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August 12, 2009

Q&A on Terps women's basketball

Few people in the country watch more girls basketball than Kelvin Powell.

Powell runs the Roundball Journal, a national scouting service, while also serving as a national talent evaluator for ESPNHoopGurlz.com and a contributing editor for SLAM magazine.

Powell, who also sits on the McDonald’s All-American game selection committee, spoke with Recruiting Report recently about Maryland’s 2010 class, which includes Newark, N.J., shooting guard Laurin Mincy, Harrisburg, Pa., small forward Alyssa Thomas and Springfield, Pa. combo guard Natasha Cloud.

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Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:14 AM | | Comments (6)
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April 8, 2009

Five questions on Terrell Stoglin

Before I came to The Baltimore Sun in July 2007, I worked as an online producer/videographer/blogger for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson.

So imagine my surprise last week when the Maryland men’s basketball program landed its first commitment of the 2010 class from my old stomping grounds, nearly 2,300 miles southwest of College Park.

Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin, 6 feet 1, 160 pounds, picked the Terps over offers from Texas A&M, Penn State and San Diego.

To get a better feel for Stoglin’s game, I called on Josh Gershon, the senior editor of GOAZCATS.com. Gershon, a Tucson native and University of Arizona graduate, took a break from the Sean Miller hoopla to discuss all things Stoglin.

What type of game does Stoglin have, and what are some of his strengths and weaknesses?

Gershon: He’s a really good, high-basketball IQ point guard. Good handles, good shooter, good vision. He’s deceptively quick, although he doesn’t have the best basketball body and he’s not overly athletic. So improving his body, gaining strength and improving his lateral quickness -- those kinds of things are going to be important for him. He’s extremely talented, and really the only thing keeping him from being considered one of the top-rated point guards is his body and athleticism, which isn’t necessarily bad, just not what you’d want from an elite point guard either. ... But he’s as good a high school player this city has had in arguably two decades. Tucson isn’t known for producing talented basketball players. So getting a guy like Terrell Stoglin at an ACC school is just a tremendous success for both him and the city of Tucson. It’s such a rare thing to happen here.

Tucson’s not known for its high school basketball, but some of Stoglin’s biggest games have come against top-notch competition (he scored 30 against five-star point guard and Washington commitment Abdul Gaddy’s team, and had 35 as a sophomore facing USC standout DeMar DeRozan’s team). What does that say about Stoglin?

Gershon: I think that in terms of being a high school basketball player, it’s not that these other players in the country are much better than Terrell Stoglin. The reason other point guards are ranked higher is just because they have higher upside due to their bodies. Stoglin’s a little on the short end. He’s athletic, but he’s not a great athlete. He doesn’t have a great basketball body. So he can play with these point guards right now. But Abdul Gaddy, once he gains 15-20 pounds, he’s going to be a completely different player. So the question is whether Stoglin’s body will allow him to do [those same things in college].

What was Arizona’s involvement with Stoglin?

Gershon: U of A liked him, but the biggest problem with his recruitment was having three coaches in three years (Lute Olson, Kevin O’Neill, Russ Pennell). Recruiting has been so off and on. The 2010 class, nobody from Arizona has really touched that yet. I think the biggest thing with Terrell is that, he’s always been on the Arizona radar because he’s such a talented kid, but there hasn’t been a coaching staff yet that’s looked at the 2010 class, so it’s just a matter of bad timing. Maybe if he were to have remained uncommitted, the new staff would’ve seriously looked at him, but I know he’s been in communication with Arizona all these years. But the coaches have never been able to look far enough ahead to offer him a scholarship or anything like that.

From some message-board scanning, it seems like some UA fans were hoping Stoglin would wait things out and give the new coaching staff a chance. Stoglin told the Arizona Daily Star earlier this week he’s “going to stick with” his commitment to Maryland, even if Sean Miller does show interest. Now that Miller’s got the job, do you expect Arizona to go after Stoglin again?

Gershon: Well I’m sure that at some point, Sean Miller will evaluate him and determine for himself whether he’s good enough to play for Arizona. It’s tough to predict what Miller’s going to think. I haven’t talked to Terrell since [Miller was hired], but I imagine if Arizona offered and recruited him hard, it might be tough to leave the city of Tucson. But that’s just logical speculation on my part, and I shouldn’t speak for Terrell.

What type of college success do you think Stoglin’s capable of having?

Gershon: Honestly, he’ll be as good as his body allows him to be. I think the stronger he gets, the better basketball player he’ll be. I assume Maryland’s going to recruit pretty good point guards [in the future], so I assume he’ll have pretty good competition. I don’t think there will be many players as talented as him right away, but will they be more athletic? But Terrell is an outstanding kid; as nice and humble and good a kid [that I’ve covered] for as long as I’ve been doing this. Maryland’s really getting a good person, a hard worker, and someone that’s going to represent the school really well. I know he has a lot of people in the city of Tucson pulling for him. Regardless of how successful he is, he’ll always be a great representative of what’s been a really successful basketball program (Santa Rita) over the past several years.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:25 AM | | Comments (1)
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September 11, 2008

Five questions: UM women's basketball recruiting (part one)

Joining Recruiting Report for today's edition of Five questions is Chris Hansen, girls basketball scout and analyst for ESPN HoopGurlz.

Hansen didn't get a chance to see 2009 Terps commitment and Riverdale Baptist forward Tianna Hawkins this summer, but he did watch Bear, Del., point guard Dara Taylor, and came away very impressed.

How did Maryland’s commitments fare on the AAU circuit this summer?

Dara Taylor is the big early commitment and her play this summer was fantastic. We saw her early in the summer at the Regional Skills Academy [in Houston]. They do a lot of drill work, but her play at the Nike Nationals [in North Augusta, S.C.], which is arguably the biggest, most competitive tournament of the summer, with only 24 elite teams, [was great]. The way her team plays is five in, five out and that’s kind of tough to find a groove. But she came in and hit the floor for the Philly Belles and she was awesome. They knocked off one of the best teams in [Dallas-Fort Worth Elite]. She helped orchestrate the win against DFW, the first time they lost all summer. [2010 point guard] Odyssey Sims is an excellent defender and she was all over her, but she just handled it. She plays with a lot of poise. She’s not the strongest build, but she plays stronger than her build. He’s got enough individual skills one-on-one, she can shake players, create her own shot and she knows how to run a system. When the shot clock is running down, she’ll make that Kristi Toliver play.

Taylor was unranked by HoopGurlz when she committed last year. Now she’s up to No. 52 in the country. How did she elevate her stock so much?

Especially in that last tournament, the stakes don’t get any higher. So the opinion we had of her before [was when she was] not one of the upperclassmen [on her AAU team]. That team ran through Caroline Doty and some other players. Caroline’s at UConn this year. But I think we just got the chance to see more of her. I know we elevated her. We just had to get a really good look at her. She played well all summer for them. She played at the AAU invitational right at the beginning of the summer, they brought 16 teams in and [the Philly Belles] made the final four. She played well at the right times. A lot of these kids prove it against average high school competition. The level [of play this summer] is against the best [competition], and she proved it. She definitely proved it this summer.

What can Maryland fans expect from Taylor as a freshman?

Don’t be surprised if she earns playing time. I don’t think she’s going to come in and be an all-conference player right off the bat, but once she builds strength, you’re going to see a lot of things you like in Kristi Toliver. It’s interesting they recruited a player with so many of the same attributes. She’s a shifty point guard. She’ll knock down the 3, and she can create her own shot. I might have seen her play her best game ever, but she has plenty of basketball IQ. You talk after the game and she’s a team-first interview. Personality-wise, Maryland fans are going to fall in love with this kid. On the court she’s going to get it done. Getting physically stronger will allow her to make an even bigger impact.

What are the Terps looking for to fill out their 2009 class?

I’m not sure how many scholarships Maryland has open, but I can see they’re trying to find a post. [UM is involved with] Kelsey Bone (Sugarland, Texas), Monique Oliver (Long Beach, Calif.), Joslyn Tinkle (Missoula, Mont.), Waltia Rolle out of Texas and Kristi Bellock out of Louisiana, a big, strong forward as well. Alyssa Bennett out of Virginia, I think most people overlook her because there are so many stars on Boo Williams. Tamika Willis out of Georgia, I believe they made her final five. So it looks like they’re going to add at least one post player in the class.

They’re trying to recruit Skylar Diggins (South Bend, Ind.), probably the top point guard in the class. Also Destiny Williams out of Michigan, who probably improved her stock as much as any player over the summer. She’s our No. 1-ranked forward right now. And she just had a heck of a summer. Maryland, Georgia, Illinois, Louisville and I believe Western Michigan. She’s really high on Maryland, so that would be a huge get.

Who’s the highest ranked player that UM has the best shot at landing?

I think the highest ranked player ... that [could be] leaning toward [Maryland] is Destiny Williams, the No. 8 player in the class. She’s going to make her visits. I know she has scheduled official visits. She scheduled her official for Maryland and then she also scheduled the other four. I think Maryland was on her early. So I think they have a real good shot at her.

Check back with Recruiting Report next week for more from Hansen.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:22 PM | | Comments (1)
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July 30, 2008

Five questions: Terps basketball recruiting

Summer's always the busiest time for basketball recruiting analysts, but Evan Daniels was able to take a break from the action and answer 'Five questions' about Maryland basketball recruiting.

Daniels, a national basketball recruiting analyst for Scout.com, responded to questions (via e-mail) about the Terps' presence at last week's Las Vegas AAU tournaments.

1.) The Maryland staff has had a rough year on the recruiting trail, but they were reportedly very active in Las Vegas. What did you see out of the staff? Who were they watching?

With so many tournaments in Las Vegas, it's hard to track every staff and see who they are spending time on. I did, however, see Gary Williams checking out Thomas Robinson on the second day of the event. Robinson was particularly impressive in that contest. I also received word that they were trailing Jordan Williams, a big man out of Torrington (Conn.) High.

2.) What did you see out of Jordan Williams? Does Maryland have a good shot?

Williams is a guy that has really raised his stock over the course of the month of July. Williams has great size at 6-9, moves well and has nice touch around the basket. He's developed some moves on the block and he seems more skilled every time out. Maryland has offered Williams, as has Xavier, St. John's, Rhode Island, Providence, Notre Dame and UMass.

3.) Did anyone help their stock more than Brewster (N.H.) Academy power forward Thomas Robinson? What kind of player is he? Who is Maryland competing with for Robinson?

