By all accounts, Maryland is finished with their 2010 recruiting class. Outside of Rodman Noel, who is apparently questionable academically, the class is finished and rounded out. A few intriguing ideas and trends came out of this class and may just continue into 2011. Here's some of the ones that were most noticeable to me:
- Better Than Expected - I was one of the ones that called a recruiting collapse for Maryland. They went 2-10, had no momentum, and had not only a lame duck coach but a lame duck staff. And yet they'll end up with a Top 40 class. Maybe the record will hurt more in 2011, but for now Ralph Friedgen and James Franklin pulled off a minor miracle closing this class they way they did.
- The Continuing Search for Scott McBrien - The list of starting QBs since Scott McBrien is rather lengthy: Joel Statham, Sam Hollenbach, Jordan Steffy, Chris Turner, and Jamarr Robinson. The standard among them? None have been particularly successful, and none have led a Terp team of the quality of McBrien's. Sure, Hollenbach and Turner had their moments, but their careers pale in comparison to Scotty McB's. And thus it makes plenty of sense that Maryland would return to the search of finding a QB similar in playing style to McBrien, and possibly switch back to that type of offense. After C.J. Brown and Danny O'Brien climbed aboard, Maryland continued the trend of athletic QBs, grabbing Devin Burns - a true dual-threat - and Tyler Smith - a pocket passer with the ability to run. All four QBs have some aspect of McBrien's, from the delivery to the moxie to the athleticism to accuracy, but for Maryland to be truly successful they'll have to hope one can put it all together.
- Moving Down South - Traditionally, Maryland hasn't strayed far from their home. When they did, it was to Pennsylvania and NJ. But this year, the expansion of recruiting territory was remarkable. The Terps are now grabbing the occasional Georgian (2 this class and 3 in the past 2 years) and have a little pipeline going on in Florida. The Florida connect is the most important - they could build a good ACC team out of Dade County sleepers. Don Brown's presence is a big reason why they started to look down there more. We'll see if they take advantage of a newfound presence down south in 2011, because they have certainly set the stage in 2010.
- Speed Kills - It does. And Maryland is loading up on it. Desmond Kearse, David Mackall, Andre Monroe, Ian Evans and Javarie Johnson all mark moves toward faster, smaller defenders. The same has happened with an offensive line that is shrinking but speeding up. I imagine they'll look to get fast RBs and WRs next year, too. Size like Morgan Green, Alex Wujciak, Travis Ivey, and Jeremy Navarre - all good players, no doubt - hasn't really worked out for Maryland, so it looks like they're going the Miami route of very fast players, undersized or not.
- The Don Brown Defense Cometh - After mixed results the first year in for the new DC's defense, Don Brown should start to be getting his own players in a little bit this year and a lot next year. That means that this aggressive, attacking defense will actually have personnel made to run it, and that should make all the difference in the world.
- Learned Their Lesson - Remember when I talked about how bad Maryland's offensive and defensive line recruiting was? This was the year they learned the repurcussions. That's largely been mitigated this year with some massive strides in linemen recruiting on both sides: four offensive linemen, two highly ranked, and five or six defensive linemen, many quicker than usual, should suffice.