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December 31, 2009

Coach weighs in on Terrence Ross' recruiting

Montrose Christian basketball coach Stu Vetter confirmed today that senior shooting guard Terrence Ross withdrew his commitment to Maryland "within the week."

“He has reopened his recruitment,” Vetter said. “He’s going to reopen it for a limited number of schools -- no more than four or five. Maryland is still very strong in the picture. He just felt that he wanted to open it up and make sure he was making an informed decision. And that’s pretty much it.”

Vetter said Ross, a four-star prospect who grew up in Portland, Ore., is not looking at any West Coast schools. There are four programs, in particular, that he’s currently focused on.

“Kansas, Kentucky, Duke, Maryland,” Vetter said. “He has limited who he [is considering]. Not anybody can come in and recruit him. Our rule, also, is that there will be no official visits until our season is over. And as far as recruiting during our season, the No. 1 priority is his academic work and the Montrose basketball team.”

Ross committed to Maryland in April, selecting the Terps over Arizona State, Cal, Oregon State, Washington and several others. Vetter said Maryland still has a shot at landing Ross.

“Maryland has done an outstanding job of recruiting him and Terrence is very familiar with Maryland and he likes Maryland a lot,” Vetter said. “They are still very much in the picture.”

Vetter said Ross, who will not be available for interviews during the season, has had a strong start to his senior season. Scout.com recruiting analyst Dave Telep wrote that Ross was ranked "60 slots too low" after his breakout performance at the National Hoops Festival in Upper Marlboro earlier this month.

“He’s doing very well,” Vetter said. “He has improved considerably since last year. I think the primary reason is that he didn’t play AAU this summer and worked on his game. I think he has become one of the top players in the country.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:36 AM | | Comments (86)
        

Season recap: Max Garcia

When discussing Norcross (Ga.) offensive tackle Max Garcia with Blue Devils offensive line coach Dale Farr, one word comes up over and over again:

Dominant.

“He was dominant at times,” Farr said of Garcia, who committed to Maryland earlier this month. “The last game against Collins Hill, he graded out at 90 percent. He was definitely the best player on the line for both teams, without a doubt. He would just take the defensive end and just drive him five or seven yards down the field. Just total domination. He’s just a special young man.”

The Blue Devils finished 5-5 with Garcia grading out at 80 percent in his final high school season. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound left tackle also recorded 50 pancake blocks, “which is phenomenal,” Farr said.

“He’s the best lineman I’ve ever coached, and I’ve been coaching for 28 years,” Farr said. “He kind of got overlooked a little bit in Gwinnett County because there are two or three huge tackles in the county, one who’s going to Alabama and another going to Tennessee. He didn’t get as much press because of the other two.”

Garcia was moved up to the Norcross varsity as a freshman, giving him four years to work with Farr. Throughout their four years together, Farr saw Garcia make the most of his physical gifts thanks to an unbelievable work ethic in the weight room.

“Well he’s gotten so much stronger,” Farr said. “He was always a taller kid for his age group. But he’s much stronger now. He power cleans over 300 pounds, bench presses over 300 pounds, squats about 450, which is pretty good for his height and his age. And his feet have improved tremendously. He’s very athletic for someone that size and he’s just a hard worker. He’s a tremendously hard worker in the weight room.”

Farr called Garcia “an ideal left tackle at the college level.” With Bruce Campbell declaring for the NFL draft, Farr said he wouldn’t be surprised if Garcia worked his way into the rotation immediately.

“I think he’s definitely got plenty of potential to [play as a freshman], yes,” Farr said. “I know how hard it is as a freshman because the blocking schemes are so much different than what you have in high school. But I think he has the potential to do it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 30, 2009

Season recap: Ian Evans

Pete Lancetta remembers the look on Ian Evans' face well.

The longtime Hammonton (N.J.) High football coach had guided his team to the South Jersey Group 3 championship game against Timber Creek, and Evans -- a Maryland commitment and the Blue Devils’ star defensive end -- appeared as if he would only accept one result for his squad.

“When they had the ball and cut it close, he sort of just took over with his pass rushing,” Lancetta said. “I think he showed why he’s a big-time player at that moment. And we needed him. They were closing the gap and then he had a big sack. I just happened to focus on him at that moment in time. It looked like he didn’t want to lose. He wanted that Group 3 title. He looked like he was on a mission.”

Evans accomplished that mission, leading Hammonton to a 23-17 win for the state championship. He finished his senior season with 52 tackles, 17 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, while also catching 17 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns from the tight end position. For Evans’ efforts, the Philadelphia Inquirer named him its Defensive Player of the Year.

“I just finished up my 21st year as head coach at Hammonton, and he is without question the biggest big-time player we’ve had, however you want to phrase it,” Lancetta said. “He’s 6-3, 235 pounds and runs like a running back. So that’s why he had all the interest he did. He just made his decision to go to Maryland in the spring of his junior year. He had a lot of other offers and interest. He went there on his own and visited. [Maryland running backs coach John] Donovan did a great job recruiting him and that’s why he verbally committed so early.”

Evans, who also punted for the Blue Devils, especially impressed Lancetta with his blocking throughout the season. A number of programs even recruited him primarily as a tight end. There’s no question, however, that the Maryland staff has big plans for Evans on the defensive side of the ball.

“I think they believe that he can stand up,” Lancetta said, “which is what he did for us the majority of the time at Hammonton. He played outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme and he can certainly rush the passer and drop off. He’s certainly athletic enough to do that. I think the coaches think he can do it. He’s got a big frame and can put more weight on. But they can also put him down on the edge rushing from the defensive end spot.”

It took awhile for Evans to become completely enamored with football. He briefly quit the team before his junior season, according to the Inquirer. After his very brief hiatus, he returned to the Blue Devils with a greater passion for the game. The results speak for themselves.

“We always believed he had the physical ability,” Lancetta said. “But he just needed to straighten a couple things out. He has always been a great kid and very well behaved. I just don’t think he realized how good he could be. … He’s just somebody who needed to get confidence in himself. He needed to be a little more cocky, if that makes sense. I think that’s what he needed -- to just believe that he was as good as we thought he could be. Once he started to believe, that was it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:48 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 29, 2009

Season recap: Darius Kilgo

Justin Hardin had heard about the surprisingly nimble, 6-foot-3, 325-pound defensive tackle when he took the Weddington (N.C.) High coaching job before the 2009 season.

The Warriors were coming off 16 straight losses, and Hardin knew that the play of Darius Kilgo -- the aforementioned monster in the middle -- would be crucial to Weddington’s turnaround. The new coach’s first impressions of the Maryland recruit -- who had dropped 40 pounds -- gave him hope for his first season.

“What I first noticed was how hard he worked in the weight room,” Hardin said. “He was voted one of our team captains before the summer started, because of how hard he worked in the weight room and as a leader. That’s the first thing I recognized.”

With Kilgo starting at defensive tackle and on the offensive line, Weddington rebounded from its two-year slump. The Warriors (5-7) earned a berth in the state playoffs, falling in the first round.

Kilgo finished his senior season with 67 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles. One of those four sacks came in a 22-7 win over Parkwood on Oct. 9.

“I didn’t even see it,” Hardin said. “A reporter came up to me after the game and said, ‘Coach, did you see what Darius did to that kid?’ So I went back and watched the film and it was the most amazing play I’ve seen a high school player make. An offensive lineman was trying to peel back on him, and at the last second, Darius just threw his shoulder into this kid and flipped him on his head. Darius kept on running, didn’t break stride and made the sack.”

Hardin credited Kilgo with helping to change Weddington’s attitude and culture when it came to football. While Kilgo wasn’t the most vocal player on Hardin’s team, his word carried significant weight. Eventually, Hardin expects Kilgo to garner similar respect in College Park.

“Right now he’s a big fish in a small pond,” Hardin said. “Once he gets to a place like Maryland, he’ll be going against the top players in the country. He’s going to fit in well. He’s a physically talented kid, but I think he’s going to be more motivated when he gets around those football players and the academics [at UM]. I think he’s going to blossom and mature even more. I think he’s going to have a great career at Maryland and hopefully contribute early because I think he can.”

Ralph Friedgen might be in agreement. The longtime Maryland coach visited Weddington before the holiday break to check up on Kilgo. The UM staff wants Kilgo to come to College Park this summer, dive in to the team’s weight training program and help the young team build for its future. Hardin thinks Friedgen has a “hope for [Kilgo] to contribute early.”

