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November 28, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland quarterback recruit Danny O’Brien will lead his East Forsyth (N.C.) squad against Richmond Senior tonight in the North Carolina Class 4AA quarterfinals.

The Eagles return 16 starters, including 10 on offense. East Forsyth has scored an average of a 29.2 points per game and is led by multi-dimensional quarterback Danny O’Brien, who [Richmond coach Paul] Hoggard claimed has made a verbal commitment to play at the University of Maryland. O’Brien has thrown for 1,508 yards with 15 touchdowns and six interceptions. He is second on the team in rushing with 737 yards and 11 touchdowns.

• Williamsburg, Va., defensive end Will Hill has narrowed his list of schools to Maryland, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia, according to Rivals.com. Hill spoke to Rivals about his recent trip to College Park.

Hill had already taken official visits to Tennessee (September 19) and Penn State (November 14). How would he compare the Maryland trip to those two?

“The Maryland trip was good but they were all good. All three of them went well. They all showed me the good things that they have to offer. I wouldn’t say one trip was any better than the others.

• DeMatha coach Bill McGregor told The Washington Post’s Josh Barr this week that Maryland has expressed interest in quarterback and former Eastern Michigan commitment Tom Chroniger. McGregor said the Terps are looking at Chroniger as a defensive back.

"I talked to Ralph [Friedgen] on Thursday about Tommy. Ralph called me. I don't know what his needs are, but Ralph says, 'We're very, very interested.' I don't know what 'very, very' means. ... Maryland wants him as a safety. He will go as a safety. He doesn't care. He just wants to go to a bigger school. His future may be more as that than a 5-11 quarterback."

• Brooklyn, N.Y., offensive tackle Oday Aboushi committed to Boston College this week, picking the Eagles over offers from Maryland, Iowa, Rutgers and Virginia.

ESPN's Bill Conley said of the news, "Boston College picked up a much needed verbal from Oday Aboushi of Brooklyn, New York. He is the third offensive lineman in a class that now numbers nine for 2009. The verbal came as no big surprise since Aboushi has been favoring the Eagles all along."

• Former Maryland offensive guard commitment Ricky Hart pledged to Memphis earlier this week.

Hart originally committed to Maryland, but his scholarship was pulled due to academic concerns. He also drew interest from Purdue, South Florida, Central Florida and Middle Tennessee State.

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

November 26, 2008

South Carolina DL discusses commitment to Maryland

Justin Anderson admits that the start of his academic career at Blythewood (S.C.) High School was less than exemplary.

But once Anderson realized what a subpar academic record could ultimately cost him, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder changed his tune in the classroom.

“Playing football, it’s very important to me,” Anderson said. “Once I saw I had the opportunity and was blessed to play football at the next level, my intensity level [in the classroom] was through the roof. In order to play at the next level, I had to hit the books hard enough to qualify. Once I qualified, I knew football would take care of itself, so academics became more important.”

Anderson said Maryland verbally offered him almost a year ago, but he didn’t receive a firm offer until last week on an unofficial visit to College Park for the Florida State game. Anderson’s improved academics played a role in the offer, and Maryland’s emphasis on the classroom helped sway Anderson to commit to the Terps on Monday.

“[UM coaches stressed their] academic programs and all the tutoring,” Anderson said. “The coaches check up on the players in the classroom and let you know what they expect you to have. You have to make it academically. They stress you’re a student-athlete, and student comes before athlete. The coaches say you come up to Maryland to get your education and also play football. That’s what [Maryland outside linebackers coach Al] Seamonson stressed on the visit.”

Anderson, who’s considering a major in sports management, said he hopes to make his official visit to College Park the weekend of Dec. 13. He said he was glad to see the Terps in action last weekend, despite the result.

“It was a great experience when I came up to watch the Florida State game, even though they lost,” Anderson said. “The atmosphere was special, especially the blackout. The fans were intense for the game. I had a great time.”

Anderson played exclusively on the defensive line as a senior for Blythewood, so most of his conversations have been with members of Maryland's defensive staff.

“I’ve just been talking to [Maryland defensive line coach Dave] Sollazzo. He can’t wait for me to get up there and start coaching me. They haven’t decided [if I’ll play] defensive end or defensive tackle. If I continue growing and gaining weight, it may be defensive tackle. We really don’t know as of right now.”

Anderson said he’s thankful that Maryland coaches stuck by him while he got his academics in order. He said he's relieved to be done with recruiting.

“The coaches [at Blythewood] told me the recruiting system is like a wave -- sometimes you might be the highest and most talked about, but sometimes you’re at the lowest,” Anderson said. “It was a great feeling getting off that tidal wave and becoming a Terrapin.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:31 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 25, 2008

Season recap: Isaiah Ross

When Tom Green took the head coaching job at Eleanor Roosevelt last winter after seven seasons at Surrattsville, he had some initial, minor concerns about his new team buying into his system.

But according to Green, Maryland commitment Isaiah Ross helped erase those concerns immediately.

“He was absolutely [a leader],” Green said. “He wasn’t the most verbal guy; he’s more show by example. But being here and working hard, showing a lot of respect to the coaches he really didn’t know -- that helped the other kids follow. He just works hard and leads by example.”

Ross recorded 70 tackles, 12.5 sacks and two interceptions during the regular season, while also catching two passes for 15 yards on offense. Green said Ross made a habit of terrorizing opposing offensive lines throughout the Raiders’ 10-1 season.

“The thing is, you had to double-team him to stop him from making big plays,” Green said. “If you double-team him, our ‘backers were free, so he dominated offensive linemen this year. We had a few close games and on fourth-and-short he made big plays in the backfield on a few occasions. When it’s third-and-1 or fourth-and-1, he made plays behind the line of scrimmage.”

Green said he thinks Ross was the best defensive lineman in Prince George’s County this season. At Maryland, the 6-foot-2, 240-pound Ross will probably play the Leo position -- a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. Green thinks Ross’ skill-set could result in early playing time in College Park.

“He has a strong lower body, good leverage and great balance,” Green said. “Those are the things he brings. And he’s a smart football player. He makes very good adjustments on the field. Sometimes teams run a different formation and he can kind of adjust on the fly.

“[The Maryland coaches] see his size and ability right now and his feet are so quick, he could possibly come in and contribute right away. ... We’ve talked to [the Terps coaches] several times throughout the season. We’ve both gone up to games. They’re really looking forward to having him and I think it’ll be a great fit.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:17 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 24, 2008

Weekend wrap -- Porzel, deSouza meet for WCAC title

The high school career of Maryland running back commitment Caleb Porzel came to surprising end on Saturday.

Porzel’s Good Counsel team fell to UM offensive tackle commitment Pete deSouza’s DeMatha squad, 34-7, in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game.

Porzel rushed for Good Counsel’s lone score, but was bottled up for most of the game.

Porzel and [UM linebacker target Jelani] Jenkins could never find their step at Navy-Marine Corps Stadium. Porzel managed just 59 yards rushing on 15 carries and had two receptions, each for negative yardage. Meantime, Jenkins caught two passes for 34 yards, but his five rushes netted only 17 yards.

"I'm just pretty stunned," Porzel said. "Everything we threw at them, they stopped. I don't know how to explain it."

• Maryland quarterback pledge Danny O’Brien guided his East Forsyth squad to a 21-7 win over Huntersville Hopewell in the second round of the North Carolina Class 4AA playoffs.

O'Brien called his own number and was pushed through the middle of the line for a 2-yard gain, giving East a fresh set of downs and allowing it to chew up some more clock.

