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June 30, 2008

N.J. LB Donohue discusses Terps commitment

Mark Leoni was beginning to get anxious.

His son, St. Joseph (N.J.) High School linebacker Ryan Donohue, was offered a scholarship by Rutgers in September, but remained uncommitted heading into the summer.

“He was getting nervous because everyone was starting to fill up,” Donohue said. “[He’d say], ‘If they run out of spots, what’s the offer good for?’ But I just had the feeling that [Rutgers wasn’t the right fit for me] ... there was something missing.”

With that in mind, Donohue and his father loaded up the family car and made the drive from New Jersey down to College Park, in hopes of finding that indescribable quality Donohue sought in a program.

At Maryland last week, he found what was missing and committed to the Terps.

Donohue, 6 feet 2, 220 pounds, said he was immediately blown away by Maryland’s campus.

“[I was impressed with] just how beautiful everything was, driving around and looking at the campus,” Donohue said. “It's what a college is supposed to look like to me. ... [My father] just looked at me one time and was like, ‘You're going to commit, aren’t you?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, probably.’”

So before Donohue returned to New Jersey, he and his father had a sit-down with Ralph Friedgen to inform Maryland’s coach of his intention to accept UM’s offer.

“I went to shake [Friedgen’s] hand, and he was like, ‘Is that right?’ And he was like, ‘I hug all my commitments.’ And he hugged my dad too, and that's the stuff that makes you feel welcome,” Donohue said.

Donohue said he expected an enjoyable visit going in based on conversations with St. Joseph's head coach Tony Karcich, who has known Friedgen for almost 25 years.

“Well we go way back to when he was an assistant coach at Maryland,” Karcich said. “I was the head coach at Bergen (N.J.) Catholic. He recruited one of my guys (offensive lineman Bill Hughes) who ended up being a captain in the [mid-1980s] at Maryland. It was a great job of recruiting on Ralph’s part. They projected him, redshirted him, and he became at least a two- or three-year starter. I’ve known Ralph ever since then. He’s an upfront guy, so I feel very comfortable sending any of my kids to Ralph.”

Karcich said Donohue, who contributed 116 tackles, two sacks and two interceptions for St. Joseph's as a junior, should fit in well at Maryland.

“They recruited him as an inside linebacker. He’s got good instincts as an inside linebacker, a good nose for the ball, and he’s a physical kid,” Karcich said. “He’ll hopefully put on a little more size. He’s probably about 220. I’m sure they’d like him to be a little bigger. But he runs real well and doesn’t have many weaknesses. He takes on blockers, is a great hitter, very physical and also does a good job on pass coverage, so he’s a complete package.”

Donohue, who’s leaning toward studying kinesiology at Maryland, said he -- and his father -- are relieved that his decision is made and he can now concentrate entirely on his senior season. Beyond that, Donohue said he’s excited to join a team that already feels like family.

“It was just awesome [at Maryland] -- totally different from all the other colleges I visited," Donohue said. "Just the closeness, I felt like almost family down there. When I went to talk to all the kids and coaches, they welcomed me. All the other schools kind of took [recruiting] like a business. [Maryland] didn't take it like that and that's what I wanted.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 28, 2008

River Hill's Redd discusses his commitment to Central Michigan

Never has YouTube played a more prominent role in an athlete’s recruitment than in the case of River Hill running back Malek Redd.

Redd, who committed to Central Michigan on Wednesday, rushed for 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns during his junior season. He followed his season up with a string of impressive combine performances. But it wasn’t until the Chippewas coaching staff took a look at Redd’s readily-available highlight reel that the 5-foot-6, 171-pounder received his first scholarship offer.

Central Michigan’s courtship of Redd began last week at Michigan’s football camp.

“When I first got to Michigan, it was a one-day camp, so we just went through stretching, working on speed, form running and circuits,” Redd said. “After that we ran 40s and my first 40 I ran a 4.27. All the coaches heard about it and they all came over to watch my second one, and I ran the same exact time.

“[After the camp the Central Michigan coaches] were talking to my stepdad, asking what my e-mail was so they could keep in contact with me,” Redd said. “[CMU head coach Butch] Jones said he was going to e-mail me the next day. As I was about to leave, he told me to check my e-mail whenever I got the chance. He hadn’t seen my highlight film yet, so I told him to go on YouTube and check out my highlight film.”

Jones exited the building, presumably to find the nearest computer with internet access. Meanwhile, Redd and his stepfather continued talking to Michigan’s recruiting coordinator. The Wolverines staff invited Redd to stay for the next day at camp, which he accepted. Then came good news from the Chippewas.

“We were still in the building and I was talking to the recruiting coach from Michigan,” Redd said. “When I was about to leave [Jones] sent his offensive coordinator down [to offer a scholarship] because he saw my highlight film [on YouTube] and he loved it.”

Redd didn’t commit immediately. He left Ann Arbor, Mich., the following day, but Central’s offer stood out in his mind. The recruitment took off from there, leading up his unofficial visit to CMU, located in Mount Pleasant, Mich., on Wednesday.

“It was a one-day trip,” Redd said. “I wanted to go visit the school. I was e-mailing the coaches back and forth. We just talked about me playing and being successful in life. He wanted me to come up and [I went there with River Hill safety] Leron Eaddy. Leron got an offer from there [Wednesday], too. We sat down in the office and were about to leave. [Jones] asked if we had any questions, and I was like, ‘I just want to accept your offer and commit to Central Michigan.’”

Redd said he was sold on Central Michigan’s recent success -- the Chippewas have won back-to-back MAC championships -- and the opportunity to contribute immediately. Redd thought Michigan might offer a scholarship soon, but he didn’t want to wait to find out.

“I like Michigan, it’s a big-name school and all that, but they have four running backs this year and they’re about my size and [have] similar [styles],” Redd said. “So I didn’t see myself getting playing time freshman year, and I want to play my freshman year.

“Coach Jones was saying I could come in and [play] right away. He was saying I could be a star player up there.”

Redd also looks forward to playing one season with Central’s star quarterback Dan LeFevour, the reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year. LeFevour threw for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for more than 1,000 as a sophomore, becoming just the second player in Bowl Subdivision history to accomplish that feat.

“When I went up there for my visit, I met with all the coaches, talked to a few of them, and talked to the quarterback, Dan LeFevour,” Redd said. “He’s going to be up for the Heisman. Me and him talked for awhile. He was telling me how the coach really loved me and he thought I could help the program. I’ll be up there for his senior year, and we can make something happen that year before he leaves.”

For now Redd, who intends to major in sports management at CMU, can focus the rest of his summer on getting ready for his senior season. He said it’s a great relief to have found a home for the next four years.

“It feels really good,” Redd said. “You don’t have that stress. ... Last year coaches would come to the game, but it would be stressful because I didn’t want to mess up. I’m committed now, so I’m good. I can just have fun during my senior year.”

Click on the YouTube player for Redd's junior season highlights.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:56 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 27, 2008

A few links

I've been ridiculously busy catching up with Maryland’s flurry of football commitments this week, so there won’t be a traditional ‘Weekly recruiting roundup’ today.

(Check out this page to keep track of the Terps’ 2009 class. It has bio pictures -- courtesy of Rivals.com -- and a commitment story for each recruit.)

In the next few days, I’ll have features on River Hill running back/slot receiver Malek Redd, who committed to Central Michigan this week, and New Jersey linebacker Ryan Donohue, who committed to Maryland on Tuesday. TerrapinTimes.com reports that Long Island kicker Nick Ferrara committed to UM yesterday, so I’ll try and catch up with him, too.

For now, here are a few of the more newsworthy links from the past week.

The Washington Post‘s Josh Barr reports that Forestville defensive end DeOnte Arnett will end his recruitment Wednesday, choosing between Cincinnati, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State and Tennessee. Barr likes Maryland’s chances.

The guess here is that Arnett gives the local team quite a boost and pledges for the Terps.

• Plainfield, N.J., point guard Isaiah Epps had an eventful week. The 2010 prospect visited Maryland unofficially Tuesday and also learned his high school head coach, Pete Vasil, would not return to Plainfield next season. ZagsBlog explains the situation here and gets an interesting quote from Vasil regarding Epps’ recruitment.

“He had a great time,” Vasil said of Epps’ visit [to Maryland]. “Now he’s got to do the right thing and make the right decision.”

Epps will be 18 in August and only has one year of high school eligibility remaining before potentially going prep.

• Virginia Beach shooting guard Andre Dawkins, a 2010 prospect, committed to Duke last night over offers from Maryland, Clemson, Virginia Tech and several others.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:14 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Johnson discusses UM commitment

Bradley Johnson strode into the Dinwiddie (Va.) High School weight room Wednesday morning, fresh off his visit to College Park for Maryland’s summer football camp.

A newly-purchased black Under Armour shirt fit snugly on Johnson’s 6-foot-2, 215-pound frame. Emblazoned across his chest in red was the word “Maryland,” with “Terps” underneath.

“I guess some of [my teammates] might have had a feeling [I committed to Maryland],” Johnson said. “Then they [saw the shirt and] realized that’s probably where I’d be playing. So they were excited for me.”

Johnson committed to Maryland on Tuesday, picking the Terps over offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia, East Carolina, Duke and Richmond. The outside linebacker prospect said his conversation with Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen about everything but football helped seal the deal.

“I talked to the head coach and all we really talked about was my future during college and after,” Johnson said. “That’s basically what pushed Maryland on top.”

Johnson said his discussions with Friedgen dealt mostly with academics and internship opportunities.

“He encourages his players to find ... their niche, and that’s really what stood out,” Johnson said. “I can get internships during the summer, good job opportunities. ... They’re in like the fourth largest media market [in the country]. Where they’re located, I can basically [have the opportunity to get] any job. There are a lot of opportunities around the area to help me find out what I want to do.”

There was, however, some talk of football throughout Johnson’s recruitment. According to Johnson, who will play SAM linebacker in college, he has a shot at earning early playing time.

“They’re graduating around five linebackers this year, so playing time for me should be early,” Johnson said. “It could be a possibility that I might be redshirted, but it also depends on how I do in camp.”

