Yesterday was “National Signing Day”, a day dedicated to honoring billboards, marquees, street signs, and other signage that is scattered across this great land. It’s a day where we pause to reflect on signs and what they mean to society. Just think about how lost we’d be without them.
But seriously, yesterday was the day that high school seniors had to “spit or get off the pot” (still keepin’ it clean for my co-blogger’s sake) and actually commit to going somewhere where they will spend the best three years of their lives. You might be wondering, “How did my beloved Maryland football team do on this monumental day?” With the help of ESPN and Scouts.com, I will review the top prospects that we added to our roster.
The ACC continues to have especially strong recruiting classes, and this year Miami, Florida State, UNC, VT, and Clemson all placed in the ESPN Top 25 recruiting classes. ESPN had Maryland in the “next four” list yesterday, so this class is considered to be strong by the pros.
Maryland football suffers from the same local-area prospect poaching that the basketball team suffers from. Highly touted Good Counsel High School OLB Jelani Jenkins went to Florida, as did most of the other top prospects from the College Park area. But there was good news yesterday as 6’4 340lb All-American offensive guard Peter White (Saint Johns College H.S. in DC) announced he was going to Maryland over both Tennessee and Miami. White will continue the tradition of Jared Gaither and Bruce Campbell as a freakishly large offensive lineman. Once White turns some of his baby fat into stone he’ll be a force on the O-Line.
Going into yesterday, Maryland had also signed CB Travis Hawkins (Quince Orchard H.S. in Gaithersburg). Hawkins is another All-American local prospect, and he is a specimen. Hawkins is fast, ripped, and loves to put the hurt on anyone that has a ball in their hands. I look forward to seeing him make a Cal RB puke one day. Hawkins also chose Maryland over big name schools like Florida, Michigan, and Penn State, so this is a great signing for the Terps.
Another local guy that made the right decision was Dexter McDougle (Stafford H.S. in VA). McDougle was apparently so good on both sides of the ball that bigger programs passed over him because they didn’t know where to pigeon hole his talents. Maryland will take him! Although ESPN has his position listed simply as “athlete”, they did say that he “Consistently separates the ball from the receiver with precise timing and solid hits.” Put him at safety and Hawkins at CB, and the Terps will continue to Protect This House!
RB D.J. Adams (Norcross H.S. in GA) was the highest profile signing the Terps had this year. Scouts.com had Adams ranked #16 in the nation among RB prospects, and he chose the Terps over both Clemson, BC, and 28 other schools (literally). At 5’10” 210lbs, Adams tends to run people over, and if you quickly tap the X-button he’s got a great burst of speed to make the first guy miss. He won’t break too many runs, but he will keep the chains moving for the next four years.
The Terps did get one highly rated QB. C.J. Brown comes from Seneca Valley H.S. in PA. Apparently, Brown has all the raw talent in the world, but is a bit of a “project QB”. ESPN used the phrase “happy feet” to describe him, which alarms me. They also said he’s got great arm strength and the ability to scramble, so those are major positives.
A look at the rest of the recruiting class reveals that the Terps once again focused on defense and the running game. Ralph Friedgen has built a system that relies on those two elements, and it looks like his staff is doing a great job of feeding that system with solid talent in the right spots. Despite the fact that the Terps lost some of the top area prospects to the more “national” programs, Maryland did a great job of mining local schools, getting a few All-Americans and a long list of solid local prospects to become Terps. There are a lot of impact players on the list, and the five guys I mentioned above will make their presence felt right away – whether they’re creating holes, bursting through holes, or closing them. Great job Maryland.