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January 31, 2011

Analysts weigh in on Terps' 2011 recruiting class

One year ago the Maryland football program weathered a tumultuous 2-10 season and a seemingly unstable coaching situation by landing a recruiting class ranked in the upper half of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

This year, it appears that the Terps’ past has caught up to them. The dismal 2009 campaign and the uncertainty that followed, combined with the departure of ace recruiter James Franklin to Vanderbilt and the unexpected firing of coach Ralph Friedgen, have led to what most analysts think is a solid yet unspectacular first recruiting class for Randy Edsall's Maryland program.

“I think overall it’s an average or below average class for Maryland this year,” said Mike Farrell, national football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “I think a lot of that has to do with the instability with the coaching situation even before this year. … When they started winning [in 2010], it was too late. Most of the kids from the state of Maryland were looking elsewhere and had already established relationships with other programs. Then you have a coaching transition on top of it, and there’s absolutely no way that this class would finish in the top of the ACC.”

Tom Lemming, CBS College Sports Network and MaxPreps.com’s football recruiting expert, called the Terps’ 2011 class “not bad, not great.”

“The coaching change hurt, but the old staff had done a decent job with the players,” Lemming said. “This staff is just trying to kind of rally, circle the wagons and make sure they have quality athletes coming in. It’s not going to be a great class, and you won’t know how good the staff is [in recruiting] until next year. In the conference, they’ll be near the bottom, but that’s to be expected with the coaching change.”

Maryland is poised to sign a 19-man class -- give or take a recruit or two -- Wednesday on National Signing Day. Rivals.com currently rates the Terps’ group as the No. 44 class nationally and the ninth-best class in the ACC. The majority of Maryland’s class was assembled prior to Friedgen’s dismissal, leaving Edsall the challenging task of keeping those commitments solid while also trying to get involved late with a few other key targets.

“All the other schools had an 11-month head start on you,” said J.C. Shurburtt, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports.com. “We all know recruiting is about relationships. It’s tough to establish good relationships in a short period of time. What [Edsall] did a good job of was holding on to the majority of guys that were in the class that had already committed to Maryland. … It’s tough to put together a top, top class when you have a coaching change, but there are some guys in this class that I really like.”

While the vast majority of Maryland’s class has stayed intact since the coaching change, the Terps have parted ways with three Friedgen recruits: Fork Union (Va.) offensive tackle Larry Mazyck (Vanderbilt), Milford Academy (N.Y.) safety Rodman Noel (North Carolina State), and Hertford County (N.C.) defensive end Dontez Tyler (Old Dominion). DeMatha running back Delonte Morton – who committed to the Terps last March – is expected to miss the cut academically and not be a part of Maryland’s class.

Ryan Malleck, a three-star tight end recruit from Point Pleasant Borough High in New Jersey, switched his commitment from Maryland to Virginia Tech last week. The biggest question mark heading into Signing Day is whether the Terps will land Bowie cornerback Jeremiah Hendy, a three-star prospect and the No. 8 player in Maryland according to Rivals.com. Hendy, who was recruited by Franklin and committed last spring, is reportedly also considering Iowa, North Carolina State and Virginia.

“I really like the Hendy kid because he’s got such a great upside,” Farrell said. “He’s tall and he can run, he’s lanky and long. And he’s the type of kid that I think can be a special player for them.”

Said Shurburtt: “I think if they did get Jeremiah Hendy back in the fold, which they have a shot at doing, that would be very important. He’s an excellent player.”

While Edsall focused much of his energy on solidifying commitments, he also hit the trail to nab two of the Terps’ more promising prospects of the class. Keith Bowers, a 6-foot-1, 265-pound defensive tackle, committed to the Terps last week. The three-star prospect is one of five players in Maryland’s class from Florida – which is recruited by defensive coordinator Don Brown. The other Edsall pledge came from Quinton Jefferson, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end from Pittsburgh-area powerhouse Woodland Hills.

“I like him a lot,” said Scout.com recruiting analyst Matt Alkire. “He’s got a big frame. ... I still think he’s getting taller. He doesn’t have a whole lot of [bulk] on him. He’s got a lot of growing to do. He could get up into that 265-range. He’s an athletic kid, he’s rangy, he’s got a quick burst off the line. I think he’s a kid that Randy Edsall probably hasn’t had in the past in terms of talent, and he will really be able to develop him into a nice player. I do like Quinton a lot.”

Bob Lichtenfels, Scout.com’s East regional recruiting manager, had a similar assessment of Jefferson’s game.

“The difference in that kid between his junior year and his senior year was phenomenal,” Lichtenfels said. “I think he had 15 sacks this year. Woodland Hills plays [4A] football, the biggest in the state, advanced to [Pittsburgh’s] championship game. Physically, he’s nowhere near where he’s going to be. He has a chance to be a pretty special kid. Once he gets in the strength and conditioning program, if he redshirts and is able to build up his body, I think he has a very high ceiling.”

The consensus take on Maryland’s class is that it’s high on sleepers and short on instant-impact players. Shurburtt thinks Makinton Dorleant, a three-star cornerback from Lely High in Naples, Fla., will eventually be a “big contributor” for the Terps. Lichtenfels likes the potential of wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro, a Milford Mill grad who spent the fall at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia and has already enrolled in College Park. Farrell sees Nate Clarke, a teammate of Cheeseboro’s at Fork Union, as an intriguing offensive line prospect with upside. And Alkire expects big things from Cole Farrand, a two-star linebacker from Green Pond, N.J.

“Cole wasn’t highly productive in high school, but he was all over the field,” Alkire said. “He’s a very active player with a great nose for the ball. He’s kind of that field general type of kid. Not a whole lot of people at Maryland are even talking about him. He’s probably the unsung player in the class, but I think he could be a real nice player for them.”

Most analysts felt Maryland did a solid job addressing needs at key positions. At wide receiver, the Terps are bringing in three three-star prospects in Cheeseboro, Parkwood (N.C.) High’s Marcus Leak and Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy’s Nigel King, who has enrolled early and will participate in spring practice along with Cheeseboro and Clarke. Offensive line and the secondary were also clear points of emphasis for the Maryland staff.

“I think they always need help on the offensive line, and I think they have some guys down the road that can help,” Shurburtt said. “Nathaniel Clarke is certainly a guy that can help, [along with Stephen] Grommer [of South Carolina and] Evan Mulrooney from Delaware. Ryan Doyle from North Carolina and Andrew Zeller from Pennsylvania are two tackles that are pretty good players. I like the defensive backs as well, certainly if they get Hendy back in. Combine him with Makinton Dorleant and Undray Clark from Florida and Lukas Foreman, a very physical safety [from Naples, Fla.], and [DeMatha’s] Michael Williams, a solid corner, and those DBs are a good group. The offensive line is a good group, the DBs are good and the wide receivers” are solid.

While Maryland’s class may be short on star power, Lemming said this group addresses needs and builds quality depth for the future. With the bulk of a 9-4 team coming back this fall, the Terps won’t have to rely on any true freshmen contributors. A team that seems built to win immediately can afford one less-than-stellar recruiting class. The next year, however, is crucial for Edsall and the Terps.

“They are all good, solid players. But there are no marquee difference makers in this class right now,” Lemming said. “It’s the middle to lower part of the conference when it’s all said and done. … They’ve got good, solid athletes, but next year they need to bring in the impact players. They have some on the team already. They can get by on one year without them. But they have to make sure 2012 is their year.”


Click here for Q&As, season recaps and commitment stories on each player in Maryland's 2011 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.

• For more from Shurburtt, go to 247Sports.com.

• Tune in to CBS College Sports Network on Wednesday, where Lemming and former Michigan and West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez headline seven hours of Signing Day coverage. First up is a three-hour block from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by four hours from 3-7 p.m.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:00 PM | | Comments (12)
        

Weekend wrap – Big games for Whittington, Hubert

Oakland Mills forward Greg Whittington has spent most of his senior season doing his best Jordan Williams impersonation against Howard County competition.

On Friday night, Whittington continued that trend with his 12th double double of the season. The potential Maryland target had 31 points and 10 rebounds in the Scorpions' 65-53 win over Howard.

“We are not running any tricks or smoke and mirrors here,” said Oakland Mills head coach Jon Browne. “We want to get the ball to Whittington as much as possible. We go where Greg takes us.”

• Maryland center target Desmond Hubert reached double figures to help New Egypt (N.J.) claim a victory Sunday night.

Nine different players scored for New Egypt, led by Desmond Hubert and Mark Pryzblkowski with 17 points each, as the Warriors denied Pennington Prep’s feisty point guard with a 69-61 victory at the PrimeTime Shootout.

Football recruiting

• Former Maryland defensive end pledge Dontez Tyler has committed to Old Dominion.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Tyler, from Hertford High in Ahoskie, N.C., committed to Maryland last summer. But the commitment washed when Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen was fired at the end of the season.

• Point Pleasant Borough (N.J.) tight end Ryan Malleck spoke to The Asbury Park Press about his decision to switch his commitment from Maryland to Virginia Tech.

"They say don't pick a school because of a coaching staff because that can change every year," Malleck said. "But you have to be comfortable with the coaching staff before you commit, so it's tough. I felt like when I committed (to Maryland) I had to stay there but you don't have to. It's only a verbal commitment and that's not binding.

"But with coaches leaving or getting fired, until you sign, you have to do what's in your own best interests."

• Two Maryland recruits made 247Sports.com's prep school Top 20: offensive lineman Nate Clarke and wide receiver Tyrek Cheeseboro.

17. Tyrek Cheeseboro, WR, Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy, Maryland Cheeseboro originally signed with Maryland out of high school and will join the Terps program. A speedy receiver with good hands, Cheeseboro should help with depth early in his career in College Park.

• ACC Sports Journal's Bill Wagner weighed in Monday with a long piece on the the state of recruiting in Maryland.

By far the biggest story in this region was the University of Maryland’s inability to protect its home turf. It appears the Terrapins will sign just two high school seniors from the Maryland-D.C. area and none are highly-rated. In fact, Quince Orchard linebacker Alex Twine had no other Division I-A scholarship offers at the time of his commitment while DeMatha defensive back Michael Williams chose Maryland over a couple Mid-American Conference schools.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:20 AM | | Comments (3)
        

January 30, 2011

Meet Marcus Leak

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Marcus Leak
Birthdate: Nov. 19, 1992
Birthplace: Charlotte, N.C.
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Height: 6-0
Weight: 200
Position: Wide receiver
High School: Parkwood High
Senior statistics: 305 rushing yards and two touchdowns, 200 yards receiving and one touchdown, 30 tackles (Leak missed four games with a high-ankle sprain)

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 24 player in North Carolina, No. 85 wide receiver. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 102 wide receiver. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 44 wide receiver, 79 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, 80 rating.
Bench max: 215
40-yard dash: 4.4
Other schools considered: North Carolina State, Clemson, East Carolina
Favorite NFL player: Larry Fitzgerald
Favorite all-time Terp: Torrey Smith or Darrius Heyward-Bey
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, Waka Flocka, Gucci Mane
Favorite book: "I always say the last book I read is my favorite, so Beowulf or Hamlet."
Favorite movie: "Law Abiding Citizen"
Favorite TV show: "'SportsCenter' and stuff on ESPNU."
Favorite food: Baby back ribs
Favorite high school class: Spanish
Favorite thing about College Park: "I like everything about the school. It's not too far out, and everything you want to do is right there by the campus."
Other high school sports: Basketball, track
Hobbies: Hanging out with friends
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: "I'm a real quiet guy. I'm kind of shy at times, but I'll be around people once or twice, and then I'll get to know them."
Best football moment: "My best football moment is when my older brother threw me my first touchdown catch. He was the quarterback and it was my first touchdown catch as a freshman."
Role model: "My family -- my mom and my brother. I watch how hard they work all the time. Whatever they do, they put 100 percent forward. I always talk to my brother because he was really smart. He always got his work done. He worked hard in school. He was a good athlete, but he always put school first. That's something I could take going into college and helping me become a better student."
Why Maryland? "It was the first school to offer me. I look at that as they were the first school that saw my potential and really wanted to give me a chance. I was really going to consider that. And then when I went up to visit, all the coaches were really nice. They made it feel like home. When I met the players, I just felt really comfortable there. It just felt like a good fit for me."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:30 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 29, 2011

