NCF On The Trail: Maryland Terrapins

ESPN Jr. 300: What to know in the Big Ten 

November, 19, 2014
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The ESPN Jr. 300 has been updated with new rankings, and there are a ton of Big Ten commits and targets on the list. To help break down the movement and implications, here is all you need to know about the top list and the Big Ten conference.

Weekend recruiting wrap: Big Ten 

November, 18, 2014
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There was plenty of recruiting news once again this weekend so we are here to recap all that happened within the conference. This is the Big Ten weekend recruiting wrap and a small look at what is ahead within the conference.


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Best of the visits: Big Ten

November, 16, 2014
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In one of the coldest games of the season, Ohio State and Minnesota squared off in a back and forth match that ended with a Buckeyes win. The snow and cold might have impacted the play on the field, but it didn’t stop Minnesotans from enjoying the day.

The weather also didn’t keep the prospects from visiting as there were quite a few recruits in attendance.

He wasn’t visiting as a Minnesota target, but Ohio State five-star commit Jashon Cornell decided to attend the game to watch his future team in Ohio State. The Minnesota native didn’t have too far of a drive, but it takes some dedication to sit in that weather.
The Gophers did have some of their own targets on campus, too, including offensive lineman Tyler Moore. There is no confirmation if his mother's name is Mary, but there is confirming that Tyler enjoyed his trip. The Gophers weren't the only team to deal with bad weather as Wisconsin also had snow and frigid temperatures. While it was an excellent game to watch, Florida native Andre Smith made it very apparent he was aware of how cold it was. Offensive line commit David Moorman was also at the game and got the chance to do a little recruiting. Moorman spent some time ESPN 300 offensive lineman Jalen Merrick, who is also from Florida. Penn State wasn't hosting a marquee opponent in Temple, but it didn't stop some of the bigger prospects from coming out to the game. ESPN Jr. 300 wide receiver Brad Hawkins came out for the match and tweeted a picture from his seats. Hawkins is one of the bigger receiver targets along the East Coast, ranked No. 239 in the ESPN Jr. 300, so he will be a focus for the Nittany Lions in the future.

Since the East Coast and surrounding areas are so important to Penn State, it was a huge visit with ESPN Jr. 300 defensive back Eric Burrell out of Maryland. Burrell is ranked No. 80 in the 2016 class and was also on campus with 2017 offensive lineman Jordan McNair.

Maryland ended up losing its game to Michigan State, but once again it was a good game to have recruits on campus for. Some of the prospects in surrounding areas, including ESPN Jr. 300 tight end Naseir Upshur took a visit this weekend. The Terps also had some official visitors, including defensive lineman Wesley Annan.

Because of its location, Maryland has some unique selling poins for recruits, some of which Annan was able to check out for himself. Annan got to check out the Lincoln Memorial since it's so close to campus. There aren't many other schools that can boast that type of experience for recruits.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

November, 14, 2014
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A lot of the big visit weekends have come and gone for Big Ten teams, but there are still a few important weekends left. With a few big games, including Ohio State facing off against Minnesota and Nebraska taking on Wisconsin, there are still some big visiting prospects to talk about.

Nebraska vs. Wisconsin:

The Badgers are hosting the Cornhuskers in this matchup of two top-25 teams on Saturday. The Badgers will have a few commitments on hand in David Moorman, Andrew James and Brandyn Lee among others.

The commits will have the opportunity to help recruit a few of the visiting targets including teammates Andre Smith and Chris Barr.

Offensive lineman Jalen Merrick and cornerback T.J. Griffin will also be in attendance for the big game.

This is a good situation for Wisconsin as it should be an exciting game and atmosphere for the prospects, but the visitor list is small enough that the coaches can give a lot of personal attention to the uncommitted targets.


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GAITHERSBURG, Md. -- When asked why Penn State has done so well recruiting in the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., metro area, longtime commit Adam McLean quickly replied with an answer that perfectly defines the Nittany Lions’ success.

“Washington, D.C., is Nittany Lion territory,” said McLean, the nation’s No. 12 defensive tackle and the top-ranked player in Maryland in the 2015 class.

Indeed it is, even more so since James Franklin arrived in Happy Valley.


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Five-star Torrance Gibson is slated to announce his decision Monday, and there's expectations that it'll be a good day to be a Buckeye. Plus, Florida and Maryland's recruiting efforts could get a real shot in the arm after big victories this weekend over recruiting rivals.

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video Dwayne Haskins is the second-ranked QB in the 2016 class, but he's not letting the pressure of recruiting get to him. Don't sleep on Arizona State with ESPN 300 linebacker Osa Masina.


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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland recruiting coordinator John Dunn has a long list of things he can sell to prospects considering the Terrapins.

He can sell recruits on the school's tremendous academics, a campus just miles from the nation's capital and long list of distinguished alumni like Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, Seinfeld creator Larry David and legendary puppeteer Jim Henson.

But the one thing that's at the top of Dunn's list is Maryland's recent move to the Big Ten.

[+] EnlargeRandy Edsall
Doug Kapustin/MCT/Getty ImagesRandy Edsall has a lot of factors to sell to area recruits.
“I think one of the things that is a draw, is the conference itself in terms of being a national conference," said Dunn, who is in his fourth season with the Terps after previous stops at LSU and North Carolina. “You look at all the TV avenues. Academically, it's one of the best conferences in America. One of the things the Big Ten talks about is being globally respected. It's worldwide."

Dunn said the Terps also uses the conferences' postseason affiliations with bowl games like the Rose Bowl, Citrus One, Outback, Holiday and other games to sell prospects. And then there's just the overall tradition. Combine all of that together and Dunn says it's a strong pitch to a high school junior or senior.

"It's about as attractive as it gets," he said.

Now the key for Dunn and the rest of the Terps coaches is to get the players in their backyard to buy in.

Maryland's recruiting footprint is the Washington D.C.-Baltimore metro area, called the DMV. The area is better known for producing tremendous basketball players -- ever hear of Elgin Baylor or Kevin Durant -- but everybody in the high school community agrees there's been an uptick in football talent in the last 10 years.

And to win at the highest levels in the Big Ten, the Terps know they're going to have to keep some of that talent at home. It's something they've not done just yet in the 2015 class. Maryland's class doesn't rank in the top 40 of the ESPN class rankings, 15 of its 16 commitments are three-star prospects and no player among Maryland's top 15 has decided to spend his future in College Park. The 2014 class was similar as it ranked as the 50th best and included only two ESPN 300 prospects.

But high school coaches in the area believe it's the right move to sell the Big Ten to recruits and it will eventually pay off.

"We have many kids that are playing in the Big Ten, and the pull of the Big Ten is really attractive to kids in this area," said Elijah Brooks, who coaches at Hyattsville (Maryland) DeMatha Catholic, a school that's a must-stop spot for recruiters. "We think of the Big Ten as big-time football. We have kids at Wisconsin and Penn State, so when you go to those games and see 100,000 people that really impresses.

"You see that Maryland had 55,000 for the first Big Ten home game that's something that wows, too. Kids around here can relate to that and can see that Maryland is becoming a part of something special."

Gaithersburg (Maryland) Quince Orchard coach John Kelley agrees.

“I just think recruiting wise when you can sell you're playing Ohio State, playing Michigan, playing Nebraska, playing Penn State; that will sell to the kids in this area," Kelley said. “No offense to Wake Forest and schools like that in the ACC, but on the national scene that just doesn't match up against Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State. I think that plays better to 16, 17 and 18-year-old."

And while it hasn't gone exactly as the Terps have planned so far with the 2015 class, Brooks and Kelly both strongly believe Dunn and the Maryland coaches must continue to sell the lure of the Big Ten on the recruiting trial.

“I think with Maryland, it's more of a wait and see how they perform in the Big Ten before they really jump on board," Brooks said. “They have our starting running back (Lorenzo Harrison) committed, and that's going to start to lead to others in our program. To me, I think it was definitely a good move to join the Big Ten and they're doing a great job of selling it to the kids. It's the No. 1 thing they sell and they're doing a good job of it."
Randy Edsall knows recruiting is the lifeblood of his program, and he is really impressing local coaches with his effort. Plus, don’t be surprised if you see NC State finish with a flurry.

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The DMV (D.C./Maryland/Virginia) has developed into one of the most competitive areas in the country, so what recruiters do the best job in Washington D.C.? Plus, can Minnesota keep one of the top juniors in the country at home?


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Juco recruits to watch: Big Ten 

October, 6, 2014
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Junior college prospects can be an excellent way for programs to fix immediate roster needs. Because the players already have experience outside of college, they typically come to campus well prepared to hit the field early.

RecruitingNation has put together the Juco Watch List for 2015 and there are a few Big Ten targets within the list.

With plenty of holes still out there to fill, Big Ten coaches are hoping to reel in some of these big targets. Below are just a few of the most important JUCO prospects within the conference.


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Best of the visits: Big Ten

October, 5, 2014
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The slate of games this weekend churned out some exciting -- and in some cases, unexpected -- results for the Big Ten. Rutgers won its first conference game, Northwestern upset Wisconsin and Michigan State made a push toward the College Football Playoff.

A few of those teams had excellent opportunities to impress visiting prospects as well, so here is a look at some of the best recruit reactions via social media.

Michigan vs. Rutgers:

Rutgers won its first Big Ten conference game Saturday against Michigan in what turned out to be an exciting game. A blocked field goal and some explosive offensive plays gave the Scarlet Knights the win in front of several big recruiting targets.

Wide receiver Lawrence Cager is still considering Rutgers and picked a good game to visit for. The recruits could sense this was going to be an exciting game beforehand, as Michigan was in town and it was a night game.

 
Cager enjoyed himself, but there is still some steep competition for the 2015 receiver as he is also considering Ohio State, Notre Dame and Alabama, among others. Either way, this was an excellent opportunity for Rutgers to get him on campus.

 
While the game itself was exciting, there was also some pre-game excitement for the Rutgers coaching staff. Linebacker Jonathan Pollock decided to commit to the Scarlet Knights while on his visit and tweeted a picture moments after.

 
Cager and Pollock were also joined by 2015 defensive end Shareef Miller, among other prospects.

 
The reaction from the recruits so far has been positive, and all have said there is some excitement around the Rutgers program right now.

Michigan State vs. Nebraska:

This was the marquee matchup in the Big Ten this week, as both teams were ranked in the Top 25.

Nebraska made the game close late in the fourth quarter, but the Spartans dominated most of the game. The win for Michigan State helped solidify what prospects think about the program right now and the direction the Spartans are headed.

One of the bigger visitors on campus was 2015 linebacker Cassius Peat, who flew in from Arizona for his official visit.

 
Peat had plenty of other recruits around him, and that included 2016 Michigan State commitment Cameron Chambers, who was trying to recruit for his future team.

 
If Michigan State can close out its season strong and make it into the College Football Playoff, there's no telling what that could do for the future of Spartans recruiting. For now, a home win against a Top 25 team will do just fine.

Maryland vs. Ohio State:

The outcome wasn’t what Maryland had hoped for in front of a sold-out crowd, but the atmosphere and opportunity was still positive.

A few local prospects made the trip, including Maryland commitment E.J. Donahue.

 
Donahue had a good opportunity to help the coaching staff recruit, as there was a good list of uncommitted 2015 and 2016 prospects in attendance. In fact, there were even a few 2017 recruits, including Keyshwan Johnson Jr.

 
The California receiver made the trip with his dad, and there might have been a few reasons to pick this game as the younger Johnson's cousin, Michael Thomas, plays for the Buckeyes.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

October, 3, 2014
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Maryland, Rutgers and Michigan State are all hosting big in-conference opponents, which means they will all have important recruiting visitors on campus. The three programs have the biggest games within the conference and not coincidentally, they have also have the biggest visitor lists.

Here is a look at the top recruits visiting this weekend.

Michigan State vs. Nebraska


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Alabama, FSU, UF, Maryland and Oregon fans are going to have to wait on five-star DE Byron Cowart. Plus, Oregon State has made recruiting in LA a priority, so that’s why a good showing against the Trojans on Saturday is important.


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Best of the visits: Big Ten

September, 14, 2014
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Rutgers and Penn State played in what turned out to be an exciting game, right down to the wire. There were a few other big home games for Big Ten teams, which means there were important recruits on campus as well.

Here is a look through social media as to how those visits went.

Rutgers vs. Penn State:

It was a packed house and an exciting atmosphere for Rutgers first Big Ten game. There were a ton of local prospects including No. 5 ranked 2016 target Kareem Walker.


He and the other visiting prospects had good seats to take in the contest, and fellow ESPN Jr. 300 tight end Naseir Upshur gave the fans a look at their view.

This was a big game for both teams, as Penn State heavily recruits the East Coast and New Jersey. The targets for both teams said they are watching closely as to how the programs compete with a new coach at Penn State and a new conference for the Scarlet Knights.

Going into the visit a lot of the recruits said they were hoping to see an exciting game and they got just that.
Maryland vs. West Virginia:

Rutgers wasn’t the only Big Ten team hosting important prospects. Maryland had a handful of big time recruits for the game against the Mountaineers.

While the outcome on the field wasn’t what Maryland was hoping for, getting ESPN 300 athlete Ryan Davis and No. 2 ranked Byron Cowart is a huge win for the program.
Michigan vs Miami (Ohio):

The Wolverines came away with a win on Saturday, and while it wasn’t a huge visit weekend, Michigan did still have visitors on campus.

A few of the commits, including Tyree Kinnel, Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Alex Malzone were able to reconnect on the visit and spend some time at their future home.

Malzone took some video of the trip and gave the fans a look at what it’s like to walk out of Michigan’s tunnel as a recruit on game day.

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