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Clarifying the Football Recruiting Scholarships Situation

As requested by reader JC1, here's a quick breakdown of the football scholarship situation. I may put it up in a board form later today or tomorrow, but this will have to suffice for now.

Like every sport, there's a limit on the number of scholarship players for football. That number happens to be set at 85. At the moment, Maryland has 68 scholarship players returning and 20 commitments, counting the recent switch of Javarie Johnson. For those less than great at math, that's 88 total scholarships accounted for, which is 3 over the 85 limit.

Generally, it's acceptable to expect between three and five defections of some sort, be they decommitments, academics, or transfers. A few years ago, Maryland lost QB Tyler Bass at the deadline to Memphis. Last year, Dion Armstrong was ruled academically ineligible. Of course, Josh Portis transferred. Like I said, between three and five of these are common.

In 2008, actually, Maryland went into the spring with 91 scholarship players on the roster, and they ended up okay. The magical number of 85 doesn't need to be reached until August. While there's no real limit on how many they can give out, it's usually a bad idea to put yourself in the position of needing to force out players, and most coaches don't like to do it. Rarely do players need to actually be pushed out - instead, they'll see the writing on the wall and transfer out gracefully. Still, over-recruiting has a bad stigma.

I have no idea who'll leave, and this is purely speculation, but I wouldn't be surprised if Gary Douglas ended up at a DI-AA program (so he didn't have to sit out a year) because playing time seems rare right now at RB. I think at least one QB - perhaps Clay Belton or the loser of the C.J. Brown/Danny O'Brien battle - will leave, too; there's simply too many people at that position. Likewise, a WR departing wouldn't be shocking. Then you can always expect an academic loss or two. If they can't manage to reach 85, grayshirting (basically having the player wait on enrolling until the next semester) or prepping recruits is a popular method of paring the spots.

Regardless, it's possible for Maryland to take about 2 more players and still feel comfortable about getting down to size by August, and three wouldn't be impossible. It's not a great situation to be in, however, so this is where Maryland can get choosy. They can take people; they don't necessarily have to.

For this reason, I'm pretty sure they'll only target a few people. Arie Kouandjio would be one, but he's unlikely. Here's a quick rundown on the remainders:

Brandon Coleman, WR, Forestville, Bishop McNamara (4 stars on Rivals)

Big, strong, athletic. Big-time deep threat. Still kind of raw, but he would just be another elite WR in lengthening line of elite Maryland WRs. Down to Rutgers, Syracuse, and Maryland, he'll be deciding later this month or sometime in February.

Tony Grimes, CB, Hollywood Hills, FL (3 stars on Rivals, 4 stars on Scout and ESPN)

Highlights embedded below:

Fits in with the physical nature of Don Brown's scheme. Confident and ballhawking, good size too. Supposedly down to Maryland, Michigan, and Ole Miss, though it's conceivable that Miami could get involved now that they have an extra scholarship.

Michael Coley, RB/S, Hyattsville, DeMatha (3 stars across all the services)

Not sure if Maryland would take Coley at this point and deal with the roster trouble, though it's conceivable. Coley can do a lot at a lot of different positions, and the versatility would serve him well in college. Good downhill runner that could end up as an all-purpose back, or might find himself in the defensive backfield.

Bjoern Werner, DE, Salisbury, CT (3 stars across all the services)

Highlights below:

A raw, athletic German, Werner has a ton of potential but might take awhile to develop. Also iffy on whether or not the staff is still pursuing him given the two most recent commitments.

Honestly, if I had to guess, I'd say the class is probably done with the exception of Grimes and Coleman, unless there are any unexpected surprises along the lines of Johnson. Maybe Antonio Belt or Jeremiah Attaochu, but Attaochu's spot might've been taken by Johnson and Belt might be looking for another offer. Ending the class at Coleman and Grimes wouldn't be a bad thing, as the class is already not bad. Landing either would be great, and landing both would be nothing short of amazing considering Maryland was just 2-10 and Friedgen nearly got fired.

Within the next few weeks, I'll also take a look at a changing, evolving recruiting strategy in football, particularly as it relates to speed and geography.