Twenty-eight FBS teams replaced their head football coaches during or after the 2015 college football season. Maryland was one of those teams, firing Randy Edsall and bringing in Michigan defensive coordinator DJ Durkin.
The 2012 Rivals Recruiter of the Year cobbled together the No. 42 class in the nation by National Signing Day in February, gaining a couple big recruits but losing a few more. But early into the 2017 recruiting cycle, he's doing better than almost all of the country's other new head coaches. Maryland currently has the No. 15 class in the nation, which is a much higher ranking than the No. 49 class Edsall finished with in 2015.
The above graph shows the change in each program's 247Sports team recruiting ranking from the final 2015 class to the in-progress 2017 class. The 2015 class is the last one each team's old coach recruited, with 2016 being an in-between class where the team's new head coach had to rush to keep the old coach's recruits and get new ones, all in a short window of time. 2017 is the first recruiting cycle where each team's new head coach will have control of the program from start to finish.
Durkin's class is the third-most improved of the new coaches, tied with Chris Ash at Rutgers and Mike Neu at Ball State. Under Durkin, Maryland has already secured commitments from five-star defensive end Joshua Kaindoh and three four-stars: defensive tackle Cam Spence, quarterback Kasim Hill and offensive tackle Jordan McNair.
Obviously, it's unwise to take too much away from these early recruiting rankings. But we can still examine them while keeping in mind that these things can change, and the Terps probably won't have the No. 15 class in the nation when it's all said and done.
But it's not just the improvement in his class's ranking that makes what he's doing impressive. His recruiting class at Maryland is also the third-highest overall of any team with a new head coach, trailing only Miami and Georgia.
He also ranks sixth in overall player ranking for his class - which is important. Iowa State and Bowling Green, the two teams with bigger improvement in ranking than Maryland, and Ball State and Rutgers, which are tied with Maryland in class improvement, both sit comfortably below the Terps in average player ranking. At this point in the cycle, it's more important to get blue-chip recruits than it is to stash up a bunch of three-stars. Essentially, teams like Iowa State and Bowling Green are ranked higher than Maryland because they have more recruits - Maryland has better recruits.
If Maryland fans can just get through this 2016 season, they could be in for a real treat.