Randy Edsall held a press conference at Gossett Team House on Wednesday to discuss Maryland's 2015 recruiting class. The Terrapins closed National Signing Day with an 18-man incoming class, including nine locals from Maryland, Washington and nearby Virginia. Of Maryland's new signees, nine play offense, eight play defense and one punts. Eight of the 18 players are either offensive or defensive linemen. Here are highlights from Edsall's remarks.
A chunk of Edsall's opening statement, including a note on his new crop of linemen:
The thing that we wanted to do, we accomplished. We wanted to continue to build our team from the inside out and having been able to land the quality and the number of offensive lineman that we were able to land, really enhances where we want to go in the Big Ten. And then also to get the defensive linemen that we got headed by Adam McLean from Quince Orchard - I think it helps us moving forward with what we want to do because of the league that we're playing in and the needs that we had. The thing that I liked about it is we got our needs. There are some positions that we weren't really looking to go after, but the two most important positions that we had were the o-line and the d-line, and we were able to secure commitments from some outstanding young men.
On the importance of flipping McLean, a former Penn State commit, to join Maryland:
"It was great that we were able to get him to change his mind and come to Maryland. I think when he had his injury he really thought long and hard about some things. When I had the opportunity to go and sit down with him and his parents, family was important to him. He wanted to have his family see him play. And when you get a guy that's as charismatic and is the leader that he is, that really helps you with other people that you're recruiting. He has a passion for the state, he has a passion for Maryland and he has a passion for being here. Nowadays what happens in recruiting is the young men really recruit each other and get on social medial or call people. So that was huge. Not only is he a really good player, but he's a really good kid that wants to do well and wants to be a big factor on the football field and here at the University.
On Keiron Howard, a defensive line commit from Fort Washington, Md.:
"We've known Keiron for quite a few years. That's the one thing about a lot of these young men - we've developed relationships over a 2-3 year period with them. The thing about Keiron is the amount he has grown and developed over the last few years is really outstanding. The other thing I like about this group is their athleticism. Keiron is a basketball player as well as a defensive lineman and you can just see his length. The more kids that we can get that we identify and fit the profile that we have at Maryland and keep them home - it helps them, it helps us, it helps everything. I like his ability, I like his upside and I think he will continue to get better. When you have kids that play multiple sports, I think you find that they have yet to tap their potential in football. A guy like Keiron is a guy that has tremendous upside. Being close to home was very important."
On how this class stacks up to past Maryland recruiting classes:
"I think what happens with recruiting classes is that they vary from year to year. I think this is a very good one based on our needs and where we’re at in the conference. The quality of the linemen that are in this group, you win it up front. Skill kids are great, but there are more of those than linemen. Linemen are hard to get. You talk to NFL people, and that’s one of the toughest things they have to do is getting offensive linemen and defensive linemen. Because of our needs and what’re doing, this one [class] ranks right at the top. Like I said, when you talk about 17 captains and the leadership and the work ethic and all those things, it’s impressive. They’re going to do all the things you want them to do. It’s a very impressive group in my mind."
I asked Edsall what he'd say to fans disappointed with the program's Wednesday commitments elsewhere by highly rated offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, the top player in Maryland, and defensive lineman Austrian Robinson. His response:
"You're never going to get everybody you want. Just go take a look around the country. I just happened to be watching something this morning; a kid from Plano, Tex., [running back Sosa Jamabo], chooses UCLA over Texas, so it happens. You're not going to get every guy that you're looking for, and you never worry about the guys you don't get. You worry about the guys that you do get. That's my thing. I don't put a lot of stock in rankings. We do this for a living. We know what our needs our. We know what we need to fill the positions that we need to help us be successful. We went out there this year and ddi it. This year's over, and we're already on to '16."