Saturday brought one of Maryland football’s best recruiting stretches in a while, as local DeMatha standouts Austin Fontaine and Evan Gregory verbally committed to the Terps less than 10 minutes apart.
Each is a four-star recruit, which is great for the program’s short-term success. But perhaps more importantly, their commitments continue Maryland’s recent resurgence in recruiting at the local powerhouse. After years of not landing a single DeMatha recruit, the Terps will have eight on the roster this fall. That familiarity was key to securing commitments from two of the nations best at their positions.
“When I go [to Maryland], it’s gonna feel even more like home,” Fontaine told Testudo Times at Nike’s The Opening D.C. camp Sunday. “I played with them in high school, I’m gonna play with them in college, so it’s great.”
Gregory added that it was fun having his former teammates there when he committed before Maryland’s spring game Saturday. But each recruit’s decision to commit to Maryland goes well beyond their familiarity with the program.
“I like Maryland not just for football, but for the education part, because I want to be a teacher,” said Gregory, who plans to be a principal. “I wanted to stay in the area and mentor kids who are younger than me.”
One of DJ Durkin’s staples at since he became head coach at Maryland has been what he calls “Real Life Wednesdays.” Each session features a guest speaker who embodies one or more of the team’s core values and mission statement, which puts a premium on being prepared for life after football.
“I like the life-after-football aspect of it, the opportunities I can have going to Maryland, because I know football’s not gonna be there forever,” Fontaine said. “But life after football is still big for me. They have a great business program that I want to go into.”
Before they officially arrive in the summer of 2018, they’ll try to close out their high school careers on a high note by winning yet another WCAC Championship. Another ring would mean one for each of their four seasons at DeMatha and a fifth straight for the program. Now that each is committed, there’s one less thing to think about as they begin their quest for that final ring.
“It feels great now that it’s over,” Gregory said. “I can focus on my senior season and focus on being a leader — a team leader — and focus on winning another championship.”
The Stags will have as good a chance as any with these two anchoring the offensive and defensive lines. And when all is said and done and a champion is crowned, the duo won’t have to go to far to take the next steps in their careers.
“It’s a wonderful place, but it’s right around the corner, you know? You don’t have to go anywhere,” Gregory said. “Why go somewhere else when you have the same thing right in your backyard?”