DeMatha, wide receiver

Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Virginia and Virginia Tech. According to Rivals.com, each of those schools offered Tate a scholarship. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder selected Maryland over Illinois last week. Here’s what CSTV.com football recruiting analyst Tom Lemming had to say about Tate in a recent edition of ‘Five questions.’

“He is a big-time player. He plays on a run-oriented team in HS, but he proved himself as a big, physical sure-handed receiver. He is an outstanding downfield blocker. In the year of the great wide receiver, he’s one of the best.”

DEFENSE

Masengo Kabongo -- Fairfield (Conn.) Prep, defensive tackle

According to Rivals.com, Kabongo sported offers from Colorado, Illinois, NC State, Syracuse and UConn before committing to Maryland in August. In a December interview, Fairfield Prep head coach Rich Magdon reeled off a host of other schools still recruiting Kabongo -- Boston College, Florida, Illinois, Miami, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue and Virginia. The four-star prospect was obviously a wanted man.

Most likely to contribute early: Given to the recruits most likely to see the field as true freshmen

OFFENSE

Devonte Campbell -- Hargrave Military Academy (Va.), tight end

Campbell was one of Maryland’s prize recruits in the class of 2007, but academics forced the Forestville grad to attend prep school at Hargrave before enrolling at College Park. Since last year’s Signing Day, Campbell has added 10 pounds of muscle and spent all fall competing against top prep school competition. Campbell is already enrolled at UM, and the graduations of Joey Haynos and Jason Goode open the door for other tight ends to contribute. If nothing else, Campbell should get an opportunity to play special teams.

DEFENSE

Demetrius Hartsfield -- Southeast Raleigh (N.C.) Magnet High School, linebacker

Like Campbell, Hartsfield is already enrolled at College Park. Early enrollment should give him a leg up on his classmates in learning the defense and figuring out what it takes to balance football with school. He’ll also have a semester under his belt in Dwight Galt’s strength and conditioning program. That early start could equal some special teams play for Hartsfield immediately.

Most likely to be a multi-year starter: Self-explanatory -- these recruits have all-conference potential.

OFFENSE

Kevin Dorsey -- Forestville Military Academy, wide receiver

Along with Tate and Campbell, Dorsey seems like an obvious guy to see early playing time for the Terps. Dorsey, who is already enrolled at College Park, caught 50 passes for 902 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior season. According to Forestville head coach Charles Harley, “nobody trains harder than him.” That work ethic, coupled with his 4.4 speed, should make Dorsey a fixture in future Maryland starting lineups.

DEFENSE

Cameron Chism -- Bishop McNamara, cornerback

Chism might be the most versatile, athletic player in Maryland’s class. As a cornerback, Chism registered 81 tackles, five interceptions and returned one fumble recovery for a touchdown during his senior year. 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 head coach Bryce Bevill said Chism compares favorably to former Terps standout and current Seattle Seahawk Josh Wilson.

Most likely to overachieve: Given to the overlooked recruits that exceeded expectations during the high school season.

OFFENSE

Davin Meggett -- Surrattsville, running back

Meggett, the son of former New York Giants star Dave Meggett, sported offers from James Madison, Delaware, Old Dominion and a host of other DIAA schools heading into his senior season. Right before the start of the Terps’ season, Maryland became the first DI school to offer the 5-foot-9, 210-pounder a scholarship. Meggett accepted and went on to rush for 1,784 yards and 27 touchdowns on 169 carries and haul in nine passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns. Surrattsville clinched its first playoff berth in school history.

DEFENSE

Eteyen Edet -- Fort Washington Friendly, linebacker

Edet, a two-star prospect per Rivals.com, was more concerned with finding a place to live and school to attend last summer than going to summer football camps, making highlight film and advertising himself to college recruiters. Born and raised in Staten Island, N.Y., Edet left his hometown for Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy as a junior. After realizing he couldn’t afford tuition for a senior year at Fork Union, his aunt in Fort Washington opened her doors, allowing Edet to suit up for Friendly and contribute 110 tackles, 5.5 sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries as a senior. Had Edet gone through the camp circuits and sent out his tape, he would’ve likely been a more highly-rated recruit.

