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February 4, 2009

Notes from Friedgen's news conference

Emptying out my notebook from Ralph Friedgen's news conference this afternoon. Click here for The Baltimore Sun's story on Maryland's 2009 class.

• The Maryland staff was counting on defensive end DeOnte Arnett, defensive tackle Zach Kerr and linebacker Avery Murray to enroll at UM for the winter semester. But linebacker Darin Drakeford and defensive lineman Cody Blue were different stories. Drakeford finished up his senior English requirement ahead of schedule and decided just a couple weeks ago to enroll early. Blue was going to spend the next semester at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, but was able to earn a qualifying SAT score earlier than the Terps initially expected. “Cody did so well at prep school and had his mother’s blessing and he came in,” Friedgen said. Of Maryland’s early enrollees, Friedgen said, “it’s something they’ve got to want to do.” Friedgen said he'll let Arnett, Drakeford and Murray go back to high school for their senior proms.

• “I think linebacker is my biggest concern,” Friedgen said, which explains why UM recruited eight players at that position for the 2009 class. Graduation, players with academic issues and a decommitment in last year’s class has left the Terps perilously thin at LB. Friedgen thinks this 8-man haul will help alleviate some of those concerns. The eight incoming freshmen will compete with Adrian Moten, Demetrius Hartsfield, Ben Pooler and Alex Wujciak in a battle that’s “wide open,” according to Friedgen.

• The departure of defensive coordinator Chris Cosh to Kansas State after the season didn’t end up impacting UM’s class. Cosh was known for having close ties to many Washington Catholic Athletic Conference coaches. Friedgen said UM did a lot of “cross-recruiting” this year, meaning more than one coach teamed up to recruit certain kids. “It worked out pretty well,” Friedgen said. “Kids pick the school, not the coach.” Friedgen also noted that offensive coordinator James Franklin helped a lot in Maryland’s in-state recruiting efforts.

• There were no secrets about Maryland’s desire to recruit two quarterbacks this year. Franklin recruited both C.J. Brown and Danny O’Brien for the Terps. Friedgen said both guys understood that they’d have to compete for the job in 2010, and both are “very, very smart guys.” Brown’s more of a dual-threat passer, but Friedgen insisted that O’Brien’s an athletic runner also, in addition to being a solid dropback quarterback. UM recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo said there’s no specific plan to redshirt one quarterback and play another. The quarterback competition is open. “It’s not set in stone,” Sollazzo said. “We’ll have to see what takes place in two-a-days.”

Brief comments from Friedgen on each of UM's 26 recruits:

On D.J. Adams — Friedgen called Adams “bright-eyed” and “very articulate.” It wasn’t easy landing the power running back from Georgia. “We battled a lot of people for him,” Friedgen said.

On Justin Anderson — Anderson will start out at defensive end at Maryland, but there’s a chance he could grow into a tackle. The Blythewood, S.C., product came up to Maryland in the summer and returned twice this fall for visits. “He really wanted to come to Maryland,” Friedgen said. After a standout performance in the Shrine Bowl, the Terps “had to fight a lot of people off,” Friedgen said.

On DeOnte Arnett — Arnett is “a very good student” who wants “to be an engineer,” Friedgen said. The UM staff hopes that Arnett, who is already enrolled at College Park, “can come in and pass rush for us.”

On Cody Blue — Blue used his time at prep school to get in better shape, and earn a qualifying SAT score. He also “really slimmed down,” Friedgen said. Blue checks in at 280 pounds now, down 20 from when he enrolled at Fork Union.

On C.J. Brown — Brown’s a “very, very good student” who saw his recruitment really take off after he committed to the Terps. Friedgen repeatedly cited his intelligence and athleticism. Brown's father was a quarterback at Michigan State.

On Pete deSouza — “If you watch the film on him, he just engulfs people,” Friedgen said. deSouza is one of seven DeMatha players to play for Friedgen at UM.

On Ryan Donohue — Friedgen was tipped off to Donohue by “a guy I went to school with.” Donohue, who came to UM’s summer camp, was mentioned as someone who could compete for playing time at linebacker upon arrival this summer.

On Darin Drakeford — Friedgen said Drakeford was a “very heavily recruited guy” who can “run extremely well.” “You can see he’s very athletic,” Friedgen said. Drakeford, along with Murray, has a good shot at making the two-deep at linebacker during spring practice.

On Nick Ferrera — Friedgen and his staff were “very impressed with not only his placekicking, but his kickoffs. He gets great height” on his kicks. Friedgen noted that Sollazzo was particularly impressed with the Ferrara family’s cooking. Sollazzo “kept asking for more food” on a visit to their home, Friedgen said.

