baltimoresun.com

« January 2010 | Main | March 2010 »

February 26, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Terrell Stoglin has a chance to end his high school career as a state champion.

The Maryland-bound point guard led Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to an 85-68 win over Palo Verde on Thursday in the 4A-II state semifinals.

Terrell Stoglin led the No. 2 Eagles with 27 points, and Santa Rita's ability to shut down Palo Verde guard Bryce Cotton came up equally huge.

Stoglin will lead Santa Rita against Amphitheater on Saturday for the championship.

Over the last 10 games, all of them victories, Stoglin has averaged 33.5 points, shot 58 percent from the field and produced far more assists (61) than turnovers (26). He is sizzling.

• InsideMDSports.com unveiled a new feature today called The Terps Recruiting Trail. The first installment, which is free, has updates on Richmond, Va., small forward Michael Gbinije, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., forward Luke Piotrowski, St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, Gonzaga (D.C.) quarterback Kevin Hogan, Boys' Latin defensive end Marco Jones, Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) offensive guard Eddie Goldman, Hereford running back Vince DePaola and more. Click here to check it out.

• Maryland junior shooting guard target Trevor Cooney was Sanford (Del.) High's leading scorer in its 72-67 overtime win over Delcastle.

Trevor Cooney led the Warriors with 21 points, while [Deon] Jones added 20 points and eight rebounds. Stephen Poarch contributed 16 points, including six in overtime, and Khallid Hart had 10 points.

• Terps junior center target Desmond Hubert has led New Egypt (N.J.) to the South Jersey Group 1 playoffs.

Monday night, Hubert and his Warriors teammates completed the regular season with a 59-49 Burlington County League road win over Bordentown. Hubert led the team, as he normally does, with 23 points, about seven more than his season average. Hubert's offensive role is just one of the things that have changed for him this winter.

• UM junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs was listed under the Others to Watch category for the Essex County (N.J.) Tournament by the Newark Star-Ledger.

The 6-1 Gibbs (22 ppg.) has rightly distinguished himself as one of the top juniors in New Jersey. He can handle the ball against pressure, defend, pass and he also possesses a rare capacity to score by almost any means in the clutch. He poured in 11 of his 25 points last Saturday in the semifinals against Shabazz, eight-of-eight from the foul line, to spur a 69-57 victory.

• Terps junior point guard target Quinn Cook willed DeMatha to a 73-69 win over Gonzaga (D.C.).

DeMatha junior point guard Quinn Cook, the on-court leader of the Stags (25-3 overall, 16-1 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference), hit 4 of 4 free throws in the final 2 minutes, and scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter.

• UM women's small forward commitment Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 59-37 win over Solanco in the District 3-AAAA playoffs.

Thomas dazzled the ninth-seeded Golden Mules with a game-high 30 points, including 12 in the opening period, while Noss pitched in nine of her 10 points in the second. Thomas added 13 rebounds and Karyn Purcell dished out seven assists in the one-sided affair at Harrisburg High.

Football recruiting

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr reports that Damascus athlete Brandon Phelps has picked up an offer from Maryland.

A two-way starter since his freshman year, those were the first two scholarship offers for Phelps. Maryland and Penn State are recruiting Phelps to play cornerback. His father, Gary, played football at Virginia.

• Philipsburg (Pa.) Osceola defensive end Kurtis Walker is waiting on a Maryland offer, but the Terps are still his current leader.

“It’s tough to say I have a favorite, but I’d say it would be Maryland. They’ve invited me down to their campus quite a bit and when I went down there they treated me real well. The facilities were good.”

• Whitehall (Pa.) quarterback Chris Polony has received some early interest from the Terps.

“I got invited to junior days by Virginia, UConn and Maryland, and most of the other letters were just informational or about summer camps,” he said.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:42 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 25, 2010

Baltimore native Smith changing his game in W.Va.

Just one year ago, Kevin Smith couldn't be stopped.

Baltimore Freedom Academy’s sophomore point guard averaged nearly 30 points and eight assists per game, playing in relative anonymity at the East Baltimore charter school on Lombard St.

Today Smith, who moved to Baltimore from Brooklyn, N.Y. before his sixth-grade year, finds himself far removed from city life and his earlier high school basketball existence.

The 6-foot, 200-pound junior now lives in West Virginia, going to school during the day and playing for Huntington Prep at night. The Express (15-5) have faced nationally-ranked powers Findlay (Nev.) Prep, Paterson (N.J.) Catholic and Columbus (Ohio) Northland, suffering close losses to all three. Needless to say, Smith is facing an entirely different level of competition than he saw in the Baltimore Innovative Athletic Conference.

“I think it was the perfect time for me to leave,” Smith said. “The competition I’ve been playing [shows me that] I made the right decision. For me, I see the progress in my game ... by playing a national schedule.”

A typical day for Smith, who lives in a house near campus with his teammates, goes something like this: wake up at 7 a.m. and work out, go to school until about 3:30 p.m., work out with the team trainer, attend practice and later return home for studying and some much-needed relaxation.

On the weekends, Smith and the Express will often hit the road. Huntington Prep completed a recent trip to Washington, and also regularly plays at nearby venues in Ohio and Kentucky.

While travel and living away from home are obvious differences in Smith’s existence this year, his basketball development is probably the most challenging part of the entire transition. Instead of taking over games with his scoring as he did for Baltimore Freedom Academy, Smith has been asked by Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford to serve as the Express’ primary ballhandler and setup man.

“He averaged [around 30 points] per game last year, and unfortunately a point guard can’t average that many [here],” said Fulford, who was tipped off to Smith by BFA coach and athletic director Joe Connelly. “So it’s been an adjustment for him. Sometimes, he just needs to slow the pace of the game down. It’s been a learning experience.

"The one thing we try and have him concentrate on is just cut down the turnovers. When we play the schedule that we have, empty possessions are wasted opportunities that cost you games. It’s not a slow tempo by any means -- we run and press -- but at the same time you have other teams with really, really good players, so possessions are crucial. So he just needs to understand that every possession counts. Those are the things he has probably heard me say more than anything else this year.”

Smith, who averages 8.4 points and 5 assists per game, is largely responsible for getting the ball to his highly ranked teammates, most notably four-star small forward Justin Coleman -- who has committed to Louisville -- and Gorgui Dieng, the No. 14 center in the country according to ESPN.com.

“Every trip down the court, those kids have to touch the ball,” Fulford said. “Our kids need to buy into their roles. Most of these kids were like Kevin -- they were the man at their previous schools and all averaged a bunch of points. ... But Kevin has bought into it. It’s an adjustment period, but he’s still young. He just turned 17. There’s some things he needs to grow into, but I think he’s done a good job. It’s obviously not easy moving away from home.”

Smith agrees with his coach’s assessment. Adding strength, becoming more vocal and playing unselfish basketball are all things he has worked on this season.

“Right now I’m becoming more of a team leader,” Smith said. “I’m trying to get everybody motivated and make sure everything runs smoothly. I’m more of a [pass-first] point guard than a scorer, but when Coach tells me I need to score, I can do that. But I’m more of a setup point guard than I was last year.”

As for Smith’s future, the coaches on his Nike Baltimore Elite AAU team handle most aspects of his recruiting. Fulford did say Baylor and Florida State check in from time to time, while Smith said Cincinnati, Houston, LSU, Memphis and Virginia Tech have also expressed interest. There’s no question Smith has a high-major skill set. Now it’s just a matter of using those skills to develop into more of a true point guard.

“It’s one of those situations that as he adjusts and continues learning to be more of a pass-first point guard, those things will pick up,” Fulford said. “We’re trying to get him to learn and have the ability to run a team and manage a game, things like that. The high-major guys will sit in the background, watch that process before they jump into it.”

Smith will be back in Baltimore after the school year for what will be the most crucial summer for his development as a player. Last summer, Smith played up a year on Nike Baltimore Elite with guys like Will Barton (Memphis), C.J. Fair (Syracuse), Jordan Latham (Xavier) and Josh Selby (undecided). This year, he will team with the next generation of top local players.

This year hasn’t been easy for Smith, but an easy year wasn’t something he expected. He’s excited to come back to Baltimore in a few months and put all the knowledge he has learned this year at Huntington to the test on the court.

“Every time I get to go home, everyone’s in the gym and it’s like we never left,” Smith said. “But I like the results that are happening. Everything that makes my future better makes [my mother and I] happy.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:00 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 24, 2010

Edmondson has several DI prospects

The Edmondson boys basketball team made history Tuesday night at Morgan State. edmondson-hoops.jpg

The No. 6 Red Storm withstood a 45-point night from Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby, winning a 58-56 overtime game against the No. 3 Lakers for their first ever Baltimore City championship.

Edmondson’s win Tuesday followed a similar script that has brought the Red Storm success all season long: balanced scoring and unselfish play leads to victory.

“That’s the key,” said Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler. “If you look at my team, we appreciate the team concept. Last night I had [almost] five kids in double figures, so they already adapted to the concept of ‘we don’t care who gets the credit as long as we win.’”

Stanton Kidd, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound small forward, scored nine points against the Lakers, but has been the Red Storm’s second-leading scorer throughout the season. Dantzler said Kidd, a senior, averages 19 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists per game.

Kidd’s size, ball-handling, scoring ability, defensive prowess and knack for rebounding has drawn attention from several Division I programs.

“Right now, Morgan is on him real hard. Delaware, Delaware State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi [are also recruiting him],” Dantzler said. “Morgan is the frontrunner and Corpus Christi is the second choice right now. ... His stock has been rising. He’s been doing real good.”

Senior forward Jerry Lovelocke, who scored 12 points against Lake Clifton, has signed a football scholarship to attend Prairie View A&M in Texas. He’ll play quarterback for the Panthers.

Sean Thomas, 6 feet 1, 185 pounds, scored nine points to go along with eight assists Tuesday night. The senior point guard, who averages 12 points, nine assists and three steals, is being heavily recruited by Howard Community College.

Combo guard Rodney Pratcher contributed 12 points in Edmondson’s championship win. The 6-foot junior is the Red Storm’s leading scorer at 21 points per game.

“Morgan has been talking to me about him, [along with] Coppin and a couple other schools,” Dantzler said. “He will be an excellent mid-major guard.”

Edmondson, which has also received strong play from junior guard Kavon Pyatt, will play the winner of Douglass and Chesapeake in the second round of the state playoffs. The Red Storm is part of a loaded Class 2A North region, but Dantzler hopes Edmondson’s unselfish play will carry it to Comcast Center.

“Everyone has come along and sacrificed their scoring at some time,” Dantzler said. “Sometimes you’ve gotta do your thing, but you’ve gotta bring your defensive intensity with you. So they’ve been playing well. They share the ball.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Edmondson's Stanton Kidd defending Lake Clifton's Dwayne Washington by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Feb. 23, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 23, 2010

Pikesville's Gilmore an underrated prospect

As soon as Anthony Dorsey took over as the Pikesville boys basketball coach before the season, he started hearing about senior Devohn Gilmore. devohn-gilmore.jpg

“When I first got the job, that’s the first thing they told me,” said Dorsey, who came to Pikesville from Potomac High in Oxon Hill. “They told me I probably had one of the best guards in the county and the entire Baltimore area. And I got that not just from people at Pikesville, but from other coaches in the county.”

Gilmore, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound combo guard, averages 25.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals per game for the Panthers (18-3). Pikesville enters the state playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the Class 1A North region.

Gilmore, who scored 44 points in an overtime win against Lansdowne last week, has scored in double figures every game this season. He has scored 20 points or more in 18 of Pikesville’s 21 games and 35 points or more “five or six times," Dorsey said. You name it, Gilmore has done it.

“He can score with the ball in his hands, he can shoot the ball off the screen and he can create his own shot,” Dorsey said. “He just makes other players better. He can dish the ball and he’s a very good defensive player. I can’t even think of a weakness. ... I would like for him to rebound a little more just because of the makeup of our team, but for his position, he rebounds very well. I kind of lean on him to do a lot for us.”

Gilmore is still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but a few Division I programs have expressed interest.

“He’s receiving some DI interest,” Dorsey said. “Texas Southern has shown a little interest, [along with] Norfolk State, Loyola of Chicago and a couple of DIIs. But he’s definitely a Division I player. I think he’s definitely an All-Met player and I think most of the coaches in the county would probably agree.”