Johnson was offered by Maryland in April during a Junior Day visit to the campus. His second visit was earlier this week for camp. Johnson said he didn’t know ahead of time that he’d commit, but the overall experience convinced him to end his recruitment.

“The campus was beautiful,” Johnson said. “I loved the campus and I liked the coaches, too. ... I didn’t really have an idea [that I‘d commit], but when I went up there the second time, I knew this was where I wanted to play.”

Click here for Dinwiddie coach Billy Mills’ take on Johnson’s commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:55 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 26, 2008

Virginia linebacker commits to Maryland

Dinwiddie (Va.) High School head football coach Billy Mills expected his star linebacker, Bradley Johnson, to return home from Maryland’s camp this week with a decision on where he’d play college football.

Johnson, who sported offers from Maryland, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, East Carolina, Duke and Richmond, had essentially narrowed his list to the Terps and Hokies.

“I walked into the weight room yesterday morning and he had a Maryland shirt on, so that pretty much told me what his decision was,” Mills said. “Bradley’s a very intelligent young man, real mature for his age. He thinks ahead. He didn’t take his decision lightly, so he’s excited about what lies ahead the next four years.”

Mills actually thought Johnson, 6 feet 2, 215 pounds, was leaning toward Virginia Tech.

“It came as a little bit of a surprise,” Mills said. “But Bradley, he felt real good about the place and had a good visit with coach [Ralph] Friedgen. I was a little bit surprised. I thought he’d go up there, come back and commit to [Virginia] Tech, but I don’t push my kids one way or another, so it was his choice and they got a good one in Bradley. He’ll do well. …

“There’s some things with academics down the road with the internship program that he was really excited about. He’s the type of kid that looks beyond football. He’s special in that way. So I think the decision came down to that and they did a real good job recruiting him.”

Johnson, who contributed 113 tackles and two interceptions as a junior, is slated to play the SAM linebacker for the Terps. Mills isn’t sure if the Terps will redshirt Johnson, but from a physical standpoint, he’ll be ready to contribute.

“He’s not the kid that needs a year to get the physical part,” Mills said. “He’s a strong kid. He power-cleans over 325, benches 340. He’s a strong kid and can run well, too. He’s a tireless worker. He’ll be ready physically. It’s just a matter of how he picks up the playbook and who’s ahead of him.

“He’s versatile. He plays basically the strong safety for us. So he can play outside in a 4-4 [defense]. He can play one of the safeties. He’s a great cover guy and a big-time hitter. He’s got the size that he can go inside and play. There’s a lot that he can do. We can use him in a lot of situations.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:34 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 25, 2008

deSouza discusses UM commitment

DeMatha offensive tackle Pete deSouza thought there was a good chance he’d commit to Maryland eventually.

But the 6-foot-7, 315-pounder decided to speed up the process last week during his time at a Catholic Heart Workcamp service trip to Virginia Beach.

deSouza, who committed to the Terps on Friday over offers from Akron, Delaware, Rutgers and Syracuse, said his week-long spiritual enhancement in Virginia Beach convinced him that College Park was the right place for him.

“I was there in Virginia Beach, helping out people, and also getting the Catholic faith, the spiritual aspect, and that’s what’s good about coach [Ralph] Friedgen,” deSouza said. “He’s Catholic as well, he’s very religious and I really like that. And that really brought me closer to committing to Maryland, because of what coach Friedgen believes in.”

In Virginia Beach, deSouza would wake up at around 6 a.m., grab some breakfast, pile in a car and drive to a site. On site, the groups painted the inside and outside of rundown houses, do yard work and any other maintenance jobs around the house. Other groups would spend time with the disabled and elderly, deSouza said.

deSouza said he was already leaning toward Maryland before his week of service. He liked the academic opportunities and felt comfortable with the team after making several unofficial visits. But while immersed in his community service, deSouza couldn’t help but think of his conversations about his faith with Friedgen.

“When I met [Friedgen] the first day I went there, it was probably February or March, and that’s the question I asked -- ‘What does religion mean around there and how do you take it?’ I just asked him, how do you balance [football and your faith]?

“He said, ‘yes, [faith is important at Maryland].’ He told me he was Catholic, went to St. Mark’s church, which is right near the University of Maryland, and he has a devotion. He has a priest that comes in and says some things, and I really liked that about Maryland. [Friedgen] thought religion was a big thing, and I think it is for me.”

According to DeMatha head coach Bill McGregor, deSouza’s a great person off the field, and a promising prospect on it.

“Well I just think he’s improved each year,” McGregor said. “He’s worked hard and developed. I thought he had a real good junior year for us at left tackle. He’s working hard in the weight room. Pete is very goal-oriented. He wants to be successful and will do everything possible to make that happen for himself.”

McGregor thinks that while deSouza’s a good prospect now, he has all the potential in the world going forward.

“I just think his future’s in front of him,” McGregor said. “He has great feet, very good athleticism. Now what he really needs is lineman’s strength and I think that will come just by being with the program. Maryland has a tremendous weight room program and I think he’s going to be bigger and stronger as time goes on .”

deSouza, who’s interested in studying either psychology or communications, said he’s more confident now than ever that Maryland is the best fit for him.

“[Maryland] was the right choice,” deSouza said. “They were there in the beginning. I hung out there a lot and kind of got used to being there. ... Now I can just worry about my season for senior year and school, so I don’t have to worry about the pressure of choosing the school.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:38 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 24, 2008

B. Maze, Be Amazed

Former Terps point guard commitment Bobby Maze has made quite an impression on Tennessee fans.

The Suitland native and Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College transfer has staked his claim on the Vols’ starting point guard job (see below), and recently offered his freestyle take on UT’s squad for the upcoming season on You Tube.

In the video, he also makes quick mention of his all-too-brief stint as a Maryland commitment.

B. Maze
Be amazed
This thing is not a game
Who am I to blame
Maryland never change

Credit to The Big Lead, via Loser With Socks, for the link.

On the court, Maze has impressed the local media in Tennessee with his performances in the Rocky Top League. After watching Maze at a summer league game last week, The Mountain Press’ Jason Davis said he was ready to ‘pencil him in to this fall's starting lineup.’

Although he only scored 14 points, Maze delivered nine assists and showed a great ability to penetrate the lane and find the open man.

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Maze was, in warm-ups he was taking mid-range jumpers and nailing them. Far too many modern players neglect the mid-range game in favor of jacking up ill-advised threes. Maze looked content to shoot the 15-footer, and he looked proficient at doing it. That's something UT needs.

Click on the YouTube player for highlights of Maze in the Rocky Top League.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:25 AM | | Comments (6)
        

June 23, 2008

Goree discusses UM commitment

Some people told L.A. Goree to take his time with recruiting and make several visits before reaching a decision.

Others wanted him to end the process early by staying close to home and playing for Maryland.

Goree carefully considered both options, but chose the latter scenario Friday, committing to the Terps over offers from Illinois, West Virginia, Michigan State, Syracuse and several others.

“I had known I already wanted to come to Maryland,” Goree said. “Other colleges like West Virginia and Illinois were two great schools, but I love Maryland and that’s where I wanted to go. I took a visit up there and it’s just getting better and better. Local guys keep coming to the team and we want to win a national championship.”

Goree, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound outside linebacker from C.H. Flowers High School in Prince George's County, grew up a Terps fan, hoping for a scholarship offer ever since he realized he could play Division I football earlier in his high school career.

“Everybody kept saying ‘you shouldn’t count on Maryland giving you an offer, because they only take the best’” Goree said. “But I knew I had a good chance because I had a pretty good junior season.”

According to The Gazette, Goree recorded “157 tackles (103 solo), nine sacks, seven forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception” during his junior season.

Syracuse and Illinois were the first schools to offer Goree, while Maryland followed suit in early May. West Virginia came through with an offer earlier this month, and Goree even took a visit to Morgantown, W.Va. He considered taking a trip to Champaign, Ill., as well, but was already sold on playing for the school located just 15 minutes away from his home.

“[You] can win in front of your friends and family and have a good time doing it,” Goree said. “It means a lot to be the hometown guy playing there. When you play for Maryland you get to represent your city and state.”

Goree, who’s slated to play the strongside outside linebacker position for the Terps, hopes to contribute on special teams as a freshman. Goree said it’s a relief to be done with recruiting, and he can’t wait to suit up for UM.

“It’s like a relief off your shoulders ... because you know where you’re going -- you don’t have to worry about all that,” Goree said. “As a Maryland Terrapin, [it’s difficult] to think of myself as a high school senior. I’m going to think of myself as a Maryland Terrapin now.”

Click on the YouTube player for Goree’s highlight reel.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Late last week ...

... Maryland picked up two more verbal commitments for its 2009 football recruiting class. The class now has eight members.

DeMatha offensive tackle Pete deSouza and C.H. Flowers linebacker L.A. Goree both committed on Friday.

Click here for more info on both commitments, courtesy of The Washington Post's Josh Barr.

I’ll have a story on Goree shortly, and hopefully something on deSouza later this week.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:37 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 20, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland’s summer football camp was in full swing this week, while the second session is set to kick off Monday.

Yahoo! Sports caught up with three prospects that mentioned the possibility of camping in College Park:

No. 1: Christian Kuntz, a 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver from Camp Hill (Pa.) Trinity.

“My dad went to college and played at Maryland,” he said. “I’ve always had a thing for Maryland and grew up watching Notre Dame a lot too. Right now out of all the schools recruiting me though, UConn is on top.

“I am hearing from them, Notre Dame and Maryland. I’m looking at heading to a few more camps, Penn State Tuesday, Maryland Thursday, Virginia next Monday and Notre Dame at the end of June. They are all recruiting me heavily.”

No. 2: Brian Leffler, a 6-foot, 215-pound linebacker from The Hun School in Princeton, N.J.

“I have offers from Temple, Tulane and West Virginia,” he said. “Miami (Ohio), Army, William & Mary and Yale have offered. Yale offered me a spot on the team.

“Temple was fun, it was good to be on campus,” he said. “I’m going to take a visit to West Virginia sometime this month or in July. I’m going to camp at Northwestern and I might camp at Maryland and Rutgers too.