Meet Cole Farrand

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Cole Farrand
Birthdate: Sept. 25 ,1992
Birthplace: Denville, N.J.
Hometown: Green Pond, N.J.
Height: 6-3
Weight: 230
Position: Linebacker
Nickname: Cole-Train
High School: Pope John XXIII
Senior statistics: 78 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception returned for a touchdown; three touchdown receptions

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars, No. 29 player in New Jersey. Scout.com -- Two stars. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 25 outside linebacker, 79 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Two stars, 75 rating.
Bench max: 315
40-yard dash: 4.6
Other schools considered: Boston College, Rutgers, Penn State
Favorite NFL player: Clay Matthews
Favorite NFL team: Miami Dolphins
Favorite music: "I pretty much like all music."
Favorite movie: "I love superhero movies. I like both the Iron Man movies, I like the Superman movies, I like the Spiderman movies, and funny animation movies like Shrek and Finding Nemo."
Favorite TV show: “Seinfeld”
Favorite food: "My mom’s apricot chicken."
Favorite high school class: History
Favorite thing about College Park: “I’d say the campus in general is just really nice.”
Other high school sports: "Track and field. When I was young I wrestled and swam."
Hobbies: "Going to the gym -- I like to work. I like to play Call of Duty."
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: "When I was little, I took third in the nation in the shot put."
Best football moment: "One of my greatest football team moments was when my team beat our rival, Sparta. We stopped them twice on fourth down at the end of the game. That's our rival team that we don't like at Pope John because we both come from the same town. It's always the biggest game of the year."
Role model: "I like to say my brother is my role model because he's helped me out ever since I was little with training, working on my techniques and everything. He played safety for Bucknell."
Why Maryland? "I love the campus. I love Maryland's interest in me. It's close to home, it's got a great location. That's what turned me on to Maryland."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 28, 2011

Reports: Ryan Malleck switches commitment

Ryan Malleck will play his college football in the ACC, but it won't be at Maryland.

The three-star tight end prospect from Point Pleasant Boro (N.J.) High has reportedly switched his commitment from the Terps to Virginia Tech.

He had been committed to Maryland since mid-August, but started to take a look at other schools when the Terrapins let former coach Ralph Friedgen go. Last weekend, Malleck visited Tech.

In addition to Tech and Maryland, Malleck considered scholarship offers from U.Va., Miami, Connecticut, Nebraska, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Central Florida and Vanderbilt, as well as appointments from Army and Navy. He's the 20th commitment for Tech's '11 class. Wednesday will be the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent with a university.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:00 PM | | Comments (5)
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

With Signing Day less than a week away, a top priority for Randy Edsall and the rest of the Maryland coaching staff will be to solidify the commitment of Bowie cornerback Jeremiah Hendy.

Rivals.com reported this week that the Terps target has been looking elsewhere.

The Terrapins would love to find a way to get back into the picture with Jeremiah Hendy, a former strong Maryland commitment who has since shifted his attention to schools such as Virginia, Iowa and NC State.

FootballNewsNow.com reported that a recent meeting between Hendy and Edsall went well.

Hendy met with Randy Edsall after his hiring and was impressed, but has continued to go on official visits to other schools. Hendy went to Charlottesville last weekend and also is considering Iowa.

• Maryland cornerback target Lafayette Pitts committed to Rutgers but is reportedly considering a visit to another Big East school.

Also, LaFayette Pitts from Woodland Hills - who recently committed to Rutgers - will visit Pitt this weekend and there is a feeling that he may be able to be brought back into the mix. The Rutgers people seem convinced he is a solid verbal and this is a courtesy visit but I've heard some different things about it and while it sure seems like he is headed to Rutgers, he is at least going to listen to what Pitt has to say.

Basketball recruiting

• The Hartford Courant reported this week that Connecticut is "showing interest" in Terps center target Desmond Hubert.

-Desmond Hubert, a 6-9 forward from Cream Ridge, New Jersey. He's class of 2011. UConn is still trying to decide whether it will look to add to the 2011 class that, right now, is Ryan Boatright, a point guard from East Aurora, Ill.

• Terps shooting guard signee Nick Faust's City squad dropped a 72-69 game to Largo on Monday.

City senior Nick Faust, a University of Maryland recruit who repeatedly heard chants of "overrated" from the Largo faithful, struggled from the perimeter through much of the night and missed 3 of 4 free throws in the last two minutes that could have altered the outcome. But Daniel was willing to forgive his senior, who finished with 19 points, and expects the Black Knights to make a serious push for a third consecutive 2A state title over the next seven weeks.

• Cincinnati.com this week posted a Q&A with Terps women's commitment Chloe Pavlech.

How many times have you had to explain the Maryland “Terrapin” mascot to your friends?

“Too many times. They’re like, ‘Chloe…a turtle?’ It’s a snapping turtle, I tell them to ‘fear the turtle’ every time Maryland wins.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:24 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Meet Jimmy Stewart

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Jimmy Stewart
Birthdate: June 17, 1992
Birthplace: Fort Stewart, Ga.
Hometown: North Fort Myers, Fla.
Height: 6-3 1/2
Weight: 210
Position: Outside linebacker
High School: Island Coast
Senior statistics: 40 tackles (23 solo) and 13 sacks; two touchdown receptions

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 199 defensive end. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 127 defensive end, 76 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, 81 rating.
Bench max: 300
40-yard dash: 4.6
Runner-up: Minnesota or Vanderbilt
Favorite NFL player: Clay Matthews
Favorite NFL team: Atlanta Falcons
Favorite all-time Terp: Vernon Davis
Favorite music: Lil Wayne
Favorite movie: “Friday Night Lights”
Favorite food: Buffalo wings
Favorite high school class: Debate
Favorite thing about College Park: “I like how everything is right there."
Other high school sports: Track
Hobbies: "Just a lot of sports -- playing basketball with my friends, and we're always playing Madden."
Intended major: Business or sports management
Something that not many people know about you: "I've never missed a day of football practice in my high school career."
Best football moment: "In the playoffs this year I had an interception and I ran it back. That was good."
Role model: "I like Clay Matthews because he's like a sack machine. This year he was always getting sacks."
Why Maryland? "They were recruiting me from the beginning. Other schools just kind of fell out. I have a good relationship with the coaches, so it's really good."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:24 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 27, 2011

Meet Tyler Cierski

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Tyler Cierski
Birthdate: Dec. 17, 1992
Birthplace: Stony Brook, N.Y.
Hometown: Shoreham, N.Y.
Height: 6-1
Weight: 255
Position: Fullback
Nickname: Moose
High School: Mill Creek (Ga.)
Senior statistics: 755 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 143 attempts, 16 receptions for 187 yards and two touchdowns

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 4 fullback. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 7 fullback. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 2 fullback, 78 rating.
Bench max: 315
Squat: 605
Clean: 345
40-yard dash: 4.7
Runner-up: Stanford
Other schools considered: Florida State, North Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Favorite NFL player: Michael Turner
Favorite NFL team: New York Giants
Favorite all-time Terp: Vernon Davis
Favorite music: "I listen mainly to metal, like Avenged Sevenfold."
Favorite book: No Excuses by Kyle Maynard. "He's a wrestler without his arms or legs. It's a very inspiring book. It motivates me to keep working."
Favorite movie: "Dumb and Dumber"
Favorite TV show: "The Office"
Favorite food: "Anything Italian. My mom makes awesome lasagna."
Favorite high school class: Science, specifically microbiology
Favorite thing about College Park: "I just like how there's so much to do. I spent a couple days up there just walking around. There's so many different things you can do."
Other high school sports: "I throw shot put and discus for the track team."
Hobbies: Playing guitar, video games and working out
Intended major: "Kinesiology or something [related to] the whole sports medicine, therapy field. Anything to do with that I'm interested in."
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a quiet guy usually. But when you get to know me, I’m pretty loud and obnoxious. Most people don’t know that. It just takes a little while to bring that out.”
Best football moment: "Beating South Gwinnett this year. We were supposed to get crushed. We played in the second round of the playoffs. We won 49-34. That was a big one for us. I had about 125 yards that game, two touchdowns. So it was a good one."
Role model: "I've got a couple -- my parents because they push me hard. They've achieved success already, and that's kind of what I want to work to. That keeps me motivated. And also Warrick Dunn is motivating because he was such an awesome football player, and he was always trucking through people. But what he did off the field with all his community service and helping people was inspiring."
Why Maryland? "Well, a lot of reasons. Now one is Coach [Randy] Edsall and how he uses the fullback a lot. I have to earn it, but there's a chance I could start as a freshman. That's one of the things. Also, there's a good sports medicine program -- one of the top in the nation, I've been told. We have family in the area. We have some family about 30 minutes from campus, and even more family about an hour from campus. So it's good to know people in the area."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:00 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Meet Evan Mulrooney

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Evan Mulrooney
Birthdate: Jan. 20, 1993
Birthplace: Wilmington, Del.
Hometown: Wilmington Del.
Height: 6-4
Weight: 275
Position: Center
Nickname: None
High School: Salesianum School
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars, No. 4 player in Delaware. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 15 center. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 107 offensive tackle, 75 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, 80 rating.

Bench max: 315
40-yard dash: 5.3
Runner-up: North Carolina State
Other schools considered: Virginia Tech
Favorite NFL player: Todd Herremans
Favorite NFL team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite all-time Terp: Randy White
Favorite music: Jimi Hendrix
Favorite book: The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Favorite movie: "MacGruber"
Favorite TV show: "Eastbound and Down" or "Boardwalk Empire"
Favorite food: "A 'Bobbie'. It's a sub in Delaware with mayo, turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. It’s amazing."
Favorite high school class: Sports psychology
Favorite thing about College Park: "That there always seems to be something to do, whether it's on campus or in D.C. or Baltimore."
Other high school sports: None
Hobbies: "Hanging out with friends."
Intended major: "Kinesiology, specified in sports psychology."
Something that not many people know about you: "That I’m ridiculously flexible. I can do the splits and put my face against my shins when I stretch when my feet are flat on the ground."
Best football moment: "Probably winning the state championship as a junior or getting my scholarship offer from Maryland."
Role model: "Probably my parents because they've worked really hard to get where they're at. They're really hard workers, and with all the success they've had, they're really modest. They're just really good people and I'd like to see myself become [like them] in the years to come."
Why Maryland? "I had a really great connection with the coaching staff that was there when I committed, and I felt really comfortable with everything. I know the program is going to be really good in the years to come. I want to be a part of that. And the location of it was really great because it's only an hour and 45 minutes from my house, so I'll have the opportunity to go home when I need to. And even with the recent coaching changes, [offensive line] coach Tom Brattan is still there. He's someone I'm really close to, and I liked how he's a straight shooter and never really beat around the bush. He got to the point. And just the fact that they offered me first. They saw something in me that they liked enough to the point that they offered me a scholarship. That meant a lot to me. It's all those things combined."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:45 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Reports: Fla. DT Keith Bowers commits to UM

Maryland has reportedly landed its fifth prospect from Florida for the 2011 recruiting class.

Keith Bowers, a 6-foot-1, 260-pound defensive tackle from Dwyer High in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., pledged to the Terps on Tuesday, according to Rivals.com and the Palm Beach Post.

They contacted him early and never backed off despite a coaching change (Ralph Friedgen to Randy Edsall). Defensive coordinator Don Brown, who recruited Bowers, was retained by Edsall.

