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Recent commitments show Maryland's movement picking up steam

Anthony Cowan, DJ Turner and D'Andre Payne give the Terrapins three important local commits in just a few days.

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The movement, as Maryland fans refer to the recent increase of top local talent staying home and going to College Park, first started in early 2012. Five-star Good Counsel wide receiver Stefon Diggs announced his commitment to Maryland, joining fellow highly-rated Good Counsel players Wes Brown and Mike Madaras as Terp pledges in the class. Stage two of the movement saw local blue-chippers like Yannick Ngakoue, Derwin Gray, Jesse Aniebonam and Damian Prince trickle into the program, culminating in the flipping of four-star defensive lineman Adam McLean from Penn State.

The combined impact of those classes (and McLean's own recruiting prowess) has led to talk about a potentially major 2016 recruiting class. Maryland saw a glimpse into that future in both football and men's basketball this weekend, receiving three important local commitments. Cornerback D'Andre Payne announced Friday that he'd be transferring to Maryland. Saturday, it was athlete DJ Turner announcing his commitment to the Terps. Monday, point guard Anthony Cowan finished it off with his pledge.

A former four-star recruit out of Woodson (D.C.), Payne signed with Tennessee in 2014 over offers from Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State and Penn State, among others. He played in eight games as a true freshman (mostly on special teams, recording four tackles). He then chose to return home over an opportunity with ... Penn State, among others.

Payne's impact is significant on the field: cornerback is one of the team's biggest needs, and he'll form a heck of a tandem with Will Likely in 2016. He'll have three years to play in College Park, ideally giving the secondary a cornerstone to build around. But off the field he helps add legitimacy to the movement, as well -- Payne is a guy who originally spurned the home school for the SEC, and now returns as one of the most talented players on the Terps' roster.

Next was Turner, the least highly recruited of the three, but perhaps the most important. A wide receiver/safety who specializes in the return game, Turner is a star at DeMatha, just 2.7 miles away from Maryland's campus.

After not signing a single DeMatha recruit since 2009 (Michael Williams, who ended up at Tennessee instead), Maryland now has two commitments (Turner and Lorenzo Harrison) from the local powerhouse in the class of 2016. More could be on the way: DeMatha's 2016 class has four blue-chippers (DE Shane Simmons, OT JP Urquidez, WR Tino Ellis and OG Terrance Davis), and they're all part of a close-knit group with Harrison, Turner, blue-chip Bullis quarterback Dwayne Haskins and blue-chip Avalon athlete Trevon Diggs.  Simmons (a Penn State commit) and Urquidez (a Texas native) are probably unattainable goals, but landing Turner was another important step to grabbing the rest of that very impressive list.

Finally, there's Anthony Cowan, the top 2016 basketball prospect in the state of Maryland. The next point guard of the future in College Park, Cowan reportedly grew up a Georgetown fan but spurned the Hoyas in favor of the Terrapins. How did he happen to phrase his commitment?

That's right, it's not just football -- #DMV2UMD has made its way onto the hardcourt as well. Maryland's athletic department has pushed the "pride" element ever since Kevin Anderson took over, and if this weekend was any preview, it's starting to look like it could culminate in something special.