Football season is over and done with, both for Maryland and most high schoolers. The only plus - the silver lining, if you will - to not making a bowl game is the ability to get a head start on recruiting. Other, more successful programs have to spend at least a little bit of energy on gameplanning - Maryland doesn't.
That's probably the only way the Terps will land a big fish, but we all know they'll try. The other big plus for them: lots of early playing time available.
I'm not looking to turn this entire thing into a post about Maryland's long-term recruiting, but let's just say my expectations have significantly dropped now that I've seen what Dave Sollazzo can do as RC. James Franklin needs to be running the show here, and I hope he is. That's one of Franklin's positives - HC coaches supposedly like him, PG County especially. Time to get his paycheck and bring in a stud. Or move Sollazzo back to his natural DL coaching position (or cheerleader) and get an RC in here, stat.
To see who Maryland already has locked up, check here. Here's who Maryland's looking at for the final stretch, organized into separate, easy tiers:
Tier One: Dreams
Ego Ferguson, Hargrave Military Academy, DE, 6-3, 272
Ferguson has to be the top guy right now, even though Maryland has almost no shot at him. He's given the hometown team a real shot, at least, which is more than can be said for some others. At the end of the day, though, Maryland's going up against Miami, LSU, FSU, Nebraska, and a few other big-time programs for a five-star. Local or not, that's nigh-impossible.
Ferguson is a great player, though. Quick with a killer spin move, he's a pass-rushing extraordinaire and could make an instant impact as a freshman on a unit weak for Maryland. Imagine a Ferguson/Arnett DE pair...sorry for making you think of that, because it almost certainly won't happen.
Louis Young, Good Counsel, CB, 6-0, 185
Young's a rare occurrence. No one really knows what's going on with his recruitment: originally, he committed to Stanford, then he opened it back up, then he recommitted, now he's uncommitted but still kind of committed. He was looking around at some point, and Maryland would definitely be involved if he went elsewhere.
Young's a very good corner without a lot of weaknesses - he's smart, stocky, and has good natural skills. The only thing that scares me is that he reminds me of Anthony Wiseman - his speed has been questioned, and he'd be better off in a zone scheme, like Wiseman. We saw how that worked out last year. Regardless, he's a target if only because he's very talented, local, and Maryland will probably have a new scheme in two years anyway.
Arie Kouandjio, DeMatha, OL, 6-6, 314
There's plenty of reasons to like Kouandjio - he's a great OL in his own right, and his brother, Cyrus, will likely be a five-star next year. There's just as many reasons to not get too excited - Alabama, Cal, and Notre Dame are a few other teams on his list. Pulling off this one would be a coup on the same level as Ferguson, no doubt.
Size, strength, and attitude are Kouandjio's biggest strengths, and that's a good combo for an OL. Everything else can be fixed eventually. Without a doubt, he'd compete for playing time on the weak OL if Maryland somehow pulled him off.
Brandon Coleman, Bishop McNamara, WR, 6-6, 200
Despite being fourth on the list, Coleman might be Maryland's #1 target. Rutgers might be his favorite, but Maryland is definitely in the mix. I'm fairly certain his final three are Rutgers, Maryland, and VT, though I can't find the link where I read it now. As is the case with everyone else on the list, he'd be a huge get.
In more ways than one, he reminds me of Matt Trannon, who used to play for Michigan State (I used to be a closet MSU fan, in the John L. days). Both are huge targets with solid hands and decent top-end speed, making them great deep threats. Both even played basketball, which serve to emphasize their leaping ability and athleticism.
Tony Grimes, Hollywood Hills (FL), CB, 5-11, 166
Thank god for Don Brown. Maryland's relatively new DC has been selling defensive recruits on his scheme hard, and he's been extremely active in recruiting, especially in talent-rich Florida. Grimes might be iffy as a dream, but he's a four star on ESPN and that's enough for me. Sadly, rumors have him as a Michigan lean. I have trouble believing he'd be willing to go there with Cullen Christian already on board, but the allure can be tough to turn away.
Grimes size isn't conducive to bump or press coverage scheme, but, especially in college, size isn't always a requirement for a shutdown man corner. He has the skills, talent, deceptive strength, and quickness to be one, even in the press, and, once he fills out, could be dominant.
Tier Two, Part I: Take 'Em If You Can
Jeremiah Attaochu, Archbishop Carroll, DE/OLB, 6-3, 223
Attaochu looks like a movement on the part of Don Brown to move toward speed. He's looking at a few other high-majors - Illinois, UVA, Louisville, and Syracuse - and a couple of mid-majors, but Maryland should be near the top of the list.
Maryland's other tweener commit, Ian Evans, is very similar to Attaochu in build, quickness, and disruptiveness; they have the ability to be extremely problematic if they're used in passing situations at DE. I'd love to see them together on the field on a 3rd and long. He's a bit slender for full-time DE and a bit slow for full-time OLB, but if Jeremy Navarre and Alex Wujciak can succeed at their respective positions, then by god so can Attaochu.
Max Garcia, Norcross (GA), OT, 6-5, 275
A former teammate of current Terp D.J. Adams, Garcia is still listing Maryland as the leader, no doubt thanks in part to his relationship with Adams. Clemson, who should present a problem, and Vanderbilt, who may present a problem, are the other schools on his list right now.
He's a big guy with a great frame and nice physical tools. He apparently could use some work on technique, but he's full of potential and Maryland needs OL help bad. They're not in a position to look away from a high three star OL.
Clarence Murphy, Hollywood Hills (FL), DE, 6-2, 230
A teammate of Tony Grimes, Maryland's probably hoping they decide to be a package deal for college - assuming, of course, one goes to Maryland. Murphy's another tweener in the mold of Attaochu, Evans, and David Mackall, so his spot may be dependent on what happens to Attaochu.