Dorsey said he’s in the process of circulating Gilmore’s highlight tape among college coaches. He is fully qualified academically and has no plans to do a post-grad year. Dorsey hopes Pikesville’s postseason run drums up more college interest for Gilmore.

“I think right now, because we’re a small school, he’s not really on the radar,” Dorsey said. “So I’m hoping with the playoffs, we can go pretty far and maybe make it to Comcast, then he’ll get a lot more interest.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Devohn Gilmore by Algerina Perna / Jan 26, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:38 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 22, 2010

Weekend wrap — Title for Thomas

The past weekend was a memorable one for Alyssa Thomas.

On Friday, the Maryland women's small forward signee guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 49-38 win over Trinity for the Rams' fourth straight Mid-Penn title.

“Whenever I play Trinity I get fired up,” said Thomas, who had 16 of her game-high 25 points in the second half. The senior also pulled down 11 rebounds. “But not having Laura out there, it definitely was different.”

Just a few days later, The Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News named Thomas its Central Pennsylvania MVP.

MVP: Alyssa Thomas, Central Dauphin. This smooth 6-1 Mary land recruit made this easy. The 2,000-point scorer is the most com plete player these four eyes have seen the past decade. Thomas aver aged 23.8 ppg and more than 12 boards a night.

• Maryland combo guard recruit Natasha Cloud scored 16 points in Cardinal O'Hara's 47-46 double-overtime loss to Cardinal Dougherty (Pa.) in the quarterfinals of the Catholic League tournament.

Last night's game was tight from the beginning. Neither team led by more than six points. Dougherty led by 37-34 with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in regulation, but Natasha Cloud hit a three-pointer with 26 seconds left to force the first overtime.

• Maryland point guard commitment Terrell Stoglin scored 43 points to lead Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to a 70-48 win over Seton Catholic.

"We were focused because we knew that they were a good team and we had to come out hard to get a win," Stoglin said.

• UM junior point guard target Quinn Cook guided DeMatha to a comeback win Friday night.

By the end of the night, Cook's assurance was through the roof. His game-high 26 points helped No. 2 DeMatha overcome a 15-point first-quarter deficit and breeze to a 62-53 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference victory at home.

• Brothers and potential Maryland targets Josh and Devin Langford helped Lee-Huntsville (Ala.) to a 74-57 win over Butler. The elder Langford led the Generals with a game-high 23 points.

Langford also had eight rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shot attempts for the Generals. Devin Langford followed with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two blocked shots ...

Desmond Hubert's New Egypt (N.J.) squad suffered a 45-34 loss to Northern Burlington.

Desmond Hubert led New Egypt with 15.

Football recruiting

• Owings Mills offensive tackle Donovan Smith said in e-mail that he added offers from Rutgers and Virginia over the weekend. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound junior also has offers from Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

• Terps offensive tackle signee Jake Wheeler had a double double in American Heritage-Plantation's 72-67 loss to Pine Crest in the Florida District 14-3A championship.

Jake Wheeler led American Heritage with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Ryan Andino also struck for 18.

• UM safety pledge Matt Robinson reached double figures in Atholton's 76-55 loss to Oakland Mills.

Atholton was led by Matt Robinson’s 16-point night, along with a 13-point effort from Kory Britton. Connor Cortes once again did not play because of a sprained ankle.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:17 AM | | Comments (2)
        

February 19, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Passing Arizona State commitment Corey Hawkins and Atlanta Hawks point guard Mike Bibby on Arizona high school basketball's career scoring list might be unrealistic for Terrell Stoglin.

But tonight, the Maryland point guard recruit has a great chance of claiming third place on the list.

With 10 points tonight in the second round of the 4A-II boys hoops tourney against height-blessed Chandler Seton Catholic, Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin can bypass Portland Trailblazers guard Jerryd Bayless - a Phoenix St. Mary's grad - for third place on the state's all-time scoring list.

• Terps small forward signee Mychal Parker guided the Miller School (Va.) to a 90-83 double-overtime win over Blue Ridge.

Maryland-bound Mychal Parker led the way for Miller with a game-high 28 points off the bench to help his team win its sixth straight contest.

• Senior small forward Josh Langford, who has drawn some UM interest, led Lee-Huntsville (Ala.) to a 59-52 win over Fairfield.

Josh Langford scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, leading Lee-Huntsville past Fairfield.

• Maryland junior forward target Desmond Hubert powered New Egypt (N.J.) to a 55-45 win over Florence.

Desmond Hubert had 14 points and 11 rebounds, and blocked 13 shots for his 10th triple-double of the season.

• Terps junior shooting guard target Trevor Cooney led undefeated Sanford (Del.) to a 60-53 win over Hodgson.

"We played awesome. They are a great team. They are very well coached, and it was big for us to come out and get the 'W,' " said junior Trevor Cooney, who led the Warriors with 19 points. "We just played a little better."

• UM junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs guided Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) to a 59-39 win over Ridge.

Junior guard Sterling Gibbs tossed in 22 points and senior forward John Caprio contributed 12 points and 15 rebounds as No. 6 Seton Hall Prep raised its winning streak to 19 games in West Orange.

• ESPN HoopGurlz's Glenn Nelson took a look this week at the McDonald's All-American Game selection process, including Maryland-bound shooting guard Laurin Mincy's inclusion and Alyssa Thomas' exclusion.

Maryland-bound Alyssa Thomas of Harrisburg, Pa., is the most glaring omission from the McDonald's roster, according to many coaches on the high-school, club and college levels. Thomas is ranked No. 7 in the 2010 class by both ESPN HoopGurlz and All-Star Girls Report and is averaging 23.8 points for Central Dauphin High School. She also was not named to the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) team for a game to be played April 3 in San Antonio.

Thomas helped Central Dauphin (Pa.) advance in the postseason Wednesday night.

The Rams, champions of the Mid-Penn Commonwealth Division, are headed to the conference title game via its 51-38 victory over Keystone No. 2 Lower Dauphin. Thomas' 23 points certainly helped the cause.

• UM center signee Alicia DeVaughn had a double double in Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely's 47-42 loss to Dillard.

Dillard's Kianna Conner led all scorers with 15 points and Ely's Alicia DeVaughn had 14 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.

Football recruiting

• The National Football Post named Terps quarterback Devin Burns one of the ACC's top early enrollees.

QB Devin Burns, Maryland: Burns could be one of many quarterback candidates in Terrapins camp competing for Chris Turner’s job.

• The Daily Press’ Norm Wood reports that Menchville (Va.) athlete Clifton Richardson has an early top five.

At this early stage, he said he's most interested in Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, West Virginia and Miami. Richardson, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior who had 1,268 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns last season to go along with 118 yards receiving, has offers from all five schools.

• Roxbury (N.J.) offensive lineman Angelo Mangiro plans to visit College Park this spring, Phil Kornblut reports.

He will go to Ohio State during his spring break. Later in the spring he plans to visit Rutgers, Tennessee, Boston College, Maryland and Virginia. And this summer, when he's vacationing in Myrlte [sic] Beach, Mangiro plans to visit [South Carolina], Clemson, North Carolina and NC State.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:30 AM | | Comments (17)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 18, 2010

Lake Clifton's Josh Selby focused on four

Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby has had a busy year so far. josh-selby-lake-clifton.jpg

On the court, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound senior has guided the No. 5 Lakers to a 12-3 record. Off the court, Selby has kept busy with a high-profile recruitment. Selby, Rivals.com’s No. 4 player in the 2010 class, recently narrowed his list of schools to four.

“His four schools are Arizona, Kansas, Connecticut and Kentucky,” said Maeshon Witherspoon, Selby’s mother.

Selby had previously considered Baylor, Indiana, Miami and Syracuse, along with Kansas and Kentucky. Arizona is the newest addition to Selby’s list, while UConn is back in contention for his services.

“Actually, we had a relationship with UConn first,” Witherspoon said. “They were on the list. We kind of had some miscommunication, so we talked about it and worked it back out.”

Selby and Witherspoon will visit UConn on Feb. 28, when the Huskies host Louisville.

Arizona was able to claim a spot on Selby’s list thanks in large part to Wildcats assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson, whom Witherspoon has known for quite some time. Selby and Witherspoon have already visited Tucson.

“Arizona is an up-and-coming program with Coach [Sean] Miller,” Witherspoon said. “I think he’s a great coach and I think Arizona’s going to be great. The fans are good, although there weren’t a whole lot of students [at the game we attended] because they were out of school. But the weather was great. Me knowing Book Richardson for awhile, that’s definitely a plus.”

Kentucky has been under serious consideration ever since Selby -- a former Tennessee pledge -- reopened his recruitment last summer. Selby and Witherspoon will visit Lexington on March 7 for the Wildcats’ regular-season finale against Florida.

Kansas, meanwhile, has already hosted Selby and Witherspoon twice. They attended the Jayhawks’ Midnight Madness last fall, and took a trip to Lawrence last weekend to see KU defeat Iowa State.

“The Kansas visit went well,” Witherspoon said. “That was our second time down there. Josh wanted to get that game atmosphere, and I think we accomplished that. I think he had a good time. Kansas is a great place with a great tradition.”

Selby, who is averaging more than 30 points, seven rebounds and seven assists per game for Lake Clifton, was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game last week. It was an honor that Witherspoon didn’t necessarily expect.

“Actually, I was surprised about the McDonald’s All-American [selection],” Witherspoon said. “I mean, there’s a lot of great point guards out there. I think Josh is Top 10 consensus, but there are a lot of kids that are great guards that didn’t make the McDonald’s game. Things have a way of happening, and it’s a blessing. It’s a humbling experience and it’s an honor for Josh to be in this category as one of the elite kids.”

Witherspoon said Selby doesn’t have a timeline for making a commitment. Right now he’s focused on leading the Lakers to a Baltimore City championship and -- if all goes as planned -- a state title.

“For me as a parent, as far as Josh is concerned, I always enjoy watching Josh play,” Witherspoon said. “I think he has taken his game to a whole other level since he’s been at Lake Clifton. I think that’s mainly due to Coach [Herman] “Tree” [Harried] and the example he sets and the accountability he holds Josh and the whole entire team to. It’s also not as stressful and Josh isn’t as tired as he was last year [traveling] to DeMatha everyday. If he wins the city championship, it will be well worth it.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Josh Selby by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 26, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:47 AM | | Comments (13)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 17, 2010

Owings Mills' Smith picks up two big offers

Owings Mills offensive tackle Donovan Smith now has seven scholarship offers to consider.

The 6-foot-6, 260-pound junior said in an e-mail that he received offers Wednesday from Penn State and Pittsburgh.

Connecticut, Duke, Maryland, Virginia Tech and West Virginia had already offered Smith, an Amityville, N.Y., native who moved to Owings Mills before his sophomore season.

Smith, who is ranked as one of the Top 250 juniors in the country by Rivals.com, is scheduled to participate in the Premier Showcase this weekend. The invitation-only event will take place at Rutgers.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:43 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Q&A with Towson coach Rob Ambrose

Two weeks ago, Rob Ambrose put the finishing touches on his second recruiting class as Towson's coach. rob-ambrose.jpg

The Tigers' 15-man class includes six players from Florida, three from Maryland, two from New Jersey, two from Virginia, one from Pennsylvania and one from North Carolina.

Towson's 2010 group is composed of five defensive backs, three linebackers, two wide receivers, two punter/kickers, one quarterback, one tight end and one offensive lineman.

Ambrose spoke with Recruiting Report on Tuesday about the Tigers' class.

Overall, how well do you feel this class addresses your needs?

Ambrose: “It addresses our needs on two levels. One, it fills needs for specific spots with the total number of scholarships we have to give. But it also addresses our need for spacing out scholarship players by years. If we just followed the normal mold, we would only have six to give [next year]. The goal is to spread the scholarships out by positions needed so we have an appropriate number per year. You never want to give out 20 scholarships per year but you never want to give out seven either. So we did a good job balancing that for this class and the future.”

How were you able to have such significant success in Florida?

“If you look at the number of schools that the state has and the number of kids that can earn a scholarship, there aren’t that many [scholarships to go around] vs. the size of the state. So the pool is large. Also, it’s a state where they play football 12 months a year. So the talent level is clearly there, and we have ties. [The staff] did a good job on the East Coast with the coaches in the area. A lot of grinding. A lot of grinding.”