Bowers, a three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, was a first-team Palm Beach Post all-area selection after finishing his senior season with 74 tackles and 15 sacks. He picked the Terps over offers from Illinois, Kansas and Northern Illinois, among others.

Bowers joins Felix Varela safety Undray Clark, Lely cornerback Makinton Dorleant, Naples safety Lukas Foreman and Island Coast linebacker Jimmy Stewart as Maryland-bound recruits from Florida.

Efforts to reach Bowers and his coach were not immediately successful.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:54 AM | | Comments (2)
        

January 26, 2011

Change of plans for DeMatha's Delonte Morton

The Maryland football program's 2011 recruiting class will not include DeMatha running back Delonte Morton.

“He’s not going to go to Maryland,” DeMatha coach Bill McGregor said Wednesday. “… There’s not much you can do. It just is what it is.”

A source close to Morton said the reason he won’t end up in College Park is related to academics. Whether the 6-foot-1 ½, 249-pound senior spends next season at a prep school or a junior college has not been determined. InsideMDSports.com first reported the news of Morton’s situation Tuesday night.

A three-star prospect according to Scout.com, Morton committed to the Terps last March after missing his junior season with a torn ACL.

Morton was hindered his senior season by a high-ankle sprain, rushing for 298 yards and five touchdowns on 40 carries in five games.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:33 AM | | Comments (15)
        

Meet Makinton Dorleant

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Makinton Dorleant
Birthdate: Oct. 6, 1992
Birthplace: Naples, Fla.
Hometown: Naples, Fla.
Height: 5-11
Weight: 171
Position: Cornerback
Nickname: Mak-Man, Speedy
High School: Lely High
Senior statistics: 42 tackles, 14 pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery. He also blocked two field goals and accumulated 652 yards of total offense.

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 62 cornerback. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 86 cornerback. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 43 safety, 77 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, 87 rating.
Bench max: 265
40-yard dash: 4.37 unofficial
Runner-up: West Virginia
Other schools considered: Wisconsin, Iowa State, Florida State
Favorite NFL player: "Joe Haden. I feel like he resembles me a lot playing cornerback, [with] the confidence in his game and his coverage skills."
Favorite NFL team: New Orleans Saints
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman, Vernon Davis and Nolan Carroll.
Favorite music: Wiz Khalifa, Drake, TI
Favorite book: Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Favorite movie: "Gridiron Gang"
Favorite TV show: "The First 48"
Favorite food: "Everything. I like eating everything. When I went to Maryland I ate crab cakes for the first time. That's probably my favorite right now. Other than that, I like everything."
Favorite high school class: "Math. I have a teacher this year, Ms. Burdick, who’s really made me like math to the level where I want to go to class everyday and learn everyday. I thank her a lot for helping me with math."
Favorite thing about College Park: “There's a whole bunch of things. The things that stick out to me are the rec center, and having something to do other than football. I can see myself playing basketball there or just hanging out there. The pool [is nice] as well. And being 10-15 minutes away from D.C. is a really nice experience right there."
Other high school sports: "I'm not playing basketball right now, but I will do track."
Hobbies: "I like going out with a lot of good friends. I was hunting during the deer season in Florida, and hog hunting. I like going to parties sometimes. That kind of stuff. I like playing football in my downtime, too."
Intended major: "As of right now, I have no idea. But maybe something along [the lines of] business or journalism."
Something that not many people know about you: “I like reading books a lot. Nobody thinks that a football player does some of those things. But I like reading books when I get a chance."
Best football moment: “It had to be my junior year. We were down 7-3 against Lehigh and were looking for some momentum. I took a kickoff 98 yards for a score, and that kept us in it. We ended up losing, but we had momentum. After that game, we went 6-0 for the rest of that year. We came up short in the playoffs, but that was my best moment -- getting the kickoff and helping my team get up to finish the game."
Role model: “It has to be my mother. I'm of Haitian heritage. She came from Haiti at about 22 years old. She's 49 right now. Through that time, it was a little tough for her at first with three kids and two rooms. But she kept busting her butt with hard work and raising kids. Now my sister is in college right now. She runs track, and that just shows how her hard work pays off. Now [my mother] has her citizenship. She voted for the first time in her life a year ago. I see her, and I want to be the same way. She's a role model I have right now."
Why Maryland? “Maryland was my first BCS offer, and Coach [Don] Brown, when I committed, he was head over heels recruiting me. I finally got to visit Wisconsin, [and thought], that's nice. But Coach Brown was still there, and it actually opened my eyes because he's my position coach, my defensive coordinator. What sticks out better than that? The coach recruiting you is the defensive coordinator and calls the plays. I committed a week before I was going to visit Maryland. It was a blessing that God told me Maryland was where I was supposed to be. So that's why I picked Maryland."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:43 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 25, 2011

Meet Andrew Zeller

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Andrew Zeller
Birthdate: Oct. 29, 1993
Birthplace: Westminster
Hometown: Manchester
Height: 6-6
Weight: 295
Position: Offensive line
Nickname: Big Z
High School: Red Lion (Pa.) High
Senior statistics: 67 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, seven sacks at defensive tackle.

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 24 player in Pennsylvania. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 53 offensive guard. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 118 offensive tackle, 75 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Two stars, 78 rating.
Bench max: 305
40-yard dash: 5.05
Runner-up: Oregon
Other schools considered: Miami, Michigan State, Rutgers, Vanderbilt
Favorite NFL team: Pittsburgh Steelers
Favorite all-time Terp: "Steve Suter. He graduated from the high school I would have graduated from in Maryland."
Favorite music: "I listen to everything. I don’t really have a favorite."
Favorite book: Brian's Saga by Gary Paulsen
Favorite movie: "Behind Enemy Lines"
Favorite TV show: "Ax Men"
Favorite food: Steak
Favorite high school class: Sociology
Favorite thing about College Park: “It's just a great atmosphere and everybody's upbeat."
Other high school sports: "Basketball last year. I didn’t play this year. I might throw for track this year."
Hobbies: "I like to just hang out with friends and lift. I have two jobs -- I work at a steakhouse and a tubing resort -- so I'm always busy. I always like to stay busy."
Intended major: Secondary education, criminal justice or business management.
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m pretty much a straight shooter. I don’t really keep anything back."
Best football moment: “Probably the interception I got last year in the final game of the year against Dallastown. They're our big rival."
Role model: “Just my parents and my older brother. They just keep me in line. They make sure I do what I'm supposed to be doing."
Why Maryland? “College Park is just upbeat. Everyone loves it. It's a great team, and the campus is really nice. Also, it's a respectable university in which I can get a great education and move forward in life."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Terps, Larry Mazyck part ways

Fork Union Military Academy offensive tackle Larry Mazyck won't sign with Maryland next month.

“They’ve decided to go in a different direction,” Fork Union coach Micky Sullivan said Tuesday. “He committed to Vanderbilt.”

Mazyck, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound senior, committed to the Terps last March when he was a junior at Friendship Collegiate in Washington. Commodores coach James Franklin was Mazyck’s recruiter at Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:20 AM | | Comments (7)
        

Meet Lukas Foreman

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Lukas Foreman
Birthdate: Nov. 20, 1992
Birthplace: Naples, Fla.
Hometown: Naples, Fla.
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190
Position: Safety
High School: Naples High
Senior statistics: 59 tackles (45 solo), two interceptions and one forced fumble. 25 punts for a 40.07-yard average, including a long punt of 60 yards and nine kicks inside the 20.

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars. Scout.com -- Two stars. No. 149 safety. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 72 safety, 76 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Two stars, 78 rating.
Bench max: 245
40-yard dash: 4.59
Runner-up: West Virginia
Other schools considered: Kansas
Favorite NFL player: Eric Berry
Favorite NFL team: Miami Dolphins
Favorite all-time Terp: Kevin Plank
Favorite music: Gucci Mane, Young Jeezy, Taylor Swift
Favorite book: Scar Tissue by Anthony Kiedis
Favorite movie: "Monty Python and the Holy Grail"
Favorite TV show: "Blue Mountain State"
Favorite food: Seafood
Favorite high school class: Drama
Favorite thing about College Park: “The girls.”
Other high school sports: Track, basketball
Hobbies: Fishing, wakeboarding, going out on the boat
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “I can juggle, and I can ride a unicycle, too.”
Best football moment: “Probably my first interception in the second round of the playoffs when I was a sophomore.”
Role model: “[Naples offensive assistant coach] Ricky Martin. He’s taught me a lot. He’s done a lot for me and got me to where I am today."
Why Maryland? “I just felt like they wanted me for me. I wasn’t just another fill-in guy. They offered me when I was a sophomore. I can get a good degree from there. And I like turtles.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:15 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 24, 2011

Meet Alex Twine

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Alex Twine
Birthdate: Dec. 9, 1993
Birthplace: Olney
Hometown: Gaithersburg
Height: 6-1
Weight: 210
Position: Linebacker
High School: Quince Orchard
Senior statistics: 52 tackles (including 18 for loss), four forced fumbles, three interceptions

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 130 outside linebacker. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 55 outside linebacker, 78 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Two stars, 75 rating.
Bench max: 335
40-yard dash: 4.59
Runner-up: Delaware and James Madison
Favorite NFL player: Michael Vick
Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
Favorite all-time Terp: E.J. Henderson
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Drake
Favorite book: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Favorite movie: "The Town"
Favorite TV show: "SportsCenter"
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite high school class: Cooking
Favorite thing about College Park: “When I went, I loved the fans and just the people that go there."
Other high school sports: Basketball
Hobbies: "I like hanging out with friends. When I’m not doing sports, [I'm] with family playing board games or with friends playing PS3."
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “Most people don't know that I like watching movies with my younger siblings. They're four and five. It's kids movies. I'll watch whatever they want to watch."
Best football moment: “It was probably when I was on kickoff team against Clarksburg. We were down seven points. One of my teammates looked at me and said, 'I'm going to get this onside kick.' I looked at him like he was crazy. But then he was the one coming out of the pile with the ball. We ended up winning the game."
Role model: “I probably look up to [Maryland defensive tackle] Zach [Kerr] and [Terps cornerback] Travis [Hawkins]. They kind of made me believe I can do it. They came from the same place I came from and are having success. So I just look up to what they're doing and will try to do the same thing."
Why Maryland? “It's close to home. One of the biggest things was, can my family enjoy my experience? At Maryland, they can enjoy the experience. Also, they have a great football team. When I went on my official visit and hung out with the guys, right away I fell in love with the school. I connected with everyone. After thinking about it for a day, I knew where I wanted to go. I didn't take any [more] visits. I was just happy where I was at."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:23 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Weekend wrap – Anderson's 'loving' Terps, others

In eighth grade Justin Anderson was a prodigious basketball talent on Courtland (Va.) High's junior varsity team. Now at Montrose Christian, the four-star prospect is one of the most athletic juniors in the country.

The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg this weekend looked at Anderson's rise from his middle-school days in Virginia to his status today as a nationally ranked small forward. The article also includes an update on his recruitment.

"Right now, we're loving Maryland, we're loving Duke, we're loving Syracuse, we're loving Villanova, we're loving Oklahoma, we're loving Texas," Justin said. "We're keeping it all open. I just want to make sure I'm in the gym working on my game and not worrying about college, because I still have another year of high school."

Credit to Testudo Times for the link.

• Maryland point guard signee Sterling Gibbs guided Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) to a 65-44 win over Ridge.

Senior guard Sterling Gibbs erupted for 11 of his 19 points in the third quarter as No. 8 Seton Hall Prep pulled in front, 46-33, with a 22-9 effort in Basking Ridge.

• Terps women's commitment Lexie Brown powered North Gwinnett (Ga.) to a 73-46 win over Peachtree Ridge.

Leading North (11-5, 7-0) was Lexie Brown, who tallied 25 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four steals.

Football recruiting

• Virginia hosted Bowie defensive back Jeremiah Hendy on an official visit this weekend.

