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Maryland football’s 2020 recruiting plan will center on its own backyard

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The local class is as talented as any in recent memory, but Mike Locksley will have to fend off plenty of blue bloods for top recruits.

NCAA Basketball: Loyola-Maryland at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

After reaching a top-50 class in 2019 despite only having a month to really recruit, Mike Locksley and his Maryland football staff will look to build on positive momentum with the 2020 recruiting class.

The Terrapins secured a commitment from three-star DeMatha lineman Jordan White to kick off what should be an exciting recruiting window. With one commit in place, the door is open for others in the class who may have been hesitant to jump on board.

While the DMV is always rich in talent, next year’s class might be its strongest in recent memory. The state of Maryland alone has 14 blue-chip recruits, including three five-star prospects, and there are 26 four- and five-star recruits between Maryland, D.C. and Virginia. It will certainly be a test for Locksley, as blue bloods such as Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and local rival Penn State have made ties in this region and will be recruiting heavily. But with the way the Terps closed out 2019, there’s reason for optimism throughout the local class.

Local players to know

Bryan Bresee, Damascus, strong-side DE, 5 stars (0.9990)

The 6’5, 290-pound Bresee has long been one of the most touted recruits in all of the 2020 class. He spent most of 2018 as the top player in the nation according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and currently sits as the No. 2 prospect in this class. If you watch his film or see him play in person, Bresee simply has it all. His size, speed and moves from the defensive end position make him a prime candidate for early playing time at any program in the country.

With all that considered, it will be hard for Maryland to compete against the big-time programs that have been recruiting Bresee from the start. Nobody should count Locksley and his staff out, but with multiple unofficial visits to places like Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and Penn State, it will certainly be an uphill battle.

MarShawn Lloyd, DeMatha, running back, 5 stars (0.9844)

Lloyd is one of the highest-rated prospects that Maryland will have a realistic shot at in the 2020 class. He’s listed as the No. 3 player in the state of Maryland and the No. 4 running back and 27th-best player in the country, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

While the Terrapins have a had a deep backfield in recent years, Locksley and his staff will be looking for a new successor to step in as others graduate. Lorenzo Harrison III, Anthony MacFarland, Jake Funk, Tayon Fleet-Davis and Javon Leake all have enough eligibility to last through the 2020 season, which could allow Lloyd to redshirt and most likely have four years to compete for the starting job.

Georgia, Ohio State and Penn State are other schools heavily recruiting Lloyd at the moment, but with Locksley taking over and former DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks as the Terrapins’ running backs coach, Maryland could prove to be a great fit for the five star back.

Rakim Jarrett, St. John’s, wide receiver, 5 stars (0.9933)

Jarrett is listed by 247Sports as the second-best player out of Washington D.C. in the 2020 class. Similar to fellow five-star local wideout Stefon Diggs, the 6’0, 182-pound Jarrett has shown great explosiveness off the line and an ability to beat defensive backs with ease due to his speed and agility when running routes. His hands and the ability to make plays that some other can’t give him a special combination of skills that few receivers are able to possess, especially at this age.

Jarrett is listed as the 17th-best player in this class, so he has the offers to play just about anywhere he pleases. He released a top six in December that didn’t include Maryland (he’s since deleted the tweet), and Ohio State was making the most buzz in 2018, but the hiring of Locksley and a turn of the tide in the DMV area could at least keep the Terrapins in play.

Anton Harrison, Archbishop Carroll, offensive tackle, 4 stars (0.9304)

The 6’5, 329 pound Harrison recently released a top six on Twitter Monday that included Maryland. He was part of a group that visited Maryland in mid-February, and the Terrapins have picked up steam since then. His size has been enough to make him a dominant player at the high school level, and he shows some decent quickness when getting to the second level of a defense to run block and when sealing off the edge.