Do you have ties to Florida dating back to your UConn days or is it more of your assistants having ties to the state?

“All of the above, plus us being down there starting last spring. One of the guys on the staff, [quarterbacks coach] John Kaleo, [lived in] Tampa. So he knows Florida well. He knew some of those kids when they were kids. I’ve recruited in almost every city in the state at one point in time. We had, at any given time, two if not three coaches in the state working it.”

Which of those Florida players really stand out?

“It all depends on who you ask. The kids all have potential to be very successful Division I players. Derek Soven was just declared the top, all-state kicker in Florida. A Mid-Atlantic school pulling away the best kicker in the state of Florida – or the best of anything in the state – will probably shock people. But across the board, we think all the kids have a lot of potential to help make our program better.”

How did you feel about your in-state haul?

“I think if you look at the number of possible kids who signed [Football Championship Subdivision] scholarships, this is not a big year here. I told the entire staff that before you’re even allowed to think about recruiting another area outside the state of Maryland, you have to evaluate every possible player here. In the spring time, in our first week out, we don’t go anywhere but Maryland. We cover the entire state. That’s how we start to build the wall [around the state’s borders] and get the best of the best. If you’re a scholarship football player, the only reason you don’t go to Maryland or Towson is you were out of scholarships. Then you can leave the state. So I was pleased with how we covered and evaluated the state. There was one that got away. I guess if you take all the kids that are scholarship players, if only one got away [that’s not too bad]. But I always want to keep the best of the best at home all the time.”

You're obviously young at quarterback, but does Chris Hart have a chance to compete for the job?

“Oh yeah. It’s a two-fold deal. All the kids that play quarterback currently are all under the age of 20. Most of them are younger than 19. At that position, the Division I experience is huge. That’s not to say that we aren’t talented there, but we’re just so young. Bringing in an older guy does two things. It clearly raises the bar with the guys already competing for the job. But it also puts him in a position to be a mentor both athletically and socially. At the college level, with all the rigors involved in Division I, he’s going to be carrying a lot of weight on his shoulders. He was brought in to compete for the job.”

Is he already enrolled in classes?

“He is in school right now. He’s here.”

How many early enrollees do you have?

“Three.”

Who are the two guys besides Hart?

Daniel Vaughan from Virginia Beach. He’s a freshman. And Jordan Dangerfield, who is a mid-year transfer from Hofstra after they dropped their program.”

It's been a trend with FBS schools to have early enrollees. Does that now apply to FCS schools as well?

"Oh, without a doubt. Division I football is Division I football. It's a 12-months-a-year commitment. There are kids that know if they come in the spring, there's a chance to get acclimated both academically and athletically. It gives them a better opportunity to play sooner. Who can fault them for that?"

Which guys do you see contributing right away?

"The standard answer is the farther away from the football, the better chance they have to play early, just because of the physical contact. But any guy that plays [defensive back], receiver or quarterback is going to have a real good chance to compete really early."

Which guy was the toughest get of the class?

"Corey Ford from Pennsylvania is playing in the Big 33 game. That's a team that's made up of Division I superstars, and he committed to us early, early in the summer. So we were holding on to our butts for that kid, for eight months, trying to keep the wolves at bay, so to speak. Each kid that we have, once they committed to us, were pretty thoroughly evaluated. ... It's a long battle and all the coaches did a really good job."

Was it helpful in terms of name recognition on the recruiting trail to have a guy like Saints offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod become a household name?

"It helps. It really does. Having him -- and he's been around here a little bit -- having such a great year, we'd be stupid not to use him in some way. [We had] two guys this year. [Saints] assistant head coach Joe Vitt is a Towson guy. So two Towson dudes in the Super Bowl. Name another FCS school that's got two guys. That's pretty good. We couldn't be more proud of [Bushrod] and he couldn't be more proud to be a Towson alum."

Baltimore Sun photo of Rob Ambrose by Karl Merton Ferron / Sept. 17, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:59 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 16, 2010

Mincy discusses McDonald's All-American nod

When Laurin Mincy tore her ACL and meniscus last September, a couple realizations immediately came to her mind.

First, the Maryland-bound shooting guard would likely miss her entire senior season at University High in Newark, N.J. Second, Mincy thought the possibility of appearing in any notable postseason all-star games was extremely unlikely.

So imagine Mincy’s surprise when, earlier this month, a nondescript FedEx package containing an invitation to play in the McDonald’s All-American Game arrived at her home.

“I just had this big smile on my face and my Dad looked like he wanted to cry,” she said.

An otherwise disappointing senior year had suddenly -- and surprisingly -- gotten much better for the 5-foot-11 Mincy, who is ranked the No. 9 player in the country by AllStarGirlsReport.net.

“I was really shocked because I hadn’t played all year,” Mincy said. “I was assuming my chances of making the McDonald’s team were not even an option. When I got the package, I was just really amazed. [I thought about] all the greats before me that also played, so it’s a great thing.”

The McDonald’s All-American Game -- scheduled for March 31 in Columbus, Ohio -- selects the top 24 boys and 24 girls in the country. Mincy follows in the footsteps of Maryland sophomore center Lynetta Kizer and freshman point guard Dara Taylor as McDonald’s All-Americans. She will be joined in Columbus by Terps center recruit Alicia DeVaughn.

“It gives me a heads-up on how our team is going to be successful next year,” Mincy said of DeVaughn’s selection. “We have a couple [McDonald’s All-Americans] and everyone is also ranked in the Top 100 of the class. Then we have people there already contributing. I think we should have a good team coming in next year.”

Mincy has resumed practicing with her high school team but is still “probably about a month-and-a-half from playing.” She is going through regular drills but tries to avoid major contact. While she’s hesitant now, Mincy can’t help but notice the progress she has made.

“At first, coming down the steps was hard just to step down on my left leg. I always had to hold the rail,” Mincy said. “Now I just come down the stairs normally. I can run down the stairs and I can bend my leg all the way back. The range is the biggest problem with the ACL. But I’m really seeing huge improvements with that.”

The first major test for Mincy’s knee will be at the McDonald’s All-American Game, which will be televised on ESPNU. The stakes will be high, but Mincy wouldn’t have it any other way.

“It’s going to be a big stage,” she said. “That’s all I’m getting ready for.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:23 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 15, 2010

Weekend wrap — Stoglin stands out

Terrell Stoglin had one of the best games of his senior season Friday night.

The Maryland point guard signee led Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to an 81-72 win over Amphitheater.

Star point guard Terrell Stoglin scored 38 points as the Eagles ended Amphitheater's 26-game winning streak - a far cry from a double-digit loss to the Panthers last month.

• Terps combo guard commitment Pe'Shon Howard helped Oak Hill (Va.) Academy to a 79-78 win over St. Patrick (N.J.).

Maryland-bound Pe’Shon Howard led Oak Hill with 13 points at the break while 6-8 Roscoe Smith made his presence felt with three blocked shots and seven rebounds in the half.

Check out Testudo Times' impressions of Howard's performance here.

• UM junior forward target Desmond Hubert's New Egypt (N.J.) squad dropped a 55-38 game to Willingboro.

New Egypt was led by Desmond Hubert (13 points, 10 blocked shots).

• OregonLive.com's Tim Brown caught up with former Maryland pledge Terrence Ross over the weekend. In this video interview, Ross reveals a top five of Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Washington and Oregon.

• Maryland women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas scored 23 points in Central Dauphin (Pa.) High's 64-48 loss to Bergtraum. The future Terp surpassed the 2,000-point milestone.

The Maryland-bound senior, who added eight rebounds, is the first girls’ basketball player from the midstate to reach the milestone since Central Dauphin’s Jennifer Harris hit the mark in 2003.

Click on the YouTube player for video of Thomas and Central Dauphin playing against Harrisburg last week.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:00 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 12, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Senior year has been good to Oak Hill (Va.) Academy's Pe'Shon Howard.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pound combo guard committed to Maryland last month, has improved his scoring ability throughout the season and become something of "a hoops socialite" on the circuit. Earlier this week InsideMDSports.com profiled the future Terp.

To top off all of the above, Howard has proven to be something of an advanced scout for the Warriors. A gym rat with an outgoing personality, he’s gotten to many of the top high school players in the country, both personally and in terms of learning their abilities and tendencies on the court. His phone is filled with numbers of other players, and when Oak Hill is facing a tough opponent, [Warriors coach Steve] Smith knows where to go for a scouting report.

C.J. Leslie is apparently no longer considering Maryland. In his bi-monthly diary for HighSchoolHoop.com, the five-star power forward from North Carolina gave this Terps-less list of schools.

I’ve basically got the same list of schools: UCLA, Oregon, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and N.C. State. That’s pretty much it. I’m looking to set some visits up soon. I’m not sure when, but my next visit will be to Florida. I’m still looking to cut my list down, I just have to find time to do that.

• Adam Zagoria checked in with New Heights AAU coach Jeff Rivera for an update on the injury to Maryland power forward commitment Ashton Pankey.

“Ashton’s surgery was successful. He will begin rehab in 4-6 weeks. He is extremely disappointed that he will not be able to play and help St. Anthony try to win another title as he worked hard over the summer to improve his game but he is looking forward to getting healthy for his freshman year at the University of Maryland,” said Jeff Rivera, Pankey’s AAU coach with New Heights.

• The Arizona Republic's Richard Obert named Terps point guard signee Terrell Stoglin one of the Top 10 players to watch entering Arizona's state tournament.

This 6 -1 senior point guard will have his toughest time reaching the 4A-II final after steering the Eagles there each of his first three seasons. Tucson Amphitheater stands in the way with its hectic pace. But Stoglin rises in the biggest games. He is the best at spacing and pulling up for big shots. But he is an even better passer.

• Former Maryland commitment Terrence Ross won't transfer to Westwind Academy in Phoenix after all. OregonLive.com's Tim Brown reported Tuesday that Ross is back at the place he began his high school career -- Jefferson High in Portland, Ore.

"The first thing is to get him in classes and make sure his academics are in order," said [Jefferson coach Pat] Strickland. "We are inquiring about his eligibility, but all of that is in the hands of our school administrators, so we're just waiting to see what happens."

There are no guarantees, however, that Ross will suit up for Jefferson this year.

A few hurdles have to be cleared before Ross can play. Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said he would have to talk to the team before allowing Ross to rejoin. Jefferson would then have to request a hardship waiver from the Portland Interscholastic League, since students who transfer during the middle of a school year are ineligible according to Oregon School Activities Association rules.

• Terps junior forward target Desmond Hubert reached a milestone Tuesday night.

Hubert has 1,009 for his career and is the second-player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-career point mark. Riverside, though, turned Hubert's performance bittersweet by nailing 10 of 11 free throws in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.

• Two future Maryland women's players were selected to play in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game -- Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely center Alicia DeVaughn and Newark (N.J.) University High shooting guard Laurin Mincy.

"I was really surprised and honored,'' said Mincy, a two-time Star-Ledger State Player of the Year recipient and three-time First Team All-State selection heading to Maryland who has spent her senior year on the sidelines recovering from a pre-season knee injury. "It's a great accomplishment and should give me a boost of confidence going into college. I guess all my hard work has paid off. Looking back on my high-school career has been overwhelming.''

• DeVaughn's Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely squad recorded a 68-35 win over Palm Beach Lakes in the Florida Class 5A regional quarterfinals.

DeVaughn had a relatively quiet night with nine points as Ely utilized an effective perimeter game resulting in open looks for Talissia Carter and Kourtney Pendergrass, who combined for 12 points.

• Terps women's small forward pledge Alyssa Thomas led Central Dauphin (Pa.) to an 81-45 win over Bishop McDevitt.

Alyssa Thomas led a quartet of Rams in double figures with 23 points and 12 boards.

Football recruiting

• Wyndmoor (Pa.) running back Jamal Abdur-Rahman had good things to say about Maryland in this interview with Rivals.com.

“I plan on going to Maryland’s junior day this weekend,” he continued. “I’ve spoken to my position coach and I have a bond with them more than the coaches at any other school. They’ve just been with me from the beginning of the season.”

• Good Counsel junior cornerback Blake Countess told Rivals.com this week that he has offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Maryland, Notre Dame and Illinois.

“I like Notre Dame obviously,” he said. “It’s because of the history and I like Coach Kelly, and his attitude. I’ve called my position coach there too and he’s really cool as well.”

