Four-star 2016 forward and top Maryland target Mario Kegler committed to Mississippi State on Wednesday. It was first reported by Evan Daniels of Scout:
Four-star forward Mario Kegler commits to Mississippi State, he told Scout | Story: https://t.co/aEyjavhSAg pic.twitter.com/m21d2Y7KN4— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) November 11, 2015
Kegler officially visited Arizona State in mid-September, Baylor a week after, then Mississippi State, Maryland and finished at Indiana, naming those five schools to his original short-list of commitment options. He removed the Sun Devils and Bears on Monday before announcing Tuesday he'll play for Ben Howland's Bulldogs.
Kegler is a tough miss for Terps, who have now missed on two top-35 recruits they were in contention for, after Kentucky's late recruiting surge seemingly stole five-star Wenyen Gabriel in September.
Maryland does have two four-star guard recruits secured in Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter, but the Terps are still without a forward commit for 2016.
The Terps were able to move to No. 3 in the preseason AP Poll this season without signing a forward last year, but would struggle without landing one this year, due to a predicted mass exodus of talent.
6'9 wing Jake Layman is playing his final season at Maryland, and the Terps are without a true small forward successor to take his place. Transfer forward Robert Carter, who is naturally more of a power forward, has another year of eligibility following this one, but may choose to declare for NBA Draft.
Jared Nickens would be looked at as the assumed starting small forward in 2016-17, but the Terps would have limited options to back him up if the roster stood as it looks now.
Hope isn't lost in the recruiting department though, as Turgeon offered three-star 6'7 forward Micah Thomas two weeks ago. Still, Thomas doesn't bring the same pedigree as Kegler. We wrote more about the 33rd-ranked small forward in the class of 2016 who was named Tennessee's Mr. Basketball last season, here.
Maryland is also still in the running for another 6'7 athlete, five-star recruit Josh Jackson, who is listed as a shooting guard, but may be able to fill-in as a forward.
One of the top players in his class, Jackson is also being recruited by Michigan State, North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona among others, and Maryland will be a tough sell with all of its outgoing talent.
The pressure is on for Turgeon and staff to bring in talent during the spring signing period.