NCF On The Trail: Maryland Terrapins

Louisville signed the 30th-best 2015 class and is already off to a great start in 2016. The Cardinals have a good group of receivers on board and look to be in great shape with ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Jawon Pass.

The longest days in Big Ten recruiting

February, 6, 2015
Feb 6
Recruiting can be a non-stop grind for the coaches who have to procure that talent. Some days are longer than others. We talked to several Big Ten head coaches this week and asked them to describe their longest days out on the trail. Here are their stories:

Nebraska's Mike Riley

"It seemed the whole thing was full of long, memorable days. But when recruiting reopened in January after the dead period, I’ve got our personnel staff and our coaches usually making my schedule, where I need to go. So my first day out, I visited North and Central High in Omaha. I did a home visit with Michael Decker. I went to the Outland (Trophy) banquet, and I did another home visit with Daishon Neal. And then it was 10 o’clock at night. It was a full day, and it was a great day, because I hadn’t been in those high schools before. I loved meeting the coaches and seeing our players at the high schools. I always like home visits. I think it’s a real important part of the process."

Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald

"My last week of recruiting, I started on Sunday, flew from Chicago to the Bay Area. Then Sunday night, flew down to L.A. I was in L.A. on Monday and then Monday night I flew to Dallas, spent Tuesday in Dallas, flew Tuesday night to Houston, spent Wednesday in Houston, flew to Atlanta, spent Thursday in Atlanta, and then spent Friday in Chicago. Spent a lot of time at Chick-fil-A. It was a long week and our staff did a great job."

Michigan State's Mark Dantonio

"It hit me when I came out of a hotel room one day. I stayed in the same chain of hotels, and I walked out of the room and down the hall and I couldn't remember what room I was in. I walked back and took a guess on which room I was in, just to check my key to make sure I was in the same room. I was basically going from place to place for two weeks and sometimes two places in a day. I think I was in Orlando. I got back in the room. There were three doors and I guessed the right one."

Penn State's James Franklin

"One day I remember from a previous year. I had just taken a job [at Vanderbilt] and I was flying around and my luggage got lost and I wore the same suit for five days. I'm a hugger, and my hugs got a little less intimate as the week went on. My luggage couldn't keep up with me. Every time I got to a city or a state, the next day the luggage would get there and I'd already gone to the next state. It wasn't real fun. I was going to Target and buying underwear and undershirts, all that kind of stuff, and kept dousing myself with deodorant and cologne. It didn't help that we were flying commercially."

Rutgers' Kyle Flood

"We had one day where we went from New Jersey to Chicago to Tampa and then back to New Jersey. We started at about 6 in the morning and I finished at about 2 in the morning. I was with Norries Wilson and Jim Panagos at different legs of the trip. Norries came with me to Chicago and then to Tampa. He stayed there and went to Jacksonville. And then I picked up Coach Panagos in Tampa and he came back with me. We were fortunate. Everything ran according to schedule, the way I like it."

Maryland's Randy Edsall

"One day, I was here in Maryland, I was down on the east coast of Florida, then to the west coast, and then all the way to Mobile, Alabama. Then the next day I was in Charlotte and then Virginia Beach. Got all that done, really, in a day and a half. You kind of think, 'hey, what day is it, what time is it,' all those sort of things. But those are the things you have to do."

Minnesota's Jerry Kill

"I've gone from Mobile to Mississippi to Texas, and back to Chicago. But the most unique story I can tell you is something that happened for the first time ever this year. I was on a plane that was starting to go down the runway when I had a kid commit. Seriously, we were going down the runway, I didn't think we'd hear from the kid and he calls me. I'm trying to get the pilot to keep the wheels down so I can talk to him."

Indiana's Kevin Wilson

"My longest day was when we finished up on Martin Luther King day. We had a team leadership program going on, we had recruits on campus and then we had to leave Bloomington and go to Shadyshide, Ohio. By the time we get back to Columbus, it's about 1 a.m. Shoot, there was one day where we had official visits going, I was interviewing a couple of guys for behind-the-scenes jobs, and we had a walk-on day. Those kinds of days wear you out, and you're like, "Who planned all this [stuff]? You're killing me?" And it was me. I'm the guy who planned it. Sometimes we all get screwed by travel and those days, and you're like 'hey, just got to get it done. I'm kind of tired. I want to put my feet up here for like 15 minutes and take a little nap.'"
Maryland sits in one of the most hotly contested recruiting areas in the Big Ten footprint. The Terrapins battled some big-name schools on the recruiting trail this year and won a few of those skirmishes. I caught up with head coach Randy Edsall to talk about his 2015 class in this recruiting Q&A:

It's easy to see that you went heavy on offensive and defensive linemen with this class. Was that the priority this time around?