He's less athletic than those mentioned above, but just as productive. He has a nose for the ball, plays smart, and takes good angles. He might be a bit limited by athletic ability, but he could still be a very good DL.
Tier Two, Part II: The Wide Recievers
Antonio Belt, Forestville, WR, 6-0, 165
Belt is one of a trio of wide recievers Maryland is looking at that will likely be backups to Brandon Coleman. Not too many other big time schools are looking at him (Temple, Rhode Island, etc.), so if Maryland wants him, you'd assume they could get him.
Actually, I really like Belt. He's got good size, good speed, good hands - outside of his technique, he's a perfect slot receiver. Fix up his route running and give him some time to acclimate to the college game, and he has the natural talent to become a starter.
Julian Horton, Greater Atlanta Christian (GA), WR, 6-1, 182
It was rumored that Horton has had Maryland as his favorite for quite some time, so its puzzling as to why he hasn't committed. Maybe its because Maryland's staff is waiting on Brandon Coleman, but he could still be looking around. With some of his other offers (Arkansas, Oklahoma State, UNC), that wouldn't surprise me.
He's extremely consistent with very solid hands. A good athlete with ideal size, he goes about his business quietly and efficiently. Getting a commitment would be great to continue to establish a Georgia mini-pipeline, especially if they land Max Garcia. With guys like Gabe Wright on the horizon, that would be a very good thing.
Brandon Ifill, Penn Hills (PA), WR, 6-0, 174
Ifill might be the least favorite of the three for me, but Maryland has an extremely good chance to get him. He's down to two: the hometown Pittsburgh, and Maryland. It might be tough to pull him away, but if he doesn't want to stay home, Maryland's the logical choice.
Ifill could actually end up at either WR or safety, but I'm putting him at WR for now. He's shifty, has good size, and decent hands, though he's not dominant. As a safety, he's reliable and instinctive, but his physical tools are average.
Tier Two, Part III: The Unknowns
Bjoern Werner, Salisbury (CT), DT, 6-4. 264
Originally from Berlin, Werner came stateside not long ago and displayed himself to be a legit, BCS prospect. Not too much is known about his recruitment, but he did visit in September, so there has to be some kind of interest on both sides. There's plenty of competition for him: Cal, Oregon, and BC, among others.
I wouldn't have any complaints about landing Werner. He's athletic, quick, and has great size - he has the tools to be physically dominant. Obviously, playing in Germany for most of his life, he's raw as can be. The upside is limitless, though.
Josh Lovell, Christchurch (VA), OT, 6-6, 266
Lovell's an interesting situation. He's supposedly all but a commitment, simply waiting on his SAT scores to be sure he could qualify. But what if Maryland lands a few commitments before then? Is his spot guaranteed? Can it be stolen? It's an interesting situation.
He has ideal size and strength, but he's playing TE for his high school team. Maybe he tries to slim down and move over, maybe he moves over to tackle (more likely) but there will be questions at either spot. Is he too big and slow for TE? Is he not good enough at blocking for OT?
Michael Coley, DeMatha, S, 6-2, 207
On all three major services, Coley is listing Maryland. Strangely, though, you hear very little in him with connection to the Terps. He has other options, and I'm not sure how receptive he would be to going to Maryland with Titus Till and a few other DBs already on board.
He's versatile, reliable, and instinctive as a safety, which is his likely landing place. He could end up at WR or CB, though. I certainly like him at all three positions, though, and if he wants to come, I wouldn't have any issues taking him with the knowledge that he could move around.
Tier Three: The People I Really Don't Know About But Are Listing Maryland
Title says it all. I don't really know about these guys and haven't found much for them or on them on the 'net, so take it with a grain of salt. That said, here are some guys we could be seeing.
Jack Deboef, State College (PA), OT, 6-8, 265
Deboef has good size and athleticism, and most services are ranking him pretty favorably. He's listing Maryland, but I'd be surprised if he was a priority above Max Garcia.
Jayrone Elliott, Glenville (OH), LB/DE, 6-3, 207
Elliott's physical tools aren't disarming: just 207 with a 40 around the 5s. ESPN like him as an edge rusher once he fills out more, and his frame would support it. Lots of schools are recruiting him, but he's still listing Maryland.
Darrin Kitchens, Homestead (FL), OLB, 6-3, 215
My snap reaction: Maryland's recruiting a lot of people in Florida, and Kitchens could just be another one. His size means he might move back to safety.
Reynaldo Kirton, St. Thomas Aquinas (FL), S, 6-2, 189
Another Floridian, there's not a whole lot on Kirton out there. Looks like he could be a non-BCS guy.
Shyquawn Pullium, Cathedral Prep (PA), OLB, 6-1, 178
Pullium's a high three star who seems to be waiting on an offer from Penn State, which probably won't come. Other options include Cincinnati - which won't happen if Brian Kelly leaves - Pitt, Toledo, and Maryland.
Kody Williams, Niceville (FL), WR, 6-1, 187
No idea if Maryland's actually pursuing him, but he's from Florida - Maryland's going hard down there - and ESPN and Rivals have the Terps on his list. He has great size and ESPN described his speed as "deceptive". Probably not much of a target unless Maryland whiffs on the others.
Tier Four: Backups
Josh Aleaze, Dunbar, LB, 6-1, 232
The most interest in Aleaze is coming from mid-major teams, so I wouldn't be surprised if that's the route he ends up going. Melvin's cousin says he doesn't mind Maryland for his cousin's situation, but I can't see him being a priority at the moment.
Devin Clark, Dunbar, G, 6-2, 250
Clark doesn't have a Maryland offer, and the only way I could see him getting one is if the Terps whiff on Garcia, Lovell, and Deboef.