I feel like I have to apologize before every football-related post I write during basketball season. Like I'm stealing some joy out of the hardwood season by reminded you that the oblong ball still exists.
This is one's a little happier, though, because it focuses on recruiting and, by extension, Mike Locksley, for whom I believe we all still have pretty high hopes. And don't worry: a basketball post will be up in a few hours.
Anyway, the recruiting dead period ends today, which means Mike Locksley is finally able to (legally) contact recruits. That's obviously no small thing; he'll be getting his first chance to sell the Terps on elite D.C. locals like Wes Brown, Stefon Diggs, Eddie Goldman, and Ronald Darby. We've been pretty vocal about how big this recruiting finish needs to be, and getting one of that group might be more or less necessary for fan support, recruiting momentum, and keeping roster talent up. I imagine Locksley will go hard on the "stay home and get a ton of playing time" angle.
Oh, speaking of, this is what Diggs had to say about getting immediate PT, my emphasis:
That's gonna be probably 90 percent of my decision. I want to play early but at the same time I want to come in and learn. I want to be a teammate also, learn from the other guys. Become a sponge.
Well, Stefon ... did you watch Maryland last year? Because I'm pretty sure we'd let you play every down if you wanted to.
In the same link, Diggs talks a bit about Mike Locksley, which is actually the first name he mentions when asked about the coaches with whom he has the best relationship. Combined with some paywall-protected chatter about Diggs giving Maryland a second look and his mom being in his ear, and there might be something to all this. When he cut Maryland awhile back I sort of gave up and I still wouldn't put too much on it, but he seems relatively open and there's some stuff point Maryland's way. So that'll be intriguing. It'll also be loooooong: Diggs says he won't decide until after signing day.
The other big recruiting-related event this week is the Under Armour All-American game, in which our boy Kevin Plank rents out a giant stadium and outfits a bunch of the best football players in America in funny-looking, gradient-laden UA gear while they make their college announcements. Oh, and they play football. (Actually, it's probably eclipsed the Army All-American Bowl as the nation's premier HS AA game.)
The game isn't until tomorrow (7:30 on ESPN, for those interested) but has the chance to be a fairly substantial event for Maryland fans: Terp commit Mike Madaras is playing in the game, as are the aforementioned Brown, Goldman, and Darby.
Brown in particular is worth watching: he'll be announcing his decision during the game, probably picking between his supposed list of Colorado, Vanderbilt, and Virginia Tech, with the Terrapins making a substantial late push. The thought was that Maryland would try to make up ground with Brown in particular and perhaps get him to be the first big domino, potentially aided by a Zach Dancel transfer in that regard (Brown lives with Dancel). An early commitment could mean Locksley didn't have enough time to work his magic. (It also might mean that Dancel has decided to transfer to Maryland and that's ended the debate for Brown. But we'll see.)
Goldman's also set to cut his list three shortly after the game, while Darby is still taking visits. Getting a big commitment from one of the elite locals would obviously go a long way toward having a chance with those guys and Diggs.
On the class as a whole, I do see a lot to like. I still love both the quarterback commits, underrated though they may be, and there's a stockpile of talent at linebacker and a few other spots. If the finish is as strong as it could be - one or two of the big locals mentioned here, plus D.J. Reader and perhaps someone like Kenny Crawley - the class will have undergone quite the turnaround and will likely be in the top-middle of the ACC.
Big ifs, of course. But there's potential. Getting the defensive coordinator in would be a nice bonus.