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December 31, 2008

Meet Bennett Fulper

This is part of a series of 2009 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 4. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Bennett Fulper
Birthdate: July 26, 1990
Birthplace: Gretna, Va.
Hometown: Gretna, Va.
Nicknames: Bubba
Height: 6’5
Weight: 295
Position: Center
High School: Gretna High School
Bench max: 350
40-yard dash: 5.2
Runner-up: Virginia or Liberty
Other schools considered: James Madison, Appalachian State, Virginia Tech, William & Mary
Favorite NFL player: Peyton Manning
Favorite NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman
Favorite book: Meat Market by Bruce Feldman
Favorite TV show: SportsCenter
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: “I liked all the academic opportunities at Maryland and I like the football."
Other high school sports: Track and field (shot put and disc)
Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, pickup basketball
Intended major: Engineering
Something that not many people know about you: “I like to play ping pong. [Maryland fans] probably don’t know that.”
Best football moment: “Winning the state championship last year. We beat Gate City.”
Role model: “Probably my father just because he’s a hard worker and has always been there for me. He pushes me to do well in everything I do.”
Why Maryland? “It’s a good football team and I really like the coaches. I felt I had a connection with all of them. And I really like the academic opportunities they had.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit

Fulper discusses Maryland pledge

As Bennett Fulper and his family sat down to watch Maryland play in the Humanitarian Bowl last night, there was a moment of disbelief for the Gretna, Va., offensive lineman.

For the 6-foot-5, 295-pounder, who committed to the Terps last Monday, it was a realization of just how far he had come as a player.

“Yeah that was kind of my thought, knowing I could be up there in a couple of years,” Fulper said. “They did pretty good.”

Fulper was offered by Maryland in the beginning of November. He visited unofficially for the North Carolina State game and made his official trip earlier this month.

“On the official visit, that’s when I kind of decided what I wanted to do,” Fulper said. “I wanted to not [commit] while I was there. I didn’t want to do it until I stepped back, looked at everything and took a good amount of time to measure out all the different things between different schools and evaluate everything.”

Fulper, who was named to the Virginia Group A all-state team, ended up choosing the Terps over Liberty, William & Mary, James Madison and Appalachian State, among others. Fulper was a rare Div. I prospect in Gretna, a town of about 1,300 in southern Virginia between Lynchburg and Danville.

Fulper, who will likely play center in College Park, said he’s looking forward to starting his Maryland career this summer.

“I’m going to try to be as smart as I can on the field and work as hard as I can during the offseason.”

Check Recruiting Report later today for Meet the Recruit with Bennett Fulper.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:47 AM | | Comments (0)

December 30, 2008

Season recap: Ryan Donohue

Maryland linebacker commitment Ryan Donohue started and ended his senior season at St. Joseph Regional High School in Montvale, N.J., with a flourish.

The 6-foot-2, 220-pounder was “a warrior” all year long, according to Green Knights coach Tony Karcich. It began with St. Joseph’s Week 1 game at Giants Stadium against St. Peter’s Prep, the No. 2-ranked team in New Jersey.

“They have a running back committed to Notre Dame (Nyshier Oliver) and we just shut the kid down totally. Ryan was a big part of that,” Karcich said. “The play that I remember was in the second half. It was a tight game and Ryan blitzed, but it was an audible blitz because in this formation ... we knew they liked to run the draw and Ryan saw it and called it.

“As soon as the kid touched the ball, he absolutely lit him up. It was a high tackle that decleated the kid. It was just a punctuation mark on the game. Final score, 14-0. That’s it; it’s over. I think because it was the first game of the year, you needed him to step up. That sort of stands out. Truthfully, I could go to every game and there was probably something he did that was a big play.”

The Green Knights’ Donohue-led defense stifled opposing offenses throughout the remainder of the season. St. Joseph suffered a Week 8 loss to Don Bosco Prep, but rebounded with three straight wins to earn a spot in the state championship game.

“The final game of the year he had 20 tackles in Rutgers Stadium against Immaculata. We secured our 11th state championship in the last 14 years,” Karcich said. “They had an outstanding tailback who’s also going to Notre Dame (Theo Riddick). In the big games, the kid stepped up.”

Donohue recorded a team-high 135 total tackles, along with one sack and one interception. He also rushed for 153 yards and three touchdowns on 32 carries, in addition to catching six passes for 53 yards and one score.

Donohue started his St. Joseph’s career as a sophomore running back on varsity. As a junior, he moved to fullback and started at inside linebacker. He played the same positions as a senior, before making the move on offense to tight end. Karcich said Donohue volunteered to play offensive guard later in the season when the need arose. He ultimately didn’t have to make that move to the line, but Karcich expects Donohue will have a similar attitude of doing whatever the coaches ask of him at Maryland.

“I think he’s a natural at inside linebacker,” Karcich said. “But because of his ability to run, I can see if they had a need they could have him as an outside linebacker. I could see him do that, too. The truth is, they may need a tight end or they may need a fullback. They recruited him as an inside linebacker, I believe, so that’s probably where he’ll go. But because of his athleticism and versatility, he could be utilized in various ways.”

Karcich said Donohue made major improvements throughout his career at St. Joseph. He wouldn’t be surprised if Donohue makes similar strides in College Park.

“He’s got a rare nose for the ball,” Karcich said. “What he did probably better [as a senior] was take on blockers better. I think because he got a little bigger and stronger, he was able to do that. Also, he’s a very disciplined type of kid that understands the game extremely well. ... The kid always steps up and that’s the sign of a great football player. In the big games and key situations, they step up.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:26 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps

December 29, 2008

Season recap: Nick Ferrara

Maryland commitment Nick Ferrara isn't your average kicker.

At, a Web site covering St. Anthony’s (N.Y.) High School football, Ferrara leads an online poll asking for the team’s MVP with 35 percent of the vote.

So there’s little if any exaggeration when St. Anthony’s coach Rich Reichert discusses his standout specialist.

“Oh, he was the best kicker we’ve ever had, and we’ve had some good kickers,” Reichert said. “There were a couple games where he was definitely the difference.”

His absence in the first game of St. Anthony’s season was a good example of the impact Ferrara had on his team.

“Against St. Joseph’s down in Philly, he had hurt his foot and didn’t play for us,” Reichert said. “We missed an extra point and didn’t have the field position that we got the rest of the season [with Ferrara kicking].”

The Friars lost, 7-6. Ferrara, 6 feet 1, 195 pounds, returned to the lineup the following week and stayed there for the rest of the season. He helped lead St. Anthony’s to a 9-3 record and a runner-up finish in the New York Catholic High School Football League.

On the season, Ferrara converted 14 of 16 field-goal attempts (including a 47-yarder) and 46 of 48 extra points. He set a St. Anthony’s record with 88 points and set a Long Island record with 14 field goals. Ferrara was named to Newsday's All-Long Island team.

According to Reichert, Ferrara’s impressive senior season went beyond his kicking statistics.

“On kickoffs, probably about 75 or 80 percent went into the end zone. He was really invaluable for us when it came to field position,” Reichert said. “There were so many games where he had such an influence. He had a perfect onside kick in one game, three field goals in another, pinning people inside the 20 [on punts]. He was really accepted by the whole team because he is a good athlete.”

Ferrara, who also served as St. Anthony’s scout team quarterback, made major improvements as the Friars’ punter.

“I thought his punting has gotten a lot better; [especially] his directional punting,” Reichert said. “He started working on all the little things. We always knew he had a great leg. He came up as a junior and did some directional punting and onside kicks. That’s what he really worked on between [his] junior and senior year.”

From what Reichert has heard, Ferrara could challenge for the punting job later in his Maryland career. But as a true freshman, Ferrara has a good chance to take over for Obi Egekeze as the Terps’ placekicker.

“Obviously he’s got to be able to handle the pressure,” Reichert said. “But I don’t see him having a problem with that. I think he’s as good as a lot of guys I see on TV right now.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:40 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps

December 28, 2008

Season recap: Cody Blue and Zach Kerr

Future Maryland linemen Cody Blue and Zach Kerr were able to see a sneak preview of their lives in College Park two months ago.

Blue and Kerr, both of whom signed with UM last February, traveled up to Maryland with their Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy football team to face the Terps’ junior varsity squad on Oct. 27.

According to Fork Union head coach John Shuman, both acquitted themselves well in the team’s 16-7 loss.

“They went up and competed pretty well and handled those guys pretty well,” Shuman said. “I think Kerr had four tackles for losses. Cody got in and batted down a few passes, had a sack. ... They’re going to be better [for their prep school experience] and their talent rose to the occasion against [Maryland].”

Blue, a Wilde Lake graduate, played both ways for FUMA.

“It wouldn’t shock me if he ended up being a great offensive lineman,” Shuman said. “He had a very good season at offensive tackle. ... He’s tall, lean, athletic. He reminds me of a guy we sent to Boston College a few years ago, Anthony Castonzo. He kind of looks like [Terps offensive tackle] Bruce Campbell. ... He’s a good, athletic guy, but he looks like an O-lineman.”

