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April 25, 2010

N.J. linebacker Cole Farrand talks Terps pledge

Victor Paternostro had seen enough and was "madder than hell."

The Pope John XXIII coach watched his Lions limp through a listless first quarter against archrival Sparta (N.J.) last fall. With the Spartans on the move, Paternostro called a timeout.

"Before I got to the huddle, I could hear this voice bellowing, 'We're playing like a bunch of wimps. Let's start doing what we're told and get going.' We turned around and ended up winning the game, 24-14."

Even before Paternostro had made his way to the huddle, he knew exactly which player was leading the Lions' charge. The leader on the field that day -- and throughout Pope John XXIII's 9-2 season -- was linebacker Cole Farrand, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior who committed to Maryland on Thursday.

"He's an outstanding ballplayer and a true leader," Paternostro said. "In this day and age, you don't have the leadership you used to have. He's a kid that's going to be a leader in his actions and what he does day in and day out. ... We had a very young team ... and he really was the go-to guy as far as being the leader on the team. When things would get down, he was the one who really got things going."

Farrand, who also plays tight end, first started hearing from the Maryland staff late in his junior season. Defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo was his primary contact, and Farrand said he forged a quick connection with the "lively and energetic" Terps assistant. When Farrand met Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, however, he couldn't help but notice a few similarities between him and his current head coach.

"Coach [Paternostro] is the kind of guy who's committed to you," Farrand said. "If you need something, he'll help you. He doesn't let guys fall behind. He tutors students who fall behind in math and he's just a great all-around guy. And he's a legend, the winningest coach in New Jersey history. ... He is like Coach Friedgen. It seems like Coach Friedgen is always with his guys. He knows everything about them and that's what Coach P is like."

With an aunt who lives in Maryland, Farrand said he always had an appreciation for the Terps. Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and UConn had expressed interest, but a visit to College Park for spring practice a few weekends ago clinched Farrand's commitment to Maryland.

"What really stood out to me was the coaches' interest in me," he said. "That's what I really liked. I was taking a tour with [defensive coordinator Don] Brown, just me and himself, and he was talking about the school and how I could be a Maryland football player, and I just really enjoyed it. [I knew I would commit] after I left. I just really liked the campus and I really enjoyed every coach, to tell you the truth. I really couldn't have anything negative to say about Maryland. It's just positive stuff."

In Farrand, Paternostro said the Terps are getting the "quickest-reading linebacker" he has ever coached in his 43-year career. He expects Farrand to bring strength, intelligence and leadership to Maryland's program.

"Growing up, all I wanted to do was play DI football," Farrand said. "And actually getting into a great school like Maryland, it still hasn't really hit me yet."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:04 PM | | Comments (0)

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About Matt Bracken

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

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