When Quarvez Boulware made the jump to Friendship Academy’s varsity team during the fall of 2012 there was a distinct hierarchy within the team’s offensive line. There was Derwin Gray, the Maryland-bound four-star tackle, and then there was everyone else.
Boulware recognized this and set a goal in his mind.
"I want to be better than Derwin," he told offensive line coach Randall White.
Two years later, White feels comfortable calling someone other than Gray the best lineman he has coached. After three seasons of playing a high level all over the offensive line, Boulware, a four-star interior lineman and another Terrapins target, has replaced Gray as White’s prized pupil.
It’s nothing against Gray, White says, but rather a compliment for one of the most talented and coachable offensive linemen to come through Friendship Collegiate Academy Public Charter School.
At 6'3 and 283 pounds, Boulware doesn’t have the size that most high-level Division I programs search for out of a tackle, but still he was one of the top offensive tackles in Washington as a junior. It wasn’t until his senior season that the coaching staff decided to kick Boulware inside to aid his recruitment.
"You want to try to do the best you can to get the young man into college without sacrificing too much for your team," Friendship head coach Mike Hunter said. "We were in the position this year where we were able to move him inside because a few other guys stepped up and played well."
White wanted to start working with Boulware at both guard and center during practice so he would have experience at the positions where colleges were more likely to place him. In games, though, his play at guard earned him a second-team All Met selection and helped the Knights come within one point of the D.C. State Athletic Association Class AA final.
In Friendship’s power-running offense, the guard plays a critical role. One of the Knights’ most frequent power plays uses a down block scheme with one guard pulling.
"Why not have your best player pulling around?" White said.
Thanks to rare athleticism for a player his size, as well as impressive strength, Boulware was able to quickly adapt to his new position and become one of the best in the area. However, the key, his coaches say, is that he’s "a sponge," able to gather new information and quickly implement it.
"If you tell Quarvez to do something a certain way, he’s going to do it that exact way," White said. "If you tell him to do something a certain way when this happens, he’s gonna store that in his head and remember to bring that stuff when he needs to. He soaks everything up like a sponge and knows how to apply it when it needs to be."
And in less than two months, there could be another reason for Boulware to be mentioned in the same breath with Gray. Three years after playing together with at Friendship, the duo could be reunited with the Terps. Boulware will wait until National Signing Day to choose a school, but told 247Sports that "Maryland definitely stands out more than the other schools."
There are myriad reasons for that. With the Terrapins, Boulware would have a great opportunity to play soon and play close to home. He’s very close with his family and friends and potentially joining the Terps is an enticing opportunity.
"He lives with his grandparents and they’re very close to him and he wants to be somewhere where they can get around to see him play," Hunter said. "That's obviously not going to be the only factor, but that is definitely something that’s important."
In a recruiting dead period, there’s not much news, but here are a few tidbits in this week’s round-up:
Three days after taking an official visit to Maryland, three-star JUCO defensive end Ulric Jones committed to South Carolina. Jones tried committing to Maryland earlier this fall, but the Terrapins wanted him to take an official visit first, opening the door for the Gamecocks.
With Jones off the board, Tyrell Jacobs, a three-star defensive tackle from Louisiana who decommitted from Oklahoma on Saturday, told 247 he plans on taking an official visit to College Park. Missouri, Texas Tech and Illinois are also involved with the 2015 prospect.
The Terps sent out an offer to three-star Florida running back Deon McIntosh earlier this week, 247 reports. McIntosh, who is considered a Miami (Fla.) lean, also gathered offers from Rutgers, Florida A&M and Cincinnati.