Most underrated: Given to the recruits with the best chance at making their recruiting rankings look silly four years from now.

OFFENSE

Gary Douglas -- Durham (N.C.) Hillside, running back

Douglas, a two-star prospect and the No. 120 running back in the country according to Scout.com, put up mind-boggling numbers for Hillside (11-3). The 6-foot, 185-pounder rushed for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns on 235 carries, and caught 10 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns. Douglas’ 4.5 speed and experience with different blocking schemes (Hillside employed a zone scheme) should serve him well in College Park.

DEFENSE

Zach Kerr -- Quince Orchard, defensive tackle

Kerr’s a two-star prospect per Scout.com, but that ranking could have more to do with his academic status than anything else. Here’s what Quince Orchard head coach Dave Mencarini had to say about Kerr’s potential.

“He is a player with unlimited potential. He’s a kid that could easily be a first-round NFL draft pick and I’m not just blowing smoke. But he’s also a kid that has a lot of work to do to get to that point. Getting him through those tough parts that lie ahead is what’s going to be the challenge.”

The rest of the class

OFFENSE

Tyler Bass -- Stockbridge (Ga.), quarterback

A dual-threat quarterback from suburban Atlanta, Bass committed to the Terps in January. According to Stockbridge head coach Steve Collins, Memphis and Western Kentucky wanted Bass to come in and start as a true freshman. Louisville was also in contention for Bass’ services.

Kerry Boykins -- Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith, wide receiver

Boykins, a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com, caught 43 passes for 705 yards and nine touchdowns despite missing four games due to a knee injury during his senior season. Here’s what Bryan Black of The Virginian-Pilot had to say about Boykins in a January edition of ’Five questions’.

"In terms of sheer talent, he's probably one of the top receivers ever to come out of Hampton Roads. ... I think he's a great pickup for Maryland. I would expect him to have an outstanding career. If he's healthy, I think it's possible he could play as a true freshman. He certainly has the talent."

R.J. Dill -- Trinity (Pa.), offensive tackle

Dill, 6 feet 7, 280 pounds, chose Maryland over UConn, Temple, Duke and Akron. Trinity backs combined for 3,244 yards rushing and 37 touchdowns, mostly running behind Dill, the right tackle. While the team’s Wing-T offense didn’t allow for many pass-blocking opportunities, Trinity head coach Jeff Boger said Dill has the potential to develop that skill set.

Matt Furstenburg -- The Hun School (N.J.), tight end

Furstenburg graduated from Hunterdon Central High School in Flemington, N.J. in 2007 without any DI football scholarship offers. Instead of taking a DIAA offer or playing lacrosse in college, Furstenburg decided to do a post-graduate year at The Hun School. Before he even played a down, Maryland offered a scholarship in August, and Furstenburg (now a four-star prospect per Scout.com) promptly committed.

Justin Gilbert -- Richmond (Va.) Monacan, offensive tackle

Gilbert picked Maryland over a grayshirt offer from Virginia Tech. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder is still getting used to his size, according to Monacan head coach Danny Parsons. Gilbert was 6 feet 2, 215 pounds as a sophomore.

“He’s never been a big overweight guy or anything like that,” said Parsons in a December interview. “You look at him and you can tell he’ll be able to, with [Maryland’s] weight program, that he’ll be able to put on an easy 20-25 pounds.”

Justin Lewis -- Johnsonville (S.C.), offensive guard

Lewis, a two-star player according to Scout.com, committed to Maryland over N.C. State in late August. According to Johnsonville head coach Lewis Lineberger, Clemson and South Carolina showed interest in Lewis during the season, but the 6-foot-4, 315-pounder was sold on Maryland.

DEFENSE

Cody Blue -- Wilde Lake, defensive tackle

Blue recorded 38 tackles and four sacks during Wilde Lake’s 10-3 season, which included a 3A semifinal appearance. Wilde Lake coach Doug DuVall said Blue’s size and lateral speed are his biggest strengths.