There have been a number of hot names in July, but Robinson is a guy that nearly every college coach in the country is inquiring about. In Las Vegas, he had nearly a dozen head coaches at a majority of his games. Robinson has developed into a high-major big man because of his athleticism, and ability to score in the paint. He's got a strong frame that will add weight and is a guy that is really emerging as one of the better power forwards in the 2009 class.

As far as Robinson's recruitment goes, it appears to be wide open right now. At the Nike Main Event in Las Vegas, he rattled off a list of Kansas, Duke, Memphis, Pittsburgh, Virginia, South Florida, Providence, Maryland, Louisville, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, George Mason, Georgetown, George Washington and Georgia. Word on the street is that Kansas, Texas and Memphis are the early leaders.

4.) One report from Las Vegas suggested that Glendale, Ariz., forward Colin Borchert was close to committing to Maryland. Scout.com later debunked that, saying the recruitment was in its 'infancy.' How interested are the Terps, and what type of player is Borchert? Who's after him?

From what I understand Maryland's staff has done some initial work with Borchert and are still in the evaluation stage. They have not offered him a scholarship and are still scouting him and a number of other guys at that position. Borchert has had a wide array of interest. To go with Maryland, schools like California, USC, Oklahoma State, Nebraska and UNLV have all spent some time recruiting him.

5.) Maryland reportedly has offers out to Williams, Robinson, Montrose Christian forward and Baltimore native Terrell Vinson and Findlay (Nev.) Prep forward Clarence Trent. How are the Terps' chances with each recruit?

Maryland is certainly in the mix with Williams and Vinson. They've spent some time with those two and I know they recently offered Williams, who is really starting to blow up on a national level. Vinson recently indicated to me that he would like to take a trip to Maryland in the near future.

He's also looking at Georgetown, Villanova and Loyola Marymount. He's set to visit LMU this coming weekend. Maryland is certainly recruiting Robinson too, and have made some headway, but I think Kansas, Texas and Memphis seem to be the schools to beat for him at this point. Trent's recruitment has been wide open and honestly tough to get a good feel for. A lot of people think Arkansas is ultimately the school out in front, but Trent never will name favorites and seems to be just taking everything in.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:51 AM | | Comments (17)
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February 21, 2008

Five questions: Local basketball recruiting

With high school basketball playoffs getting under way, I thought this would be a good time to check in on the local hoops recruiting scene.

Enter Jide Sodipo of MidAtlanticHoops.com, who was kind enough to answer 'Five questions' (via e-mail) about that very topic.

1.) Has Sean Mosley exceeded expectations this season? What elements of his game have improved since his junior year? What type of impact do you see him making at Maryland?

Sean Mosley is doing the same thing he has done at St. Frances for the last three years, and that’s winning. As a freshman, he led his team to a Baltimore Catholic League tournament championship. The only improvement this year from previous years is that he’s hitting his outside jump shot with more consistency.

Mark my words, Mosley is going to make a major impact at Maryland just from his leadership, his will to win and his ability to change the game from all aspects (scoring, rebounds, steals e.g.). He reminds me of former UNC star Rashad McCants, now with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

2.) How has Henry Sims fared for Mount St. Joseph? What improvements has he made between his junior and senior years? What do you expect from him at Georgetown?

Sims has done a great job stepping into the leadership role and accepting the go-to-guy responsibility for the Gaels in the team-oriented style of coach Pat Clatchey. He has become a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the floor. His back-to-the-basket post moves have improved tremendously, and he has always been a good low-post passer and rebounder. Now he has become more of an all-around force. I expect him to continue the great tradition of the Hoyas big men.

As a senior, Sims is way ahead of Roy Hibbert development-wise when Hibbert was coming from Georgetown Prep. I know that because I had the opportunity to scout him for four years and he was a project all throughout his prep career.

3.) Who are some of the best unsigned seniors in the Baltimore area?

The best available seniors right now have to start with Brandon Greene, a 6-foot-6 power forward from Towson Catholic who has really come into his own. Greene is a solid mid-major prospect who can rebound, run the floor, finish strong around the basket and also hit the mid-range jumper.

Five-foot-nine point guard Jamar Briscoe from Cardinal Gibbons has proven it in his senior year that he is more than capable of playing the position that he has been criticized about most of his career.

Devon Branch, a 6-foot-5 swingman from Aberdeen is not known to a lot of people, but this young man can flat-out play. And also Omar Strong, a 5-foot-8 point guard from Douglass, is a typical Baltimore-bred guard -- tough, small, but competitive.

Other players to watch include Anthony Oquendo (6-4 WF St. Frances), Byron Westmoreland (6-4 SG Mervo), Dwayne Wheeler (6-1 P-SG Mt. Carmel). Check MidAtlanticHoops.com for the Top Available/Unsigned Prospects in the area.

4.) Several Baltimore-area sophomores have gotten a lot of major recruiting attention
already. Who are some of your favorites? What do their recruiting pictures look like?

The Baltimore area has four of the 10 and six of the top 15 prospects in the Mid Atlantic Hoops area for the class of 2010. The class is led by Roscoe Smith, a talented 6-foot-7 wing forward from Walbrook, who’s currently getting recruiting interest from Georgetown (offer), Maryland (offer), Texas, Connecticut (offer) and Texas A & M.

Eric Atkins, a 6-foot-1 point guard from Mount St. Joseph, is the real deal and is rated as one of the best point guards in the Mid Atlantic Hoops area. He’s getting interest from Maryland, Georgetown, Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Virginia to name a few.

One of the most interesting prospects is Carl “C.J” Fair, a 6-foot-7, smooth, lefty shooting guard from City. He’s getting recruiting interest from NC State, Wake Forest, Georgetown, Maryland, Virginia, Texas A & M and Pittsburgh.

Also Jonathan Graham, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Calvert Hall, is going to make a major impact in the BCL/MIAA next season. Graham is the son of former Terrapins great Ernie Graham. All preliminary indications point to the Terrapins as a leader [in his recruitment].

Also, there are a few more sophomores with potential to be solid high-major prospects by the end of summer, depending on their development. They are Donte Holmes, a 6-foot-3 SG from St. Frances, and Jordan Latham, a 6-foot-8 PF/C from City.

5.) How are some of the local DI colleges faring in local recruiting? Who are some good local players that have committed to those schools?

Towson got itself a good prospect in Troy Franklin, a 5-foot-11 point guard from Mount Carmel.

The Eagles of Coppin State also inked a Mid Atlantic Top 50 prospect in Justin McCoy, a 5-foot-10 combo guard from Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore).

Loyola signed one of the area’s unsung heroes in 6-foot-8 power forward/center Josh Wiegand, who seems to impress me more and more every time I see him play.

And last but not least, Morgan State might have the best recruit so far, and it’s not a player, but a coach. Longtime Baltimore Select and local AAU coach Keith Goodie joining the Bears staff is something that is going to make an already strong staff even stronger locally.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:11 AM | | Comments (2)
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January 15, 2008

Five questions: Maryland football recruiting

Long before Rivals and Scout hit the recruiting scene, there was today’s guest for ‘Five questions’.

Tom Lemming, national football recruiting analyst for CSTV and CSTV.com, has been one of the country's top football recruiting authorities for almost three decades. Here's Lemming’s bio:

Recognized as the country’s leading expert on college football recruiting and high school talent, Tom Lemming joined CSTV in June 2005 and serves as the host of “Tom Lemming’s Generation NEXT,” the only national weekly high school football recruiting show. Lemming, who logs 55,000 miles a year, also provides analysis of the top prep players in the country on CSTV.com, Lemming is also the editor of Prep Football Report, considered to be the “Bible of the football recruiting industry” and annually selects the team for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

lemming.jpg

Lemming has been a recruiting analyst for nearly 30 years. Over his career, Lemming's analyses and rankings of the country's leading high school athletes have been regularly featured in national publications, including USA Today. He recently was profiled in the just published book Football’s Second Season about recruiting and Lemming’s long journey.

Lemming took time from his ridiculously busy schedule to answer five questions (via e-mail) about UM football recruiting.

1.) What were your impressions of DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl?

He is a big-time player. He plays on a run-oriented team in HS, but he proved himself as a big, physical sure-handed receiver. He is an outstanding downfield blocker. In the year of the great wide receiver, he’s one of the best.

What do you expect from him in college?

He’s talented enough to play a lot as a true freshman.

Did you get any sense as to where he might be leaning?

No, but Penn State, Florida, Illinois and Maryland are in the running

2.) What was your reaction to Maryland bringing back James Franklin? What's his reputation as a recruiter among coaches and players?

He’s a very good recruiter. A couple years ago, Franklin and Locksley dominated the scene. Maryland needs a guy like Franklin to keep the in-state players at home.

Will this move help the Terps stop losing D.C.-area players to Illinois and Mike Locksley?

I think it can go a long way with Franklin’s connections with the area coaches, just like Locksley has.

3.) How do you rank the Terps' 2008 class?

So far so good, not great. They are top 50, not top 40, but they can finish strong.

Are there any under-the-radar kids that you particularly like?

Kevin Dorsey

4.) How are the Terps positioned for the 2009 class? How talented are the local crop of players?

Next year looks like it’s going to be an outstanding year in Maryland. We had a lot of players at the [Army All-American Bowl] combine and Maryland is already on top of the top guys.

Are there any players in particular that Maryland is in great shape with?

They’re in on everyone, but it’s too early to tell.

Tavon Austin, RB
Jordan Love, CB
Leon Kinnard, Athlete
Michael Campanaro, DB
DeOnte Arnett, DE
Jelani Jenkins, LB

5.) The Terps desperately need a quarterback in 2009. Who are some realistic targets?

Tom Savage, a QB from Philadelphia. He’s one of the best in the area right now.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:23 AM | | Comments (5)
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January 8, 2008

Five questions: Maryland's Hampton Roads football recruiting

The Hampton Roads region in Virginia has increasingly become a Maryland football recruiting base. Few have followed high school football in the area closer than Bryan Black, the high school sports editor at The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

Black, The Pilot's high school sports editor since 2000, has been with the paper since 1981 and held a variety of positions -- including Norfolk city editor and Portsmouth city editor.

Black was kind enough to answer five questions via e-mail on Terps football recruiting in the Hampton Roads region.

1.) What are your impressions of Terps wide receiver commitment Kerry Boykins? How is he regarded among Hampton Roads football followers? What do you expect from him in college?

