clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Maryland football recruiting: Which defensive targets are left for the Terps in the class of 2015?

New, 68 comments

Byron Cowart, you have our attention.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In part one of this two-part series, we took a look at Kai Locksley, Isaiah Prince and the other offensive targets still on the board for the Terps. In the week that has passed since then, quite a bit has happened. Kareem Ali decommitted, Mike Majette took his spot, Auden Tate kinda almost committed to Florida State, Lawrence Cager picked up an offer from Alabama and Tony Pilato committed to Pitt.

It was a busy week, but it doesn't change much for the Terps. They're still at 16 commitments for the class of 2015, leaving around five or six spots open to fill out the class. One target (Pilato) is gone, but Maryland is focused on four-star local prospect Isaiah Prince at offensive tackle anyway.

Let's switch our attention to defense. The Terps have seven commitments on that side of the ball in 2015, but will likely have a larger focus on the offense as they fill out the class, just considering the targets remaining. Prince, quarterback Kai Locksley and offensive guard Quarvez Boulware may very well be Maryland's three most important remaining recruits, but there's plenty of talent on defense that the Terps will try and lock up.

We've split this up by position, as well, for navigation purposes. Each position is split into three sections: committed, who's left and backup options. Consider anyone in the "Who's left?" category as someone Maryland would definitely take in the class if they decided to commit. Any exceptions are noted. We've excluded players who Maryland has no shot with, as well as players Maryland has no interest with.

Defensive end

Committed:

Mbi Tanyi, Bush (Texas), (film review), three stars, 65th-best strong-side defensive end, 178th-best player in Texas

How many more will Maryland take? 1-2.

Who's left:

Byron Cowart, Armwood (Fla.)

Ratings: Five stars, fifth-best player in the country, second-best strong-side defensive end, third-best player in Florida

You all remember Byron Cowart, right? The five-star Florida prospect visited Maryland for the Big Show event along with a number of other big-time prospects from the Sunshine State, and came away highly impressed by the Terps. He then said Maryland would be in his top five and followed up on it, putting the Terps up there with four of the nation's top programs -- Florida, Oregon, Alabama and Auburn.

How important is he? 5/10. This is nearly an impossible question to answer. If Cowart's commitment was even remotely likely? 10/10, easy. He's higher rated than Stefon Diggs was coming out of high school, has said Maryland will be in his top five and is from Florida. With where the Terps stand and who they're competing with, however, it's probably unwise to place too much importance on this one.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 2/10. Who were those other schools in his top five again? Florida, Oregon, Alabama and Auburn. We're not saying Maryland doesn't have a chance, but we're kind of saying Maryland doesn't have a chance. The Terps did a fantastic job to get into the conversation with a prospect like this, but they'll need to do something extraordinary on a potential official visit to really put their name in the running. That's not to say that isn't possible -- he's on this list for a reason, and that 2/10 is higher than it could be -- but we need to hear more before considering this at all likely.

Austrian Robinson, Trinity Pawling (N.Y.)

Ratings: Three stars, 35th-best strong-side defensive end, fourth-best player in New York

How important is he? 6/10. Maryland would very much like to add a defensive lineman to this class, and Robinson is the best high school prospect (not named Byron Cowart) that the Terps are in on by some margin. He's got great size at 6'6" and 255 pounds

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 4/10. Robinson visited in June and reportedly liked College Park, but he's had a relatively quiet recruitment with no claimed leaders. He holds offers from Boston College, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple, UCF and Virginia, among others -- all schools Maryland could beat, but we're holding off on raising this number until we hear more.

Ulric Jones, Butler CC (Kan.)

Ratings: Three stars, eighth-best JuCo strong-side defensive end, 13th-best JuCo player in Kansas

How important is he? 7/10. Mbi Tanyi is a project and it's not looking terribly likely that Maryland is able to grab a more college-ready defensive end, so the JuCo route may be the way to go. Larry Jefferson appears to be looking elsewhere, so Jones is probably the answer. He has a Maryland offer and will likely visit campus.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 6/10. Maryland stands in good position with Jones and has been a player in his recruitment for a while, but a recent Oregon offer might change things. USC has also reportedly offered, but Mississippi State (where he committed coming out of high school) might be the bigger threat.