"He’s one of those kids that by the time he’s a senior, he could be an all-ACC player because he’s big and he can run and he’s athletic.”

A.J. Francis -- Gonzaga (D.C.), defensive tackle

Francis contributed 20 solo tackles, nine assists and two sacks during Gonzaga’s 4-5 season. The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder committed to the Terps last January following a standout performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Combine for juniors. Francis reportedly also sported offers from Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:08 AM | | Comments (10)
        

February 5, 2008

Meet Gary Douglas

This is part of a series of 2008 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 6. All answers are provided by the featured player. Click here for previous entries in the series.

Name: Gary Douglas
Birthdate: 12/21/90
Birthplace: San Jose, Calif.
Hometown: San Jose, Calif.
Nicknames: None
Height: 6’0
Weight: 185
Position: Running back
High School: Durham (N.C.) Hillside
Senior statistics: 235 carries for 2,100 yards and 22 touchdowns. 10 receptions for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 46 running back, No. 27 player in North Carolina. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 120 running back.
Bench max: 285
40-yard dash: 4.5
Runner-up: “I wasn’t really thinking about nobody else, really.”
Other schools considered: NC State, Cal
Favorite NFL player: LaDainian Tomlinson
Favorite NFL team: Oakland Raiders
Favorite all-time Terp: Vernon Davis
Favorite music: Lil Wayne
Favorite book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favorite movie: Do the Right Thing
Favorite TV show: Snoop Dogg’s Father Hood
Favorite food: “I really don’t have one. I just eat everything.”
Favorite high school class: Biology
Favorite thing about College Park: “Just the atmosphere I guess. It’s just a real cool atmosphere. Seems like everyone’s just fun to be around.”
Other high school sports: Track
Hobbies: Hanging out with friends, going to parties and playing basketball
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m kind of quiet. I keep to myself a lot.”
Best football moment: “Probably my first touchdown on varsity, it was last year. It was actually the first play of the game. We had just gotten the ball, our defense stopped them. And it was for like a 60-some yard run.”
Role model: “My mom because she’s really somebody to look up to. She’s a really hard worker and never gives up on anything.”
Why Maryland? “I guess it’s everything about it. When I visited the first time, I met all the coaches, and all the coaches seemed like they were down to earth. The next time I came up there and met all the players. I can see myself hanging out with all them and having great chemistry. All around, it’s a great place to be.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

February 4, 2008

Quick weekend wrap

The Terps’ 2008 football recruiting class took a bit of a hit over the weekend.

On Saturday, WVSports.com reported that North Huntingdon (Pa.) Norwin defensive end/fullback Tyler Urban switched his verbal commitment from Maryland to West Virginia.

Here’s what Pittsburgh Sports Report’s Chris Dokish had to say about Urban in a December edition of ‘Five questions.’

Urban is what you think of when you think of hard-nosed western Pa. football players. I have him ranked No. 43 in the state because he isn't an elite athlete, and therefore I don't know if he will ever be a star. On the other hand, he [is unlikely to] flop since his game is built on physical and mental toughness, and those traits don't go away. He is definitely the type of player a program needs to be successful because you never have to worry about him. He is what he is -- a tough kid that you can always depend on.

The Terps now have 19 verbal commitments in the class of 2008.

Checking in with two 2008 Terps basketball commitments ...

Sean Mosley scored a game-high 27 points in St. Frances’ 81-69 win over Archbishop Spalding yesterday.

Bobby Maze and the Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College Blue Dragons had the weekend off following a 73-62 loss to Cloud County on Wednesday. Maze is averaging 20.6 points, 7.5 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 4.1 turnovers per game for HCC (17-5).

Checking in with three Maryland women’s basketball commitments ...

• The weekend was a mixed bag for Lynetta Kizer. According to The Washington Post, Kizer led her Potomac (Va.) squad with 28 points, 11 rebounds, eight blocks, four assists and three steals in its 75-53 win over Freedom-Woodbridge on Friday. On Saturday, Kizer recorded 12 points in her team’s 53-27 loss to West Springfield (Va.). (Thanks to blog reader Tom for the link).