The first word that comes to mind when I think Kerry Boykins is hands. He has tremendous hands. I've been watching high school football in some form or fashion since the 1960s, and he has made some of the most unbelievable catches in high school football games that I've ever seen.

He had a one-handed grab in the end zone in his junior year that was every bit as good as the one you see replayed regularly on TV made by the Southern Cal receiver a few years back. He has good speed, but he's not a burner. The knee injury he battled this season slowed him down some, and I don't think he ever fully regained his speed by season's end.

In terms of sheer talent, he's probably one of the top receivers ever to come out of Hampton Roads. He didn't get some of the postseason accolades he might have otherwise because he missed about half of the regular season due to injury. At The Virginian-Pilot, we made him second-team All-Tidewater simply because we didn't feel it was fair to make him first team over some other kids who had great seasons.

In the regular season, because he missed so much time with the knee injury, he had just 19 catches for 272 yards and four touchdowns. He was first-team All-Tidewater as a junior. I think he's a great pickup for Maryland. I would expect him to have an outstanding career. If he's healthy, I think it's possible he could play as a true freshman. He certainly has the talent.

2.) How big was it for Maryland to get Boykins and fend off the instate schools and some other traditional powers?

Boykins was a nice get for Maryland. Virginia Tech would have loved to have had him. Virginia has not recruited well in-state recently, so I'm not sure if Virginia was ever much of a player for him. Maryland clearly has a good in at Oscar Smith, which is currently the most dominant program in South Hampton Roads. Maryland already has former Oscar Smith star lineman Brian Whitmore on its roster.

3.) What kind of player is Virginia Beach Green Run defensive end Joe Jones? Why did he slip under the radar? Do the Terps have a decent chance? Who's the favorite?

Jones is a heckuva player. He played defensive tackle at Green Run, and it was very easy for any player from Green Run to slip under all radars. Green Run came into this season having won just two total games in the past seven seasons. There was little reason this decade for college coaches to know Green Run even existed, even though that's where Plaxico Burress came out of years ago. But a new coach, Shawn Wilson, came in last spring and changed a lot at Green Run, and Green Run had a tremendous season in 2007, going 9-1 in the Beach District and making the playoffs. We've been hearing that Virginia Tech is the team to beat for him, but Virginia Tech already has a ton of commitments, so I have to believe if Maryland is putting in the recruiting time, Maryland has a chance. He's a high-motor guy and a very interesting prospect.

4.) Who are some big-time Hampton Roads prospects for 2009? Do any have Maryland interest? Are there any players the Terps are really going after?

It's a little early for us to know who Maryland is really going after. We'll have a better idea after the local combines in the spring. But these are some of the best Class of 2009 players in South Hampton Roads (South Hampton Roads includes Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Suffolk -- and excludes Hampton and Newport News -- we cover the South Hampton Roads schools -- we do not cover the schools on the Peninsula, i.e., the schools in Hampton and Newport News) ... These are listed in no real particular order.

Logan Heastie, WR at Great Bridge High School in Chesapeake
Kevin Newsome, QB at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake
Mike Privott, LB at Lake Taylor High School in Norfolk
Sterlin Phifer, RB at Landstown High School in Virginia Beach
Tim Smith, WR/DB at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake
Javanti Sparrow, DB at Western Branch High School in Chesapeake
Perry Jones, LB at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake
Jerod Askew, LB at Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake
Tavon Gatlin, DB at Green Run High School in Virginia Beach
Telvion Clark, LB at Granby High School in Norfolk
Drew Jarrett, K at Cox High School in Virginia Beach

5.) How is Maryland perceived in the Hampton Roads area and the rest of Virginia? Can the Terps be an out-of-state program that steals an occasional Va. player, or at least a viable alternative for non-Virginia Tech and Virginia kids?

There's so much talent in Hampton Roads that Maryland should be able to pick up a player or two every year if it so desires. Virginia Tech can only get so many guys. Virginia recruits Hampton Roads, but its recruiting interest seems more broad and more to the north. Virginia Tech recruits South Hampton Roads extremely hard and is almost impossible to beat for a kid whose heart is already set on going to Blacksburg. You simply are not going to change the mind of those kids.

NC State and UNC also try to pluck kids out of South Hampton Roads annually. So, although the competition is pretty stiff, Maryland certainly can get kids every year if that's what it wants to do. There's more than enough talent to go around. There are South Hampton Roads kids every year who are good enough to play major D1 football, but they don't get major D1 offers because it seems the coaches can't seem to get past that tippy-top tier. The depth of talent in South Hampton Roads is extraordinary. That's one reason Norfolk State is really coming on at the I-AA level. Norfolk State's coaching staff finally started snatching up all these kids who probably could play at the I-A level. It's also a reason Old Dominion likely won't have any trouble being very competitive at the I-AA level when it starts playing football in 2009. There's a lot of talent to go around.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:38 AM | | Comments (0)
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December 20, 2007

Five questions: Maryland's Pa. football recruiting

Bringing a little Pennsylvania perspective to today’s edition of ‘Five questions’ is Chris Dokish, contributing editor and recruiting writer at the Pittsburgh Sports Report.

Dokish, who has also written for CollegeHoopsNet.com, Insiders.com (now Scout.com) and Rivals.com, recently released his Pennsylvania Top 50 College Prospects list.

Dokish answered five questions via e-mail on the Terps' football recruiting presence in the Keystone State.

1.) What are your impressions of 2008 Terps defensive end commitment Tyler Urban? How is he regarded among Pennsylvania high school football followers? How do you expect him to fare in college?

Urban is what you think of when you think of hard-nosed western Pa. football players. I have him ranked No. 43 in the state because he isn't an elite athlete, and therefore I don't know if he will ever be a star. On the other hand, he [is unlikely to] flop since his game is built on physical and mental toughness, and those traits don't go away. He is definitely the type of player a program needs to be successful because you never have to worry about him. He is what he is -- a tough kid that you can always depend on.

2.) How big of a deal was it for the Terps to fend off Pitt and West Virginia and hold on to Urban?

Pitt is loaded with young defensive ends, so I wouldn't call Urban a must get for them. But it also shows you that, despite not being desperate for a young defensive end, they still liked him enough to offer. He would have fit in well with West Virginia, though, and he is the type of prospect that they turn into a star. I think it hurt West Virginia more because they are desperate to make inroads in the Pittsburgh area, and they usually don't get kids that Pitt wants. So it's good for the Terps to steal a Pittsburgh-area kid that West Virginia no doubt thought they had a great shot to steal from Pitt. It's unusual for Pitt and West Virginia to be two of three teams on a kid, and the kid chooses the third team. But I don't think it will mean anything for the future. In the Pittsburgh area, as long as Dave Wannstedt is at Pitt, the pecking order is usually Pitt, then Penn State, then West Virginia.

3.) What are your impressions of 2008 Maryland offensive tackle commitment R.J. Dill? How is he regarded in the state? What do you expect from him in college?

Dill is not in my top 50, though I'm sure he is in some other top 50s because he had a decent offer list. But the truth is, any time a kid is that big and can move at all, he is going to get offers because you aren't going to find many 17-year old boys who are 6 feet 7 and 270 pounds, and who can run without falling down. That's a lot of body to operate at that age. He needs to put on a lot of good weight and he isn't athletic enough to play left tackle, so his ceiling isn't probably very high, but most offensive linemen are projects at that age. But when he is a redshirt junior, you never know what you may have with him because you can't judge his heart and intangibles until he is actually playing in college for a few years. There are always players who make something out of themselves despite having less than great physical ability. They just need to find other ways to get it done.

4.) Are there any 2009 Pa. kids that you know of that Maryland is going after? Are there any kids that the Terps should be looking at?

It's too early to know who the '09 kids are looking at, but the city of Harrisburg is not far from Maryland and they have a lot of talent there from two schools -- Harrisburg High School and Bishop McDevitt High School (where Jaimie Thomas is from, of course). They each had three top 50 players for me this year and will have some next year, too. The kids from Harrisburg HS have a hard time qualifying so you can always steal a star-caliber player late from that school, if they qualify. A top DE from Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg, named Jack Lippert, has also heard from Maryland for next year, but he will be tough to get. His teammate, Justin Shirk, is an early favorite for me. He is a QB with a LB mentality and he is the best in the state, by far, at throwing the javelin, so you know he has the arm. Both Pitt and Penn State have a lot of young QBs, so they may not go after him, but he is good. There will be many others, as usual, and I think Maryland's best chance is central and eastern Pa. because they tend to consider Maryland more local than the Pittsburgh-area schools.

5.) How is Maryland perceived in Pennsylvania? Can the Terps be an out-of-state program that steals an occasional Pa. player, or at least a viable alternative for non-Penn State and Pitt kids?

Obviously Maryland is a good program, but with Wannstedt recruiting so well at Pitt, the always looming Penn State, and the hot program of West Virginia, the Terps will be hard-pressed to steal an elite player out of the state. Then, you have Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Illinois, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, USC, etc., who come in for the top players. And it would be just as hard for Pitt, as an example, to get the elite kids out of Maryland. Even the elite programs have a hard time routinely getting the top prospects out of Pa. It's a bloodbath every year and Maryland will have to be much more successful on the field to have a chance at one of the elite prospects.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:34 AM | | Comments (8)
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November 21, 2007

Five questions -- UM men’s basketball recruiting

Today marks the last day of the Fall Signing Period for NCAA basketball, and few are better equipped to assess Maryland’s two-man haul than Dave Telep, the National Recruiting Director for Scout.com.

Here’s Telep’s bio:

Helped launch PrepStars.com in 1997 and worked for The Recruiters Handbook; named director of basketball recruiting for Rivals.com in 1999; hired to be the director of basketball scouting for TheInsiders.com (now Scout.com) in 2001; has written for CNNSI, ACC Basketball Handbook, The Sporting News, USA Today, Yahoo!. Studio analyst Fox Sports "Countdown To Signing Day."

Telep weighed in on the Terps’ class and other Maryland-related recruiting items (via e-mail) in this week’s edition of ‘Five questions.’

1. What are your thoughts on Maryland's class of St. Frances shooting guard Sean Mosley and Progressive Christian Academy big man Gus Gilchrist? How does the Terps’ 2008 class stack up with the rest of the ACC?

It's a fine two-man collection. We've got it tabbed Top 20 nationally, which is what happens when you pair two Top 50-style recruits. These guys, in my opinion, should be a pair of ACC-caliber starters in time and there's great value in that.

