Top-tier cornerback recruit Jalen Tabor has committed to Arizona, ending Maryland's nearly half-decade dream of landing one of the top prospects in the area in years.
Tabor has been on the Terps' radar since he was a freshman in high school -- the earliest mention we can find of him on the site came in April 2011 -- and he's always been seen as a key part of the Terps' effort to lock down the local top-tier talent.
Listed at 6'1" and 182 pounds, Tabor possesses phenomenal technique and size for a young corner. He is rated as a five-star by the 247sports composite, and is considered the 25th-best player in the class, the fourth-best cornerback and the best player in DC.
Arizona made a late push and were able to grab Tabor, seemingly coming out of no where to land the D.C. star. Tabor had an official visit with Arizona in late December -- his late official visit -- and it appears Rich Rodriguez and co. were able to sway the highly sought after DC recruit.
It's a huge blow to Maryland's class and a gigantic disappointment for the staff, as many in the Terps' camp (fans and otherwise) had counted on Tabor's commitment for some time. He was rumored to be a strong Terrapin lean all year, and Maryland now has to fill a hole at cornerback and hope to salvage the class with five-star offensive tackle Damian Prince, who has said that a commitment from Tabor would influence his decision.
Make no mistake about it -- Maryland, in some way, messed this one up. The Terps stood in very strong position with Tabor from the get-go, thanks to their relationship with him and the opportunity to play early and impress NFL scouts. The most telling aspect about this is that Maryland was eliminated from the running. In order for the Terps not even to have a hat on the table after being in a leading position for so long, something had to have gone wrong, and there's perhaps no bigger name for them to have messed up on than Tabor.
One rumor that has flown around about the commitment is that current players badmouthed Maryland to Tabor. It's hard to believe there's any veracity to this, and it seems like a reach to try and explain the complete turnaround in Tabor's status with Maryland. Jermaine Carter Jr., a current linebacker at Maryland and a high school teammate of Tabor's, addressed the rumors on Twitter.
Jermaine Carter Jr, high school teammate of Tabor RT @Terp__23: Why Would I Tell Jalen Bad Things C'mon Now I Know He Could Help Our Team— Testudo Times (@testudotimes) December 30, 2013
Maryland doesn't have many options left at corner, and the team loses Dexter McDougle and Isaac Goins to graduation. Expect the Terps to make stronger pushes at JuCo option Vance Roberts and local players Elliott Davis, Daniel Ezeagwu, Jamal Robinson, Vashon Tucker and Anthony Fludd.