National Signing Day 2012: Overviewing Maryland's Commitments, Back Seven Edition

Logan at a Nike Camp. via media.247sports.com

We're closing on National Signing Day, the Egg McMuffin of all football recruiting days. It's a huge event all across the country; for Maryland, we'll be keeping a close eye on guys like D.J. Reader, Korren Kirven, and Stefon Diggs, all of whom are considering Maryland and would provide a huge late boost to the class. But there's already quite a sizable and, in all honesty, not entirely unimpressive base in place for Maryland. Over the past few days, we've be overviewing that base in a series of three posts. Today, the back seven.You can read the skill position players here and the linemen here.

Linebackers

With two transfers (Ryan Donohue and Ben Pooler) and two starters graduating (Alex Wujciak and Adrian Moten), linebacker was expected to be kind of a rough patch for Maryland's defense this past year. Demetrius Hartsfield returned as a starter and Darin Drakeford was expected to play a big role after a monster sophomore year off the bench, but beyond that there was inexperience and a real lack of depth in the linebacking corps.

Defensive coordinator Todd Bradford decided to make one of the linebacker positions a hybrid defensive back spot, known as STAR. This meant Kenny Tate, Maryland's all-world safety, was moved down to a new position, and we all know how that went. With him went Mario Rowson (who actually did very well in that spot), Avery Graham, and Desmond Kearse.

With the hire of Brian Stewart, the Terps look to be headed to a 3-4. This means a different look in the linebacking corps, with four of them on the field at all times (although there have been rumors that may simply drop back one of their defensive linemen to a standing position).

Assuming some of those guys move back to their original spots and with the need for an extra linebacker on the field, Maryland was always going to be in need of a whole host of linebackers in this class. And boy did they get them.

Abner Logan

HS / Hometown: Dexter/ Brookline, Mass.
Measurables: 6-1 / 212/ 4.57
Other Schools: Boston College, UConn, NC State, Northwestern, Syracuse
Recruiter: Keith Dudzinski
Rankings and Profiles:

---Rivals: , #24 OLB
---ESPN: , 77, #28 ILB
---Scout: , #50 OLB
---247: , 92, #29 OLB, #233 overall

Video Highlights:

Other Videos: [1]

Logan can play either running back or linebacker, but with Wes Brown and Albert Reid coming in and with Maryland's total lack of linebacker depth, it's all but guaranteed that he plays on defense. That's good - he looks better on that side of the ball.

Massachusetts isn't known for the highest quality of football, but it's better than some of the other northeastern states. As a result, you've got a highlight video of a guy who is simply bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone else on the field.

His speed is very impressive, and should come in handy as a potential pass-rusher in that new 3-4 system. Although Maryland is bringing in a lot of freshman 'backers this year, there are only a few who could possibly play from day one. Abner Logan is one of those guys.

Brock Dean

HS / Hometown: Bishop McDevitt / Harrisburg, Pa.
Measurables: 6-1 / 215
Other Schools: Pitt, Temple
Recruiter: Greg Gattuso
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: , 78, #71 OLB
---Scout: , #59 ILB
---247: , 80, #104 OLB
Video Highlights:


Brock Dean may be my favorite recruit in Maryland's 2012 class. He's a hard-nosed player who runs to the ball and hits hard, but manages to do so with great tackling form. He's got a good burst of speed, is very strong, and just looks like he was born to play linebacker.

Dean is more likely to end up on the inside, and is another guy who could end up playing from day one. He was told by the Maryland coaches when they were recruiting him that they wanted him to start for four years, so we'll have to wait and see if that includes a redshirt season to start it out. With an extra Mike spot in the 3-4, it's certainly possible he gets a shot this year (although I'd guess Hartsfield and Goree).