Randy Edsall: That was out big focal point, offensive and defensive line. I was looking to bring in five to six offensive linemen, four to five defensive linemen. So we were able to meet our needs and bring in quality people, and that’s going to allow us to be able to do more in the Big Ten. That’s the one thing after being in the Big Ten for a year. I anticipated it, but being in the league for a year, it’s a lineman league. And what we’ve got to do is get those guys who have that length and width and girth and power you’re looking for, and we were able to do that.

Getting Adam McLean and Quarvez Boulware to stay home, along with a lot of other homegrown talent, how important was that?

[+] EnlargeRandy Edsall
AP Photo/Nick WassRandy Edsall isn't afraid to go against big-name programs that recruit heavily in Maryland's footprint.
Edsall: It was good. Nine out of our 18 guys are from the DMV, so from that standpoint it hits upon the message that we’re trying to send. Having Adam change his mind and come to Maryland was big. He’s an energy guy, a passionate guy, a guy with a lot of ability. He's a guy who has those unique qualities that people rally around him. Quarvez just continues that pipeline we’ve had from Friendship Collegiate Academy to our program. I think it says a lot about those kids, but it also says a lot about our program and what we’ve been able to do for those kids who have come here. To have another one come from Friendship is huge, and he’s a powerful, quick, explosive young man.

You didn't get everybody you wanted on signing day, but you were swimming in some pretty deep waters in recruiting, going against SEC powers, Ohio State and others. What does that say about your program that you were in those battles and won some of them?

Edsall: We’re not afraid to compete against anybody. We’re going to go out there and go after the guys that we feel can help us get better and be able to compete and win championships. It doesn’t matter who it is; we’ll go down swinging. As we continue to put more of the pieces together with our facilities coming and all the other things we've been able to do here, kids see this is a place where, 'I can accomplish all my goals, be around a coaching staff that’s going to make me better in every phase of my life and have a lot of opportunities for life after football by being in this area.'

What did you see out of the quarterback in this class, Gage Shaffer?

Edsall: He’s a big, tall kid with good athleticism, and he's got a good arm. He’s a competitor. He’s got a lot of passion for the game. He was a basketball player in high school as well, so he's one of those guys who's a multisport athlete. And he's hungry and eager to continue to get better.

Being in the Big Ten for a year, how did that change or even help you in recruiting?

Edsall: I thought it helped us. The conference and the side we’re on, the division we’re in and the competition we’re going to go against year in and year out. The other thing I think is that the Big Ten Network played a part, because of the exposure. All the things we thought the Big Ten would bring us, we utilized and it really helped us in the recruiting process.

With all these offensive linemen coming in, what's your philosophy on whether to redshirt those guys or play them right away?

Edsall: It depends on them. You usually say the closer you are to the line of scrimmage, the harder it is to play early. The thing about it is, you know hey, any of these guys, if they come in and they’re the best guys, then guess what? They’re going to be on the field playing. If there’s a role we define or that they define for themselves by showing what they can do, and they pick everything up, then they’ll be out on the field. But we’re not going to put them on the field unless they're the best guy when they get here. We want them to have that mindset coming in. I don’t like to tell them I’m going to redshirt anybody. I want them working as hard as they can to win a spot from the time they get here.

Can you describe how competitive it is now recruiting in your area? It seemed like just about everybody was coming in there this year.

Edsall: By going to the Big Ten, it brought a lot more people in here. There are good players in this area. We know it’s going to be a fight, and we know we're not going to go after every player in this area for a variety of reasons. Some might not fit what we're looking for, or we might not have a need that particular year. But the ones we go after, we know we have to put our best foot forward. And the biggest thing we’ve got to do is develop these relationships with these young men at an early age, and build those relationships so that they see everything that the university and this area has to offer them. So then they really can't say no. As we continue to get our facilities done and everything else, that gives us more ammunition in our belts to use.

