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March 29, 2010

New Terps recruit is another Fla. standout

Two years ago, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen announced at his Signing Day news conference that the Terps would no longer focus their recruiting efforts on Florida.

When defensive coordinator Don Brown was hired after the 2008 season, the former UMass head coach put an end to Maryland's Sunshine State hiatus immediately. The decision paid off right away, as the Terps landed three Florida prospects for the 2010 class.

Maryland has continued its renewed efforts in Florida for the class of 2011. The most recent evidence of that came Friday, when Shaun Ward committed to the Terps.

Ward, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker-defensive end from Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., is probably the most highly touted of Maryland's recent Florida pledges.

"It's real simple with this kid. He's got one of the fastest first steps you'll see," said Boyd Anderson coach Mark James. "He runs a 4.5 40. He could have went anywhere he wanted to go. He's got 18 offers. I believe his connection with Maryland might have been that his brother [is a graduate student there]. But he could've went anywhere he wanted to."

Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and West Virginia were among the 18 programs that offered, James said. Maryland will face plenty of competition from other schools in the state, but the talent, James said, is worth the effort.

"When you've got schools like Utah and Utah State coming to Florida, it would make sense [for every program] to come to Florida," James said. "We've got a plethora of good guys that can play football at any level -- the SEC, ACC, Big East. Broward County, Dade County and Palm Beach -- if teams want to be successful, these areas should be the main recruiting points."

Ward, who led Broward County with 18 1/2 sacks as a junior, will likely play a hybrid linebacker-defensive end role for the Terps. Boyd Anderson is on spring break this week, which allowed Ward to visit College Park for spring practice, get a glimpse of his future and offer his commitment.

"He's just a great kid," James said. "He's a leader on the team, he has good character, he has decent grades and comes from a strong family background. ... He's definitely a unique kid with his size, speed and agility. Maryland's getting a great player."

Click here for video of Ward.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:41 AM | | Comments (7)


With speed being such an important feature . AS seen so often in ACC/ SEC teams VS Big 10 .We should make Florida a recruiting priority - Kudos to Don Brown for realizing that factor ! MD / DC metro area should be a good draw for kids that want to go to college in a large metro area vs the small towns offered by other schools.

Any coach who would close the door on recruiting in Florida needs a brain scan OR be fired!

Or with Friedgen, both ;)

Great news! Keep up the good recruiting!

Ignoring the state of FL for football recruiting would like ignoring Baltimore/DC in basketball.

well those of you who think football recruiting is anything like Bball recruiting are exposing themselves for not knowing fball recruiting. Its pointless to recruit an area if you don't have a connection there. Top kids from Fl are not going to come to MD unless there families and coaches are confident in the recruiter. Now that we have Don Brown we have that comfort level. Before we didn't so we didn't get the recruits and wasted resources taht could have been spent somewhere else.

Coach James - it's could have "gone" anywhere... not could have "went" anywhere. Just so you know, after all, you are mentoring kids.

Bob--get a life--or is it that you should use your life to produce meaningful comments and retorts not meaningless syntax lessons.

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About Matt Bracken

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

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