“He was particularly impressed with how he looked physically,” Hardin said. “Darius has lost some weight and I think [Friedgen] was surprised at how physically fit he was. What Coach Friedgen talked about mainly was academics and the type of people they want to recruit to Maryland. And I think Darius fits that role of the type of person Coach Friedgen wants to have at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:20 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 28, 2009

Weekend wrap — Big night for Gibbs

One of Maryland's top targets for the 2011 class had the biggest game of his high school career Saturday.

Point guard Sterling Gibbs led his Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) squad to a 77-58 win over Point Pleasant Beach.

Sterling Gibbs poured in 24 of his career-high 38 points in the first half as Seton Hall Prep, No. 6 in The Star-Ledger Top 20, assumed an 11-point lead at the Holiday Jubilee in Neptune.

Point Pleasant Beach forward Jarelle Reischel, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound junior, had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Reischel, a native of Germany, is also hearing from the Terps.

“Georgetown, Penn State, Maryland, St. John’s, Providence, Kansas [and] Temple,” replied Reischel when asked by NBE what schools were actively recruiting him, noting that he is wide open to any and all schools in the process.

• Maryland small forward recruit Mychal Parker returned to his hometown of Washington, N.C., last week for a tournament. He also spent some quality time off the court.

Parker, the hometown star, signed autographs before and after both showcase games, and on Saturday he and his Mavericks’ teammates visited a children’s hospital in Greenville before playing South Central.

• Terps point guard signee Terrell Stoglin will lead Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita against Concord (Calif.) De La Salle today in the VisitMesa.com Basketball Challenge.

Santa Rita has one of the state's top five players in 6-1 senior point guard Terrell Stoglin, who led the Eagles to the Arrowhead Classic title. Stoglin was impressive, leading Santa Rita to a victory over Phoenix Sunnyslope and Big School Player of the Year Royce Woolridge.

C.J. Barksdale, a four-star forward from Danville, Va., committed to Virginia Tech on Sunday.

The 6-foot-7, 190-pound Danville native is the second Hokies commit for 2011, joining forward Robert Brown. He also had offers from top-tier programs Maryland, Florida, Alabama and Wake Forest, among others.

• Maryland women's recruit Alyssa Thomas scored 34 points to lead Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 65-56 win over Holy Cross (Md.).

Thomas is a 6-foot-1 senior guard who has signed with Maryland. She had 14 of 21 points by Central Dauphin (4-1) in the fourth quarter.

Football recruiting

• Maryland athlete commitment Matt Robinson (Atholton) was named the Columbia Flier's Howard County Defensive Player of the Year.

"Matt is a product of good parents and a good family," Atholton's first-year coach Kyle Schmitt said. "He's a great role model. He has a lot of respect from his teammates and classmates."

• The Charlotte Observer ranked Terps defensive tackle pledge Darius Kilgo the No. 23 recruit in North Carolina.

Quick for his size, and could shove his way into the defensive line rotation for the Terps as a freshman.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:55 AM | | Comments (4)
        

December 25, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

When Edmondson defensive end David Mackall committed to Maryland in July 2008, he was an under-the-radar prospect who had just two other scholarship offers (East Carolina, Eastern Michigan).

Much has changed since then. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound Baltimore native spent this past season at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy is now ranked as Rivals.com's No. 5 prep school recruit in the country.

Defensive end David Mackall checks in at No. 5 and has been looking around at Michigan, Rutgers and other schools, but he continues to be committed to Maryland. The 6-3, 240-pounder was all over the field for Fork Union.

UM linebacker recruit L.A. Goree checked in at No. 19 on Rivals' list.

Jake Wheeler, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound offensive tackle from Plantation, Fla., has committed to Maryland, according to ESPN.com. Testudo Times breaks down the commitment here. Check back with Recruiting Report next week for more on Wheeler.

• Maryland defensive back commitments Jeremiah Johnson (Suitland) and Titus Till (Wise) were selected to the consensus all-state team. Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman was also a first-team selection.

Bishop McNamara 6-foot-6 wide receiver Brandon Coleman battled double coverage much of the season, but caught 48 passes for 789 yards and 11 touchdowns. He's narrowed his college choices to Maryland, Rutgers and Syracuse.

• Pittsburgh Penn Hills defensive back / wide receiver Brandon Ifill will suit up for the hometown Panthers next season.

Ifill, a senior at Penn Hills who was recruited to play cornerback, chose Pitt over Maryland, but he also had numerous other Division I scholarship offers.

• DeMatha safety Michael Coley committed to Cal during Monday’s Maryland Crab Bowl.

The 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back selected the Pac-10 Conference school over a host of suitors including Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

• Old Mill athlete Josh Furman announced his commitment to Michigan at the Crab Bowl.

"My mind was made up that he was going to Maryland and follow in my footsteps," [Furman’s father] said. "When we went to Michigan, I was blown away by the coaching staff and the facilities. I was blown away by everything they had to offer."

• Also at the Crab Bowl, Good Counsel cornerback Louis Young reaffirmed his commitment to Stanford.

Cornerback Louis Young, from Olney, Maryland, also reconfirmed his commitment to Stanford on Monday. He originally gave the school a soft verbal because of a desire to play in the ACC.

• Two future Terps had big games for the Baltimore team in its 24-21 loss to Washington in the Crab Bowl. Atholton wide receiver Matt Robinson caught a 32-yard touchdown pass, while St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Andre Monroe recorded eight tackles, one sack and one forced fumble.

“I wanted to come out and have fun but also make a statement that little guys can play well” Monroe said, “I worked hard and that hard work led to success in this game.”

Basketball recruiting

• The Arizona Daily Star recognized Maryland point guard signee Terrell Stoglin as one of Tucson's top five high school athletes in 2009.

He was the area's leading scorer with more 27 points per game, and averaged nearly eight assists per night. The Maryland commit guided the Eagles to their third 4A-II state finals. But he is still waiting for his first championship victory. This season, Santa Rita is off to a 7-0 start.

Terrence Ross and his Montrose Christian squad fell to Neumann-Goretti (Pa.), 72-65, in the semifinals of the 'Iolani Classic in Hawaii.

Terrence Ross struggled from the field (6-for-21), but finished with 15 points and six boards.

• DeMatha junior forward Mikael Hopkins, a Terps target, powered the Stags to a big win Tuesday.

Before a packed gymnasium on Tuesday night, Hopkins scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the top-ranked Stags to a comfortable 76-61 over 12th-ranked St. John's in a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference game.

Desmond Hubert, a junior UM center target, had a triple-double Wednesday in New Egypt's 47-37 win over Holy Cross (N.J.).

Desmond Hubert had 10 points, 11 rebounds and 11 blocked shots for the winners.

• UM women's combo guard recruit Natasha Cloud's Cardinal O'Hara (Pa.) squad dropped a 42-35 game to Archbishop Carroll on Tuesday.

O’Hara ended up making it interesting, with senior Natasha Cloud (12 points, four rebounds, five steals, two assists, one blocked shot) scoring nine points in the last period.

• Maryland small forward commitment Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 71-38 win over CD East on Wednesday.

Alyssa Thomas pumped in 23 points and Emilee Salinger added 13 for the Rams, who skated to victory following a 28-9 third-quarter run. Thomas, who added 11 rebounds and six assists, and Salinger accounted for 13 during the tell-tale run.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:45 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

December 24, 2009

Former Dunbar athlete signs with Arkansas St.

Darron Edwards has been through his fair share of highs and lows since graduating from Dunbar in 2006.

An explosive guard for the Poets’ basketball team and an All-Metro football player who set single-season state records for touchdown catches (18) and receiving yards (1,257), Edwards has spent three long years working toward a Division I scholarship.

Late last week that hard work paid off for Edwards. The 5-foot-11, 173-pound cornerback from Butler County Community College in El Dorado, Kan., committed to Arkansas State. He chose the Red Wolves over Houston, Louisiana-Lafayette, North Texas, South Florida and a host of Football Championship Subdivision programs.

“Basically, I was their No. 1 corner and I felt comfortable as far as my major,” said Edwards, a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com. “They have [one of the top] communications schools in the country. I see myself coming in and playing right away, and that’s really what I was focused on.”

Coming out of Dunbar, Edwards had planned to play football and basketball at Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy. School officials, however, thought he would have a better chance at meeting NCAA qualifying standards by going to a junior college. Butler came highly recommended, so Edwards made the journey from East Baltimore to south central Kansas.

“Butler was rough, but it’s a program that made me a little more focused and dedicated to the game,” Edwards said. “I’m still a city boy, but it’s easy to adjust [to living in a small town] now.”

Edwards gave up basketball and generated plenty of Division I interest on the gridiron playing for a nationally recognized, junior college powerhouse. Before he had a chance to really dive into the recruiting process, however, his sophomore season ended prematurely.