No. 3: Byron Parker, a 5-foot-11, 173-pound athlete recruit from Virginia Beach (Va.) Tallwood.

“I got my second offer last week from Temple on Tuesday,” he said. “I’m planning to go up there for camp this weekend and then to Maryland on Monday. I don’t know where I’m going after that.”

The Gazette took a look at Montgomery County’s numerous DI football prospects, including Maryland targets Jason Ankrah, a defensive end from Quince Orchard, Travis Hawkins, a cornerback from Quince Orchard, Jelani Jenkins, a linebacker from Good Counsel and Caleb Porzel, a running back from Good Counsel. The story also mentions Terps safety commitment Avery Graham, who is completely sold on UM.

Clarksburg coach Larry Hurd on Graham: ‘‘Everybody has said they’d offer him. You name it, they’ve wanted to see him. I mean, look at him. ... Avery has been clear with everyone: He’s a Terp, and he’s going to be a Terp.”

GoGamecocks.com offers its weekly look at South Carolina football targets. Per usual, several prospects with varying degrees of interest from Maryland are mentioned, including Blythewood, S.C., defensive end Justin Anderson, Fort Walton Beach, Fla., linebacker Matt Coffee and Roswell, Ga., defensive end Euclid Cummings. Anderson planned on coming to College Park for camp.

Blythewood coach Geremy Saitz said Anderson has offers from Georgia Southern, Newberry and Presbyterian, and verbal offers from Maryland and Georgia Tech. Anderson visited Georgia Tech about a month ago and plans to camp at Maryland and Virginia Tech.

• Terps offensive tackle signee R.J. Dill held his own in last weekend’s Pennsylvania-Ohio Big 33 game, according to The [Cumberland County, Pa.] Sentinel.

“(Those early points) were a big difference,” said Trinity offensive lineman R.J. Dill, who stifled an Ohio pass rush on the strong side, giving Sunseri enough time to find Aliquippa wideout Jonathan Baldwin for a 37-yard pass on Pennsylvania’s first offensive play of the game. “Guys like (Baldwin) made big plays for us, that helps.”

• Ending with one non-recruiting related link, Rivals.com college football writer Tom Dienhart identified five new offensive coordinators that enter pressure-filled situations this fall. New Terps offensive coordinator James Franklin was one of the five.

Maryland ranked 93rd in total offense in 2007, the season Franklin’s K-State offense became the first in school history to boast a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,500-yard receiver and a 1,000-yard rusher. Franklin, 36, faces the pressure of trying to sort out a muddled quarterback picture plus deal with the loss of two good running backs in Keon Lattimore and Lance Ball.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:23 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 19, 2008

Where they're headed: Team Melo's '08 prospects

All eight of Team Melo's 2008 players will continue their basketball careers next year, coach Darrick Oliver said yesterday.

“They just competed against the top competition all summer,” said Oliver, who is now working with the AAU program's 12-and-under team. “Everybody was prepared [to play at the next level]. I’m just happy and thank God for that.”

Most of Team Melo’s commitments have been written about in this space. To recap, the club’s DI signees include Towson Catholic point guard Larry Bastfield (Toledo), Cardinal Gibbons point guard Jamar Briscoe (North Carolina Central), Towson Catholic forward Brandon Greene (Robert Morris) and, of course, St. Frances shooting guard Sean Mosley (Maryland).

Additionally, Erik Etherly, who starred for Annandale (Va.) High School but made the drive up to Baltimore for AAU play, inked with Northeastern last fall.

Rounding out Team Melo’s college-bound players are Loyola guard Sal Schittino and Mount St. Joseph forward Chris Olsen, both of whom are headed to Washington College.

The final Team Melo senior, Towson Catholic guard Vinny Breckinridge, will prep for a year at The Patterson School in Lenoir, N.C.

“They were a great group of kids that I had for four years,” Oliver said, “and it was one of my most ... enjoyable [times I’ve had] with a team. I had the same kids for four years, and for all of them to go to school was great.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:21 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 18, 2008

Checking in with Carroll Washington

For the past eight years, Carroll Washington has been the quarterback.

From Pop Warner to the Edmondson varsity, Washington’s been used to running the show. The 6-foot, 185-pounder has played the position to high acclaim, throwing for nearly 1,800 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, while rushing for 434 yards and six scores, according to Rivals.com.

But with recruiting in full swing for the 2009 prospect, it’s become clear that Washington’s collegiate future lies at a position other than quarterback. His size and speed (4.46 hand-timed 40) have college coaches eyeing him as a cornerback or slot receiver.

For Washington, who’s still waiting on his first scholarship offer, changing positions in college is something he’s come to accept, and ultimately embrace.

Has it been difficult coming to the realization that you’ll probably play cornerback or slot, not quarterback, in college?

It took me a while to let that go. It took a lot of people to talk to me and make me realize it’s something I have to do to move on to the next level. It’s something I’ve got to do. There are a lot of colleges out there that said they like me better at [another] position. But I just want to be on the team and contribute as best as I can.
carrollwashington.jpg
What schools are you hearing from?

Maryland, West Virginia, Rutgers, UConn, U.Va., Eastern Michigan, Delaware State, Akron, Boston College, Tennessee.

You’ve made unofficial visits to Rutgers and Maryland. How were those trips?

Rutgers, I went down there for a game and the fans were just off the wall. It just blew my mind because it was the first time being on a big college stage. The fans were nice -- they welcomed me in like I was one of the freshmen. It was just a special moment. ...

Maryland -- same thing -- blew my mind once again. Their campus is really huge. It’s very nice. It’s just amazing how the atmosphere changes from Baltimore to all the way down there [in College Park]. It’s very nice.

What are you hoping for in your performance at Maryland’s camp this week, and what have the Terps coaches told you?

I’m hoping to perform to my best ability, try out new things at defensive back and possibly even slot receiver. They told me at this point that I would look good at defensive back because that’s what they’re in need of. And my ability could fit them at cornerback.

You’re camping at West Virginia next week. What have those coaches told you?

They talked to me, and basically said they liked me at slot or [defensive back], but slot more because they need more receivers. Their receiving corps is kind of thin right now, so they think they could use me at slot.

Do you feel that these upcoming camps will make or break your recruiting picture?

Yes. I feel my future is based on these camps right now. It makes me feel like I have to go in there and give 110 percent on everything I do. Just walking in there, I’ll have to give 110 percent. ... Right now, [performing well at the camps is] all I’m worried about -- just selling out on everything I do. That’s just a must.

Credit: Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.

Click on the YouTube player for highlights from Washington's sophomore season.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:01 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Checking in with ...
        

June 17, 2008

A few links

What The Sun‘s Don Markus wrote last week became official yesterday -- Gus Gilchrist is headed to South Florida.

Had Gilchrist stayed at Maryland, he would’ve been eligible to suit up for the Terps after the conclusion of the first semester. At USF, his eligibility status will be in the hands of the NCAA.

From South Florida’s official news release:

"Current NCAA rules will require Gus to sit a year in residency before he can compete,” said Steve Horton, Associate Director of Athletics/Compliance. “However, Compliance will begin working on a waiver request to the NCAA asking that Gus, due to a number of extenuating circumstances, be permitted to play immediately this upcoming academic year. We hope to have this request to the NCAA for their review by next week."

TurtleSportsReport.com‘s Jeff Ermann caught up with recent Terps football commitment Ricky Hart.

Hart, an offensive guard from Folkston, Ga., told Ermann he chose Maryland for the opportunity to play early and for his connection with the coaching staff.

Of head coach Ralph Friedgen, he said, “Coach Friedgen is a big-time academic man. I was talking to Bruce Campbell about him, and he said if you come in and do what you’ve gotta do, you’ll be all right. You’ve got to study. They saw he was not trying to improve, so his relationship with coach Friedgen wasn’t getting nowhere. Now he’s working hard, and coach Friedgen is his best friend.”

Scout.com updated its Scout 300 ranking yesterday. The list, which ranks the top 300 football prospects for the class of 2009, features several UM targets, including Dunbar running back Tavon Austin at No. 44.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:44 AM | | Comments (7)
        

June 16, 2008

Army's Maryland recruiting haul

The Army football program dipped into the Baltimore-area talent pool multiple times last year, signing three local prospects to its 2008 recruiting class.

Atholton linebacker/safety Geoff Easterling, Hereford running back Lonnie Liggins and Atholton running back Kelechi Odocha all signed with the Black Knights last February.

Here’s a look at how each player ended up choosing West Point.

The rival school

With his mother working at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and his grandfather an Air Force veteran, the military was always on the mind of Odocha during his childhood.

By the age of 10, Odocha had already made up his mind on where he wanted to go to college. He was sold on attending a military academy -- it just wasn’t West Point.
kelechi.jpg
“I always wanted to go to Navy -- that was a dream of mine,” Odocha said. “They were talking to me and everything, but they never really called. I went to three of their games, and I was waiting for that to play out.”

Odocha, a standout sprinter for Atholton, piqued the interest of the Navy track and field coaching staff, which began recruiting him heavily. Navy’s football coaches, however, “never really responded“ to Odocha‘s interest in their program.

Meanwhile, Army began showing serious interest in Odocha. But with his mother working weekends, the five-hour drive to West Point for an official visit during the football season was out of the question. Luckily for Odocha, he was able to take an up-close look at the program before the Army-Navy game at M&T Bank Stadium in December.

“Before they played [that weekend I got to meet] all the players, and that’s when [Army wide receivers coach] Dan Baranik gave the offer,” Odocha said. “[That experience] just made me feel at home. ... It just felt like a good fit for me.”

The experience pushed West Point to the forefront of Odocha’s mind, but the opportunity to run track at Navy was still a possibility.

“The Navy coach was like, ‘you’re going through the admission board and I’ll call you back in a week.’ [I thought] if he doesn’t call back, I’ll go and commit to Army,” Odocha said. “A couple weeks later, a Navy letter shows up at the house. And it was the acceptance letter to the Naval Academy Prep School. That was my dream and my goal. It was a bummer, but I knew that if I would’ve went there it wouldn’t have been what I imagined. ... [Plus, the Navy] track coach wanted me to run ... but I really wanted to play football.”