Completed class: Maryland Terrapins

February, 4, 2015
Feb 4
Maryland has announced its 2015 class:

ESPN 300
Adam McLean DT -- Quince Orchard High School, Maryland

Quarvez Boulware OG -- Friendship Collegiate Academy, Washington, D.C.

Gage Shaffer QB-PP -- Frankfort High School, West Virginia
Gus Little ILB -- Massaponax High School, Virginia
Ellis McKennie OG -- McDonogh School, Maryland
Ty Johnson ATH -- Fort Hill High School, Maryland
D.J. Moore WR -- Imhotep Institute Charter High School, Pennsylvania
E.J. Donahue OT -- Linganore High School, Maryland
Brett Zanotto OLB -- Franklin Regional High School, Pennsylvania
Mason Zimmerman OC -- Anthony Wayne High School, Ohio
Will McClain OG -- Middletown High School, Maryland
Jahrvis Davenport WR -- Robinson High School, Florida
Mbi Tanyi OG -- George Bush High School, Texas
Oseh-lie Saine DE -- Worcester Academy, Massachusetts
Isaiah Davis ILB -- St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School, Virginia
Keiron Howard OG -- Potomac High School, Maryland
Darnell Savage Jr. ATH -- Caravel Academy, Delaware

Nick Rubinowicz K -- American Heritage-Boca-Delray High, Florida
Signing day is less than 48 hours away. While you breathlessly await your team's official unveiling of its class and chew your fingernails over late decisions, a great debate continues over whether recruiting rankings really tell us anything.

For a little more enlightenment, we decided to look at this year's first-team All-Big Ten honorees to see where each player ranked as a prospect. Any player on offense or defense who made either the coaches' first team or was a first-team pick by the media was categorized through their ESPN Recruiting rankings (we'll save kicker prospect rankings for another conversation).

Here's what we found:

Five-star recruits


Four-star recruits (7)
Three-star recruits (14)
Two-star recruits (2)
Not ranked (3)

* -- junior college recruits

Three-star recruits typically don't generate a lot of hype on signing day, but that's where the bulk of the Big Ten's top performers checked in out of high school. That includes 2014 Big Ten offensive player of the year and Doak Walker Award winner Gordon; Big Ten offensive lineman of the year and Outland Trophy winner Scherff; Coleman, who also rushed for 2,000 yards; Big Ten receiver of the year Lippett; Big Ten linebacker of the year Hull; Big Ten defensive back of the year Drummond; a possible first-round pick in Waynes; 2013 Big Ten defensive lineman of the year Calhoun.

Seven four-star prospects more than lived up to their rankings, especially Barrett, Bosa and Zettel in the 2014 season. But there were almost as many two-star and not-ranked prospects as there were four-star recruits on the All-Big Ten first team. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin and Minnesota were able to unearth those diamonds in the rough.

The All-Big Ten second teams are another eclectic mix. They include four-star prospects who fulfilled their promise such as Ohio State defensive tackle Michael Bennett, Maryland receiver Stefon Diggs and Wisconsin center Dan Voltz. There are also a whole bunch of three-star guys who more than reached their potential, like Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, Minnesota running back David Cobb, Ohio State offensive tackle Taylor Decker. Then there are the true overachievers, with two-star prospects like Nebraska's Ameer Abdullah and Northwestern's Nick VanHoose, and guys who were almost completely overlooked in Michigan State left tackle Jack Conklin and Minnesota defensive back Eric Murray.

The lesson here? Nothing is really guaranteed in recruiting rankings. While you may be focusing on the four- and five-star guys on Wednesday with good reason, sometimes the two- and three-star prospects become the ones you really have to watch on Saturdays.
New Year's Day and national signing day used to be the two most disheartening days on the Big Ten football calendar.

Make no mistake, New Year's Day had been much more of a buzzkill. The Big Ten's poor results on an afternoon where it clustered its top postseason games on big stages damaged the league's reputation and depressed its fans.

National signing day had been a different kind of downer. Unlike New Year's Day, when the Big Ten's collective struggles were front and center, national signing day pushed the league off to the side. The Big Ten went from being embarrassed on Jan. 1 to being largely ignored on the first Wednesday in February.