“It was the first game of 2008 and we played in front of 13,000 people and one of the biggest JUCO crowds ever,” Edwards said. “I was returning a punt and one of my guys missed a block. I wasn’t going to fair-catch it or nothing, so the guy hit my leg and I tore my ACL and stretched my LCL. So I had to get two surgeries on that.”

Edwards redshirted and took an official visit to Maryland later that fall. Shortly after his trip to College Park, the coaches told him “they weren’t going to pull the trigger” on a scholarship offer. That meant Edwards would have to return to Butler for a third year.

Edwards said the disappointment of not getting a Maryland offer taught him that football is “a business on that level.” But returning to Butler for a third year proved beneficial to his development as a player. Starting at cornerback for the Grizzlies, Edwards recorded 43 tackles, four interceptions and 19 pass breakups. He hopes to make a similarly significant impact as a junior at Arkansas State.

“A lot of my teammates chose to go to bigger schools because of the name,” Edwards said. “Coming from a junior college, if they don’t play their [last] two years, then what’s the point? I just want to go to a place where I can finish out my time, get my degree and play. I didn’t want to go someplace where I would be the third corner when I only have two years left. ... [The Arkansas State coaches] treated me like I’m the top [recruit] at the position. That’s what it came down to.”

Edwards has finished his associate’s degree and will enroll at Arkansas State in January. He’ll start his Division I career next fall, which will coincide with the beginning of younger brother Derrell Edwards’ freshman season on the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi basketball team. Needless to say, there will be plenty to celebrate around the Edwards household this weekend.

“It means a lot to me. I’m doing it for him, for real,” Edwards said. “I love the game, but in my family, I’m the first one [to go to college]. [Derrell] looks up to me. If I had been in the streets, he would have been in the streets. He sees what I’m doing and I see what he’s doing. He just signed with a DI school, so I’m proud of him and he’s proud of me. That’s my heart -- I’d do it all for my little brother.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:42 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

December 23, 2009

Season recap: Tyrek Cheeseboro

During the 2008 season, Milford Mill quarterback Kevin Fulton teamed with wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro to form one of the Baltimore area’s most dangerous pass-and-catch duos.

Cheeseboro caught 38 passes for 732 yards and 13 touchdowns as a junior, as the Millers finished 9-3. But this season, with Cheeseboro back for his senior year and Fulton a freshman in college, Milford Mill labored through a 4-6 campaign.

“[Cheeseboro] did what could be expected with a freshman quarterback,” said Millers coach Reggie White. “Everything he could do, he did. We couldn’t get the ball to him as much as I wanted. But he was still our biggest decoy. ... He surely was frustrated because he’s used to getting the ball deep and Kevin could find him all over the field. ... But he had a great outlook.”

Despite the growing pains Milford Mill suffered, Cheeseboro managed to put together another strong statistical season. The 6-foot, 180-pound Maryland commitment caught 30 passes for 523 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned two kickoffs (93 yards, 86 yards) for touchdowns.

White, who coached Cheeseboro all four seasons on the varsity, said the senior saved arguably his best performance of the year for the Millers’ season finale against rival Woodlawn.

“Every time he touched the ball, he was trying to get in the end zone,” White said. “He was hurdling people and running people over. This was Tyrek, this fast guy who was going at people and just doing anything he could to get the ball in the end zone. I think it was by far his most aggressive game of the year. He felt like it was the last game of high school and he wanted to leave [his mark] and he did.”

Cheeseboro added another dimension to his game as a senior. White needed a free safety and Cheeseboro was the logical choice for the job.

“At first he wasn’t [excited about playing defense]. At first he was not at all,” White said. “But we told him that the great ones play both ways in high school and he did it. ... He ended up with 64 tackles, an interception and three forced fumbles playing free safety.”

White called Cheeseboro a natural leader who immediately commands respect from his teammates. White, who played for Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen on the San Diego Chargers in the early 1990s, thinks Cheeseboro will handle himself well in College Park.

“He’s going to be good,” White said. “He has those intangibles, and of course his speed. He’s a good route-runner and he’s going to get better. His yards after the catch is tremendous. I look forward to seeing him at the next level.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:32 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 22, 2009

Ga. OL Max Garcia talks Terps commitment

On the football field, there’s not much -- if anything -- that is capable of rattling Norcross (Ga.) High offensive tackle Max Garcia.

Garcia spent three years punishing opponents while starting on the Blue Devils’ offensive line. He earned scholarship offers from Maryland, Clemson, Vanderbilt and several others, and became the Terps’ latest commitment on Saturday.

But Garcia’s first time in front of the camera for a broadcast journalism class this fall conjured up an emotion the 6-foot-5, 275-pound senior had rarely felt before -- nervousness.

“I was like, ‘Man, this is going to be shown to the whole school,’” Garcia recalled. “The show’s not live because we have to have time to edit. But yeah, I was definitely nervous.”

Fortunately, Garcia’s on-camera debut earned rave reviews. He contributed in just about every way to the story -- conducting interviews, shooting and editing video and taking a seat behind the anchor’s desk. The piece, which introduced Norcross High to its 2009 football team, whetted Garcia’s appetite for broadcast journalism.

“Taking this class really helped me in just figuring out that this is what I want to do,” Garcia said. “A lot of people change their majors in college and don’t know what they’re getting into. But I really want to pursue this in college. ... Being right next to Baltimore and D.C., I think I can do internships and build my career there.”

Maryland having Garcia’s major of choice was instrumental in the Terps landing his commitment, but it was far from the only reason behind his decision. Garcia already has a friend on the roster in former Norcross standout and UM freshman running back D.J. Adams. He has built a strong relationship with his recruiter and future position coach, Tom Brattan. And the list goes on.

“There [are] a lot of things I’m looking forward to when I go up to Maryland,” Garcia said, “one of them being the opportunity to play early, especially now that Bruce Campbell is in the NFL draft. [I’m also exciting about] getting with my [former] teammate D.J. He’s a great guy and a great player, so I’m looking forward to getting back in touch with him.

“[I’m excited about] just getting to know Coach [Ralph] Friedgen more. I’m really looking forward to that. He’s a really spiritual man and I like that about him as well. Every Sunday, he’s at mass. You can always find him there. I really like that about him because I’m also a spiritual man. And I’m just really excited for having the chance to build the program up. I think they’re on the rise. They’re going to be on the rise this year and I just want to be a part of that as well.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:43 AM | | Comments (6)
        

December 21, 2009

Reminder: Crab Bowl tonight

The record-breaking blizzard in Baltimore over the weekend stopped the second annual Maryland Crab Bowl from being played Saturday.

But the Baltimore vs. Washington high school football all-star game will go on as scheduled tonight. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Towson's Johnny Unitas Stadium. Click here for more information.

I had planned to go to the game and blog Saturday, but was miraculously able to fly home to Michigan on Sunday. So unfortunately, there will be no post-game Crab Bowl notebook at Recruiting Report. Check back with BaltimoreSun.com later tonight for a game story and photos from the event.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:50 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Weekend wrap — Parker comes home

This weekend was a homecoming of sorts for Mychal Parker.

The Maryland small forward signee traveled to his hometown of Washington, N.C., with his Miller School (Va.) squad for a holiday tournament.

Mychal Parker came right off the bus, signed off autographs and then proceeded to put his signature on the game as he scored a game-high 33 points to lead The Miller School to a 106-71 victory over Stevens Prep Academy in the opening showcase game of the 30th annual Washington Daily News/PotashCorp Aurora Holiday Tournament.

In Saturday's championship game, however, the Millers fell to South Central, 62-49.

Parker netted a team-high 18 points and helped his team hold a 30-22 advantage at halftime. However, the Falcons, led by the trio of Carlton, Donta Harper (15 points) and Anthony Hilliard smothered the Mavericks with a suffocating press to out-score The Miller School 40-19 in the second half.

Terrence Ross finished with a game-high 24 points in Montrose Christian's 71-49 win over 'Iolani in Hawaii.

Ross, a 6-foot-6 senior guard who has made a commitment to play at the University of Maryland next season, drained three consecutive 3-pointers against 'Iolani's 2-3 zone in the first seven minutes last night to help the Mustangs jump out to a 17-3 lead.

• NJ.com named Maryland power forward commitment Ashton Pankey one of the top 50 players in New Jersey.

Ashton Pankey, St. Anthony: The talented 6-8 senior forward, bound for Maryland, will likely be out of the lineup for at least a month due to a stress fracture in his left leg. He averaged just 7.7 points in 15 games last season, but realized his greatest value as a rebounding and defensive force.