The week after the Army-Navy game, Baranik paid Odocha and Easterling a visit at Atholton and reiterated his desire for both players to come to West Point. While Easterling needed a little more time, Odocha made his commitment -- and hasn’t doubted his choice since.

“It’s a good feeling just because for the next five years, [I’m going to play in the Army-Navy game],” Odocha said. “Hopefully we’ll come [to Annapolis] and start beating them, because I’m from Maryland and wanted to go to their school. So it’s going to be a good feeling.”

The best fit

Easterling and Odocha first met each other and became good friends at Wilde Lake Middle School. The friendship continued through high school, with both playing football and participating in Atholton’s ROTC program.

While Odocha was completely focused on a military career, Easterling became more receptive to the academy lifestyle over time.

“I did a lot of military things [growing up],” Easterling said. “I spent three summers at Valley Forge Military Academy [in Wayne, Pa.]. I did three years of ROTC and it gave me a lot of discipline. So I would never have considered myself as someone gung-ho about the military, but it’s always been around and I just became accustomed to it.”

When Army started recruiting Easterling, he was immediately interested. Lehigh eventually offered a football scholarship, Towson wanted him to walk on and Ohio Dominican gave him an academic scholarship. But the allure of West Point and playing Division I football was strong from the start.
easterling.jpg
“I was never like, ‘OK, [Army is] my top choice,’ as soon [the coaches] walked in the door,” Easterling said. “My dream school was Penn State or Clemson, all these crazy places, but it’s Division I football, so I was flattered that a Division I school was walking in the door and had something to say to me.”

Easterling, who contributed 66 tackles, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and two blocked kicks during an injury-shortened senior season, made many of his recruiting trips with Odocha. But he took one visit to West Point without his friend. That October trip ultimately stood out above the rest.

“Kelechi and I, we went on a lot of trips together,” Easterling said. “I think there was only one time I went alone. It was after the Reservoir game, when I had hurt my knee. I went up there just to check out a game. I jacked up my knee, but they still told me I was their guy, and that’s when I told my parents [that I was thinking about committing]. They didn’t even care that my knee was messed up. They were still willing to take me on.”

While Easterling had a high level of comfort at West Point, he let Signing Day pass without inking with the Black Knights. Easterling said he just wanted to be deliberate with his decision. Four days after the date, Easterling signed his letter of intent.

“I just wanted to make sure it was the best deal for me and my family,” Easterling said. “Lehigh had offered, and a couple other places [were talking about offering]. It turned out [Army was] willing to wait for me, which made me even more comfortable with my decision.”

The right position

Liggins was the most heavily recruited of Army’s Maryland trio, but most of the attention came at a position he wanted no part of at the next level.

“A lot of people talked to me, but they wanted me to play defense and I wanted to stick with a school that strictly wanted me as a running back,” Liggins said. “Navy came, Maryland wanted me to play defensive back and I basically told them I didn’t want to play defensive back, so they didn’t come all the way through [with an offer].”
liggins.jpg
Duke and James Madison eventually offered, while Indiana and West Virginia also recruited Liggins for defensive back. But if Liggins ever had any doubts about his ability to play running back in college, they were erased last spring.

“Army [started recruiting me] after I won the Nike Penn State camp,” Liggins said. “That was like May 10. I won the running back award there. I think the week after that they called my coach and offered me.”

Liggins put together a spectacular senior season for Hereford, rushing for 1,321 yards and 23 touchdowns. His efforts earned him a spot on The Sun‘s All-Metro first team. Still, Army was the only school that remained convinced of Liggins’ potential at running back.

“I’ve been playing running back for all my life, so why would I change it?” Liggins said. “I wouldn’t be happy if I was putting all this effort into a position I didn’t want to play.”

Eventually, Liggins had to decide what mattered most to him -- playing defensive back at another DI school, or sticking with running back at Army. Liggins said he had never really considered attending a military academy, so it was a difficult decision. A visit to West Point helped alleviate most of his concerns.

“I had to kind of be sold [on visiting West Point],” Liggins said. “I kind of didn’t want to go, but my mom told me to just check it out and see how it would be. … they just never brought up the whole situation of playing defensive back and that’s what I liked. I didn’t want to play defense at all and [they never mentioned it]. They said I could do this and that, and I’d be set for the rest of my life when I graduate from there.”

Liggins was sold and committed to Army in January. Now he said he’s looking forward to getting back on the field and proving the Army coaches right by eventually making an impact at running back.

“I’m just ready to have fun and start this whole new season, meet these new kids and go up against the top competition.”

Next year

Easterling, Liggins and Odocha will spend the upcoming school year at the United States Military Academy Preparatory School in Fort Monmouth, N.J., playing football, going to school and getting acclimated to the military lifestyle.

“I mean it’s just getting ready and running and lifting,” Odocha said. “Just changing my mindset from high school to learning military training and military discipline. It’s a different mindset.”

The football team at West Point Prep will play a schedule that includes matchups with Army’s junior varsity squad, Navy Prep and several other schools.

“They expect me to come from prep school and compete for the starting spot,” Liggins said. “So I’ve just got to keep in shape, do what I have to do at prep school and get it done.”

The Maryland trio will report to New Jersey by July 18 -- better known as Reception Day. That’s when the military, academic and football careers for Easterling, Liggins and Odocha will commence.

“It’s just a short summer,” Easterling said, “but it’s a small sacrifice considering I’m going to West Point and I’ll get to play Division I football next year.”

Credits: Sun photo of Kelechi Odocha by Kim Hairston; Photo of Geoff Easterling courtesy of Rivals.com; Sun photo of Lonnie Liggins by Elizabeth Malby.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 13, 2008

Georgia offensive guard commits to Maryland

Maryland went down south for its latest commitment, nabbing offensive guard Ricky Hart from Folkston, Ga., yesterday.

According to Hart’s head coach at Charlton County High School, Rich McWhorter, Hart committed to the Terps during a two-day unofficial visit to College Park this week.

Hart, 6 feet 3, 315 pounds, plays both ways for Charlton County, and had received a good deal of recruiting interest for his defensive play.

“People like Purdue and NC State offered him as a defensive tackle,” McWhorter said. “Florida and Tennessee were interested in evaluating him as a defensive tackle. On his film, it’s more offensive line than defensive line -- there’s some [defensive line highlights], but not a lot. Florida and Tennessee came by and said, ‘are you going to be playing him more on the D-line?’ And I said our plans are for him to stay on the field all the time. And they said ‘good, we’ll evaluate him when we get more film.'”

McWhorter said he sent film of Hart to most of the SEC and ACC, and to a few select Big Ten schools. The tape found its way to UM offensive line coach Tom Brattan, who then took a trip down to Georgia.

“[Brattan] had a chance to come down and watch Ricky practice at spring ball, and said Ricky’s exactly what he’s looking for [in an offensive guard],” McWhorter said. “Ricky had family up there, so it’s a long way up, but not so long you can’t drive. Jacksonville to Baltimore is an easy flight. His grandmother and mother were willing to load up and ride up there to Maryland, and [Ricky and the coaches] really just kind of hit it off right there and kind of came together.”

McWhorter said in Hart, Maryland’s getting an athletic lineman that plays with a bit of a mean streak.

“First of all, for any sized person, you would say that Ricky’s a good athlete,” McWhorter said. “He runs real well. He’s not just a big kid that plays football. He can play basketball, track, throw the shot, throw the disc. He’s got great feet. He’s a kid that can really run at 315 pounds. And he can probably run at a little heavier and still be okay. That’s the kind of athlete he is.

“He’s a real coachable kid. He’s been exposed to the two-point stance and pass protection in the three-point stance. We’re basically a spread football team. We throw the ball quite a bit, but we’ll also run it and knock you off the football. He’s what you'd call a real mauler, he’ll run you into the ground. So he’s a very physical player. He brings some of that defensive mentality to the offensive side of the ball.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:05 AM | | Comments (2)
        

Weekly roundup -- Kizer makes U.S. team

Before joining the Maryland women’s basketball team later this summer, Terps center signee Lynetta Kizer has business to attend to -- namely representing her country.

Kizer was one of 12 players in the country to earn a roster spot on the U.S. Under-18 Women’s Basketball National Team, USA Basketball announced earlier this week. She will suit up for the U.S. women’s team in its 2008 FIBA Americas zone qualifier July 23-27 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

"It's an honor. I can't stop smiling," said Lynetta Kizer, who hails from Woodbridge, Va., when asked what it meant to make the U.S. team. "... It's an honor to have the opportunity to go out there and to follow in the footsteps of all those [great] players that came before us and to represent the USA."

• The country‘s top-ranked player for the class of 2009, Sugar Land, Texas center Kelsey Bone, told The Connecticut Post she “hopes to narrow her list of schools to seven to 10 by month's end.”

Bone said she is "very interested" in UConn and Tennessee at this point. She also has interest in Maryland, Texas, Rutgers, Oklahoma, Illinois, South Carolina and North Carolina.

Bone averaged 18.8 points and 8.8 rebounds in leading Dulles High to a 34-5 record and a trip to the state Class 5A Region III semifinals last season.

Men’s basketball recruiting

CSTV.com is impressed with UM shooting guard signee Sean Mosley, but less than enthused about the Terps’ one-man ‘08 class, ranking it the No. 12 group in the ACC.

Overview: Recently loss 6-foot-10 transfer Augustus Gilchrist who was released from scholarship after being unable to regain his full four years of eligibility and recent signee 6-foot-3 juco Tyree Evans who opted out after negative reports surfaced on his past brushes with the authorities. Biggest losses appear to be inside in 6-foot-9 James Gist and 6-foot-8 Bambale Osby, so loss of Gilchrist really hurt. Terps hope Braxton Dupree or a late signee can help fill that void next fall. Look for signee Mosley to add some instant offense off the bench.

Andre Dawkins, a 2010 shooting guard, remains a high priority for Maryland. The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer notes that the Terps are putting in a lot of early effort.

According to Scout.com, Maryland and Clemson are the two schools recruiting Dawkins the hardest with Duke, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest also in pursuit. Dawkins, from Virginia Beach, Va., grew up as a Duke fan but has said that won’t play a major role in his college decision.

