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February 2, 2010

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.


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.


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 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


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.


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.


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 and 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 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."


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. 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.


Devin Burns — Carver (Ga.), quarterback

Several recruiting services have Burns pegged for wide receiver or defensive back in college (including, 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.


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.


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 and 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.


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 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


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,” 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."


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, 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, 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'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)


Good stuff as usual Matt! Did you ever get the chance to get a season recap on the prep school kids? I saw the quotes here from their coach but I might have missed their articles like the other recruits.

Luckily Mackall didnt decommit when Friedgen's future was in doubt.

Thanks for these last couple of posts. I cant get enough of this stuff

Great article matt. Coleman just committed to rutgers, wich sucks big time i thought he could of been huge for this class. im hoping that big local OT committs to us . Who do you see us getting tomorrow????? if anybody . How many more spots do we got for this year???

You should be proud of what a good job you do. THANK YOU

Hey Matt, you do a great job, keep up the good work. RF and JF are going to have to do a much better job recruiting if they expect to contend for the ACC title and if they hope to go to any thing more than a minor bowl and if they hope to crack the Top 25 and if they hope to fill Byrd. Also RF and JF need to recruit more talent along the lines and stop stockpiling qb after qb after qb when they know only a few will have the opportunity to get enough reps in practice to actually improve. Also, JF and RF need to figure out how to get talented first and second year players on the field where they can contribute in a meaningful manner. The Top 10 programs do - why can't RF and JF?

Maryland ignored good players within the state; players who embarrassed their alleged top recruits at their camp. I can see why they're in the toilet, and though this class is supposed to be highly touted, it's going to be the same old, same old with Ralph.

Hey Joe, very well said. One other thing you may want to consider, RF destroyed a lot of relationship with Maryland HS coaches that RV developed. Now RF's ego won't allow him to rebuild those relationships - too bad. But as they say, "Pride goes before the fall."

They are always great recruits. Lets see how they are on the field in a couple of years.

Pat and Joe What are you guys talking about. This class has 4 o-lineman and 5 to 6 d-lineman.last years had 4 o lineman and 5 d lineman. How is that stock piling Qbs They got 4 As far as local talent. The majority of the players from the last 2 classes are from D.C., Md,and Virginia Look it up yourself if you don"t believe me. You guys have no idea how good or bad these last 2 classes are. They haven't played. Recruiting experts (not you or me) say this class is good and it is remarkable for a team that went 2-10. Our class is rated higher then 4 acc teams that beat us, including the team that won the a.c.c title. They could be wrong, but more likely your wrong, given the evidence you don"t know your facts to well. You can check all my facts at rivals, scout or espn sites. Have a nice day

My apology-want to get it correct.Courtesy of Md website 12 of 21 players from D.C or Md+ 2 from UVA 4, four stars out of the 12.Not great,not bad.but definitely good LOCAL talent.

Joe and Pat,

It is not like the Terps did not ignore good in state players, the fact is MD has a very stringent admission standards. So, the players WE (us, as well as, the coaching staff) may want, does not necessarily transpire into what the admissions board wants. I heard the only other school that is tougher than ours is Stanford, and yes, tougher than Duke; therefore, a 3-5 star recruit that may look good in our white and red jersey, may not look good in the classroom!

Not a bad recruiting class for the Terps considering last season's record. However, this year should be different as the young-guns who played so much due to injuries should be better. I think the Terps will end with a 7-5 season.

However, I would like to shed light on Javarie Johnson. Everyone keeps saying that Johnson "pulled a stunning switch" by decommiting from Miami and going with the Terps. Yes, it was stunning from a Hurricane fan standpoint, but the reason for the decommitment is not being talked about.

The reason Johnson decommitted, as reported by Rivals and Scout was because his GPA was too low to be admitted to Miami and his ACT score was not high enough.

He left due to academics and therefore committed to Maryland.