[+] EnlargeUrban Meyer
Christian Petersen/Getty ImagesOhio State raised a trophy in January and raised expectations for the Big Ten on signing day.
Of course, this was ESPN's fault, as all things were/are. ESPN's in-season obsession with all things SEC spilled into its recruiting coverage, Big Ten fans contended.

Two things to note:

1. Recruiting rankings are inherently subjective

2. The numbers don't lie. Every recruiting list shows more elite prospects in the South -- many of whom choose to play for SEC schools -- than in the Midwest

The bottom line is signing day had become more of an SEC and ACC event than a Big Ten exposition. There's a reason why every year around this time, I snarkily ask our friends in ACC country if they're ready for the biggest day on their football calendar.

But signing day 2015, arriving in just 36 hours, could have a different feel around the Big Ten. For the first time in a while, the Big Ten is the most talked-about league in the sport. Ohio State just won the first College Football Playoff national championship, securing its first title -- and the Big Ten's -- in 12 seasons. The Buckeyes capped a Big Ten bowl season that far surpassed expectations (6-5 overall, 2-0 in New Year's Six games).

Michigan made the top coaching move of the offseason by landing Jim Harbaugh. Two former Big Ten quarterbacks shined Sunday night in Super Bowl XLIX, with former Michigan signal-caller Tom Brady coming away with his fourth ring.

The Big Ten has tangible momentum that it wants to sustain through the offseason, beginning with national signing day.

How realistic is that goal?

Signing day is largely about hype, and the Big Ten undoubtedly will be discussed more this year than in the past.

Ohio State's class, ranked No. 7 nationally by ESPN RecruitingNation, will be examined as the Buckeyes bring in standouts such as Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell, and hope to keep Torrance Gibson. Unlike many Big Ten coaches, Ohio State's Urban Meyer eschews redshirting and has quickly turned young players into key contributors. Meyer's first full class in 2013 -- featuring Joey Bosa, J.T. Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott, Vonn Bell, Jalin Marshall and Darron Lee -- played a huge role in this year's title run.

Michigan's first class under Harbaugh also will be in the spotlight. It will be small -- the Wolverines have only nine verbal commitments -- but Harbaugh already has bolstered the quarterback spot with Zach Gentry, who had originally picked Texas. Michigan could finish strong with tight end Chris Clark, linebacker Roquan Smith and cornerback Iman Marshall, all of whom are announcing their decisions on signing day.

James Franklin's first full class at Penn State should get Lions fans excited for the future. Franklin and his staff put much of the group together last spring, landing 13 commitments before the end of May. They've upgraded their top problem unit, offensive line, with recruitsSterling Jenkins and Ryan Bates, to go along with junior college transfer Paris Palmer.

Michigan State is arguably the nation's top player development program. But after consecutive top-5 finishes, the Spartans' recruiting efforts are getting noticed. MSU is poised to sign a top-30 class and might have locked up its future offensive backfield with quarterback Brian Lewerke and running back L.J. Scott. Twin brothers Andrew and David Dowell, one-time Northwestern and Kentucky commits, recently switched their pledge to MSU.

Wisconsin and Nebraska also could end up among ESPN RecruitingNation's top 30 classes. Not surprisingly, the Badgers have seen attrition in their class after the surprising departure of coach Gary Andersen to Oregon State, but they've bolstered their offense with running backs Bradrick Shaw and Jordan Stevenson, tight end Kyle Penniston and quarterback Austin Kafentzis. Nebraska also went through a coaching change but has made a nice push under Mike Riley and his innovative recruiting approach, landing offensive lineman Jalin Barnett and holding onto defensive back Eric Lee and others.

As colleague Mitch Sherman wrote last week, Big Ten coaches had no consensus about whether the league's recent on-field surge would improve recruiting, especially for non-traditional powers. Maryland, despite losing two recruits to Indiana this past weekend, will be a program to watch Wednesday as linemen Austrian Robinson and Isaiah Prince make their decisions. Illinois hopes to upgrade its defensive line with Jamal Milan, who also is considering Minnesota and Indiana. Minnesota, Rutgers, Northwestern, Indiana and others look to lock up solid classes on Wednesday.