Football recruiting

The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer caught up with new Terps quarterback commitment Danny O’Brien this week, and gave credit to UM tight ends coach Danny Pearman for his role in O’Brien’s recruitment.

Pearman played an instrumental role for Maryland in gaining the commitment from O’Brien. He’s a well-known and well-liked figure among many North Carolina high school coaches. Although he’s in just his first season with Maryland, Pearman has recruited the Tar Heel state for years, first for eight seasons as an assistant at Virginia Tech, then the last two while working at North Carolina and Duke.

• Pennsburg, Pa., cornerback Abdul Smith told Scout.com this week that Maryland is his early favorite.

"Maryland always seem to go to bowl games," he said. "And they need defensive backs, so it would be a good opportunity to play early."

Another plus for the Terps is their location. Smith attends boarding school in Pennsylvania, but lives in New Jersey (about one and half hours away) with his dad. His mom, however, lives in North Carolina. "Maryland is pretty much right in between my mom and my dad," he said.

• Maryland offensive tackle signee R.J. Dill will suit up for Pennsylvania this weekend in the Big 33 All-Star game against Ohio. PennLive.com previews the Pennsylvanians.

RJ Dill, Camp Hill Trinity HS - Dill, a 285-pound monster on the line, helped pave the way for a 12-0 start to Trinity's 2007 season. The Shamrocks finished as District 3 "AA" runners-up last season.

The Washington TimesPatrick Stevens says the news of Pha’Terrell Washington’s academic ineligibility will likely open the door for one of Maryland’s two running back signees to receive early playing time.

With Washington out of the tailback equation, it's a virtual certainty that the first true freshman Ralph will mention when asked about playing time will be either Gary Douglas or Davin Meggett. Those two are expected to join sophomores Da'Rel Scott and Morgan Green as the Terrapins' only scholarship tailbacks next season.

• Penn State’s had a solid start to recruiting this year, most notably in the state of Maryland. The Philadelphia Inquirer took a look at the Nittany Lions’ approach to recruiting -- specifically in handling “the Paterno issue.”

Defensive-line coach Larry Johnson, one of the team's best recruiters, has been partly responsible for eight commitments, with most of the players from Maryland. According to several, Johnson has assured them that Paterno's successor will be in-house.

"He said [Paterno's] going to coach for as long as he can," said Derrick Thomas, a cornerback from Greenbelt, Md. "If this year would happen to be his last, someone on the staff would get the head coaching job."

• Tuscarora cornerback Dominic Clarke, who sported a Terps offer, committed to Ohio State on Sunday.

"Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think I would be playing football at Ohio State," Clarke, who was recruited as a cornerback, said on Monday. "I didn't used to have a favorite college football team, but I do now."

WashingtonPost.com’s latest Recruiting Spotlight video looks at Woodbridge, Va., running back De'Antwan Williams, who claims offers from Maryland, Alabama, Boston College, Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia, according to the Post. Click here to see the video.

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

June 12, 2008

Local hoops recruiting notebook

Loyola shooting guard Matt Rum ended his recruitment earlier this week when he committed to William & Mary.

The 2009 prospect chose the Tribe over Towson, Radford and Boston University, according to Loyola head coach Josh Davalli.

“I think the fact that [William & Mary was] the first one to be interested [was important],” Davalli said. “Their interest hasn’t waned at all, it’s only increased, and that positively affected Matt’s decision.”

Rum, 6 feet 3, averaged about 16 points, 5.5 rebounds and two assists per game for the Dons as a junior, Davalli said.

Davalli, who played at and graduated from Towson, said he was pleased with Rum’s choice.

“I wanted Matt to make the decision for himself,” Davalli said. “William & Mary’s such a good school academically and such a good fit all around, with the style that they play. ... [It would’ve been great if] he’d been a Tiger, but I think this is a great choice -- his best choice, for sure.”

• UMBC landed an early commitment for its 2009 class earlier this month when St. Mary’s point guard Nick Groce pledged to the Retrievers.

“I think it’s a great opportunity and a great fit for him,” said St. Mary‘s head coach Brian Konik. “He’s established himself as probably the top point guard in the ‘09 class in the area. He’s an outstanding ball handler and a very good on-the-ball defender. Last year he really had a breakout year in terms of scoring. He was 44 percent from the three-point line and had several games over 20 points. ... His family wanted him to play for a winning program that’s close to home, and UMBC offers both those opportunities.”

Groce, 5 feet 10, 168 pounds, averaged 15 points, three assists and three steals per game as a junior for St. Mary’s. He led the Saints to a 20-10 record and a runner-up finish in the MIAA B Conference tournament.

According to Konik, Groce picked UMBC over interest from American, Loyola and Vermont.

David Thurston, an assistant with Groce’s AAU team, Maryland/Severna Park 3D, said Groce’s style mirrors that of current UMBC point guard Jay Greene. The opportunity to potentially replace Greene in UMBC’s lineup was attractive to Groce.

“I think he’s got very good range from 20 feet, and he’s a very smart player,” Thurston said. “He’s got north-to-south quickness and lateral quickness. He pushes the ball up the court and makes great decisions. He should become a shutdown defender at that level. He’s a unique player because he’s very good in the half-court set and very good in transition. You can play multiple styles with him and be successful.”

• Every member of the Baltimore Stars’ 2008 class will be playing basketball in college, Stars official Troy Franklin said today.

Mount Carmel point guard Troy Franklin Jr. (Towson), Loch Raven guard Jordan Lee (Coppin State), Mount St. Joseph point guard Justin McCoy (Coppin State) and Mount St. Joseph center Henry Sims (Georgetown) all made their choices months ago, but several of their Stars teammates have found homes in recent weeks.

Mount Carmel power forward Marc Anthony Franks and Aberdeen shooting guard Devon Branch have enrolled at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College.

“They’re already in Kansas, already started school,” Franklin said. “School’s going well … and they have tremendous potential.”

Franks, 6 feet 8, 225 pounds, received recruiting interest from Missouri, Missouri State, Southern Illinois, Towson, Wichita State and Wyoming, while Branch, 6 feet 4, was hearing from Miami, Tennessee, Towson and Virginia Tech, according to Franklin. Franks and Branch will improve their academics at Hutchinson and play for one of the top JUCO programs in the country.

“The best option was JUCO, where they would have a good chance at earning a college degree and then moving on to a DI school,” Franklin said.

Franklin said three other Stars will play for junior college programs next year. Former Woodlawn guard Dexter Dorsey is headed to Kilgore (Texas) College, Mount Carmel guard/forward Stanford McNair will attend Northampton Community College in Bethlehem, Pa., and Mount Carmel guard/forward Rummell King will likely pick Laramie County Community College in Wyoming. There’s a chance King could end up with McNair at Northampton, but Franklin said LCCC is the more likely choice.

Franklin credited Mount Carmel head coach Tom Rose for his role in finding good fits for his seniors -- Franklin Jr., Franks, King and McNair.

“As far as the total package, not only as a coach on the court, but doing everything in his power from NCAA readiness and helping bring the colleges in, this guy has done a tremendous job with our kids,” Franklin said of Rose. “He’s the total package.”

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

June 11, 2008

Perry Hall’s Stinebaugh discusses UM commitment

Forty yards made all the difference in the recruitment of Perry Hall tight end Dave Stinebaugh.

Maryland’s newest commitment proved he could be productive throughout his junior season, reeling in 59 passes for nearly 1,110 yards and 15 touchdowns. But there were questions about the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder’s speed.

Once spring rolled around, Stinebaugh claimed an offer from Akron, but was still waiting for BCS conference schools to get involved.

Then came the Nike Sparq combine at M&T Bank Stadium last month. Stinebaugh was ready to put months of speed training to the test by running an electronically-timed 40.

“It kind of felt like everything else I ran,” Stinebaugh said of his 40. “But a couple of my teammates went up to [the combine] too, and they turned around and were fist-bumping, so I got back [to the finish line] and the guy told [me I ran a 4.5]. I didn’t really feel like I ran that fast, but I didn’t realize it until I saw the time.”

With a 4.5 on record, all questions about Stinebaugh’s speed were erased, and his recruiting finally took off. Maryland offered a scholarship shortly thereafter, while Michigan State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Utah, Virginia and Wake Forest all ramped up their interest in Stinebaugh.

The Terps, however, were the most persistent program, communicating with Perry Hall head coach Keith Robinson as frequently as possible, according to Stinebaugh. The personal attention, and Stinebaugh’s relationship with the coaches, made his commitment to the Terps yesterday an easy decision.

“[Maryland tight ends coach Danny Pearman’s] a great coach, very down to earth,” Stinebaugh said. “He’s not going to sit there and lie to you and tell you what you want to hear. He didn’t play games with me. That’s one of the things I liked about him, coach [Ralph] Freidgen and [offensive coordinator James] Franklin -- they have a good time, but they’re upfront and tell you what you need to know.”

Stinebaugh said he's also excited to join a recruiting class for Maryland that all of a sudden has serious momentum. With Stinebaugh's commitment, the Terps have landed three prospects in the last five days.

"I've definitely heard [people talk about the class] and I look at MDVarsity.com," Stinebaugh said. "I’ve definitely seen that recruiting has gotten a lot better with [some of the] new coaches. ... This is probably the greatest recruiting class that’s come through [the state], with the most talent. Being able to keep as many kids as possible from here is big. You get the local people coming out to the games, that's huge for the program. It just makes it that much better and helps the team."

Stinebaugh intends to study sports medicine at Maryland and said there was some temptation to let his recruitment play out. But the opportunity to play for the team he grew up rooting for and the successful visit to College Park yesterday ended any thoughts of prolonging the process.

“I thought about going to a couple one-day camps,” Stinebaugh said. “But after getting down [to College Park] and spending time with the coaches and realizing the future and the upside of the new coaches being there, how excited and energized they are in wanting to bring back the ACC title, it just made me realize it’s where I wanted to be so I can help bring back the title to Maryland.”