"I just told him we'd been getting all year, so why change something that isn't broken," O'Brien said. "They stacked the middle and blitzed both backers, so the initial surge wasn't too good, but the guys just pushed me through and I drove my legs for the extra yardage."

• Terps running back recruit D.J. Adams ran for 91 yards in his final high school game. Adams’ Norcross (Ga.) team fell to Woodstock, 14-10, in the second round of the Georgia Class AAAAA playoffs.

"They got after it. We knew they were scrappy," [Norcross head coach Keith] Maloof said. "We knew they were going to play hard. We just needed to get D.J. in the second level and we did a couple of times."

When they did he busted loose for runs of 24 and 32, but most of his carries when for five yards or less.

• UM tight end commitment Dave Stinebaugh caught three passes for 27 yards in Perry Hall’s 53-0 loss to Linganore in the Class 4A state North Region title game.

"We just had some bad breaks, some poor tackling, a couple of missed tackles," said Stinebaugh, who's given a verbal commitment to the University of Maryland. "We didn't give them the game in the first quarter, but we made it a lot easier for them."

Nick Ferrara accounted for five points in St. Anthony’s 48-35 loss to Iona (N.Y.) Prep in the Catholic High School Football League Class AAA championship.

Nicholas Ferrara put the Friars on the board with time running down in the first quarter and with the howling wind at his back. He nailed a 37-yard field goal.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:19 AM | | Comments (1)
        

November 21, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Hoboken, N.J., defensive end Bernardo Nunez will make an official visit to College Park this weekend for Maryland’s date with Florida State.

Nunez told Scout.com this week that he grew up a Seminoles fan, but he’s now seriously considering the Terps.

The Terps on the other hand are recruiting Nunez very hard. "They are in a tough conference and are on top right now," he said.

"I know some guys who go there and they all love it and it's in a great area too," he said. "I love the location. It's close to D.C. and Virginia and there's a lot to do there."

Another plus for the Terps is that they are only three hours from Nunez's home. "That definitely helps," he admitted. "I think that distance might be a big factor. I'd have to really get a great vibe and feeling from a team to want to go far away."

Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell spoke to Quince Orchard defensive end Jason Ankrah after his unofficial visit to Maryland for the North Carolina game.

“It was fun. There were a lot of Maryland commitments there and I’m very familiar with those players. I want to go somewhere I’m comfortable with the players. They were laid back.

“Travis Hawkins went up with me and he’s still pressing me to go there too.”

• Maryland has made the final cut for Williamsburg, Va., defensive end Will Hill. Hill told Rivals.com that he’s narrowed his list to Maryland, Penn State, Virginia and Tennessee.

“They all pretty much fit the mold I was looking for,” he said. “All of them have good academics, an opportunity to play early and a coaching staff I’m comfortable with. I like all these schools.

“It’s a hard decision, so many schools have what I want. I can’t go to a school because of the coach. I have to go where I feel best if football wasn’t in the equation.”

• Several Maryland recruits have committed to play in the inaugural Maryland Crab Bowl, an all-star game pitting the top football players from the Baltimore area against those from the Washington D.C. region. The game is scheduled for Dec. 20 at 1 p.m. at Towson’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. Click here for the Baltimore roster and here for the D.C. team.

Basketball recruiting

• Maryland power forward signee James Padgett’s Lincoln (N.Y.) high school team was ranked No. 3 in the country by USA Today.

Returning starters: Three. Outlook: If All-USA G Lance Stephenson (23.3 points 7.2 rebounds a game) can stay healthy, the Railsplitters could three-peat as state Federation 2A champions. C James Padgett (nine points, 9.3 rebounds a game) and G Darwin Ellis (12.4 points, 3.4 assists a game) return. The schedule includes a tough game at No. 2 Duncanville, Texas, the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Mass., The City of Palms Classic, No. 5 St. Patrick (Elizabeth, N.J.), Prime Time Shootout vs. Paterson Catholic (Paterson, N.Y.) and No. 15 Westchester (Los Angeles) and at No. 6 St. Benedict's Prep (Newark). Opens: Dec. 2 vs. Grady (Brooklyn).

• Power forward prospect Tobias Harris will put recruiting on the backburner this season and focus on his junior year at Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran.

It also appears any campus visits are in the distant future. "He's just focusing on the high school season and school," said Mr. Harris.

Mr. Harris believed that it was unlikely that Tobias would take any unofficial visits during the season.

• North Carolina is heavily recruiting Walbrook swingman and Terps target Roscoe Smith, according to The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer.

Roscoe Smith, a 6-7 forward who can flourish inside and out, could very well be the next high school star to commit to UNC. Smith has received heavy interest from Carolina in recent months and would be a great complement to the two other 2010 prospects already secured — point guard Kendall Marshall and shooting guard Reggie Bullock.

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

November 20, 2008

Season recap: C.J. Brown

When Seneca Valley (Pa.) football coach Ron Butschle thinks back on quarterback C.J. Brown’s senior season, his mind drifts to the Raiders’ Week 2 game against Erie McDowell.

Playing before a raucous home crowd and regional television audience, Brown, a Maryland commitment, led the Raiders to a 38-33 win. He went 25-of-37 for 305 yards, one touchdown and one interception, while also rushing for 80 yards and three scores on 19 carries.

“[It was a] Thursday night game on Fox Sports Net, their game of the week on TV,” Butschle said. “We had lost our first game by a field goal. We didn’t play very well in our first game. [The game against Erie McDowell] was a high-scoring game. C.J. just kind of took us on his back. We were up and we were down. Every time they would score, we would score. ... The Erie McDowell game was probably his best game. It was the first game where he really came out as a leader.”

Seneca Valley finished 4-5 on the year. Butschle said the defense, which replaced 10 starters from a year ago, had a tough time stopping more physical teams. But Brown kept the team competitive by leading a dynamic Raiders offense.

Brown, 6-3, 200 pounds, completed 149 passes on 269 attempts, throwing for 2,154 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions. He also ran for 640 yards and 12 touchdowns on 131 carries. Brown accounted for all but seven of Seneca Valley’s touchdowns on the season.

“When teams looked at our offense, they had to prepare for C.J.,” Butschle said. “He was just head and shoulders above everybody else on the field athletically. The way he handled pressure, escaping pressure; he took some shots this year. He’s an awfully tough kid. He didn’t miss a down. He got his bell rung, but he didn’t miss one play. He ran the ball an awful lot, too. He was our leading rusher. ... I believe during the spring he ran a 4.5 down at Maryland. C.J. is football fast, although he’d probably be track fast, too. There were a couple times he just kicked to another gear and just pulled away from people.”

Brown received a lot of attention from the local media during the early parts of the season. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette called Brown one of Western Pennsylvania’s next great quarterbacks. But Butschle said the press didn’t faze Brown.

“C.J. handles pressure very, very well,” Butschle said. “The college game is obviously a completely different animal. I think there are some kids built, physically and mentally, for that transition. I definitely think C.J. is built for that. He doesn’t get real wide-eyed. He gets excited about playing. But he was never a kid coming off the sidelines hyperventilating or pissed off. He’s very level headed, very coachable in practice and during the games. He responded well to adjustments made at halftime or on the fly. His demeanor and ability are two things that are going to translate into success at Maryland.”

When Brown committed to Maryland in April, Akron was his only other scholarship offer. Right after the start of Brown’s big senior season, other schools began to inquire, namely Pittsburgh and Boston College. But Brown never thought about considering other options, Butschle said.