• Through 22 games, Dee Liles is averaging 11.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game for Gulf Coast (Fla.) Community College. The Commodores -- the country’s top-ranked team -- currently sport a 24-0 record.

• 2009 point guard commitment Dara Taylor is averaging 15 points, 6 assists and 3 steals per game for Caravel (Del.) Academy. Taylor has led Caravel to a 10-9 record, including last week's 52-50 win over rival Sanford. Taylor recorded 23 points (including the game-winning hoop), five assists and five steals in the win.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:11 PM | | Comments (3)
        

February 3, 2008

Meet Kerry Boykins

This is part of a series of 2008 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 6. All answers are provided by the featured player. Click here for previous entries in the series.

Name: Kerry Boykins
Birthdate: 2/23/90
Birthplace: Portsmouth, Va.
Hometown: Chesapeake, Va.
Nicknames: KB
Height: 6’0
Weight: 195
Position: Wide receiver
High School: Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va.
Senior statistics: 43 catches for 705 yards and nine touchdowns
Bench max: 350
40-yard dash: 4.5
Runner-up: Virginia
Other scholarships offered: UNC, NC State, UConn, Virginia Tech
Favorite NFL player: Anquan Boldin
Favorite NFL team: Cincinnati Bengals
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman
Favorite music: 50 Cent, Kanye West
Favorite book: The Harry Potter series
Favorite movie: Gridiron Gang
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Favorite food: Fried chicken
Favorite high school class: Algebra
Favorite thing about College Park: “The fan support at the games. It’s crazy. Every game I went to was just so hyped.”
Other high school sports: Track (55 meter hurdles)
Hobbies: Video games
Intended major: Criminal Justice
Something that not many people know about you: “That I want to go into criminal justice. I want to be able to be a factor in making a difference. I want to be an FBI agent.”
Best football moment: “When we won the Eastern region championship game. We played the Salem Sun Devils from Virginia Beach. We won 17-9."
Role model: “My role model -- well, I look up to my mother the most because she’s a single parent and she’s just a strong woman.
Why Maryland? “Maryland was the first to ever start recruiting me and ever start talking to me when I was sophomore, I believe. They were recruiting me and just got my interest.”


Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

February 2, 2008

Meet Zach Kerr

This is part of a series of 2008 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 6. All answers are provided by the featured player. Click here for previous entries in the series.

Name: Zach Kerr
Birthdate: 8/29/90
Birthplace: Virginia Beach, Va.
Hometown: Washington D.C.
Nicknames: Big Zach
Height: 6’2
Weight: 320
Position: Defensive tackle
High School: Quince Orchard
Senior statistics: 40 tackles, four for loss, three sacks
Bench max: 395
40-yard dash: 4.8
Runner-up: Rutgers or Penn State
Other scholarships offered: Illinois, Temple, Nebraska, Minnesota, Eastern Michigan, Ohio
Favorite NFL player: Marcus Stroud
Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman
Favorite music: Lil Wayne
Favorite book: Friday Night Lights by HG Bissinger
Favorite movie: The Program
Favorite TV show: Everything on ESPN
Favorite food: Fried chicken
Favorite high school class: Forensic science
Favorite thing about College Park: “Probably how close it is to my house.”
Other high school sports: Track, Wrestling (freshman year)
Hobbies: “I just like to listen to music a lot. All types of music, no matter what it is.”
Intended major: Communications
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a mama’s boy.”
Best football moment: “Winning the state championship.”
Role model: “Michael Jordan is my biggest role model. Either him or Muhammad Ali. They overcame a lot throughout their whole careers and they were really good athletes. That’s what I’m trying to be. And I’m overcoming a lot right now.”
Why Maryland? “I figured that Maryland would be the best fit for me because I’m a local guy. They’ve got a good football team for next year and I know I can come and possibly play as a true freshman. And it has a great Communications program also.”

• Click here for a profile of Kerr.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:23 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Terps commit Kerr hopes to make the grade

Two years ago, it appeared uncertain whether Quince Orchard defensive tackle and new Terps commitment Zach Kerr would have a chance to play college football.

After a disappointing freshman year of high school in the classroom, Kerr was ruled academically ineligible as a sophomore.

