After three years as Maryland fooball’s defensive backs coach and top local recruiter, Azaar Abdul-Rahim is moving on to become UMass’ defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports Thursday morning.
He’ll be reunited with Walt Bell, who was the Terps’ offensive coordinator from 2016-17. Bell left for the same post at Florida State in January and was hired as the Minutemen’s head coach earlier this month.
Abdul-Rahim’s future at Maryland looked murky at best with Cory Robinson’s hiring as defensive backs coach. Some rumors had him potentially either returning to Alabama, where he was director of player personnel before coming to College Park, or joining another Big Ten staff. At UMass, he likely won’t be competing directly with Mike Locksley and Elijah Brooks on the recruiting trail. Robinson doesn’t come with the same experience as Abdul-Rahim, but he’s got connections in Baltimore that could improve the Terps’ standing with recruits there.
The Washington, D.C., native founded the football program at local Friendship Collegiate Academy in 2004 and helped turn the school into a regional power. In 2012, the school captured a District of Columbia State Athletic Association championship. Abdul-Rahim also founded Cover One, a defensive back training academy that has worked with players from all levels, including the NFL.
Maryland’s core entering 2019 is loaded with players recruited by Abdul-Rahim, including running back Anthony McFarland, guard Terrance Davis and cornerback Antoine Brooks. He was the lead recruiter on two unsigned verbal commits in the 2019 class—linebacker Kameron Blount and defensive end Deshawn Holt—so it’ll be interesting to see if those players remain on board between now and the February signing period.