Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE
For the second straight season, Maryland's starting to put together a nice little football recruiting class down the stretch despite a mediocre showing on the field itself. The latest puzzle piece? Will Likely, the four-star Floridian cornerback who committed to Maryland today over* Florida State and LSU, plus offers from Louisville, Wake Forest, and a bunch of others.
Will Likely commits to #Maryland.— Wells Dusenbury (@DuseReport760) December 21, 2012
The puns, my friends. The puns are all ours.
But it's not just the name that should get you excited. Likely's a seriously intriguing upper-level recruit, hovering between a three-star and a four-star on the scouting services. But the people who like Likely like him a lot. He's a little short and he's not the fastest in the world, but he has great instincts, good technique, and simply makes plays. With better measurables - say, a few more inches - some think he'd be legitimate five-star material.
After all, it's not like they just hand out Gatorade Player of the Year awards ... in Florida ... to juniors. Like Likely received last year.
The measurables are a little bit of a concern, and many otherwise fantastic players have found their careers bottlenecked by bodies that struggled to compete when they took a step up. But rarely do you bet against a kid from central Florida in a race, regardless of what he's timed at.
And there's little reason to think Likely couldn't actually provide some immediate help in the secondary, which is certainly in need of it. His football mind and technique might well be ready to play right now, and as an added bonus he's enrolling early, which'll give him time in spring ball to get the scheme down and improve even more. With Maryland's #3 corner still pretty unsettled, Likely could make a run at the spot if he's as good as hyped.
While this isn't a game-changer for Maryland's class, it does provide high-quality help at the position they most needed it at, and it adds to an increasingly good-looking top-end. Deon Long, Derwin Gray, and Andrew Isaacs are all already onboard, along with now Likely; Yannick Ngakoue is still in the picture himself, as is Na'Ty Rodgers. There's a chance for a very good core of high-end talent coming out of this class. There's no super playmaker like a Diggs-type, but there are a lot of good foundational pieces in place or still on the board.
I'm assuming the comments section will likely descend into a bunch of groan-worthy Will Likely puns. Go ahead, might as well get them out of our system now.