Hendy, who is also being looked at by some programs as a receiver, is a top 100 athlete. He has been committed since April to Maryland, but he's also considering offers from U.Va., Penn State and Iowa.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:51 AM | | Comments (7)
        

January 23, 2011

Meet Delonte Morton

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Delonte Morton
Birthdate: March 14, 1992
Birthplace: District Heights
Hometown: District Heights
Height: 6-1 1/2
Weight: 249
Position: Running back
High School: DeMatha
Senior statistics: 40 carries for 298 yards and five touchdowns in five games

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 34 middle linebacker. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, 84 rating.
Bench max: 305
40-yard dash: 4.69
Runner-up: Virginia or Virginia Tech
Other schools considered: Oregon, Penn State
Favorite NFL player: Adrian Peterson and Marion Barber
Favorite NFL team: Seattle Seahawks
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman
Favorite music: Lil Wayne
Favorite book: The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Favorite movie: "The Hangover"
Favorite TV show: "Lopez Tonight"
Favorite food: Macaroni
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “I just love the atmosphere in College Park. It's a nice place to be. I just like the students and the school, and how big they are on their school."
Hobbies: Basketball, coaching peewee football
Intended major: Sports management or business
Something that not many people know about you: “I guess that I'm a great person. You hear things about people but never understand their personalities until you get up close. But I feel like I'm a kind, nice person."
Best football moment: “When I was in the ninth grade, I didn't have to take on four or five people at a time. I ran for a 40- or 50-yard touchdown in one game. I had a high motivation for myself. But then I just knew [I had potential]."
Role model: “I'm going to have to go with my mother. I feel like she's a great role model because I have a lot of brothers and sisters -- three sisters and six brothers. Even with my dad being here, she takes care of everybody. A lot of us are older now, but she still checks in with everybody. If anybody needs something, she has them. She's just the best person you could ever know. She's a lot of fun. She's made me who I am. A lot of times, my father had to work and my mother was there to support me."
Why Maryland? “I just love the whole atmosphere at Maryland. It's a nice home. I feel like just being there, it's a motivating place, and I get along with all the football guys. I would go in there knowing what I have to do. I kind of understand their process because I've seen [Maryland's] process the last few years."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 22, 2011

Meet Brandon Ross

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Brandon Ross
Birthdate: Nov. 9, 1992
Birthplace: Philadelphia
Hometown: Newark, Del.
Height: 5-11
Weight: 195
Position: Running back
Nickname: B-Ross
High School: Charter School of Wilmington
Senior statistics: 1,172 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns on 181 carries, 19 catches for 287 yards and four touchdowns

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Two stars. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 95 running back. ESPN.com -- Two stars, No. 139 running back, 74 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Two stars, 79 rating.
Bench max: 270
40-yard dash: 4.4
Runner-up: Boston College
Other schools considered: Army, Delaware State, Rutgers, North Carolina State
Favorite NFL player: Adrian Peterson
Favorite NFL team: Philadelphia Eagles
Favorite all-time Terp: Boomer Esiason
Favorite music: Kanye West
Favorite book: Money Talks
Favorite movie: "Friday Night Lights"
Favorite TV show: "The Game"
Favorite food: Crab legs
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “I’d have to say the close-knit, tight community -- how everybody’s just kind of like one."
Other high school sports: Track
Hobbies: Writing, drawing, swimming, lifting, working out, exercising
Intended major: Kinesiology
Something that not many people know about you: “I dream a lot. I’m a very sensitive person.”
Best football moment: "Probably my freshman year when my coach put me on the field and I ripped off a 45-yard run. I didn't score on it, but it was my first varsity game ever, so that was pretty special."
Role model: "My mom just because of how she leads by example in life. A lot of parents can just tell you stuff, tell you what to follow, but she leads through her actions and how she encourages me everyday to do my best. She always has faith in me. I really admire that and I learn from that, too."
Why Maryland? "Maryland was the best fit for me because not only did they have my programs and majors I was looking to study, and not only do I have family who live in Maryland, but Maryland was a place I was looking to possibly go to even before I was looked at as a possible recruit. It's a campus I've always kind of admired."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:11 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 21, 2011

Glenelg's Osborne follows 'family destiny' to Navy

colin-osborne-navy.jpg The opportunity to play for a perennial Football Championship Subdivision title contender – and attend a school with "a lot more girls" than your average service academy – made Colin Osborne's decision to commit to James Madison last August an easy one.

Backing out of that commitment to attend the Naval Academy, however, proved nearly as simple. Osborne, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back from Glenelg, switched from the Dukes to the Midshipmen last week – a decision he made based primarily on education.

“I want to be sure I’m guaranteed a job after college,” Osborne said. “I want to make sure that I’m set. With Navy, I knew that I’d be set when I graduate with some type of job. … My head wasn’t really into education [at first]. It was more into JMU and living the free life. But then I had to get my head on straight. It’s more about education, and Navy offered that. I knew I would have a better opportunity there than at JMU because the job economy today isn’t that great.”

Osborne, who rushed for 1,885 yards and 18 touchdowns on 246 carries as a senior, started hearing from the Navy coaches on a regular basis shortly after the conclusion of his season. With a brother currently serving his plebe year at the academy and a father that’s a 24-year veteran of the Navy, it didn’t take much convincing for Osborne to schedule an official visit to Annapolis.

“It came down to the family destiny,” Osborne said. “I just knew. I knew all along. I just had a feeling that I was going to get an offer, and then I was going to commit there, even though I was happy with JMU. The college life that I thought I would receive at JMU, I was very excited about that. I’m not really excited about my college life at Navy at all. But I know in four years, I know I’ll have made a good decision.”

A Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, Osborne expects to play a role for the Mids similar to what he did for the Gladiators – serving as an every-down back with excellent speed that’s not afraid to be physical. After a year at the Naval Academy Preparatory School, Osborne hopes to contribute to Navy sooner rather than later.

“They’ve seen my film and know that I’m versatile,” Osborne said. “I’m able to get in the open field and that’s pretty much what they do. You get the ball in the open field and they let you do something with it. I think I’ll be able to get acclimated and hope I’ll be very successful running the ball. I just want to be successful and one of my goals is to start. I don’t want to wait until senior year to do it.”

Osborne is considering a major in either aeronautical engineering or economics, with some thoughts of pursuing a career as a pilot. His family and friends couldn’t be more excited about his decision.

“They are pumped,” Osborne said of his classmates. “[They’ve said], ‘You’re going to Navy? I’m going to every game.’ It’s really an exciting time for me, just to be fortunate enough to get a scholarship to a Division I program. At Glenelg, not a lot of kids that come here go to that level. The last to go D-1A was 20 years ago. I want to be the guy out there that actually makes it and has success and has stories to tell. So everyone’s excited. It’s a great time.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Colin Osborne by Jerry Jackson / Dec. 1, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:38 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

A decision from Maryland center target Desmond Hubert should come at some point this spring, Adam Zagoria reported this week.

Hubert, a 6-foot-9 senior, has narrowed his list to the Terps and North Carolina.

“It’s hard not to be excited about it a little bit just because it’s North Carolina,” Hubert told Alex Kline of The Recruit Scoop, who first reported the news.

The No. 15 center in the Class of 2011, Hubert would be willing to redshirt a year “to build his body up,” a source with knowledge said.

On Monday, Hubert helped his Warriors squad to a 50-38 win over Westampton Vo-Tech.

Mark Pryzbylkowski, who was 8 of 8 from the foul line down the stretch, added 16 points and Desmond Hubert finished with a triple double, scoring 12 points, grabbing 12 rebounds and blocking 15 shots

• Maryland-bound guard Sterling Gibbs was featured this week on ScotchPlains.Patch.com.

“I want to beat Duke and North Carolina,” Gibbs said. “At first, Big East schools had the edge, especially with my brother at Pitt. I kind of knew, though, by my sophomore year that I wanted to go to Maryland and play for coach [Gary] Williams. I just didn’t want to rush it.”

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr this week profiled Montrose Christian forward Justin Anderson, a prime Terps target for the 2012 class.

At 17, he's freakishly athletic, with any play down the court likely to produce an above-the-rim highlight. But what he is working most diligently on is to establish himself as something else: a complete basketball player.

"Not just someone who can drive to the basket and dunk," said Anderson, now 6 feet 7 and a solid 215-pound forward. "Someone who can also pull up and make a 15-footer."

• Terps women's commitment Chloe Pavlech scored four points in overtime to help Sycamore win a 60-50 game over Wadsworth (Ohio).

[Alexis] Newbolt finished with 13 points, Pavlech finished with 12 points and [Lauren] Hancher finished with 10.

• UM women's recruit Lexie Brown guided North Gwinnett (Ga.) to a 54-45 upset of top-ranked Norcross.

From there, North slowly pulled away in the fourth quarter as Brown scored the final four of her game-high 20 points, while [Ariel] Johnson added eight of her 17 points.

Football recruiting

• Former Maryland safety commitment Rodman Noel has pledged to North Carolina State.

Noel intercepted four passes as a postgraduate player for Milford last season, according to the school's website. Milford coach Bill Chaplick said Noel has great football sense, calling him one of the 11-1 team's best defensive players.

• St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds told The Washington Post last week that he's still considering Maryland but hadn't yet spoken to Terps coach Randy Edsall.

"It's a school I've been to a million times and I feel like I know a lot about Maryland but now they have a new coach," McReynolds said. "It's in the back of my mind and makes me want to go up there and visit."

• Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Steven Montgomery, a former Terps target, committed to Minnesota.

The 6-foot, 195-pound Montgomery chose the Gophers of the Big Ten over 14 other scholarship offers, including UCF, FAU and FIU.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:00 PM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Meet Undray Clark

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Undray Clark
Birthdate: Nov. 24, 1992
Birthplace: Miami
Hometown: Miami
Height: 5-10
Weight: 180
Position: Cornerback
High School: Felix Varela High
Senior statistics: 72 tackles, five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), two kickoff returns for touchdowns

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 154 safety. ESPN.com -- Two stars, No. 106 safety, 74 rating.
Bench max: 285
40-yard dash: 4.5
Runner-up: Minnesota
Other schools considered: Duke, Wake Forest
Favorite NFL player: Ed Reed
Favorite NFL team: Miami Dolphins
Favorite all-time Terp: Shawne Merriman
Favorite music: Drake, Lil Wayne
Favorite book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Favorite movie: "Friday"
Favorite TV show: "SportsCenter"
Favorite food: Soul food
Favorite high school class: Physical education
Favorite thing about College Park: “Just the atmosphere.”
Other high school sports: Track
Hobbies: Working out and hanging out with friends
Intended major: Business management
Something that not many people know about you: “That I’m a humble person and I never want to quit playing football.”
Best football moment: "My first time playing varsity, catching a pick and taking it back."
Role model: “That would be my close family because they’ve been with me and helped me get to where I am now.”
Why Maryland? “Just the connection that I had with [Terps defensive coordinator Don] Brown. That helped it out.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:00 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 20, 2011

Meet Stephen Grommer

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Stephen Grommer
Birthdate: Oct. 27, 1992
Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Hometown: Spartanburg, S.C.
Height: 6-5
Weight: 286
Position: Offensive line
High School: Spartanburg High

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars. Scout.com -- Two stars, No. 122 offensive guard. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 80 offensive tackle, 77 rating.
Bench max: 330
40-yard dash: 5.25
Runner-up: North Carolina State
Other schools considered: Kentucky, East Carolina, Harvard
Favorite NFL player: Jordan Gross
Favorite NFL team: Carolina Panthers
Favorite music: "Anything country."
Favorite book: "I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell" by Tucker Max
Favorite movie: "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?"
Favorite TV show: "Jersey Shore"
Favorite food: “It’d be easier to say what I don’t like (laughs). But probably baked ziti."
Favorite high school class: History in sports
Favorite thing about College Park: “How close everything is. Everything is really together. You can walk everywhere."
Other high school sports: Track (shot and discus)
Hobbies: Fishing, hunting, cooking
Intended major: Undecided but leaning toward business management
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a lot smarter than most people think. I had a 1200 on the SAT. That was the first time I’d taken it. I have a 4.2 or 4.1 [grade-point average]".”
Best football moment: "Getting to the upper-state championship my junior year."
Role model: “My older brother. He plays football, too, for Wofford College in South Carolina. I've had the same number as him in high school. I just remember going to all the games when he played and how much I wanted to play."
Why Maryland? "When I went there on my official visit, I knew right away when I left that I could see myself being there for five years. Everybody I met was really nice. They weren't just nice because I was a recruit -- that's just how they were personally."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

Meet Nigel King

This is part of a series of 2011 Maryland football commitment Q&As leading up to Signing Day on Feb. 2. All answers are provided by the featured player.