2. What type of impacts do you expect Mosley and Gilchrist (assuming he redshirts this year) to have as freshmen?

I simply can't hide my affection for Sean Mosley. He's a kid I think you can safely assume crosses the 1,000-point mark over his four-year career. He's simply a solid college basketball player. I've often referred to his game as "old school," and I think that's a compliment in regards to his approach and overall impact. Mosley loves to play, finds ways to score and he's wired up to be successful.

Gilchrist has a bigger ceiling than Mosley, but may need a touch more time to get there. I think right out of the gates he shows his value as a shot blocker, and since I haven't seen him in a few months I don't know where his offense is. He's got loads of potential at both ends.

3. There was some talk that Australian/Sudanese power forward Ater Majok would sign with the Terps during the fall, but now it appears he’ll wait until spring. Will Maryland continue to go after him? What’s the latest on Majok’s recruitment?

He's actually in the States right now touring with a team called the Heat of Virginia. They'll play this week at the Bull City Classic in Durham, N.C.; ironically on Friday morning he'll play at Hillside High School -- the home of former Maryland great John Lucas.

There's a chance he makes a few more visits and I know a ton of programs are calling in on him. The Terps are strongly in the mix, but this young man will wait until spring for sure. He simply isn't ready to decide.

4. What are your impressions of 2009 Terps small forward commitment Jin Soo Kim? What are his strengths and weaknesses? Where does he rank?

JSK is a shooter by trade. He's approaching 6-8 and his stroke is legit. His body will need to fill out to handle the rigors of high-major basketball. Right now he's got a high-level skill set and body that needs attention.

5. Is St. Benedict (N.J.) Prep big man Greg Echenique Maryland’s prime target in 2009? Do the Terps have a chance?

Greg is going to make an academic-based decision. The presence of Penn on his list is significant and you can't discount him from shunning the big boys in favor of an Ivy League program.

As far as 2009 potentials go, here's a link to some early possibilities. However, I really believe this list will expand and that there's an effort to find targets by the staff as we speak.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:18 PM | | Comments (5)
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November 13, 2007

Five questions - UM women's basketball recruiting class

The early signing period for NCAA basketball begins tomorrow, and the Maryland women’s team is expected to ink yet another excellent -- albeit light-on-numbers -- class.

Lynetta Kizer, a 6-foot-3 post from Potomac in Dumfries, Va., is the only high school player expected to sign with the Terps, but coach Brenda Frese has also secured a verbal commitment from Gulf Coast Community College forward Dee Liles -- who originally committed to Maryland as a senior in 2006 at Riverdale Baptist.

For today’s edition of ‘Five questions’, Chris Hansen, the Director of Scouting for HoopGurlz.com, was kind enough to weigh in on the Terps’ class.

What kind of player is Kizer?

We have her ranked as the top post in the class and No. 5 overall. She is a big body that’s not slow. Your typical big players that are her size, you think [they] sit in the paint and don’t get out in transition. But she just has this great athletic ability. She’s a wide body who’s really strong, but I’ve seen her grab rebounds off the rim and turn the break.

She’s real intense. She’ll guard forwards on the perimeter and she can keep up. She’s a great athlete. You take someone around that size (6 feet 4) with the ability to be more athletic than anyone else ... it’s just a very explosive combination.

Her strength and body type are really college-ready in high school. Other than getting used to playing against people her size and strength, I think it addresses a definite need for Maryland. They loaded up in '07 on perimeter players. One thing missing last year was a big bruiser inside and she fills that need big-time.

What is Kizer’s ceiling as a player?

I think given her athleticism and size and that she’s a very aggressive, strong player, she could be an all-conference player. She has the body and game to be a WNBA-caliber player. She’s scoring like 23 points a game at a pretty strong high school level.

She’s dominated [at] all levels. She’s really come along with her mid-range jumper, which is especially important at the college level where you can’t wear out everyone on the block. She’s really quick. She’ll be able to take other post players off the dribble. She has WNBA and all-conference potential.

What do you expect from Liles?

She’s really long and is able to defend and get to the basket. ... She’s got length and size and the athleticism to [make an impact at Maryland], but who knows what’ll happen

I don’t think she would’ve been picked up and recommitted if her development [wasn’t significant]. It must’ve been pretty substantial if they’re still getting her back two years later. She’s legit and underrated. To be able to play at the USA [national team] trials for the U-19’s is really impressive.

I think we had her rated as a 3-star, which is a high DI-caliber player. I think she ended up being even better than we thought because she played so well at the USA trials.

How does Maryland’s class stack up with the ACC and the rest of the country?

I think [the class] keeps up with the top teams in the ACC. North Carolina’s bringing in a pretty decent post and nice wing player as well.

Tennessee, Rutgers, Connecticut and LSU have far superior classes than everyone and last year Rutgers was in that top tier as well.

Maryland getting Lynetta and Liles is a top 20 class just by filling their needs.

You’re not getting a huge number of kids like last year, but that shouldn’t overlook how good of a player Kizer is and Liles is a 6-foot-1 forward who has experience against top talent. She’s played junior college and that’s definitely something Terps fans should be excited about. They’re used to being right up there in that top tier.

This year was just an interesting year. It used to be UConn and Tennessee signing as many top kids as they want. But now Rutgers and LSU got in on a lot of the kids that Maryland was looking at as well.

Kizer came in nice and early. I think that’s why people are wondering how good she is because she committed so long ago.

Anything else to keep in mind on the Terps’ class?

Don’t forget that Kim Rodgers has basically become an ’08. She tore her ACL and I don’t think she’ll play this year. She was one of the top shooters in the country. ... We had her at 48, the No. 26 overall guard. She played for the same club team (Boo Williams) as Lynetta Kizer played for.

You take a shooter, a post player and a really athletic forward. You’re not stacking at one position. All the parts fit together.

They were in on a lot of kids, but it’s just one of those years they didn’t get everyone they recruited like they did in ’07. But Kizer should come in and be an impact player right away.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
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October 31, 2007

Five questions -- The newest UM women’s basketball commit

More than a year ago, Riverdale Baptist forward Dee Liles committed to play basketball for Maryland.

Academics ended up rerouting Liles, a 6-foot-1 forward, to Gulf Coast Community College in Panama City, Fla. But -- as first reported by TerrapinTimes.com -- now Liles is heading to College Park after all.

Gulf Coast head coach Roonie Scovel said Liles recommitted to the Terps on a visit to Maryland’s campus earlier this month. She also considered LSU and Louisville.

During her freshman season, Liles averaged approximately seven points and five rebounds per game for a Gulf Coast team that will eventually have had “six or seven or eight” Division I players, according to Scovel. Liles will join the Terps during the 2008-09 season with two years of eligibility remaining.

Scovel was kind enough to answer ‘Five questions’ about Liles.

Were you surprised she committed to Maryland?

Well she had made a couple other visits, but I think that’s always been her dream. It was probably smart to look at a couple other schools to make sure, and then be able to follow her dream.

Now she’ll play close to home and be close to her family. She gets back to her roots and now she gets to do something she’s always wanted to do.

What is Liles like as a player?

Dee’s one of those players that has the ability to play a lot of positions, but you can’t really name the exact one. She has great athleticism in the post, and she’s quick enough to run outside and play the perimeter game. She’s got a lot of good qualities. She can probably play any position except the point.

What can she improve on?

Last year she didn’t shoot the ball very well from the perimeter. We took her out of her comfort zone, which was close to the basket. She can score and rebound close to the basket.

This year we’ll utilize her at both positions, probably a little more inside because of our team. She worked a lot on her perimeter shooting. I do think that’ll be a lot better this year.

What are your expectations of Liles this season?

We have a pretty diverse group. We’ve got three-point shooters; we’ve got quickness, a nice post game. I think on any given night we could have five different kids who could step up and lead the team in scoring. We’re pretty diverse. My expectation of Dee is that I expect her to average a double-double this year. There are going to be nights when we move her out to the perimeter. We’re going to use Dee at whatever position will be most successful for our team.

What you think of her commitment to Maryland?

She looked at a couple other schools, but I would say Dee’s heart and loyalty was always with Maryland. The second time around with these kids, you never know what will happen. I’m glad she was loyal to Maryland and I’m glad the Maryland coaches were loyal to her. In today’s society, we’ve kind of lost some of that [loyalty]. I think it’s great that both sides agreed to be loyal to each other. I think she’s got a lot of potential to be a really nice player for Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:00 AM | | Comments (0)
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October 24, 2007

Five questions - UM's in-state football commits

Today's guest for 'Five questions' is MDVarsity.com editor Sheldon Shealer.

Shealer, a professor of journalism at Mount St. Mary's University, has covered high school football in Maryland since 1987. He started the official state rankings (1990) and the All-State teams (1992) and has served as the coordinator of both since their inception, in addition to creating and maintaining the official state records for football.

Shealer answered five questions via e-mail about the Terps' in-state commits and one UM target.

1.) What are your impressions of Maryland defensive line commitments Teddy Dargan (Milford Mill) and Cody Blue (Wilde Lake)? What type of impact do you foresee them making at Maryland? What are their strengths? What can they work on?

We've been waiting for Dargan to deliver and he finally put on a monster game last week in Milford Mill's loss to Hereford. It was his best performance to date from an athlete who has been getting hype since his sophomore year. Blue is more of a project for Maryland. He has good size and strength, but will not be an impact player right away.

2.) How has Forestville wide receiver Kevin Dorsey performed this year? Is he an instant-impact type of player? What are his strengths and weaknesses?

Dorsey is having a great season even though it appears his high school team will not make the playoffs. He has 29 catches for 519 yards and six TDs.

Dorsey's size and athletic ability, and the fact he's very polished as a high school player, could get him early playing time on the collegiate level. His body frame and route running reminds me of Keyshawn Johnson.

3.) What were your impressions of Terp commits and Hargrave players Devonte Campbell and Zach Brown coming out of high school? What did they need to work on during their year at Hargrave?

Zach Brown is an exceptional athlete -- almost freakish with his size and speed. He was a three-sport star at Wilde Lake -- wrestling, track and football. I see him making a smooth transition to the college game. Campbell is a speed end/tight end who might need to add a few pounds for the I-A game.

4.) From a statistical standpoint, it seems like running back Davin Meggett is having an excellent senior year. Was this expected? What has each shown to you?

