NCF On The Trail: Maryland Terrapins

Big Ten's top recruiting visits 

January, 30, 2015
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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.

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
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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.

PENN STATE:

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.

MICHIGAN:

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:

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.

MARYLAND:

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.

OHIO STATE:

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.

INDIANA:

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.

WISCONSIN:

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.

MICHIGAN STATE:

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:

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.

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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
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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
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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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Scout's Take: Adam McLean to Maryland 

December, 4, 2014
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Maryland has reeled in Under Armour All-American Adam McLean, the state's top prospect. Read below to see what type of impact the ESPN 300 defensive tackle can make in College Park:


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Maryland won seven games for a second year in a row in 2014 and has seemingly turned the corner under Randy Edsall. With on the field success comes recruiting success, and the Terrapins picked up a second verbal in 2016 on Monday, ESPN Junior 300 linebacker Keandre Jones.


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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.


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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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