Name: Nigel King
Birthdate: Oct. 9, 1992
Birthplace: Raleigh, N.C.
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Height: 6-4
Weight: 201
Position: Wide receiver
High School: Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy
Senior statistics: 38 receptions for 732 yards and eight touchdowns

Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars, No. 46 wide receiver, No. 11 prospect in North Carolina. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 100 wide receiver. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 47 wide receiver, 79 rating. 24-7 Sports -- Three stars, No. 58 wide receiver, 86 rating.
Bench max: 275
40-yard dash: 4.4
Runner-up: North Carolina
Other schools considered: LSU, West Virginia, South Carolina, Louisville, North Carolina State
Favorite NFL player: Larry Fitzgerald, Chad Ochocinco
Favorite NFL team: Washington Redskins
Favorite all-time Terp: Vernon Davis
Favorite music: Rick Ross
Favorite movie: "Next Friday"
Favorite TV show: "SportsCenter"
Favorite food: Fried chicken and macaroni and cheese
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: "The location. That’s one of my favorite things, how it's right near Virginia and D.C."
Other high school sports: Basketball, track
Hobbies: "Being with my family. I used to play basketball whenever I had time, but I had to stop doing that because I didn't want to get hurt [for football]. I used to ride dirtbikes, too. And I like to go bowling."
Intended major: Broadcast journalism
Something that not many people know about you: “A lot of people don't know that I'm really close with [Wizards point guard] John Wall -- he's one of my good friends -- and Brandon Banks that plays for the Redskins. I've been friends with John Wall since middle school."
Best football moment: “[On] my birthday last year, I had 232 receiving yards, two touchdowns and one interception."
Role model: “My mom because she is a strong woman. She showed me how to be strong in life. Everything I've been through, she's helped me through it."
Why Maryland? “Mainly because it's been the most consistent coaching staff that's recruited me. They didn't stop recruiting me no matter what I did. When I came up to campus, I know they didn't have a good season last year, but that wasn't the biggest thing. It was just the coaches and the campus. My recruiting coach [Charles Bankins] left [for Vanderbilt], but [Terps wide receivers coach Lee] Hull stayed, so it worked out good for me. I've already met Coach [Randy] Edsall, and me and him are building a relationship already."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

January 19, 2011

Season recap: Tyler Cierski

Maryland was one of many schools to offer Tyler Cierski a scholarship based on his junior-season film, even though the 6-foot-1, 255-pound fullback missed four games during his 11th-grade year with a high-ankle sprain.

As a senior, Cierski got a chance to play at full strength and show the Terps that they made a good move in extending him an early offer, which he accepted last April.

“He had a great year,” said Shannon Jarvis, Cierski’s coach at Mill Creek High in Hoschton, Ga. “He ended up as a powerful presence for us to allow us to spread out defenses, and yet maintain a strong running game in the one-back set. … He was just tremendous in the latter half of the season. He always did a great job as a leader in the locker room and the focal point of our offense.”

Facing the top competition in Georgia high school football, Mill Creek finished its regular season at 5-5 to sneak into the playoffs. With Cierski leading the way, the Hawks reeled off wins over No. 7 Etowah and No. 6 South Gwinnett in their first two postseason games.

“Against South Gwinnett, [Cierski had] 29 carries for 161 yards and two touchdowns,” Jarvis said. “… I think he had over 20 broken tackles in that game. He’s a very punishing runner. South Gwinnett is a very athletic team. We knew we had to run downhill on them. Really, that’s what he brought at the end of this season and throughout the season. It allowed us to spread people out and still be physical.”

After the South Gwinnett game – which Jarvis called the “biggest win” in Mill Creek’s seven-year history – Cierski and the Hawks moved on to the state quarterfinals. Against Colquitt County, Cierski’s high school career came to an end with Mill Creek’s 27-14 loss to the eventual state runners-up.

Cierski finished his senior season with 755 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on 143 attempts, while also catching 16 passes for 187 yards and two scores. He broke six school records, including most points scored in a season (78), most career points (150), most rushing touchdowns in a season (11) and most career rushing touchdowns (22). Jarvis said Cierski’s versatility called for a more prominent role than your average fullback.

“To just label him a fullback – it’s accurate, and I think Tyler would tell you he’s a fullback,” Jarvis said. “But he runs a 4.7 40, he has speed, and I think the one thing we can’t underestimate with this young man is his size. He weighs right now about 255 pounds. But his feet are so quick, and his legs and lower body are so strong. He’s a very agile young man. He gets receptions on screens and plays out of the backfield. He can do everything we need him to do. Just to think of him as a blocking fullback that carries on a dive play, we did much more with him than that.”

Cierski considered taking an official visit to Vanderbilt and keeping his college options open, but a trip to College Park last weekend solidified his commitment to the Terps. Jarvis isn’t entirely familiar with Maryland’s depth chart at fullback, but the Mill Creek coach is confident that Cierski could handle early action if necessary.

“I really think he’ll be able to play sooner rather than later because of not only his strength, but also his intelligence,” Jarvis said. “A lot of people don’t understand how intelligent this young man is. He knew the offense inside and out as a sophomore. A lot of times in college, the biggest transition is learning the scheme and being mature enough to handle the pressure. We run a pretty advanced offensive scheme here. We have to because of the high level of football in this area. I think that’s going to help him as much as anything.

“He’s such a smart young man, in addition to his physical attributes. Based on his size and his strength and his speed, I feel certain that he’ll make a pretty quick transition. Whether he redshirts or not that first year depends on how they want to use him. He’ll be able to step in and help them, but every kid has to go through that transition. Every kid is a little different, but I have a lot of confidence that Tyler can do it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:32 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

Quick note on Rodman Noel

There have been several reports of Maryland parting ways with defensive back recruit Rodman Noel on subscription sites over the past week or two.

On Tuesday, Milford Academy (N.Y.) coach Bill Chaplick confirmed those reports.

“He was going to play for [Maryland defensive backs coach] Kevin Lempa," Chaplick said. "When Kevin Lempa didn’t get rehired, I think that thing kind of died.”

Was Noel disappointed that the Terps let him go?

“Not really. He has other offers," said Chaplick, noting that Noel has visited North Carolina State. The Falcons coach said he thinks Noel "will be in the ACC" next season.

Noel is a four-star prospect from Everett, Mass., who spent a prep season at Milford after missing NCAA qualifying standards coming out of high school. Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-3, 206-pound safety as the No. 7 prep school player in the country.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:10 AM | | Comments (6)
        

January 18, 2011

Calvert Hall's Adrian Amos still on the market

adrian-amos-recruiting.jpg Shortly after Maryland hired Randy Edsall away from Connecticut, Adrian Amos withdrew his commitment to the Huskies.

Now with Signing Day just about two weeks away, the Calvert Hall safety is taking steps toward making a final college decision.

“He is going to take his West Virginia visit, probably this weekend,” Cardinals coach Donald Davis said. “And then we’ve got to decide whether he’s going to Vanderbilt, possibly that next weekend.”

West Virginia was the runner-up in Amos’ recruitment when he committed to the Huskies in late August. Vanderbilt got involved after former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin was named the Commodores’ new coach. There’s also a chance Amos ends up at UConn after all, although it's unlikely he'd visit Storrs again.

“He’s really seen everything he needs to see as far as the school,” Davis said. “What has to happen now is he and his family has to meet with [UConn coach Paul] Pasqualoni and get a feel for him. At this stage, visiting UConn for Adrian isn’t really going to do anything for him. He’s seen UConn, knows what UConn has to offer. What he has to see is what’s up with the new staff, and what the coaches envision for him. Has anything changed from what Coach Edsall envisioned for him as a student, as an athlete, and so forth? That’s really what’s weighing on him right now. He could very well still go to UConn. That’s not at all ruled out.”

Davis said Maryland – under both the previous and current coaching regimes – has not offered Amos a scholarship.

Amos, 6-1, 200 pounds, finished his senior season with 78 tackles, four interceptions and three forced fumbles. A first-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection, Amos helped the Cardinals claim the MIAA A Conference championship.

Baltimore Sun photo of Adrian Amos by Gabe Dinsmoor / Dec. 12, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:35 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Season recap: Makinton Dorleant

Fritz Jacques left Lely High in Naples, Fla., in 2004 as a decorated strong safety and neighborhood hero to middle school-aged football players.

When Jacques returned to his hometown after serving as a four-year starter at Kent State, those admiring youth football players were “becoming superstars” in high school. And when Lely coach Dave Miller asked Jacques to return to his alma mater and coach defensive backs this season, the former Golden Flashes standout became reacquainted with Maryland cornerback commitment Makinton Dorleant.

“I used to see him around in the streets, running around,” Jacques said. “When I [came back to Naples], I did hear a lot of negative about him – he doesn’t work hard, stuff like that. When I started talking to him, we just caught a vibe real quick. He was not like how I heard. I think people misunderstand the kid sometimes. But he wasn’t like a negative person; he was not like that at all. He matured a lot more from when he was a little kid, but I think he needed to mature a little more. He’s becoming a man now. I think he needs to mature a little bit more, and I think Maryland is going to help him with that.”

Dorleant, who originally committed to Wisconsin, demonstrated Division I potential to Jacques right away. In a secondary that included one freshman and one sophomore starter, Dorleant was a leader and “an impact player.” Jacques’ biggest dilemma was figuring out which defensive back spot Dorleant would play.

“At first, he was getting recruited heavy at cornerback,” Jacques said. ”The thought was, let’s play him at corner because that’s where he’s going to play at the next level. But a lot of teams stayed away from that corner. [I told him], ‘Mak, I know that’s where you're going to be playing at the next level, but we’re going to play you at safety to roam the field.’ He’s that fast. He can close. When you watch him on film, he closed on running backs faster than linebackers. His speed, you can see the difference on film compared to a lot of kids here. It’s just different. We have some fast kids around here, but on film, it’s just crazy how fast he can close on the ball. That’s why we had him at safety, so he could make more plays for us.”

Despite missing four games with a sprained MCL, Dorleant finished his senior season with 42 tackles, 14 pass breakups, one interception and one fumble recovery. He also blocked two field goals and accumulated 652 yards of total offense getting snaps at running back and wide receiver. While Dorleant excelled individually, Lely struggled with youth and injuries, finishing the season with a 2-8 record. It was a disappointing end to the future Terp’s high school career.

“I don’t think it was the senior year he expected,” Jacques said. “But it really made him learn to love the game and respect the game. These high school kids sometimes, they get a little big-headed. They get that shine, that fame, and they get a little hard-headed. But I think some of those situations that happened his senior year for football taught him to respect the game. Today it’s here, tomorrow it could be gone. From August until now, I think he’s matured. He became a young man already. I think he will be ready for more – I honestly believe that.”

Jacques said he’s looking forward to his second season on Lely’s staff, but readily acknowledges that the Trojans will miss Dorleant’s “play-making, game-changing” ability on defense and special teams. Jacques is ready, however, for Dorleant to leave Naples and embark on a successful college career with the Terps.