“C.J. made it very clear to people when he committed to Maryland that he was really committed,” Butschle said. “I think once schools really understood that, [they backed off]. I haven’t gotten very many calls about C.J. lately. I think a lot of schools really respected that C.J. said, ‘I’m happy with my decision, I’m going to Maryland.’ [Colleges have said], ‘Tell him if he changes his mind, we’d love to talk to him.’ I had spoken to C.J. and his dad. Not that they minded other schools calling, but they wanted me to be somewhat of a buffer. With their permission, I told a lot of these schools that C.J. had committed and he was happy.”

Butschle said Brown’s excited about his future at Maryland and looks forward to working with offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach James Franklin. Butschle said Franklin will have an eager student in Brown.

“He’s very mature on the field and very mature in the classroom; a guy they can really be proud of to represent Maryland,” Butschle said. “I really can’t say enough things about his personality and character. He’s a great student. Once he learns the system -- and I’m sure his body is going to mature even more in their strength and conditioning program -- I see him being an impact player. I really do.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 19, 2008

Philmore headlines Towson's '09 class

Throughout most of his recruitment, John Carroll forward Isaiah Philmore thought he’d end up committing to a high-major Division I school.

Philmore, 6 feet 7, was offered -- at one time or another -- scholarships from Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Providence, Virginia Tech, South Florida, Michigan and Marquette, among others. He also weighed offers from George Washington, St. Joseph’s, Temple, UMass and Central Florida.

“I definitely wanted to go big-time,” said Philmore, who seriously considered committing to Oklahoma State earlier this fall.

But when the time came to sign his letter of intent last week, Philmore, a three-star prospect according to Scout.com, chose Towson.

“Towson actually came my sophomore year, but I kind of put them on the backburner because that’s when I just started blowing up a little bit,” Philmore said. “They agreed with that, but they were always in there. They would call me up, see how it was going. They were there from the get-go; it’s not like they just jumped in. ... I think [the coaches] were very surprised, actually, when I committed.”

Philmore is the headliner of Towson’s 2009 recruiting class. The Tigers also landed commitments from Imhotep Charter (Pa.) shooting guard Will Adams, Montverde (Fla.) Academy power forward Nick Diatta and Caravel Academy (Del.) center Erique Gumbs, giving the Tigers one of the more highly-regarded mid-major classes on the East Coast.

Philmore and Gumbs have been good friends and teammates on the Delaware Sharpshooters AAU team for the past four years. Gumbs had offers from Providence, St. Joseph’s, Temple, George Mason and Penn State, according to Sharpshooters director and coach Duane Coverdale. But Coverdale wasn’t surprised that Philmore and Gumbs both shunned offers from other “big-time programs” to go to Towson.

“All of our kids in our program are pretty familiar with each other, and we’ve had some kids that go to high-major schools,” Coverdale said. “Andre Collins played for our program. He’s playing professionally overseas now, but that would’ve never happened had he stayed at Maryland [and not transferred to Loyola]. If he set his sights a little lower than Maryland in the beginning, who knows what would’ve happened because he was finally able to show people what he could do. ... So lots of our guys talk to each other and talk to the younger guys. Some of that [advice] was relatable to both [Philmore and Gumbs].”

One former Delaware Sharpshooter that proved helpful in Philmore’s decision-making process was Josh Thornton, a junior guard at Towson. Thornton signed with Georgetown out of high school before transferring to Towson for his sophomore season. He led the Tigers with 13 points per game last year.

“I really just wanted to go to a program where I could get 25-plus minutes my freshman year. I just wanted to play,” Philmore said. “[Thornton] didn’t tell me to come to Towson -- not at all. He said if you feel it in your heart, go with it, but don’t get caught up in the hype of the school.”

Scout.com national basketball recruiting analyst Dave Telep said Towson’s class ranks in the top third of the Colonial Athletic Association. Telep said the signings of Gumbs and Philmore make the class stand out.

“Erique Gumbs is a big kid that just needs some time to develop some offensive consistency. He’s going to be one of the bigger human beings in the CAA,” Telep said. “I think Isaiah Philmore could really be a terror in the league. What he’s really good at is being an energy player. He’s got a big motor and he’s going to work his tail off.

“I think he’s a guy that made a decision to go where he can really max out his college career. ... The best thing you can say about Isaiah Philmore is whatever setting he’s played in, high school or AAU, he’s been a producer. ... You’re looking at a guy who, through sheer hard work, has a chance to be an all-league player.”

Telep said Towson’s recent success on the recruiting trail can be attributed, in part, to a well-connected, veteran staff.

“They have really good relationships,” Telep said. “The guys on their staff are great recruiters. This is a relationship-built business. They have a head coach (Pat Kennedy) with a big name and staffers who’ve been around the block a bit.”

Philmore said there’s a feeling in local basketball circles that it’s only a matter of time before Towson’s recent recruiting success becomes apparent on the court.

“There’s a big buzz going around now because the Towson team has gotten good recruits like [ex-Mount Carmel point guard and Towson freshman] Troy Franklin and Josh Thornton,” Philmore said. “So there’s a lot of buzz [about Towson] being one of, if not the best school in the CAA. We’ll see how it works out.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:51 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 18, 2008

Season recap: Eric Franklin

It was the day of the Archbishop Curley-Archbishop Spalding game, and Friars coach Sean Murphy was forced to do some last-minute scrambling.

Curley assistant Warren Schwartz had to miss the game to be with his ailing mother, leaving Murphy without a defensive coordinator.

In Schwartz’s absence, Murphy turned to his captain, Maryland safety commitment Eric Franklin.

“The day of the game, we had gotten word that Coach [Schwartz] wasn’t going to be there, as she was passing,” Murphy said. “I had talked to Eric probably at about one o’clock; just a few hours before kickoff. He got together with one of our defensive assistants and kind of went through a game plan, just making adjustments and [deciding] how they would handle things. He made a lot of the calls on the field, with coverages and getting our defense in certain formations.”

Curley fell to Spalding, 27-20 in two overtimes, that day. But Franklin did his part, picking off one pass and leading the defense on the field.

“He’s always trying to find ways to pick kids up, and they respect him,” Murphy said. “They know he’s not only an outstanding football player, but he’s also very smart. He knows the defense as well as any of the coaches and gets our kids in the right position.

“I think he was a little more of a leader by example this year. He was much more vocal, made sure his presence was felt. Kids were more aware of him ... I think he stepped up and knew his role, knew when it was important to take more control of the team. He assumed his leadership role really well.”

As a senior, Franklin recorded approximately 80 tackles and seven interceptions, helping Curley to an 8-3 record. He also caught 13 passes and three touchdowns from the tight end position. Murphy said he thinks Franklin, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect, projects as a free safety in college.

“I think [Maryland is] looking at him as a free safety,” Murphy said. “They also want to see how much weight he puts on. He might be a linebacker, but right now his best position is free safety. He has good field awareness and excellent hands. Not many people are going to get past him running the football. He’s a very good open-field tackler.”

Murphy said Franklin, a 4.0 student who also plays basketball and runs track, needs more time in the weight room before contributing on the field for the Terps. But Murphy is confident Franklin will make a positive impact off the field as soon as he arrives in College Park.

“As I told [the Maryland] coaches, those guys will be able to sleep at night,” Murphy said. “They’re not going to worry about him not doing well academically or partying. He keeps it all in perspective. He’s a good role model and he’s going to do some great things down there.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:33 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 17, 2008

Curley's Petrides picks Akron

Archbishop Curley lineman Joe Petrides is headed to Ohio for college.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder committed to Akron on Friday, picking the Zips over Buffalo, James Madison, New Hampshire and Villanova, among others.

