Cardigan FTW. Image via 247
After yesterday's Taivon Jacobs disappointment, Maryland needed some good news on the football recruiting side. They got it today in the form of Florida defensive tackle Kingsley Opara, who picked the Terps over West Virginia and offers from UConn, Temple, Wake Forest, and others.
Imma take my talents to Maryland thanks to all my family still love every1 at wvu but # terpnation— kingsley opara (@future40million) July 21, 2012
Opara's a three-star defensive tackle, and a good fit for a lineman in Maryland's 3-4 scheme. He's not athletically overwhelming or a particularly quick or penetrative lineman, but the 3-4 doesn't need that so much as it needs big bodies capable of occupying blockers, and Opara qualifies there. He has good size already at 275, but his 6-4 frame should easily support 25 pounds - or even more - of weight, so if they want to bulk him up he can easily be a future fit at nose tackle. Alternatively, his body is ready now to play as an end, so if numbers are needed early he can contribute. He's a bit of a work-in-progress in some respects, especially in regards to technique, but you can't teach size.
He's Maryland's second defensive line commitment after, but the first with the real size the position commands in this scheme. For that reason alone, he's a big commitment; it's a tough position to recruit for, and there aren't a ton of high-quality local defensive linemen on the board. Opara represents a need get.
As a bonus, he gets Maryland back on the horse as far as momentum goes, as their first real recruiting coup in some time. While they've been steadily churning away and adding commitments for quite some time now, most were of the under-the-radar variety; beating out West Virginia for a Florida kid they want isn't particularly easy, so this is a good sign. That it came after losing out on a number of touted locals is reassurance at the exact right time.
The Terrapins now stand at 17 commitments, and I don't expect them to go with a full 25 in this class, so things are starting to get a bit thin as far as available numbers go. Given that most of the big name locals have already been snapped up, that's not much of a problem. Expect the staff to narrow their focus somewhat from here on out.