The single biggest unit Maryland has looked to address in the last two classes has been the offensive line. With the move to the Big Ten, the Terrapins have been faced with larger and more physical defensive lines in conference play, and the team desperately needed to add bulk up front to measure up. They've now added nine offensive linemen in the last two classes, including three blue-chip prospects.
The Terrapins offered a total of 28 offensive line prospects in the 2015 class -- 19 tackles, eight guards and two centers. Maryland's first commitment in the class was on the line, as well -- 6'5, 335-pound Linganore (Md.) prospect E.J. Donahue, who picked up an offer in February 2013 and committed in October during his fourth campus visit. Donahue received offers and heavy interest from Florida State and Wisconsin after committing, but never wavered from his pledge and signed with the Terps two years after first picking up his offer.
An early miss for the Terps was four-star Gonzaga (D.C.) offensive guard Richie Petitbon, the top player in the District and the son of a Maryland player (and the grandson of the former Washington head coach). Petitbon picked up an offer from Maryland in June 2013 (after Penn State and Virginia Tech), and soon after started seeing offers come in from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Florida State and Ohio State. He visited College Park in August 2013 and February 2014, but did not return -- he committed to the Tide in April and never looked back.
Another early offer was extended to four-star C.D. Hylton (Va.) tackle Matthew Burrell, an imposing 6'4, 321-pound prospect who received interest from some of the nation's top programs. He visited College Park in February and March 2014 before narrowing his list down to five national powers (including Penn State and Ohio State). Burrell committed to Ohio State in November, signing with them this February.
Maryland also offered Glenelg (Md.) guard David Robbins before his senior season, and seemed to be in good position after receiving visits in August 2013 and February 2014. Florida State made a surprise offer in late March, and Robbins committed two weeks later.
There were a few blue-chip prospects who briefly appeared to have interest in Maryland, but ended up elsewhere. The Terps' staff offered Rockbridge County (Va.) star Austin Clark in August 2013, but were never able to beat out Virginia Tech (who offered earlier and received his signature). In February 2014, Maryland was one of the first major programs to offer Jacksonville lineman Tyler Jordan. He received an offer from favorite Florida soon after, and committed to the Gators later that month. The Terrapins received a surprise March visit from four-star New Jersey prospect Grant Newsome, but he committed to Michigan just a few months later.
Maryland offered three-star McDonogh (Md.) guard Ellis McKennie in mid-February, receiving a pair of visits from him in the following month. After visiting Penn State in March and picking up a Rutgers offer in April, McKennie became Maryland's second offensive line commitment of the class in late May.
Another February offer went out to New Jersey center Tommy Hatton, one of Maryland's top targets in the class. The 6'3, 280-pound prospect talked up the Terps for a while, especially after a March visit to College Park. After picking up a South Carolina offer in April (they became the presumed favorite), Hatton surprisingly committed to North Carolina in June.
The Terrapins wasted no time finding his replacement in the class, picking up a commitment from Ohio center Mason Zimmerman just two days after Hatton popped to the Tar Heels. The 6'5, 275-pound prospect was a complete unknown at the time, but later became a three-star recruit and played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl.
Three-star Virginia Beach tackle Blake Camper popped up on the radar in February as well, visiting College Park late in the month and receiving an offer. He returned to campus in early March and April, and it seemed like the Terrapins had a good chance at landing the recruit. After committing to Rutgers in June, Camper ended up flipping to South Carolina on an official visit in January
Maryland picked up a commitment from Middletown (Md.) prospect Will McClain in late June, about a week after Camper originally pledged to the Scarlet Knights. The Terps beat out West Virginia and Temple for the 6'5, 290-pound tackle -- their only one in the class.
One of Maryland's first targets in the class was Quarvez Boulware, offered as a freshman three years ago. He visited College Park twice in June 2013 and at least five times in 2014, flirting with some Southeast powers (and Wake Forest) before pledging to the Terps the day before Signing Day.
Maryland extended an offer to Eleanor Roosevelt (Md.) prospect Isaiah Prince early in the process, receiving multiple visits from him over the next year and change. Prince eventually became the top prospect in the state, visiting a number of national powers and eventually committing to Ohio State over Maryland on Signing Day, after first pledging to Alabama.
Maryland 2015 offensive line in review
Who's leaving: C Sal Conaboy, LG Silvano Altamirano, LT Jake Wheeler
Who's coming in: Quarvez Boulware, four stars, No. 18 offensive guard, No. 3 player in Washington D.C.
E.J. Donahue, three stars, No. 25 offensive guard, No. 8 player in Maryland
Ellis McKennie, three stars, No. 77 offensive guard, No. 29 player in Maryland
Mason Zimmerman, three stars, No. 18 center, No. 61 player in Ohio
Will McClain, three stars, No. 147 offensive tackle, No. 34 player in Maryland
Major targets missed: Isaiah Prince (Ohio State), Blake Camper (South Carolina), Richie Petitbon (Alabama), Matthew Burrell (Ohio State), David Robbins (Florida State), Tommy Hatton (North Carolina)
Other players with offers: Abdul Bello (Florida State), Ryan Bates (Penn State), William Sweet (North Carolina), Kaleb Kim (Auburn), Tyree St. Louis (Miami), Grant Newsome (Michigan), Austin Clark (Virginia Tech), Tyler Jordan (Florida), Noah Listermann (Michigan State), Kevin Feder (Ohio State), Tyler Higby (Michigan State), Michael Howard (Ole Miss), Brandon Knight (Indiana), Tony Pilato (Pittsburgh), Kendrick Norton (Miami), Mirko Jurkovic (Ohio State), Evan Adams (Syracuse)
Projected 2015 depth chart:
|1||Michael Dunn||Junior||Evan Mulrooney||Senior||Brendan Moore||Freshman||Andrew Zeller||Senior||Derwin Gray||Freshman|
|2||Will McClain||Freshman||Damian Prince||Freshman||Stephen Grommer||Senior||Quarvez Boulware||Freshman||Ryan Doyle||Senior|
|3||Jajuan Dulaney||Sophomore||Mason Zimmerman||Freshman||E.J. Donahue||Freshman|
|4||Ellis McKennie||Freshman||Sean Christie||Sophomore|
Of all the projections we have, this is the one that's probably going to change the most. Maryland loses two starters from last year (three, if you include Wheeler's contributions at the end of the season), and there's going to be significant shuffling along the line. The Terps have a number of players who can play a variety of positions in the unit, and this will be perhaps the most important group of players to watch in spring. Look out for battles at left guard, center and both tackle positions -- Maryland finds itself with much more depth inside than out, and there may be a few players kicked out in spring to help with that.
2015 Signing Day Grade: B+. Missing on Prince hurts, as Maryland's only clear question mark in the future is left tackle, but the Terrapins did a very good job of adding quality depth to the unit. Boulware is likely a multi-year starter at either center or guard, while the other players either have high upside (like Donahue with his massive frame) or advanced technical ability (like Zimmerman).