Maryland had quite the busy weekend, securing three commitments during the camp season -- all local players. That brings the Terps up to six commitments in the class (five from the area), making up some ground after a dry-spell that lasted more than half a year.
It was also a lot to digest for people following the program, so we figured it was a good time for us to break down all three at once -- what they add in the short-term and the long-term. We'll have more throughout the week -- this will be less about what the tape tells us and more about the impact it will have on Maryland's 2015 class (and future classes).
Gage Shaffer, Quarterback, Frankfort (Wv.)
Shaffer's commitment came first, taking most of us by surprise -- no one had really heard of him before news of his commitment leaked. He had no previous offers or even any other camp invites, but his frame and passing ability (which we'll talk about later this week) made him an ideal member of Maryland's class. The Terps are looking to bring in two quarterbacks in the class of 2015: one guy who can challenge for playing time early, and another project-type who can be a potential starter a few years down the line. Shaffer's pretty much a perfect fit for the latter, and he'll be someone to look out for in a few years time.
The commitment also allows them to narrow their focus on Kai Locksley, the ideal fit for the other quarterback spot in the class. There are other options out there (although none of them currently claim Maryland offers), but Locksley is undoubtedly Maryland's top target at the position.
Ty Johnson, Athlete, Fort Hill (Md.)
Johnson is exactly the kind of player you want to fill out your class -- a local legend given a shot to go big (or B1G). No one quite knows where he'll play yet, and that will probably depend on how the Terps fill out the class, but the likeliest candidates are cornerback or running back (joining current commit Deltron Sands at the position, and acting as a cover if Sands flips elsewhere).
Johnson, like Shaffer, also helps establish connections in the Western Maryland/West Virginia region. It's not a terribly fertile area for recruits, but as we saw with Damonte Dodd and the Eastern Shore, seeing a local star make it to Maryland brings with it a whole new generation of fans in the area.
Maryland has made a big move towards locking down their home state under Randy Edsall and Mike Locksley, and landing the big fishes like Stefon Diggs and Damian Prince isn't the only way to go about it. A school like Maryland has to find the diamonds in the rough first -- it's their area, and they have to own it.
Keiron Howard, Defensive tackle, Potomac (Md.)
One of Maryland's biggest needs in the class is at defensive tackle, where co-starters Darius Kilgo and Keith Bowers are both seniors (while second-stringer Nate Clarke is a junior). Howard helps ensure Maryland has some presence there in this class, and joins fellow linemen E.J. Donahue and Ellis McKennie as the Terps' three top-20 in-state commitments. Maryland will likely still take another defensive tackle -- Neville Gallimore and Wesley Annan are two they've been in on for a while -- but getting a player like Howard gives them something to fall back on.
Howard also helps with local connections -- he's teammates with running back Kesean Strong, who holds a Maryland offer, and attended the same high school as incoming basketball recruit Dion Wiley. The more Maryland is able to bring in local kids, the more local kids Maryland will bring in the future.