Maryland football just signed its second consecutive top-25 recruiting class for the first time in school history. With 22 of 24 commits signed and officially part of the program, the Terps sit at No. 19 on 247Sports’ team rankings with seven weeks before the next signing period on Feb. 7.
It’s an impressive accomplishment, given the team’s on-the-field record this season, but not an entirely surprising one, given DJ Durkin’s focus on and passion for recruiting. This year’s new early signing period made it possible for the Terps to wrap up nearly its entire class about two months earlier than usual, which is a big help for programs like Maryland which have to fend off blue-blood teams for the top talent in each year’s class.
“I love it,” Durkin said. “I love it. It’s great. I think it’s great for us. I think it’s great for college football. I think you look at all these guys, this time of year, 90 percent of guys know where they want to go already anyway so then you go through a whole other month of recruiting in January where it’s just more coaches trying to get in their heads, confuse them, tell them different things, it’s more families having to deal with home visits, whatever else. It’s less time these guys are spending on their academics, being pulled out of class to meet with coaches and I’m guilty of it; we all do it.
“But now you eliminate that opportunity. These guys know where they want to go. Let them sign. The prospect, their family feel good about it? Let them sign. Now that’s done. Now they can focus on their academics and finishing strong, making sure they’re qualified and being eligible.”
That change shortened the window between the end of the season and signing day, even without a bowl game. Durkin was able to make home visits to every recruit in those three weeks, but insists the extra time that came with missing a bowl game didn’t make any difference.
“Let’s make no mistake about it,” Durkin said. “Not playing a bowl game did not help us and it’s not something we ever want to do. It’s unacceptable. It’s not where we’ll ever be this time of year ever again. We can recruit just fine preparing for a game. It’s part of our job as coaches. We would have signed the same class we did whether in or out. In many ways I think you really help yourself out by putting yourself in a good position in a bowl game.”
Here’s Durkin’s full press conference. You can skip 23:48 to watch him enter Super Saiyan Recruiting Pitch Mode.