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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
        

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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.

High school recruiting database
Area high school commitments -- 2009
Area high school commitments -- 2008
Maryland's 2011 football commitments
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
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