Click here for former Perry Hall coach Nick Arminio’s take on Stinebaugh.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:56 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 10, 2008

Perry Hall’s Stinebaugh commits to Maryland

Maryland’s good fortune on the recruiting trail continued today when Perry Hall tight end Dave Stinebaugh committed to the Terps.

Stinebaugh, 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, sported an early offer from Akron, while Wake Forest, Michigan State, Rutgers and Syracuse had expressed recent interest after a standout combine performance, according to former Perry Hall head coach Nick Arminio.

“He ran a 4.5 flat 40 -- electronically-timed -- [at the Elite Combine at M&T Bank Stadium last month] and I think that answered any questions,” Arminio said. “That answered any doubters, because if you look at him on tape, that answers any questions [about his ability as a player]. Once the speed questions were answered, that’s when the offers started coming in.”

Arminio, who coached Stinebaugh for three years, said Stinebaugh’s work with personal trainer Pete Eibner was invaluable in his speed improvements.

“He worked with [Eibner] every day since football was over,” Arminio said. “David was not running a 4.5 last year. I know [Eibner] helped put David over the top. ... Once those numbers came in, there was no doubt, and there is no doubt. There was never any doubt from my standpoint, but everything’s about numbers these days.”

Arminio said Stinebaugh’s a versatile player that will do anything asked of him at Maryland.

“They’re getting a player that’s well-rounded, not only from a football standpoint but as an individual,” Arminio said. “He’ll be a tight end with above-average speed. I believe Maryland will kind of use him as an H-back type guy, put him in the slot and split him out. He’s got great hands, catches anything near him. ... Dave wanted to be a Terp from the very beginning.”

Check back with Recruiting Report tomorrow for more on Stinebaugh.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:32 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Curley's Franklin discusses his UM commitment

Eric Franklin was just getting ready to start his busy summer football recruiting tour.

The Archbishop Curley safety sported offers from Maryland, Akron, Buffalo and Richmond, but wanted to see what a few other schools had to offer.

“I actually was going to go down to Duke and Virginia, take visits there, and I had a few one-day camps,” Franklin said. “Delaware, I could’ve gone down [Sunday]. [I was planning to] see schools and work out and stuff.”

But a recent visit to College Park quashed those plans. On Sunday, Franklin verbally committed to Maryland.

“After the second visit I took down there,” Franklin said, “I realized it was the school for me and made my decision. It feels great. Things were really hectic in the spring, trying to talk to all the coaches. It feels good now that it’s all over and I can focus on the football season coming up.”

While Franklin said it was a relief to have made his commitment, it’s not as if the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder is used to anything but a hectic schedule.

Franklin, a 4.0 student, plays football, basketball and runs track for the Friars. This spring, Franklin went undefeated in the 110 hurdles and was part of Curley’s MIAA record-setting 800 relay team, which earned him a nod on The Sun's All-Metro first team. In between playing three sports and maintaining a perfect grade point average, Franklin plays the alto saxophone in the school’s concert band.

“I usually get about six hours of sleep during the school year every night,” Franklin said. “But after awhile I get used to it, so it doesn’t bother me. You just go to school, go to practice, come home for a little bit and rest, then do homework and get down to business. Then go to sleep and do it again the next day.”

Franklin thinks his non-stop schedule will help ease his transition in college, where he’ll try to juggle football and his major of choice, civil engineering.

“What they’ve told me is, it’s going to be hard and tough, but they told me I can do it,” Franklin said. “It’ll be tough, but I can get it done.”

Maryland’s engineering program was a big selling point for Franklin. On his second visit to College Park, he toured the engineering facilities and met with department officials. The tour sold Franklin on pursuing engineering, something he’s always wanted to study.

“Ever since I was a little kid I just wanted to do engineering,” Franklin said. “Then I just decided I was interested in civil engineering the most. Just designing stuff, the buildings and bridges and that kind of thing, I’m just really interested in that.”

Beyond academics, Franklin’s obviously excited for the football opportunities at UM. Franklin contributed 99 tackles, 32 of which were unassisted, and six interceptions from the free safety position for Curley as a junior. He also caught 12 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns at tight end.

Franklin thinks he’ll have to bulk up a bit before making serious contributions for the Terps, but that shouldn’t be a huge issue once he gets into the weight room full-time -- something his current schedule hasn't afforded him.

With his commitment to Maryland, Franklin will now have the opportunity to start hitting the weight room more frequently. And he'll be able to prepare for his senior season without the distractions of the summer combine circuit and meet-and-greets with other college coaches.

“My summer was planned out to do a couple visits,” Franklin said, “but now I don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Click here for Curley coach Sean Murphy's take on Franklin.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:39 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 9, 2008

Archbishop Curley’s Franklin commits to Maryland

Archbishop Curley safety Eric Franklin became Maryland’s fourth verbal commitment of the 2009 class when he pledged to the Terps yesterday.

Franklin, 6-foot-2 ½, 190 pounds, visited College Park just before Memorial Day, and was offered a scholarship soon after, according to Curley head coach Sean Murphy. UM’s courtship of Franklin started fairly recently.

“Maryland started recruiting him, I guess, back in early April,” Murphy said. “I had sent them some early film. When they started their May recruiting [during the open period], [defensive coordinator Chris] Cosh came by the school. We got him updated film, [showed him Franklin’s] transcripts, and he got a chance to see Eric in person, just to eyeball him a little bit. I think that kind of got him intrigued. They saw he’s an excellent student, so that helped the process. And coach Cosh met with our basketball coach and track coach to get additional information on Eric.

"I was impressed with how thorough of a job [Maryland did] in the recruiting process. It wasn’t a one-day thing. They really did their homework on him. I appreciated their effort. I talked to coach Friedgen and coach Cosh, probably a dozen times over the last four or five weeks. I think it’s a good fit for Eric."

Murphy said the Terps are looking at Franklin for the free safety position, but there’s a possibility he could bulk up to play linebacker.

“With Eric being a three-sport athlete -- he’s also a musician -- and with his time, he only has enough time in the weight room in the summer and fall. I think Maryland thinks once he [gets in the weight room full-time], he could conceivably get up to 220, 225. Then maybe they could also use him as a WILL linebacker. A lot of the schools were torn between, is he a safety or a linebacker? I think Maryland liked the idea that he can probably play both.”

Murphy said in landing Franklin, the Terps are getting a great student with excellent speed and solid football instincts.

“He’s smart, breaks on the football well and is pretty physical,” Murphy said. “We even thought about moving him to inside linebacker this year because he’s one of the best tacklers on the team. He has great hands and he’s a leader. I think those are probably his best attributes.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:18 PM | | Comments (0)
        

O’Brien discusses his UM commitment

Danny O’Brien knew where he stood with the Maryland football staff from the start.

The Kernersville (N.C.) East Forsyth quarterback was told about the commitment of Seneca Valley, Pa., dual-threat C.J. Brown. And O’Brien knew he wasn’t the only quarterback prospect UM was considering for its second spot in the class.

“Some schools are going to tell you what you want to hear and you can sift through that,” O’Brien said. “But Maryland was taking two [quarterbacks] this year, so they didn’t mess around and say I was their [only] guy. They said they offered many people and were going to take two, so they’ve been honest through the whole process, which is really meaningful to me because I don’t want to play for coaches that aren’t up-front with me.”

That honesty paid off for the Terps when O’Brien offered his verbal commitment late last week, becoming the third member of Maryland’s 2009 recruiting class.

O’Brien, 6 feet 3 ½ and 200 pounds, had visited College Park for a junior day event and the team’s spring game earlier this year. He was impressed with what he saw, but before he could make a final decision, he wanted to visit one more time with his mother, stepfather and high school head coach along for the ride.

“They were impressed with it thoroughly,” O’Brien said. “They didn’t know what to expect, but they came away just as impressed as I was and everyone was very impressed with the visit. … It’s just a real nice college town, close to DC and Baltimore, so it’s a great area. The atmosphere is real great there on game days, so I’m real excited to get there.”

O’Brien, who chose Maryland over offers from Duke and East Carolina, and serious interest from Wake Forest and Virginia, will most likely redshirt his freshman season at UM, with Chris Turner and Josh Portis as the veteran quarterbacks on the roster. In 2010, O’Brien can potentially compete with Brown, Jamarr Robinson and Tyler Bass for the starting job. O’Brien said he’ll embrace the competition.

“Any major DI place you go, there’s going to be competition,” O’Brien said. “The opportunity is there. I’m just going to come and compete and let the cards fall where they may as far as playing time.”

Maryland became interested in O’Brien in late May after offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Franklin saw him throw at his school during an open period for recruiting. O’Brien said Franklin saw him on a Thursday and then called the next day to offer a scholarship. He said he looks forward to studying under Franklin when he arrives in College Park.

“We can talk about anything,” O’Brien said of his relationship with Franklin. “It doesn’t even have to be football. We’ve developed a pretty good relationship and it’s only going to get stronger over my senior year until I get up there.”

As a junior at East Forsyth, O’Brien threw for nearly 1,900 yards and 16 touchdowns, in addition to rushing for seven scores. The team finished 5-6 with a loss in the first round of the playoffs.

With his commitment made, O’Brien said now he’ll be able to focus entirely on preparing for his senior season.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but it feels good being done with everything and being comfortable,” O’Brien said. “And I’m really pumped to be a Terp.”

Click here for East Forsyth coach Todd Willert's take on O'Brien.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:07 AM | | Comments (2)
        

June 6, 2008

Weekly roundup -- Terps land QB commitment

Maryland picked up its third verbal commitment for the 2009 football recruiting class yesterday when Kernersville (N.C.) East Forsyth quarterback Danny O’Brien pledged to UM.

The commitment came after O’Brien, his mother, stepfather and coach, Todd Willert, made the five-and-a-half hour trip from Kernersville to College Park earlier this week. On the car ride home, Willert could tell that O’Brien was impressed with what the Terps had to offer.

“Obviously, we had a lot of time to talk about things,” Willert said. “He felt really good. It was the first time his mom and step-dad were on campus. They really fell in love with it, which helped Danny in being more decisive. He wanted his mom to see the school before he committed. On the way back, I could tell. We sat in the back seat, and I just told him to go and enjoy it and sleep on it a little. Then he came back and said he wanted to be a Terp, so that’s the direction he wanted to go.”

