It’s been a busy couple of weeks for 2016 Atlee HS (Va.) CB J.J. Givens, as he acquired his latest offers from the Louisville Cardinals and Maryland Terrapins. Playing in the secondary and being recruited by the school that boasts the latest Jim Thorpe award winner – the award given to the best secondary player in the country – has its perks.
"It was cool because I know [Louisville] recently had the Jim Thorpe award (Gerod Holliman)," Givens said. "He led the nation in interceptions with 14. I feel like they can incorporate me into their system as a safety or a cornerback. It was cool."
Maryland, who was the tenth school to offer the prospect, stands out to Givens in large part because of the relationship he has built with defensive line coach Chad Wilt. Wilt’s recruiting prowess has played an impactful role with many recruits in the 2016 class.
"Oh man, it was great," said Givens. "Me and coach Wilt have been establishing a relationship for the past three or four months, so that’s my guy. He’s by far my favorite coach there. He would be one of the reasons why I would go to Maryland."
With the busy offseason for recruiting in full swing, Givens is in the process of partaking in school camps and going on unofficial visits. Having the opportunity of participating in camps is pivotal for recruits, as they look for more exposure and more offers. The standout athlete hopes to take advantage of all opportunities presented to himself.
"I’m just trying to see how camp season is going to work out for me," he said. "I’m going to see when I get these camps done if I can go and take some visits at the same time. I am trying to go to Louisville on April 17th."
After developing a relationship with coach Wilt, Givens has had many discussions about where he could see playing time should he commit to the Terrapins. Having the versatility to play multiple positions really stands out in the eyes of the Maryland coaches.
"Coach Wilt told me they would look to incorporate me as a safety and cornerback, so kind of like a hybrid-type player. He said mainly they would use me at the safety position. I’ll probably play both, but mainly safety."
Givens, the 24th-ranked prospect in the state of Virginia according to the 247Sports Composite, holds Maryland in high regard, but also realizes that there are other opportunities to ponder and states that everyone is on an even playing field for the most part. When asked if there was a top list of schools that currently stand out, Givens replied, "No, I mean as of right now, everyone is at an even playing field as I continue to build relationships with the coaches. Maryland does stand out, but yeah every team is at an even playing field."
With no permanent decision on when a decision will be made, Givens hopes to be committed to his school at the end of his summer or before his senior year starts.
"Yeah, that’s probably going to happen more towards the end of the summer or beginning of my senior season," he said. "Hopefully, this isn't set in stone or anything, but hopefully I will be committed before the start of my senior season."