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Maryland 2016 recruiting class preview: Part 1, offense

After an underwhelming finish to 2015, the focus turns to what could be a very strong 2016 class.

Dwayne Haskins
Dwayne Haskins
Student Sports Photos

Maryland's 2015 recruiting class is officially in the books, with 18 signees clocking in at the No. 48 haul in the nation (the Terps received a late bump up one spot after defensive lineman Oseh Saine was awarded a three-star composite rating). Terrapin fans have been hearing about the loaded local 2016 class for some time now, and the staff can finally fully shift their attention to the group.

The Terps already hold three commitments in the class, all from Maryland: four-star Good Counsel linebacker Keandre Jones, three-star DeMatha running back Lorenzo Harrison and three-star DeMatha athlete Darryl Turner. That's the start of what has been dubbed "the movement," an effort by the Maryland staff (with the help of players like Harrison and Adam McLean) to keep a significant faction of the local blue-chip talent at home.

Harrison and Turner are teammates with blue-chip targets Tino Ellis, Terrance Davis and Shane Simmons. Ellis and Davis are high on Maryland, but Simmons is currently committed to Penn State. That whole group is close with four-star Bullis quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the most important recruit of the bunch. Haskins and the group are also close with four-star Avalon cornerback Trevon Diggs (the younger brother of Stefon) and three-star Landon outside linebacker Keith Simms.

Maryland's three commitments all fill needs in the class, as well. There's still a ton left to do, however -- Randy Edsall took small classes in each of the last two years, and 2016 should be a large one if all works well. The five biggest needs, by my estimation:

  1. QB
  2. LT
  3. S
  4. NT
  5. CB

Based on Maryland's current roster and information from the 247Sports database, here's what (and who) the staff is probably targeting in the class. We'll start with offense now, continuing with defense on Tuesday. For more on the class, check out our offer board and map.

1 quarterback

It's Dwayne Haskins or bust for Maryland at the quarterback position currently, and it's not entirely unfair to say the success of the Terrapins' 2016 class may very well rely on his decision. That should come sooner rather than later -- elite quarterbacks typically decide early, before their senior season. A high four-star prospect from Bullis (Md.), Haskins is also considering Ohio State, Penn State and Notre Dame. He recently picked up some even bigger offers from Oklahoma, Alabama and LSU, and his recruitment is expanding to a national one quickly.

1-2 running backs

Maryland already has a commitment at the position in Harrison, but they lose Brandon Ross, Albert Reid and Wes Brown over the next two years and will want to add at least one more option to the 2016 backfield (which, as of now, consists of Brown, Harrison and Ty Johnson).

Four-star North Carolina running back Robert Washington (also close with Haskins) is the dream target, but he's got high interest from just about every national power in the country, including Michigan, Penn State, Florida, Ohio State and Notre Dame. It's possible the Terps could stay in this one longer than expected due to his relationship with some of the team's other targets, but a commitment from him is still a longshot.

Maryland is also targeting a pair of three-stars, both of whom have reported offers from the staff. Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) prospect Deon McIntosh recently received a Miami offer and appears to be leaning in that direction. Imhotep (Pa.) recruit Tyliek Raynor is high school teammates with Maryland signee D.J. Moore and tight end target Naseir Upshur, and could be the staff's best shot at another running back in the class.

1 fullback (maybe)

Kenneth Goins, Jr. and Andrew Stefanelli both graduate after the 2016 season, leaving Maryland empty at the position. The problem? As far as we know, there have been no offers extended to fullbacks so far. The Terps could wait until the 2017 class and start a true freshman, or a player currently on the roster (such as one of the backup quarterbacks or linebackers) could make the transition.

2-3 wide receivers

Randy Edsall's staff has done a good job bringing in top-end wide receiver talent, landing commitments from highly-regarded recruits Nigel King, Stefon Diggs, Deon Long, Taivon Jacobs, Juwann Winfree and D.J. Moore. Two of Maryland's three projected starters (Levern Jacobs and Marcus Leak) are scheduled to graduate by the end of the 2016 season, giving the Terps room for at least two more in this class (even if Darryl Turner ends up here instead of at safety).

This is where Tino Ellis, the four-star wide receiver from DeMatha, comes into play. He's said Maryland and Virginia Tech are his top two schools, but lead recruiter Aaron Moorehead departed for the same job at Texas A&M. Ellis is one of the top 10 players in the state, and his commitment would be one of the most significant in the class.

There are three other prospects to keep an eye on with reported Maryland offers. Three-star Bishop McDevitt (Pa.) prospect Kobay White also has offers from Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Pitt, while Forest Park (Va.) recruit Eric Kumah appears to be favoring the Hokies. Maryland remains the only reported offer for Perry Hall (Md.) prospect Brennon Dingle, the most likely target out of the group.

1 tight end

Like at quarterback, Maryland has appeared to zero in on one target here. That would be Imhotep (Pa.) prospect Naseir Upshur, a four-star player considered one of the top tight ends in the nation. He's visited College Park twice and appears to have a good relationship with the staff, but Upshur has started to receive interest (and offers) from programs like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and South Carolina.

2-3 offensive tackles

The future of Maryland's offensive line looks pretty much set with Damian Prince, Brendan Moore, Quarvez Boulware and Derwin Gray, but Randy Edsall is still looking for a long-term answer at left tackle. Four-star Archbishop Carroll tackle Jauan Williams fits that bill and is rated the top player in the District. Williams has a perfect frame at 6'6.5 and 283 pounds, and is also considering offers from Florida, Ohio State and Penn State, among others.

There are four other significant tackle targets on the board -- two from the same school in Baltimore and two from Virginia. Three-star Gilman (Md.) prospect Stephen Spanellis has picked up offers from Michigan, South Carolina and Virginia Tech, while three-star teammate Devery Hamilton appears a more likely option for Maryland (and a higher rated one), although he recently picked up a Penn State offer. Three-star Stafford Senior (Va.) tackle Josh Ball appears to be favoring West Virginia, while four-star Woodberry Forest (Va.) prospect Clark Yarbrough is considering the Terps along with Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Penn State, among others.

1-2 offensive guards

The Terps have three very promising prospects at guard in Damian Prince, Quarvez Boulware and E.J. Donahue, but they may prefer Boulware at center. They're in with a pair of local blue-chip linemen, with an added connection to one Floridian prospect.

Closer to home are four-star DeMatha (Md.) prospect Terrance Davis and four-star Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) recruit Richard Merritt, both of whom have interest in Maryland and offers from Alabama, among others. There's no stiffer competition for D.C. area linemen than the Tide, but the commitments of Harrison and Turner should help with Davis.

Down in Florida is three-star guard Andrew Boselli, the son of five-time Pro Bowler and former Jacksonville Jaguar Tony Boselli. Maryland has a connection to the Jaguars through wide receivers coach Keenan McCardell and through Randy Edsall (an assistant on the team during Boselli's time there).