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Maryland football recruiting: Nick Johns set to decide between Terps, UVA, NC State in '2-3 weeks'

The three-star local QB has Maryland on his shortlist, and could spur a flurry of commitments.


Hatchling Huddle is a recurring series where we talk to high school players recruited by Maryland or coaches who have Maryland recruits.

Maryland fans have been waiting more than half a year for a second commitment in the class of 2015, but that patience may be rewarded in just two weeks time.

That's when Gonzaga (D.C.) quarterback Nick Johns says he'll make his decision, and his commitment could have a domino effect with other key local prospects.

Maryland, Virginia and NC State are the three schools that have offered the rising senior, and he'll decide between those programs by the end of May. Johns has visited the former two within the past two weeks and said he saw what he "needed to see," but does have some concerns.

"They're all great schools, one thing I'm really worried about with Virginia and Maryland is coach stability," he said. "For NC State, their coach just got there from Northern Illinois, he'll be there for a while, but I think UVA and Maryland are great schools and they both have great situations at the quarterback position.

Johns most recent visit was to College Park, and he was able to spend a lot of time with the coaching staff.

"As soon as I got there, Coach Edsall and Coach Locksley, we went around on the golf cart, they showed me the dorms and hung out with some of the guys," he said. "I went to Looney's to eat lunch with them, them and some of the other members of the coaching staff and I just felt at home there. They made me feel great. And then I sat down with Coach [Mike] Locksley and watched film, and sat down with Coach [Randy] Edsall for about an hour."

Johns is listed as a pro-style passer by most recruiting services -- the 247sports composite rates him as a three-star and the 22nd-best at the position in the country -- but he's quick on his feet and should have no problem with Maryland's offensive gameplan.

"I'm a pass-first guy, but when I need to run, like if it breaks down, I can make plays," he said. "I run a 4.7 [40-yard dash], so it gives me the opportunity to move, and I can run people over too if I have to."

That being said, don't expect Johns to run the same zone-read scheme Maryland has right now if he commits to the Terps. He said offensive coordinator Locksley says the Terps will mold their offense around whichever quarterback (or quarterbacks) they have available.

"I would run a pro-style with a little zone read, probably about 10 plays a game, but not as heavily as they run it now," Johns said. "C.J. Brown's a very talented runner, more so a runner than a passer, and they take advantage of that, and I think if I were to go there, they would take advantage of my skills."

Johns said he wants to be the only quarterback in whichever class he decides to be a part of -- a potential problem for Maryland, who may be looking to bring in two signal-callers in the class (and are still heavily involved with four-star Baltimore prospect Kai Locksley). Virginia and Maryland both signed quarterbacks in the 2014 class, but Johns did not appear to be concerned with the potential competition.

"Virginia got a guy that got hurt [Corwin Cutler], and Maryland didn't get anyone last year," he said. "Oh, they got [Will] Ulmer, but you never know."

Back to that domino effect -- quarterbacks generally commit first, as there are less spots for them available in recruiting classes. If a good enough quarterback commits to a class, linemen and skill players tend to follow. Johns thinks this will be the case wherever he ends up, and there's certainly plenty of talent in the area to go around.

"Maryland's always going to get those athletes, I just think Maryland needs to get better offensive linemen," he said. "I think they're going to do a great job. I think wherever I go, I can attract those guys, I can help recruit and get them to go wherever I go."

That's an enticing prospect for Terrapin fans, who have their eyes on a ton of premier local talent -- from four-star wide receiver Jalen Christian to four-star offensive linemen Matthew Burrell, Quarvez Boulware and Isaiah Prince. We'll know Johns's decision sooner rather than later, but it could make an impact in others down the line.