“It was no football whatsoever,” Kerr said. “I could’ve been around it, but to me, I really didn’t want to be around it not being able to play. I didn’t want to sit around just looking at other people playing football. Sophomore year was when I really realized I missed football. I took it for granted.”

Kerr, 6 feet 2, 320 pounds, took the time away from the game to improve his grades, ensuring a return to the field as a junior. If there was a silver lining to this sophomore-year hiatus, it was that it reenergized Kerr and showed him how much he had to lose.

“As soon as I realized I could get a scholarship to play Division I football and get a degree from a really good school, I thought, ‘this is my chance, I’ve gotta run with it.’”

According to Quince Orchard head coach Dave Mencarini, Kerr immediately took advantage of his return to the gridiron as a junior. He ‘dominated,’ Mencarini said, which led to constant double-teams and somewhat modest numbers (40 tackles, four for loss, three sacks) as a senior. But Kerr was an integral part of Quince Orchard’s undefeated, 4A state championship season as a senior. And he flashed plenty of promise throughout those final two high school seasons.

“He is a player with unlimited potential,” Mencarini said. “He’s a kid that could easily be a first-round NFL draft pick and I’m not just blowing smoke. But he’s also a kid that has a lot of work to do to get to that point. Getting him through those tough parts that lie ahead is what’s going to be the challenge.”

The first step in that challenge is becoming academically qualified. His freshman year academic performance dug a significant hole. Now Kerr is focused on improving his grades, optimistically awaiting his latest SAT results and signing up for every ACT and SAT from now until the summer.

Kerr credits his mother and Mencarini for their no-nonsense approach with him. He also said that attitude was one of the reasons he was drawn to play for Ralph Friedgen. Now it's on Kerr to take that tough love, follow through in the classroom, and make it to College Park.

“It feels like I just got a ton lifted off my shoulders with everything," Kerr said of his commitment. "Now I can just sit back and focus on my school. 100 percent school. It feels good knowing I‘ll be here the next four years with a lot of support.”

Click here for 'Meet the recruit' with Zach Kerr.

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

February 1, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Here’s your weekly roundup of notable Maryland football and basketball recruiting links ...

ESPN.com has three football recruiting links of note. First, Billy Tucker analyzes each ACC team’s 2008 recruiting class. For Maryland, Tucker particularly likes wide receiver Kerry Boykins.

If prospects were rated on pure upside, wide receiver Kerry Boykins (Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Frommel Smith) would be much further up on the ESPN 150. This kid has playmaker written all over him with his great hands and supreme blend of size and athleticism at the position. The great burst and speed needed to create space as a route runner are there, but he will need to become more crisp and polished at the position -- both should come with the great offensive coaching he will receive at Maryland.

Another ESPN.com link comes from former Sun reporter Heather Dinich, who took a look at longtime college assistants and their relationships with high school coaches of prominent programs. The first such relationship mentioned in the piece? Former Terps assistant and current Illinois offensive coordinator Mike Locksley and Dunbar (D.C.) head coach Craig Jefferies. (Thanks to blog reader Terence for the link).

The last ESPN link is from Tucker again. This time he offers his take on Kenny Tate.

• Tahlequah (Okla.) Sequoyah quarterback Nathan Stanley visited Louisiana Tech earlier this week, and was scheduled (snowstorm-permitting) to check out Oregon State this weekend. Here’s what Stanley told Scout.com about Ralph Friedgen’s recent visit to Oklahoma.

"Maryland brought their head coach and offensive coordinator to my school Tuesday morning. The snow was pretty rough so they just came by the school. We got 5 or 6 inches that day. It has been snowing here all week."

What did the Terps have to say?

"They are just continuing to recruit me. They want me real bad and were hoping I had a decision. I told them that I had not."

Former UM targets heading elsewhere

• Gonzaga (D.C.) defensive back Johnson Bademosi chose Stanford over the Terps, according to The Washington Post.

Bademosi, a second-team All-Met, had narrowed his choices to those two schools but had to wait to make sure he would gain admission to Stanford before picking the Cardinal.