The injury to Pankey and the academic ineligibility of Oregon State recruit Devon Collier will force St. Anthony into some early-season adjustments, according to the Hudson (N.J.) Reporter.

“By the time they’re ready to come back, they just won’t be able to contribute like we hoped them to,” [St. Anthony coach Bob] Hurley said. “They’ll have to work their way back into the swing of things, and that’s not going to be easy after we’ve played so many games.”

• Terps junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs led Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) to a 60-36 season-opening win over Newark East Side.

Junior guard Sterling Gibbs led the way for Seton Hall Prep with 25 points and six rebounds in West Orange.

• UM junior center target Desmond Hubert reached double figures in New Egypt's 48-37 loss to Burlington City (N.J.).

Desmond Hubert and Mark Pryzbylkowski tallied 12 apiece for the Warriors.

• Maryland junior shooting guard target Trevor Cooney helped Sanford (Del.) to a big win this weekend.

[Deon] Jones scored 24 points and grabbed seven rebounds Friday while junior Trevor Cooney added 21 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals to lead third-ranked Sanford past Caravel 75-33 in the Kappa Klassic at Glasgow High.

Football recruiting

• Maryland landed a commitment Saturday from Norcross, Ga., offensive lineman Max Garcia -- a three-star prospect, the No. 58 player in Georgia and the No. 65 offensive tackle in the country, according to Rivals.com. Testudo Times breaks down the commitment here. Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on Garcia's decision.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:21 AM | | Comments (1)
        

December 18, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland fans in the area will soon have a chance to see five future Terps in action.

The second annual Maryland Crab Bowl is scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Towson University’s Johnny Unitas Stadium -- weather permitting.

UPDATE: The Crab Bowl has been postponed because of the weather and will instead be played Monday at 7 p.m. at Johnny Unitas Stadium. Click here for the updated schedule of events.

Atholton athlete Matt Robinson and St. John’s (D.C.) defensive tackle Andre Monroe are suiting up for the Baltimore team, while Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) lineman Nate Clarke, Wise defensive end / fullback Rahsaan Moore and Wise safety Titus Till will play for the Washington squad.

Click here for the Baltimore roster, here for the Washington roster and here for a breakdown of the teams.

Check back with Recruiting Report on Saturday for more on the game.

• Robinson and Monroe were Washington Post All-Met first-team defense selections.

• Three Terps commitments made The Gazette’s Prince George’s County first-team defense: Till, Moore and Suitland defensive back Jeremiah Johnson.

A solid contributor on both sides of the ball, the senior University of Maryland recruit had 99 tackles and four interceptions.

• Two Maryland wide receiver targets were selected to The Gazette’s first-team offense: Forestville’s Antonio Belt and Bishop McNamara’s Brandon Coleman.

The 6-foot-7 receiver caught 48 passes for 789 yards and 11 touchdowns and was selected to the Under Armour All-Star game in Orlando, Fla.

• The Abington (Pa.) Journal checked in this week with Sal Conaboy, a Terps offensive line commitment.

“I just like wrapping around and hitting people,” Conaboy said. “I get to use some athleticism.”

• DeMatha offensive lineman Shane Johnson committed to Pittsburgh this week.

Johnson, a likely all-state selection, considered several FBS schools — including Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Boston College, North Carolina State, Wake Forest and Rutgers — before opting for Pitt.

Basketball recruiting

• After seeing Terrence Ross at the National Hoops Festival in Upper Marlboro last weekend, Scout.com’s Dave Telep says the Terps shooting guard commitment is ranked “60 slots too low.”

We know other schools are trying to see what his status is. Maryland, to its credit, has been present at his games and is doing all it can to solidify the pledge. Ross did not wish to talk about his recruiting at the National Hoops Festival only saying that he remains committed.

• Adam Zagoria reports that Maryland has expressed interest in point guard Jio Fontan, a transfer from Fordham.

Todd Washington, an advisor to Fontan, said the Maryland staff reached out about the 6-foot-1 Fontan, who received a conditional release from Fordham that prevents him from playing in the Atlantic 10 or the tri-state area.

Trevor Cooney, a junior shooting guard and UM target, leads Sanford High in the Kappa Klassic starting tonight in Wilmington, Del.

Sanford's Trevor Cooney, a 6-foot-4 guard, is one of the top junior prospects in the country. Programs that have offered him scholarships include Maryland, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Villanova.

• Terps women’s combo guard pledge Natasha Cloud led Cardinal O’Hara to a win Tuesday.

Natasha Cloud's 16 points helped Cardinal O'Hara to a 56-24 win over visiting West Catholic.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:02 AM | | Comments (33)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

December 17, 2009

Former Dunbar receiver commits to Memphis

When Louisville fired Steve Kragthorpe last month after his third season as the Cardinals’ football coach, Sean Farr went searching for a new school. seanfarr1.jpg

It didn’t take long for the former Dunbar standout to find a new home. Farr, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound wide receiver, committed to Memphis on Wednesday.

“The whole school is in the city, and I like that because I’m from Baltimore,” Farr said. “The coach just came straightforward and said I need to work for my position when I get there.”

Farr had signed with Louisville last February but spent this fall at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia improving his academics. He planned to enroll at Louisville next semester. Instead, he’ll suit up for new Tigers coach Larry Porter, who was hired last month after serving five years as LSU’s running backs coach.

“He keeps it real,” Farr said of Porter. “He tells you you need to work hard to get where you need to go.”

Farr, a four-star prospect and the No. 9 prep school player in the country according to Rivals.com, also heard from North Carolina, Temple, UConn, Virginia and West Virginia after cutting ties with Louisville.

After a fall spent learning “really good military discipline,” Farr said he’s excited to enroll at Memphis in January and compete for immediate playing time.

“[Coach Porter] basically said that all the seniors and everyone else has to try out for their positions because of the new coaching staff,” Farr said. “[So Memphis is] a great place ... and everyone treated me well.”

Click here for video highlights of Farr at Dunbar.

Baltimore Sun photo of Sean Farr by Algerina Perna / Dec. 23, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Season recap: Rahsaan Moore

When Wise football coach DaLawn Parrish needed a big stop on defense, Rahsaan Moore was often the player to step up to the challenge. When the Pumas needed to put points on the board, Moore was usually the player who got the carry.

Whatever situation presented itself for Wise this season, Moore -- a Maryland defensive end / fullback commitment -- frequently provided an answer.

“We leaned on him heavily in the beginning of the year and down the stretch,” Parrish said. “He ended up spraining his ankle. He missed three games with a high ankle sprain. That enabled us to get younger players into the game. But we leaned on him heavily in our big games. When we needed to grind it out to win, we went with Rahsaan. He was able to play through the pain with the ankle sprain. He was still hobbled, but he sucked it up. He just proved that he [has great potential] on both sides of the ball.”

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Moore -- who helped Wise to a 12-2 record and an appearance in the Class 4A state championship game -- emerged as one of the most versatile two-way players in the Washington area. In 12 games, he recorded 37 tackles (23 solos), 10 tackles for loss, one sack and one interception from the defensive end position.

On offense, Moore rushed for 461 yards and 15 touchdowns on 74 carries. He also caught two passes for 27 yards. Not a bad season for a player that had just one other Football Bowl Subdivision offer (New Mexico) besides Maryland.

“A lot of [Football Championship Subdivision power programs] like Richmond, Villanova, William & Mary, all of them loved him,” Parrish said. “For whatever reason, the big schools thought, ‘Is he tall enough? Is he big enough? Is he fast enough?’ They had those questions. I think he had all of those doubters [but proved them wrong]. With him playing so many positions, you could see the type of athlete he was. By the fourth game, everyone knew who he was and what he could do.”

Parrish coached Moore for three seasons and saw him play fullback, running back, tight end, defensive end and defensive tackle. Parrish expects the Maryland coaching staff to move Moore around some when he arrives at College Park until they find the best position for his talents.

“I think he can play defensive end or fullback -- it just depends on what the school needs,” Parrish said. “I’d love to see him back on the defensive side of the ball. He uses his hands so well and understands how to use his leverage. I think he has the frame that could hold 260 pounds. But we already know he can play fullback and tight end, so it just depends on what you’re looking for.”

Parrish said he wasn’t surprised by Moore’s senior-season success. In Moore, Maryland is getting one of the hardest-working players Parrish has ever coached.

“He got stronger, he worked out real hard and he went out there with the track coach,” Parrish said. “He’s a student of the game. He’s a young man that will do everything you ask him to do. We always talk about giving everything you’ve got and a little bit more, and he was able to do that for three years. You need a stop right now, then he’s going to get the stop. He’s just a tremendous young man.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:55 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 16, 2009

Season recap: Titus Till

Titus Till's senior season at Wise didn't get off to the smoothest of starts.