The backup options

Cody BanksEric Assoua and Mufu Taiwo. Banks, a Virginia prospect, says he has a Maryland offer, but there hasn't been much reported movement between the two parties so we're putting him in this category. Assoua, from St. John's in D.C., was rumored to be a Rutgers lean but has yet to receive an offer from the Scarlet Knights. He has offers from Boston College and a few MAC schools, but may be a target for the Terps near Signing Day. The most likely option is Taiwo, as he fits Maryland's profile more closely. He's an athletic Maryland prospect with significant upside who has camped in College Park and would likely commit with a Terrapin offer.

Defensive tackle

Committed:

Keiron Howard, Oxon Hill (Md.), (film review), three stars, 56th-best defensive tackle, 20th-best player in Maryland

How many more will Maryland take? Probably one.

Who's left:

Darvin Taylor, Thomas Dale (Va.)

Ratings: Four stars, 16th-best defensive tackle, eighth-best player in Virginia

How important is he? 6/10. One of Maryland's only legitimate chances at grabbing a blue-chip defensive lineman in this class, Taylor is also not very likely to end up in College Park. Neville Gallimore falls into this category as well -- while the Terps offered the four-star Canadian prospect first, his recruitment has blown up to the point that it's hard to imagine Maryland even getting an official visit. Taylor's more likely to visit, if he doesn't decide before hand -- Florida State is the current leader, but the Terps, Clemson, Notre Dame, NC State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech are right behind.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 2/10. At this point, it seems a near certainty that Taylor will be a Seminole. There's a lot of competition behind them if that's not the case, but we'll remain not confident here until Taylor visits. Same goes for Gallimore.

Deonte Reynolds, Contra Costa College (Calif.)

Ratings: Three stars, fourth-best JuCo defensive tackle, eighth-best JuCo player in California

How important is he? 8/10. If Maryland could land a premier JuCo defensive tackle, the depth problems at the position would be undoubtedly quieted for at least a year. At 6'5" and 325 pounds, Reynolds is the ideal prospect to plug up the middle of the Terps' 3-4 defense.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 5/10. Maryland is one of five schools to offer Reynolds, and stand with Arizona State, Boise State and Oklahoma as the programs reportedly in the best position with the prospect. Oklahoma's obviously the one to watch out for there, but Arizona State could be a threat -- Todd Graham has a reputation of building success out of JuCo talent, and it's closer to his California home. There's also Anthony Fotu, another California JuCo DT with a Maryland offer, but there has not been much movement on that front either.

Wesley Annan, Lake Forest Academy (Ill.)

Ratings: Three stars, 50th-best defensive tackle, 17th-best player in Illinois

How important is he? 7/10. Maryland would very much like to bring someone else in to compete with Keiron Howard and David Shaw, and if they miss out on Taylor and their current JuCo targets (which looks likely), Annan's the next name down the list.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 8/10. Illinois and Maryland are the two schools in front for Annan, but Boston College could also be a player. He's expected to trim his list later this month, and it would be shocking if the Terps were not included. Jamal Milan is another Illinois defensive tackle prospect the Terps are pursuing, but Annan is the priority among those two.

Backup options:

Julius CombesAntoine McCrayClay Kemp and Jay Gilchrist. Combes is a DeMatha prospect, which immediately throws the chances of him coming to College Park into the realm of "questionable, to say the least." Gilchrist is a big lineman who attends Wise -- a program the Terps have had success with before. Kemp, out of New Jersey, is very high on the Terps and would probably commit with an offer. The most likely target may be McCray, a converted basketball player who has great size and would likely commit on the spot. An additional note: you may have noticed we basically bunched up six targets into three up there, pairing a similar target with the one profiled. That was done for two reasons: to save some space while writing, but also because Maryland's defensive line targets are pretty much completely in the air right now.

Outside linebacker

Committed:

Brett Zanotto, Franklin Regional (Pa.), film reviewthree stars, 41st-best outside linebacker, 28th-best player in Pennsylvania

How many more will Maryland take? 0-1.

Who's left:

Tremaine Edmunds, Dan River (Va.)

