The Florida connections continue. After landing a few from the Sunshine State last year, Maryland football received their first Florida commitment for 2011 in Lauderdale Lakes DE/OLB Shuan Ward. The good news comes from JC Shurburtt, ESPN's recruiting analyst.
He's quite the hot commodity, with heavy interest from Miami, Purdue, Nebraska, Florida State, Texas A&M, and Georgia. While most players haven't been assigned "stars" yet, he's probably a 4 star type of talent. Getting an early commitment from someone like this bodes very well not only for this class, but also relations with the Sunshine State itself.
As for the type of player he is, think along the lines of some of the recent players Maryland has signed: David Mackall, Javarie Johnson, Desmond Kearse. He's another very fast, slightly undersized speed rusher that can cause havoc off the edge. He's been called "a blur off the edge" and ESPN has been impressed with him in the past in general.
Considering that both Mackall and Johnson are currently at LB, it will get mighty crowded there. But he's even smaller than those two, so I wouldn't be surprised if he starts out as a linebacker.
In terms of the big picture, Maryland is off to a very strong start to 2011; all three of their commitments seem like very legitimate players (not "fringe guys" like Matt Robinson - not hating on Matt, I actually think he'll surprise a lot of people). Ward could be the best of them. The Florida connections continue to be strong (thank you, Don Brown) and that can only be a good thing. But the way they're recruiting down there is changing - Ward might signal the end of the "under-the-radar" type of commitment, which were the only type they got last year, instead recruiting legit, well-known guys. Considering the amount of talent down there, that's exciting.
Oh, and the defense gets faster by the day. Maryland: The U of the North.