“Wherever you put him, he’s going to make plays,” Jacques said. “He likes to play football, so wherever Maryland decides to play him, he’s going to make plays for them. I know that for a fact.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:57 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 17, 2011

Weekend wrap – Hubert focused on two schools

A solid performance from senior center Desmond Hubert wasn't enough for his New Egypt (N.J.) squad on Saturday.

At the Hoop Group Boardwalk Showcase at Monmouth University, Hubert just missed a double double in his team's 42-37 loss to Jackson Memorial.

New Egypt's Desmond Hubert scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half and added nine rebounds and three blocks. Hubert was also named the team MVP.

HoopGroup.com conducted a video interview with Hubert during the event. The three-star prospect said he's "down to pretty much two ACC schools" -- North Carolina and Maryland.

• Terps shooting guard signee Nick Faust's City squad suffered a 63-46 loss to Thomas Jefferson in the Big Apple Basketball Invitational in New York on Saturday night.

Maryland-bound guard Nick Faust was held to 22 points for Baltimore City.

• Oakland Mills star Greg Whittington powered the Scorpions to a 47-29 win over River Hill.

Senior center Greg Whittington dominated the middle at both ends, finishing with a game-high 19 points and senior guard James Peters added 13, as Oakland Mills (14-0) improved to 11-0 in league play.

• Maryland women's commitment Lexie Brown guided North Gwinnett (Ga.) to a 78-38 win over Meadowcreek.

The Bulldogs, 5-0 in the region and 9-5 overall, received 20 points each from Lexie Brown and Peyton Whitted. Brown also had nine steals and seven assists.

Football recruiting

• The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., quoted Maryland's two Delaware commitments -- offensive lineman Evan Mulrooney and running back Brandon Ross -- in a story this weekend about recruits dealing with coaching changes.

"Coach [Randy] Edsall called and he's going to visit with me next week and we'll see what the deal is," Mulrooney said.

"With the coaching change, I'm committed to Maryland, but I have to make sure they're committed from a player's perspective."

• Milford Academy (N.Y.) defensive back Rodman Noel, who Maryland reportedly parted ways with, took an official visit to North Carolina State over the weekend.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:33 AM | | Comments (10)
        

January 16, 2011

Ga. FB Tyler Cierski plans to stick with Terps

Tyler Cierski had tentative plans to visit Vanderbilt later this month with his father, leading one recruiting website to dub him a "soft commitment" to Maryland.

After a trip this weekend to College Park, however, Cierski says his pledge to the Terps is solid.

“We got up there Friday,” said Cierski, a 6-foot-1, 255-pound fullback from Mill Creek (Ga.). “I hadn’t been up here in awhile. It just reminded me how much I like it here. I don’t think taking other visits is necessary.”

Cierski, who rushed for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns during his senior season, said he was disappointed that Ralph Friedgen was fired last month. Disappointment turned to concern when former Texas Tech coach Mike Leach – who Cierski said didn’t use a fullback much in his Air Raid offense – surfaced as a candidate for the job.

With Randy Edsall taking over the Terps, Cierski said he’s comfortable with Maryland’s offense and can easily envision how he’ll fit in.

“[Edsall] seems like a really cool guy,” Cierski said. “He seemed like someone I could be comfortable with. I could tell that he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to football.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:14 PM | | Comments (1)
        

January 14, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Pittsburgh has settled on former Tulsa coach Todd Graham to lead its program, but the coaching turmoil leading up to his hiring has put the Maryland football program in contention for two Panthers recruits.

Defensive back Lafayette Pitts -- a teammate of Terps defensive end commitment Quinton Jefferson at Woodland Hills High in Pittsburgh -- is planning an official visit to College Park.

Pitts originally committed to Pitt, but is now looking at a few other schools because of the Pitt coaching situation. He already has visited Iowa and will visit Maryland and Rutgers the next two weekends.

Defensive tackle Marquise Wright out of Paramus Catholic in New Jersey is also considering the Terps, although they face stiff competition from an ACC rival.

“It’s Rutgers, Maryland, UNC, Miami and Michigan State,” Wright said.

Wright has taken official visits to Maryland and North Carolina. He came away from his official visit to Chapel Hill this past weekend with a new favorite. The Tar Heels are going to be tough to beat.

• Two Maryland recruits are headed to Nashville this weekend, according to ACCSports.com.

Fullback Tyler Cierski and tight end Ryan Malleck are taking trips to Vanderbilt (where former Maryland offensive coordinator James Franklin is now the coach) this weekend and thus are now listed as “soft” verbals by Scout.com.

• Maryland offensive line commitment Andrew Zeller was a surprising omission from Pennsylvania's roster for the Big 33 game against Ohio.

Both were also two-way York-Adams League Division I all-stars. [Penn State commitment Ben] Kline was the unanimous Division I Player of the Year and Zeller was a dominant force on both lines when the Lions made a surprising run to the District 3-AAAA title game.

And both earned second-team Class AAAA all-state berths from Pennsylvania sports writers.

• Cornerback Corey Tindal from Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., has not committed to Florida International, contrary to a December report from PantherRage.com.

Tindal's top two schools are Western Michigan and Maryland. He is visiting Western this weekend and Maryland next weekend.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:24 PM | | Comments (1)
        

January 13, 2011

Season recap: Quinton Jefferson

The way Woodland Hills (Pa.) defensive coordinator Bill Morton remembers it, Quinton Jefferson was just your average ninth-grader going out for the football team in the fall of 2007.

“When I first met Quinton he was a little skinny,” Morton recalled. “I used to call him Lollipop because he was so skinny and he had a big head.”

By the end of Jefferson’s high school career, the Maryland-bound defensive end had filled out his 6-foot-4, 230-pound frame to the point where Morton felt compelled to change his nickname to The Stork – an homage to former Baltimore Colts, Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders defensive end Ted Hendricks. Jefferson’s stark transformation from lanky freshman to dominant senior was not exactly something Morton had foreseen.

“He just got confidence in himself and did the things necessary,” Morton said. “He was coming off the edge. He reads [defenses] well. He has extremely great speed for a kid his size. He runs like a 4.59, somewhere in that range. He’s extremely fast for his size. [Wolverines coach George] Novak moved him to tight end this year. He’s a really good athlete.”

In a 4-3 front, Jefferson put his hand down and rushed the passer off the edge. In a 3-4, Jefferson dropped back to outside linebacker, demonstrating all season long a versatility that Morton said colleges “loved about him.”

Morton knew that Jefferson and three other Division I-caliber seniors on defense would be charged with leading the Wolverines to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League championship game at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field. Jefferson, Morton said, was up to the task.

“I think he knew when he had to step it up,” Morton said. “He stepped up during the playoffs. He really started to shine. … He gets his hands up and knocks passes down, he can read the screens, he can read the reverse. He was pretty good staying home. He didn’t take off for the ball on fakes. He has real good instincts for where the ball was going and where to stay.”

Jefferson, who was named to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Fabulous 22 team, finished third on the Wolverines in tackles, in addition to batting down seven balls. An often-dominant defense, led in part by Jefferson, propelled Woodland Hills to the WPIAL title game, where it suffered a 21-14 defeat to North Allegheny.

“In the second half he came on real strong,” Morton said. “He had three sacks and he had a couple of tackles for loss and he caused a fumble. I’d say it’s pretty good. … Of course, everybody’s going to feel bad after that [loss]. But we won it the year before and were hoping to win it two years in a row. We just fell short.”

Before Jefferson heads to College Park for his freshman season, he’ll play for Pennsylvania in the Big 33 Classic against Ohio this summer. While his on-field accolades will always stick out in Morton’s mind, the longtime defensive coordinator will also remember Jefferson for his “gentleness.”

“He’s a real kind, family kid,” Morton said. “He’s well spoken, never has anything bad to say about people. I’ve never seen him get mad or say anything bad about anybody. But you hang around [the field], and he puts another cape on.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:26 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 12, 2011

Season recap: Mike Williams

Having several talented players at his disposal is something Deno Campbell has grown accustomed to during his 25 years at DeMatha, including the last 15 as the Stags' defensive coordinator.

The 2009 season was no different in that regard, with Michael Coley (Cal), Kyrrel Latimer (Virginia) and Lorenzo Waters (Rutgers) patrolling the secondary. When those three graduated, much of the focus in DeMatha’s defensive backfield for the 2010 season turned to senior cornerback Mike Williams.

“This whole team faced adversity the entire year,” Campbell said. “We just graduated quite a few people and we had to develop some new leadership. He needed to be part of that leadership as a senior. And he stepped up to the plate.”

How did Campbell realize that Williams, who committed to Maryland last month, was up to the challenge?

“Basically, he looked me in the eye during one game, and said, ‘Coach, I got you. I can handle my responsibilities,’ et cetera, et cetera. And he stepped up and played well. He did that,” Campbell said.

Campbell said Williams -- the younger brother of former Terps defensive back and current Minnesota Vikings safety Madieu Williams -- possesses “outstanding speed and quickness" and “incredible feet.” Williams demonstrated those qualities to Campbell throughout his senior season. DeMatha is a “zone-principle team” that doesn’t play a ton of man coverage, and Campbell said Williams was very comfortable playing in that system.

“Depending on the coverage, he was in what we called a bump-type alignment,” Campbell said. “But a lot of it is really zone-principle stuff, depending on the coverage. Basically the same formations and getting to the quarterback, understanding the routes receivers are running and breaking on the football. ... I don’t envision him having any issues with man coverage. He’s going to have to get stronger and play more physical in man coverage."

The Stags had a disappointing end to their season, suffering a 42-3 loss to Good Counsel in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship game. Campbell said the defeat was “tough for everybody.” It certainly wasn’t how Williams envisioned the end to his high school career, but Campbell said he saw enough out of the speedy future Terp to realize he has a bright future in College Park.

“Mike’s a little slight player, but he’ll put on a little weight and I’m sure he’s going to do that maturing with age,” Campbell said. “He has to work on his ball skills. … Probably No. 1 is getting in the weight room, getting stronger, just like any kid coming out of high school. The game is obviously going to be faster next year. It’s going to be a lot more intricate in terms of the coverages and where he’s got to be. But it should be a normal transition to college.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:46 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 11, 2011

Season recap: Larry Mazyck

The job description for Micky Sullivan as head coach of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy’s high school football program does not include recruiting prospects for his team.

So imagine Sullivan’s delight when Maryland offensive tackle commitment Larry Mazyck showed up at his doorstep late last summer, asking to spend his senior season with the Blue Devils.

“My first impression was, he’s huge. Which he is. Holy mackerel, this guy is big,” Sullivan said. “Then I watched him. He was down here shooting a little basketball. [I thought], ‘Man, does he look really athletic.’ That proved to be the case, too. I’ve been really lucky the past three or four years having some good, big linemen. Larry was another one. Last year we lost Mark Shuman to Virginia Tech, Jacob Ruby to the University of Richmond and Russell Bodine to North Carolina. All three of them played [on the offensive line] here the year before, graduated and went on to college. Getting a guy like Larry, who’s that big and athletic, was a big plus for us.”

Sullivan said Mazyck, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle, and his family were looking for a school to provide more structure, more challenging academics and a higher level of competition than he received playing for Friendship Collegiate in Washington. Sullivan was happy to accommodate the Mazyck family’s wishes, welcoming him into Blue Devils’ program. His transition to military life “took time,” but it didn’t take too long for him to get comfortable as Fork Union’s starting left tackle.

“For a lot of guys, the first four games of the season is, let’s figure out what’s going on here,” Sullivan said. “We didn’t know them, they didn’t know us. The guy Larry lined up next to, Larry hadn’t met him before. That was a big change. Having Larry there gave us a big, strong offensive tackle that allowed us to do some things in games that we would not have been able to do if we hadn’t had him.”

One way Sullivan took advantage of Mazyck’s size was putting him in the goal-line package defensively, and sliding him inside to guard to exploit mismatches when the opponent dictated such a move. With a diverse schedule that included games against Loyola in Baltimore, Georgetown Prep, Woodberry Forest (Va.) and Valley Forge (Pa.) Military Academy, Sullivan had plenty of chances to move Mazyck around.