• Maryland is one of many schools interested in Manassas (Va.) athlete Dominique Terrell, according to InsideNoVa.com.

Terrell currently holds offers from 13 Division I programs: Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Stanford, Tennessee, UCLA, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Clifton Richardson, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound athlete from Newport News, is another Virginia native on Maryland’s radar.

He already has a good head start on garnering his fair share of recruiting-service love, considering he has scholarship offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Miami, South Carolina, East Carolina, Tennessee, North Carolina State, Maryland and Old Dominion.

• Alabama hopes DeMatha junior offensive tackle and Terps target Cyrus Kouandjio follows his older brother Arie to Tuscaloosa.

Arie's brother is Cyrus Kouandjio, who is already projected to be one of the nation's top offensive line (and perhaps overall) recruits for next year's class. The younger Kouandjio already has a scholarship offer from Alabama, along with at least a dozen other programs from the ACC, SEC and elsewhere.

• Check out Testudo Times’ early introduction to Maryland’s 2011 football recruiting targets here.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:11 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 11, 2010

Lake Clifton's Durand Johnson talks recruiting

Like everyone else in Baltimore, Lake Clifton forward Durand Johnson has been snowed in the past several days. durand-johnson.jpg

“I’m just hanging around and doing some pushups,” Johnson said Wednesday. “I can’t do anything [on the court]. ... It’s killing me.”

Soon enough, the snow and ice will melt away and Johnson will return to the court with the No. 6 Lakers -- one of the hottest teams in the area.

The defending Class 3A state champions lost the bulk of their production to graduation last year. But by adding Johnson -- a transfer from Parkville -- and former DeMatha point guard Josh Selby, the No. 4 senior in the country according to Rivals.com, the Lakers expected great results immediately. Those expectations fell short.

“I thought things were going to be different,” Johnson said. “I just thought we were going to have it easy and teams were just going to give us stuff. But right off the bat, we lost our first game. Before you know it, we lost three games. We saw that guys [weren't] giving it to us, so we have to earn and take what we want. Teams aren’t going to lay down for us. Coach [Herman] “Tree” [Harried] told us that everybody that plays us, it’s like a championship game for them. Now we know how to deal with it and take over games and win.”

Lake Clifton is now 12-3 on the season and poised to make another run at the Baltimore City championship. Johnson is averaging “about 17 or 18” points per game, while Selby has quickly emerged as the most dangerous player in the area.

“We’re both two different styles of players,” Johnson said. “He’s more of a [scoring point] guard and I’m used to playing with a [pass-first] point guard. Me and him have to talk and stay on each other and talk about how we’re going to get the job done. We just play off each other. When he drives to the lane, I need to get myself open and make some shots. So we’re coming together as one.”

Johnson hasn’t paid much attention to recruiting during the season. He has taken one visit to Pittsburgh, but plans to do most of his traveling during the summer. His top five schools, at the moment, are Pitt, UConn, Florida State, Georgetown and Marquette. All but the Huskies have offered, said Johnson, who has kept tabs on all schools under consideration.

“I’ve been watching a lot of college games and seeing where I can fit in and be an impact player,” Johnson said. “I didn’t know [how I would fit in at] Georgetown, but I like them a lot. I normally see a Florida State or UConn in the picture. But I have to put Georgetown in the top two or three. Georgetown, Pitt and UConn are at the top right now.”

Georgetown hasn’t sent any coaches to Lake Clifton just yet. But Johnson likes what he has seen out of the Hoyas this year.

“They play with a lot of enthusiasm,” Johnson said. “They also told me they buy into defense a lot. I take a lot of pride in defense also. They just get after it. On offense, they come off screens and get their shots. Greg Monroe, Austin Freeman, Chris Wright [are all playing well]. Their style of play just fits me.”

Johnson will suit up for Cecil Kirk during AAU play this summer, and then spend a post-grad year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. For now, his primary concern is continuing to gel with his teammates and preparing for a run at the state title.

“Just being around each other, being in practice every day and staying in school all day [has helped our chemistry],” Johnson said. “We’re always together, so that just builds chemistry off the court and on the court. ... Now we’re rolling.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:28 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 10, 2010

Owings Mills' Donovan Smith a top 2011 recruit

Owings Mills might be the last local school you'd expect to find a major Division I football recruit.

After all, the Eagles were mired in a 53-game losing streak dating back to the first game of the 2004 season.

That five-year stretch of futility ended last season, when Owings Mills battled to a 3-6 record. A major part of the Eagles’ unexpected turnaround was offensive lineman Donovan Smith. The 6-foot-6, 260-pound tackle has made a quick transition from relative anonymity to heavily recruited offensive line prospect.

“I knew I had the potential and skills to play, but Owings Mills is Owings Mills,” Smith said. “If I was playing for a powerhouse school, [colleges] probably would have seen me earlier. During football season I was a nobody. But after probably December or early January, I just got that letter saying ‘You are projected to be one of the best underclassmen in the nation.’ And I got an invite [to the U.S. Army All-American Junior Combine in San Antonio, Texas], went down there, placed in the Top 10 overall for offensive tackles and made the second team overall.”

Smith grew up in Amityville, N.Y., and moved to Maryland to live with his uncle before his sophomore year. A sprained elbow prevented Smith from suiting up for the Eagles as a sophomore, but a dominant junior season had plenty of college coaches taking notice. Smith’s uncle sent highlight tape to several schools, and his recruitment took off from there -- especially after his performance in San Antonio.

“When we got to the Alamodome, there were players my size,” Smith said. “Going there, I felt like a giant. But then I’m looking at dudes face to face, eye to eye -- people that are taller than me and bigger than me. I was a little nervous going into the drills. But just like any other football game, I was nervous at first and then after that, I won about 75 or 80 percent of my battles, so it was just like a normal football game.”

Rivals.com has already recognized Smith as one of the Top 250 players in the country for the class of 2011. Unsurprisingly, Smith has several scholarship offers to consider.

“I have five scholarship offers: West Virginia, Maryland, UConn, Duke and Virginia Tech,” Smith said. “I’m being heavily recruited by Penn State, Michigan -- they’ve been keeping in contact -- Cincinnati, I just sent back a questionnaire for them, Florida, and a couple other schools around there.”

Smith said he has no favorites and is in no rush to end his recruitment. He’ll take his time and be “open to whoever is out there that wants” him. He will, however, always appreciate the first school to offer him a scholarship.

“The first offer came from West Virginia,” Smith said. “Actually, that was surprising because I’m at my locker in the morning, a normal day, and Coach comes walking down the hall and I said, 'Oh my gosh, I don’t know what I did now.’ But he’s got a letter in his hand and we open it and it said ‘We would like to offer you a full scholarship.’ I was just shocked. I was just looking at the paper and thinking, ‘This can’t be real.’ But it was real, so it was really surprising.”

For now, Smith said he’s just putting in a lot of time in the weight room. He has plans this summer to compete at a few camps, visit some schools on his list, and do his best to keep Owings Mills headed in the right direction.

“It’s actually looking good,” Smith said. “We have a couple people coming out who’ve been in school but afraid to come out, but I guess since we started winning and having scouts come out, they want to come out and play. A lot of the team [is back], so we’re going to be pretty good.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:46 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

February 9, 2010

Q&A with Morgan coach Donald Hill-Eley

Morgan State coach Donald Hill-Eley has a little bit of everything in the Bears' 2010 recruiting class. donald-hill-eley.jpg

The 23-man class includes one quarterback, one running back, one athlete, one safety, two defensive linemen, four wide receivers, five linebackers and eight offensive linemen. There are five players from Maryland and seven players from Florida. It's a diverse mix of youth and experience that gives Hill-Eley great hope for the Bears' future.

Overall, how well do you feel this class addresses your needs?

Hill-Eley: “Well, our goal was going out in recruiting and wanting to get the team bigger. A lot of the conference really expanded and outsized us. We wanted to get bigger on the O-line and D-line. So it was just good to get some 6-3, 6-5, 6-6 players into the program. We also tried to make sure we kept up our speed ... and things of that nature. I think we pretty much answered those questions with our recruiting.”

How important was it for you to land a big class of offensive linemen and what are the highlights of the group?

“I guess with having eight offensive lineman, it’s a group that can go either way. We recruited them mainly as O-linemen, but some could also help out on the D-line also. Being able to get a kid like [Memphis offensive tackle Robert] Hayes, whose great uncle played for Morgan back in the 20s with Charles Drew [was huge]. The other kid, [Eden Prairie, Minn., offensive tackle] Nicholas Harris, his dad played at Morgan back in the 70s. Being able to get kids with rich tradition in the program with Hayes and Nicholas Harris -- that’s a big plus. Jourdan Brooks’ father played at Morgan. These are athletic guys you normally wouldn’t get at [the Football Championship Subdivision] level. All those kids had [Football Bowl Subdivision] offers. We felt real good about that.”

Talk a little bit about how the family connection paid off with Hayes.

“When Memphis and those guys came after him, Morgan was where he wanted to be. His mother talked about how her uncle took care of her, so that’s what it was. He took his mother in and raised her. When we started recruiting him, there was no question he was coming to Morgan State.”

How did you land Jourdan Brooks, the running back from Germantown, when he decided to transfer?

“Jourdan went to Rutgers and wanted to get more opportunities and get more reps. He called and once he got his release, he decided this is where he wanted to be. Getting a back of that caliber and putting him in the one-back offense that we have -- we’re definitely looking for some big things from him.”

Will Brooks be counted on to contribute immediately?

“Oh definitely. Having that one-time transfer rule, you can transfer down [a level] and play right away. That’s really going to help us after losing Devan James. Having a guy come right in and help us solidify that running game [is important]. Having one or two guys -- like an Allen Singletary -- come back and another guy that can come in and not miss a beat in the running game, that really helps us.”

Do you see Suitland’s Devonte Lindsey factoring in to the quarterback battle to replace Carlton Jackson?

“The thing about it is, we had two young men -- Donovan Dickerson and also we had Delonte Williams -- both guys who were in the program last year. We didn’t have a dire need to get a quarterback [in this class] like we were in the past. So to be able to get Lindsey, it gives us someone that will add depth that we need at the position, rather than rush him on the field or get a two-year guy from a junior college. We have guys who can stay at the position for three or four years. But you’re talking about a local kid, 6-4, 220 pounds, that has a lot of upside to him.”

How did you feel you fared in-state for this class?

“The thing about it with in-state is we would like to have seen more representation from in-state. But it’s the same reason why we’re getting guys from out of state. You sell the kid about playing in front of friends and family and having community support. The kids that we try to recruit that are Division I athletically and are qualified in the classroom, we found that the majority of those kids want to get away from home. We are able to get other kids to come here for the same reason -- they want to get away from their problems.”

Are you happy with the in-state guys you did land?

“Oh yeah. We’re definitely happy with those guys that take advantage of the opportunity to play right here and be able to come in and support their hometown team with their talents.”

What are your thoughts on Jerel Coles, the wide receiver from Gwynn Park?

“He’s another plus. Northeastern closed their program down. The program ended, so he was able to come and play right away as well. To get him back home to play was definitely a plus. He’s an athletic guy that can play ... receiver or running back or defensive back.”

You’ve always done well in South Florida and this year was no different. What do you like most about the kids you recruited from there this year?

“The group that we got out of South Florida is a combination of talented kids from the linebacker position as well as the secondary. So we were able, with the relationships that I have in South Florida, to get some of their better players to come here. Actually, we have so many different contacts there, that it’s always rewarding getting guys with speed and size and strength to come help us out. [Darren] Pinnock, the offensive lineman [is one to watch], and the linebackers that we were able to get give us much-needed depth and [help on] special teams. They seem to be a more mature group."

Which guys do you see contributing right away?

“Mainly Brooks, Coles and Mike Bogdanovich, a linebacker out of California. Those are guys that we’re looking at as far as coming in right away and helping us. A couple offensive linemen that we had transfer in, those guys are looking to play right away. We only have a couple of spots, and that’s a good thing. Taylor Pass, a kid we have from Georgia Military Academy ... might be able to come in and help us right away.”

How much does it help with recruiting having Morgan alums like Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and Colts running back Chad Simpson playing such high-profile roles in the NFL?