On the second day of practice last August, the Maryland safety commitment fractured his collarbone. The injury would sideline him for the next five weeks.

“He just wanted to help the team win,” Wise coach DaLawn Parrish said. “It was hard in the beginning when he got hurt, but he supported his teammates and cheered them on from the sidelines. Some kids get hurt and go into the tank and wait for themselves to get better. He never did that. He just kept supporting his team. He wanted to be 100 percent when he came back and he did a tremendous job. I couldn’t ask for anything more from a young man.”

Till returned to the lineup for the Pumas’ Week 4 game against Eleanor Roosevelt and caught a crucial 50-yard pass to set up the only touchdown of the game in Wise’s 6-0 win. Wise’s defense dominated throughout the season, with the Pumas recording eight consecutive shutouts. The front-seven was especially impressive, Parrish said, which left Till and the rest of his defensive back counterparts doing more watching than hitting.

“He really didn’t have to do as much this year,” Parrish said. “The D-line and linebackers had a lot of the action. But he was able to raise his game to another level in the playoffs. That’s when he had more of an opportunity to make plays and he did just that. He had three interceptions in the playoffs and he started coming up with a lot of big tackles and caused fumbles. He was back to his normal self.

"He had come off the shoulder injury and he didn’t have to do much. With our D-line and linebackers, there really wasn’t much left to do when we were pitching a lot of shutouts. He was dependable Titus. When you get to the playoffs, you have teams more on your level that can attack you better through the air. And he was able to make plays.”

Till finished the season with 64 tackles (31 solos), four interceptions, two forced fumbles and one pass breakup. Wise, which allowed just 46 points all season, ended the year 12-2 with a 17-16 loss to Old Mill in the Class 4A state championship game.

The title-game defeat was a disappointing end to a record-breaking season, but Parrish said Till was instrumental in helping Wise reach its potential. Till also demonstrated why he is the highest-ranked recruit in Maryland’s 2010 recruiting class.

“To me, Titus is a cover-2 safety,” Parrish said. “Maryland loves the cover 2 and he’s a player that [can cover] half the field. He comes downhill, he hits well and tackles. Once he understands the speed of the game on that level -- and as all freshmen, gets comfortable -- he should be tremendous for the system that they run.”

Parrish, a Wake Forest graduate and four-year standout for the Demon Deacons, knows what it takes to be successful in the ACC. After coaching Till for the past four seasons, Parrish is confident that the 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety will thrive at Maryland.

“Nothing he does really surprises me,” Parrish said. “I’ve had him for four years now. We brought him up the last game of his freshman year. I’ve seen him do so many things and I’m always proud of what he does. He’s a student of the game. He gets better and better and is going to be tremendous in college.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 15, 2009

Former Southwestern standout picks SEC school

It's hard to imagine a 6-foot-8, 255-pound athlete disappearing. But for almost three long years, that’s what happened to Wayne Dorsey, a former Southwestern High football and basketball star.

While former AAU basketball teammates Malcolm Delaney (Virginia Tech) and Sean Mosley (Maryland) found stardom in college, Dorsey’s journey from West Baltimore took him to New York for a season of prep school football and to Mississippi for two years of junior college.

“The road that he took was just so long and so frustrating for him,” said Vernon Joines, Dorsey’s football coach at Southwestern. “The frustration built up watching all his friends, like Malcolm, Sean, all these guys he played basketball with. [Loyola junior shooting guard] Jamal Barney is one of his closest friends. All of these guys were in school ... and it was like he disappeared. A lot of people wanted to know where he was. ... But now people know who Wayne Dorsey is and where he’s been. [There were times when] he was mentally struggling, but now, all of that’s gone.”

Dorsey, Scout.com’s No. 1 junior college recruit in the country, is now poised to make a name for himself in college. The defensive end committed to Ole Miss on Sunday night, picking the Rebels over offers from Auburn, Florida State, Iowa State, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, South Florida and several others.

“It’s a beautiful place,” Dorsey said. “The coaches made it feel like home and made me real comfortable with my decision.”

Dorsey missed the NCAA qualifying standards coming out of high school. He eventually enrolled at Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., to take care of his academics. Soon after, he committed to Minnesota. But as Signing Day approached that February, it became clear that Dorsey would need to make other plans.

“I wasn’t going to get through the [NCAA] clearinghouse, and [the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College coaches] said that if I wanted to come in and work ... I would have many options,” Dorsey said. “But my first thoughts were, ‘Mississippi? I’m born and raised in West Baltimore. I’m not going all the way to Mississippi.’ But everything worked out for the best.”

Dorsey has teamed with former City lineman James Carmon these past two years to help MGCCC to consecutive Top 10 national rankings. Carmon, a 6-foot-7, 365-pound defensive tackle, committed to Mississippi State earlier this month.

“Last night he came in and was talking about the Egg Bowl this year and how he can’t wait for it next year,” Dorsey said. “I think [the rivalry] has already started. Since I’ve been seeing him, I’ve been telling him ‘Hotty Toddy’ (Ole Miss’ fight song) and he’ll say ‘Don’t say that to me.’ But no matter what, we’re going to be close because of this experience. The rivalry’s not going to break the bond that we have.”

Landing Dorsey and Carmon was an unlikely boon for Gulf Coast coach Steve Campbell, who has a limited number of scholarships to offer to non-Mississippi residents.

“We don’t sign out-of-state players unless they are that caliber,” Campbell said. “[Dorsey] was thin when he came in and he hadn’t been in the weight room. But you could see the body type was there and the athletic ability was there. ... Wayne’s a great player. We had [Alabama senior defensive tackle] Terrence Cody, who was up for the Outland and Lombardi awards. He was our guy. And Wayne should follow in those footsteps. He’s got the ability.”

During Dorsey’s time at Southwestern, basketball was king and football somewhat of an afterthought. The Sabers competed for city titles on the hardwood and battled for .500 records on the gridiron. Terry Leverett, Dorsey’s basketball coach at Southwestern, recalled a player that oozed high-major college basketball potential.

“He was pretty athletic, he could jump pretty well and he was pretty strong,” Leverett said. “He wasn’t a little skinny guy. Wayne had the right size for college basketball. I just remember the last high school game he played, down in College Park. We were playing Eleanor Roosevelt in the semifinals of the state tournament at Comcast Center. I just remember him stomping through the lane and dunking on everybody. So I just kind of figured he was going to play basketball.”

Leverett wasn’t the only one who thought Dorsey had a future on the hardwood. A second-team Baltimore Sun All-Baltimore City selection in 2006, Dorsey averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds per game as a senior. During the summer he suited up for Team Melo on the AAU circuit.

Maryland, Pittsburgh and Robert Morris expressed interest in Dorsey for basketball, said Joines — a former Cleveland Browns wide receiver and four-year Terps standout.

After a brief stint at Progressive Christian Academy in Prince George’s County, Dorsey called Joines to tell him he wanted to play football. Joines and Wayne Dorsey Sr., called the Milford Academy coaches, and the next thing Dorsey knew, he was headed to New Berlin. The journey from Southwestern to Milford Academy to Mississippi Gulf Coast to Ole Miss had finally begun.

Dorsey will graduate with an associate’s degree this month and enroll at Ole Miss in January. He plans on studying sports administration and competing for playing time immediately. After three long — and at times complicated — post-high school years, Dorsey said he’s ready for college.

“[Coming out] from Southwestern, I could have never envisioned this,” Dorsey said. “Going to junior college and now being able to play in the SEC, I could have never envisioned it. But everything has worked out exactly the way I wanted it to. ... I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:52 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

December 14, 2009

Weekend wrap — Ross breaks out

After a summer away from the AAU circuit, Terrence Ross has now reclaimed his place in the high school basketball spotlight.

At the Nike-sponsored National High School Hoops Festival at Wise High School in Prince George’s County this weekend, Ross was at his best.

ESPNU 100 prospect and future Maryland wing Terrence Ross (Portland, Ore./Montrose Christian) was the top performer of the day, scoring 32 points in a win against St. Mary's Ryken (Md.).

NBE Basketball Report attempted to get some post-game clarification on the status of Ross’ commitment to UM.

Terrence Ross, who did not sign a letter-of-intent to attend Maryland after verbally committing to the Terrapins, will not comment on why he didn’t make it official. When pressed, a Montrose assistant said that the coaching staff doesn’t want reporters talking to Ross about it. “Only about the game,” an assistant said.

