With nearly the entire secondary leaving over the next two seasons, Maryland had some big holes in the secondary to fill in the 2015 recruiting class. The unit instead ended up being by far the Terrapins' biggest disappointment in the cycle, bringing in just one commitment in the secondary.
The Terrapin staff extended 31 offers to defensive backs (per the 247Sports database), with 20 going to cornerbacks. The one commitment came from three-star Caravel Academy (Del.) cornerback Darnell Savage, one of the earliest pledges in the class. Savage was offered in June 2013 (his first offer), visiting the campus twice and speaking highly of the program. When he suffered a season-ending injury in the second game of his junior year, Randy Edsall reached out for a comforting phone call and Maryland's interest never wavered, securing Savage's pledge in June 2014.
"It was coach Edsall that told my coach to have me give him a call," said Savage, who was one of 18 players to sign with Maryland last week. "He really opened my eyes to a lot because I realized what a great guy he is. I really realized that he just wants what's best for me, and that's in the classroom, in the football field and in life, in general."
Also in June 2013, Maryland offered three-star Timber Creek (N.J.) cornerback Kareem Ali, one of the prospect's first offers. Ali's stock went up significantly around the new year, earning offers from Michigan State, Nebraska and Florida. After narrowing his decision down to Maryland and Louisville in June 2014, he committed to the Terrapins on June 12. On July 19, Ali made a surprise decommitment from the Terrapins, followed by an even more surprising flip to Temple. Both of Ali's parents were athletes at Temple, and he decided he wanted to continue the family tradition.
Maryland had a family connection with three-star St. John's (D.C.) safety Ayron Monroe, the younger brother of all-time school sack leader Andre Monroe. He received his first offer, from Maryland, back in June 2013, and seemed a Terrapin lean for a while, visiting the campus a few times. After receiving a Penn State offer at their February Junior Day, Monroe visited the campus twice before committing to the Nittany Lions in May.
Maryland also offered four-star Gonzaga (D.C.) athlete Marcus Lewis in June 2013, getting in early on what would be one of the strangest recruiting processes in the class. Lewis visited College Park in November, committing to Virginia Tech later that month. He decommitted in December after taking a visit to Penn State, and soon picked up offers from Florida State, Florida, Michigan State and Notre Dame. Lewis committed to Florida in April, then decommitted in July. He took visits to Georgia, Washington State, Kentucky and Miami towards the end of the cycle before signing with Florida State over Texas.
Three-star Bishop McNamara (Md.) cornerback Ashton White committed to Virginia Tech back in December 2013, but came back on the board when he visited Maryland's Junior Day in February and officially when he decommitted in March. The Terrapins were very much in the running before Notre Dame came around with an offer in late June, earning a commitment soon after.
Maryland offered three-star Calvert Hall College (Md.) cornerback Dionte Austin in January 2014, and received a visit from him in February. Wake Forest had the early lead in his recruitment and held on, receiving his commitment in July and his signature in February.
The Terrapins extended an offer to Woodbridge (Va.) athlete Mike Majette in July after Ali flipped to Temple, and earned a commitment from him on the spot. A two-way player who may have ended up on offense in College Park, Majette and Maryland parted ways after he took an official visit to Indiana. He ended up signing with the Hoosiers.
The same happened with three-star Ridge Point (Texas) safety Jameel Cook, first offered in February 2014. Cook committed to Maryland in June 2014, flipping to Indiana after a late January 2015 visit. Three-star DeMatha (Md.) athlete Tyler Green, who initially committed to Ohio State in June 2014, re-opened his commitment in December before eventually settling on the Hoosiers, as well.
Without Majette and Cook, Maryland extended a late offer in December 2014 to Central Catholic (Penn.) safety John Petrishen. The Terps weren't the only one to take notice -- Penn State followed suit, earning his commitment in late January.
Maryland 2015 defensive backs in review
Who's leaving: Jeremiah Johnson, Undray Clark
Who's coming in: Darnell Savage, three stars, No. 91 cornerback, No. 2 player in Delaware
Major targets missed: Kareem Ali (Temple), Dionte Austin (Wake Forest), Ashton White (Notre Dame), Ayron Monroe (Penn State), John Petrishen (Penn State), Marcus Lewis (Florida State)
Other players with offers: Juwuan Briscoe (Georgia), DuWayne Johnson (Virginia Tech), Kevin Toliver II (LSU), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Alabama), Holton Hill (Texas), John Reid (Penn State), Micah Abernathy (Tennessee), Josh Butler (Michigan State), Maurice Smitherman (Mississippi State), William Johnson (Oklahoma), Will Lockett (UCLA), Chris Barr (South Florida), Ben Edwards (Stanford), Jamile Johnson (Texas Tech), Prentice McKinney (Oklahoma), John Kelly (Tennessee), Jameel Cook (Indiana), Mike Majette (Indiana), Tyler Green (Indiana), Jay Stocker (Pittsburgh), PJ Locke (Texas), Garrett Taylor (Penn State)
Projected 2015 depth chart:
|1||Will Likely||Junior||Anthony Nixon||Senior||A.J. Hendy||Senior||Sean Davis||Senior|
|2||Alvin Hill||Senior||Zach Dancel||Senior||Denzel Conyers||Senior||Jarrett Ross||Junior|
|3||Daniel Ezeagwu||Sophomore||Elvis Dennah||Sophomore||Milan Collins||Sophomore||Josh Woods||Sophomore|
|4||Darnell Savage||Freshman||Antwaine Carter||Sophomore|
Davis spent time at cornerback last season and adapted well, and moving him out there full-time this season would help solve a lot of problems in the secondary. For one, it moves the dynamic playmaker Hendy into the starting lineup, giving the Terps a fresh new pairing at safety. For another, the cornerback duo of Likely and Davis could challenge for one of the best in the conference. It was originally reported that Conyers would have three years to play, but Maryland's official roster currently lists him as a senior. That could be a typo, so we'll keep you updated.
2015 Signing Day Grade: D. Savage has a bright future in College Park and could command a starting spot down the road, but Maryland didn't do nearly enough to address their issues in the secondary. Some recruiting losses are unavoidable even if they are frustrating (like Ali's, to Temple), but staffs need to be able to recover and still bring in enough talent to keep each unit stable. Maryland's defensive backfield looks on the verge of absolutely collapsing, and they'll need to bring in some significant talent in 2016 and pray Tennessee transfer D'Andre Payne comes through.