It seems like the race for Harrison will mostly be in the Big Ten with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan also in his top 6. Oklahoma and Mississippi round out his list heading into the spring

Kris Jenkins Jr., Good Counsel, defensive end, 3 stars (0.8678)

The name Kris Jenkins may ring a bell for Maryland fans, as his father was a four-year starter at defensive tackle in College Park from 1997-2000 and went on to play 10 seasons in the NFL. Having the chance to continue his father’s legacy is certainly something the younger Jenkins seems to enjoy, and could be a key pull for Maryland down the stretch in his recruitment.

This 6’4, 239 pound defensive end out from Olney, Maryland, currently sits as a three-star recruit according to 247Sports, but could be a key get for Maryland in 2020. It is unclear what other schools are making noise with Jenkins, but he holds offers from Indiana, Iowa and Virginia Tech among others.

Key schools to watch

An important part of Mike Locksley and his staff’s immediate success will be their ability to crack into well-known local high schools and create pipelines. Many kids at these schools have been offered in waves by this staff, but with blue blood programs also in the mix the Terrapins will have to really play their cards well to change the flow of commitments in their favor.

DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.)

This has been one of Maryland’s more consistent successful pipelines in recent years, but the new staff will have to affirm their commitment to the school. This shouldn’t be difficult, with former DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks joining Locksley’s staff as the running backs coach. The Terps already got a late flip from Stags safety Nick Cross, the top player in Maryland in 2019. Brooks has that same direct relationship with players for the next three classes, but how that translates in recruiting remains to be seen.

Along with the commitment from three-star lineman Jordan White, Maryland has offered five-star RB MarShawn Lloyd, four-star DE Coziah Izzard and three-star guard Golden Achumba.

St. Frances Academy (Baltimore)

St. Frances has seen a resurrection under the control of head coach Biff Poggi that is so strong the Panthers have struggled to find opponents to play.

With such success comes national recognition, and many blue bloods have found themselves hitting St. Frances with offers in bundles due to the strength of this team. Maryland has already extended 12 offers to players in the 2020 class from St. Frances alone, including five-star Alabama DE commit Chris Braswell.

The Terrapins’ image in the Washington, D.C. area is much more clear than in Baltimore, so if Locksley and his staff can build a stronger foundation up north, it will only bode well in the future.

St. John’s College HS (Washington, D.C.)

Maryland has gone on a bit of a cold streak at St. John’s in recent years, as Kasim Hill and Cam Spence of the 2017 class are the last two Cadets to choose the hometown Terrapins.

The 2020 class will be a telltale signal of how Locksley and his staff are doing at rebuilding a bridge between both programs. Maryland has extended offers to five Cadets in the 2020 cycle, including five-star OLB Mekhail Sherman as well as WR Rakhim Jarrett and four-star Clemson commit Tre Williams.

Positional needs

For the 2020 class, a few immediate needs should be filled to replenish depth as players graduate and/or move on to professional careers.

Running back

Maryland should look to take on at least two running backs in the 2020 cycle to help fill out the positional depth. With uncertainty about how long Anthony McFarland may remain in College Park, a new star back should be considered to potentially redshirt in 2020, then have four years to start after McFarland leaves. The Terrapins may enter 2021 with a whole host of senior running backs such as Lorenzo Harrison III, Javon Leake and Jake Funk, so securing more than one commitment will be key.

Offensive line

The Terrapins will lose three offensive linemen to graduation after the 2019 season, but were able to sign two tackles and a guard during the 2019 recruiting cycle. It will be important for Locksley and his staff to continue stocking up on offensive line talent, while also raising the overall size of the line to allow Maryland to be more competitive in the Big Ten.

Linebacker

There will be five senior linebackers on the Maryland roster in 2019, including incoming transfer Keandre Jones. Locksley and his staff signed Mitchell Agude and Cortez Andrews in the Terrapins’ last class, but furthering the team’s depth will be key. Maryland’s new defensive scheme is likely to use three or even four linebackers, and while the 2018 class included five at the position, the Terrapins will need additional reinforcements in 2020.