COLLEGE PARK, MD - SEPTEMBER 17: Head coach Randy Edsall of the Maryland Terrapins reacts to an officials call during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Byrd Stadium on September 17, 2011 in College Park, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
A month ago, back in June, a post about Maryland football's scholarships probably would've seemed patently ridiculous. ("They have plenty of them," is about as far as it would've got.) After all, this is the program that just had an entire recruiting class worth of transfers, and had gotten off to a slow start on the trail to boot; this time a month ago, the Terrapins had only three measly commitments. Running out of scholarships was the last worry on our minds.
Goes to show how a month can change things. Or, more accurately, how ten commitments and three transfers in a month can change things. Randy Edsall went into overdrive mode adding players in the past few weeks, and suddenly that seemingly-unlimited pool of scholarships shrinks up quick.
We're still a long, long way from nitty-gritty number-crunching time; with still months to go before the class even begins to wrap up, there's too much time for things to change for that to be anything other than a waste of time. But if you've noticed that many of the recent commitments are of the unknown camp-offer variety and you're starting to get a bit edgy, this should help give you some perspective. For better or for worse.
As always, there's an 85 scholarship limit, with a maximum 25 freshmen a year. That 25 limit can get confusing - players can be backdated to add more space if they enroll early, and I'm still uncertain as to whether transfers count. (I believe they don't as long as they were on scholarship at their previous school, but this is the NCAA we're dealing with, so...)
We can get more into that if need be, but the good news is that it doesn't look like Maryland will be in too much danger of going over that limit. At the moment, they have 82 of their 85 scholarships occupied, including the impending transfers (Deon Long, Daniel Adams, and Ricardo Young). With 14 seniors leaving the program, that means there'll be at least 17 spots for freshmen, not counting any attrition - which, as we learned last year, is unlikely. Programs commonly go into spring ball with more than 85 (sometimes in the 90s) promised, so there won't be any issue getting commitments into the 20s.
They have 13 commitments as it stands, leaving four more spots until 85. It's probably safe to bring in several more even after that point, as a way to arm against transfers, injuries, academic casualties, and other such departures. But going to a full 25 would stick them at 93, which is a bit on the high end when you remember there's still talk about adding more transfers - the most recent being former WVU pair Vance and Vernard Roberts, currently at Iowa Western C.C.
Unless Maryland exceeds expectation on the field and/or on the trail, and in the process work their way back into the picture with some committed stars locally, they should be relatively lasered in on their remaining targets: guys like Na'Ty Rodgers, Paul Harris, and Taivon Jacobs. Unlike last year, it doesn't appear likely for there to be a huge amount of elite locals on the open market around Signing Day, so the staff likely doesn't need to be as strict about budgeting scholarships as they could've been. But that doesn't mean they'll keep handing them out like candy, either.
If you want a more in-depth look at the scholarship situation, a spreadsheet is embedded below with a scholarship chart, a year-by-year breakdown of each position. (You can also see the scholarship chart for next year, once this year's seniors graduate and the 2013 freshmen arrive, as well as the total listing of the 82. Let me know if you notice any errors and I'll update.)
Looking at this, Maryland needs tight ends and linemen of both varieties, plus perhaps some added secondary depth. Things seem pretty much settled elsewhere - and linebackers have officially been overloaded.
It doesn't seem like Harris, Jacobs, or Na'Ty Rodgers will decide soon, and the big fish locally (Kendall Fuller) isn't pulling the trigger until Signing Day. That being as it is, and with Maryland starting to strain its scholarship limits, recruiting will start to slow down - thankfully, too, for your friendly neighborhood blogger. I'm getting exhausted with all this.