Going into this season, the question on Meggett was could he take a hit? Clearly, he has shown he can -- he's already over 1,000 yards and appears to be on pace for a 1,500+ type season. It's no surprise that he's having this sort of statistical showing, the more impressive aspect is how far he's carried Surrattsville, a program that has never been in the playoffs. Surrattsville is 6-1. Meggett has very good speed and he's thick and strong.

5.) How does Maryland look for DeMatha wide receiver Kenny Tate? Is Florida the Terps' main competition? What type of wide receiver is he?

Tate is a possession receiver. He has good speed, but not great speed. Florida is in the mix, but his game seems more suited for a Big 10-style offense.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 AM | | Comments (3)
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October 16, 2007

Five questions - UM men's basketball recruiting

Checking in for today’s edition of “Five questions” is Dan Painter, TerrapinTimes.com’s basketball recruiting analyst.

Painter got his start in scouting with All-Star Sports Scouting Service, balancing that gig with his full-time job with the federal government for more than 10 years. Painter’s primary scouting area was the Washington, DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia corridor.

Painter (who answered questions via e-mail) also covers UM men's and women’s basketball recruiting for Terrapin Times Magazine.

1.) What's the latest with 2008 forward prospect Ater Majok? Why did he withdraw his commitment from Baylor? Do the Terps have a good shot? What type of player is he?

Maryland looks very strong for Majok. In talking to his high school coach, he told me that Maryland has everything he is looking for, athletically, academically, and socially, and pointed out the area's cultural diversity was a factor as well.

From what I have heard, Majok told Maryland he wants to be a Terp, and only needs the blessing from his family back in Australia to make it official. That should come this week. But nothing is totally done until they give their approval.

Majok came to the U.S. and was impressed by Baylor's interest in him, liked the campus, and simply made a hasty decision. After playing extremely well in a late summer tournament, Majok realized he could play at a higher level. His coach is originally from the Maryland area; therefore, the Terps became a viable alternative. As Majok told me, "I want to play on the biggest stage I can."

Few have seen Majok, but one source described him to me as an incredibly long, skilled combo forward, who can go down low to block shots, but also has the handle and shot to play on the perimeter. His coach says he will "be a 3-man in the pros."

2.) What does Majok's emergence mean for New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas and the Terps? Is Georgia center Ralph Sampson no longer an option?

It appears that a Majok commitment may signal an end to 2008 recruiting for the Terps. Lots of buzz in New Jersey that Thomas may opt for Kansas, with Rutgers still pushing hard. Since Majok will likely play a lot of power forward for the Terps, that would seem to exclude Thomas from the picture here. There was some discussion of Sampson visiting Maryland last weekend, but instead he chose to go to Kentucky on an official visit, his second trip there. Seems like they are in the catbird's seat right now.

3.) What type of player is 2009 Terp commit Jin Soo Kim? What's his size? Where will he be ranked? How did he stay so under the radar?

Jin Soo Kim was measured this summer at 6 feet 8 1/2, and now weighs about 190 pounds. He is a fluid, graceful athlete with a deadly outside shot. As his strength increases, he will be able to do more things in traffic. He reportedly is fundamentally sound, and knows the game very well. He is under the radar because he played very little AAU ball, preferring to play internationally with the South Korean national team. His coach at South Kent (Conn.), Raphael Chillious, thinks he can be a big time player, and would be a top 30 type with more AAU exposure.

4.) Where does Maryland turn to fill its second 2009 scholarship? Are the Terps still hitting the in-state class hard?

My guess is that Gregory Echenique, the 6-foot-9 low post junior from St. Benedict's [in New Jersey] would be a major target in 2009, as no true low post players were brought in this year. The Terps have looked at a number of local '09 players, but with Kim committed, I can't see any other wings opting for Maryland. And keep in mind, as of now, only one scholarship remains for that class, though attrition is always a possibility. Maryland can be very selective. Already, a number of the 2009 prospects here locally seem to be looking elsewhere. Taking Kim this early is a strong indicator of what the Terps' staff thinks of him.

5.) What does Gary Williams' ability to get in good with international prospects like Majok and Kim so quickly say about his recruiting acumen? Could this be a new strategy in recruiting, in addition to still going after the top AAU guys?

You take good players wherever you can find them. In the cases of Majok and Kim, both youngsters had ties to this area. I don't see Maryland shying away from the AAU circuit. What I do see is the Terps making a concerted effort to recruit players who are fundamentally sound and well versed in the nuances of the game. Last year's class and this year's recruitment of Sean Mosley and (likely Ater Majok) seem to bear that out.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:21 AM | | Comments (10)
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October 9, 2007

Five questions -- UM's D.C.-area football commits

A good chunk of Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class comes from the Washington D.C. area.

Todd Bradley, the co-founder and editor of DCSportsFan.com, which focuses on the private and public high schools in Washington, D.C., has seen four of those future Terps in action.

Bradley answered 'Five questions' via e-mail about those four UM commits, and also gave his thoughts on one of Maryland's biggest remaining targets.

1.) Cameron Chism seems to have emerged as a solid two-way player for Bishop McNamara. How has he performed this year? Could you see him getting involved in the offense at Maryland? What are his strengths as a defensive back?

Chism has been exceptional this year. After emerging as one of the area’s top juniors last season in the D.C. area, Chism has lived up the hype in 2007. To put it simply, he’s a playmaker. Against Gonzaga this past weekend, he intercepted a pass, caught a 61-yard touchdown pass and blocked an extra point—and that was just in the fourth quarter. I can definitely see him getting some time at wide receiver for Maryland because he has great speed and rarely drops passes. It’s hard to say what his strengths are at defensive back because teams rarely throw his way. Gonzaga tried to pass the ball to Virginia commit Cameron Johnson late in the game and Chism picked off the pass and almost took it to the house. I think he’s a more talented version of Curome Cox.

2.) How has A.J. Francis looked for Gonzaga thus far? Does he project better on the offensive or defensive side of the ball? What are his strengths, and what are some things he needs to work on for college?

Francis has a great deal of potential. When he’s playing well on offense, Gonzaga’s running game thrives and the same goes for the defensive side of the ball. But if I had to predict where he’ll play at Maryland, it would be on the defensive line. Right now his biggest asset is his size, but he needs to work on his strength and quickness, which shouldn’t be a problem when Maryland gets a hold of him. And as an added bonus, Francis isn’t afraid to speak his mind, which can make for some interesting reporting.

3.) Has Davin Meggett's season been a big surprise to followers of D.C.-area football? What's stood out about his play? How much of Surrattsville's success can be attributed to Meggett's play? Might Maryland have gotten a steal?

Meggett has been a big surprise. Surrattsville went 4-6 last season and were shut out three times. Through the first five games this season, Surrattsville has outscored their opponents 227 to 34 and Meggett is a major reason why. After this past weekend, Meggett is seventh in the D.C. area with 729 yards and 11 touchdowns, and he’s averaging over 11.5 yards per carry. In a 35-8 victory over Potomac, Meggett rushed for 299 yards and three touchdowns. At 5 feet 9 and 205 pounds, Meggett is a powerful runner who is surprisingly fast. Not only has Maryland gotten a steal, but Redskins fans finally get some payback for all those times his father, David Meggett, tortured us when he played with the Giants.

4.) How has Tavon Wilson looked? How important is he to H.D. Woodson's success? What are his strengths as a defensive back?

Tavon Wilson has looked really good this year. H.D. Woodson started off the season 0-3, but they have won their past three games against three tough opponents. Nobody expected them to beat Central Dauphin East (Pa.) two weeks ago and Wilson caught two touchdowns in the victory. Woodson then beat Ballou, last year’s runner up in the DCIAA, 20-2. Wilson's most obvious strengths are his quickness (runs the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds) and ability to make big plays, which is one of the reasons he received offers from schools like Maryland, Illinois, Boston College and Michigan State, to name a few.

5.) There's been some debate about which position Kenny Tate (wide receiver, running back, safety) should play in college. Which do you feel is the best fit for him? Is he an instant impact guy in college? Any sense of where he could end up?

I've been fortunate enough to cover Kenny Tate since his sophomore year at DeMatha. If I were to predict what position he will play in college, it would be either wide receiver or safety, but he's the kind of talent that could play both. I don't think he'll play running back because he's built more for a wide receiver (6 feet 4, 215 pounds), but Coach Bill McGregor likes to use him occasionally out of the backfield because he's so dangerous when he touches the ball. Last weekend he only carried the ball once, but it was a 92-yard touchdown run.

Kenny Tate is definitely an instant impact guy in college. His best season statistically at DeMatha was during his sophomore year (24 receptions, 529 yards, four TDs; seven rushing TDs) when he was a relative unknown. Now defenses key on him and he doesn't get the ball as much as he used to, and DeMatha has so many weapons that Tate doesn't need to win games by himself. However, with less attention on him next year I can see him having a freshman season similar to what we are seeing this year with Arrelious Benn at Illinois. Tate is just that good, regardless of where he is ranked on various recruiting Web sites.

As far as next year is concerned, trying to guess where Kenny Tate will end up is like trying to predict who will get the Republican nomination for the 2008 presidential race. Tate is taking his time and I wouldn't be surprised if he made the announcement at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl this January in front of a national audience. But if I were to make an educated guess, it would be either Florida or Maryland. He's also talented enough to make either school's basketball team and see the floor as a freshman, but that discussion can be left for another time.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:53 AM | | Comments (1)
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October 3, 2007

Five questions - UM basketball and football recruiting

Answering ‘Five questions’ regarding Maryland basketball and football recruiting today is Jeff Ermann of TurtleSportsReport.com.

Ermann has written for TSR for more than a year, and has also covered Missouri basketball for the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune and high school sports for The Washington Post.

1.) With the news that Maryland is not a part of Terrence Jennings’ top five, have the Terps stopped recruiting the big man? If that's the case, what went wrong here? And what do you make of him leaving Mt. Zion for Notre Dame Prep?

No, the staff is still actively pursuing, it seems. As to what went wrong here, well, that's a long [story]. Jennings is a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in a middle-of-the-night when-the-coach-isn't-looking high school transfer. He's made more moves than U-Haul. This will be his sixth school, I believe. He's not a bad kid, but I think he has a bunch of people pulling him in different directions, as often is the case with major basketball recruits. The odds he ends up a Terp appear slim, but I wouldn't say there's absolutely no chance.

2.) New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas has now visited three of his four finalists. Is there any word on how the visits have affected his recruitment? Are Georgia center Ralph Sampson and South Kent (Conn.) Prep big man Assane Sene still considered longshots?