“When you have Shiancoe, who plays as well as he did this year, and then you have Chad Simpson, who played so well, every time that name gets mentioned, Morgan State gets called behind that and it’s unbelievable with the amount of exposure it gives your program. With those guys going all the way to their championship games and then [Simpson] on to the Super Bowl, you can tell the guys in South Florida that we have hometown guys who are playing in that game. That really helped seal a lot of those guys. [They think], ‘He was able to launch his NFL career coming from that program. Maybe I can do the same.’ Whenever we have a recruiting weekend, we would just watch the game. We’d take the [recruits] to ESPN Zone and just watch the game and watch our guys play on that stage. It’s a big selling point, getting them to see those guys play.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Donald Hill-Eley by Algerina Perna / Aug. 9, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:59 AM | | Comments (1)
        

February 8, 2010

Charm City Challenge canceled

Disappointing news for local high school basketball fans today.

Corrigan Sports Enterprises announced that the Charm City Challenge all-star event has been canceled.

Lee Corrigan, President of CSE, said, “In this current economic climate it’s been difficult to find a sponsor who could step up to the line and fund the event this year. It’s sad because this game served as the biggest platform for Baltimore’s elite to showcase their talent against the top U.S. All-Stars. Ultimately the kids have lost the most from this situation.”

The game, which has been held in late April at the Towson Center, pits a team of Baltimore all-stars against a U.S. squad. There was also a City vs. County game.

“Hopefully we can resurrect this game a year from now. We’ll do everything we can to revive it because we feel the Charm City Challenge has become a part of the fabric of Baltimore basketball,” Corrigan concluded.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:14 PM | | Comments (4)
        

Weekend wrap — Gibbs misses out

The weekend blizzard prevented at least one Terps target from seeing Maryland's 92-71 win over North Carolina live at Comcast Center.

Seton Hall Prep junior point guard Sterling Gibbs wasn’t able to trip to Maryland for Sunday’s North Carolina game because of the snowstorm. He also had a mandatory practice Sunday.

• MaxPreps.com reports that five-star power forward C.J. Leslie might have a favorite.

C.J. Leslie, also a 6-8 combo forward, scored 16 points in a 60-57 win for Word of God (Raleigh, N.C.) in its win over Ravenscroft. Leslie drew Kentucky head coach John Calipari and the Wildcats’ are believed to be the favorite to land him. Wildcat freshman phenom John Wall was Leslie’s teammate at Word of God last season.

• Huntington (W.Va.) Prep small forward Justin Coleman, a five-star prospect and former Maryland target, has committed to Louisville.

“They showed me the most interest and have been recruiting me for a while,” Coleman told The Courier-Journal. “Coach (Rick) Pitino gets players to the league and they have some spots open at my position next year, so I can come in and play.”

• Potential Terps center target Juvonte Reddic scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in Quality Education Academy's 86-59 win over Atlantic City (N.J.).

• Terps women’s center recruit Alicia DeVaughn was dominant in Pompano Beach (Fla.) Ely’s 38-32 win over Nova in a district semifinal matchup.

"We had to win this game," said Maryland signee Alicia DeVaughn, who had a game-high 20 points and 32 rebounds. "They beat us by 22. We had to play hard. I just had to stay focused and play through everything."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:56 AM | | Comments (9)
        

February 5, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

The chances of four-star shooting guard Terrence Ross ending up at Maryland likely moved from slim to none this week.

The Washington Post's Steve Yanda reported Tuesday that the former Terps commitment had left Montrose Christian.

"I’m not going to talk about it other than to say that Terrence has withdrawn from Montrose," [Mustangs coach Stu] Vetter said. "It was a parental decision, and we wish him well."

Now it appears that Ross, a Portland, Ore., native, is headed back west. Yanda reported Thursday that Ross' destination will likely be Westwind Academy in Phoenix.

Assuming Ross does, in fact, end up at Westwind Academy, he will be coached by Gary Trousdale on a team that currently is 24-2. Among Trousdale's former coaching stops, he once was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Portland. A call to Trousdale's listed work number at Westwind Academy on Thursday was not immediately returned.

Vetter told Recruiting Report in December that the Terps were "still very much in the picture" to land Ross. His transfer from Montrose Christian, however, has likely closed the door on that possibility.

• Maryland point guard signee Terrell Stoglin was unstoppable in Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita's 63-47 win over Sahuarita.

And, as usual, star point guard Terrell Stoglin took care of lighting up the scoreboard, going off for 36 points - 15 on three-pointers and another 13 from the free- throw stripe - moving closer to second place on the state's all-time scoring list.

• UM combo guard commitment Pe'Shon Howard led Oak Hill (Va.) to a 44-43 win over Mountain State Academy in the championship game of the Big Atlantic Classic in West Virginia.

Maryland recruit Pe’Shon Howard paced Oak Hill Academy with 13 points.

Haukur Palsson, a senior forward from Iceland, helped Montverde Academy (Fla.) to a 54-51 win over Findlay Prep (Nev.).

Jamail Jones was Montverde Academy's second-best scorer with nine points, followed by Clyburn with eight and Haukur Palsson with seven.

Stefan Nastic received some interest from Maryland, but the Serbian-born center committed to Stanford last weekend.

Nastic, who attends Thornhill Secondary School in Ontario, was a member of the Serbian Under-16 squad two years ago and trained with the national Under-18 team over the summer.

• Terps junior center target Desmond Hubert had a monster game for New Egypt (N.J.) on Thursday.

Desmond Hubert's triple-double of 22 points, 22 rebounds and 10 blocked shots dominated New Egypt's 49-37 victory at Maple Shade.

• Maryland women's combo guard recruit Natasha Cloud has taken on more of a scoring role this year for Cardinal O'Hara, according to this profile from the Philadelphia Daily News.

Her newfound offense is a leading reason O'Hara, a young team battling both inexperience and injuries, is climbing back from an uncharacteristic slow start and becoming a dangerous team again.

• Terps small forward signee Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin (Pa.) to a 37-23 win over Chambersburg.

Returning after a one-game absence (left knee contusion), the Rams’ Alyssa Thomas scored 10 of her 16 points in the second half.

• UM center pledge Alicia DeVaughn was Broward (Fla.) County's third-leader scorer (19.4) and its No. 1 rebounder (18.1) this season.

Football recruiting

• ESPN.com's Heather Dinich caught up with Terps defensive coordinator Don Brown, who has high expectations for cornerback Mario Rowson.

“He has tremendous length and he's a guy that can match up to big receivers,” Brown said. “He can play press. He can get his hands on them and cover two concepts, physical rerouting concepts, and he's a guy that can come back to the receivers. I'm challenging him to do that.”

• The Scranton Times-Tribune was on hand for Terps offensive line recruit Sal Conaboy's Signing Day ceremony.

"I’m so happy," said Conaboy, wearing his white, pin-striped Maryland cap. "If I was going tomorrow, I would leave in a heartbeat. I am going to miss high school, but over the next four years I am going to have the time of my life at Maryland."

• The guys at Testudo Times did a Signing Day roundtable Wednesday. Check out their breakdown of Maryland's 2010 class here.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:21 PM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

February 4, 2010

Chat wrap: Signing Day Q&A

Check out a recap of Thursday's chat below. I talked Terps football recruiting, local high school commitments and more.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:00 AM | | Comments (7)
        

February 3, 2010

Notes from Friedgen's news conference

Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen was in good spirits Wednesday as he unveiled the Terps' 2010 recruiting class during a news conference at the Gossett Football Team House.

Friedgen spoke at length about a class filled with "athleticism and character," and a group rated 37th in the country by Rivals.com. Check out our staff story on Maryland's Signing Day event here.

• Even though Maryland lost Chris Turner to graduation, the Terps could have their deepest group of quarterbacks in two decades. Tyler Smith and Devin Burns will be true freshmen, Danny O’Brien and C.J. Brown will be redshirt freshmen, and Jamarr Robinson and Miami (OH) transfer Clay Belton are both juniors. The Terps haven’t had such good depth at the position since the days of Boomer Esiason, Frank Reich, Stan Gelbaugh and Scott Zolak, Friedgen said. Robinson is the early frontrunner after some promising moments late last season. The opportunity for Robinson to play as a sophomore was “a blessing in disguise.” Belton, meanwhile, was Maryland’s offensive scout team player of the year. “I’ve been really pleased with Clay Belton,” Friedgen said.

• In Friedgen’s opinion, the strongest part of Maryland’s team just got a little bit better. The Terps signed three highly touted linebackers — David Mackall, Lorne Goree, Javarie Johnson — that will join an already deep group that returns Alex Wujciak, Demetrius Hartsfield, Adrian Moten, Darin Drakeford and Avery Murray, among others. Thanks to post-grad seasons at Fork Union, Goree and Mackall are “more like sophomores coming in than true freshmen," Friedgen said.

• Credit Maryland’s successful return into the world of Florida high school football recruiting to Terps defensive coordinator Don Brown. The former UMass head coach had strong relationships with high school coaches in the area dating back to his days with the Minutemen. Friedgen said it takes three to four years for college coaches to familiarize themselves with the local coaches and have a chance to “get on the real good kids.”

• A drama-free Signing Day for Maryland did include one surprise. Will Yeatman, a 6-foot-5, 265-pound attackman for the Terps lacrosse team, will come out for football next fall. Yeatman was rated a three-star prospect and the No. 39 tight end nationally by Rivals.com in 2006. He signed with Notre Dame, redshirted his freshman year and caught eight passes for 43 yards over the next two seasons. Yeatman then transferred to Maryland and contributed 13 goals and 15 assists for UM’s 2009 lacrosse team.

Brief comments from Friedgen on each of Maryland’s 21 recruits

On Devin Burns — The Maryland staff was worried when the entire Georgia coaching staff paid Burns and his family an in-home visit late in the recruiting process. Needless to say, Burns’ refusal to back out of his commitment and switch to his hometown school has endeared him to Friedgen. An “athletic quarterback with a good arm,” Burns has already enrolled at Maryland. He comes from a military family and his father was recently stationed in Norfolk, Va., making family trips to College Park a little more manageable.

On Lorne Goree — The C.H. Flowers grad, who has enrolled at UM, will play outside linebacker for the Terps. A post-grad season at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia “helped mature him as a person and player.” Friedgen said Goree shouldn’t have much trouble getting “a lot bigger and stronger” after some time in Maryland’s strength and conditioning program.

On Javarie Johnson — “He’s a kid I fell in love with last year,” Friedgen said of the 6-foot-3, 215-pound linebacker. He was disappointed when Johnson committed to Miami and ecstatic when he decided to switch his commitment to Maryland last month. “He kind of lightens up the room” with his “wonderful personality,” Friedgen said. Another early enrollee, Johnson will likely make an immediate contribution.

On David Mackall — The former Edmondson standout now checks in at 6-3, 256 pounds after a post-grad season at Fork Union. Friedgen called Mackall “a seasoned guy” and someone the Terps are “hoping can come in and help us next year.”

On Tyrek Cheeseboro — Cheeseboro got good coaching at Milford Mill from Reggie White, who played for Friedgen on the San Diego Chargers. Friedgen noted that Cheeseboro had a very good junior year “when he had a guy who could throw to him.” His numbers were down a bit as a result of the change in quarterback, but Friedgen said he’s excited to put Cheeseboro’s speed to use.

On Nate Clarke — A two-way starter for Archbishop Carroll (D.C.), Clarke will start his Terps career on the offensive line. “He’s a lean 280” and has only played three years of football, Friedgen said. Clarke wins the award for shortest distance from his home to the Maryland campus. “He could probably walk to campus,” Friedgen said of the College Park native.

On Sal Conaboy — The 6-foot-5, 255-pounder was “one of the better offensive linemen in the state of Pennsylvania,” Friedgen said. “We’d love him to be a center.” Conaboy’s father, Conan, is a nurse and was helping people in Haiti when Friedgen came to his house for a visit. “It’s a very giving family.”

On Ian Evans — Landing the 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end “was a very good get for us,” Friedgen said. When you find a prospect that can run, is a good student and can play defensive end, “it’s a no-brainer” to recruit him, Friedgen said.

On Max Garcia — Friedgen cited Garcia as Maryland’s “toughest get” of the 2010 class. “Alabama was strong with him early,” but eventually it came down to Maryland and Clemson. One advantage for the Terps over the Tigers was a particular academic program. “He’s very passionate about being a journalist, and I still recruited him, if you can believe that,” Friedgen said with a laugh.