Check out video highlights of Montrose Christian and Ross here.

• The Terps will monitor Calvert Hall forward Jonathan Graham throughout his senior season, according to NBE Basketball Report.

Has offers from VCU and Seton Hall, and said that Maryland told him it would keep an eye on him during the season. He plans to make a decision at at the end of the season, sometime in April.

• Raleigh, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie is writing an online diary for DimeMag.com.

For those that don’t know, I’m waiting until the spring to get everything decided with my recruitment. I’m just not sure about anything at this point, and it’s important for me to be sure. I don’t have any favorites and I’m just taking my time with the whole thing. (Editor’s note: C.J.’s most recent list included N.C. State, Kentucky, Oregon, Maryland, Connecticut, Georgetown and Florida.)

• Toronto center Stefan Nastic -- a senior with Maryland interest -- scored 15 points to lead Thornhill to a 62-33 win over Community Hebrew

• Lakewood (N.J.) small forward Jarrod Davis has received some interest from the Terps.

Davis, according to [Lakewood coach Randy] Holmes, also finds his name on the lips of Kentucky, St. Joseph's of Philadelphia, Virginia Tech, Florida, Siena, Seton Hall, Maryland and George Mason.

• Terps junior shooting guard target Deuce Bello scored 28 points to lead Westchester Country Day to a 77-74 win over Fayetteville (N.C.) Academy.

Bello also had 10 rebounds, seven assists and four steals ...

• Maryland women’s small forward commitment Alyssa Thomas had a big game in a loss for her Central Dauphin (Pa.) squad Friday.

But 31 points from Alyssa Thomas weren't enough as the Rams fell to District 1 power Council Rock North 64-60.

• Terps combo guard recruit Natasha Cloud helped Cardinal O’Hara to a 47-31 win over Neumann-Goretti (Pa.).

O'Hara, which got 15 points from Natasha Cloud, made 19 of 28 foul shots to Neumann's 2 of 6.

Football recruiting

• The Express-Times of Lehigh Valley, Pa., named Maryland quarterback commitment Tyler Smith its Player of the Year.

Smith, headed to the University of Maryland, threw for 3,130 yards and 32 touchdowns this season, leading the Warriors to a Colonial League championship and to the quarterfinals of the PIAA Class AAA playoffs.

• The Philadelphia Inquirer profiled Terps defensive end commitment Ian Evans, who was named its South Jersey Defensive Player of the Year.

As a senior, Evans had 17 sacks, seven hurries, two forced fumbles, and 52 tackles. As a tight end on offense he caught 17 passes for 360 yards and three touchdowns.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:26 AM | | Comments (7)
        

December 11, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class shrunk by one commitment earlier this week.

Brice Laughlin, a 6-foot-3, 270-pound defensive tackle from Summerville, S.C., switched his pledge from the Terps to Kentucky.

His father, Bryan, said Maryland did nothing wrong and that the family was impressed with Maryland’s coaching staff and recruitment. “It was not what Maryland does not have. Kentucky was just a better fit and choice,” Brian [sic] Laughlin said.

• Either Maryland, Clemson or Vanderbilt will get good news from Max Garcia soon, according to Phil Kornblut.

OL Max Garcia (6-5 275) of Norcross, GA has completed all his in home visits with the coaches of the three schools he's considering and is now working on his final decision. "He should have a decision in the next week or so," said Norcross coach Keith Maloff. Clemson was the last of the schools to meet with Garcia.

Jack DeBoef, an offensive lineman from State College, Pa., committed to Purdue earlier this week.

DeBoef selected Purdue over North Carolina State, Maryland, Syracuse and Illinois. His recruiting process entered an intense phase this past summer when he visited multiple SEC and ACC schools, including Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Maryland.

• Maryland athlete commitment Matt Robinson was named to The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro first-team offense.

Versatile receiver moved around from slot to wing to out wide; capable of breaking the big play with four 70-plus yard receptions.

Basketball recruiting

• The Arizona Daily Star this week recapped Terps point guard signee Terrell Stoglin’s performance at the Arrowhead Desert Classic in Glendale.

For the tourney, Stoglin averaged 31 points and nine assists per game en route to being named MVP as the Eagles went unbeaten.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:45 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

December 10, 2009

Season recap: Sal Conaboy

For three of Joe Repshis' five seasons as Abington Heights (Pa.) High’s football coach, Sal Conaboy has been there to do whatever has been asked of him.

In 2007, Repshis brought the sophomore tight end up to the varsity squad. The following season, with the Comets needing help on the offensive line, Conaboy made the move to guard without any complaints. This fall, the Maryland commitment returned for his senior year as Abington Heights’ unquestioned leader on the line.

“With another year under his belt, he had a great deal of confidence and had a great year,” Repshis said. “He worked very hard, came back bigger, stronger, faster and he understood offensive line play much better. He had a phenomenal year.”

Abington Heights finished the season 11-2, winning conference and district championships before falling in the first round of the Pennsylvania AAA playoffs. Conaboy was named first-team all-conference and first-team all-region, with other honors likely to follow in the coming weeks. While he may have been more potential than production as a junior who just made the switch to offensive line, Conaboy played like a seasoned veteran this year.

“He’s very athletic, has very good feet and is very quick,” Repshis said. “He can pull and trap very well, he gets to the next level and is very active. He’s going to play until that whistle blows.”

At 6-5, 255 pounds, Conaboy will likely need to add weight and strength before he’s ready to make an impact in college. But depending on what he does between now and his arrival in College Park, Conaboy could be given a chance to work his way into contention for playing time.

“They’re looking at him to come in and compete as a freshman, possibly as a guard or center -- the interior part of the line,” Repshis said. “It’s too early to tell exactly how he’ll be able to contribute, but they do want him to come in and compete. And that’s all he’s looking for. What happens when he steps on campus that first year is yet to be determined. But he will go into the offseason preparing for the opportunity to play.”

In the days following the conclusion of Maryland’s 2-10 season, speculation about Ralph Friedgen’s future played out in the media. One recruiting analyst suggested that Conaboy could be a target of rival recruiters looking to flip any Terps commitments. But according to Repshis, as long as Friedgen and the rest of UM’s coaching staff returned, Conaboy was set on the Terps.

“Sal was very adamant about the fact that he and his family made a decision he felt very comfortable with and he made the right decision based on all the facts presented to him,” Repshis said. “He didn’t really pay much attention to [speculation over Friedgen’s status]. Give him credit for being more focused on our team and what we have to do. He didn’t want that stuff to be a distraction. ... He didn’t pay attention to things being said in the media about there possibly being a [coaching change]. So he’s 100 percent committed to Maryland.”

When Conaboy made the move to offensive guard two seasons ago, he did it for “the betterment of the team,” according to Repshis. Repshis expects his star lineman to make similar sacrifices -- and potentially have similar success -- when he suits up for Maryland.

“He brings size, athleticism, a great work ethic and is very coachable,” Repshis said. “He has all the things you need to be a very good football player at the next level. It’s been a pleasure to see him have the opportunity to develop. ... I’m very excited to watch him play the next few years at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:52 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 9, 2009

Season recap: Matt Robinson

Kyle Schmitt admits there were nervous moments leading up to his first season as Atholton’s football coach. mattrobinson.jpg

The former Maryland offensive lineman -- just 27 years old -- was tasked with turning around a team fresh off a 3-7 season and a program that lacked an illustrious football tradition.

Thankfully for Schmitt, there were plenty of strong pieces in place, including Terps commitment Matt Robinson.

“We had a good quarterback in Kalvin Seamonson and who I thought was one of the best players in the state in Matt,” Schmitt said. “And we had a lot of kids to go around Matt. I thought as a team, we had a chance. Matt’s a leader, and it’s nice to have your best player also be the leader of your team and one of your top workers on the team. His intangibles are what is going to make him, I think, good in college. His size is solid, his speed is good, his strength is good and it will continue to get better. But the intangibles that Matt brings are what helped us.”

The Raiders were one of the biggest surprises in the state this season, finishing 10-2 and advancing to the Class 3A East regional final. Robinson, 6 feet 4, 210 pounds, was dangerous on both sides of the ball. At wide receiver, he finished with 39 catches for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns. At linebacker, Robinson recorded 75 tackles, four sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and one blocked punt on special teams.

“He didn’t come off the field,” Schmitt said. “He played, I would dare say, the most of anyone on our team this year. As far as statistics, our offense revolved around Matt. Then there are some things that don’t show up on the stat sheet that Matt did a really good job with. He was our lead blocker on our power play and inside zone, which we ran a whole lot. That was something we talked to Matt about doing in the preseason and he bought into it and did the dirty work. … The other thing Matt did well was he was a decoy for us. In our playoff game vs. Wilde Lake, they dedicated two guys to Matt on the outside, so we kind of played nine on nine in the box and that really worked to our advantage.”