Dallas Griffiths

HS / Hometown: North Florida Christian / Tallahassee, Fl.
Measurables: 6-2 / 220 / 4.5
Other Schools: Georgia Tech, South Florida, Southern Miss
Recruiter: Lyndon Johnson
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: , 77, #30 ILB
---Scout:
---247: , 76, #61 ILB
Video Highlights:



Ben B. said Griffiths reminds him of a mini-Wujciak, and it's easy to see. Like Wuj, he's an inside linebacker who looks a little bit crazy, but also has great strength and is very good against the run. That's Griffiths' real strength: diagnosing and then bursting through the whole to disrupt running plays. He's not as big as Wuj but quicker; we'll see if that holds up in college. He looks a very sure tackler who can also deliver a blow at the point of impact.

It's not likely that he'll see the field next year, but given some time to put on weight, he could be a real asset for the Terps at that Mike spot in the future.

Stefan Houston

HS / Hometown: Clarksburg/ Clarksburg, Md.
Measurables: 6-3 / 200/ 4.5
Other Schools: East Carolina, Rutgers, West Virginia
Recruiter: Tom Brattan
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals: , #55 ILB
---ESPN: , 77, #18 OLB
---Scout: , #132 OLB
---247: , 82

Video Highlights:

This video is from the 2011 Crab Bowl, so Houston is playing against the best players in Maryland. [EDIT: No it's not, and no he isn't]. While he's playing wide receiver for those first two teams, you can see that rare combination of speed and size that he possesses. That is only backed up by his plays at linebacker, where he shows his football smarts as well.

One of the problems, obviously, is that this is a five-play highlight tape and it's the only video we could find. What we saw is great, but it's too small of a sample size to make too big of a judgment.

The other is his size - at 6'3", 200, he's the smallest linebacker in the class. With Maryland's training staff, he should be able to grow into that frame.

Houston has some nice offers, and has shot up the rankings since Maryland got his commitment. We'll see how he does once he gets on campus, but he has the physical tools to be an asset for the Terps soon.

Shawn Petty

HS / Hometown: Eleanor Roosevelt/ Greenbelt, Md.
Measurables: 6-3 / 230/ 4.7
Other Schools: N/A
Recruiter: Lee Hull
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: , 73, #168 ATH
---Scout: , #150 OLB
---247: , 77, #159 ATH

Video Highlights:

Other Videos: [1] [2]

For the impatient, the linebacker highlights start at 6:20 (and for the record, 6:29 is the worst screen play I've ever seen). Either Eleanor Roosevelt is playing against incompetent offenses or they have just an incredible high school defense (looks like a little of both).

Shawn Petty looks like a simple case of a state school extending an offer to a kid who most likely wouldn't have gotten one if he was from out of state. That's not a bad thing - some of those guys turn out to be diamonds in the rough and the connections and good will that come from it are invaluable - it's just that he's not nearly as impressive of a prospect as the previous five guys.

Petty's got a nice frame and good 40 time, but he just doesn't play the linebacker position as well as the other guys on this list. That will come with time, but don't expect many fireworks at the beginning of his career in College Park.

Avery Thompson

HS / Hometown: Grassfield/ Chesapeake, Va.
Measurables: 6-2 / 205/ 4.5
Other Schools: N/A
Recruiter: Tom Brattan
Rankings and Profiles:
---
Rivals:
---
ESPN: , 73, #56 ILB
---
Scout: , #141 OLB
---
247: , 80, #119 OLB

Video Highlights:

Thompson is another local under-the-radar talent, and looking past his size problem (for a second), he looks like a potential sleeper. He has good tackling form, has a quick burst, and shows significant skill in reading plays from the middle of the field. At 0:50 you can see him make a nice move past a blocker to make the tackle, if you want a specific example.

The problem of Thompson's size, however, remains - but it's very fixable. At 6'2", he has pretty good height, but that 205 is a little on the smaller size. He has a similar build to Stefan Houston, but without the top-speed we saw with Houston. He too could stand to gain from Maryland's strength program, and we'll see what weight he can get up to.