Thomas still seems to have Maryland as his favorite. But he did like Kansas. I don't see the other schools as very likely landing spots. He wants to get out of New Jersey, so that would mean [he's not interested in] Rutgers despite the immense pressure being applied on him locally. And it would be difficult to see him choosing UNLV.

Sene has been to Virginia twice, so speculation is there's at least a solid chance he'll end up there. He does have a Maryland offer and the Terps have been working him for some time, but he also keeps it very close to the vest, so it's hard to gauge his interest. Sampson just received an in-home visit from the Terps staff this week and may be warming up to the idea of coming to Maryland. I'd expect he'll visit soon, quite possibly for Midnight Madness.

I think people around the program are feeling fairly confident about him despite getting in late. Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Minnesota are the primary competition here. We should know more soon so you'll just have to tune in to TurtleSportsReport.com for the latest!

3.) There was a lot of optimism regarding Maryland’s potential for a great 2009 class, but that sentiment seems to have waned as of late. Where do the Terps stand with some of the big name in-staters, and emerging targets like South Kent (Conn.) Prep small foward Jin Soo Kim?

Kim is supposedly very good. I have not seen him play but he is a 6-foot-9 forward who can really shoot, from what I hear. Maryland has made a quick impression on him and may battle with Georgetown and Cal for his commitment.

On the local 2009 kids, the three most often mentioned are the Montrose Christian kids -- Tristan Spurlock, Isaiah Armwood and Terrell Vinson.

Spurlock seems most likely to end up at Virginia, Armwood can go virtually anywhere in the country and is getting the full-court press from Villanova and Lousiville, and Vinson also has a lot of major suitors. It's still early, but it'll be a real battle to land any of the three it seems. Armwood is the prize jewel.

Still, the staff has cast a wide net. Wally Judge is a 6-foot-8 kid from Bladensburg who the Terps have been after, though West Virginia and Georgetown may have the lead. Another local big kid is Dante Taylor from National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, but he could be a Big East type. It may not be a local class. Two frontcourt players who i think the Terps would love to have are Greg Echenique from New Jersey and Daniel Orton from Oklahoma. Both are major recruits.

There are a ton of names out there and a lot of time left. I believe they'll get some very good prospects.

4.) Having now visited his three finalists (Maryland, Ohio State, Illinois), is Lamaar Thomas getting ready to make his decision? How good should Terps fans feel about their chances? Could he have a Steve Slaton-type impact on whatever team he chooses?

He'll decide within the next three weeks. It's been a whirlwind tour since the beginning of the summer and he wants to relax a bit and focus on his season and taking the SAT this weekend. Right now, Ohio State seems to have the upper hand, but Maryland is most definitely in the mix. I'd be very surprised if he ends up anywhere but OSU or Maryland. He certainly has Slaton-like speed, and I do think he'll likely be a star on the college level.

5.) It’s been a while since the Terps picked up a football commitment. Are there any good bets to pick UM sometime this month? Are there any in-state guys who could be close to earning offers?

Justin Gilbert, a lineman from Monacan, Va., would seem the most likely. He's choosing between Maryland and Virginia Tech. Other than him, though, it's pretty quiet. The staff has already used almost all of its scholarships for 2008, so now I think the approach is to hold the final few spots for some highly sought kids (Zach Kerr, Lamaar Thomas, Kenny Tate), who generally take longer to decide.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:52 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Five questions
        

September 25, 2007

Five questions - UM men's basketball recruiting

Much has changed with Maryland men’s basketball recruiting in the last week.

Four-star center Terrence Jennings withdrew his verbal commitment to Maryland late last week, although he claims the Terps are still his leader.

In more promising news, New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas was in College Park this weekend for an official visit.

Evan Daniels, national basketball recruiting analyst for Scout.com, recently spoke with both Jennings and Thomas. He joins ‘Recruiting Report’ today to sift through the rubble, answering ‘Five questions’ via e-mail about the state of Maryland basketball recruiting.

1.) What happened with Terrence Jennings?

From talking with Jennings, he made it clear that he felt that he made the decision a little too early. He wants to take a few of his official visits and get to know a few other coaching staffs before he makes his final decision.

When I spoke with Jennings following his original commitment, he told me that he hadn’t ever visited Maryland, and that is something that is always a warning sign when it comes to commitments. How can a kid make a decision on which school he wants to go to if he’s never seen the campus or facilities?

At this point, anything could happen with Jennings, and I don’t think he has a timetable on when he wants to make his decision and when he wants to sign. He’s already being pursued by a number of other schools, and following a few more visits he could make his decision or he could choose to wait it out.

2.) Jennings says UM is still his leader, but what are the chances he ends up re-committing to the Terps? What schools should Maryland be most worried about?

In reality, there haven’t been many situations where prospects have de-committed and then re-commit to the same school. There are exceptions like Alex Legion, who re-committed to Michigan last year, but then after Tommy Amaker was fired ended up de-committing again. Jennings is still going to take his official visit to Maryland, which is a very good sign for Maryland, as they’ll get a chance to re-sell him on the idea of being a Terrapin.

Already a number of schools have gotten involved since Jennings announced he was opening it up. West Virginia, Kentucky, Memphis and Louisville are the schools that I have heard the most, but there will be plenty more that will likely try to get involved. When I last spoke with Jennings, he mentioned that he wanted to take an official visit to West Virginia and I know the other three schools are vying for visits as well. Prior to his original commitment to Maryland, Kentucky was very strong with him, so I’m sure they’ll get a strong look.

3.) How did Quintrell Thomas' visit to College Park go? Are the Terps considered his leader?

Thomas enjoyed his visit to Maryland and mentioned that he had a great time getting to know and hanging out with the Maryland players. He isn’t claiming a leader right now, and has said that all of the schools on his list are equal.

He’s actually added another official visit to the list -- he’ll attend UNLV the weekend of Oct. 12. Maryland and UNLV join Rutgers and Kansas as his final four schools. He’s already been to Rutgers and loves the fact that they are close to home. With Kansas, the tradition stands out and is one of the main reasons Bill Self and the Jayhawks are in so strong with Thomas.

When it comes time to make a decision, Thomas is going to have to decide if he can see himself going far away from home. He’s mentioned distance before and I think that could play a factor, as obviously Rutgers and Maryland are much closer to home than the other two schools on his list.

4.) Do the Terps have a legitimate shot at Ralph Sampson?

As sometimes happens with kids of NBA players, it’s hard to get a good feel for Ralph Sampson’s recruitment. What we do know is that he likes Georgia Tech, Kentucky and Minnesota because he’s taken the time to take visits to all three schools. But other schools such as Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson, South Carolina and Auburn are still in the mix because he mentions them every time he’s interviewed.

Sampson made huge strides as a player during the spring and summer, thus interest in him picked up. The Terrapins are among the schools that have tried to get involved since his improvement, and he’ll be a tough get, unless they can get the big man on campus. If a school can get a visit lined up, then they always have a chance.

5.) Worst-case scenario -- what happens if the Terps strike out on all remaining 2008 big men targets? Does 2009 look brighter?

If Maryland strikes out on Jennings and Sampson, then they could try and pick off an under-the-radar post threat or take a look at the JUCO ranks, as there are a few big man prospects floating around. However, the Terps won’t have many scholarships for the 2009 class, so saving the ride could be an option as well.

In the 2009 class there are a few prospects nearby that the Terps should have a good shot at. The best of the bunch is Isaiah Armwood, who has the potential to be a McDonald’s All-American. Villanova and Louisville are likely Maryland’s top competition for the Montrose Christian star. Tristan Spurlock and Terrell Vinson, who are high school teammates with Armwood, are also Maryland targets, as is Andrew Fitzgerald. Brian Oliver is another 2009 prospect to keep an eye on, as he grew up a Maryland fan and is considering them among a host of schools.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:27 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Five questions
        

September 18, 2007

Five questions - UM men's basketball recruiting

Today's guest for 'Five questions' probably watches more high school and AAU basketball than anyone on the planet.

Van Coleman, national recruiting analyst for CSTV.com, has been one of the country's preeminent basketball recruiting authorities for more than 30 years. Here's Coleman's bio:

I’ve been covering and evaluating high school talent since the winter of 1976-77 season. I wrote for Midwest Basketball News (later Basketball Times) from 1977-1980. I began publishing the National Recruiter’s Cage Letter report in 1981, which became FutureStars Magazine in 1989 until the present. I was Basketball Times' Prep Editor from 1985-1996. I started Hoopmasters.com in 2003 along with Bob Gibbons, and have continued it until the present, after Bob left in 2005.

I have been the publisher of FutureStars Scouting Service from 1986 until the present (used by over 150 colleges nationally). I have been a major feature contributor to The Sporting News, Eastern Basketball, ACC Handbook College Yearbook, Lindy’s College Basketball yearbooks, and the CBS Sportsline College Basketball yearbook. I’m a member of the McDonald’s All-American Game Selection Committee, The Naismith Player of the Year Selection Committee, Slam All-American Advisory Board, and the Basketball Hall of Fame Morgan Wooten Award Selection Committee.

Coleman was kind enough to answer five questions (via e-mail) about UM basketball recruiting.

1.) How did Sean Mosley fare in AAU ball over the summer and how does he stack up with other top 2008 shooting guards? How do you see him fitting in with Maryland?

Currently I have him rated the No. 13 shooting guard and the No. 55 overall prospect in the class of 2008. This past summer he showed he was more than a slasher, as he hit the open jumper with regularity, opening up the court for him to explode to the hoop off the dribble. He really finishes in traffic and should give the Terps some instant offense at the two spot from day one in College Park. Whether he starts as a frosh or comes off the bench, he will give Gary Williams another offensive weapon to run the break or put pressure on opposing defenses.

2.) What's the latest on 2008 UM big man commit Terrence Jennings' academic situation? How did he play this summer and are the Amare Stoudemire comparisons apt?

Academically, it really depends on who you talk to. Some West Coast guys say he’s got a ways to go, but folks at Mt. Zion [Christian Academy (N.C.)] say he’ll be eligible at the end of this year. I think it’s going to be close, but I have to give credence to those who are running the show at the prep school; and they say he is going to make it.