• Virginia Beach (Va.) Green Run defensive end Joe Jones offered his pledge to Virginia Tech, according to The Roanoke (Va.) Times.

Jones, a 6-foot-3, 245-pound defensive end, picked Tech over Maryland and Georgia Tech.

• Paterson (N.J.) Catholic defensive tackle Jarel Lowery committed to Syracuse, according to NJ.com.

Lowery also was considering Maryland, Wake Forest and Delaware before deciding on Syracuse. [Paterson Catholic coach Benjie] Wimberly said that Rutgers came to Paterson Catholic to see Lowery "but never offered."

• Virginia Beach (Va.) Salem running back Kevin Whaley reportedly picked Minnesota.

Maryland also was mentioned with Whaley, but apparently most of the attention he was getting was from outside the mid-Atlantic area (Minnesota, Michigan State and Connecticut).

A few basketball links

• Thanks to all the football recruiting news leading up to Signing Day next week, I’ve completely neglected basketball recruiting coverage recently (see Ken Bowman's profile for evidence of this).

That should change soon, but for now, PressBoxPreps.com has an excellent feature that breaks down the area’s best players in the class of 2010.

• Speaking of Bowman, he and Terps point guard commitment Bobby Maze continue their strong play for Hutchinson Community College. HutchNews.com has the latest news on the Dragons’ play.

• Thanks to blog reader Tom, who passed along this Hartford (Conn.) Courant profile of Terps women’s basketball target Kelsey Bone. Bone, HoopGurlz.com’s No. 1 player in the class of 2009, is looking at UConn and the Terps, among several other schools.

Bone said the Huskies are entrenched with Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas, Maryland, Rutgers and Temple in "the uppity-up" of her list.

"I have a solid group and a bubble group that could break into the solid group," Bone said. "I'm just watching right now, trying to learn as much as I can about them all. But really and truly, UConn is one of my favorites.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:04 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Meet Kenny Tate

This is part of a series of 2008 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 6. All answers are provided by the featured player. Click here for previous entries in the series.

Name: Kenny Tate
Birthdate:
5/15/90
Hometown: Forestville
Nicknames: Six
Height: 6’4
Weight: 215
Position: Wide receiver
High School: DeMatha
Senior statistics: 32 receptions for 489 yards and six touchdowns
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Four stars, No. 23 wide receiver, No. 4 player in Maryland. Scout.com -- Four stars, No. 16 wide receiver.
Bench max: 250
40-yard dash: 4.49
Runner-up: Illinois
Other scholarships offered: Penn State, Florida, Ohio State
Favorite NFL player: Randy Moss
Favorite NFL team: Dallas Cowboys
Favorite all-time Terp: Dennard Wilson
Favorite music: Aaliyah
Favorite book: Brian’s Song by William Blinn
Favorite movie: The Bodyguard
Favorite TV show: Scooby-Doo, Mickey Mouse, cartoons
Favorite food: Ribs
Favorite high school class: Sports Management
Favorite thing about College Park: “Chipotle. That’s the spot.”
Other high school sports: Basketball, Track
Hobbies: “I actually collect model cars.”
Intended major: Business
Something that not many people know about you: “At one point I didn’t like to be called Kenny, when I was younger.” (Tate’s given name is Kenneth)
Best football moment: “Winning a championship this year.”
Role model: “Probably my parents just because they work hard every day for me. I can’t even explain how much they do.”
Why Maryland? “One of course is that it’s close to home. Parents, family members and friends can come see me play. The football program is on the rise, academics are one of the best, so I can’t go wrong there.”

• Click here for video of Tate’s announcement.

• Click here for The Sun’s story on Tate’s commitment.

• Bonus quotes from Tate:

On Maryland’s strong in-state class: “I think that’s a good thing because most people like to get away, but when you’re in-state everybody knows you, you went to school with probably a lot of people that are going to attend the same school. All your friends are still there. Most of us know each other, played together or against each other, so it’s a good thing.”

On how it feels to make his commitment: “It feels great now. I wouldn’t say I’m glad it's over, but I’m glad I found a home.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (0)
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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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Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
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