“We play people all over and get a lot of different fronts,” Sullivan said. “What we’re trying to do is play big on big. If they’re going to give us an even front, we’re going to try to play our big guy on their big guy. That won’t force him to move inside. We’ll get him inside when, at times, we got overpowered. The guy playing next to him is about 6-4, 210. That allowed us to put Larry inside against bigger bodies and gave us an advantage.”

After starting the season 1-3, Fork Union rallied to make the Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association Division I playoffs. The Blue Devils finished their 7-5 season with a 16-14 win over Collegiate for the state title. Mazyck played a major role in the win on both sides of the ball.

“At the end of the year, he certainly got better,” Sullivan said. “In the state championship game, he made two or three great plays at the end of the ball game, which really helped us win the state championship.”

Mazyck remains on Fork Union’s campus for the winter semester and is set to graduate in May. While he’s still developing as a prospect, Sullivan thinks Mazyck has a good chance to realize his potential in College Park.

“The guy’s got great feet, long arms and is very athletic,” Sullivan said. “He looks like a tackle. He’s got to get stronger for the next level. But he can be a great, big-time tackle. … Everyone’s looking for a 6-8, 300-pound tackle that can move.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:38 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 10, 2011

Pa. DE Quinton Jefferson is Edsall's first recruit

Quinton Jefferson's plans for the weekend of Dec. 18-19 were simple: drive from Pittsburgh to College Park, get acclimated to Maryland's football program, and – if everything went as expected – commit to Terps coach Ralph Friedgen before leaving town.

The first two parts of Jefferson’s plans went off without a hitch. But making a commitment wasn’t in the cards thanks to the suddenly uncertain job status of Friedgen. On Dec. 17 during a teleconference with reporters, athletic director Kevin Anderson was noncommittal about the coach’s return in 2011, creating an uncomfortable situation for Jefferson and other recruits on campus.

“It was a little awkward, and it kind of crushed my dream,” Jefferson said. “I felt like I was going to commit that weekend. After all the commotion that happened that weekend, I just decided to wait it out, and maybe I’d meet the new coach and still feel the same way I felt. Even though that stuff happened, I had a good experience being around the players, and the atmosphere was still great.”

When Jefferson, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound defensive end from Woodland Hills (Pa.) High, got a chance to meet new Maryland coach Randy Edsall last week, his feelings about the school remained the same. On Sunday, the three-star prospect became Edsall’s first commitment and the 23rd member of Maryland’s 2011 recruiting class.

“It feels great, like a big weight off my chest,” Jefferson said. “… Coach Edsall came into my house last week. He just seemed like a good guy who wants the best out of his players and wants to push guys to the max to get the best out of them.”

Jefferson, the No. 25 senior prospect in Pennsylvania according to Rivals.com, picked the Terps over Cincinnati and Iowa. Woodland Hills coach George Novak said Michigan, Rutgers and Syracuse were also involved, while Pittsburgh and West Virginia “were pushing hard.”

At Woodland Hills – a perennial state championship contender under Novak – Jefferson drew praise from scouts for his size, athleticism and 4.6 speed. The future Terp starred for the Wolverines at tight end, and as a punishing pass rusher off the edge. Jefferson had 16 sacks as a senior.

Novak, who has coached six current NFL players, said he’ll always remember Jefferson “chasing quarterbacks down. He’s got a big upside to him, too. He’s got a lot of potential to get a lot bigger. He has long arms, is very athletic. I’d say he’s a lot like [New York Jets linebacker and former Woodland Hills star] Jason Taylor was – but he’s a lot bigger than Jason was. He just kind of reminds me of that type of kid.”

The Terps started recruiting Jefferson last spring, and when Novak took his Woodland Hills team to a passing camp in College Park in the summer, Jefferson was hooked on the program. Those positive feelings remained despite the coaching turnover. While Anderson searched for Friedgen’s replacement, Jefferson said assistant recruiting coordinator Ryan Steinberg and wide receivers coach Lee Hull stayed in touch – even though the job statuses of both football staffers was unknown at the time.

“They still called me every day, just keeping me updated and letting me know what was going on,” Jefferson said. “They were just telling me to wait it out before I made my decision. … It’s really big. I appreciated them just keeping me updated and checking in to make sure I was fine. They really did care a lot about me to do that for me.”

Jefferson said he’s staying focused on his high school academics now and working hard in the weight room. He hopes to see early action as a freshman for the program he long dreamed of joining.

“I kind of always knew [I'd pick Maryland]. It always lingered,” Jefferson said. “When I went on the official visit, it kind of confirmed it for me. They were the only players I really vibed with a lot. With the coaches, too, it just felt right. I just got that feeling. It was the right place for me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:57 PM | | Comments (2)
        

January 8, 2011

Decision is in for Owings Mills' Donovan Smith

donovan-smith-penn-state.jpg Donovan Smith went to San Antonio last year for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl junior combine as an unknown offensive tackle prospect with minimal hype and no scholarship offers.

On Saturday, Smith was back at the Alamodome to participate in the seniors-only all-star game televised live on NBC. This time, however, the Owings Mills standout had 20 offers to choose from and recognition from all in attendance.

Three hats sat on a table in front of Smith, a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, during the second quarter: North Carolina State on his right, Penn State in the center and UCLA on his left. After thanking his friends and family in attendance, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound left tackle reached to the middle.

“Looks like I’m going to be playing in State College,” Smith said as he put on the Nittany Lions cap amid applause from his supporters.

A four-star prospect, Smith became the 12th commitment of Penn State’s 2011 recruiting class and the Nittany Lions’ fourth offensive line pledge. Rivals.com rates him the No. 199 senior nationally and the No. 5 prospect in Maryland.

“Penn State’s been having a very poor recruiting year -- at least a start to a poor recruiting year,” said Tom Lemming, a national recruiting analyst who did color commentary during NBC’s broadcast. “This is a big lift for them. He’s not only an outstanding tackle, but he has played some guard, [and] he has growth potential to reach 310, 320.”

Added Aaron Taylor, a former San Diego Chargers and Green Bay Packers offensive guard who also did commentary on the game: "[Smith has] been pretty aggressive, and the coaches like what they’ve seen out of him this week. You never know what you’re going to get when you put guys up against good competition, but he’s more than held his own.”

Smith moved to Baltimore County from Amityville, N.Y., before his sophomore year, joining a Golden Eagles squad that was mired in a 53-game losing streak. Smith suited up for coach Steve Lurz’s team and immediately made an impact on Owings Mills’ offensive and defensive lines. It wasn’t until Smith’s trip to San Antonio last year, however, that he became a true national recruit.

“There’s not many DI guys that come out of Baltimore County,” Lurz said this week. “You don’t see it a ton. You didn’t know if he’d get that level of buzz. Then he went to the combine, and it was like, wow. Everyone was in to see him.”

Lurz said Penn State was “real strong from the beginning” in its pursuit of Smith. The Nittany Lions’ recruiting efforts were headed by defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who visited Owings Mills “a bunch” over the past year.

After considering offers from Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State, Virginia, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others, Smith pared his list to the Bruins, Nittany Lions and Wolfpack. Smith took an official visit to State College on Oct. 30 for Penn State’s 41-31 win over Michigan.

“The fact that they have 108,000 seats, that’s kind of like NFL football,” Smith said in November. “The students and all the alums that they have up there [stood out]. They’re very big on that. The coaching staff [is a positive]. I love the campus. The Michigan game was a good game. Even after [Wolverines quarterback] Denard Robinson broke a big run, the crowd never faded out. They stayed in the game, and it was a great experience.”

In college, Lurz said, Smith will finally have the chance to be challenged daily. The Owings Mills coach expects his star lineman to thrive against better competition.

“He just has a huge upside with his framework, his size and his athleticism,” Lurz said. “He’s the kind of kid that will put on some weight in the weight room the next couple of years. He does have a competitive streak in him. Obviously, technique is important. At the next level, all the guys are bigger, faster and stronger. It’ll be more about technique for him. That’ll probably come naturally to him. I think his potential is through the roof.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Donovan Smith by Amy Davis / November 30, 2010

 

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:21 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

January 7, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Last week Maryland coach Gary Williams reportedly made a trip to New Egypt (N.J.) High to check out senior center Desmond Hubert.

On Thursday, it was North Carolina coach Roy Williams' turn to do the same. Hubert, a prime Terps target, just missed a triple double.

New Egypt beat Florence 56-47. Hubert, a 6-foot-10 center, had 12 points, nine rebounds and eight blocked shots in front of the Tar Heels' coach.

Hubert had a streak of six consecutive triple-doubles last season.

• Maryland, North Carolina and North Carolina State have shown interest in Montrose Christian forward Michael Carrera, according to The Washington Post's Josh Barr.

Going to college - perhaps following in the footsteps of countryman Greivis Vasquez to College Park - is part of Carrera's plan. He had never met Vasquez before playing well for the Venezuelan junior national team in a tournament in Argentina. An acquaintance who heard of Carrera's play knew a friend who knew Vasquez, and suddenly Carrera was in Rockville last season playing significant minutes.

• Power forward Greg Whittington guided Oakland Mills on Wednesday to a 68-49 win over Mount Hebron.

Whittington finished with a season-high eight assists to go along with 22 points, seven rebounds and four blocks and the Scorpions stormed back from a five-point halftime deficit to improve to 11-0 on the year.

• Maryland lost out this week on center target Mike Tobey. The 6-foot-11, 215-pound junior from the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut committed to Virginia.

Tobey chose Virginia over the likes of Pittsburgh, Maryland and Miami.

“I like what he’s all about -- with the five pillars,” said Tobey, referring to Bennett’s foundational beliefs of passion, unity, humility, servanthood, and thankfulness. “I really feel like what he wants is exactly what I would like a coach to stand for.”

• UM forward target Cinmeon Bowers is finally ready to start his junior season.

Junior forward Cinmeon Bowers is eligible to compete for Milwaukee King this week after sitting out a calendar year, per WIAA transfer rules. The 6-foot-7 forward is being recruited by Division I programs and should boost an already formidable lineup for King, which is undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the area. Don't expect too much too soon, though. The suspension hasn't allowed him to practice with the team.

• ESPN HoopGurlz had a rave review for Terps women's commitment A'lexus Harrison based on her play at a recent tournament in Ohio.

This early Maryland commit is only going to make the Terps look smarter and smarter as time goes by. An explosive athlete, Harrison has the size and cut of a college athlete already. With the ball in her hands she exhibits a first step most players would be jealous of as well as the speed to leave her beaten defender in the dust.

Football recruiting

• Defensive coordinator Don Brown's return to College Park clinched the commitments of Florida prospects Lukas Foreman and Makinton Dorleant.

Brown was in Naples earlier this week, and met with Foreman and Dorleant at their respective schools. He let the players know he was returning, and the seniors then reiterated their commitment to Maryland.

• The York (Pa.) Dispatch reported this week that Terps offensive line recruit Andrew Zeller is sticking to his Maryland commitment.

"I thought Randy was one of the best coaches, personality-wise, that we had met so far in the recruiting process," Zeller said of his family's visit to UConn. "We thought he was a great guy."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:14 AM | | Comments (3)
        

January 6, 2011

Season recap: Jimmy Stewart

Jimmy Stewart spent his senior season at Island Coast High in Cape Coral, Fla., getting a little more on-field action than your typical Division I defensive recruit might expect.

The 6-foot-3½, 215-pound Maryland linebacker commitment played defensive end for the Gators, but opposing offenses didn’t shy away from testing him. The reason for that stood down the line in the form of Aaron Lynch, a Florida State recruit and the 90th-ranked senior prospect in the country according to Rivals.com.