There will be Big Ten teams that don't move the needle regionally or nationally, as there are every year. But there's optimism about the league's overall recruiting efforts, fueled by the bowl/playoff momentum.

The Big Ten changed its fortunes on New Year's Day. National signing day looms, and league should gain a greater market share of the spotlight, providing a springboard to the offseason.

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

January, 30, 2015
Jan 30

The last visit weekend before signing day means the last effort to sway recruits and land some final prospects. There are quite a few important visitors within the Big Ten this weekend, so here is a look at the most important visitors for each team.

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Despite making a commitment to Alabama last week, ESPN 300 offensive tackle Isaiah Prince said Wednesday he's visiting Maryland and will give the Terps a solid look.

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Best of the visits: Big Ten

January, 25, 2015
Jan 25
It was a huge recruiting visit weekend in the Big Ten, as eight commitments had taken place in the conference by Sunday morning. With a little more than a week left until signing day (Feb. 4), programs have put their recruiting efforts into overdrive to try to close out their classes strong.

These visits were crucial to help get some of those big targets to make final decisions, so here's a look at some of the best social posts from those recruiting visits.


The Nittany Lions had a ton of visitors on campus, mostly comprised of current commitments. Offensive line commit Steven Gonzalez took a picture with all the visitors and his future offensive line coach, Herb Hand.

The Penn State coaches did land a commitment from one of their visitors in defensive tackle Robert Windsor on Sunday morning. The staff had a few uncommitted prospects on hand, including defensive end Shareef Miller.


The Michigan staff was hoping this weekend would produce a few commitments, and it did just that. The Wolverines had six 2015 commitments prior to the weekend but ended up flipping former Texas quarterback commit Zach Gentry during the Michigan basketball game.

Gentry is an ESPN 300 prospect and the No. 9-ranked pocket passer in the 2015 class. He joins fellow quarterback commit Alex Malzone in Michigan’s class and will help bolster much-needed competition at the position.

Florida defensive end Reuben Jones also committed to the Wolverines on his visit and happens to fill another need on the depth chart.

The Wolverines are still hoping the weekend produces a few more commitments from some of the visitors, including defensive back Chris Williamson.


Illinois had some big visitors on campus, including defensive tackle Jamal Milan and running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn. Both prospects would be huge additions to the class, so it was only the finest ice sculptures and cake that came out for the visitors.


The Terps have been on a nice streak of landing commitments, and the coaches continued that this weekend by getting 2016 wide receiver D.J. Turner.


The Buckeyes had an excellent weekend for big visitors, as the visit weekend coincided with the national championship celebration. It gave the recruits a chance to see all the trophies Ohio State won this season while seeing what else the Buckeyes have to offer.

Danny Clark, a 2017 quarterback commit for Ohio State, was on campus doing some recruiting for his future team.

The coaches were doing a ton of recruiting themselves, especially with the 2015 official visitors. Wide receiver K.J. Hill showed off the cookie cake he received on his visit.

Since the 2015 class only has a few pieces left to fill, Ohio State also had a junior day of sorts with some of the top 2016 targets on campus. ESPN Junior 300 receiver Austin Mack stopped to take a selfie with the head man himself on the trip.


If you haven’t noticed that cookie cakes and desserts are a common theme of recruiting, then here's another reminder. Hoosiers quarterback commit Austin King tweeted a picture of his cookie cake on his visit to Indiana.


The Badgers had a successful weekend of their own by landing two big commitments. The first was defensive tackle Kraig Howe from Ohio, who tweeted his announcement.

The second was 2015 running back Bradrick Shaw, who also took to Twitter to announce his decision.

Howe fills a need for the Badgers and Shaw gives Wisconsin three running back commits ranked as four-star prospects between the 2015 and 2016 classes. The Wisconsin staff is reloading at running back to continue the excellent tradition at the position.


The Spartans didn’t have a ton of big-name visitors on campus this weekend, but the coaches were hosting a very important target for the 2015 class. ESPN 300 linebacker Quart’e Sapp took his visit to Michigan State and took to Twitter to show off his time on the trip.

Sapp would be a huge get for the Spartans, who find themselves in his top four along with Miami, Missouri and Tennessee.


