Brenda Frese’s recruiting train keeps on chugging. Maryland signed the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation Wednesday, according to ESPN’s class rankings.
It’s the 12th top-10 recruiting class in Frese’s 16 years at Maryland.
The Terps trail Baylor, Texas and Florida State in the current rankings, and have the top recruiting class in the Big Ten. Michigan finished just outside the top 10, coming in at No. 11. These rankings are subject to change, and Maryland could still pick up a commitment between now and the start of the 2018-19 season.
All three commits are in the top 35 of espnW’s rankings, and will give the team some much needed depth down low and on the wing next season. The Terps signed point guard Channise Lewis in April last year as their only commit in the 2017 class. For most of last season, it looked like Maryland would have a deep roster going forward after signing the top-ranked recruiting class in 2016, but that was before four players transferred.
Without further ado, let’s meet the class.
Get your first at our three newest #Terps that make up the No. 4 recruiting class! ❤️ #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/xLwGAtelRG— Maryland WBB (@umdwbb) November 8, 2017
Shakira Austin, 6’5, forward
If Frese could create a post player in a lab, it would look a lot like Austin. The three key parts of Maryland’s game are “defend, rebound, and run,” and the Fredericksburg, Virginia, native can do all three.
Last year while attending Colonial Forge High School, Austin averaged 18 points and 12.3 rebounds per game along with 88 blocks on the way to a Virginia Class 6A state title. She’s currently the No. 3 recruit and the No. 2 forward in the country, according to ESPN.
Thrilled to welcome forward Shakira Austin (Fredericksburg, VA) to #TerpNation next year! —> https://t.co/TSZfC00Sj9 ❤️ #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/DLMplUnuIm— Maryland WBB (@umdwbb) November 8, 2017
"Shakira is a long, athletic forward that will be extremely successful in our transition game,” Frese said in the school’s release. “She is versatile, can rebound and is a tremendous shot blocker. Shakira will impact the game on both ends of the floor."
Austin will join Brianna Fraser, Aja Ellison and Stephanie Jones in the post, and if she can adjust quickly to the college game could be in line to start right away.
Taylor Mikesell, 5’10, guard
The Massillion, Ohio, native was the first commit to this class, sending her verbal to the Terps in September 2016. She’s ESPN’s No. 32 recruit and the No. 9 guard in the country.
It’s official‼️ Thankful for everyone who has helped me along the way! pic.twitter.com/YGd3GCQuZw— Taylor Mikesell (@TMikesell23) November 8, 2017
Mikesell is already the all-time leading scorer at Jackson High School in her hometown, and averaged 22.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.2 steals per game last season. She looks like a combo guard, which means she could play off the ball and take over at point guard for Channise Lewis if needed.
At minimum, Mikesell should take over Confroy’s role as a three-point specialist next year.
Olivia Owens, 6’4, post
Owens committed to Maryland in August, and looks to be a more traditional post player along the lines of Brionna Jones and Tianna Hawkins. She’s the No. 33 recruit and No. 5 post player in the country, according to ESPN.
Thrilled to welcome post Olivia Owens (Niskayuna, NY) to #TerpNation next year! —> https://t.co/TSZfC00Sj9 ❤️ #FearTheTurtle pic.twitter.com/9ODwC9L023— Maryland WBB (@umdwbb) November 8, 2017
Along with Austin, Owens will give Maryland more depth in the post. Even if she doesn’t make a huge impact right away, she should be a solid player down the line.