“[Recruiting] was on my mind pretty much every day during football season,” Petrides said. “So it was definitely tough. ... It feels like a big relief [to commit]. It feels good.”

Petrides was offered by Akron during the summer and made an unofficial visit to the school before football season.

“I liked it a lot,” Petrides said. “They’re building a new stadium that’ll be ready by my freshman year, so they’re doing a lot of new things up there.”

Petrides, the son of longtime City College football coach George Petrides, helped Curley to an 8-3 record this fall. He recorded approximately 77 tackles, 28 assists and six sacks as a senior. Archbishop Curley head coach Sean Murphy said the Akron coaches haven’t decided whether they’ll bring Petrides in as an offensive or defensive lineman.

“They’re looking at him ... probably at either guard or a defensive tackle,” Murphy said. “I think the thing they liked about him was his athleticism and room to put some weight on. ... He plays tight end for us, but in our offense [tight ends are] glorified run blockers. We would run to his side all the time and we finished with about 3,200 rushing yards, most of them on the right side. He’s an outstanding run blocker.”

Petrides said he’d like to study either athletic training or exercise science in college.

• Click here for a list of local high school commitments.

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

Weekend wrap -- Stinebaugh's big night

Dave Stinebaugh played a major role on offense and defense in Perry Hall’s 34-0 win over Thomas Johnson in a 4A North Region semifinal matchup.

Stinebaugh, as usual, was in the middle of almost everything. In addition to his two TD grabs, he had two key interceptions and recovered a fumble on defense. All three plays thwarted Patriot drives and helped the Gators pitch a shutout over a team that beat them in last year's regional championship game, 35-3.

• Running back Caleb Porzel scored twice in Good Counsel’s 45-6 win over Bishop McNamara.

The University of Maryland-bound Caleb Porzel then made the score 24-0 on an electrifying 76-yard punt return with 5:30 to go in the half. He started down the visiting sideline and then cut back past McNamara defenders.

"It was a miserable day, but we can't let the weather affect us," said Porzel, who rushed for 133 yards on nine carries. "We just had to play our football. We did have trouble getting out but once we started getting used to the weather we kind of settled down."

Good Counsel will meet DeMatha on Saturday at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis for the WCAC Championship.

• Terps running back recruit D.J. Adams rushed for 170 yards on 29 carries in Norcross’ 20-17 win over Parkview (Ga.).

Adams took Norcross' first offensive play and went 60 yards for a touchdown to make it 7-0 to start the game.

"We executed perfectly and it just opened up," Adams told the Gwinnett Daily Post. "It set the tone and we built off that."

• UM safety commitment Avery Graham scored Clarksburg’s lone touchdown in the Coyotes’ season-ending 21-7 loss to Middletown.

Aside from a 57-yard touchdown run from Avery Graham in the first quarter and a 53-yard burst by Mark Small in the third, the Coyotes (10-1) were, for the most part, ineffective on both sides of the ball.

• Quarterback Danny O’Brien led East Forsyth (N.C.) to a 42-14 win over Myers Park in the first round of the North Carolina Class 4-AA West playoffs.

Senior quarterback Danny O'Brien of East contributed 115 of East's rushing yards and ran for two touchdowns on a night when he attempted only eight passes, completing two for 58 yards.

• UM cornerback recruit Travis Hawkins helped guide Quince Orchard to a 36-0 win over Wootton.

Multifaceted senior Travis Hawkins, who last month verbally committed to play football at the University of Maryland, made his second start at quarterback this fall. He completed 2 of 7 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown, launching a 62-yard pass to junior Nick Goss in the end zone.

Nick Ferrara accounted for 13 points in St. Anthony’s 37-15 win over Chaminade (N.Y.).

The Friars offense had trouble finishing drives early and turned to their reliable field goal kicker in Maryland-recruit Nicholas Ferrara. All he did was convert on field goals from 31 and 29 yards out. St. Anthony’s took a 6-0 edge into intermission.

• The high school career of Maryland defensive end/linebacker commitment Isaiah Ross came to an end Saturday with Eleanor Roosevelt’s 14-6 loss to Henry Wise.

"It hurts," said Roosevelt senior linebacker Isaiah Ross. "I think we could have worked harder even though we had a heck of a season. We're still the best team in the state. It was just mental mistakes that hurt us."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:45 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 14, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's 2009 basketball recruiting class won’t appear on any national top 25 lists, but analysts have offered individual praise for both Terps commitments.

Scout.com’s Evan Daniels called power forward Jordan Williams one of 2009’s most improved players.

“Another guy that we watched blossom over the course of his career was Maryland commit Jordan Williams. The 6-foot-8, 245-pounder went from no college interest to scholarship offers from a handful of ACC and Big East schools. He improved his skill set and ability to score on the block. His coming out party was this summer despite playing in a loaded frontcourt on the New England Playaz team.”

In another Scout.com recruiters roundtable, Daniels cited power forward James Padgett as a prospect not in the top 100 who will be a good college player.

“The three guys that came to mind were Chris Colvin, Aaron Dotson and James Padgett. ... With Padgett, it’s all about his ability to play hard and scrap in the paint. He won’t be an All-ACC type of impact player at Maryland, but he’s a guy that will help them win games and will find ways to contribute.”

Click here for more analysis of Maryland’s 2009 recruiting class.

Zags Blog reports that Albany, N.Y., shooting guard Taran Buie could make his decision this spring.

According to Jim Hart, Buie’s coach with the Albany City Rocks, “Maryland, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech are the leaders.”

• Maryland women’s basketball target Destiny Williams, a 6-foot-3 forward from Benton Harbor, Mich., signed with Illinois this week.

Williams on why she chose Illinois: "It was everything - the environment, the players, the coaches. I believe in what Coach Law wants to do at Illinois and that's win a national championship. I saw how the team came together in her first year and can only imagine what she can do down the road. On my visit, the people and coaches really stood out. It felt like they were being themselves with me and not trying to sell me on coming there."

Football recruiting

• Quince Orchard defensive end Jason Ankrah visited Nebraska last weekend and came away impressed.

“It’s far away, but I feel comfortable enough where I could see myself playing there,” he said. “I would put them up there with Penn State now as my leaders.”

Next up for the Rivals250 end are official visits to Penn State, NC State and Virginia Tech and an unofficial to Maryland.

“I don’t have the dates set yet or anything,” he said. “I’ll do that soon. I plan on taking all five visits and then deciding. It’s between my five officials and Maryland as my finalists.”

ESPN.com reports that Newark, Del., offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche has withdrawn his commitment to Rutgers, and the Terps are now in the mix.

The 6-foot-6 prospect is now considering the Scarlet Knights, Miami-Florida, West Virginia, Connecticut and Maryland. He does not expect to make a final decision until national signing day.

• Windsor, N.C., offensive tackle Travis Bond sports a Maryland offer, but doesn’t have plans to visit College Park.

Bond, a 6-foot-7, 330-pounder, took an official visit to Michigan on Oct. 25 and is scheduled to head to Raleigh this weekend to see N.C. State play Wake Forest. Virginia Tech (Nov. 22) and North Carolina (Dec. 6) will get his final two visits.

• Maryland defensive end target Will Hill was named Virginia’s Bay Rivers District's Defensive Player of the Year.

Hill, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior, led district defensive ends with 92 tackles. His 24 tackles for loss included 14 sacks. He also forced six fumbles and recovered two, including one for a touchdown, in addition to blocking a punt.

• According to The Washington Post’s B.J. Koubaroulis, Maryland is monitoring Alexandria, Va., linebacker Stephon Robertson. Robertson is still waiting for his his first BCS offer.