On Jeremiah Johnson — The Maryland staff saw Johnson in a 7-on-7 event last spring and were “impressed with his coverage skills.” The 5-foot-11, 158-pound cornerback needs to get bigger and stronger. Friedgen said Johnson reminds him of former Terps standout and current Ravens cornerback Domonique Foxworth at this stage in his development.

On Desmond Kearse — When Friedgen visited Kearse’s Fort Myers, Fla., home, Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse was there to lend support to his younger cousin. For comparison’s sake, Friedgen noted that Jevon Kearse was 190 pounds as a high school senior and Desmond Kearse checks in at 180. “He’s not real big,” Friedgen said. “... but he’s extremely quick off the ball.”

On Darius Kilgo — The father of Kilgo’s high school coach was on the Citadel staff with Terps defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo many years ago. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder could play on either side of the ball, but Friedgen said Maryland will “start him out on defense and ... go from there.”

On Andre Monroe — Friedgen raved about Monroe’s explosiveness and speed. The 6-foot, 280-pound defensive tackle “runs extremely well” for a kid his size. The St. John’s (D.C.) product lists Indianapolis Colts defensive end Dwight Freeney as his favorite NFL player, and Friedgen said “he can see why there would be an association there.”

On Rahsaan Moore — The Terps started recruiting Moore late in the process, and initially had him pegged for defensive line. Then Friedgen saw the 6-foot-2, 240-pounder play fullback. Moore proved to be a “dominant blocker” who could catch the ball and had good athleticism. “He may grow into a defensive end,” Friedgen said, but Moore will begin his Terps career with the backs.

On Clarence Murphy — The Hollywood Hills (Fla.) standout led his county in sacks as a senior. “We’re hoping he can be an edge rusher for us,” Friedgen said.

On Matt Robinson — Robinson made plays at wide receiver and safety when Maryland saw the Atholton standout at a 7-on-7 event last summer. With “tremendous ball skills,” Robinson could eventually end up at H-back, but for now is slotted at safety.

On Mario Rowson — “[Rowson is] exactly what I’ve been looking for in a defensive corner,” Friedgen said. The Norfolk, Va., native impressed the Terps’ staff at a one-day camp over the summer. Rowson is a guy Friedgen hopes “can get in the mix early next year.”

On Tyler Smith — Smith is “a mobile quarterback with a very strong arm.” Serving as a team captain in the Team USA vs. The World game last weekend, Smith impressed Friedgen with his “poise, command and control of the offense.”

On Titus Till — Friedgen was happy to land “an excellent tackler ... good cover guy and also a very good student” in Till. Several schools tried to recruit the 6-foot-2, 205-pound safety, but Till has been happily committed to the Terps for more than a year.

On Jake Wheeler — A 6-foot-9, 250-pound left tackle, Wheeler is one of 10 children. Friedgen was worried when Wheeler’s official visit to College Park took place during the record-breaking snowstorm in December. The south Florida native and his parents weren’t phased by the blizzard — even though they were forced to rent a car and drive from BWI back to Miami after their flights were canceled. “We’re very fortunate to have their family as part of our family,” Friedgen said.

On Jeremiah Wilson — Wilson was “one of the better running backs in the state of Virginia” but will play cornerback at Maryland, Friedgen said. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder “runs very, very well.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:39 PM | | Comments (4)
        

City's Adrian Coxson signs with Florida

City wide receiver Adrian Coxson decided where he wanted to play college football about a week ago, but didn’t reveal his decision until Signing Day during a ceremony at his high school.

a-coxson-city.jpg

“He wanted to surprise his mother,” said City coach George Petrides. “We had a sign [for the school] up and he turned it over. He didn’t want anyone to know until [it was official]. Then he pulled a Florida hat out of the bag and put it on. That’s the only hat he had.”

Coxson selected the Gators over Georgia and Notre Dame, and successfully surprised his mother in the process.

“She just smiled a lot, knowing her son is going to a good school and [having] the opportunity to do what I like to do best,” Coxson said.

Coxson, a 6-foot-2, 196-pound senior, committed to Penn State last April after taking an unofficial visit to State College, Pa. Last month, however, Coxson and the Nittany Lions staff decided to go their separate ways.

“I mean the situation wasn’t tough because I know people said they pulled my scholarship, but they really didn’t pull my scholarship,” Coxson said. “I’m not really worried about the situation because I’m going to a better place for me.”

As a senior, Coxson played quarterback for the Knights, completing 27 of 57 passes for 650 yards and eight touchdowns, while rushing for 1,280 yards and 11 touchdowns on 106 carries. He also returned four punts for touchdowns and was selected to The Baltimore Sun’s All-Metro first team for his efforts.

Petrides said he was happy to see Coxson’s unselfishness rewarded with a scholarship to Florida.

“I think the style of player he is and the speed and elusiveness he has kind of fits right in with what they do,” Petrides said. “They say he would have an opportunity to play next year. They’re bringing in some other receivers, but they expect to throw the ball more because they had Tim Tebow for all those years. But they seem really excited about him.”

After an uncertain late stretch in his recruitment, Coxson said he’s thankful to have found a home for the next four years.

“I just feel like they can maximize my potential and I’m excited for the opportunity,” Coxson said. “I’m just going to come in and work hard and help them win another national championship.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Adrian Coxson by Karl Merton Ferron / Sept. 2, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:38 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Letters of intent all in for Terps

Maryland's 21-man recruiting class is officially in the books.

According to UMTerps.com's Signing Day Central, letters of intent have arrived at Maryland's football office for all 17 commitments. Four players -- Devin Burns, L.A. Goree, Javarie Johnson and David Mackall -- have already enrolled in classes, giving Maryland a drama-free Signing Day.

“I know there’s a couple big names that got away, but I think Maryland got some good football players and good students,” said Kyle Schmitt, Terps safety recruit Matt Robinson’s coach at Atholton. “I know the knock on them is missing big in-state guys, but I thought they did a nice job establishing themselves with pretty good football players after a tough season. For them to finish in the national rankings, it kind of shows the work they put in to find good football players.”

Schmitt, a former Maryland offensive lineman and graduate assistant, saw recruiting from another side this year in his first season as Atholton's coach. He said he was impressed with the UM staff's confidence in their evaluation of Robinson, who had no other Football Bowl Subdivision scholarships when Maryland offered last summer.

“I thought Maryland went out on a limb on Matt,” Schmitt said. “They knew the type of person he was and the type of player he could be. I felt good about it because it shows they trust the high school coach. Obviously, I knew them and had a prior relationship with them, but that’s what you have to do -- have someone you trust, and trust your own evaluation. Nothing against the recruiting services, but they’re not on the practice fields every day and in the high schools day in and day out. For Maryland to trust their evaluation and for that to come true [with Robinson’s strong senior season], that’s a tribute to Maryland and Matt as well.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:06 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Edmondson QB Lovelocke headed south

Edmondson quarterback Jerry Lovelocke will play his college football in Texas. jerry-lovelocke.jpg

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound senior will sign with Prairie View A&M, Red Storm coach Dante Jones said today.

“It was within the last couple days,” Jones said. “After he took the visit, Prairie View was the highest on his list. Jerry wanted to get away from home. He went on the visit and they play a good brand of football. They won the [Southwestern Athletic Conference] last year. So a lot of things weighed into his decision.”

Lovelocke chose the Panthers over Morgan State, Norfolk State and Rhode Island. Earlier in his recruitment, Lovelocke sported offers from several MAC schools.

“What happened was, coming into the summer, a lot of the bigger programs are looking for commitments early,” Jones said. “And Jerry had some work to do to get where he needed to be. He pulled everything together, but with the bigger programs, you have to be ready when they’re ready.”

Lovelocke joins a Prairie View A&M program that went undefeated in the SWAC last season and won its first conference championship since 1964.

“He’s excited,” Jones said. “Prairie View is a great program. They have a quarterback that’s a fifth-year senior that he’ll be able to learn from. So it’s an ideal situation.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Jerry Lovelocke by Kenneth K. Lam / Sept. 5, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:12 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Terps' 2010 class: More from Matt Alkire

I didn't get to use nearly enough quotes from Scout.com recruiting analyst Matt Alkire in Monday's story about Maryland's 2010 football class. Here's the rest of what Alkire had to say about the Terps.

On whether this was a good class considering Maryland’s 2009 season: “Oh, definitely. You go 2-10, you have to be a very strong program in terms of tradition to be a top pick in terms of recruiting. You really have to recruit the heck out of your state. Maryland is a solid state, but not a hotbed of talent. I guess the crazy thing to me is that the better players Maryland recruits actually weren’t from Maryland. I was surprised they had this good of a class. Their best players, sans a Javarie Johnson, obviously, are not from the Maryland-D.C. area. I think a lot of kids are drawn to Maryland just with it being a strong ACC program. Obviously, they’re typically not a 2-10 team. After a couple years of 2-10, that’s going to be a problem. So right now, I wasnt really surprised, but if that continues, I would be very surprised if they can keep that up.”

On recruits who could surprise people later in their careers: “I really like Sal Conaboy, the offensive lineman they got from Clarks Summit (Pa.) up at Abington Heights High School. He’s a little undersized, a 6-5, 255-pound guard. But he just has great feet. He pulls really well and does a great job of blocking in space. He has a bit of a nasty streak to him. He does all the little things you’d want someone to do. He’s very good in the running game. Obviously, Maryland likes to bring in offensive tackles that are in that 280-pound range that can run. They don’t want to bring in fat kids. They bring in guys they can sculpt. With Sal, they’re going to have to put some weight on him. He didn’t really have to do a whole lot of pass protecting up at his high school, so he’ll need to learn that. But from what I saw on film, this kid obviously had to be very well coached because he does too many things really well for a high school player. I think he could be a really good player down the road for Maryland. ... With Darius Kilgo, North Carolina continues to be a bigger and bigger recruiting state. He did not have a ton of offers on his rap sheet. But Tennessee had offered him and the Carolina schools came after him late but he had already committed to Maryland. And being able to scoop them up from different states and pick what they want is pretty big there.”

On potential early contributors: “Javarie Johnson is obviously extremely talented. I don’t think there’s much time you need to spend on him. He’s just a tremendous player. Another kid that I was just a big fan of is Jeremiah Wilson from Handley (Va.) High School. He’s a three-star corner that played a lot of running back in high school. I don’t know that he’ll end up being a safety or a corner, but just watching him and watching his quickness out of breaks, you can see that translate to the defensive side of the ball. He can change direction really quick. He’s a fast player and has great burst to him. One of the rules in the SEC, which is the best conference in the country, is you take your best athletes and put them on defense. Wilson is a really good athlete. I like him a lot. Not a whole lot of people talk about him, frankly.”

On Maryland’s offensive line commitments: “They’ve been addressing it [for the last couple classes, starting] with R.J. Dill up at Trinity in Pennsylvania. They’ve been putting emphasis on getting quality players that fit their system and getting a lot of depth there. Quarterback and offensive line has really been a struggle for them. Maryland always has great skill players and good players in the secondary. But you’ve gotta win the battle in the trenches. Without a strong offensive line, you can’t do that. This year they went down south and grabbed Max Garcia, a kid from Georgia. And Max was a kid with offers from Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina State. To be able to haul that kid, that’s a big pickup. I don’t care if he’s a three-star. It doesn’t matter. People need to overlook the stars and rankings with some of these kids."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:11 AM | | Comments (0)
        

Meet Jeremiah Johnson

This is part of a series of 2010 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 3. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Jeremiah Johnson
Birthdate: Aug. 28, 1992
Birthplace: Washington D.C.
Hometown: District Heights
Nickname: JJ
Height: 5'11 1/2
Weight: 157
Position: Cornerback

High School: Suitland
Senior statistics: 99 tackles, four interceptions. 11 receptions for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 20 player in Maryland. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 121 safety. ESPN.com Two stars, No. 78 cornerback, 74 rating.
Bench max: 235
40-yard dash: 4.46
Other schools considered: "Maryand was actually the only school that offered me."
Favorite NFL player: Darrelle Revis
Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
Favorite all-time Terp: E.J. Henderson
Favorite music: Kanye West, John Legend, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z
Favorite book: "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe
Favorite movie: "Good Burger"
Favorite TV channel: ESPN
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite high school class: History
Favorite thing about College Park: "The diversity."
Other high school sports: Track, baseball
Hobbies: "Besides working out, I guess hanging out with my girlfriend, going to the mall with some of my friends and going on the computer."
Intended major: "Undecided but leaning toward criminal justice or sports management."
Something that not many people know about you: "I still watch Saturday morning cartoons."
Best football moment: "This year when we played Flowers High School and we went to overtime. Our quarterback threw a pass into the end zone in overtime and it got tipped by literally five defenders and then fell into the hands of our receiver."
Role model: "I would probably have to say my parents because we've been through a lot as a family. Just seeing them still stick together through everything and always support one another and support me and my brother and my sister. I have to look up to that."
Why Maryland? "Maryland is the best choice for me because I know the whole metropolitan area pretty well. I've been a diehard Terrapins fan since I was little. I've always followed the team and [am excited] to have the opportunity to make the team better. I might have more motivation because some people might not be as familiar with the tradition. So it's just the perfect spot for me."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:50 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

February 2, 2010

Updates on Terps targets heading elsewhere

The decision is in for Brandon Coleman

The four-star wide receiver from Bishop McNamara committed to Rutgers on Tuesday.