Willert said, O’Brien, 6-foot-3 ½, 200 pounds, is a solid runner, but he’s primarily a drop-back passer.

“He is a pass-first guy, but he’s very athletic,” Willert said. “He’s an all-conference basketball player. He can dunk a basketball any which way you want him to. It’s not that he can’t be a running quarterback, but he chooses to throw first. He’s not a big kid that can’t escape. He’s got some good athletic ability.”

O’Brien, who became UM’s second quarterback commitment for ’09, joining Seneca Valley, Pa.’s C.J. Brown, considered a few in-state schools. Ultimately, Duke was Maryland’s biggest competition for O’Brien’s services.

“He had offers from ECU and Duke also,” Willert said. “U.Va. and Wake Forest had come into the picture also. He was thinking about going on a visit to Wake Forest this week. They had a camp on Sunday. But it truly came down to Duke and Maryland. Those were the two choices. He just feels really good about Maryland and feels really good about the situation, with some of the young players they have right now and the possibility of coming in and playing early. [UM offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James] Franklin and [tight ends coach Danny] Pearman are great guys. I feel really comfortable having one of my players there -- not that five-and-a-half hours is a really long way away -- but you want [the player to feel comfortable]. And I know coach Franklin and coach Pearman will do a great job with him.”

Check back with Recruiting Report early next week for more on O’Brien.

• The Terps remain in good shape with Loyola safety Terence Garvin, according to Garvin’s father in this Yahoo! Sports article.

“Maryland is very impressive,” his father said. “I know he was very impressed with Maryland. We love the opportunity with them. Coach Friedgen was great and they are very high on our list.

“We haven’t been to West Virginia. It’s very intriguing with the offer, we want to see the school. I’d say the leading candidates now are Maryland and Virginia was very impressive.”

• Hertford County (N.C.) offensive lineman Will Simmons has several camps on tap this summer, including one at College Park.

Hasty believes more offers will come Simmons’ way after a busy June in which he plans to attend one-day camps at Alabama, Maryland, N.C. State, North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Penn State is another possible camp destination for Simmons.

• Seneca Valley safety Xavier Hughes has picked up a couple new offers and continues to hear from the Terps.

“I had offers from West Virginia, Akron and Buffalo and added Ohio and Eastern Michigan to the list,” he said. “I’m also talking to Syracuse, Maryland, Duke, Boston College, Virginia Tech and Rutgers. They all sound very interested in me.”

Basketball links

• I assume everyone has probably had their fill of Gus Gilchrist news by now, but here are just two additional links from the past week. First, Sun columnist David Steele says that Gilchrist’s departure is no fault of Gary Williams.

This can't, shouldn't, reflect on him, even if it piles on one of the more miserable springs he has experienced in College Park. Try to use it to fuel the fire raging in some quarters against Williams, and you'll come up dry.

The second link comes for TurtleSportsReport.com‘s Jeff Ermann, who spoke with Gilchrist’s trainer/advisor, Terrelle Woody. According to Woody, the reason for Gilchrist’s transfer was a desire for restored eligibility.

“Nah, no state of the program [issues] Gus was ready to play with his teammates and win games,” he said. “It wasn’t [an easy decision]. It’s something that he felt would be best for him, to get his full four years of college.”

Color me skeptical on that happening.

• Former Terps shooting guard signee Tyree Evans is still looking for a home, and The Record Courier in Ohio speculates that Kent State could be his destination -- if a scholarship opens up.

Even if Kent State was inclined to take a chance on Evans, it may not be able to fit him onto the roster. The Flashes do not have a scholarship available at the moment. Kentucky, Mississippi State and Texas Tech are also rumored to be interested in Evans ...

• Dix Hills, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris has a busy summer ahead of him, but a trip to College Park is on the itinerary.

Beginning next weekend with a trip to Kansas, Harris will attend camps at or make unofficial visits to Kansas, Virginia, Indiana, Louisville, Marquette, Rutgers, Maryland, Florida, UConn, Arizona, Memphis and Syracuse.

Harris holds offers from Rutgers, UConn, Maryland, Arizona and Indiana, according to Torrel Harris, Tobias's father and coach of his Unique All-Stars AAU club.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:43 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 5, 2008

Monroe talks UMBC's 2008 class

The UMBC men’s basketball team loses three of its top scorers (Ray Barbosa, Brian Hodges, Cavell Johnson) from last season’s America East championship and NCAA tournament team.

Attempting to fill those rather large shoes will be a combination of five players the Retrievers are adding to the mix for the 2008-09 season. Chauncey Gilliam, a Columbia native and 6-foot-4 wing guard/small forward who averaged 6.2 points per game for Brewster Academy (N.H.), Bakari Smith, a 6-foot-3 combo guard who averaged 12 points, five assists and five rebounds for Baltimore City Community College in 2006-07, and Jacob Wasco, a 6-foot-8 forward who averaged 11.7 points and 10.2 rebounds for Franklin Learning Center in Philadelphia, will be eligible for competition this fall.

Chris De La Rosa, a 5-foot-9 point guard, transfers in from Siena, while Robbie Jackson, an Aberdeen native and 7-foot center, comes to UMBC after a two-year stint at Marshall.

UMBC coach Randy Monroe spoke with Recruiting Report recently about the Retrievers’ new additions.
randymonroe.jpg
Talk about the five guys you’re bringing in to UMBC.

[First] we have Bakari Smith, who’s probably about 6’3, 6’3 ½. He’s a player that I think can play a couple different positions. He can play some at the point, some off-guard, some small forward. He’s kind of, in a way, similar to Darryl Proctor, but different. I would say Bakari is not as big and strong as Darryl, but he’s a player you can put on the floor and find ways to get things done. He has a passion for the game and love of the game.

We have Jake Wasco, who’s about 6’7 ½ and his best days are certainly ahead of him. He’s a big man who’s got a nice shooting touch. He can also rebound the basketball. And he’s a good athlete. He’s really starting to come into his own as a basketball player.

And then we have Chauncey Gilliam, who is about 6’3 ½, and he’s also a player who’s probably like Bakari in a way. There’s no real definite position for him. He’s just a player. He’s got a strong build, he can score and he’s a very good athlete that can jump over the moon. He’s an aggressive rebounder and he plays hard. He knows how to score. He’s got an unorthodox shot, but he makes the shot. He’s an aggressive rebounder and just loves to play.

The other two guys are two transfers. Robbie Jackson, who’s 7 feet, a transfer from Marshall University. Robbie can get up and down the floor for a big man of his size. He’s mobile, he’s got a nice touch for a big guy. He’s also a rugged rebounder. And then Chris De La Rosa, who’s transferring in from Siena College, is a point guard who’s got basketball savvy. He’s a gym rat -- loves to stay in the gym, work out and play. He’s got good quickness, makes good sound basketball decisions and he’s got three years to play with us. Chris is also really working on his conditioning, and he’s a very capable scorer. He likes to push the ball in transition to make things happen. He’ll definitely be an asset to our program.

How were you able to convince Smith to sign during the fall instead of waiting until the spring?

Well I think early on in the year, before our season started, we were able to land Bakari, and actually Bakari came up when we were practicing and visited our school and really liked what we had to offer him in terms of his education and in terms of an opportunity to play basketball at the Division I level. And also, it gave his parents an opportunity to see him play. And he’s just very excited about getting started with this upcoming season.

Talk about the recruitment of Wasco.

Jake, on the other hand, was a young man who’s still learning the game, but I just think his best basketball is ahead of him. He was a young man who, during the process, was just taking his time and just doing a very good job in being a little more independent in his decision-making process in terms of what was going to be the best fit for him. I think he’s got a chance to be a good player at the college level.

Since winning the America East championship, and earning an NCAA tournament berth, have you noticed a difference on the recruiting trail? How much easier does success like that make recruiting for you?

When you talk about the success we had this year -- and I’m often asked how it helps recruiting -- and I say you have to keep working and plugging away. Everyone knows we’ve been on TV, and the exposure we got winning the America East conference championship and having the opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament. I think it’ll help next year’s class more than this year’s. And I say that because people can certainly identify with us right now. When you say ‘UMBC,’ people turn their heads and it brings a smile to their faces. To me, that’s a great thing, and it’s a very rewarding thing to see.

Who was the main competition for Smith and Wasco?

Bakari had been hearing from schools such as [James Madison] earlier in the year. Prior to [attending Montgomery Community College this year], he played at Baltimore Community College, and he had been hearing from the likes of St. Bonaventure and Towson and schools of that nature, just to name a few.

Jake actually had a slew of Division II schools after him. He had some schools looking, I know Boston University liked him. But it was a situation where we responded right away. To me, he was a big guy who can run the floor, hit the glass and I just think he had a tremendous opportunity with us and he felt it was a good place for him.

Which of your newcomers do you expect to make an immediate impact?

I think that’s hard to tell right now. I think these young men are going to be able to help us. But who will come and make an impact, I think that remains to be seen. Because once again, they’re like freshman, even though Bakari has three years to play and he’s at junior college -- to me he’s still a freshman, because he’ll have to adjust to the college environment, adjust to our practices and adjust to our academics. So I don’t care how talented you are. The young people that have ability that we see as coaches, it still takes time for them to adjust and process things and put it all together. I’m confident in Bakari’s ability. If I wasn’t confident, we wouldn’t have recruited him. All of those five guys, we have confidence in their abilities and think they’ll be very successful. At the same time, we want them to come in and digest a few things at a time and grasp certain things on the offensive and defensive end. By doing that and having good leadership in my three captains, Jay Greene, Darryl Proctor and Matt Spadafora, I think it will definitely help this ball club.

Will Gilliam’s experience playing at one of the top prep schools in the nation with numerous DI prospects ease his transition to college?

I think it should help him, but once again, he’s still going to be a freshman. Any time you get an opportunity to go to prep school, you become a year older, a little more mature, and I think that’s a part of the process. But I think the fact that he’s played against some top notch competition in prep school should definitely prepare him for the rigors of the college basketball season, the practice and the travel.