Kerr, who graduated from Quince Orchard last spring, was disruptive on the defensive line throughout Fork Union’s 5-4 season.

“He’ll be a nose guard,” Shuman said. “He needs to get himself in better condition. Once he does that he’ll be a very good defensive lineman.”

Shuman said both Blue and Kerr did well in acclimating themselves to Fork Union’s rigorous military academy lifestyle. Shuman expects this prep year to greatly benefit both future Terps.

“I think they’ll be way ahead,” Shuman said. “[They’ll] definitely [be] ahead of the incoming freshmen, just knowing what they went through. They’re way ahead. Everybody should do a prep year.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 26, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

The performance of several Maryland commitments was the main storyline of last Saturday's Maryland Crab Bowl.

Perry Hall tight end Dave Stinebaugh was one future Terrapin that earned rave reviews for his play.

Dave Stinebaugh, who is headed to Maryland when he graduates, showed his athleticism and versatility as he lined up at tight end, split end, slot receiver, and was also the punter. The 6-foot-4, 220 pound Stinebaugh held his own in run blocking, however the stats won’t show it as the team only rushed for a total of 15 yards. The highlight of Stinebaugh’s day was a 2-yard touchdown grab, as he hooked up with quarterback Kevin Fulton to bring his team to within two points at the end of the first half. Dave punted the ball four times, averaging 29.8 yards per punt, with a long of 35-yards.

• UM running back commitment D.J. Adams enjoyed his recent visit to College Park, even though his future teammates shared a few laughs about Adams' Southern accent.

“Up north, they’ve kind of got weird lingo,” Adams said. “And just the little things we say down here, they were cracking on me. ... we’ll get past that part.”

• Atco, N.J., athlete Ka’lial Glaud spoke with recently about his official visit to College Park.

Glaud's most recent visit was to Maryland on Dec. 12. "It was cool," he said. "It was different from Iowa and West Virginia because it's in the city. We got to go into DC and hang out in the ESPN Zone and there's a lot to do there.

"I also think that Maryland is still getting better," he said. "They had a pretty nice season but I think they'll be real good next year."

• Rock Hill, S.C., tight end Asa Watson has the Terps in his final three.

Shrine Bowl TE Asa Watson (6-3 216) of Rock Hill has picked up offers from Duke, NC State and Maryland. Watson, the brother of New England Patriots tight end Ben Watson, has taken an official visit to Duke and will visit Maryland January 10th and NC State January 17th. He doesn't have a favorite. This season Watson had 20 catches for 450 yards and one touchdown.

• Quince Orchard defensive end Jason Ankrah announced his commitment to Nebraska on Sunday.

"It was just what I saw when I went there," he said. "It felt like home, like another home."

Ankrah said he picked Nebraska over Maryland, Michigan and about 15 other schools. He is rated as the nation's 26th-best defensive end by and the 10th-best by Both recruiting services tabbed Ankrah a four-star recruit.

Basketball recruiting

• Terps power forward signee Jordan Williams had a big game in Torrington’s 60-44 loss to Sacred Heart (Conn.) on Tuesday night.

Though he says he is trying to play every game the same way, [Sacred Heart’s Josh] Turner admitted that he needed to elevate his game against Torrington and 6-foot-10 center Jordan Williams, who is headed to the University of Maryland.

Williams scored a game-high 30 points with 14 rebounds and five blocked shots. Overall, the Red Raiders had trouble getting the ball inside to their best option, with Corey Andrews defending Williams well in the post.

• UM power forward recruit James Padgett turned in a solid in performance in Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln’s 68-56 loss to Westchester (Calif.) on Tuesday.

Maryland-bound James Padgett, who is nursing a sore ankle, had nine of his 15 points in the first half and he shot 7-of-7 from the field in the game.

“I was happy with everybody in the first half, especially Padgett,” [Lincoln head coach Dwayne] Morton said. “He’s injured, but he’s the only one not giving me no bull. He’s injured; he’s trying to run. I’m happy with Padgett, happy he played the whole tournament.”

• UM point guard target Isaiah Epps guided Plainfield (N.J.) to a 64-61 win over East Side this week.

Junior guard Isaiah Epps' 3-pointer in overtime proved the difference as Plainfield improved to 2-0.

Epps finished with 22 points, seven assists and seven steals, while sophomore Tyrone Johnson added 14 points for the Cardinals.

• Maryland junior shooting guard target Taran Buie helped his Albany, N.Y., school to a win earlier this week.

Taran Buie scored 16 points, and Bishop Maginn remained unbeaten with a 69-63 Big 10 triumph over rival Christian Brothers Academy Tuesday night.

• UM junior forward prospect Tobias Harris will be out of commission for the next several weeks.

“Tobias suffered torn ligaments in his ankle,” his father, Torrel, said. “Tobias will be out 6-8 weeks and in a cast for 2-3 weeks as these ligaments heal.

Harris injured the same ankle during the summer and was not able to play in the Reebok All-American Camp All-Star game as a result.

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

December 25, 2008

Ex-Parkville standout finds a home

Signing Day 2007 came and went for Kwame Johnson without any fanfare.

The senior cornerback/wide receiver from Parkville had put together a solid senior season, helping the Knights to a playoff berth and constantly showcasing his well-known track speed on kick returns

But the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder had no scholarship offers to choose from on that February day almost two years ago.

“I mean it was kind of a sad day,” Johnson admitted.

When Signing Day 2009 rolls around in a few weeks, however, there will be a decidedly different feeling for Johnson. After two seasons at Valley Forge Military Academy, a junior college in Wayne, Pa., Johnson was offered a scholarship by Temple. He orally committed to the Owls last week and will sign a Letter of Intent on Feb. 4.

“It’s almost overwhelming,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t see myself at this point two years ago. I mean there was a point that I didn’t think I’d be playing college football, but that was my dream so I just kept at it.”

Johnson’s transformation from an unrecruited high school football standout to a Division I recruit was anything but sudden.

His journey from Baltimore County to Temple started after that uneventful Signing Day two years ago. Johnson refocused his attention on track with great results. He was named to The Sun’s All-Metro Boys Track team in 2007 after winning the state title in the 200-meter with a time of 21:55.

But despite all his track success, no big schools came calling for his services. Johnson attributed the absence of attention to two factors: a lack of knowledge about the recruiting process and an admittedly sub par academic record.

“I definitely wish I could do everything over ... in high school,” Johnson said. “I kind of put myself in a bad situation as far as getting into college.”

From that point on, Johnson became proactive. It started with him sending his football highlights to several junior colleges and prep schools. He received responses from Alfred (N.Y.) State College, Dean (Mass.) College, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy and Valley Forge Military Academy. Valley Forge, an all-male military academy, emerged as the best possibility.

“It was just the perfect fit,” Johnson said. “Prep school , it wouldn’t work out as far as my grades. I still wouldn’t be NCAA eligible after a year of prep school . At Valley Forge, I was close with the coach, so it was perfect.”

The transition from Parkville to a military academy wasn’t easy at first.

“When I first got there it was pretty hard,” Johnson said. “The first six weeks of the plebe system you really can’t contact your family. But it just helped me focus more. There were no distractions like in high school.”

Johnson’s two-year stint at Valley Forge was a complete success. He improved his focus on academics and performed particularly well in his criminal justice courses. In recruiting, six schools contacted Johnson before this season. As a sophomore, Johnson estimated that he recorded 32 tackles, 10 pass breakups and two interceptions.

After Valley Forge’s 4-3 season, Johnson concentrated on recruiting. He made an official visit to Temple earlier this month and was impressed with everything the school had to offer.

Johnson expects to compete for a spot at cornerback and possibly return kicks as well. In the classroom, Johnson said he’ll likely continue his studies in criminal justice. He'll graduate from Valley Forge in May and then join the Owls in Philadelphia.

Two years ago, Johnson didn’t think Div. I football was a possibility for him. But after two years of competitive junior college football, a newfound focus on academics and a little military-style discipline, Johnson has finally realized his goals.

“You can never let anybody tell you what you can’t do,” Johnson said. “You just have to keep working toward your dreams and work hard.”

Click on the YouTube player for Johnson’s senior highlights from Parkville.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:22 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

December 24, 2008

Season recap: Bradley Johnson

Maryland linebacker commitment Bradley Johnson has always been a lead-by-example football player.

So when Johnson spoke, his teammates listened, Dinwiddie (Va.) head coach Billy Mills said.

The opportunity to be more vocal presented itself during Dinwiddie’s Week 6 game against Dale (Va.) High School, with the Generals down 29-24 in the fourth quarter.