Coleman also held offers from Boston College, Maryland, Notre Dame, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

Maryland was the runner-up school in Coleman’s recruitment.

"I [decided] over the weekend and talked it over with my family the last couple days and i just knew Rutgers was the place," Coleman said. "I just went with my gut feeling. We did all the pros and cons and everything was pretty much even. I went where I felt more comfortable."

• DeMatha offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio committed to Alabama on Monday.

Kouandjio selected Alabama over scholarship offers from Southern Cal, New Mexico, Maryland and Cal. He committed to Alabama Monday, but went public Tuesday night.

• The Washington Post’s Josh Barr reports that Forestville wide receiver Antonio Belt -- a former Maryland target – will play his college football in Philadelphia.

The 6-foot, 171-pound senior visited Temple this past weekend and Wednesday will sign a letter-of-intent to play for the Owls, Knights Coach Charles Harley said.

• Christchurch (Va.) tight end Josh Lovell -- another former Terps target – is headed to Marshall.

Lovell is from Gloucester. He's 6-foot-6 and weight 275 pounds. According to Homer, Lovell had offers from Maryland, East Carolina, West Virginia and South Carolina.

• Hollywood Hills (Fla.) cornerback Tony Grimes made an oral commitment to Ole Miss over the weekend.

Hollywood Hills coach Scott Barnwell said Grimes' final decision came down to Maryland and Ole Miss. He said the final decision was based on the depth chart being low at cornerback at Ole Miss.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:48 PM | | Comments (6)
        

Superlatives for the Terps' class of 2010

One man's opinion on the potential of Maryland's 2010 football commitments. Post your takes below.

Most wanted: Given to the most heavily recruited Maryland commitments.

OFFENSE

Max Garcia — Norcross (Ga.), offensive lineman

One year after pulling Norcross (Ga.) running back D.J. Adams out of the south, the Terps struck gold again at the suburban Atlanta school by picking up a pledge from Garcia. Florida State, Michigan State, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest all reportedly offered, but Maryland, Clemson and Vanderbilt eventually emerged as Garcia's final three. Tigers tight ends coach Danny Pearman, a former Maryland assistant, gave Garcia the hard sell, but the 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle couldn't pass up the opportunity to reunite with Adams and major in broadcast journalism at Maryland.

DEFENSE

Javarie Johnson — Dunbar (D.C.), linebacker

It was always going to be a challenge for Maryland to land Johnson, Washington's top-ranked player according to Rivals.com. The Terps were seriously in the mix from the beginning, but Johnson also claimed offers from Florida, Illinois, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others. Johnson committed to the Hurricanes last summer, but pulled a stunner last month when he switched his commitment to Maryland and enrolled in classes. An early start for Johnson -- one of UM's top-ranked pledges -- will most likely lead to immediate playing time.

Most likely to contribute early: Given to the recruits most likely to see the field as true freshmen

OFFENSE

Rahsaan Moore — Wise, fullback

Maryland's class is light on offense with just two quarterbacks, three offensive lineman, one wide receiver, and Moore, a fullback. The quarterbacks and linemen are obvious redshirt candidates, and the Terps return all of their top wide receivers. That leaves Moore, who will try to fill the void left by standout fullback Cory Jackson. A two-way starter for the Pumas, the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Moore is big enough to compete for playing time right away, and he possesses the mental makeup required of a fullback. "He’s a young man that will do everything you ask him to do," said Wise coach DaLawn Parrish.

DEFENSE

David Mackall — Fork Union (Va.), defensive end

"I've never been around Shawne Merriman, but to us, he seems to be a Shawne Merriman type of player," Fork Union coach John Shuman said of Mackall, who graduated from Edmondson last spring and signed with Maryland one year ago. "He led our team in sacks and tackles for loss. ... He's big, fast, physical and just an intense guy. He played every snap and got all our guys ready to compete." Shuman said Michigan, Purdue and Rutgers "tried to jump in" and get Mackall to switch his commitment, but the 6-foot-3, 230-pounder has already enrolled in classes at College Park.

Most likely to be a multi-year starter: Self-explanatory — these recruits have all-conference potential.

OFFENSE

Tyler Smith — Wilson Area (Pa.), quarterback

A first-team all-state player as a senior, Smith spent three seasons rewriting Wilson's history books and earning his place as one of Pennsylvania's most effective quarterbacks of all time. The 6-foot-4, 200-pounder earned a four-star ranking from Scout.com and ESPN.com. He has the size and arm strength of a prototypical dropback passer, but his 4.9 speed allows for a measure of escapeability. "He’s a leader, and the thing I think I like most about him is that most high school passers are dink and dunk," said Scout.com recruiting analyst Matt Alkire. "Tyler’s offense is really predicated on making the vertical pass, stretching the field, hitting the seam routes and deep outs, having him read a defense and look off the safety. Tyler, in games, has really performed that well."

DEFENSE

Titus Till — Wise, safety

Till pledged to Maryland before Signing Day 2009, becoming the Terps' first commitment of the 2010 class. It didn't take long for the recruiting services to see what the Maryland staff liked about the 6-foot-3, 205-pounder. Rivals.com ranks him a four-star prospect, the No. 3 player in Maryland, the No. 11 safety nationally and the No. 158 player in the country. "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," Wise coach DaLawn Parrish.

Most likely to overachieve: Given to the overlooked recruits that exceeded expectations during the high school season.

OFFENSE

Devin Burns — Carver (Ga.), quarterback

Several recruiting services have Burns pegged for wide receiver or defensive back in college (including ESPN.com, which rates him the No. 69 athlete in the country). But as a senior, Burns did his best to prove his future is at quarterback, going 123-for-179 for 1,795 yards with 16 touchdowns and five interceptions, and rushing for 541 yards rushing and five touchdowns on 76 carries. It was a season good enough to make Georgia -- which pulled his scholarship offer shortly before he committed to Maryland -- extend an offer once again last fall. Burns will get a head start in College Park, having already enrolled in classes. Burns will get his shot at quarterback, and if that doesn't work out, the Terps will have a versatile, athletic leader at their disposal.

DEFENSE

Matt Robinson — Atholton, safety

Maryland was Robinson's only FBS offer when he committed to the Terps last June. At the time, the 6-foot-4, 210-pound athlete had offers from Fordham, James Madison, Massachusetts, Old Dominion and Stony Brook. The early offer to Robinson raised eyebrows for some Maryland recruiting followers, but an All-Metro senior season for the Raiders removed any lingering concerns about his ability fans may have had. Robinson led Atholton to a 10-2 record, catching 39 passes for 792 yards and 10 touchdowns, and recording 75 tackles, four sacks, one interception, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and one blocked punt on special teams.

Most underrated: Given to the recruits with the best chance at making their recruiting rankings look silly four years from now.

OFFENSE

Jake Wheeler — American Heritage (Fla.), offensive tackle

Wheeler's late-December commitment to Maryland came before many of the national recruiting services even had a profile for the 6-foot-8, 250-pounder. The explanation for Wheeler's anonymity was simple -- he didn't participate in summer camps and combines. His off-the-radar status helps explain a two-star rating from Rivals.com. Scout.com and ESPN.com have yet to evaluate Wheeler, who also earned several Division I offers for basketball. While Wheeler will be a long-term project for the Terps, his size and athleticism make him one to watch on the offensive line a couple years from now.

DEFENSE

Andre Monroe — St. John's (D.C.), defensive tackle

Monroe has the requisite girth (280) and strength (bench max of 365 pounds) of a BCS-level defensive tackle recruit. But his height (a shade under 6 feet) had some recruiting services -- most notably Rivals.com and its two-star rating -- questioning his potential. “If he had been a couple of inches taller, I’m sure he would’ve been a national recruit," St. John's coach Joe Patterson told Recruiting Report in July. Monroe did his best as a senior to show that prototypical size has nothing to do with production, earning Washington Post All-Met first team honors for his efforts.

The rest of the class

OFFENSE

Tyrek Cheeseboro — Milford Mill, wide receiver

Cheeseboro picked up scholarship offers from most of the ACC and Big East schools by the middle of last summer. Staying close to home and having a chance to play the Darrius Heyward-Bey role were two factors that worked in Maryland's favor. With his 4.3 speed, Cheeseboro could be one to watch in the Terps' kick-return game in a couple years.

Sal Conaboy — Abington Heights (Pa.), offensive guard

A former tight end, Conaboy spent his senior season earning just about every honor given to offensive linemen in Pennsylvania. "He might only be a three-star player, but I think a special player is Sal Conaboy, the offensive guard from Pennsylvania,” Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels said. “I think he’s a very intriguing player. Maybe he won’t [make an impact] in the next one or two years, but over his career, I think people are going to be excited about him."

DEFENSE

Nate Clarke — Archbishop Carroll (D.C.), defensive tackle

The biggest question for Clarke is whether he'll end up on Maryland's offensive or defensive line. The personal preference for Clarke, a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com, was defensive tackle. "I think the majority of people -- because he has such good feet and was mobile -- liked him more on the offensive side," said Archbishop Carroll coach Rick Houchens. "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.”

Ian Evans — Hammonton (N.J.), defensive end

Evans closed out his high school career as a state champion, leading the Blue Devils to the South Jersey Group 3 title. For recording 52 tackles, 17 sacks, seven quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, and serving as the linchpin of Hammonton's defense, the Philadelphia Inquirer named Evans its Defensive Player of the Year. The 6-foot-2, 245-pounder picked Maryland over offers from Rutgers, Syracuse and Temple.

L.A. Goree — Fork Union (Va.), linebacker

"He's a sideline-to-sideline linebacker," said Shuman, the Fork Union coach. "He's a little bit smaller [than Mackall], but he's faster and smoother. He's not as physical, but he brought it. He's quiet off the field but pretty animated on the field. ... It's a good move for him to get there second semester just to fill him out more, upgrade his size and physicalness. Once they catch him up on his size, he's going to be a good player."

Jeremiah Johnson — Suitland, cornerback

A three-star prospect and the No. 20 player in Maryland according to Rivals.com, Johnson's first scholarship offer came from the Terps. "We sat down in the coach’s office and they explained to me that they were offering [a scholarship],” Johnson told Recruiting Report last July. “I guess about five minutes later, I accepted the offer." As a senior, Johnson recorded 99 tackles and four interceptions from the free safety spot. "He will come at you with everything he’s got," said Suitland coach Ed Shields. "He’s a cover corner who can hit."

Desmond Kearse — Dunbar (Fla.), safety

A cousin of Tennessee Titans defensive end Jevon Kearse, this future Terp was one of Maryland's most off-the-radar commitments. Kearse -- who recorded 46 sacks in his last two varsity seasons -- sported offers from Florida Atlantic, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky. Once Maryland offered a scholarship last month, Kearse committed about "a nanosecond" later, according to Dunbar coach Phil Vogt. A couple years in Maryland's strength-and-conditioning program would serve the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Kearse well.

Darius Kilgo — Weddington (N.C.), defensive tackle

As a junior, the 6-foot-4, 315-pound Kilgo showed enough potential to earn scholarship offers from Maryland, Tennessee, South Carolina, Michigan State and several others. After dropping 30 pounds before his senior year, Kilgo showed just how serious he was about realizing that potential. His intense offseason training program paid off, as the sleeker Kilgo recorded 67 tackles, four sacks and two forced fumbles as a senior. "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," said Weddington coach Justin Hardin.

