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National Signing Day 2012: Overviewing Maryland's Commitments, Skill Position Edition

The crown jewel. Image via <a href="">Rivals</a>
The crown jewel. Image via Rivals

We're closing on National Signing Day, the Egg McMuffin of all football recruiting days. It's a huge event all across the country; for Maryland, we'll be keeping a close eye on guys like D.J. Reader, Korren Kirven, and Stefon Diggs, all of whom are considering Maryland and would provide a huge late boost to the class. But there's already quite a sizable and, in all honesty, not entirely unimpressive base in place for Maryland. Over the next three days, we'll be overviewing that base in a series of three posts. Today, the skill position players.


When Randy Edsall came aboard at Maryland, the quarterback spot seemed settled for the foreseeable future. Danny O'Brien was the starter for as long as he wanted to be in College Park, and after he left there was Tyler Smith, one of the best-looking Maryland prospects in years. (And, if DOB left early, C.J. Brown was there, too. And we've learned that he's a competent starting QB.)

And now? O'Brien looks exceedingly mortal, having lost his job last year to Brown, who didn't look fantastic in his own right. The two are likely going to be locked in a position battle come spring, and no one knows if the loser will still be on the team in the fall. Oh, and Smith? He transferred to Elon last summer.

So if one of DOB or CJB leaves in the summer, as you'd have to consider likely, Maryland would have only one scholarship quarterback on the roster. Obviously, the quarterback spot was huge for Maryland in this class. In response, they picked up two initially under-the-radar prospects who have since shot up the recruiting rankings and garnered positive reviews. In fact, I think QB is one of the class' stronger units.

Perry Hills

HS / Hometown: Central Catholic / Pittsburgh, Pa.
Measurables: 6-3 / 205 / 4.6
Other Schools: Akron, Buffalo, Kent St., Miami (OH)
Recruiter: Greg Gattuso
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 76, #77 QB
---Scout: , #29 QB
---247: , 84, #39 pro-style QB
Video Highlights:

Other videos: [1], [2], [3]

Hills has always struck me as sort of a C.J. Brown type of QB. Maybe it's the Pennsylvania thing, but I think it runs deeper: they have similar builds and both are pretty dangerous on the run. While no one really approaches Brown's prowess on the ground, Hills did rip off a 30-yarder in the Chesapeake Bowl and is athletic enough to have an entire highlight reel dedicated to solely his running plays. He should come into the program ahead of where Brown was; he's under center much more in HS than Brown was (though in shotgun a fair amount, too, which is a good sign) and seems to possess a rather accurate arm in short and intermediate throws. He doesn't have a cannon and probably won't be letting loose too many bombs in his career, but he can let it fly for about 30 yards pretty easily, and did reach 40 on a throw where he had some time, though it was a little behind his receiver. I'm not overly concerned about that; a college QB doesn't usually need to have a rocket. I mentioned CJB earlier, but he might actually be a bit closer to Russell Wilson - he's more of a game manager who focuses on easy short-to-mid throws but who can make plays with his legs. Given his good size and tough competition (WPIAL is usually pretty loaded), I think he has a lot of potential.

Caleb Rowe

HS / Hometown: Blue Ridge / Greer, S.C.
Measurables: 6-3 / 180
Other Schools: n/a
Recruiter: Andre Powell
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals: , #26 pro-style QB
---ESPN: , 71, #157 QB
---Scout: , #30 QB
---247: , 87, #22 pro-style QB
Video Highlights:

Other videos: [1], [2], [3]

Well, if one QB is the C.J. Brown of the class, then the other has to be the Danny O'Brien of the class, right? I hate to break it that way because it seems a bit hack-ish, but yes, I'm not kidding when I saw my first thought about Rowe was that he seemed a lot like O'Brien. He looks a lot like O'Brien on the hoof; good height but a bit gangly and could do to add a bit of girth - seriously, watch the video and tell me that doesn't look like a high school Danny O. I won't draw any more comparisons to Danny - I'm sure you can do that as you read. Anyway, he lacks Hills' elusivity and running ability, but he can still pull it down every once in awhile, either to keep a play alive or pick up a few yards. I really like his pure arm: he can make just about every throw, and even flashed a great deep ball; the throw at 1:25 in the embedded video flies about 55 yards in the air and was on the money. Most all of his snaps come from the shotgun, but that shouldn't be too big a problem; everyone who's talked about him has raved about how much of a student of the game he is. He didn't really garner any attention from big programs in his high school career, partially because his competition was pretty awful, but he got an invite to the Shrine Bowl and was the best QB on the field. That parlayed into an invite to the Offense-Defense Bowl, where he impressed everybody and was named game MVP. (The roster included commitments to Ohio State, Nebraska, LSU, Michigan, Auburn, and USC, among others. And a five-star defensive lineman. But Rowe was MVP. Yeah.)

Running Back

Hey, do you want to read the same thing you just read above? Because it's pretty much the same deal. Edsall inherited a great situation at RB, including a proven senior (Davin Meggett), a serviceable junior (Gary Douglas), a very promising sophomore (D.J. Adams), and a highly-regarded true freshman (Justus Pickett). A year later, and all but Pickett are gone. He's joined by classmate (and now redshirt freshman) Brandon Ross, a former two-star out of Delaware. Pickett looked good given that he was a freshman, but he was far from good enough for the fanbase to feel good handing him the reins for good.

There were snaps to be had at running back, which was a selling point Maryland's staff surely used. The end result? Well, that's why you're reading this.

Wes Brown

HS / Hometown: Good Counsel / Baltimore, Md.
Measurables: 6-0 / 200
Other Schools: Colorado, Miami, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Virginia, and about 20 other offers
Recruiter: Tom Brattan and Mike Locksley
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals: , #14 RB, #188 nationally
---ESPN: , 78, #28 RB
---Scout: , #11 RB, #91 nationally
---247: , 94, #11 RB, #171 nationally
Video Highlights:

Other videos: [1]

Brown's commitment was largely thanks to the incoming transfer of his adopted brother Zach Dancel, which was the direct result of the hiring of Mike Locksley. So Locksley gets quite a lot of credit in this, particularly because before Dancel came into the picture Brown had cut Maryland from his list. One of Brown's really important quality was that he got some elite locals to turn their heads and give Maryland a second look, but he's a fantastic back in his own right. I love his vision and burst through the hole, and he has enough strength to run through arm tackles without any real problem. I'm not sure about his top-gear, but that's the only real potential issue you can see; he can catch the ball well, is elusive in the open field, has good vision, and possesses and underrated stiff arm. Look for Locksley to utilize him similarly to how he used Rashard Mendenhall at Illinois.

Kenneth Goins

HS / Hometown: Gilman / Baltimore, Md.
Measurables: 5-9 / 210
Other Schools: East Carolina, Syracuse, Tulane
Recruiter: Andre Powell
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 77, #90 OLB
---Scout: , #108 RB
---247: , 84, #51 RB
Video Highlights:

It is exceedingly hard to find any good video of Goins online, so I don't really have too much insight on him. As you can tell from the rankings, there's some disagreement on where he'll play in college, but he's said the staff wants him to play at running back - that could change depending on where he falls in the incoming glut at RB, and his most likely spot would be at linebacker or safety. As a shorter and stouter back he's definitely more of a power option, sort of a D.J. Adams replacement. I like those types of backs, but I don't want to pretend to know things that I don't. The only thing I know for sure is that he should help smooth things over with Baltimore powerhouse Gilman a little, which is a good sign given that they're an emerging power.

Albert Reid

HS / Hometown: Friendship Collegiate / Washington, D.C.
Measurables: 5-11 / 195
Other Schools: Colorado, Iowa, Stanford, Vanderbilt, West Virginia
Recruiter: Lyndon Johnson and Mike Locksley
Rankings and Profiles:
---Rivals: , #56 ATH
---ESPN: , 79, #27 ATH
---Scout: , #25 RB, #215 nationally
---247: , 83, #81 ATH
Video Highlights:

Reid was a late get for Maryland and a former West Virginia commitment, so it's a pretty sweet turnaround for the Terrapins. Side note: Lyndon Johnson might've actually had more to do with his change of heart than Mike Locksley. So maybe the Prez isn't so bad after all. Anyway, I hesitate to call Reid a scatback, but he's certainly faster than a more powerful runner like Wes Brown. Both are complete backs, albeit with different strengths, so it'll be interesting to see how they complement each other as time goes on. Reid's biggest asset is his north-south speed and acceleration: he gets to his top gear fast and can usually outrun just about anyone on the defense. He's not really a human joystick in terms of his ability to escape tacklers from close quarters, but his cuts in the open field can usually evade a pursuer or two. He has good hands and playmaking ability, though he could end up at safety or cornerback if the staff/depth chart dictates it. I'm really excited to get both he and Brown on campus and see the balance of carres between them.

Joe Riddle

HS / Hometown: Lignanore / Frederick, Md.
Measurables: 6-1 / 195
Other Schools: Buffalo, Cincinnati
Recruiter: Greg Gattuso
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 74, #122 RB
---Scout: , #147 S
---247: , 78, #98 RB
Video Highlights:

Other videos: [1]

Riddle's never been really highly-regarded - a consensus two-star, after all - but I've always liked him. First of all, his name ("Joe Riddle," just say it) is fantastic. But I also see a lot of tape I like. Where he ends up is still a bit undecided - much like Goins he could end up on the other side of the ball, particularly safety - but my guess is that he'll start out at RB. I really do like him there; the competition isn't great, but he seems to have really good vision and very good burst. Like Brown I'm not sure about his top speed, but as far as a one-cut-and-go type, he seems like he has a good bit of potential. Completely uninformed guess: a poor man's Roy Helu.


I didn't have the same worries surrounding the receivers as I did the other two skill positions coming into this recruiting cycle; Kevin Dorsey and Kerry Boykins are back for next year and should be just fine as the starters, while Marcus Leak and Nigel King form a really promising base for the future. Throw in Tyrek Cheeseboro for depth, and you're looking pretty solid at the receiver spot.

It's never a bad idea to keep skill position depth flowing, though. One of Randy Edsall's primary complaints, remember, was the lack of elite and athletic skill position players on the roster. No where will those types of players have a bigger impact than at receiver, so the position was more than a little important for the season.

Malcolm Culmer

HS / Hometown: Willingboro / Willingboro, N.J.
Measurables: 6-1 / 175
Other Schools: Illinois, Massachusetts
Recruiter: Lee Hull
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 78, #58 ATH
---Scout: , #236 WR
---247: , 83, #126 WR
Video Highlights:

Culmer was a camp offer, so he doesn't have the hype or easily-obtainable info of a lot of his classmates. Even most of his tape is of him playing cornerback, which I suppose could still happen though I wouldn't predict that myself. Anyway, he seems to have great physical tools; he's a good leaper and can run through arm tackles, which should make him dangerous after the catch. This is one of the those where you just have to trust the coaching staff - not that you really have any other choice, of course. I just don't want to pretend to know things about him that I don't.

Amba Etta-Tawo

HS / Hometown: McEachern / Powder Springs, Ga.
Measurables: 6-2 / 178 / 4.59
Other Schools: Illinois, Purdue, South Florida, Southern Miss, UCF, Virginia
Recruiter: Tom Brattan
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 76, #139 WR
---Scout: , #211 WR
---247: , 84, #118 WR
Video Highlights:

Etta-Tawo was actually seen as a bit of a coup at the time; for all of the commitments before Locksley's arrival, he had easily one of the best commitment list. Calling the video "low quality" would be an understatement, but he has really good size and decent speed, assuming that 40 time is electronic (I'm assuming it is, given his reputation as a burner). I feel like he might be a Quintin McCree with his head screwed on right, which would be pretty fantastic given McCree's immense physical talent. He's also renowned for his leaping ability and ball skills, so he might be a downfield threat in the making.

P.J. Gallo

HS / Hometown: Council Rock / Southampton, Pa.
Measurables: 6-4 / 225
Other Schools: Cincinnati, UConn, N.C. State, North Carolina, Northwestern, Pitt, Syracuse, Virginia, West Virginia
Recruiter: John Dunn
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 78, #28 TE
---Scout: , #23 TE
---247: , 85, #30 TE
Video Highlights:

Maryland was in pretty dire need of a tight end - truthfully they're not wide receivers, I know, but he has to go somewhere - and Gallo was a solid get. The only two proven tight ends on the roster right now are both seniors, so getting someone in the program before losing both Matt Furstenburg and Devonte Campbell seemed a good idea. There aren't a ton of really high-quality TEs out there, either, so getting one of the better ones in the country is a nice boost. He looks certainly more like a receiving tight end than a blocker right now, which I appreciate. He actually looks downright speedy for his position, and flashes some quality hands, too. The probable concern here is size: Furst has 20 pounds on Gallo right now. If Gallo bulks up similarly - I doubt 20 pounds but maybe 10 or 15 - will he retain that same speed? If so, I could see him being a threat quite similar to what Furstenburg was at the beginning of last year.

Levern Jacobs

HS / Hometown: New Berlin (N.Y.) / Forestville, Md.
Measurables: 6-0 / 165
Other Schools: Marshall, New Mexico, Temple
Recruiter: Lee Hull
Rankings and Profiles:
---ESPN: , 78, #78 WR (2011 ranking)
---247: , 76
Video Highlights:

Jacobs was originally a 2011 recruit headed to Marshall, but he pulled back on that plan and went to prep school up at New Berlin, N.Y. He's a bit undersized and slight but he's fast and quick enough to make up for that, with above-average ball skills. I imagine he'll need to work on routes and some of the finer aspects, but he does possess some of the natural speed and big play ability that Maryland's been so lacking over the past few years.

TBD: Yes, Stefon Diggs is still out there. He's not deciding for another ten days, though - a week after signing day - and still has visits to Ohio State and Maryland on the radar. Seeing as he's down to four you'd think Maryland has a fighting chance, especially if Mrs. Diggs has much sway, as she supposedly is a big Randy Edsall fan. We'll be all over that recruitment as things wind down.