Terps QB pledge Caleb Rowe a 'special player'
After competing in nine camps in 10 days, Caleb Rowe finally found what he was looking for Wednesday.
The Blue Ridge High quarterback traveled to College Park, impressed the Maryland coaching staff during camp, earned a scholarship offer and promptly committed to the Terps.
"I’m really excited," Rowe said Thursday. "It’s a relief knowing I’m going to Maryland. Now I can focus on Blue Ridge High School and my team and my coaches. We don’t have to worry about where I’m going and who’s calling. It’s a good feeling."
Said Blue Ridge coach Wade Cooper: “As soon as they made the offer to him, he knew that was where he wanted to be. He’s had a good relationship with [Maryland running backs] coach [Andre] Powell all along, even when Coach Powell was here at Clemson. Coach Powell did an excellent job recruiting him, and [Caleb] knew where he wanted to go.”
Rowe’s freshman year at Blue Ridge, located in Greer, S.C., coincided with Cooper’s first year at the school. Rowe, now a 6-foot-3, 211-pound rising senior, was the Tigers’ starting JV quarterback as a ninth-grader. He also saw time as the varsity backup. Cooper said it was apparent right away that Rowe was “a pretty special player all along.”
“He could have been our starting quarterback [freshman year],” Cooper said. “We weren’t real confident in his supporting cast. We didn’t want to throw him into the fire too early. We wanted him to grow into our offense and what we were doing. I think that paid off real well for us. He was talented enough to be our starting quarterback.”
Rowe assumed the starting quarterback job as a sophomore and never looked back. He was especially prolific as a junior in Cooper’s spread offense, throwing for 2,680 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
“What impressed me the most was his maturity, his overall grasp of the game, and the boy’s a worker,” Cooper said. “He studies it, he works hard at it, he lives it and breathes it. You couple all that with the God-given talent that the boy’s got, and he’s pretty special.”
Cooper said Rowe’s evolution over the past three seasons has been “pretty amazing.” This summer provided him with an opportunity to show off his talent for college coaches.
“He’s performed very well at all of these camps, but I’ll say this: Maryland has been the most thorough,” Cooper said. “I think they evaluated him just so much better. They spent a lot of time doing their homework. We were very impressed with the Maryland staff.
“I think [getting the Maryland offer and committing] was a sense of relief, to put all this behind him and concentrate on his senior year and the things we want to accomplish here with our program. He’s never lost sight of that. He’s a very mature, very level-headed young man. But he’s kept [everything] in great perspective, and it’s a sense of relief for him. I think Maryland is where he wanted to go. Early on he had a good relationship with the coaches. And he’s a very happy guy.”
Before coming to Maryland, Rowe also worked out at Clemson, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest, in addition to camping at several Football Championship Subdivision schools. The Terps, however, were the first FBS program to offer him a scholarship.
“Other ones, I think, were forthcoming,” Cooper said. Programs that didn’t offer Rowe “screwed up. They waited too long. He’ll make them pay for that later on, I promise you.”
Rowe said every school was on equal footing when he began his camp tour, but the trip to College Park vaulted the Terps "up the list pretty quick." While he was exhausted heading into the Maryland camp -- the final stop of his tour -- Rowe tried his best to impress the Terps coaches.
"My shoulder was getting tired, [but] I just had to keep pushing through," Rowe said. "I think [the Terps coaches liked watching me] just throwing the football, and also my enthusiasm. I like to have fun out there, jumping around with the receivers and having a good time. I think that’s part of being a quarterback – being a leader."
Rowe said the entire camp process was "pretty hectic" but ultimately very exciting. The response from friends and family to his Maryland commitment has been unanimously positive.
"A lot of people are saying, ‘Go Terps,’" Rowe said. "I think I’ll turn a lot of people in South Carolina into Maryland fans. It’s just really exciting. Everybody’s pretty pumped."