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Here’s what Maryland fans should expect from the early football signing period

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Most of the Terps’ commits are days away from signing, but there could still be some late drama.

NCAA Football: Northwestern at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

On May 8, the NCAA announced that there would be a new, early signing period for football, much like there is for basketball and most other sports. The new period will last from Dec. 20 to Dec. 22. Recruits don’t have to sign during this new period, but college coaches expect upward of 80 percent of their recruiting classes to sign.

Maryland’s recruiting has been relatively quiet since the season started in September. Only three-star defensive tackle Jalen Alexander committed between the end of summer and now. That’s either a convenient coincidence or a well-employed strategy from the Maryland coaching staff. In any case, the last time DJ Durkin spoke to the media, he said he expects all the kids who’ve committed to Maryland to sign in the early period and complimented them for sticking with the program through this trying season.

The expected signees

In all likelihood, not every single one of the Terps’ 21 commits will sign in this early period, but the majority of them should. In that case, the headliners of the class would once again be local blue-chip recruits from DeMatha and other schools in the surrounding area. Four-star defensive tackle and Under Armour All-American Austin Fontaine and three-star offensive lineman Evan Gregory will continue that pipeline, while four-star offensive tackle Jaelyn Duncan will ensure that Maryland pulls a blue-chip offensive lineman out of the Baltimore area for the second straight year. Three-star Calvert Hall linebacker Chance Campbell will sign as well.

Back over in Prince George’s County, three-star Eleanor Roosevelt safety Raymond Boone will sign too. The Terps will dip back into the Good Counsel program for three-star defensive end Tyler Baylor and continue their way through Montgomery County with Paint Branch outside linebacker Durell Nchami.

Right down I-270 and about halfway around the beltway, Maryland continues its solid recruiting of the District with H.D. Woodson three-star defensive back Vincent Flythe.

In recent years, the staff has opened up a pipeline from the Virginia Beach area to College Park, and will continue that this year with a handful of recruits from the 757; three-star receiver Darryl Jones, quarterback Tyler DeSue, and Alexander are all expected to sign. Farther north in Virginia, three-star receiver Brian Cobbs will also sign.

During Durkin’s tenure, he and his staff have been proactive in adding quality prospects from outside the DMV also. This year, Maryland will add three-star New Jersey linebacker Nihym Anderson, three-star Pennsylvania linebacker Jordan Mosley, three-star Georgia tight ends Chigoziem Okonkwo and Maleak Bryant and three-star Georgia kicker Joseph Petrino.

When all is said and done after the early signing period, 17 of Maryland’s 21 commits are definitely expected to sign.

The guys who may waver

Newly minted four-star H.D. Woodson cornerback Noah Boykin has entertained Virginia Tech and Notre Dame for a few months now, and is a serious liability to flip to the Fighting Irish.

When former offensive line coach Tyler Bowen left to be Penn State’s tight ends coach, it left three-star Bishop McNamara offensive tackle Spencer Anderson and three-star junior college transfer T.J. Bradley without a position coach. As a result, each may take a look elsewhere, but both are still more likely than not to sign with Maryland.

Three-star Friendship Collegiate receiver Dontay Demus laid it all out in his commitment note when he said he was verbally committed to Maryland but added “(Still Open To Other Offers )” at the bottom. Even still, he told Testudo Times last week that he’d “most likely” sign early.

Potential late additions

The biggest fish left in Maryland’s recruiting pond is five-star and No. 7 overall prospect Eyabi Anoma, who announced he’d be deciding on Dec. 22, the last day of the new period. Though Alabama is the unanimous favorite, he maintains that he’s not committed anywhere just yet.

He’s expected on campus in College Park this weekend, along with nearly all of Maryland’s commits and other high-priority targets, so there’s still some hope that Durkin and Co. can pull off the recruiting upset of the century, but don’t hold your breath.

Three-star Florida receiver Jeshaun Jones already took his official visit in November along with three-star Florida linebacker Fa’Najae Gotay. Each one (or both) could be late additions to the class, but Maryland won’t have the benefit of having the final word right before signing day with either one.

Three-star Virginia Beach defensive end Jaevon Becton just reopened his recruitment after being committed to Georgia for over six months, and it’s not out of the question that the Maryland staff throws their hat in the ring.

It’s also worth noting that defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Brumbaugh has a reputation for recruiting junior college defensive ends, and with Maryland’s need to shore up the defensive line, it’s probable that he’s got a few names in mind now that the semester is over.

The reality is that not all of Maryland’s targets will sign in this early period, but the good news is that there’s another six weeks or so to identify new targets and do this dance all over again starting on the first Wednesday in February. When all is said and done, the Terps could very well end up with another top-25 signing class, which would mark the first back-to-back top-25 classes in program history. At worst, it should be another top-30 class for Maryland, which is still a significant accomplishment and a sign that the future remains bright in College Park.