The same day that Maryland basketball put to rest a recent rough stretch by beating Indiana at home, the football team had one of its most important days in the earliest portion of the 2016 recruiting cycle. Wednesday was a visit date for a trio of prospects that could one day make up the Terrapins' offensive core.
So far UMD's class of 2016 features three prospects, including two from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville. One of those commits is DJ Turner, an athlete considered a three-star prospect by 247sports. He visited College Park on Wednesday and brought with him Tino Ellis, a four-star athlete, and 2017 quarterback prospect Beau English.
The Terps hope their class of 2016 will feature recruits from around the state, but no individual school is more important than DeMatha Catholic, which is why having Turner and three-star running back Lorenzo Harrison already locked up is a major victory already in this class.
"Maryland was always my top school even before they offered me," Turner said. "When they offered me, I let Coach (Randy) Edsall know that I was going to commit soon."
Turner and Harrison grew up playing sports together, dating all the way back to their days as little league teammates. The goal was always to play in college together.
So it's fitting that these two are among the first to verbally pledge to the Terrapins from a loaded crop of local talent.
"We probably talk about it every day," Turner said. "We've been talking about playing in college for a while and now we've got the opportunity to make it happen. And now we're trying to get guys like Tino."
But it's not just guys like Tino. Turner also is close with Bullis' Dwayne Haskins, Avalon's Trevon Diggs and Landon's Keith Simms. Those three are among the biggest names that Turner says will be at UMD's junior day on Feb. 21.
"All the local guys that have offers are gonna be there," Turner said.
"It's the opportunity to have everybody from this area stay and play for one team after high school," Turner said. "That's big."
On to the round-up:
- Kentucky extended an offer to Ellis this week. The wide receiver and safety from DeMatha is one UMD's top targets in the class of 2016.
- That wasn't it for the Wildcats in Maryland this week. UK also offered four-star Gilman lineman Devery Hamilton, another of the Terps' top targets in the class.
Thank you to @CoachMainordUK and Kentucky for offering me today!— Devery Hamilton (@D_Hamilton19) February 11, 2015
- And one last bit of news for the class of 2015: Six Terrapin commits will play in the Big 33 Football Classic on June 20 in Hershey, Pa. The game, which pits the best player from Maryland against the top Pennsylvanians, will include wide receiver D.J. Moore, linebacker Brett Zanotto, running back Ty Johnson, defensive tackle Keiron Howard and offensive linemen Ellis McKennie and E.J. Donahue.