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As National Signing Day approaches, Maryland football has unfinished business

The Terps have been making up ground lately, and will sign the majority of their class Wednesday.

Mike Locksley Damon Evans press conference Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

The traditional National Signing Day is just one day away. For the second straight year, football has two signing periods, with the first one in December. As a result, most schools already have the majority of their 2019 classes locked in.

Maryland, though, still has a lot of work to do. The Terps’ class came together slowly even before chaos took over the program, DJ Durkin was fired and Mike Locksley ultimately took over. Maryland’s class is still the lowest-ranked in the Big Ten, and when all is said and done, it’ll be the Terps’ smallest class in years (likely between 18 and 20 players).

Here’s your primer on what’s already happened and what’s on the horizon.

Maryland signed just six players in the early period.

That’s an incredibly low number, but makes sense given everything Maryland’s been through. The Terps entered the first National Signing Day with a mere 10 verbal commits, two of which had pledged just the week before. Half of those players—wide receivers Isaiah Hazel and Dino Tomlin, offensive lineman Mason Lunsford and cornerbacks Deonte Banks and Lavonte Gater—sent in their National Letters of Intent on Dec. 19. In addition, tight end Malik Jackson flipped his commitment from UConn to Maryland and signed the same day.

Locksley told reporters that afternoon that the early signees were players he had known previously, and that he planned to use January to build relationships between recruits and staffers. “It’s a two-part relationship: them getting to know us and what type of program we’re going to put into place, and us getting to know them and to make sure that it’s a fit,” he said. As the staff came together over the last month (seven of the 10 assistants were not on board for the first signing day), Maryland’s recruiting picture gradually became more clear.

The Terps have nine unsigned verbal commits.

Maryland had five of these when the first signing day passed, three of which have remained committed. Cornerback Tayvion Land, linebacker Kameron Blount and defensive end Deshawn Holt are all expected to sign Wednesday. However, quarterback David Summers and running back Jordan Houston flipped to Syracuse and NC State, respectively, in January. Both players drew more widespread interest after the first signing period, and Summers’ departure in particular was almost expected, as he was a Matt Canada recruit.

Locksley has hosted prospects for official visits each of the last two weekends, landing multiple commitments both times. The defensive side of the ball got a massive boost Jan. 27, as defensive end Sam Okuayinonu, cornerback Erwin Byrd and safety Treron Collins all committed in the same day. This past weekend prompted announcements from tight end Tyler Devera, offensive tackle Marcus Finger (a flip from UCF), and punter Anthony Pecorella (potentially an immediate replacement for Wade Lees, who’s moving on from college football after three seasons as the Terps’ starter).

The new additions will add depth at several positions of need, but Maryland still has some unanswered questions. With Summers and Houston out, there are no quarterbacks or running backs currently in the class; while Maryland returns a ton of talent at the latter spot, it could stand to add another signal caller, either at the end of the recruiting cycle or via the grad transfer market.

Who’s left on the board?

The Terps are still either the favorites or in the mix for several still-uncommitted recruits. Among those to visit College Park lately are four-star quarterback Lance LeGendre, high three-star safety Cortez Andrews, three-star JuCo guard (and Louisiana Tech commit) Parris Heath and three-star defensive end Anthony Booker. Four-star Florida State safety commit Nick Cross has been on campus multiple times, but still seems unlikely to land in College Park.

LeGendre would be the biggest splash of the bunch. The New Orleans native is currently deciding between Maryland and Florida State, and both teams need him desperately. The Seminoles are down to two scholarship quarterbacks after dismissing Deondre Francois, and the Terps have just three healthy options with Kasim Hill injured. Tallahassee seemed the more likely destination before this past weekend, and little has trickled out since his Maryland visit.

The Terps also made the top five last week for four-star linebacker Eugene Asante, the No. 5 player in Virginia. While Virginia Tech remains the apparent favorite, Asante unofficially visited Maryland last week after picking up an offer in December. In his case and several others, there’s room for drama until pen is put to paper. That’s what makes National Signing Day the spectacle it is.