Clarence Murphy — Hollywood Hills (Fla.), defensive end

Another Don Brown recruit from Florida, Murphy earned his Terps offer last spring and committed last month. "He has a chance to put on 20-30 pounds and he could be really tough to deal with," said CBS College Sports Network analyst Tom Lemming. "He could be one of their difference-maker types. He needs to add more strength and weight." Murphy, a three-star prospect according to Rivals, Scout and ESPN, picked the Terps over Michigan.

Mario Rowson — Lake Taylor (Va.), cornerback

At 6-foot-3 1/2 and 190 pounds, Rowson possesses rare size and ideal speed (4.4 40) for a cornerback. A two-way starter for the Titans, Rowson earned all-region, all-district, all-Tidewater and second-team all-state honors. "He’s a three-star kid that’s tall and lanky and needs to fill out," said Rivals.com's Mike Farrell. "But he’s a really athletic kid." Maryland was the first school to offer Rowson a scholarship.

Jeremiah Wilson — Handley (Va.), cornerback

Wilson was born in Baltimore, spent the first eight years of his life in Woodlawn and became a lifelong fan of the Terps early in his childhood. Maryland offered the 5-foot-10, 185-pound cornerback a scholarship shortly after Signing Day 2009, and he accepted just two weeks later. "He’s a strong kid and a physical player," Handley coach Tony Rayburn said of Wilson, who was a four-year varsity player. "I don’t know what they have and those things, but I know he’s very capable of going in and helping out right away.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:15 PM | | Comments (15)
        

Terps' 2010 class: More from Mike Farrell

Most of the quotes I got from Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell were used in Monday's story on Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class. Here a couple more thoughts from Farrell.

On potential sleepers: “[I like] Mario Rowson from Virginia. He’s a three-star kid that’s tall and lanky and needs to fill out. But he’s a really athletic kid. ... I have to assume there’s going to be a surprise, maybe one of these athletes like Jeremiah Wilson, Matt Robinson or Devin Burns. It depends on what position they play. They might be able to step in early.”

On the Terps’ local recruiting: “They’ve got good relationships in the area. They did pretty good in Maryland. Of their top guys, Javarie Johnson is a Maryland kid, Nate Clarke is a Maryland kid, David Mackall is a Maryland kid, Titus Till is a Maryland kid. Those four guys are rated four stars or more and they’re all Maryland kids. But they have some good relationships with coaches in Pennsylvania and they did a good job in Georgia this year. They went down to Florida and took a couple of those kids. They have to win more than two games to lock down the state, but even when they were winning, they still had trouble locking down the state. That’s the key to having a better class than this. But they do a good job in other states to make up for that.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:31 AM | | Comments (0)
        

February 1, 2010

Terps' 2010 class: More from Tom Lemming

Here are some leftover quotes from CBS College Sports Network recruiting expert Tom Lemming, who spoke to Recruiting Report at length about Maryland's 2010 class.

On his first impressions of Maryland’s 2010 class: “I think they have a pretty good class they’re putting together with a lot of good athletes and a lot of good defensive players in the class. I think it's one of the better defensive classes in the ACC. If they can get a couple more guys, like [DeMatha offensive tackle] Arie Kouandjio and [Bishop McNamara wide receiver] Brandon Coleman, then it could improve the class even more.”

On how Maryland was able to do reasonably well in the area despite having a 2-10 season: “Maryland’s a good academic school. It’s in a good area, and I think kids weren’t deterred by a bad year on the field. One year isn’t going to hurt these guys. They have developed [good] relationships ... and that seems to be what happened.”

On where Maryland’s class will rank nationally: “I would say they’ll fall somewhere between 35 and 45 nationally and somewhere in the middle of the ACC, which is really good, especially considering their season.”

On landing Javarie Johnson: “It’s a great coup because he’s such an unbelievable athlete. He’s tall, rangy, can fly and run with the backs. He’s a big-time guy. He’s a great catch for them. He’s one of the two or three best players in D.C. ”

On some of Maryland’s better defensive commitments: “The kid that I like, and I saw him last year, was Darius Kilgo from North Carolina. I thought he was one of the better defensive tackles in the country. I really liked him a lot. [I also like] David Mackall, the defensive end from Fork Union, the cornerback Jeremiah Wilson from Virginia, and Titus Till, one of the best safeties in the whole Atlantic Coast region. So that’s a lot of defensive guys. I think they helped themselves immensely.”

On offensive standouts in the class: “I know they needed help along the offensive line and Nate Clarke, the kid from D.C., I think he could come in and help right away. He’s a big-time ballplayer they really like. Sal Conaboy from Pennsylvania is a good-sized guard. The quarterback, Tyler Smith, is one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:30 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Analysts weigh in on Terps' 2010 class

Conventional wisdom says a 2-10 football team would be unlikely to assemble anything but a poor recruiting class.

In the case of Maryland’s 2010 class, however, conventional wisdom doesn’t apply. The Terps are poised to sign a Top 40 class Wednesday, an improbable feat for a program that struggled so greatly on the field last season and had so much uncertainty off it.

“When you look at the circumstances, they did a very good job,” said Tom Lemming, CBS College Sports Network’s recruiting expert. “No one expected them to have a Top 40 class, but they will. I think that’s a testament to the stick-to-itiveness of [the Terps’ staff in] recruiting, even in the bad times. You have to keep pounding away and it worked.”

The Terps’ last-place ACC finish in 2009 made recruiting challenging enough. The late-season uncertainty over whether Ralph Friedgen and his staff would be brought back for another year added another degree of difficulty to Maryland’s task. But despite those factors working against the Terps, the UM staff was able to compile a class that ranks ahead of nearly half of their in-conference rivals.

“For them to finish in the middle of the ACC [in recruiting] after coming off a year like that and almost losing all their coaches [is impressive],” said Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell. “They’re ahead of teams like Georgia Tech, Boston College and Wake Forest, who have all gone to pretty good bowl games in the last few years. So that’s a good job that they’ve done.”

Twenty-one players have made oral commitments to Maryland, while the Terps remain involved with a handful of uncommitted prospects -- most notably Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman. Four of Maryland’s recruits have already enrolled in classes at College Park -- Carver (Ga.) quarterback Devin Burns, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy linebacker L.A. Goree, Dunbar (D.C.) linebacker Javarie Johnson and Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy defensive end David Mackall.

Goree and Mackall -- an Edmondson graduate -- both signed with Maryland one year ago but spent the fall at Fork Union improving their academics. Johnson, who switched his commitment from Miami to Maryland last month, is considered the headliner of Maryland’s class by most recruiting analysts.

“I really like Javarie Johnson,” Scout.com recruiting analyst Bob Lichtenfels said. “I think he’s got a lot of potential. If he can play linebacker at Miami, which was where he was going, I think he’s going to do well at Maryland.”

Rivals.com rates Johnson a four-star prospect, the No. 1 player in Washington and the No. 17 outside linebacker in the nation. Factoring in his early enrollment and the fact that he’ll be able to participate in spring practice makes predicting immediate playing time for Johnson a safe bet.

“Obviously the skill-position kids usually get on the field early, but the biggest get of this class, I think, is Javarie Johnson,” Farrell said. “They might grow him into a defensive end, but he could also stay at SAM linebacker. He’s the best player in this class, I think overall. [Wise safety] Titus Till is another guy who’s going to get on the field early. He’s long, athletic and can really run well. I think that’s an important get. David Mackall will get on the field early. He’s very good, and having the advantage of going to prep school and playing against college-aged kids is going to make him ready.”

The Terps missed out on their fair share of local players, as just two of Rivals.com’s Top 20 players in-state have committed to Maryland. But Johnson, Mackall, Till and Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) lineman Nate Clarke -- all Maryland or Washington natives -- represent the best of UM’s class, Farrell said. Landing commitments from those four, and other prospects from the area, was thanks in large part to Maryland’s coach-in-waiting.

James [Franklin] is their best recruiter, so for him to remain on the staff really helps bring that class together,” Farrell said. “Moving forward, they have a tough sell ahead of them. All of the kids in Maryland know that if they don’t improve that record, and likely if they don’t go to a bowl game next year, that could be it. So next year’s recruiting is going to be a challenge for them. But [keeping] James Franklin on the staff was huge. To me, he’s the key, especially when you’re talking about the in-state kids. I know he’s not directly responsible for all of them, but when he was the recruiting coordinator years ago, he made a lot of connections at these high schools. That’s the reason why so many kids are coming there.”

For Scout.com’s Matt Alkire, the most impressive pieces of Maryland’s class came from outside the area. Abington Heights (Pa.) offensive guard Sal Conaboy, Norcross (Ga.) offensive tackle Max Garcia and Fort Myers (Fla.) Dunbar safety Desmond Kearse all caught Alkire’s eye as intriguing out-of-state prospects on Maryland’s commitment list.

The player with the brightest future, however, could be Wilson Area (Pa.) High quarterback Tyler Smith, a four-star prospect according to Scout.com. Alkire said he thinks Smith has the potential to be the best quarterback of the Friedgen era.

“Tyler, just from talking to him, he’s got that 'it' [factor] to him,” Alkire said. “He’s a confident kid but not a cocky kid. He’s a leader, and the thing I think I like most about him is that most high school passers are dink and dunk. Tyler’s offense is really predicated on making the vertical pass, stretching the field, hitting the seam routes and deep outs, having him read a defense and look off the safety. Tyler, in games, has really performed that well. On top of that, he’s a pretty good athlete. He’s not a kid who’s going to take off and sprint 30 yards every carry. But he can buy time in the pocket and get himself out of trouble once in awhile. So I think a lot of it will depend on just how well he assimilates himself to Maryland’s offense.”

The group of linemen that could be charged with protecting Smith in few years also shows promise, in Alkire’s opinion. Garcia “was a kid with offers from Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina State,” he said. “To be able to haul that kid, that’s a big pickup. I don’t care if he’s a three-star. It doesn’t matter.” Joining Garcia on the O-line are Jake Wheeler, a 6-foot-8 offensive tackle from American Heritage High in Plantation, Fla., and Conaboy, the 6-foot-5 guard.

“Another kid I like -- he might only be a three-star player -- but I think a special player is Sal Conaboy, the offensive guard from Pennsylvania,” Lichtenfels said. “I think he’s a very intriguing player. Maybe he won’t [make an impact] in the next one or two years, but over his career, I think people are going to be excited about him.”

While the bulk of Maryland’s class comes from the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, the south wasn’t entirely ignored. At Signing Day two years ago, Friedgen said the staff would stop recruiting Florida. That changed this year, with the Terps landing commitments from three Sunshine State natives.

“Desmond Kearse from Florida is super skinny,” Farrell said. “He’s going to take at least two years to fill out into a linebacker. But he can run like crazy. ... Who knows, Jacob Wheeler is only about 260 pounds, but in two years we could be talking about him as an impact player on the offensive line. It’s just hard to project him because he’s really far away.”

Lemming, meanwhile, said he was a fan of the Terps’ third Florida commitment, Hollywood Hills defensive end Clarence Murphy.

“The Clarence Murphy kid out of [the] Fort Lauderdale [area] is small but explosive,” Lemming said. “He has a chance to put on 20-30 pounds and he could be really tough to deal with. He could be one of their difference-maker types. He needs to add more strength and weight.”

While the analysts agree that the 2010 class was a success, there’s also an acknowledgment that the Terps need significantly better results on the field to sustain -- and eventually improve -- their recruiting profile.

“I think a lot of kids are drawn to Maryland just with it being a strong ACC program,” Alkire said. “Obviously, they’re typically not a 2-10 team. After a couple years of 2-10, that’s going to be a problem. So right now, I wasn’t really surprised, but if that continues, I would be very surprised if they can keep that up.”


Click here for Q&As, season recaps and commitment stories on each player in Maryland's 2010 class. Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more Signing Day coverage.

Check out Farrell’s Signing Day coverage at Rivals.com.

Visit Scout.com for more from Lichtenfels and Alkire.

Check out Tom Lemming on CBS College Sports Network’s National Signing Day Show -- MaxPreps National Signing Day Presented by Old Spice, which kicks off with a one-hour program from 11 a.m. - noon, followed by four live continuous hours of coverage from 3-7 p.m.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:51 AM | | Comments (10)
        
Keep reading
Recent entries
Archives
Categories
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 2012 football commitments
Maryland's 2011 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Most Recent Comments

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected