Ed. Note: Ryan McFadden is a student at DeMatha.
In the heart of Hyattsville (Md.) lies a high school that is known for its athletics. DeMatha Catholic has some of the premier sports teams in the nation, with a football team that produces high-quality college athletes year after year. Less than 10 minutes from this football powerhouse is the University of Maryland, and while many DeMatha athletes end up playing high-caliber college athletics, not many end up down the road in College Park.
For the past few years, Maryland's football program has not brought a lot of DeMatha football players to the school. Since 2011, the Terrapins have received just one commitment from the nine DeMatha players they have offered -- Michael Williams, who switched to track and field and transferred to Tennessee before arriving at the school.
DeMatha junior Lorenzo Harrison recently committed to Maryland; other than that, the last notable DeMatha football players to play for the Terps were long-time NFL cornerback Josh Wilson and safety Kenny Tate.
We talked to multiple current and former high-level DeMatha prospects about the issues between the school and Maryland, and one point was raised repeatedly: location. Some DeMatha football players feel that they been in the area too long and want new experiences.
A currently committed elsewhere said, "I know Maryland has good traditions, but I want to get away from home." He also said, "A lot of DeMatha guys don't go to Maryland because it's five minutes away from home. Most guys want to get away and experience new things."
A former DeMatha player now playing at a different Power 5 school said, "Personally, it was too close to home. I felt it was best for me to leave home and grow up."
A current DeMatha player, currently uncommitted, said, "DeMatha football players have seen enough of Maryland. They want to see different things."
One current prospect, committed to another school, said he went elsewhere in part because of his relationship (or lack thereof) with the coaching staff.
"University of Maryland doesn't keep a connection with their athletes," he said. "They offer you a scholarship, but don't keep in touch as much after that."
That could have been an issue with just his recruitment, as no other players we talked to mentioned that as a factor.
Maryland may have struggled to land DeMatha football players in the past, but there is some hope for change in the future. Lorenzo Harrison's commitment to Maryland may lead other Stags to follow in him. Another uncommitted DeMatha player said, "Lorenzo is a big influence to the school and the team. His commitment may bring future DeMatha football players to Maryland." Maryland has had its problems recruiting DeMatha football players in the past, but that doesn't necessarily mean it will remain that way in the future.