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen visited with Robinson and Schmitt on Tuesday at Atholton. There was discussion of Robinson’s senior year, and his future in College Park. Schmitt thinks the Terps’ coaching staff will have a tough decision to make regarding Robinson’s position, but all involved parties will have some input.

“I think Coach will let him pick where he wants to play,” Schmitt said. “Myself, Matt and his parents will sit down and look at the depth charts and say, ‘Hey, maybe you have the best chance to [see playing time] here.’ But Matt’s going to play where they put him. He’ll play wherever they need him -- that’s just the type of kid he is. I have a feeling he could maybe end up on defense to begin with, but that’s just a guess. I think he could end up playing safety for them in Don Brown’s defense. They’re using the safety more, having three on the field at the same time in different packages. I think he could play a spot like that. They’ve got Kenny Tate playing there, and Matt has a similar type of build as Kenny. I’d love to see him on offense, being an offensive guy, but he might start on defense.”

When Robinson committed to Maryland in June, he was well known around Howard County but by no means a high-level recruit. Schmitt said this season was all about Robinson doing his job, helping Atholton reach unprecedented success, and proving that he could play at Maryland.

“I believe in Matt and he just showed what he could do this year,” Schmitt said. “He was dynamic at times. The [first] game against River Hill stood out for me. We lost that game, but Matt had two touchdown catches [that were both] over 80 yards. I saw every game River Hill played this year, and I never saw anyone do that to them. Nobody even attempted to do that. He was clearly the best player on the football field that night. They were the better team, but Matt was the best football player. ... I told Matt he could do it and the Maryland coaches believed Matt could do it.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Matt Robinson by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Dec. 2, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 8, 2009

Season recap: Andre Monroe

Expectations were high for St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Andre Monroe heading into his senior season.

The 5-foot-11, 285-pound Maryland commitment was a three-year varsity player for the Cadets and a returning Washington Catholic Athletic Conference first-team selection. Despite being a very well-known commodity, Monroe lived up to the hype as a senior, according to St. John’s coach Joe Patterson.

“Andre was fantastic,” Patterson said. “He started on both sides of the football and almost never came off the field. He anchored out defensive line and was a great playmaker. But he also helped our tailback get eight yards per carry on offense.”

Monroe recorded 61 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss, as a senior, helping St. John’s to a 5-5 record. Patterson called Monroe “the best D-tackle that I’ve coached.”

“I think that he just made teams account for him,” Patterson said. “He did a great job of getting into the backfield both on run and pass plays. His pursuit was fantastic ... He weighs 280 pounds but you’d never guess it with the way he moves.”

When Monroe pledged to Maryland last June, he was considering other offers from New Mexico, Akron, Bowling Green, Miami (OH) and Ohio. Patterson said that had Monroe waited until during the season to commit, the Terps would have faced a lot more competition for his services.

“I know he would have [gotten more offers],” Patterson said. “I’ve gotten several requests just this season about him. But he’s certainly firm in his commitment to Maryland.”

Thanks to playing both ways for the Cadets, Monroe is already in great playing condition. There’s always room for improvement, but Patterson said he thinks there’s a chance Monroe could contribute to the Terps early and help them rebound from a 2-10 season.

“I think that most players try to look to see what the school will be like when they’re there, not what they’re doing before they get there,” Patterson said. “So I think he was unphased by it all.”

After coaching Monroe for the past four seasons, Patterson is certainly sad to see him go. But Patterson expects Monroe to be a leader for Maryland just as he was for the Cadets.

“He was a unanimous selection as captain for the team before the season started,” Patterson said, “and he certainly lived up to that billing. He led by example, but he’s also certainly vocal when he needed to be.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 7, 2009

Weekend wrap — Evans wins state title

One future Maryland player ended his high school career as a state champion this weekend.

Defensive end recruit Ian Evans helped Hammonton to a 23-17 win over Timber Creek for the South Jersey Group III championship.

"I've never won a championship in my life," said Ian Evans, Hammonton's standout defensive and tight end. "This is the best feeling I ever had."

Jeremiah Wilson's Handley High squad fell one game short of playing for a Virginia Division III state championship.

The Maryland defensive back recruit rushed for 24 yards and one touchdown on eight carries in Handley’s 10-7 loss to Bruton.

Jeremiah Wilson, recruited as a cornerback by Maryland, scored from the 9 on a toss sweep to tie the game at 7. But the Judges rarely moved the ball otherwise.

• Terps commitments Titus Till and Rahsaan Moore came up one point short of their state championship goals, as Wise fell to Old Mill, 17-16, in the Class 4A title game.

In their final game together at Wise, seniors Rahsaan Moore and Titus Till found it difficult to accept the defeat. Moore played nearly every snap on both sides of the ball and had two two-point conversions, while Till had an interception in the first quarter. Both will continue their football careers next year at the University of Maryland after helping lead Wise's fourth-year program within one point of a state championship.

Click here for video highlights of the Old Mill-Wise game.

• UM defensive tackle commitment Brice Laughlin was scheduled to visit Kentucky over the weekend for the Wildcats’ basketball game against North Carolina.

Kentucky will also have two other prospects on hand from the state of South Carolina who have committed to other schools: three-star running back Jerrell Priester (Fairfax), a Vanderbilt commit, and three-star defensive tackle Brice Laughlin (Summerville), a Maryland commit.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:41 AM | | Comments (1)
        

December 4, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

A late offer from the hometown school wasn't enough to make Devin Burns change his mind.

The Maryland quarterback pledge from Carver High in Columbus, Ga., was offered a scholarship by Georgia on Tuesday. But according to Carver coach Dell McGee, Burns remains firm in his commitment to the Terps.

The quarterback and his family spoke on the phone with Bulldogs coach Mark Richt on Monday night, and Burns met with Georgia coaches Mike Bobo, Jon Fabris, John Lilly and Stacy Searels on Tuesday but declined their offer, according to McGee.

“Devin just told them he was still committed to Maryland,” McGee said. “His heart is in Maryland. He said he appreciated the offer, but that he was going to stick with his commitment to Maryland.”

Burns plans to enroll at UM in January, according to the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

• UM defensive back recruit Jeremiah Wilson told TV3Winchester.com that he will honor his commitment to Maryland.

"I was excited (to hear of Friedgen's return) but I wasn't worried about it too much," Wilson said. My coach (Tony Rayburn) brought it to my attention last week and that's when I started thinking about the situation but even if he did leave I still knew I wanted to go to Maryland so it wasn't that big of a deal."

• Terps defensive end pledge David Mackall, who spent this season at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia, is still hearing from several other schools.

A defensive end/linebacker prospect will visit Purdue this weekend and trip to Rutgers the weekend of Dec. 12. ... He also lists other schools after his services, including Michigan and Virginia Tech.

• Maryland commitments Titus Till and Rahsaan Moore will play for the Class 4A state championship when Wise faces Old Mill at M&T Bank Stadium tonight at 7:30.

The Pumas are physical, led by DLs Rahsaan Moore and Anthony McDaniel, and the area's top-ranked defense, which allowed four touchdowns all season. It shouldn't take long to see if Old Mill, which averages 36.7 points per game, can get things done up front.

• Terps defensive end commitment Ian Evans will lead Hammonton against Timber Creek tonight for the South Jersey Group III championship.

The defense, led by linebacker Antonio Rodriguez and University of Maryland-bound defensive end Ian Evans, has yet to allow a point in the playoffs.

• Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman has narrowed his list of schools to three, according to The Washington Post’s Josh Barr.

Coleman, who is 6 feet 7, will travel to Rutgers this weekend. Maryland is next on the itinerary the following weekend, with Syracuse on schedule for Jan. 15.

• ESPN.com’s Bill Kurelic reports that Pittsburgh Penn Hills wide receiver Brandon Ifill is considering five schools.

"It's still between five schools," Ifill said. "Besides Pitt and Maryland the others are Rutgers, West Virginia and Michigan."

Basketball recruiting

• Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer ranks Terps shooting guard commitment Terrence Ross one of the top 10 shooters in the 2010 class.

• Meyer also ranked the Terps’ 2010 recruiting class No. 6 in the ACC.

• The Gazette has Ross’ Montrose Christian squad as the No. 1 team in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

Montrose Christian has turned into one of the country's premier programs, and Division I talents Terrence Ross (University of Maryland), Josh Hairston (Duke, N.C.) and potential superstar Justin Anderson have the Mustangs ranked No. 5 in the country in the ESPN Fab50 poll.