Robertson, a 6-0, 190-pounder who runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, has earned a lot of late interest from some BCS programs, including Maryland, Virginia Tech and Boston College but "none of them have offered yet," Edison Coach Vaughn Lewis said. "I think the problem is that he has to play linebacker for us and he's a fantastic linebacker, but he'll be playing strong safety or free safety in college and they've never seen him play that."

• Chantilly, Va., offensive tackle Andrew Crawford has an invitation to join the Terps as a walk-on, according to Rivals.com.

“I’ve got an offer from Monmouth and a walk-on offer from Maryland,” he said. “I sent tape to a bunch of schools. Most places haven’t look at it yet, hopefully they will soon.

“I’ve kind of been talking to Boston College, Delaware, JMU and BYU. I’m planning to go to James Madison on the 15th.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:18 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 13, 2008

Analysts weigh in on Terps' '09 class

Maryland’s two-man basketball recruiting class for 2009 may not be the most highly-touted group in the ACC.

But there’s a near consensus among recruiting analysts that the Terps filled their spots with two post players that are likely contributors and good fits for what UM wants to do.

The Terps expect to receive letters of intent from Brooklyn, N.Y., power forward James Padgett and Torrington, Conn., power forward Jordan Williams this week.

Jerry Meyer, national basketball recruiting analyst for Rivals.com, thinks Maryland was able to sell early playing time to Williams and Padgett. Meyer ranks the Terps’ class No. 9 in the ACC, but says Williams and Padgett have had success against higher-rated players during AAU play. And most importantly, they both fit well in Maryland’s system.

“They’re both good players that have held their own on the travel-team circuit,” Meyer said. “They’ve played well and had success. Both are production players, not necessarily sexy players or highlight-type players. But they have been productive players. If they continue to improve and build up their bodies ... the potential is there for double-double production.”

Dave Telep, Scout.com's national basketball recruiting analyst, thinks that Williams and Padgett have differing styles of play and will compliment each other well.

“I happen to like both guys. I think they’re both going to play at Maryland,” Telep said. “Padgett is a guy who you have at a five-foot radius around the basket. He’s really good at owning his area. He’s an on-the-block player, a really good rebounder and stick-back guy. He has a toughness about him that Maryland or Pittsburgh recruits typically have.

“Jordan Williams is a guy with a little more upside offensively. He’s cut from the late-bloomer mold. I like both of those guys. People are going to look at them and say they’re not big-time guys, but they’re going to contribute. I think both of these guys are going to be on the floor coming into Maryland’s program. They’ll probably have to fight it out against each other early on, but I think both guys are good enough to be in their front-court rotation.”

Recruiting analyst Van Coleman of Hoopmasters.com, who rates Maryland’s class No. 7 in the ACC, called Padgett and Williams tough, athletic prospects that can excel in the open court.

“Padgett has the potential to be a real stopper inside,” Coleman said. “He’s a great athlete and shotblocker, a guy with length and great bounce. He’s still a developing prospect on the offensive end, but he’ll definitely give them some help right away.

“Williams is a big, strong guy. I think he’s better offensively [than Padgett] initially. He’s got a good body and uses it well. He can really finish around the hoop. When you look at the two of them, they run the floor extremely well, can get out and play the zone press. I think those guys will work really well there.”


Overall impressions of Maryland’s class

Meyer: “Well I think they’re both solid big men and the prototype of big guys that Gary Williams has had success with. They’re a little bit under the radar, but physical and competitive and I think guys that are going to get better and be good college players and be there four years."

Telep: “I think that ... at least one of these guys will be able to get [significant] minutes because they need some bodies at those spots. They’ll both be able to play. I don’t think we’re talking about guys that are ACC all-league impacts, but I really believe these guys are components to the future front court. They’re not guys who are take-charge offensively who you can count on for 15 and 10 as freshmen, but they’re guys who can grow at Maryland and be productive players.”

Coleman: “Well I think when you look at the two kids that they got, it really helps them up front. They needed to get a little nastier and needed to get longer, more athletic and physical. I think they’ve done that. ... I like both guys they got. They’re both somewhere between the 75-150 range on most [recruiting] lists. They’re kids that can get a lot better and can be great college players; guys that stay for three or four years and have a chance to help the program crawl up through the ranks.”


Click here for a Q&A with Williams.

Click here for Torrington coach Tony Turina's take on Williams' commitment.

Click here for a Q&A with Padgett.

Click here for Lincoln coach Dwayne “Tiny” Morton's take on Padgett's commitment to Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (21)
        

November 12, 2008

Meet Jordan Williams

Jordan Williams was looking for a school with a fervent and supportive fan base in college, much like the one he’s grown accustomed to at Torrington (Conn.) High School.

Williams found what he was looking for during a September visit to College Park.

“I was with Sean Mosley and Landon Milbourne,” Williams said. “[No. 2] Maryland played [No. 1] Wake Forest in a soccer game and the whole fan base was just crazy. I couldn’t believe it. It was awesome; the support [Maryland had at the] soccer game. It was pouring rain outside and the place was packed, so I can only imagine what it’s like indoors [for basketball games].”

It wasn’t until this summer that Williams emerged as a legitimate high-major prospect. Several standout performances with the New England Playaz AAU team opened the eyes of coaches across the country. Williams still can’t believe how quickly his basketball fortunes changed.

“It’s a dream come true for me. ... I didn’t think in the beginning of the summer I’d be in this situation,” Williams said. “People were telling me I had what it takes, but it still hasn’t hit me that I’m signing Thursday. I have worked hard and it’s a great opportunity. ... It’s really not hit me at all. I’m still waiting for someone to wake me up.”

Here’s an introduction to Williams.

Name: Jordan Williams
Birthdate: 10/11/90
Birthplace: Torrington, Conn.
Hometown: Torrington, Conn.
Nickname: J-Will
Height: 6-9
Weight: 240
Position: Power forward
Rankings: Scout.com -- Four stars, No. 16 center. Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 25 power forward, No. 102 player nationally.
High School: Torrington (Conn.) High School
Junior statistics: 28 points, 16 rebounds
Runner-up: St. John’s
Other schools considered: Indiana, Xavier, Villanova, Florida State, Arizona, California, Marquette
Favorite NBA player: Tim Duncan
Favorite NBA team: Boston Celtics
Favorite all-time Terp: Juan Dixon, Steve Francis
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Kanye West
Favorite book: The Pursuit of Happyness by Chris Gardner
Favorite movie: The Pursuit of Happyness
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Fried chicken
Favorite high school class: Justice
Favorite thing about College Park: “I think the family atmosphere would probably be the best [thing about College Park].”
Hobbies: “I like to fish, hang out with my brother ... play video games.”
Intended major: Criminal justice
Something that not many people know about you: “If I didn’t play basketball, I’d probably do something in music.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably winning the state championship during my freshman year.”
Role model: “Probably my father, just because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have even touched a basketball and wouldn’t even be close to where I am today. Same with my mother.”
Why Maryland? “Because of the basketball, obviously, the Comcast Center is unbelievable and playing in the ACC. But also without a basketball in my hand, criminal justice, which is what I’ll major in, is the No. 1 program in the country. So that just topped it off right there.”

Click here for Torrington coach Tony Turina's take on Williams' commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:59 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

November 11, 2008

Meet James Padgett

When Brooklyn, N.Y., power forward James Padgett committed to Maryland in September, the reaction to his choice was surprisingly mixed.

“Some people congratulated me, but there were also haters saying it wasn’t a good idea,” Padgett said. “The ACC is probably the best conference and the ACC is a big-man conference. That’s every night. So they said I probably wouldn’t be able to handle that.”