Terrence is our No. 6 center and the No. 20 overall prospect coming out of the summer. Comparing him to Amare Stoudemire is a little bit of a stretch since he doesn’t have the same kind of body or approach to the game physically. Stoudemire was ripped at 240 pounds and could flat out destroy opponents physically. Jennings is a solid 230-pounder with good bounce and solid skills facing the hoop or on the blocks. He is a better shooter facing the hoop, but isn’t quite in the same league on the blocks as Stoudemire. I think a comparison to former Terp Chris Wilcox is much more accurate. He has the same type of inside-out game as the current Seattle Supersonic.

3.) Maryland has three offers out to 2008 prospects: New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas, Georgia center Ralph Sampson and North Carolina shooting guard Chris Turner. Where is each leaning?

Quintrell Thomas – Thomas just visited Rutgers this past weekend, he’s scheduled to be in College Park next weekend and then he’ll head to Kansas the weekend of Sept. 29. If he’s not ready to decide at that point, he could make treks to Miami, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall or latecomer West Virginia. Personally, I think Maryland leads early on, but Rutgers is close to his home and Kansas is always a great visit, based on players I’ve known over the years. Quintrell is a man on the glass who would compliment Jennings inside. He is a warrior! Much could be learned after he visits UM.

Ralph Sampson – He’s taken a visit unofficially to Kentucky in late August, and was at Minnesota the weekend of Sept. 8. He liked both schools equally well, but said neither is a favorite at this point. He could visit Georgia Tech and Maryland sometime in the next month. He also still lists Virginia Tech, Clemson, Auburn and South Carolina as other possibilities. He told us after the Minnesota visit that; “No one leads at this point, it’s just too early!”

Chris Turner – Turner was ready to commit to the Terps until they received Mosley’s pledge. Maryland is still in the hunt, but they have to hold off Cincinnati, Memphis, Oklahoma, Florida State and George Mason -- all schools who’ve been looking to get Turner to visit. He and Mosley could play together at the 2/3 spots or in a three-guard set. The Terps still have a shot here, but do they need two wings in this class?

4.) Which 2009 kids that are considering Maryland impressed you most during the summer?

Well, I’d have to say that five guys I have rated in the top 25 come to mind first. The Terps are involved with No. 10 rated Deshawn Painter, No. 12 Isaiah Armwood, No. 16 Karron Johnson, No. 20 Daniel Orton and No. 24 Wally Judge. They all had solid summers. Painter is an explosive and long face-up four man. Armwood finishes drives as well as any big man in class. Johnson is physical and can flat out score in bunches. Orton is a physical low block scorer who can swat shots in the paint. Judge was one of the summer’s fastest risers. He‘s raw, but effective around the hoop. The Terps are involved with eight other top 100 prospects to go with the above quintet.

5.) Is Armwood a must-get for the Terps in 2009? Who do you think is UM's most important target?

There will be a lot of pressure on getting Armwood, but nabbing one or two from among Painter, Judge, Johnson, Orton or No. 35 Gregory Echenique or No. 40 Terrell Vinson could fill team needs just as well. I personally think Armwood is their No. 1 target, but because they seem to be in excellent shape with so many top 40 prospects, any combination of two of these prospects will fill their needs.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:05 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Five questions
        

September 11, 2007

Five questions - UM women's basketball recruiting

Checking in for today’s edition of “Five questions” is Dan Painter, TerrapinTimes.com’s basketball recruiting analyst.

Painter got his start in scouting with All-Star Sports Scouting Service, balancing that gig with his full-time job with the federal government for more than 10 years. Painter’s primary scouting area was the Washington, DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia corridor.

Painter (who answered questions via e-mail) also covers UM men's and women’s basketball recruiting for Terrapin Times Magazine.

1.) Has Maryland secured any verbal commitments for the 2008 class?

The Lady Terps currently have one verbal commitment for 2008 -- Lynetta Kizer, a 6-foot-3 post player from Potomac High School in Dumfries, Va. Kizer is generally regarded as one of the top 10 players in the class.

Since Coach Brenda Frese is graduating Crystal Langhorne, Laura Harper and Jade Perry, she has to reload the frontcourt and Kizer is a great start. She will have to play immediately. Kizer is big enough to pound down low but also runs well and can step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. She picked Maryland over Duke and Virginia.

I expect the Terps will also likely get a verbal from Dee Liles, a 6-foot-1 forward originally from Riverdale Baptist in Upper Marlboro, who now attends Gulf Coast Community College in Florida. She originally committed to Maryland over a year ago, but went the JUCO route to shore up her academics. Liles is an excellent power forward prospect.

2.) How does the 2008 class fill Maryland's needs? Which recruits do you expect
to make a major impact as freshmen?

The 2008 class is critical. In addition to losing Langhorne, Harper and Perry from the frontcourt, seniors Ashleigh Newman and Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood will also graduate, so five of your top seven players in the rotation will be gone after this season.

In addition to Kizer and hopefully Liles, the Terps would like to land another inside performer. Two possibilities are Cierra Bravard, a 6-foot-5 post player from Sandusky, Ohio, and Chelsey Lee, a 6-foot-2 athletic forward from Miramar, Fla. Both are expected to visit Maryland in the next three weeks.

Lastly, Coach Frese would like to add another multi-dimensional player at the 2/3 slot. One possibility is April Sykes, 5 feet 11, from Crawford, Miss. (the same hometown as Jerry Rice), considered a bonafide super prospect and regarded by one scouting service as the No. 2 rated prospect in the country.

3.) How is the 2009 class shaping up? Who are some recruits worth watching?

The 2009 class appears to be a strong one at this point. One player the Terps have targeted is Kelsey Bone, 6 feet 3, another inside power player from Texas, who some regard as THE premier recruit in the '09 class.

Other possible recruits of interest are Monique Oliver, 6 feet 2 (California); Mariah Chandler, 6 feet 2 (Georgia); Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, 5 feet 10 (Virginia); Antishia Wright, 5 feet 11 (Florida); and super quick point guard Dara Taylor, 5 feet 5 (Delaware).

4.) How will Maryland shift its recruiting as Frese's pregnancy progresses?

Coach Frese's pregnancy should have little effect on her recruiting. All potential recruits have already been notified of her pregnancy, and the lines of communication will not be interrupted. Her staff is extremely active on the road, and all have major recruiting responsibilities.

Brenda, in all likelihood, WILL be back for the NCAAs. She is due March 11, and with twins, they usually arrive early. The Dance does not start until March 23. She is expecting to coach during the tournament.

I would expect Frese to be back on the road next July when the open period for recruiting kicks back in full gear.

5.) How beneficial was the 2006 championship for recruiting purposes? Do recruits still point to that as a deciding factor in their recruitments?

Maryland's visibility in 2006 was definitely a huge boost for their recruiting efforts. A number of recruits have pointed out to me their style of play, their team chemistry, and Coach Frese's outgoing personality and energy as reasons for being interested in the Terp program.

That championship got Maryland into homes they would not have gotten into otherwise. The title made the elite recruits of the nation take notice. As the list of '09 recruits shows, Maryland now is a national recruiting program, with players from California, Texas, Florida and Georgia all considering the Terps.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:06 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Five questions
        

September 5, 2007

Five questions

This week’s guest for ‘Five questions’ is Jide Sodipo, a fixture in the Maryland high school basketball recruiting scene for the past decade.

Sodipo, director/publisher of MidAtlanticHoops.com, is based in Baltimore and has been involved with numerous local basketball recruiting sites throughout his career, including DCHoops.com.

Sodipo was kind enough to weigh in on several questions (via e-mail) involving the in-state basketball recruiting scene.

1.) By my count, three surefire Division I kids from Maryland in 2009 have transferred schools or are considering a transfer -- center Andrew Fitzgerald from Towson Catholic to Owings Mills, shooting guard Maurice Creek from Oxon Hill to South Kent (Conn.) School and forward Wally Judge from Bladensburg to Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Fla. What do you make of each situation, and how does it affect each player's recruitment?

Each situation is similar but unique at the same time. The similarity is that all have to do with academic reasons. Wally Judge, Andrew Fitzgerald and Maurice Creek all are originally members of the class of 2008.

Judge was ineligible his freshman year, while Fitzgerald repeated his sophomore year. Creek is still at Oxon Hill, but is planning to attend South Kent.

These three prospects are just looking for a good fit academically to give them a better chance to qualify. This has no effect on their recruiting since all are high-major prospects -- Judge (West Virginia, Georgetown, Pitt), Creek (Maryland, Texas, Villanova) Fitzgerald (Maryland, Pitt, Clemson).

2.) Who do you think is the best player in Maryland in the 2009 class?

The best player right now in the state of Maryland from 2009 is Isaiah Armwood. Going into the summer his teammate Terrell Vinson had an edge, but Armwood, a 6-foot-8 combo forward, really raised his game and his stock. He’s being heavily recruited by Louisville, Maryland and Villanova to name a few. Louisville has a slight edge right now and Rick Pitino will be visiting the school in the upcoming week.

3.) What kind of impact has Sean Mosley's commitment to Maryland had on some of the big-time in-state players? Will Baltimore kids look more seriously at UM because of it?

Sean Mosley’s commitment to Maryland had no major impact whatsoever on some of the big-time in-state players. It will not affect or change anything on how Baltimore kids look at UM. Maryland has to do a better job with its recruitments earlier on… But at the same time, I have to give them a lot of credit for some improvement.

In the past, they have not been as visible in [Baltimore] like they should be. Keith Booth, a Baltimore native, is working hard to change that. He is much more visible, which helps a lot. And Chuck Driesell is one of the best young recruiters in the country.

4.) Which of the local DI programs have impressed you lately in recruiting?

Todd Bozeman and the Morgan State Bears have been impressing lately with their recruiting. They landed three of the top 100 prospects in the Mid-Atlantic areas from the class of 2007. He brought some respect and stability back to the program, which the program had been missing for a long time.

Towson has been solid since Pat Kennedy’s arrival, and with two solid recruiters in assistant coaches Jim Meil and Eric Skeeters, will continue to improve every year in an always tough CAA conference.

5.) Who are some of the most underrated 2008 kids from the Baltimore area?

Some of the most underrated prospects in the Baltimore area for the class of 2008 are all guards and all solid mid-major prospects.

Starting with Larry Bastfield, a 6-foot-0 point guard from Towson Catholic. He’s a unique pass-first guard that is uncommon in this Allen Iverson-era of basketball. Nothing he does wows you, but he gets it done.

Jamar Briscoe, a 5-foot-9 combo guard from Cardinal Gibbons is the complete opposite -- a scoring point guard that will need to play the lead guard position at the next level.