“Bradley’s a real quiet kid; he rarely ever talks,” Mills said. “In that moment, we were kind of looking at a loss. But the defense stepped up. ... It wasn’t a bunch of rah-rah stuff. Bradley just grabbed them and said, ‘Look, this [is] what we’re going to do.’ He had so much respect for the rest of the players and they just fed off of him. It wasn’t a bunch of screaming and yelling. He just told them that was enough. That’s not who they are. Lets start playing Dinwiddie football.”

After Johnson’s motivational stand, the Generals defense held strong, forced a turnover that led to a score and an eventual 32-29 win.

On the season, Johnson recorded 124 tackles, five tackles for loss, five pass breakups, four interceptions and two fumble recoveries. He helped Dinwiddie to a runner-up finish in the Virginia Group AAA, Division 5 playoffs.

According to Mills, Johnson was instrumental in transforming Dinwiddie into a renowned defensive power in Virginia.

“When I first came here in 2005, we had guys saying they want to play offensive line. Defense was unheard of here at this school,” Mills said. “That was hard to turn around the first couple of years. We didn’t stop anybody. But when Bradley started to emerge as a player, that was the difference.”

Johnson finished his Dinwiddie career with 299 total tackles. The Generals improved in each of his three years on the varsity, going from 3-7 to 9-2 to 12-2 as a senior.

Mills thinks Johnson has the size, experience and talent to potentially contribute to the Terps as a true freshman.

“Physically, he’s not going to need a redshirt year,” Mills said. “He’s strong enough, fast enough and big enough to go out there and play next year. I don’t know what they have ahead of him [in terms of] depth. I haven’t been looking into it a whole lot. But he’s somebody who can come in and play right away if they need him to.”

Mills said Johnson decided early for Maryland and never thought twice about the decision. The choice went beyond football, Mills said. He expects Terps fans will appreciate that commitment to school and sport.

“Bradley was in the bag early. He knew what he wanted to do,” Mills said. “It was pretty heated among Maryland and Virginia Tech and West Virginia, but once Bradley made up his mind, it was over. Bradley didn’t want another letter. He just told me to throw them in the can. He’s solid in that. He knew where he wanted to go and I’m proud of him.

“Bradley’s not a kid going to Maryland just to play football. That’s not his only reason. He wanted to go for other reasons as well. He chose Maryland because of the academics and how [UM will set him up] after school and how Coach Friedgen was interested in him as a player and a person. Those kinds of things. That’s who Bradley is.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:07 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 23, 2008

Season recap: D.J. Adams

When Norcross, Ga., running back D.J. Adams committed to Maryland in July, he did so after considering offers from approximately 50 other schools.

So Adams’ successful senior season came as no surprise to Norcross head coach Keith Maloof.

“He did an outstanding job,” Maloof said. “He led us to the second round of the playoffs and was the running back of the year for a system that had 18 high schools in it. He’s playing in the North-South All-Star game. ... And that’s why he had over 50 offers; because he can do things at a different level than other kids. He did some great things throughout the whole year.”

Adams rushed for 1,584 yards and 14 touchdowns on 257 carries. He helped Norcross to an 8-4 record.

Maloof said opposing defenses keyed on Adams, but rarely proved successful in stopping him.

“I just think over the course of the year, when you’re a top-notch player and you step on the field and the whole defense is watching you, to be able to still give what you give and still rush for over 1,500 yards and score 14 touchdowns is pretty amazing.”

Maloof thinks Adams’ 5-foot-10, 215-pound frame and power running style makes him well prepared to handle the jump from high school to college.

“He can handle the pounding that a lot of kids can’t handle,” Maloof said. “With his physical [stature], weighing 215 and being as strong as he is, the biggest thing right off the bat is to be ready. ... He’s going to have a chance to play right when he walks in the doors. I think that’s what excited him about Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:22 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Season recaps

December 22, 2008

Maryland picks up DB commitment

Maryland went into Virginia for its most recent verbal commitment.

Falmouth, Va., defensive back Dexter McDougle, 5 feet 11, 180 pounds, pledged to the Terps on Saturday, according to

“It was my first official visit and I went to Maryland,” he said. “They showed me around, showed me the educational opportunities which are real important to me. They aren’t just worried about me as a football player, but also as a person. They care about me and it’s a family thing there. I figure I could help the program out. Plus, it’s not too far from home. That’s why I committed.”

McDougle missed most of his junior season due to injury. He rebounded as a senior, earning honorable mention All-Met honors from The Washington Post. McDougle was also selected to The Free Lance-Star’s first-team offense as a running back.

McDougle, who helped Stafford Senior High School to a 5-5 record, chose Maryland over Virginia Tech.

Click on the You Tube player for McDougle’s senior highlights.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:30 PM | | Comments (0)

Season recap: Marcus Whitfield

Marcus Whitfield had proved he was a Division I recruit at tight end as a junior at Northwest High School in Germantown.

But when the 6-foot-3, 220-pounder committed to Maryland last summer as a linebacker -- a position he hadn’t played before -- Whitfield had to go out and prove himself all over again.

According to Northwest head coach Andrew Fields, Whitfield accomplished that mission, in addition to raising his profile offensively.

“Marcus performed exactly how we thought he would offensively,” Fields said. “He was our leading receiver and did a great job keeping the defense focused on him. ... It was the first year he played defense ... and he ended up a dominant defensive player. He made huge strides each week. By Week 10 and 11, he was really just a very confident guy flying around the football field.”

Whitfield helped get Northwest (7-4) to the first round of the playoffs. On the season, he recorded 39 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Offensively, he caught 25 passes for 372 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing four times for 97 yards. Whitfield also punted 16 times for a 28.5-yard average.

Fields said Whitfield’s closing speed really stood out at outside linebacker.

“People would run a sweep or toss outside, maybe gain a step on him to the edge,” Fields said. “But on four or five occasions, you could see exactly why he’s a major Division I prospect. He would literally close on the ball carrier as if they were standing still. I would just think, ‘wow, I can’t believe he just made that tackle.’ It’s not that it’s a highlight-film type of tackle or hit. But just the recovery speed from being on the block, getting off the block and chasing the ball-carrier across the field amazingly quickly [stood out].”

Even though Whitfield’s played linebacker for just one season, the Maryland coaches have told Fields there’s a possibility that he could earn some immediate playing time.

“Well they’ve stated to me, and maybe it’s the company line because everybody says it, but he’ll have a chance to play as a freshman,” Fields said. “They lose a lot of guys to graduation. He’s already got the size at 220 pounds, and the speed -- he’s a legitimate 4.5 guy -- to step in and get some repetitions and have a chance at playing. They’re very excited about him and he’s very [excited about Maryland].”

Fields said he has no concerns whatsoever about Whitfield fitting in at College Park. He expects Whitfield to make a positive impact on and off the field.

“I would say expect a guy that’s going to be, first and foremost, a great kid and a great citizen,” Fields said. “He’s not going to be the guy that’s going to make [negative] headlines off the football field. He has his head on straight and makes good decisions. He’s a kid that’s going to come and punch in every day and work hard to get better. Ultimately, he’ll take every step he possibly can to make sure he and his teammates are prepared on Saturday afternoons.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:49 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 20, 2008

News and notes from the Maryland Crab Bowl

Despite Dunbar running back Tavon Austin's best efforts, the Baltimore all-star team suffered a 32-21 loss to Washington Saturday at the inaugural Maryland Crab Bowl at Towson University's Johnny Unitas Stadium.

Austin, Baltimore’s MVP, caught three passes for 105 yards (including an 81-yard touchdown) and returned two kicks for 98 yards, one of which he took back 84 yards for the score. He also rushed for 17 yards on five carries.

Click here for Sun reporter Rich Scherr’s complete wrap-up of the game.

Click here for the box score.

Recruiting news and notes from the Baltimore team

• Had there been a defensive MVP for the Baltimore team, Gilman defensive lineman Brandon Copeland would’ve been a good choice. The 6-foot-2, 267-pounder was a force in the middle, recording seven solo tackles, six assists, two sacks and three tackles for loss.

While it’s likely he’ll have more college options after the past week of practice and Saturday’s performance, Copeland already has several nice places to choose from.

“I just took my first official to Princeton last weekend and I liked that a lot,” Copeland said. “But I still want to look at Penn; I’m going to Penn on [January] 9th. ... I got two offers [this week], from Wofford and Northeastern."

Copeland listed those four schools in addition to Bucknell, Wake Forest, Brown and Cornell as schools he’s considering. After making a few more visits, Copeland said he hopes to make his decision sometime next month.

• Dunbar’s Horace Miller, the Baltimore City Defensive Player of the Year, contributed one solo tackle, two assists and half a sack. The UNLV-bound linebacker said he’s looking forward to his future in Las Vegas.

“They’re really bringing me in for the perfect position,” Miller said. “It’s a buck end, [which is a combination] defensive end and linebacker. They say basically that whole defense is built around the buck end.”

Miller, who recorded 133 tackles and 29 sacks as a senior, said he’s excited that Poets cornerback Courtney Bridget has also committed to the Rebels.