Padgett, who picked the Terps over offers from Pittsburgh, Providence, St. John’s and West Virginia, said those who doubt his ability to make an impact in College Park just serve as motivation.

“People are going to criticize you no matter how far you go,” Padgett said. “You just have to take it. Even pros get criticized. ... It’s motivation to prove people wrong.”

Padgett said he’ll likely sign his letter of intent this week during a ceremony at his high school. He keeps in touch with UM assistants Chuck Driesell and Robert Ehsan on a regular basis. Both coaches gave Padgett simple instructions for his senior year.

“Just work hard and I’ll be able to contribute [next year],” Padgett said. “They can see me constantly improving.”

Here’s an introduction to Padgett.

Name: James Padgett
Birthdate: 4/21/91
Birthplace: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Nicknames: Padge
Height: 6-8
Weight: 220
Position: Power forward
High School: Lincoln (N.Y.) High School
Junior statistics: Approximately 11 points, 10 rebounds per game, according to Lincoln coach Dwayne "Tiny" Morton
Rankings: Scout.com -- Four stars, No. 21 center. Rivals.com -- Three stars.
Runner-up: Pittsburgh
Favorite NBA player: LeBron James, Kevin Garnett, Chris Paul
Favorite music: Ne-Yo, 2Pac, Chris Brown
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite movie: Repos starring Master P
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Fried chicken
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: “It’s like it’s own little city.”
Hobbies: “Basketball, basketball and basketball”
Intended major: Accounting
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a good guy.”
Best basketball moment: “[Winning the] state championship [last season].”
Role model: “Myself.”
Why Maryland? “It’s in the ACC so there’s a lot of exposure. And I feel like I’ll be able to contribute and play soon. I’ve just got to work hard.”

Click here for Morton's take on Padgett's commitment to Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:55 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

November 10, 2008

Weekend wrap -- O'Brien leads team to conference title

Terps quarterback recruit Danny O’Brien directed East Forsyth (N.C.) to a 31-6 win over High Point Central on Friday.

The win clinched the conference championship for the Eagles.

East had 264 yards of total offense. O'Brien completed 7 of 10 passes for 97 yards and two touchdowns and he also ran for 65 yards. Smith displayed his versatility with a scoring run and a touchdown catch to go with 63 rushing yards.

• Maryland running back commitment Caleb Porzel helped Good Counsel (10-0) to a 44-0 rout of Archbishop Carroll (D.C.). Porzel caught a nine-yard touchdown pass and rushed for 52 yards and two touchdowns.

After stopping Carroll without a first down, GC got the ball back in Lions territory at the 49. [Tyler] Campbell hit Jelani Jenkins with a screen pass, and Jenkins rumbled down to the 3-yard line with a crowd-pleasing run. On the next play, Caleb Porzel took Campbell’s pitch-out to the right and outran the Carroll defender to the pylon for the first of his three touchdowns for the game.

D.J. Adams powered his Norcross (Ga.) team to a 17-3 win over Collins Hill.

Maryland-bound Adams handled the bulk of the load on offense for Norcross (8-2, 6-2) by carrying the ball 28 times for 149 yards, upping his season total to 1,340 yards.

Dave Stinebaugh’s 65-yard interception return for a touchdown was the difference in Perry Hall’s 21-14 win over Milford Mill.

Stinebaugh gave the Gators the lead for good in the third quarter, catching a tip pass off the hands of Milford Mill wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro and returned it the other way.

• UM linebacker commitment Darin Drakeford helped Roosevelt (D.C.) to a 26-14 win over Woodrow Wilson. Drakeford recorded five solo tackles, four assists and one sack, while catching a 43-yard touchdown pass and rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

• Maryland linebacker/defensive end commitment Isaiah Ross led the Eleanor Roosevelt defense in the Raiders’ 45-12 win over Laurel.

Isaiah Ross had nine tackles and a sack and Archie Timmons had eight to pace the Roosevelt defense.

Nick Ferrara accounted for five points in St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) 31-14 win over St. Francis Prep.

Down 7-0 going into the second quarter, the Friars were looking for a spark after losing their leader in the first. Nicholas Ferrara got things started with a 38-yard field goal.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:18 AM | | Comments (2)
        

November 8, 2008

Dunbar's Spence making trips

It’s still early in his recruitment, but Dunbar point guard Corey Spence should have no shortage of options.

Spence, a 5-11 junior, averaged about 9.5 points per game last year. He spent the summer with the D.C. Blue Devils AAU program, and played to high acclaim at the Hoop Group Elite Camp in New Jersey.

Villanova, Howard, Norfolk State, Delaware, Lehigh, Morgan State and Towson have all expressed interest so far, according to Anthony Spence, Corey’s father. Two weekends ago, the father-son pair took a trip to Philadelphia.

“We went up to Villanova [for Midnight Madness],” Spence said. “They called us up. We enjoyed it.”

This weekend the Spences are scheduled to visit Howard unofficially. The remainder of the fall will probably be spent making other unofficial visits, but for Spence, recruiting won’t really heat up until the winter.

“This is going to be the big year for him,” Anthony Spence said. “Corey’s in the 11th grade, but he’s a young 11th grader. He’s still 15. So we’re going to wait everything out. We’ve got this school year and next summer.”

Spence said coaches have described his son as “a true point guard who can actually score.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:18 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 7, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Terps linebacker commitment Ryan Donohue and his St. Joseph (N.J.) team will take on Don Bosco Prep at 8 p.m. tonight in a game televised on CBS College Sports. Donohue has led the Green Knights to a 7-0 record.

They are led by a pair of Division I linebackers, headlined by Maryland-bound Ryan Donohue, a 6-1, 220-pound senior who led the team in tackles last year (116) and does so again this season with 68.

“He’s sort of our quarterback out there on defense,” Karcich said. “He’s even bigger and stronger and faster than he’s been the last two years.”

Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin took a helicopter to Baltimore last week to see the Dunbar-Edmondson game, in part to check out Poets running back Tavon Austin. But despite Maryland’s efforts, the Terps might be on the outside looking in for Austin. According to The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, Austin will visit North Carolina this weekend and could pick a school soon after.

Highly touted running back Tavon Austin from Dunbar High in Baltimore, Md., is scheduled to make an official visit to Chapel Hill for Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

Austin, a 5-9, 160-pounder, has narrowed his choices to the Tar Heels and Michigan. He’s expected to announce a decision soon after this weekend’s visit.

West Virginia is also a major contender for Austin’s services.

• Hoboken, N.J., defensive tackle Isaac Holmes told GatorCountry.com this week that he’s considering six schools.

There are quite a few schools out there who hope to land Holmes. The list includes Florida, Penn State, Maryland, Rutgers, Tennessee and Oklahoma.

“I’ve been talking to schools everyday,” he said. “Right now, I am focused on finding a school that has a great coaching staff and players that I want to be around. I need a place where I feel comfortable, because I am going to be there for the next four years.”

The Gazette spoke with cornerback Travis Hawkins and Quince Orchard head coach Dave Mencarini this week about Hawkins’ commitment to Maryland.

Last Tuesday, Oct. 28, Hawkins woke up and told Mencarini to set up an announcement ceremony.

"It's been weighing on him," Mencarini said. "It's hard for kids, especially kids like him who are highly recruited, being pulled and tugged in every direction. At some point they have to figure out what's important to them, and I think that's what he's been doing the last couple weeks."

Basketball recruiting

• Maryland received good news earlier this week when freshman forward Jin Soo Kim was declared eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse.