Ratings: Three stars, 29th-best outside linebacker, 15th-best player in Virginia

How important is he? 7/10. He's a legacy -- his dad, Ferrell, was a tight end at Maryland -- and is by far the best outside linebacker target still left on the board. He's exactly the kind of prospect the Terps have lost to Virginia Tech over and over again, so a win here would be huge for recruiting momentum moving forward.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 2/10. He may be a Maryland legacy, but that didn't stop either of his brothers (Trey and Terrell) from committing to the Hokies. Virginia Tech appears to be the favorite right now, with Maryland right behind. The coaching staff has a week to catch up -- he'll announce on July 31.

Isaiah Davis, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes (D.C.)

Ratings: N/A

How important is he? 6/10. Davis is the younger brother of starting safety Sean Davis, and is a local linebacker with a Virginia Tech offer. Those two things alone make him a pretty important target, but his recruitment hasn't been quite as public as some other targets so it's hard to say.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 6/10. Rumors have him leaning towards Boston College and Virginia Tech, but Maryland is still in the running. He received his three offers by camping at the schools, and has yet to make any other visits as far as we can tell.

Backup options:

Drew Yarborough and Hudson Hall. Yarborough's a local kid, at Thomas Johnson, and he's been to campus at least twice. Hall, from Austin, is reportedly high on the Terps and Baylor but has not received an offer from either (his only claimed offer is from San Diego State).

Inside linebacker

Committed:

Gus Little, Massaponax (Va.), (film review), three stars, 36th-best inside linebacker, 31st-best player in Virginia

How many more will Maryland take? Almost definitely zero.

Who's left:

Malachi Felder, Eastern Christian (Md.)

Ratings: Three stars, 47th-best inside linebacker, 28th-best player in Maryland

How important is he? 2/10. It's unlikely his offer is still commitable after the Terps secured Little and Zanotto.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 2/10. Maryland has stayed away from Eastern Christian before, and it's highly doubtful they'll make an exception to pursue a three-star player surplus to requirements.

Backup options:

Drew WileyAndy Davidson and Chad Martin. As we noted above, Maryland is unlikely to take any more inside linebackers in the class. If they decide to, they could go for an out-of-state kid like Wiley (N.J.) or Davidson (Pa.), who both have FCS offers, or a local kid like Martin, who goes to Thomas Johnson.

Cornerback

Committed:

Mike Majette, Woodbridge (Va.), three stars, 83rd-best athlete, 32nd-best player in Virginia

Darnell Savage, Caravel Academy (Del.), three stars, 80th-best cornerback, second-best player in Delaware

Ty Johnson, Fort Hill (Md.), (film review), three stars, 87th-best running back, 25th-best player in Maryland

How many more will Maryland take? 0-1.

Who's left:

Marcus Lewis, Gonzaga (D.C.)

Ratings: Four stars, ninth-best athlete, second-best player in D.C.

How important is he? 10/10. The loss of Kareem Ali still hurts, even with the addition of Mike Majette. Majette is a project, while Ali was a guy who would likely compete for playing time from the start. Maryland really wanted someone like that in the class, and Lewis is the only one left.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 6/10. He's previously said he wants to take an official visit to Maryland, so that's definitely good news. Even better news? He's no longer transferring to the IMG Academy in Florida, instead staying in D.C. with Gonzaga. The bad news? He's still committed to Florida, and is being pursued by Miami, Oregon and Michigan (whom he just visited).

Backup options:

Kobe MarfoJustice Pettus-DixonJaTwan Jones and Aaron Covington. The first three are local players who impressed at the Nike event in D.C., while Covington is a high school teammate of Cowart's.

Safety

Committed:

Jameel Cook, Ridge Point (Texas), three stars, 96th-best safety, 155th-best player in Texas

How many more will Maryland take? Probably one.

Who's left:

Jay Stocker, Coatesville Area (Penn.)

Ratings: Three stars, 37th-best safety, 11th-best player in Pennsylvania

How important is he? 8/10. Stocker and Lewis are the only Maryland secondary targets left who are at all highly rated, and grabbing his pledge would secure a strong class in the unit.

How likely is a Maryland pledge? 7/10. Stocker has kept most everything close to the vest, but Maryland is one of his strongest offers (along with Wisconsin, Pitt and Indiana). If Ohio State does not offer, I think the Terrapins stand a very good chance. If the Buckeyes do offer, it's pretty much over.

The backup options:

Robert Branch and Antoine Means. Branch is a pretty highly-touted Gilman player, so his lack of an offer is a bit curious. Means is also local, from Owings Mills.