• MarylandWomensBasketball.com posted a video introduction to the Terps' five-player, No. 2-ranked recruiting class. Click here to check out the video.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:07 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

December 3, 2009

Season recap: Nate Clarke

Rick Houchens still chuckles when thinking back to his first impression of Nate Clarke.

The first-year Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) football coach saw a 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman that oozed potential. But Houchens also saw a player that was far from a finished product.

“I told him he had Frankenstein feet,” Houchens said. “He was this big dude and he walked on his heels. He was stiff-legged and could barely bend his knees. And that’s how Nate used to run.”

Clarke, who committed to Maryland in July, went through Houchens’ intense offseason training program -- something the former Eleanor Roosevelt coach implemented as soon as he took over the Lions’ moribund program. Thanks to that rigorous training regimen, Houchens saw a transformation in Clarke’s game this season.

“We were playing Paul VI over in Virginia on their homecoming in front of a packed house. It was one of those great Friday night high school games under the lights,” Houchens said. “And man, he was just ... I don’t know what was in the water that night, but our whole team played on another level. That was probably the most physical I had seen him play all year long. He probably had four pancakes that night where he just leveled guys. Not only did he level them, he was laying there on them like, ‘I just smashed you and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ He was just inflicting his will.”

Archbishop Carroll improved from a 1-9 team in 2008 to a 2-8 squad this year. It will take some time for the Lions to reach Houchens’ goals for the program, but Clarke did his best to contribute to the rebuilding process. Houchens said his only regret is that he got to coach Clarke for just one season -- albeit a season in which Clarke lived up to his four-star ranking.

“He had 77 or 78 tackles, finished up with about nine sacks,” Houchens said. “He also had about 30-some assists, two fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, so he had some pretty good defensive stats. Offensively, I think he finished the year with about 18 pancakes. So overall, he had a very, very good year. ... He has a great work ethic in the weight room ... and it was great to see how far [Clarke and linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu] have come. It’s very, very self-gratifying to see those kids. Barring injury, I think they’re both going to have very good college careers.”

The biggest question facing Clarke is which side of the ball he will play on when he suits up for the Terps. Clarke’s preference is defense, according to Houchens, but some coaches feel his upside may be higher on offense.

“When you see a big guy, everyone wants him. Defensive coaches want him on the defensive side and offensive coaches want him on the offensive side,” Houchens said. “I think the majority of people -- because he has such good feet and was mobile -- liked him more on the offensive side. ... Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois, Kansas State and a bunch of other schools had more interest in him offensively vs. defensively. He likes playing defense. But he was very open-minded about it.”

No matter where Clarke ends up, Houchens is confident that he will do what it takes to ensure success.

“If he continues going, I look for him to have a great college career,” Houchens said. “He runs well, he’s strong, he has good feet and he’s athletic. So he’s got all the tools to be a good one.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

December 2, 2009

Former City lineman picks SEC school

James Carmon wasn't quite sure what to make of the coach with the Southern accent on the other end of the line.

james-carmon-1.jpg

Carmon's SAT score prevented him from playing Division I football as a freshman, so the City standout was looking for other opportunities. Steve Campbell, the head football coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, called Carmon two years ago to present one such option.

“I thought, ‘What is he talking about? I’m not going to no Mississippi,’” Carmon recalled. “But my mother made me go. I wasn’t going to show up. But she told me to go there and it would be better to get out of the state.”

Carmon followed his mother’s advice and enrolled at MGCCC. Earlier this week, Carmon -- the No. 7 junior college player in the country -- decided to stay a couple more years in the Magnolia State. The 6-foot-7, 365-pound defensive tackle committed to Mississippi State, picking the Bulldogs over Alabama, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Penn State, South Florida, Tennessee, Memphis, and Coastal Carolina.

“It feels good because I never thought it would be like this,” Carmon said. “Growing up in Baltimore, Maryland, a lot of kids don’t get the chance to play in the SEC, the best conference in the country, for the next two years. But it really shocked me. It worked out well going to junior college and playing for my coach, Steve Campbell. It all worked out on the field.”

According to Carmon, Campbell contacted Edmondson coach Dante Jones two years ago to see if he knew of any unsigned linemen in the area. Jones recommended Carmon to Campbell, and after digging up some senior film, the MGCCC coach was sold. It took some convincing, but Carmon made the journey down south and began his adjustment period.

james-carmon-2.jpg

“Oh yeah, it was real tough,” Carmon said. “I wasn’t used to it. It’s a slow pace in Mississippi. I didn’t have a car, and I really wasn’t used to that. It was real hot, and I wasn’t used to the heat. But I got used to [everything] after that first summer and I just rolled with it. I wasn’t going to give up.”

Carmon, one of just a few MGCCC players that wasn’t from the south, made a big impact right away. He helped Gulf Coast to a 10-2 record and a No. 4 ranking as a freshman, garnering scholarship offers from almost “every SEC school but Vanderbilt and Kentucky.”

The former City star followed that up with a strong sophomore season, recording 42 tackles, five sacks and two fumble recoveries while facing constant double-teams. He eventually pared his list of schools to the two in-state rivals, making an official visit to Ole Miss earlier this fall and then visiting Mississippi State last weekend for the Egg Bowl.

“Ole Miss didn’t compare with Mississippi State,” Carmon said. “Mississippi State is just a better place for me. They treat their players straight. They let you know what’s going on. They’re not going to beat around the bush. ... So they expect me to be an impact player as soon as I get there.”

Carmon will join a program that finished 5-7 this season, its first with Dan Mullen as coach. Two of Carmon’s MGCCC teammates have also committed to MSU. Coming off the Bulldogs’ upset win over the Rebels last week, there’s a lot of excitement for Carmon about his future in Mississippi.

“I never pictured that [I’d go to college in the South],” Carmon said. “I figured I’d be up north. I never thought I’d be down south in the SEC ... but it feels good.”

Baltimore Sun photos of James Carmon by Gene Sweeney Jr. (2006) and Jed Kirschbaum (2007).

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:55 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

December 1, 2009

Q&A on Maryland’s 2010 hoops class

Letters of intent from St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey, Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin and Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker arrived in College Park earlier this month.

Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross is expected to sign in the spring, giving Maryland a top 20 class for 2010.

Veteran basketball recruiting analyst Van Coleman of HoopMasters.com was kind enough to answer a few quick questions about the Terps' 2010 class.

Where does Maryland’s class stack up in the ACC and nationally?

“I think it’s an above-average class. I think it’s a good class for Maryland. It puts them at six or seven in the league, which is the middle of the league. But in their league, the top six or seven are all in the top 15 [in the country] right now. It’s a class that keeps them in the hunt. It did not move them forward -- they didn’t pick up anyone in that top tier. But it still keeps them at [their current] level. The big news for them was missing on [Tobias] Harris because he’s a kid that early on, they thought they had a shot at. They really felt good early. If they had him, they would have been a top 10 class and would have been near the top of the ACC.”

What do you like specifically about Maryland’s class?

“Ross is a kid who can come in and be a difference-maker on the wing. Pankey is way underappreciated nationally. He’s a really good rebounder who can block shots. He plays for one of the best coaches in the country [Bob Hurley] and he knows how to defend. Mychal Parker is another guy who can score and help out right away. Stoglin is a solid, smart player who knows how to run the point. He’s a kid that will maybe take a year to mature in the ACC [before he’s the] lead guard. But I think overall it’s a pretty good class.”

Who in this class has the potential to develop into an all-conference type of player?

“The two guys that have the best shot [at being stars] are Ross and Parker. Both of them are wings who can score off the dribble. I think Pankey is a good, solid, inside presence. He’s a guy who rebounds and defends as well as anyone. But he’s not a guy offensively who will take you to the next level. Ross and Parker have that potential. Are they definitely [going to be stars]? No. Do they have that potential? Yes.”

You seem to be a little higher on Pankey than other analysts. Why do you think he was overlooked?

“Well I think the biggest thing is that he really played on an AAU team that featured their perimeter kids. So his job was to rebound and defend. He didn’t score a lot. With a lot of people in my business, if you don’t score a lot, they seem to [overlook those players]. But I thought he is really good around the basket ... and I saw a big man who can move, has a nice jump hook and has very nice bounce. Those things, down the road, pay dividends. Plus, he plays for a great coach -- a coach that develops players that develop into great college players. I think that’s a big plus that a lot of guys in this business might not [account for].”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:11 AM | | Comments (19)
        
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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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Area high school commitments -- 2009
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Maryland's 2011 football recruiting class
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