Which other schools were recruiting Gilliam?

Chauncey had some schools looking at him. I know High Point was involved with him and I think Quinnipiac, but the thing that I liked about him was his sheer desire to compete. I think when you can do that, you’re going to be in good situations.

You’re bringing in three players with Baltimore area ties in Gilliam (Columbia), Jackson (Aberdeen) and Smith (Baltimore City Community College). How important is it to continue landing guys from the area?

I think it’s a good thing. It’s a good thing from a perspective in that it always tells young people that are close to home that it’s a tremendous opportunity and that although you are close, you’re still away from home. So it still allows you some independence so that you can do some things and learn how to take care of yourself, so to speak, because college also prepares you for the life after. So I think from this standpoint, and with both Chauncey and Bakari, I see them both helping us and we’re excited about getting them the opportunity. Of course, everything is predicated on what they do between now and when they come here.

What are your thoughts on the upcoming season?

I'm excited about the upcoming year. People say, ‘well, you lost your top three scorers,’ but it’s called ‘graduation.’ It’s called ‘moving on,’ and it happens in every college basketball program in the country. The players that have played a significant role, they go on, and that means that it’s someone else’s opportunity in the fold. When you have the group of young men we have, starting with our three experienced players in veteran Jay Greene, who I think can be one of the best guards in the country, Darryl Proctor, who’s certainly a player who is undersized, but plays bigger than he is, and Matt Spadafora, who has continued to improve year after year. You have Justin Fry, who’s a big guy that started coming on for us near the end of the season. We’ll be fine. And with that leadership and those young men coming in, they’re anxiously awaiting to get started. We’ll be fine.

Sun photo of Randy Monroe by Lloyd Fox

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:10 AM | | Comments (3)
        

June 4, 2008

Terps basketball recruiting timeline

By now, every Maryland fan has undoubtedly heard about Gus Gilchrist‘s decision to leave College Park and pursue other basketball options.

The parting of ways between the Terps and Gilchrist is just the latest puzzling saga in a recruiting year which has featured numerous instances of bad luck, miscalculations and changing of minds.

Here’s a timeline of events of Maryland’s 2008 basketball recruiting efforts. The timeline looks only at prospects who claimed UM offers. I’ve been at baltimoresun.com since July of last year, so feel free to chime in below with events that predated my tenure here. We’ll start with one that transpired before my arrival in Baltimore.

June 18, 2007

Three-star shooting guard Brian Walsh commits to Xavier, choosing the Musketeers over reported offers from Maryland, St. Joseph's, Memphis, Penn State and Pittsburgh among others. Walsh, a Coraopolis, Pa., native, tells The Cincinnati Enquirer that Xavier recruited him harder than Maryland.

But really, Walsh said, the difference between Maryland and Xavier was the recruiting style. Maryland went with what Walsh termed "old-school" in which assistants did the bulk of the recruiting and there was little contact with Gary Williams. By contrast, [Xavier head coach Sean] Miller called and texted Walsh several times as the recruiting progressed, to the point that Walsh felt he had a established a relationship with Miller that didn't exist with Williams.

"They just weren't as getting involved with me as Coach Miller was," Walsh said. "All the assistants, coach [Mack] and Miller -- they really recruited me hard."

August 1, 2007

Terrence Jennings, a 6-foot-10 center, commits to Maryland over reported offers from Cal, Kentucky and Washington. The itinerant big man, who played at several different prep schools, tells Scout.com that his relationship with Terps assistant Chuck Driesell was a major selling point.

“Me and Gary Williams haven’t talked that much, but we’ve talked some. I’ve mainly talked to Coach Driesell. Everything is good though. Gary, he’s a good guy.”

August 15, 2007

St. Frances shooting guard Sean Mosley announces his commitment to Maryland before a host of supporters in the SFA gymnasium. The Terps are also recruiting Durham, N.C., shooting guard Chris Turner, but Mosley beats him to the punch, selecting the Terps over Syracuse, and citing his relationships with Gary Williams and Keith Booth as major factors in his decision.

“Gary Williams is a winning coach. That’s the only thing I pretty much look in to,” Mosley said. “He knows how to win. That fit me because I don’t like to lose. That was a big deal that he’s a winning coach. If he was a losing coach, he probably wouldn’t have a chance to get me. But they win games.”

September 20, 2007

Jennings backs out of his commitment to Maryland, telling Scout.com that he wants to take additional visits, but that the Terps are still on top in his recruitment.

“They are still my number one school, but I just decided to reopen my recruitment,” Jennings said. “I’m still going to take a visit to Maryland and all the other schools are undecided.”

Oct 12, 2007

Jennings, who switched from Durham (N.C.) Mount Zion to Fitchburg (Mass.) Notre Dame Prep after severing ties with Maryland, announces his commitment to Louisville. Jennings’ father, Jerry Jennings, tells The Lousville (Ky.) Courier-Journal that the Cardinals’ family atmosphere was a big draw.

“When he landed and when he saw the facilities and the good people,” his father said. “All of the love and the family-type atmosphere. This is something he really wanted.”

October 14, 2007

South Kent (Conn.) School small forward Jin Soo Kim commits to Maryland, becoming the Terps’ first commitment of the 2009 class.

October 16, 2007

Maryland plays host to Ater Majok, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Australia by way of Sudan, for a visit. TerrapinTimes.com’s Dan Painter tells Recruiting Report that “Maryland looks very strong for Majok.”

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

October 21, 2007

After taking a weekend visit to College Park, Gilchrist verbally commits to Maryland. He tells Recruiting Report that UM’s flex offense and the school’s business program were primary factors in his decision.

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

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

October 23, 2007

New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas commits to Kansas over offers from Maryland, Rutgers and UNLV. With a commitment from Gilchrist and strong indications that Majok could soon follow, the Terps’ need for Thomas had diminished.

November 14, 2007

Mosley and Gilchrist sign letters of intent to attend Maryland. Williams praises both players in UM’s news release announcing the signings.

"We think we have added two very good players to our program," said head coach Gary Williams. "Sean is a very strong and aggressive player from St. Frances, while ‘Gus’ is one of the top big men in the nation. These two young men will be great for our team."

Majok doesn’t sign with any school during the early signing period. The mutual interest between UM and Majok seems to have waned.

December 6, 2007

Former UM shooting guard target Turner verbally commits to Oregon State.

December 20, 2007

Former Oklahoma point guard Bobby Maze verbally commits to Maryland. The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College sophomore and Suitland native tells Scout.com that he looks forward to returning to Maryland.

“The opportunity to play back at home is, like, the best thing that could happen to me. It’s a big deal to be able to stay around here and play in front of my family,”

March 8, 2008

Turner withdraws his commitment from Oregon State in the wake of Beavers head coach Jay John‘s firing.

March 26, 2008

Kim’s coach at South Kent (Conn.) School, Owen Finberg, tells Recruiting Report that Kim is considering the possibility of reclassifying from an ‘09 player to an ‘08 prospect.

“He’s considering the option of being at Maryland next year if that’s possible to do,” Finberg said. “It’s kind of a long shot, but he’s one of the players that’s had the most trouble with the [coaching] transition [at South Kent]. Coach Chillious brought him in, and I think [Jin Soo] really kind of felt left hanging by the whole deal, even though he didn’t express it that way. So he’s looking at that option to really see what he can do.”

April 16, 2008

Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College shooting guard Tyree Evans, who committed to Cincinnati in 2004 but had several brushes with the law since, signs a letter of intent to attend Maryland.

"Tyree has worked hard to get himself in position to play at the Division I level," said head coach Gary Williams. "He is an outstanding shooter with great quickness and will be a great complement to the players already in our program."

April 24, 2008

With Evans in the fold, there appears to no longer be a spot on the Maryland roster for Maze. A source from Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College tells Recruiting Report that Maze is receiving interest from many schools, and he expects to receive his associate’s degree and be fully qualified by the end of the summer.

April 28, 2008

Majok, who the Terps had stopped recruiting months before, commits to Connecticut.

May 5, 2008

SI.com takes a closer look at Evans’ criminal history, and reveals that UM athletic director Debbie Yow was unaware of Evans’ June 2007 stint in Richmond City Jail due to an August 2005 marijuana arrest.

Evans told SI.com that Maryland's basketball staff was aware of his time behind bars -- "They know all about my past, and as long as it wasn't a felony, it was OK," he said. But Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow, when reached last Friday, said that while Williams had worked through the Academic Committee of the University Athletics Council to secure Evans' admission, Yow had not been informed of Evans' incarceration. "I was aware of a misdemeanor [marijuana] charge -- that's it," she said.

May 7, 2008

Maze signs with Tennessee, choosing the Volunteers over offers from Cincinnati and Kentucky among others.

“The plane landed and I breathed in that Knoxville air,” Maze said. “You see those seats in the arena and how high they go up, and all the sellout crowds, the Jumbotron screens everywhere, the practice facility. You have every tool here to be successful.”

May 8, 2008

Turner signs with East Carolina. Turner had expressed interest in Maryland in April, but the Terps never seriously pursued the shooting guard.

May 23, 2008

Maryland announces that Evans has opted out of his letter of intent. Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College head coach Bobby Steinburg tells The Sun that the negative publicity surrounding Evans was a major factor in his decision to withdraw his application from consideration. The same article also states that Evans had not yet been accepted by the admissions office. An additional arrest is also unearthed in The Sun’s story.

The previous media reports didn't mention a fourth case - marijuana possession and handgun charges lodged in Cecil County Circuit Court in November 2005. He received probation on the drug charge, and the handgun count wasn't pursued by prosecutors, county officials said. "That was a positive result for him because not everyone gets probation," said Lawrence Derx, his attorney.

June 3, 2008

Maryland grants Gilchrist a release to transfer to another school.

Anything I missed?

In summation ... crazy year. And it’s not over. Mosley still needs to qualify academically, Kim could enroll early and join the ‘08 class, and there is suddenly a pressing need for another big man or two on UM’s roster. Stay tuned.

Click here to vote in a baltimoresun.com poll, which asks which of Maryland’s former commitments will prove to be the biggest loss.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:29 AM | | Comments (26)
        
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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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