Nebraska’s new staff has hit a groove in recruiting and hosted a big visitor list this weekend, including plenty of the Cornhuskers’ commitments. Offensive lineman Christian Gaylord shared a picture of some of the offensive linemen on the visit in uniform.

Linebacker Tyrin Ferguson also took to Twitter to show his time in Lincoln.

The staff did also have a few targets on campus who were not committed to Nebraska, including Kansas State commit Mohammed Barry.

Nebraska was also hosting a few commitments it is trying to hang onto and convince to stay on board come signing day. That included defensive lineman Daishon Neal, who became that much more important with the decommitment of Reuben Jones.


When Maryland announced its plans for a $155 million upgrade to its football facilities, recruits took notice. The plans call for a renovation to Cole Field House, construction of an indoor practice facility and integration between academics and athletics.

[+] EnlargeRandy Edsall
Tony Quinn/Icon SMIRandy Edsall has made upgrading facilities a key measure in his recruiting approach.
Coach Randy Edsall called the move a game-changer for the program, especially in terms of recruiting.

“With these kids it shows that the university is making a commitment to football. It shows that there’s a commitment here to make the student-athlete the best it can be,” Edsall said. “It shows with the other things we have that we’re heading in the right direction and you’ve got everything here. You’ve got the quality education, Big Ten football and now you can train and develop yourself with the state-of-the-art facilities that aren’t going to be any better anywhere else in the country.”

Edsall has been talking about adding new facilities since he was hired at Maryland. Coming from UConn and seeing the impact the new facilities had on their athletics and recruiting, Edsall knew it was imperative for the Terps to upgrade the facilities to compete with bigger programs and a bigger, wealthier league.

The upgrades became that much more important when Maryland joined the Big Ten as Maryland is currently without an indoor practice facility, which most conference programs have. Edsall also believes the weight room isn’t big enough and the current training room doesn’t meet the needs of the student-athletes in terms of preventative measures and rehabilitation.

Local recruits and Maryland targets were clamoring for the upgrades almost as much as Edsall. The prospects echoed Edsall’s thoughts on how the facilities can help the athletes, and they recognize the new additions will help the Terps on the recruiting trail.

Dwayne Haskins, a Potomac, Maryland prospect, is the No. 26 prospect in the 2016 class. He is a big target for the Terps, and as the No. 2-ranked pocket-passer in the class, Haskins could help change the future of the program.

Haskins has scholarship offers from nearly every big program in the country. That means he knows what everyone else has to offer and is excited that Maryland will be catching up.

“It does help out because the in-state kids are used to going to Texas and Florida and seeing those facilities, then coming home and seeing the smaller weight room compared to those bigger schools,” he said. “So with them getting the new facilities, it definitely gives that look that people want and makes it more comparable to other schools. Now that the facilities are there, it makes it easier to pitch the school to recruits.”

Linebacker Keandre Jones is an ESPN Junior 300 prospect who committed to Maryland in December, shortly after the facilities upgrade was approved. Jones said the facilities played a big part in his decision to stay home and choose Maryland over some of the other big offers he had.

Prospects are quick to recognize that while the upgrades and new plans are exciting and nice, and they are part of the decision process, they don’t necessarily make the decision for them. While it helps even the playing field for Maryland with bigger schools and gets the Terps into the conversation, it will only be part of the decision.

That’s where Edsall is hoping that their plans stick out and put them in a different category with their recruiting targets. Not only are there plans to upgrade the athletic side, but Edsall says Maryland will integrate academics into the facilities.

A big part of Maryland’s recruiting pitch includes academics and opportunities after college. Edsall believes the new facilities will only enhance that pitch and the school’s commitment to academics.

“... We’re going to encompass the dining facility, academics, the locker room, weight room, all those things, but now you’re encompassing [Maryland’s] academy of innovation and entrepreneurship within this,” he said. “That really states that here at Maryland it’s all about the student-athlete, not just the athlete. You go out and sell this and show the prospective student-athletes that you’re recruiting, and you’re giving them an opportunity where at other places it’s not happening.”
ESPN 300 prospect Holton Hill is one of only three elite cornerbacks remaining on the board in the 2015 class, and that means coaches are doing all they can to land his commitment.