Our loss is the Terps gain...let's just hope he does well enough in the classroom to stay on the field for the Terps.

Good luck Javarie and hope you have a great collegiate career.


I think you should do some research before you start spitting out statements that the only other schools tougher than Maryland's acedemic standards are Stanford and Duke.

Please...if you can, enlighten us all with the source for this statement, please do so...because all of the articles I have read, have never mentioned or placed Maryland at the top.

I think this just started as some rumor Gary Williams concocted as an excuse for his lack of ability to really recruit any of the highly-touted Baltimore basketball prospects.

If you go to ESPN's archive, it has an article that states how the Terps basketball had the lowest graduating rate of all of men's basketball at 100% NOT graduating...duh academics??

Yea you can argue that they decided to leave school early to go to the pros, transfer schools, etc...but really? I mean 100% people...that percentage is either amazingly great or horribly awful...I believe it is the latter.

However, Ralph has been doing a much better job with his crew. His graduating rate back in 2006 was's funny though because that was the last article I was able to find regarding Terrapin football graduation rates, and 2006 was the last year Ralph had recruits he did not bring into the program. Oh Ms. Yow, I hope you do release an updated report soon on your school's website. Maybe you will do so after your team goes 7-5 and finished what you deemed would be a "successful year." Way to aim high for your football team. I mean, there's taking aim as an optimist or a realist...I think she decided to aim with her eyes closed.

Prove me wrong if you can. I don't care if I am...but I highly doubt you will be able to show that Maryland's academic standards are that high.

Oh, and about this whole new NCAA rule restricting "coaches-in-waiting," I am 100% behind it and think Maryland is wrong in fighting it. To be able to get around the recruiting rules like that is just as bad as giving out XBOX's to potential recruits...whoops, too soon? Sorry, had to say, what school has not had its own snafu regarding recruiting though right?

And the whole concept of a "coach-in-waiting" is so stupid to begin with...I'm too tired to argue about that now...maybe some other time...

I do have one last thing to say...well rather ask the people that visit this blog and follow University of Maryland athletics.

How many here live in Baltimore, have only lived in Baltimore, and did not go to University of Maryland at College Park for college?

If you do fit into this category, why do you root for the Terps? Yes it is the "University of Maryland" but is in College Park...about an hour drive from Baltimore.

Why are we not focusing more of our attention to the local schools like Towson or Morgan? Is it simply because they are in the subdivision unlike Maryland or is it due to lack of coverage by the Baltimore media? Have you been to College Park? The people there do not relate themselves to Baltimore or Maryland, but rather Washington D.C.

The University of Maryland System has enough money to allow another school to go Division-I, however it does not want to...why? The regents will not allow their prized College Park to have competition. The cheapest school to allow go to Division-I would be Towson University. It already has a stadium with a capacity of 15,000, has a student body of around 26,000 (only about 5,000 less than College Park) and has the local resources of the city of Towson to help promote the team. Not only that, but it would revive the city of Towson. Or M&T Bank could be used for games, like the way Pitt or Miami use their local NFL stadium.

Morgan or UMBC could also be transformed into Division-I schools if the regents allowed.

Just imagine, an actual in-state rival for the Maryland Terrapins, other than the Naval Academy. We would be able to have rivalry games like Michgan-Michigan State; Virginia-Virginia Tech; Oklahoma-Oklahoma State...and not just rivalry games with schools outside of our state.

I am not saying for you to stop rooting for them, but just consider what you are doing. Baltimore is a football town. We grew the Ravens to be a top 15 valued NFL franchise in a little over a decade. The fan-base is here...and I for one think that giving the City of Baltimore a NCAA Division-1 school, would be outstanding.

Matt, Nice set of profiles. I don't know why some your readers are grumbling as this looks like a very decent class, and the experts have said the same.

From everything I've been reading, Tyler Smith has the potential to be a great Division I quarterback.

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About Matt Bracken

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

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