“That’s going to make it even more comfortable,” Miller said. “When you’re going to pick a college, all you want to do is feel comfortable. That’s why I chose UNLV.”

• Arundel wide receiver Alec Lemon already experienced his first college coaching change. The Syracuse commitment saw Orange head coach Greg Robinson fired in November and New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Doug Marrone hired several weeks later. Lemon said he’s visited with the new staff and he remains a solid commitment to SU.

“I feel like with a new coaching staff coming in, we can start the program up again, start all over,” Lemon said. “From what I heard, we’re supposed to run a spread no-huddle and that’s good for me.”

On Saturday, Lemon caught a 36-yard pass and threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to Tavon Austin off a reverse.

• More than a few recruiting analysts were reportedly impressed by Dunbar quarterback Jonathan Perry’s play during Crab Bowl practices this week. The 6-foot-2, 195-pounder felt he boosted his stock as well.

“I performed great in practice, but just OK when I was out there [on Saturday],” Perry said. “Even though it was an All-Star game, ultimately sitting out [and rotating with other quarterbacks] hurt me with the interception. But I’m a winner.”

Perry, who finished 5-of-11 for 49 yards passing and one pick, mentioned Liberty and Hampton as the two schools recruiting him the hardest. He’s also heard from Illinois and Connecticut, but said he’s primarily “focused on school” right now.

• Poly defensive tackle Arnold Farmer was his usual disruptive self, recording 2.5 solo tackles and three assists. On the recruiting front, the 6-foot-1, 306-pounder received some good news recently.

“In the last couple days Navy offered me. [Mids assistant] coach Joe Speed came down to my school and gave me an offer, so I’m happy about that," Farmer said. ... It just felt good to be wanted. This recruiting process has been real long and that was my first DI offer. I’m just thankful.”

Farmer said he plans on making an official visit to Annapolis sometime next month. He’s also considering Towson, Morgan State, James Madison, Shepherd (W.Va.) University and Albright (Pa.) College.

• Milford Mill quarterback Kevin Fulton directed Baltimore on a 7-play, 74-yard scoring drive in the second quarter, which ended with Fulton’s 2-yard touchdown pass to Perry Hall tight end and Maryland commitment Dave Stinebaugh. Fulton said he thought his performance (5-of-9 passing for 69 yards) proved to coaches that he can play quarterback in college.

“I hope this game boosts me up and gets me some looks to the next level,” Fulton said. “I think I can play [quarterback] at the next level.”

Fulton said he currently sports offers from North Carolina A&T and Lane College in Jackson, Tenn.

• Mount St. Joseph receiver/defensive back Renard Robinson is nearing the end of his recruitment. The 5-foot-11, 176-pounder will choose between two Football Championship Subdivision powerhouses.

“I’m down to two -- James Madison and Villanova,” Robinson said. “I’m going on my official visit on Jan. 10 to Villanova and then I’m going to make my decision. ... I’ve already been on my official to JMU and I loved it. Both schools have good academics and [football programs].”

Both schools are recruiting Robinson as a wide receiver and slot back.

• Baltimore head coach Lawrence Smith (Dunbar) singled out Fort Hill defensive end Caleb Morris and River Hill defensive tackle Sean Hull as under-the-radar recruits who improved their stock this week. Hull’s recruiting picture is still evolving.

“I’m talking to nearly every IAA school,” Hull said. “After this game I think I really put myself out there and hopefully that gets me some scholarships. Shepherd University, I’m going up there the 15th and 16th of January.”

Hull said he’s also being recruited by Mount Union, a Division III power in Alliance, Ohio.

• According to Smith, Poets running back Davon Muse could be close to receiving an offer from Central Michigan.

“[CMU started recruiting me] toward the middle of the season,” Muse said. “I’m going on my first visit there Jan. 15.”

Muse said the Chippewas are interested in him as a slot receiver.

• Dunbar wide receiver Sean Farr, who caught three passes for 50 yards, recently picked up an offer from East Carolina. Farr said he’s considering the Pirates, along with Akron and Eastern Michigan.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:56 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

December 19, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

With Maryland assistant Chuck Driesell on hand, Terps power forward signee Jordan Williams dominated in Torrington’s 81-38 win over Watertown (Conn.).

All-State center and top University of Maryland recruit Jordan Williams (39 points on 14-for-18 shooting, 17 rebounds, 5 steals) is going to leave that sort of impression on lots of teams this year.

“Williams was outstanding. What else can you say?” said Watertown coach Rico Brogna, whose team suffered through a 2-18 season last year, but showed lots of hustle and much more promise, despite the score, on Wednesday.

• Maryland head coach Gary Williams checked out junior point guard Isaiah Epps recently at a Plainfield (N.J.) High School scrimmage.

The team must also deal with the Division I prospects of its guards. University of Maryland head coach Gary Williams made an appearance at the Cardinals' scrimmage at Bridgewater-Raritan, presumably to take a look at Epps, who has also drawn interest from Pittsburgh and Georgetown.

• Albany, N.Y., shooting guard Taran Buie, a junior UM target, had another big game for Bishop Maginn High School this week.

Taran Buie scored 24 points, Shavar Fields had 14 points and nine rebounds and Bishop Maginn clamped down defensively in a 63-60 win over state heavyweight Long Island Lutheran Saturday at the Pioneer Classic in Poughkeepsie.

• UM junior power forward target Will Regan’s Nichols (N.Y.) team suffered a one-point loss to Niagara Falls.

Regan, the 6-foot-9 junior who is being recruited by major Division I schools, led Nichols with 21 points. He picked a great time to show off his outside range by hitting a three-pointer from the left side off an inbounds play to put Nichols up, 56-55, with 1:48 left.

• UM wing prospect Will Barton guided Lake Clifton to a 61-34 win over City on Tuesday.

Lake Clifton got 17 points from forward Will Barton, 15 from forward Cleveland Melvin and a collective shut-down performance on defense to come away with the surprisingly comfortable win. The Lakers improved to 4-0 this season, while City fell to 3-2.

• Maryland target Roscoe Smith led Walbrook to a 64-48 win over Douglass.

Roscoe Smith had 21 points and 14 rebounds as the Warriors (4-1) defeated the visiting Ducks. The junior had 11 points in the fourth quarter after sitting out the third with a minor injury.

• Maryland women’s commitment Alyssa Thomas reached a career milestone this week

Central Dauphin junior standout Alyssa Thomas reached the 1,000-point plateau for her career Wednesday night as the Rams shuffled past Mid-Penn Commonwealth rival CD East 62-43.

Thomas, a 6-1 forward who has a verbal commitment to play collegiately at the University of Maryland, finished with a game-high 27 points. She entered the tussle 10 points shy of 1,000 and reached the mark on a free throw with 4:23 remaining in the opening half.

Football recruiting

• DeMatha offensive tackle Pete deSouza, Good Counsel running back Caleb Porzel, Roosevelt (D.C.) linebacker/tight end Darin Drakeford, Quince Orchard cornerback Travis Hawkins and Eleanor Roosevelt defensive end Isaiah Ross, all Maryland commitments, were named to The Washington Post’s All-Met team earlier this week.

• Porzel has earned rave reviews for his speed this week at Maryland Crab Bowl practices.

Speed, Speed Speed

That is what jumps out immediately with this Washington Team. With a backfield of Devon Smith (PSU) and Caleb Porzel (Maryland) there is no doubt about the big play capability. Smith looks incredible with his vision and cutting ability without losing a step. Porzel adds a little more power and got behind the defense from slot receiver whenever he wanted it seemed.’s John Wallpher spoke with Gwynn Park defensive tackle Raynard Randolph, who commented on where the Terps stand in his recruitment.

Randolph: Maryland is home so they will always have a chance with me. I’m just starting the process where I will narrow things down and pay attention to the schools and what I want for the next four schools of my life so Maryland has a legitimate chance.

• Brooklyn, N.Y., offensive lineman Oday Aboushi withdrew his commitment to Boston College and is now considering the Terps.

He's considered by many analysts to be one of the nation's top 25 offensive-tackle recruits. He's still looking at BC, but he also is giving offers from U.Va., Maryland, Rutgers and Iowa serious looks, too. He has visits set up for Maryland and Rutgers.

• Woodbridge, Va., running back De’Antwan Williams committed to Rutgers on Sunday, picking the Scarlet Knights over Maryland, West Virginia, Alabama and Pittsburgh, according to The Washington Post.

The 5-foot-9, 208-pounder rushed for 1,950 yards and scored 32 touchdowns this season, leading the Vikings to an unbeaten regular season and the Virginia AAA Cardinal District championship.

Rutgers "really came after him and did everything they could do to get him," Woodbridge Coach Keith King said. "They couldn't have told him any more how much they wanted him. They won him over."

• Terps linebacker-defensive end pledge Isaiah Ross stepped in front of the camera this week for The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder conducted an entertaining video interview of other Maryland Crab Bowl participants that have committed to UM.

• The inaugural Maryland Crab Bowl is set to kickoff at 1 p.m. on Saturday at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. The Baltimore vs. D.C. all-star game will feature several Maryland commitments. Click here for more information. Check back on Sunday for notes from the game.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:22 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup

December 18, 2008

Dunbar's Bridget headed to UNLV

Courtney Bridget never thought football would take him across the country.

But that’s exactly what the sport has done for the senior cornerback from Dunbar.

Bridget, 6-3, 190 pounds, committed to UNLV last weekend on an official visit to the Las Vegas campus.

“I can’t even put it into words how happy I am,” Bridget said. “I’ll be playing for a program on the rise that was one game away from going to a bowl. They’re returning the most starters in the Mountain West conference next year. So I think they have a good shot to win that title. I just went out there and bonded with a couple of the other commitments. It was big and I felt at home.”


Photo caption: Bridget (right) intercepts a pass in front of Edmondson's Carroll Washington. Bridget returned the pick 102 yards for a touchdown. (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / October 31, 2008)

Bridget, who transferred to Dunbar from Calvert Hall before his senior season, helped the Poets to a 13-1 record and the 1A state championship. He recorded 73 tackles and 10 interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.

UNLV started recruiting Bridget about two months ago. Rebels defensive line coach Andre Patterson discovered Bridget while watching film of Poets linebacker Horace Miller.

“Coach Patterson asked Horace, ‘Who’s that No. 2?’ Horace, the next day at school, was like, ‘Coach Patterson wants to give you a call.’ It just happened from there. We stayed in contact. A week later I sent my highlight tape in. A week later Coach called and said they wanted to offer me a scholarship.”

Bridget was immediately impressed with Patterson’s background. The first-year coach at UNLV spent 10 seasons in the NFL coaching the defensive line. Bridget also liked the direction of the program under head coach Mike Sanford, and the staff’s plans for him upon arrival.

“They like me at corner,” Bridget said. “They need big, physical corners out west playing the pass [against teams like] Utah, BYU and TCU.”

Bridget will suit up for the Baltimore team at Saturday’s Maryland Crab Bowl at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. After officially finishing his high school football career, Bridget will be entirely focused on his future in Las Vegas.

“Everything just fell into place,” Bridget said. “Everything happened for a reason. There was a reason I didn’t get other IA scholarships. This was the place for me to be at. I’ll just go out there and represent Baltimore.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:12 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting

Season recap: Caleb Porzel

It took Good Counsel head coach Bob Milloy a matter of seconds to name the highlight of Maryland running back commitment Caleb Porzel's senior season.

“Well he scored three touchdowns in the first quarter of the DeMatha game on ESPN national TV,” Milloy said.

Porzel rushed for 139 yards on 15 carries, while also catching three passes for 47 yards that Thursday night in early October, leading the Falcons to 42-21 win over the Stags.

The 5-foot-8, 180-pounder, who was selected to The Washington Post’s All-Met team this week, finished his senior season with 1,152 yards and 16 touchdowns on 121 carries, nine catches for 81 yards and one score and two punt returns for touchdowns. He helped lead Good Counsel to an 11-1 record and a runner-up finish in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference.

Milloy wasn’t the least bit surprised by Porzel’s success.

“He did the same thing last year,” Milloy said. “He’s the real deal. He did everything we asked him to do. He really did.”

In Milloy’s opinion, it’s pretty simple what sets Porzel apart from other running backs.

“It’s his unbelievable speed,” Milloy said. “He was good from the first day. He’s just a very fast, hard-working kid. He had a very good career.”

Porzel will suit up for the D.C. team in Saturday’s Maryland Crab Bowl, a Washington vs. Baltimore All-Star game at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium. He’ll then focus on getting ready for his time in College Park. Milloy said he’ll be well received by the UM fans.

“He’s a very down-to-earth, friendly guy,” Milloy said. “He’s very popular. He’s always smiling. We’re going to miss him. He’s a wonderful, wonderful guy.”

Click here for video of Porzel.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:34 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 17, 2008

Cloud discusses commitment to Maryland

News of junior combo guard Natasha Cloud's commitment to Maryland last weekend traveled fast around the Cardinal O’Hara community.

This week, when Cloud, 6 feet, has walked the halls of her Springfield, Pa., high school, a common phrase has been repeated.

“All the guys, they always chant ‘Maryland’ when I walk down the hallway now. They’re like, ‘You’re a Terp, you’re a Terp.’ And I’m like, ‘Yep, I’m a Terp,’” Cloud said with a laugh.

Her in-school cheering section followed a round of applause last Saturday before Cardinal O’Hara’s game against Upper Dublin. Cloud had told her teammates and coaches before the game about her commitment to UM. When she walked into the gym, her teammates and several fans in the stands started clapping to acknowledge her choice.

“It meant a lot that they know [about my commitment] and they’re supportive of my decision,” Cloud said.

Cloud, who picked Maryland over offers from Ohio State, Miami, Pittsburgh, St. Joseph and Villanova, visited College Park earlier this fall with her parents. She said her family immediately felt comfortable on the campus.

“The whole staff is incredibly nice. They’re probably the sweetest people I’ve ever met,” Cloud said. “When we got up there, it was my mom and my dad and [Terps assistant] Tina Langley came out and greeted us and she gave us hugs. They’re very encouraging coaches, too.”

On the visit, Cloud, along with fellow Terps commitments Dara Taylor and Alyssa Thomas, were on hand to witness Maryland’s 88-65 win over UCLA.

Cloud said she was impressed with the Comcast Center crowd. The atmosphere reminded her of her high school experience on a larger scale. Cardinal O’Hara, the No. 6 team in the country per USA Today, won the Philadelphia Catholic League championship last season at The Palestra. Cloud thinks experiences like that will benefit her in College Park.

“I think [playing in front of big crowds is] going to get me ready for college,” Cloud said. “Being a big team, we get a lot of people at our games. I think I’ll be ready for it when I get to Maryland. [My high school experiences will] calm my nerves and help me be ready for that environment.”

Cloud’s focus for this season and next is on winning another Philadelphia Catholic League championship. But she said she’s relieved to have made her commitment and is excited for her arrival in 2010 to College Park.

“I’m going to work hard for the school and I’m going to work hard to bring a lot of wins and accomplishments back to Maryland.”

Click here for Cardinal O’Hara coach Linus McGinty’s take on Cloud’s commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:24 AM | | Comments (1)

December 16, 2008

Season recap: Danny O'Brien

The night before East Forsyth's game against Winston-Salem (N.C.) Reynolds last August, head coach Todd Willert was admittedly nervous.

It was the second game of the season, and East Forsyth’s starting tailback, Christian Smith, was out with an ankle injury. Before Willert was able to fall asleep, however, he received a comforting text message from Eagles quarterback and Maryland commitment Danny O’Brien.

“I’m up worrying about the game,” Willert said. “At about 11 o’clock that night, [O’Brien] texted me and said, ‘Coach, just give me the ball and I’ll run.’ He knew we needed to man up. So I slept a lot better after that.”

O’Brien delivered on his text-message proclamation, rushing for 148 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. He also threw for 71 yards and two scores on 4-of-9 passing, leading the Eagles to a 37-16 road win over Reynolds.

“At Reynolds, he really showed me a lot,” Willert said. “He gave the kids a lot of confidence.”

O’Brien,’s No. 37 pro-style quarterback, continued to be a dual threat throughout his senior season. The 6-foot-3, 200-pounder completed 117 of 235 passes for 1,640 yards, 16 touchdowns and six interceptions, while rushing for 780 yards and 11 scores on 160 carries.

“He did very well,” Willert said. “We went 12-2, made the third round of the playoffs and won a conference title. You can’t do that unless you have a real good quarterback. Like all football teams, the quarterback is usually the leader and Danny was great in the leadership role.”

Part of that leadership role was making up for Smith’s early-season absence by becoming East Forsyth’s top running threat. Willert said O’Brien embraced his role as a running quarterback.

“He’s more of a football-speed guy. He doesn’t have blazing speed at all; he’s maybe a 4.7 kid,” Willert said. “But he is an athletic quarterback. A lot of people thought he was a straight dropback passer, but we surprised a lot of people by running him. ... And he didn’t have any problem [with running the ball]. He just wanted to win. ... Once again, it was just a sign of leadership. He didn’t care how he did it. He just wanted to win.”

O’Brien’s success running the football complemented his improvement as a passer. Willert was impressed by O’Brien’s football IQ.

“He could read the defenses a lot better,” Willert said. “Having been in the offense another year, he knows the offense probably as good as me, if not better. It was like having another coach out there.”

Willert said O’Brien is looking forward to his arrival in College Park, where he’ll likely compete with Jamarr Robinson and classmate C.J. Brown for the starting quarterback job in 2010.

“Danny just wants to go up there and win. That’s one of the reasons he picked Maryland,” Willert said. “He felt he could go up there and win. And he likes the idea of competition. It’s something that will work very well for him.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:12 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Season recaps

December 15, 2008

Maryland women land Pa. combo guard

The Maryland women's basketball team received a commitment from combo guard Natasha Cloud on Friday.

Cloud, a junior at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Springfield, Pa., picked the Terps over offers from Ohio State, Miami, Pittsburgh, St. Joseph's and Villanova, among others.

“She’s a great athlete,” said Cardinal O’Hara head coach Linus McGinty. “At 6 feet, she can play the point; she plays it for us. She’s very unselfish. She likes to guard the other team’s best player. She’s a great rebounding guard. She’s been working on [shooting] threes and jump shots. She’s gotten better.”

McGinty said Cloud is an excellent teammate who plays with great energy. She’s an integral part of Cardinal O’Hara, which is currently ranked as the nation’s No. 6 team according to USA Today.

“I think she’s much more of a leader this year,” McGinty said. “She has a great grasp for the game and has great instincts. She can pass the ball and create her own shot as opposed to just making the easy pass.”

Cloud scored 12 points in her team’s 59-27 season-opening win over St. Hubert last week. As a sophomore, she averaged 6.5 assists per game.

Cloud’s commitment gives Maryland two verbal pledges for the 2010 class. Central Dauphin (Pa.) wing Alyssa Thomas committed to UM in October.

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:00 PM | | Comments (1)

Season recap: David Mackall

The senior season of Edmondson defensive end and Maryland commitment David Mackall wasn't without complication.

According to Edmondson head coach Dante Jones, Mackall battled through an injury throughout the majority of his season.

“He sprained his wrist probably Week 3, and he played through the whole season with the wrist the way it was,” Jones said. “... He was in excruciating pain, but he wanted it. He’s the type of kid that wants it. He wanted to play that bad.”

Mackall battled through the pain to record 91 tackles, six sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries, helping Edmondson to an 8-4 record. The Red Storm fell to Eastern Tech in the Class 2A North Regional championship game.

Jones thinks Mackall’s game and the emotion with which he plays makes him tailor-made for Maryland’s LEO position, a combination linebacker-defensive end.

“He’s a kid that plays with his heart out. He lays his heart out there every game; he goes all out,” Jones said. “He’s an extremely aggressive kid. The position that Maryland will have him play is the LEO position and it’s the perfect position for him. It fits him so well. He can put his hand down and come off the edge or stand up and read plays [and react].”

With the graduation of Trey Covington, there’s the possibility of early playing time for Mackall next season.

“He has an opportunity to come in and play, depending on how ready he is,” Jones said. “The ball actually lies in his court and he has to come in and perform. We tell the kids that redshirting is not a bad thing. At the same time, you want to put the pressure on the coaches to make the decision. Don’t make the decision for him. [So David’s] going to let the chips fall where they may.”

Mackall was only recently elevated to three-star status by, which also ranked him the country’s No. 25 strongside defensive end. Still, Jones said Mackall’s gotten used to playing under the radar, something he’ll continue to use to his advantage in College Park.

“He’ll do well at the next level,” Jones said. “In life sometimes you just have to prove some people wrong. You might not have as many stars behind you [compared with others], but each time you get on the field you can prove people wrong. That’s exactly what David does.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 12, 2008

New Maryland site launches

Friends of the blog Jeff Ermann and Seth Hoffman, formerly of’s Turtle Sports Report, have started a new Maryland sports site., an affiliate of, launched earlier today.

The site features several free Terps basketball recruiting articles, including stories on Virginia shooting guard Mychal Parker, Lake Clifton standouts Will and Antonio Barton and Seneca Valley sophomore big man Jordan Goodman.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:42 PM | | Comments (0)

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's big recruiting weekend will reportedly include an official visit from Quince Orchard defensive end Jason Ankrah, who discussed the trip with The Washington Post’s Josh Barr.

"Maryland has always been right there, they've been recruiting me from the start," Ankrah said. "Michigan has tradition and opportunity and a great football atmosphere. Nebraska's Coach [Bo] Pelini is a defensive coordinator-head coach type, plus their D-Line coach went to my high school so we have a great relationship."

• Woodbridge, Va., running back De’Antwan Williams told that Maryland is one of his five favorites, but he’s only scheduled one official visit thus far.

Williams said he is keeping his options open and still lists Alabama, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Maryland and Rutgers as his top five schools.

His trip this coming weekend to Rutgers will be the first of his five officially allowed visits. Williams canceled his trip the weekend of Nov. 29 to Alabama and is looking to reschedule a visit to West Virginia for next month.

As of now, Rutgers is the only school Williams has lined up for a visit.

• Newark, Del., offensive tackle Malcolm Bunche told that he’s mulling a trip to College Park next weekend.

“I’m thinking about going to Maryland on December 19th for an official,” he said. “I will be in Miami in January for a visit. I don’t know if I’ll take any other visits. For now, those are the next two.

“I just want to see what the campuses are all about, the weight rooms and most important I want to get to know the offensive line coach. I want to talk to them since I’ll be with them the next four years. That’s most important.”

• Earlier this week Dunbar running back Tavon Austin was named The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year for the third straight year.

Austin has narrowed college choices to West Virginia, Maryland, Michigan and North Carolina. He said he will wait to decide until the Feb. 4 signing date.

Basketball recruiting

• UM shooting guard target Taran Buie led Bishop Maginn’s rout of Albany (N.Y.) on Tuesday.

Junior guard Taran Buie, expected to be the leader of this team, was just that, scoring 15 of his game-high 29 points in the first quarter.

"We can't look past anyone, we know that," Buie said. "We have to come out and step up big every night. We played a good first eight minutes. Maybe we thought we had it after that."

• The shooting touch of Maryland junior power forward target Will Regan was the difference in Nichols’ one-point win over Williamsville (N.Y.) South this week.

Will Regan nailed a pair of free throws with 35 seconds left to give the Vikings a 55-54 triumph over Williamsville South in the AdPro Monsignor Martin-ECIC Challenge on Thursday night.

The line proved to be a great place for Regan, who went 10 for 11 from the stripe in scoring a game-high 21 points. He also grabbed 17 rebounds ...

• Terps women’s point guard pledge Dara Taylor guided Caravel (Del.) Academy to a huge nonconference win on Tuesday.

Caravel's Dara Taylor had 23 points as the No. 1-ranked Bucs beat No. 2 and host Delcastle 49-41 in a nonconference girls basketball game Tuesday afternoon. The University of Maryland signee was 7-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final 49 seconds and scored 14 points in the fourth quarter.

"They are a very good team and they play very aggressive defense," Taylor said. "We were rushing things in the beginning and we figured it out in the second half and we started to settle down."

• Maryland women’s guard/forward commitment Alyssa Thomas is off to a great start to her junior year. Thomas led Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 73-41 win over Cedar Cliff earlier this week.

Alyssa Thomas produced her third straight double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds, while Gabby Singer recorded 17 points and six steals. Belma Mekic's 13 points paced Cliff.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:49 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup

December 11, 2008

Season recap: Ryan Schlieper

Maryland offensive line commitment Ryan Schlieper had his work cut out for him as a senior.

Schlieper, a 6-foot-5, 278-pound left tackle, was expected to play a major role for North Allegheny (Pa.) this season. But that role was expanded in a hurry, according to Tigers head coach Art Walker.

“We had an injury to our right tackle in the first week,” Walker said. “So for the next three weeks, we [ran to the left side the majority of the time]. People knew we were going that way and Ryan still got the job done. If we needed someone to pull, week in and week out, he rose to the occasion and got it done. Whenever we were down a guy and limited running the ball effectively, he responded completely.”

Schlieper, a captain, helped North Allegheny (6-5) to the second round of the playoffs. For his efforts, Schlieper was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Fabulous 22, a list honoring the top high school football players in the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and Pittsburgh City League.

“He was fantastic,” Walker said. “He did a good job as a junior, but he really had a great year this year. His pass blocking improved, his run blocking improved. He had a great year.”

Walker thinks Schlieper will be an asset to future Maryland offensive lines thanks to his versatility. While he played tackle in high school, there’s a chance Schlieper could fill any O-line role in college.

“They’re bringing him in as an offensive lineman,” Walker said. “They’re looking at him first as a tackle. But, if need be, they can move him to the guard position.

“He’s a big kid with the frame to put on weight. He’s very marketable from a standpoint that he’s athletic for his size. ... He could probably play any spot up front on the offensive line.”

Walker said Schlieper is a tireless worker who will likely spend the majority of his remaining high school days in the weight room. Walker said there’s no doubt in his mind that Schlieper will arrive in College Park ready for the challenge.