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Best of the visits: Big Ten

January, 18, 2015
Jan 18
We are in the final contact period before signing day, which means official visits are upon us. This weekend was an important one for the Big Ten, as plenty of top targets were on campuses. The visiting prospects took to Twitter and social media to document their trips.

Here is a look at the visits from the eyes of the recruits:

It wouldn’t be a visit weekend without cookie cakes, so to kick this post off properly, Northwestern commit Simba Short shared his cookie cake spread while on his visit to see the Wildcats.

Cookie cakes are the way to any recruit’s commitment.

Michigan State doesn’t have much to fill in the 2015 class, but linebacker Anthony McKee is one prospect the coaches would still like to land. McKee took a visit to see the Spartans this weekend and is slated to make it out to Wisconsin and Minnesota as well.

Maryland only had a few official visitors on campus in commit Adam McLean and Oseh Saine, who committed on his visit this weekend.

Offensive lineman Quarvez Boulware also committed to Maryland this weekend, but he came up on an unofficial visit.

McLean took to Twitter to show off the entertainment side of his visit at a restaurant.

While the Terps gained the most from their visit weekend, there is no denying Michigan had the biggest prospects on campus.

The Wolverines hosted ESPN 300 prospects Roquan Smith and Chris Clark as well as South Carolina commit Damon Arnette and defensive end Shelton Johnson.

Smith is the No. 29-ranked prospect in the country and became immediately interested when Michigan hired defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin. The Wolverines vaulted into his top list, and Smith set up this visit to see what Michigan has to offer.

Smith will decide on signing day, and as of right now Michigan will be on his short list for that decision.

The Wolverines are also on the short list for Clark, who was committed at one point. He has UCLA and Michigan in his top two and still has a visit to see the Bruins next weekend before deciding.

The two uncommitted prospects were joined on the visit by a few Michigan commitments, including safety Tyree Kinnel.

The visit was just as important for Kinnel as the uncommitted prospects because Kinnel got a chance to help recruit, but he also got the opportunity to build a relationship with the new coaching staff in person.

Penn State’s big visit weekend won’t be until next weekend, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an exciting weekend for the Nittany Lions. Coach James Franklin posed with Flavor Flav at Penn State's basketball game. Flav later tweeted he has a cousin on Penn State’s basketball team.

Illinois had a good opportunity to get a few 2016 prospects on campus as it waits for a few big 2015 visitors next weekend. Offensive lineman Nik Urban made the trip and tweeted he was too small for his car, a problem most offensive linemen likely have.

Iowa also hosted a 2016 target in running back Toren Young, who took to Twitter to express his feelings on the visit.

Minnesota still has a few big 2015 targets left in this class, and one was on campus this weekend in defensive tackle Jamal Milan. Milan still has a visit to Illinois on Jan. 23 and will make his decision on signing day between the Gophers, Illinois, Indiana and Iowa State.

==To The Airport  for my official visit= at the University of Minnesota ==(=

A photo posted by @bigmanmal on

In an effort to keep fans out of the recruiting process, Maryland is turning to one person who has a very particular set of skills, skills acquired over a very long career. Skills that make him a nightmare for people who bother recruits online.

And recruits aren't opposed to Bryan Mills (also known as Liam Neeson) scaring some people off Twitter so their eligibility isn't Taken.

"One fan told me if I came to their school he would take me out to eat my entire four years of college," said Tommy Hatton, who was offered by Maryland, among others, before committing to North Carolina. "It weirded me out."

Some players just consider the source, though, when it comes to fan tweets. "After I decommitted from Penn State a guy said, 'Now that McLean's gone we can find a better defensive tackle finally. He sucked anyway.'" former PSU commit and current Maryland commit Adam McLean said. "That was funny to me."

Maryland recruiting well among B1G ranks 

December, 30, 2014
Maryland made its way into the Foster Farms Bowl to play Stanford after a 7-5 season, going 4-4 within conference play. In their first Big Ten season the Terrapins beat Indiana, Iowa, Penn State and Michigan, and potentially started a new rivalry with the Nittany Lions. There are still some big recruiting questions for Maryland leading up to signing day, but this class already has some big pieces in tow.

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video Malik Jefferson's commitment could alter recruiting landscape in Texas, says one Big 12 coach. Plus, where do the Power 5 conferences stack up when it comes to ESPN 300 commitments.

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