There were questions about some of the online courses Kim took while at home that precipitated a deeper inquiry by the Clearinghouse.

As recently as last week, The Washington Post reported that his eligibility was denied but the decision wasn't final. Maryland had until Thursday to appeal the decision and provide paperwork to verify the courses Kim took were legitimate.

• Former Terps center recruit Gus Gilchrist won his appeal with the NCAA this week, making him eligible to suit up for South Florida in mid-December. The Baltimore Sun’s Don Markus spoke with UM senior associate athletic director Kathy Worthington about the decision.

Worthington said that the explanation she was given for the NCAA's decision was that Gilchrist sat out a year's time between his stint at Maryland and the first semester at South Florida. It marks the first time in 17 cases that the NCAA has waived its transfer penalty for a men's basketball player, dating back to around 2000.

It might open the door for others to do the same, Worthington said.

• Maryland’s top point guard target for the class of 2010, Isiah Epps, visited another primary contender in his recruitment last weekend.

Isiah Epps, a four-star point guard from Plainfield N.J., attended the scrimmage while on a visit to Pitt. Epps (6-2, 170), also is considering Maryland, Rutgers and Seton Hall, is regarded as one of the top 10 point guards in the Class of 2010.

• One of Maryland’s top targets in the 2007 recruiting class, point guard Jai Lucas, has decided to transfer from Florida after a freshman season in which he averaged 8.5 points and 2.3 assists per game. Lucas spoke to KentuckySports.com about his plans for picking a new school.

First, he said, he wanted to play "somewhat close to home." He's from Houston. Does that mean Oklahoma State, his older brother John's alma mater and one of Jai's finalists two years ago, might be in prime position?

Lucas said it was "really difficult" being in Gainesville, Fla., and far from home.

Note: Jeff Ermann of TurtleSportsReport.com passes along the following -- Inside the Shell magazine’s basketball preview issue, which includes an ACC recruiting breakdown, is almost ready to ship. Click here for more info.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:06 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 6, 2008

Meet Essence Townsend

Essence Townsend was searching for a basketball program that felt like family.

When the 6-foot-7 center from Paterson (N.J.) Catholic visited College Park last month, she found what she was looking for. Townsend committed to the Terps before returning to New Jersey.

“It really is like [a family]. I can go to any coach,” Townsend said. “Coach [Brenda Frese] told me she would be there for me regardless of basketball. It’s like those are my sisters already. It’s kind of cool to feel that way about a school when you just met those people.”

Townsend’s mother died when she was in fifth grade. Last year, her great aunt and guardian, Mary Jane Townsend, also passed away. She now lives with her aunt, Glenda Townsend, and her nine-year-old cousin.

Townsend said leaving her aunt behind will be tough. But it’s comforting that she’s going from one family to another, with her aunt’s full support.

“She really likes the school and thinks it was a good fit for me. She can see me being there,” Townsend said. “I spoke to her actually before I committed. And she said she’s behind me 100 percent.”

Here’s an introduction to Townsend.

Name: Essence Townsend
Birthdate: 3/23/90
Birthplace: Paterson, N.J.
Hometown: Paterson, N.J.
Nickname: E
Height: 6’7
Position: Center
High School: Paterson (N.J.) Catholic
Junior statistics: 10.5 points, 10 rebounds and 8.5 blocks
Other schools considered: Pittsburgh, Miami, Seton Hall
Favorite pro basketball player: Lisa Leslie, Candace Parker
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Sparks
Favorite music: Usher
Favorite book: Forged by Fire by Sharon Draper
Favorite movie: Love and Basketball
Favorite TV show: Lincoln Heights
Favorite food: Soul food
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: Varsity Grille
Hobbies: “I like to play basketball, go shopping and hang out with my friends.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “That I’m afraid of the dark.”
Best basketball moment: “My first dunk in a high school basketball game.”
Role model: “My great aunt, Mary Jane Townsend.”
Why Maryland? “Because it’s a home away from home. I felt welcome there. I felt comfortable.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:03 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

November 5, 2008

City's Latham discusses commitment to Xavier

During the eight-hour drive from Baltimore to Cincinnati, City College forward Jordan Latham drifted in and out of sleep, talking occasionally about his upcoming trip.

Latham was riding to Xavier University for an unofficial visit with his parents, Orlando and Rhonda Latham, brothers Orlando Jr., and Myles, and City assistant Phil Hahn. Along the way, there was some discussion of whether the 6-foot-8, 220-pounder would commit to the Musketeers.

“It was a 50/50 thing,” Latham said. “At the time, I knew I really wanted to [commit], but I was going to hold back on committing. But as I went there, I really had a close relationship with [Xavier head coach Sean Miller], and all I had to do was see how I liked the campus. So I [thought I] might as well commit. It’s a good program and a good fit for me.”

jordanlatham.jpg

Latham pledged to the Musketeers on Sunday, picking XU over Oregon State, Penn State, Richmond and Virginia Tech.

On the trip, Latham met with academic advisors, toured the campus, watched a practice and spoke with the coaching staff, athletic director and several players. He committed before driving back to Baltimore.

Latham, who averaged approximately eight points, eight rebounds and five blocks per game as a sophomore, was comforted by the 10-year contract extension signed by Miller last spring. Latham said Miller and assistant coach Emanuel Richardson reminded him of the staff at City.

“Both of them are similar to my high school coaches now, coach Mike Daniel and Tony Biggers,” Latham said. “[With Richardson and] coach Bigg, I can really talk to them about anything. ... Coach Miller, he sounds like coach Mike. He’s real easy-going. He likes to win. I also talk to him about anything. He was real excited that I was interested in the school. That made it all the better.”

Latham said he’s excited to join a program that has reached three straight NCAA tournaments and won back-to-back Atlantic 10 regular-season championships. The No. 3-seeded Musketeers made it to the Elite Eight last season, knocking off Georgia, Purdue and West Virginia before falling to No. 1-seed UCLA in the West Region final.

Before Latham returned to Baltimore on Sunday, word had spread of his commitment.

“A lot of people already knew that I committed,” Latham said. “My parents called a lot of people from the city to tell them I committed. Everybody [at school] was real excited because [City small forward] C.J. Fair had committed to Syracuse. By me committing, it was a real big thing.”

Latham said he probably won’t make it back to Cincinnati this year, but hopes to catch the Musketeers on the road at St. Joseph’s or Richmond. Latham said he’ll use his two remaining seasons of high school basketball to prepare for his eventual arrival at XU.

“I think they can expect a real nice player,” Latham said. “By the time I get there, I should be much more explosive. My jump shot should be a lot better. I’ll be a real nice player they can watch and cheer for. I think I’ll be a real good fit for the program.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Jordan Latham by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 19, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:13 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 4, 2008

John Carroll's Philmore picks Towson

John Carroll senior Isaiah Philmore will stay in Maryland for college.

Philmore, a 6-7 swing forward, committed to Towson on Sunday, picking the Tigers over offers from George Washington, Oklahoma State, South Florida, Providence, St. Joseph’s, Temple, UMass, Central Florida and Michigan.

isaiahphilmore.jpg

“I think it’s a great opportunity for him to be an impact student-athlete in their program,” John Carroll head coach Tony Martin said. “He can stay home, be close to his family and still get a quality education.”

Martin said Philmore, a three-star prospect, was intrigued by playing for a local program that has recently had a good deal of success on the recruiting trail.