“He’s a smart, hard worker who puts the time in. He’ll be prepared,” Walker said. “He’s a lineman, so he’s not one of those guys that looks for accolades or needs to hear his name called. He’s more worried about the team and doing his part to make sure the ultimate goal -- winning the game -- is accomplished.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:42 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 10, 2008

Reservoir's Willman picks UConn

Reservoir defensive lineman Tim Willman is headed north for college.

The 6-foot-4, 255-pounder committed to Connecticut on Friday, picking the Huskies over Towson and Army, among others.

“It feels great,” Willman said. “[UConn] was my No. 1 choice because I loved everything about the school, the coaches, the facilities. Everything was great so I’m happy.”

Willman has visited Storrs, Conn., twice already -- once during the summer for camp and again this fall to see the Huskies take on West Virginia. He’ll return to Connecticut this weekend for his official visit.

Willman said he’s already forged a good relationship with UConn offensive coordinator Rob Ambrose, his recruiting coach, and Huskies head coach Randy Edsall.

“One thing that was a huge draw for me is that you can tell Coach Edsall loves where he is,” Willman said. “He’s done great things for the program and they just keep getting better.”

Willman played defensive end, offensive guard and punter for Reservoir (5-5) as a senior. Defensively, he recorded 54 tackles, five sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also punted for a 45-yard average, according to Reservoir head coach Sean Jones.

Jones said he expects Willman to bulk up and move to defensive tackle at UConn.

“They liked his size,” Jones said. “He’s got a good frame and they can imagine ... putting some weight on him. He’s got excellent hands. He uses his hands real well and he has great feet. He’s a good athlete and I think they can get a really good pass rush from him inside.”

Jones said in Willman, UConn is getting an extremely hard worker, a great student and a natural leader.

“I think eventually after some development and some growth, [UConn is] going to get a dynamic football player and a solid citizen,” Jones said. “Is he going to be a star? I don’t know. But I know he’ll work his butt off to be the best player he can be.”

Click here for a list of local high school commitments.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:18 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting

December 9, 2008

Season recap: Pete deSouza

Maryland offensive tackle commitment Pete deSouza and his DeMatha football team found themselves in an unfamiliar position earlier this fall.

The powerhouse Stags were routed by Good Counsel, 42-21, before 5,000-plus fans and an ESPN2 audience on Oct. 2.

“We were basically embarrassed in that ballgame on national TV,” DeMatha head coach Bill McGregor said. “We gave up 28 points in the first quarter. In all my years at DeMatha, that had never happened to us. We had to go back and look at that going through the season. We all just made a total commitment to come out and do whatever we could to right the ship. Pete, without a doubt, was instrumental in righting the ship. He was a leader; a vocal leader at times. He led by example and he was very positive in terms of what we did.”

What DeMatha did, according to McGregor, was run approximately 70 percent of its offense behind deSouza at right tackle. The Stags reeled off six straight wins, setting up a rematch with Good Counsel for the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.

This time around, deSouza and the Stags were ready, claiming their sixth consecutive conference crown with a 34-7 win over Good Counsel. McGregor said deSouza was instrumental in the team’s title win.

“We had the ball on Good Counsel’s 35-yard line,” McGregor said. “We ran an outside zone play and Pete just literally dominated his guy, took him totally off the ball and buried him. What happened was our tailback -- instead of taking it outside -- there was such a gash on Pete’s side that he just cut it back inside and went 32 yards for the touchdown to give us a 21-7 lead. It was a total domination type of block. From 14-7 to 21-7, that play changed the whole complexion of the game. ... I know without Pete, we’re not where we are right now as WCAC football champions.”

McGregor said deSouza got better every week throughout his senior season. deSouza’s work ethic is arguably his strongest asset, McGregor said.

“Pete just goes out and works. He would work hard in practice and he would work hard in the weight room during the offseason,” McGregor said. “He’s a good kid and just basically does whatever we ask him to do. ... Football means a lot to him. He was a co-captain every week of the season and he wants to excel. Like I told Coach Friedgen; with a year in the weight room and another year of learning, there’s a possibility of Pete becoming a three-year starter at the University of Maryland.”

If all goes according to plan, McGregor thinks deSouza’s Maryland career could play out like another former DeMatha lineman.

“I think he’s going to be a whole lot like [UM senior center] Edwin Williams,” McGregor said. “Edwin’s had a great career at the University of Maryland. He was just named All-ACC. He always did what he was supposed to do, and I think Pete will be the same exact type of player. He’s very coachable and humble. He’ll work to be successful. He’ll do all the little things to make things good for himself and the football team. He’s a total team player.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:01 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Season recaps

December 8, 2008

Season recap: Darin Drakeford

There weren't many restful moments on the football field this fall for Maryland linebacker commitment Darin Drakeford.

The 6-foot, 220-pounder did it all for Theodore Roosevelt (D.C.) this season, starting at linebacker, returning kicks and punts, and rotating between running back, wide receiver and tight end on offense.

“He was the consummate athlete,” Roosevelt head coach Daryl Tilghman said. “He’s very coachable. You didn’t have to tell him more than once how to do things. He was quick to understand what we were trying to do. He understood our concepts offensively and defensively very well. Maryland will have a good time working with him.”

A year after setting a new school record with 22 sacks at defensive end, Drakeford moved to linebacker and led the Rough Riders (5-6) with 91 solo tackles, 33 assists and 14 sacks. On offense, Drakeford rushed for 768 yards and 10 touchdowns on 37 carries. He also caught 22 passes for 422 yards and four touchdowns.

For his efforts, Drakeford last week was named Washington D.C.’s Gatorade Player of the Year. Tilghman was most impressed by Drakeford’s speed and explosion this season.

“He was probably one of the fastest guys in the conference,” Tilghman said. “You very rarely saw him get caught from behind, and if he did [get caught] ... nine out of 10 times it was due to fatigue from playing all the different positions.”

Drakeford was ranked as a two-star prospect by before the season. Tilghman believes there’s an explanation for the low rating.

“I think they didn’t have any video of him,” Tilghman said. “We sent them some [recently], so I guess that’ll probably push him up [in the rankings]. We went to a couple of camps, but didn’t go to enough of them. ... I think he played exceptionally well [this season]. He had a lot of postseason accolades.”

Tilghman said Drakeford hopes to add at least 10 pounds to his 220-pound frame before moving on to College Park. If that happens, Tilghman thinks there’s a possibility Drakeford could see the field as a true freshman.

“I think he’ll bring a little electricity to the Maryland football program,” Tilghman said. “He’s a playmaker a lot of schools would love to have. He’s a kid that, once you tell him ‘you’re on your own and you need to carry yourself in this manner,’ he’s someone you won’t have to think or worry about twice. ... He’s a kid everybody would love to have.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:34 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps

December 5, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Bernardo Nunez visited College Park in November and is scheduled for a return trip this month.

The Hoboken, N.J., defensive end visited Maryland unofficially for the Florida State game. Nunez told he’ll make his official visit to Maryland next weekend.

"I like Maryland because they keep in contact the most and call whenever they can," Nunez said. "They just show the most love. Plus, they are close so they've been to some games and we go down there whenever we can. I've been to campus a lot and love it.

"The program had a rough season, but are still going to a bowl game, so that's cool," he said.

He says that the Terps now lead slightly over Pittsburgh and Michigan State.

• St. John’s (D.C.) offensive guard Peter White was supposed to make an official visit to Tennessee last weekend, but plans changed and he couldn’t make the trip to Knoxville. According to, the Volunteers are still in the mix along with three other schools.

He plans on taking an official visit to Maryland on December 12, and he is also hoping to set up at least two more official visits.

“I’m going to Maryland then, and I still want to set up trips to Miami and Oregon,” he said.

“I’ve pretty much narrowed it to Maryland, Miami, Oregon and Tennessee. They’re good programs and good schools. I just like them a lot.”

• Williamsburg, Va., defensive end Will Hill committed to Virginia today, picking the Cavaliers over offers from Maryland, Penn State and Tennessee, among others.

"I chose Virginia first and foremost because of academics," Hill said following his announcement at Lafayette on Friday. "I think Virginia is just a couple of pieces from turning the corner in football."

• Penn State and Maryland have a similar wish list for the defensive line, based on this Nittany Lions recruiting update from The Pocono (Pa.) Record.

There are plenty of players, ends Lanford Collins of Stafford, Va., and Williamsburg, Va.'s Will Hill and tackles Isaac Holmes of Hoboken, N.J. and Brandywine, Md.'s Raynard Randolph, left. Hill, who will enroll in January, was at Penn State on Nov. 15 for an official and came away impressed, while Randolph could visit in the near future.

• Woodbridge, Va., running back De’Antwan Williams narrowed his list of schools to five last week, according to

The Woodbridge High School standout has narrowed his choices down to five schools, Alabama, West Virginia, Maryland, Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

At the moment, though, he only has one official visit lined up and that's to West Virginia the weekend of Dec. 6.