Troy Franklin, a 5-foot-10 point guard from Mt. Carmel is a flashy, shoot-first, Allen Iverson-type point guard.

And last but not least, Devon Branch, 6 feet 3, is a solid off-guard that is capable of playing the two at the next level.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
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August 28, 2007

Five questions

For today’s edition of "Five Questions", TerrapinTimes.com editor and publisher Keith Cavanaugh was kind enough to answer some of the most pressing questions regarding Maryland recruiting via email.

Cavanaugh started Terrapin Times magazine in 1991, launched TerrapinTimes.com in 1997 and has covered the Terps since 1988.

Cavanaugh recently authored My Way, a book about Ralph Friedgen’s life, UM coaching career and some of his most memorable recruiting 'war stories.'

1.) What's the latest on Quintrell Thomas? Is Maryland's biggest competition in this recruitment Kansas?

As a backdrop first, 'Q's' recruitment is kind of interesting, as he is still something of a 'newbie' to the process in general. He got a late start last winter, splashing on the scene at St. Pat's after being an unknown previously at his former school where he was not a national recruit.

His recruitment, and the scheduling of his visits and whatnot, are all being run by his AAU coaches, and they often know more about exactly where they are going and what is happening.

The Terps have long been in the drivers' seat for Thomas, and will stay there if Gary Williams locks this one down on his official campus visit on Sept. 21. Some of the other trips -- the UNLVs and Houstons of the world that recently cropped up -- seem a stretch/longshots at best, and may just be weekend recruiting trips. I do not see him going that far from home, or frankly anywhere but Maryland, as long as Gary shows the love -- which I think he will.

'Q' has already been on campus twice this summer -- the most of any school he is considering -- and I see Kansas as too far off as well. I think if Gary pushes hard -- and given the fact he wants to be a drive away for his family to see him play -- UM can get him if they push. It will come down to him or Massachusetts wing guard Chris Turner for the final ‘ship, and as things stand now, Thomas may have the edge. That is unless anything changes by the spring with 6-foot-11 Ralph Sampson III, who I still consider a long shot for the Terps.

2.) Who are some 2009 targets that Maryland's in good shape with?

You can mark it down now: Isaiah Armwood is the main guy for ‘09 and much will be dictated by his recruitment.

The long and bouncy athlete from Baltimore -- who plays for Stu Vetter at Montrose -- is the top priority in a bang-up class, especially locally. The only problem is the Terps may only have one 'ship to give.

We'll see what they do to finish up ‘08 first, but it may be only one, possibly two for ’09. Next to Isaiah, New Jersey power forward/center Greg Echenique, Montrose's Terrell Vinson and Tristan Spurlock, DeMatha's Naji Hibbert and former Oxon Hill standout Mo Creek lead the hit parade.

Armwood seemingly grows more each time we see him, and his face-up/perimeter range keeps getting better. Some liken him to a young Rudy Gay, and while he is not anywhere near there yet, he has a chance.

3.) How is Maryland's offensive line recruiting going thus far? Is this a major position target for the coaches, and are there any prospects that have Maryland in their final group?

Right now the bus is loading up, and Justin Gilbert and Justin Lewis are getting close to 'popping' and could do so soon. Both have UM in the lead.

Depending on possible attrition, the Terps may only take one or two more offensive linemen, at least for now, as they have several committed -- though some could easily swing between the defensive line and offensive line when all is said and done.

Otherwise, it has gone well, as has the entire class thus far. It is in the top 20-25 range nationally and should stay there. Jimmy Bennett, Jeff Braun, etc., among others, are still on the list as far as offensive linemen.

4.) Are there any local prospects that could earn offers at some point throughout the season?

Yes, and one visited camp last week -- Damascus QB Kyle Frazier, who would love a Terps offer.

He is a solid kid from a strong area program. One of the assistant coaches at Damascus is Tony Edwards, the former Terps offensive lineman who played under Ralph Friedgen when he was the Terps offensive line coach back in the day.

Given the low quarterback numbers with Jeremy Ricker and Bobby Sheahin gone and E.J. Manuel and Mike Glennon off the board, he is a local guy you’ve got to pull for. So far, no Terps offer yet, though.

5.) Is Maryland looking to add another running back to this class, or are they set with Gary Douglas?

Yes, they would like another I am sure with Lance [Ball] and Keon [Lattimore] being seniors. Heading the list is elite DeMatha athlete standout Kenny Tate, who UM is recruiting as a running back. Ralph loves big backs, and had Jason Crawford (6-foot-3) stayed eligible, he could have been the guy in his early years instead of Bruce Perry, or at least they would have platooned.

Tate is 6-foot-3 and a tremendous athlete/playmaker -- perhaps the greatest ever to come through the famed Hyattsville school. Florida and UM could be his top two, and the Terps have a very good shot.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:01 PM | | Comments (6)
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August 21, 2007

Five questions

Yesterday I took a look at each ACC school's football recruiting at the unofficial halfway point of the recruiting season. Today, Scout.com's Bob Lichtenfels was kind to enough to go a little more in-depth with Maryland's class thus far, answering five questions via email.

Lichtenfels is in his fifth year as a recruiting analyst and second year as a regional manager at Scout. Lichtenfels, who specializes in East Coast and Midwest recruiting, coached high school football for eight seasons, has personnel experience working for the Johnstown Riverhawks of the American Indoor Football League and is a frequent contributor to Fox Sports Pittsburgh.

1. How does Maryland's class stack up with the rest of the ACC thus far? Does this class rate favorably with some of UM's most recent classes, and does it have the potential to be better?

I would say it's in the middle of the pack right now. Miami, Florida State and Clemson are doing very well and then you have everyone else. I would say if you look at the average ranking per player this class is in line with past Maryland classes. The 2006 class was ranked higher than most of the Terrapins classes the past five years. Obviously, this class has the potential to be better with only half of it completed thus far.

2. Who are some commits that you think have the best chance at making a major impact for the Terps?

I really like Kevin Dorsey. I have said multiple times that he may be the best wide receiver in the country that nobody knows. This class nationally is stacked at the position, so kids like Dorsey may not get as much press as they normally should, but he is a player. I like the pickups of Masengo Kabongo and Teddy Dargan on that defensive front as well. Your defense is only as solid as the guys up front and these two are stalwarts.

3. With fourth-string quarterback Bobby Sheahin transferring, might Maryland look to add a quarterback in the 2008 class? Are there any realistic options that the Terps may take a look at?

Ideally most programs like to have the equivalent of one quarterback per class in their system. The one kid I think the Terps should look at in-state is the Wayne Warren kid at Wicomico. He is one of the best dual-threat kids I have seen anywhere.

4. Are there any lower-rated Terp commits that you feel will surprise once they arrive in College Park?

Tyler Urban has the potential to be very solid. He is kind of a tweener right now, but I think once he fills out and has a chance to focus on one certain position he will excel. Kerry Boykins also has a chance to be pretty special.

5. Who are some recruits still on the market that might be good bets to eventually commit to Maryland?

I think the Terps still have a shot at Kenny Tate. Okechukwu Okoroha and Cameron Chism are two of the local kids I think they have a pretty solid shot at landing. I don't know if I'd say they are a safe bet, but they have a shot.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:11 PM | | Comments (6)
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August 14, 2007

Five questions and Mosley update

It goes without saying that the past few weeks in Maryland football and basketball recruiting have been crazy.

But as crazy as it's been, there's the potential for even more good news on the horizon for Terps fans -- especially on the basketball front. To get a better grasp on some of this news, I brought in an insider.

Jeff Ermann of TurtleSportsReport.com was kind enough to answer some of the most pressing questions regarding Maryland football and basketball recruiting for 'Recruiting Report.' Ermann has written for TSR for more than a year, and he has also covered Missouri basketball for the Columbia (Mo.) Tribune and high school sports for The Washington Post.

1. What’s the latest on 2008 Maryland shooting guard targets Sean Mosley and Chris Turner? If the staff took one, would they keep recruiting the other?

Mosley is the higher rated kid and he's local, while Turner has gotten some good reviews this summer. Mosley will be announcing his intentions Wednesday at noon at St. Frances Academy, and I think there's a good chance some locals will be happy.

I still have a hard time seeing the Terps taking both players, with four underclassman guards already in the program, though you never know for sure.

2. Do you have any sense of whether or not the staff will take three kids or two for 2008? How does that affect 2009?

It's hard to say right now. With the commitment of Terrence Jennings last week, they have a total of three scholarships left for 2008 and 2009. That's not very many, especially when you consider there are about 10 local players listed in the national top 100 for next year's senior class. The most likely scenario has them taking two each year, though if things fall into place on several guys they really want, they could take three this year.

3. How confident is the staff that Jennings will qualify? Are Quintrell Thomas and Ralph Simpson contingency plans in case Jennings doesn’t qualify, or are they top targets regardless of Jennings’ status?

Both kids have had a lot of other schools recruiting them for a long time. Thomas has looked like a great possibility for Maryland for quite a while, though Kansas is trying to make a move on him, and he's going to be visiting Lawrence soon.

With the addition of a guard along with Jennings, the Terps may not be going all-out after these two. I think they may have been cooling on Thomas for a little while.

4. What position is the most glaring need on the football team and how is the staff addressing that need?

I think defensive end is a position at which they could stand to get some good recruits. Maryland has seemingly been cursed in defensive end recruiting -- [former Gilman and Notre Dame standout] Victor Abiamiri, [Florida's] Derrick Harvey, [one-time Terp commit] Melvin Alaeze, etc. -- and could use some luck in that department. But big-time pass rushers are always at a premium because there are so few.

They'll also need a quarterback badly next year, as it looks like they could pass on QBs this year; it's a down year for quarterbacks, especially on the East Coast.

5. How big of a get was Masengo Kabongo and who might be a good bet to follow him and become Maryland's next football commitment?

Kabongo was a very good pickup. Maryland is quickly going from very thin at defensive tackle, to stacked. He's got a lot of potential.

It's difficult to say who will be next because this is the time of year that coaches are focusing on camp and players are focusing on their senior seasons of high school. Plus, a lot of the kids who were big Maryland 'leans' ended up committing to Maryland in the past month, so it's a bit more wide-open now.

Safety Marquis Spann from New Jersey is a guy to keep an eye on. I think the Terps would love to get an early commitment from ultra-talented DT Zach Kerr of Quince Orchard High School, and have been trying hard to do so. But Kerr will probably want to check out Penn State and Virginia Tech a little more first.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:20 AM | | Comments (11)
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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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