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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)

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About Matt Bracken

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

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