• According to, the Terps are one of many schools tracking the progress of Rob Holloman, a 5-foot-8, 160-pound running back from Philadelphia.

Boston College, Maryland, Syracuse, North Carolina State and Connecticut have been in contact with him recently and after the performance he’s been putting on down the stretch this season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him come up with a few more offers by signing day.

Basketball recruiting

• Maryland fans could have up to five opportunities to see power forward signee James Padgett and his Lincoln (N.Y.) squad on national TV this season.

The Railsplitters are third in USA Today’s national poll and could play up to as many as five nationally televised games depending on how they fare in non-league tournaments.

“It tells us we’re finally getting recognized,” [Lincoln coach Dwayne] Morton said.

For good reason. [Shooting guard Lance] Stephenson is likely the best perimeter player in the nation, a 6-foot-6 dynamo who can shoot the lights out and dominate under the glass. The 6-foot-8 Padgett, a Maryland commit, has no equal in the paint in the PSAL and Ellis is as accurate a 3-point shooter as they come. Then there is Stokes, who will run the point, and powerful 6-foot-6 forward Davon Walls rounds out the starting lineup.

• Maryland shooting target Taran Buie, a junior, was profiled last week in The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, N.Y..

“This year, my role has definitely increased,” said Buie. “There’s the leadership side of it, and the offensive side. I think I could average 30, but we’ve got a good team, and I want to share.”

Buie has a great knack for doing so, and that, in part, is what makes him so unique, and so desired by major Division I college programs such as Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Syracuse and Penn State.

• DeMatha coach Mike Jones told The Washington Post’s Josh Barr this week that junior shooting guard Victor Oladipo will likely wait awhile before making his decision.

His list includes Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, N.C. State, Oklahoma, Providence and Auburn, among others.

Oladipo "is doing it the way I think a lot of us think it should be done, not making a commitment before he plays a game his junior year," Jones said.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:38 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup

December 4, 2008

Video: Jenkins talks Maryland Crab Bowl

Good Counsel linebacker and Maryland target Jelani Jenkins appeared with Maryland Crab Bowl founder and president Chuck Harmon on Washington Post Live last night.

Jenkins and Harmon discussed the Baltimore-Washington D.C. high school football all-star game, which is scheduled for Dec. 20 at Johnny Unitas Stadium on the campus of Towson University. Click on the You Tube player to watch the entire segment, and click here for more information on the Maryland Crab Bowl.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:57 AM | | Comments (3)

December 3, 2008

Season recap: Avery Graham

Clarksburg head coach Larry Hurd knew he could count on Avery Graham when the Coyotes needed a big play.

Never was this more evident than during Clarksburg’s Week 4 showdown with Wootton, when Graham, a Maryland defensive back recruit, had arguably the best game of his senior season.

“We came into playing Wootton High School at a time when they were the real talk of the state,” Hurd said. “They had just played Quince Orchard extremely close. We got the ball to start the game and they kicked it through the end zone. We start at the 20 and Avery took a very simple dive, got through the line of scrimmage and went 80 yards untouched to the end zone with explosion. He had 260 yards that game ... and I believe 13 tackles. He’s just that type of player. He’s capable of making explosive plays at any time.”

Clarksburg put together an undefeated regular season before falling to Middletown in the first round of the 2A state playoffs. Graham rushed for a 57-yard touchdown in the Coyotes’ 21-7 loss.

On defense, Graham recorded 84 tackles, three sacks and four interceptions. He returned one pick for a touchdown. At running back, Graham rushed for 620 yards and four touchdowns on 51 carries. He also caught nine passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns.

Hurd said Graham excelled as a senior despite playing with a large target on his back. It was common knowledge that Graham was Maryland’s first verbal commitment for the 2009 recruiting class.

“I think it was something that he had to live with on a daily basis,” Hurd said. “Everybody’s asking, ‘Who is this guy? What is Maryland getting?’ Well Maryland’s getting, if not the fastest kid in the state, they’re getting a tremendously great athlete.”

Graham did much of his damage on offense for the Coyotes, but he’ll suit up on defense for the Terps. Hurd said Graham will probably start out at cornerback for Maryland.

“We played him at linebacker and running back,” Hurd said. "[Maryland’s] going to be moving him to defensive back, so that’s going to be an adjustment. He’ll be learning the basics of everything with [UM defensive backs coach Kevin] Lempa. But I don’t think Maryland is too concerned with that because they’ll work with him and teach him. He’s got the speed to run with anybody in the nation. I think Maryland got a steal.”

Graham enrolled at Clarksburg in 2006, the school’s first year of existence. He joined Hurd’s Coyotes for his junior and senior seasons, and helped put the fledgling football program on the Montgomery County map. For that, Hurd will always be grateful.

“I’m always going to have a special spot for Avery,” Hurd said. “He’s a very good young man. He’s worked very hard. He’s done a lot of great things for our program. He’s going to be the first [Clarksburg football player] that went to a major BCS school. We’re real excited about that. We hope that we get some more players [that will play DI football]. I don’t know if we’re going to have athletes as good as Avery. But maybe some will follow in his footsteps.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps

December 2, 2008

Season recap: DeOnte Arnett

With Forestville's playoff hopes hanging in the balance, Maryland defensive end commitment DeOnte Arnett had his best game of the year.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pounder helped the Knights to a 14-0 win over Crossland on Nov. 1, keeping Forestville in playoff contention.

“It was a game we needed late in the year,” Forestville head coach Charles Harley said. “He had four sacks alone in that game, three tackles behind the line of scrimmage and he caused [a couple] fumbles. He had a real killer game.”

Forestville won the following week against Fairmont Heights to qualify for the postseason. The Knights were defeated in the first round by Dunbar.

Arnett recorded approximately 59 tackles, 13 sacks, five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries for 5-6 Forestville, according to Harley.

“He was double-teamed, triple-teamed; teams were running away from him the whole year,” Harley said. “It was frustrating for him [getting avoided] but he still had a pretty good year.”

Harley said Arnett, who projects as a rush end on the weak side in college, has one of the quickest first steps he’s ever seen.

“His explosiveness [is a major asset],” Harley said. “He gets off the ball faster than 99 percent of the players he played against.”

Arnett plans on graduating from Forestville in December and enrolling at Maryland in January. He’ll join former Forestville standouts Kevin Dorsey and Devonte Campbell -- both mid-year enrollees from last year -- in College Park.

“It wasn’t an easy transition for Dorsey, but he made things work out,” Harley said. “Knowing that he’s there will make it a lot easier for DeOnte.”

Harley said he expects Arnett to endear himself to Maryland fans pretty soon upon his arrival.

“He’s a hard-working young man who goes to class and who won’t get caught up in dumb things,” Harley said. “He plays hard every play.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:29 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Season recaps

December 1, 2008

Season recap: Justin Anderson

Maryland defensive line commitment Justin Anderson wasn’t accustomed to losing during his high school career at Blythewood (S.C.).

The Bengals compiled a 24-game winning streak dating back to Anderson’s sophomore season. So when Blythewood started the 2008 season 0-2, Anderson did his best to lead the Bengals out of that unfamiliar territory.

“We started off losing to Fairfield Central and Crestwood. They were bad games for leadership, but Justin stepped up to lead,” said Blythewood head coach Geremy Saitz. “Then we were playing Richland Northeast. They have about three or four [Division 1 recruits] every year. It’s a good, strong, traditional football program.

“We were up 12-7 and they were driving at the end of the game. On about fourth-and-2, Justin just broke through the offensive line and tackled [the running back] for a 3-yard loss. We won the next four games after that. That just turned the tables for us in the season. Justin put a lot on his shoulders. He got to man up enough to carry us.”

Blythewood, which lost 10 offensive starters from the 2007 team, finished 5-5 this year. Anderson, 6 feet 5, 265 pounds, recorded 34 solo tackles, 17 assists, two sacks, nine quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick. According to Saitz, Blythewood’s Anderson-led defense kept the team in games.

“He’s always been a hard worker. He really controls the line of scrimmage,” Saitz said. “His reach with his height and how he uses his hands to separate from offensive blockers have been his best assets on the defensive line. He works really hard and he’s been a beast in the weight room. He’s always getting stronger.”

Anderson picked the Terps over interest from Kentucky and Marshall, among others. According to Saitz, some schools were wary of recruiting Anderson due to shaky academics, but those concerns have since been alleviated thanks to a much-improved effort in the classroom.

Saitz said a recent incident involving Anderson, some of teammates and an academic advisor exemplified Anderson’s maturity.

“We had a couple seniors [that showed a] lack of leadership, and they were being disrespectful to her (the academic advisor),” Saitz said. “Justin’s always been a silent leader, but this was a time he just told them, ‘ya’ll aren’t acting right.’ He stood up and just jumped all over these guys, just talking. He let them know it wasn’t right to treat someone that way. That just shows his character. He’s a top-notch character guy.”

Click here for Anderson's commitment story.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:28 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
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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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