“Well I definitely think they expect him to come in with [center recruit] Erique Gumbs, one of his AAU teammates [on the Delaware Sharpshooters],” Martin said. “[Philmore] felt the two of them along with [Mount Carmel graduate and freshman point guard] Troy Franklin in place and [junior guard] Josh Thornton and some other good players in the program can really start to turn this thing around. They definitely expect him to have an immediate impact as a freshman.”

Philmore led John Carroll in scoring as a junior, averaging 18.3 points per game in leading the Patriots to a 20-12 record. Martin said Philmore’s an energetic player who’s still expanding his game.

“Everything starts with his motor,” Martin said. “He’s such a high-energy kid. He’s extremely competitive and he refuses to lose. I think that he’ll bring that to any team he goes to and elevate his intensity level. Skill-wise, he’s evolving into a very good outside-in player. He’s always been an inside-out player. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to do his thing as a senior.”

Philmore joins Gumbs, Philadelphia shooting guard Will Adams and Montverde (Fla.) Academy power forward Nick Diatta as part of Towson’s 2009 recruiting class.

Photo of Isaiah Philmore courtesy of John Carroll.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:36 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 3, 2008

Weekend wrap -- Stinebaugh steps up

Maryland tight end commitment Dave Stinebaugh caught three passes for 81 yards and accounted for 18 points in Perry Hall’s 35-6 win over Catonsville.

University of Maryland-bound David Stinebaugh returned fumbles of 1, and, 5 yards for touchdowns, and caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Davonta Farrell, who threw for 121 yards and also ran for 148 more and two 1-yard touchdowns ... on Friday night.

• Terps quarterback commitment Danny O’Brien led his East Forsyth (N.C.) squad to a 38-31 overtime win over Greensboro Grimsley.

O'Brien and fellow seniors Christian Smith and Ian Thompson came up big for East in their final regular-season home game. O’Brien rushed for 97 yards on 15 attempts, including two rushing touchdowns. He also passed for 214 yards and one touchdown, while completing 16 of 31 passes.

Caleb Porzel rushed for two touchdowns on Saturday, helping Good Counsel to a 45-0 rout of Gonzaga (D.C.).

On the drive, Caleb Porzel gained 30 of his game-high 85 rushing yards, and caught a quick pass from Tyler Campbell for 8 yards. GC scored when Campbell hit EJ Scott for a 16-yard touchdown. It was on a pass over the middle, which Scott caught around the 10-yard line, and with a hesitation and shake-and-bake move, reached the end zone untouched. GC led 21-0. On Gonzaga’s third play of the next drive, the quarterback tried to make a throw while being sacked by Troy Gloster. Chris Pitsenberger was there for the interception and the Falcons were deep in Gonzaga territory at the 14. Two runs by Caleb Porzel, and GC got back on the board with a 28-0 lead. Porzel’s touchdown run was 9 yards.

• Linebacker recruit Darin Drakeford recorded four solo tackles, three assists and one sack, while also rushing for 53 yards on three carries and catching a 15-yard touchdown pass in Theodore Roosevelt's 42-6 loss to Friendship Collegiate Academy (D.C.).

Isaiah Ross contributed to Eleanor Roosevelt’s defensive efforts in the Raiders’ 46-6 rout of Bowie.

Chris Graves led the Raiders' defense with seven tackles, and Isaiah Ross added five tackles and an interception.

• Maryland’s newest commitment, Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins, made his return to the lineup in QO’s 28-14 win over Northwest.

Quince Orchard senior RB/CB Travis Hawkins, who sprained his ankle two weeks ago, returned last night on defense only and could be back on offense for the playoffs.

• Terps linebacker commitment Bradley Johnson found the end zone once in Dinwiddie’s 55-28 win over Hopewell (Va.).

Sam Haskins, Mark Beville and Bradley Johnson also chipped in with TD receptions from the ultra-efficient [Adam] Morgan..

Nick Ferrara went 6-for-6 on extra points in St. Anthony’s 42-27 win over Mount St. Michael (N.Y.).

• UM linebacker recruit L.A. Goree caught a 50-yard pass in C.H. Flowers’ 20-14 overtime win over Suitland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:10 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 2, 2008

Hawkins discusses commitment to Maryland

Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins had no shortage of options for college.

Rivals.com’s No. 199 player in the class of 2009 had offers from Penn State, Michigan, West Virginia and numerous others. But it was an official visit to Oregon last month that really put things in perspective for the four-star player.

“The facilities [were great], the coaches were cool and the players were cool, but it was just too far [from home],” Hawkins said. “It was my dream school and everything, but I felt like I would never see my mom.”

Cheryl Hawkins wasn’t shy about extolling the virtues of Maryland to her son. On Thursday, Hawkins granted his mother’s wish, committing to the Terps in front of friends, family and teammates at a news conference at Quince Orchard High School.

“I just woke up and really got tired of the recruiting process,” Hawkins said. “I could’ve went anywhere, but my mom wanted me to stay close. I can see my family whenever; if I was too far away I wouldn’t be able to do that. That’s one of the key factors [for how] I decided on Maryland.”

There were actually rumors Hawkins had committed to the Terps back in August, along with Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel. Porzel had, in fact, made his decision, but Hawkins wasn’t quite ready.

“I mean we talked about it before he committed,” Hawkins said. “I told him to let me know if he was going to commit; I told him to call me. My phone was turned off, so I guess he couldn’t reach me. He pulled the trigger when I was in Florida. Somehow that started some rumor. ... But now we’re both Terps, so he’s happy and I’m happy.”

Hawkins has been friends with Porzel since the two played little league football together. Hawkins and future UM defensive tackle Zach Kerr helped lead Quince Orchard to the 4A state title last season. Both relationships were positives for Maryland in Hawkins’ mind, as was his friendship with one current Terp.

“I’m real cool with [freshman running back] Davin Meggett,” Hawkins said. “When I go down there for the Florida State game, he’ll be my host and he’ll show me a good time. And he’s producing on the field as a true freshman, and that’s something I feel I can go in and do.”

Maryland coaches first started recruiting Hawkins after his sophomore season as a running back. Between then and now, Hawkins developed into the 19th-ranked cornerback in the country. That’s the position he’ll play in College Park, with the possibility of the occasional appearance at wide receiver.

Hawkins sprained his ankle two weeks ago, and has eased his way back into the Quince Orchard lineup. He’s focused now on regaining full health and helping QO defend its state championship. Then in December, he’ll graduate high school and enroll at UM in January.

“I feel like there’s a lot of weight off my shoulders,” Hawkins said. “I’m going to work hard and get that defense fired up to go out there and get shutouts every week.”

Click on the You Tube player for highlights from Hawkins’ junior season.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:31 AM | | Comments (3)
        

November 1, 2008

Kim's NCAA status; Kazemi picks Rice

Maryland freshman Jin Soo Kim received disappointing news from the NCAA Clearinghouse yesterday.

According to The Washington Post’s Steve Yanda, Kim was not approved by the Clearinghouse, making him ineligible by NCAA standards. Maryland has one more shot an appeal. Click here for Yanda’s explanation of the situation.

• According to Zags Blog, Patterson (N.C.) School forward Arsalan Kazemi committed to Rice yesterday. Kazemi chose the Owls over Maryland and Seton Hall.

“I notified Maryland and I notified Seton Hall,” said Anthony Ibrahim, Kazemi’s adviser who lives in Texas. “We canceled the visit to Maryland.

“The young man took the visit [to Rice] and he fell in love with the school and said they did a great job. They showed him they needed him bad. He loved the school, the campus. He liked the guys on the team and he said, ‘I want to be an Owl.’”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:40 AM | | Comments (7)
        
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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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Area high school commitments -- 2009
Area high school commitments -- 2008
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