“Jimmy loved it, to be honest with you,” said Island Coast coach Joe Bowen. “It was always entertaining. Lynch would get so mad because Jimmy’s getting all the tackles and sacks. People were more concerned with Lynch – not taking anything away from Jimmy. He’s a heck of a ball player. It was somewhat comical from a coaching standpoint because those two would get after each other. I would enjoy it.”

In addition to enjoying the good-natured competition between his star defensive ends, Bowen especially enjoyed their production. Stewart finished his senior season with about 40 tackles (23 solo) and 13 sacks. The future Terp also caught two touchdown passes at the wide receiver position. Stewart’s versatility paid off for Bowen all year long.

“We had him all over the place,” Bowen said. “He’s a tremendous athlete. We had him at the linebacker position, but he primarily played defensive end. Whenever there was a guy in the slot, we always kicked him out. In the second playoff game, again, he played assignment football. We told him to stay home, and just be there waiting for something. And he had a pick-6. The quarterback was trying to throw a bubble screen and Jimmy just jumped it.”

With a senior-laden team led by Stewart and Lynch on the line, Island Coast was explosively offensively and dominant defensively. During their 11-2 season, the Gators shut out seven opponents. Stewart’s high school career ended with Island Coast’s 34-28 loss to University High of Fort Lauderdale in the Florida Class 2B state semifinals. With that excruciating defeat, Bowen said goodbye to one of his hardest-working players.

“The one thing about Jimmy is, from a coaching standpoint, I’m going to miss him because you know what you’re getting with him,” Bowen said. “I had him for four years. He hasn’t missed one practice. If he’s sick, he’s going to come to work. If something’s wrong with the house, he’s going to work. He’s coming here no matter what. He’s very disciplined.”

Bowen said that despite the Terps’ coaching change, Stewart always remained “gung-ho about Maryland.” The news this week that his recruiter -- Maryland defensive coordinator Don Brown -- would be brought back to College Park was an even bigger bonus. Bowen said the Terps can expect Stewart to give his all every single day.

“The thing about it that separates him from some other kids that are out there is that he’s a hard worker,” Bowen said. “He’s going to keep on working until he does get it. He’s got great speed and he’s going to give it everything’s he got. He’s blue collar, and he’s bringing his lunch pail to work every day. He’s going to give it everything he’s got. That’s the one thing Maryland is getting.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:03 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 5, 2011

Season recap: Ryan Doyle

In many respects, Ryan Doyle is your typical, no-nonsense high school offensive lineman.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound senior went to work each day as the starting left tackle for Reggie Lucas’ Wake Forest-Rolesville (N.C.) squad, mauling opponents with Division I-caliber tenacity on the field, and going about his business with a quiet disposition on the sideline and in the locker room.

When Lucas needed Doyle, a team captain, to step outside that comfort zone and be a vocal leader, the future Terp delivered.

“He’s not going to stand up and be a rah-rah guy,” Lucas said. “But I do remember going into the final game of the [regular] season against Leesville Road. We already lost a conference game and needed the win to be co-champions in conference. I gave Ryan the opportunity to speak to the team. And he was very intense, gave a very good, strong speech to the team. That stood out. That will always stand out when I think about Ryan. It fired the team up, and we were able to go out and get a great win.”

The Cougars’ 20-14 victory that day gave them momentum heading into the North Carolina Class 4A playoffs. With Doyle on the left and Wake Forest-bound Dylan Intemann as the bookend right tackle, the Cougars powered their way to four straight wins and claim a spot in the state championship game. Doyle’s career at Wake Forest-Rolesville (14-2) ended with a 44-0 loss to Butler in the title game, but Lucas was impressed all year long with his star lineman’s performance.

“He had an outstanding year,” Lucas said. “He … did a great job all year on the offensive line. So I definitely was pleased with the way he played and his leadership. … I think Ryan was just consistent. He’s been pretty consistent the last two seasons for us.”

In Doyle and Intemann, Lucas had a pair of future ACC linemen that enabled him to run his Wing-T offense with great success. Lucas said if the Cougars threw the ball more than five times a game, he “was in trouble.” But opening up holes for Wake Forest-Rolesville’s top athletes – whatever the circumstance – was never an issue.

“Having those two guys on both sides of the ball gave us great balance,” Lucas said. “The other thing we’d do is get them on the same side. Running behind them on the same side was pretty powerful. Ryan played left tackle, but he could move to guard sometimes. We had him pull and get out with the backs as well.”

Doyle took his official visit to College Park the weekend that offensive coordinator James Franklin took the Vanderbilt job and Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson revealed that Ralph Friedgen wouldn’t return for the 2011 season. Lucas said Doyle was disappointed about Friedgen’s dismissal, but remains excited to suit up for the Terps and get to know new coach Randy Edsall.

“He felt good about playing for Coach Friedgen,” Lucas said. “But at the same time, I think the athletic director told the recruits that they were still going to honor their scholarships. He was pleased with that and stuck to his commitment. I just spoke to Ryan about the new coach, and he has a lot of respect for Coach Edsall and he’s excited about playing for Coach Edsall. I think things worked out well for him. Going through the coaching change, he’s very pleased with everything.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:24 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Season recaps
        

January 4, 2011

Edsall hire a 'home run,' recruiting analyst says

The similarities between new Maryland football coach Randy Edsall and his predecessor, Ralph Friedgen, are obvious to Matt Alkire.

The Scout.com recruiting analyst sees both coaches as men who care about academics and instill discipline in their players. He also sees Maryland’s decision to swap Friedgen for Edsall as an intriguing – and likely successful – move.

“He really is just a great coach in every aspect. Maryland really hit a home run there,” Alkire said Monday. “He does his own thing. The mistake people make is – and I’m going to go against Scout.com and Rivals here – but people rely on these star rankings. But Randy goes out and identifies kids that fit his program. And he’s tremendous at developing players. I have seen that time and time again. I can go through his roster and just pick out his entire starting lineup, his entire starting defense, and just player after player after player that came out ranked as a two-star.”

Those two-star players helped Edsall turn Connecticut from a Football Bowl Subdivision newcomer to Big East champion, culminating with the Huskies’ 48-20 loss to Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl on Sunday night.

“Obviously, they got smoked in that game, but when UConn goes up against Oklahoma, quite frankly I don’t expect Connecticut to win that game,” Alkire said. “But if he’s getting talent from schools in Maryland, which is talent rich, and schools in Virginia, which is talent rich, then it might be a different story three or four years from now. I thought it was an excellent hire. I was surprised that Randy took the job. I thought he was going to be a lifer up at Connecticut. But he has done a tremendous job.”

Alkire expects Edsall to hit the ground running on the recruiting trail, introducing himself to local coaches and scouring the East Coast for hidden gems. Alkire recalled UConn’s recruitment of Sio Moore, a backup fullback at Apex High in North Carolina who “barely touched the ball” in high school. Alkire noted that Moore was a “great kid,” but at the time was completely befuddled as to why Edsall was recruiting him. This season, however, it became clear why.

“In a game [against West Virginia] the kid has a 15-tackle performance and has been one of their standout linebackers,” Alkire said. “That’s why I’m talking about it in terms of development. This guy has an eye for talent that is amazing. If he can do that with Sio Moore, what would he have done with Shawne Merriman? What could he have done with a Vontae Davis? What would he have done with Tavon Austin, considering what he did with Jordan Todman? It’s going to be really interesting to see what he can do at Maryland. He is really kind of like an Italian grandmother that goes in the kitchen with a ton of ingredients, and everything’s just a mixed up bag of stuff, then she makes this great meal out of nowhere. And that’s Randy Edsall. Now he’s going down there to a ton of talent that he can make into something great.”

Alkire thought Maryland’s recruiting suffered the past few years because of perceived uncertainty regarding Friedgen’s job status. That uncertainty, Alkire said, ‘played a big part’ in the Terps missing out on several key in-state recruits. With Edsall on board as Maryland’s coach for the foreseeable future, Alkire expects the Terps’ fortunes in state to change.

“I do think you’ll see Maryland put more on lockdown now, and that’s not taking anything away from Ralph Friedgen,” Alkire said. “… The scary thing about Randy Edsall going to Maryland is that now he has the talent pool down in that [D.C., Maryland and Virginia] area to where he has the opportunity to actually pick up some bigger-name kids if he’d like to. The talent level of the player coming for him to develop [means] the ceiling is going to be higher. What he’s starting with is higher. I always compared him to Kirk Ferentz at Iowa. No. 1, he’s a great recruiter in the sense that Randy finds kids who fit his style, and No. 2, he just develops his guys so well that he gets every last bit of talent out of them. That’s something that Maryland could definitely use.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:25 PM | | Comments (36)
        

January 3, 2011

Recruiting analyst: Edsall commands 'respect'

Bob Lichtenfels might not have completely understood Maryland's decision to dismiss Ralph Friedgen. But the Scout.com football recruiting analyst does think the Terps got it right by tabbing UConn's Randy Edsall as the veteran coach's replacement.

Lichtenfels, a Pennsylvania-based reporter, said Monday that Edsall is a “very straight-edge guy” who “doesn’t BS” recruits. Lichtenfels likened Edsall’s no-nonsense, motivating approach to that of a Fortune 500 CEO.

“He delegates, but he’s very hands-on,” Lichtenfels said. “‘This is how I want it done, this is how it’s going to be.’ He has full control over his program and what he wants his guys to say. He’s probably one of the best coaches in the country for getting more with less. In this day and age, it’s hard to be under the radar. But he takes kids that other schools don’t know about, don’t recruit and has them play for him. You have to show up to work.”

Recruiting players to UConn – a program with no Football Bowl Subdivision history before Edsall and with a stadium 40 minutes away from campus – wasn’t easy. Lichtenfels said Edsall had to rely on identifying local players early and unearthing unknown prospects with potential.

“Randy will find a kid – say an, Aaron Hernandez – and then three months later, Urban Meyer’s recruiting him,” Lichtenfels said. “So now that he’s at Maryland, it’s a high-profile job. It’s going to be a change for him. He’s going to be in there with the big dogs in recruiting, with all the other big BCS schools. It’s going to be interesting. He’s a real straight edge and a lot of those assistants are grinders. Like [Huskies offensive coordinator] Joe Moorhead, he’s one of the hardest-working guys in the industry. At Akron, he used to take kids from Pittsburgh, Penn State and West Virginia. He’s a guy who goes out there and gets it.”

Lichtenfels said there’s a “nice little buzz” surrounding the Terps with junior recruits at the Under Armour All-American Game combine in St. Petersburg, Fla. While Friedgen and his staff laid solid groundwork with younger prospects, it’ll be up to Edsall and company to seal the deal. If Edsall has a chance at bettering Friedgen’s success in College Park, Lichtenfels said he’ll have to improve the Terps’ in-state recruiting.

“Maryland struggled the last four or five years keeping the kids in state,” Lichtenfels said. “If you can’t keep kids in your state, nobody is going to deem you a success. Maryland has to be able to get the Good Counsel kids and the DeMatha kids. He has to get those kids. I think perception-wise, just make sure that in your own state, you’re the team. … That was the biggest deficiency in the program – an inability to keep kids in state. Granted, a lot of those kids [that left the state] failed. But the perception when Penn State takes seven or 10 of those kids, that hurts. So that’s definitely the first thing Randy has to do. He’s got to win the coaches over in Maryland.”

Lichtenfels thinks Edsall’s decision to leave Connecticut for Maryland was probably due in part to the strength of the ACC versus the Big East. The opportunity to compete for conference championships is there, but he’s also walking in to a delicate situation by following Friedgen.

“It’s always a gamble,” Lichtenfels said. “I think Friedgen was an underrated coach for what he did at Maryland. When I talk to a lot of college coaches or high school coaches, they look at what he did [and say] ‘what are the expectations at Maryland that this guy was a failure?’ So it’s a tough spot for Randy because if Randy gets them next year to 6-6 or 7-5, people are going to say, ‘why did we get rid of the guy we had?’”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:59 PM | | Comments (15)
        
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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
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