Defensive Backs

With Cameron Chism and Trenton Hughes graduating, Maryland is going to have start anew at the cornerback positions, with Dexter McDougle and Jeremiah Johnson as the most likely starters this year. With all of the ex-STAR players hopefully moving back to their old positions, the secondary gets some added depth this season. This will likely include Kenny Tate, moving back to his old stomping grounds as a safety.

Maryland brought in a few defensive backs in this year's class, but it's not too impressive of a haul. Let's break them down.

Sean Davis

HS / Hometown: Maret School/ Washington, D.C.
Measurables: 6-1 / 172
Other Schools: Boston College, Connecticut, Marshall
Recruiter: Lyndon Johnson
Rankings and Profiles:
---
Rivals:
---ESPN: , 74, #100 S
---Scout: , #57 CB
---247: , 88, #30 CB

Video Highlights:

Davis is a pretty cool story - he's from the tiny Maret School (enrollment stands at around 650) in DC, and is one of only two recorded prospects from the school in the Rivals database, and the other one went to Harvard. He's got good height for a defensive back, is quick, and is an incredibly smart football player - people have continually raved about his play-reading ability.

Like other players from small schools, however, the question for Davis remains the talent level he was playing against. As a local guy, and as a guy with as much football knowledge as he has, he certainly looks like he's worth taking a chance on.

Anthony Nixon

HS / Hometown: Central Catholic/ Pittsburgh, Pa.
Measurables: 6-1/ 185/ 4.5
Other Schools: Pittsburgh
Recruiter: Greg Gattuso
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: , 74, #147 ATH
---Scout: , #47 S
---247: , 82, #142 WR

Video Highlights:

Nixon was a great wide receiver in high school, and he was the main target of fellow Maryland commit Perry Hills at Central Catholic. He's almost definitely going to end up playing safety in College Park, and should be a big-time interception threat with his great hands.

There are only two plays of Nixon playing defensive back in that tape (for what it's worth, they're both interceptions). I have watched Central Catholic play before, and he is a big-time playmaker. He's more of a coverage-based safety than a run-stopper, so he'll probably end up at free safety, but he can also come up and make a play in the backfield when necessary.

Alvin Hill

HS / Hometown: Luella/ Locust Grove, Ga.
Measurables: 5'11"/ 190/ 4.4
Other Schools: Tennessee-Chattanooga
Recruiter: Unknown
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: , 74, #90 CB
---Scout:
---247: , 80, #109 CB

Video Highlights:

Nothing out there, folks. Hill is largely an unknown, and Maryland picked him up very early in his recruitment. We do know he has good speed (if that 40 time is to be believed), and 5'11" is an above-average height for a corner. ESPN also gives him an "Instincts" trait in their profile, for what that's worth.

What we have left to rely on is stats. As a senior, Hill had 45 tackles (20 solo), 11 pass breakups, four interceptions (including one returned for a 70-yard touchdown), 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack. On special teams, he had four kickoff returns for 116 yards and one touchdown, and three punt returns for 134 yards and a score. As a junior, he had 42 tackles with six interceptions and five pass breakups as Luella's defensive player of the year.

His older brother is Detrick Bonner, a former three-star recruit who started four games for Virginia Tech last year.

Isaac Goins

HS / Hometown: Contra Costa CC/ San Pablo, Calif.
Measurables: 6'0"/ 190/ 4.6
Other Schools: Idaho, New Mexico, San Jose State
Recruiter: Lee Hull
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals:
---ESPN: Unrated
---Scout:
---247: , 78, #154 JuCo player

Video Highlights:

Goins is probably the only incoming secondary player who will play next year, and that's only because they need bodies at corner. That being said, this is an impressive highlight tape. Yes, he is playing at the junior college level, but you've got to wonder why opposing quarterbacks threw at him so much if he was this much better than his competition.

Goins doesn't seem too gifted physically, but he's a smart enough football player to tear it up on the JuCo circuit. We'll see if that's enough for him to at least contribute for the Terps next season.

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