On Eric Franklin — Franklin wasn’t the most heavily recruited Terp, but offering him a scholarship was a no-brainer, Friedgen said. “He’s a big, strong, fast kid with great grades. What else is there?” Franklin’s listed at 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, but Friedgen expects he’ll get up to 210.

On Bennett Fulper — “This guy is a wide body,” Friedgen said. Fulper, whose father is a veterinarian, plans on studying engineering. He’ll start out at center for the Terps.

On L.A. Goree — When Friedgen thinks of Goree, he thinks of his highlight film, which featured a lightning bolt coming out of his helmet. “The lightning bolt hit a lot of people,” Friedgen said.

On Avery Graham — Graham, a Baltimore native who was adopted by a family in Clarksburg, was the state 100-meter champion at 10.6, Friedgen said. He also throws the shot put and is passionate about animals. He’d like to be a veterinarian, Friedgen said.

On Travis Hawkins — The Terps started recruiting Hawkins three years ago as a running back. He can play pretty much any position, according to Friedgen, but is listed as a defensive back. “When he’s on the field, [he makes] things happen.”

On Bradley Johnson &mdash Friedgen said Johnson could play either inside or outside linebacker, and will have a chance to compete for playing time as a true freshman when he arrives in College Park this summer. Johnson has an interest in studying business, Friedgen said.

On Zach Kerr — A “big body,” according to Friedgen, UM lists Kerr at 6 feet 3, 325 pounds. “If you believe [he’s 325 pounds], then I’m probably 180,” Friedgen said.

On Nick Klemm — Another prospective business major, Klemm made the last-minute switch to Maryland from Boston College. He’ll either be a right guard or right tackle. Friedgen expects the 6-foot-7, 275-pounder to bulk up to 320 eventually.

On David Mackall — Friedgen called Mackall a “big, fast athlete that will hit you.” Mackall’s slotted for defensive end, and at 6-foot-3, 256 pounds, Friedgen thinks he’s not “done growing.”

On Dexter McDougle — McDougle will start out at cornerback for Maryland, but he could factor in on kick returns with former Stafford (Va.) teammate Torrey Smith. McDougle has “tremendous ball skills,” Friedgen said.

On Avery Murray — “I’m hoping he can be a factor very, very soon in our program,” Friedgen said. Murray and Drakeford will compete for spots in Maryland’s two-deep at linebacker this spring.

On Danny O’Brien — “This guy got into school all by himself,” Friedgen said of O’Brien and his 1,400 SAT score. Friedgen called O’Brien an excellent passer who’s very mobile and very bright. Friedgen also praised O’Brien’s coach, Todd Willert, saying he hopes to recruit more players from East Forsyth (N.C.) High School.

On Caleb Porzel — “When you see this kid, he’s going to take your breath away,” Friedgen said. Porzel reminds Friedgen of former Terps tailback Chris Downs. Porzel is “short but stocky” and “very powerful.” “He’s explosive,” Friedgen said.

On Isaiah Ross — Ross is a versatile guy who could play defensive end or linebacker. Ross can “fill a lot of needs” for Maryland, Friedgen said.

On Dave Stinebaugh — The Terps recruited Stinebaugh as a tight end, and that’s how they listed him on their news release. But Friedgen was impressed with his senior film at safety. A position switch to linebacker might not be out of the question down the road, Friedgen said. “I don’t think he’s come close to what he’s going to be physically,” Friedgen said.

On Marcus Whitfield — Whitfield’s a tall kid with long arms who’s very athletic. “He’s a work in progress,” Friedgen said. Friedgen expects the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder to eventually bulk up to 245.

On Peter White — White’s mother played basketball at Maryland, his father has a master’s degree from the school and his sister is a current student. But Friedgen was “scared to death” that White might not come to UM. When White called with the news of his commitment, Friedgen said he screamed in his car. “He just dominates people,” Friedgen said.

Primary recruiters for Maryland’s commitments

Tom Brattan — Adams, Fulper, Johnson, Klemm, McDougle, White

James Franklin — Arnett, Brown, deSouza, Drakeford, Goree, Mackall, O’Brien, Porzel, Ross, Stinebaugh, White

Lee Hull — Brown

Kevin Lempa — Franklin

Al Seamonson — Anderson, Murray

Dave Sollazzo — Blue, Donohue, Ferrara, Graham, Hawkins, Kerr, Whitfield

Former coaches

Chris Cosh — deSouza, Franklin, Porzel, White

Danny Pearman — O’Brien

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:59 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Matt Bracken

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

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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